'O God, carry us in the ships of Thy deliverance, give us to enjoy the pleasure of whispered prayer to Thee, make us drink at the pools of Thy love, let us taste the sweetness of Thy affection and nearness, allow us to struggle in Thee, preoccupy us with obeying Thee, and purify our intentions in devoting works to Thee, for we exist through Thee and belong to Thee, and we have no one to mediate with Thee but Thee!' Imam Sajjad ('A); Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

How to attain Intimacy with Allah (swt), how to converse with Him (swt) and how to assess oneself before Him (swt)

[2 minute read + a lifetime thought]

Imam as Sadiq (AS) said:
"When you arrive at the door of the mosque, know that you have come to the door of a great King.

No one may walk into His Courtyard save the purified, and no one is admitted to His Company [mu'anasah] but the truthful. So, attach reverence to your coming to the ground of serving the King, as you would be exposed to a great danger if you were negligent.

Know that He is capable of doing what He likes of justice and grace with you and by you.

So, if He was kind to you with His mercy and favour, He would accept from you little worship and give you much reward for it. But if He demanded from you a share of truth and sincerity, to be just with you, He would block you and reject your worship, even if it is much. He is the doer of what He wants.

Confess to His Presence your inability, shortcoming, humility and poverty, as you have come to Him to worship and to get His Intimacy [mu'anasah].

Expose your secrets to Him, knowing that nothing, covert and overt, of the entire universe, is hidden from Him.

Be, before Him, as the poorest of His servants.

Empty your heart of all occupants that keep you away from your Lord, as He does not accept except the pure(st) and the sincere(st).

Find out in which register your name is recorded.

If you tasted the sweetness of supplication and the delight of addressing Him, and drank from the cup of His mercy and generosity out of His good reception of you and response to you, then you would become suitable for His service. So, enter, as you will have permission and protection.

Otherwise, stop, like the one whose rope has snapped, and his hope has come short, and time has got the better of him.

So, if Allah found in your heart true recourse to Him, He would look at you with the eye of kindness, mercy and leniency, and cause you to be successful in attaining to what He likes and is pleased with, since He is generous and loves generosity for His servants who distressfully resort to Him and burn out at His door for the want of His pleasure.

Allah, the Most High, says: 'Or, Who answers the distressed one, when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil ... ? (Naml:62)"

[Misbahush Shar'iah, ch. 12.]

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Scholars and the Steps of Fire

(for every student/scholar in the path of Allah)

Shaykh as-Saduq [may Allah have mercy upon him] in his book al khisal, quoting Abu `Abdullah [as-Sadiq] (AS), says:

"There are among the scholars those who like to compile their knowledge, and do not like to be quoted. These are at the first step of the Fire.
Other scholars are proud when they admonish, but they disdain being admonished. These are at the second step of the Fire.
Some scholars prefer to put their knowledge at the disposal of the noble and the wealthy, excluding the poor from it. These are at the third step of the Fire.
Other scholars behave like the tyrants and the monarchs in their knowledge, and if they were redressed or neglected in some of their affairs, they would become angry. These are at the fourth step of the Fire.

Some scholars look for the hadiths of the Jews and the Christians in order to support their own knowledge and increase their own hadiths. These are at the fifth step of the Fire.
Other scholars appoint themselves to give out religious decrees, telling the people: "Ask me!", whereas they may not be right even in a single letter, and Allah does not like the pretentious. These are at the sixth step of the Fire.
There are among the scholars those who take knowledge to be a sense of honour and intellect. These are at the seventh step of the Fire."
Al-Khisal , vol. 2, p. 352, ch. 7, hadith 33.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Eight stages of Sincerity...and some of the counterfeits!

One of the important disciplines of any niyah, which is of the important parts of all worships and of the general and comprehensive instructions, is "sincerity".

It has been narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SA) said:
"Every person gets according to his intention. So, the one whose intention is to migrate to Allah and His Messenger, his migration will be to Allah and His Messenger; and the one whose intention of migration is to attain to this world [to get something of it] or to marry a woman, his migration is to what he has intended." [Mustadrakul Wasa'il, chs. on "Preliminaries to the Acts of Worship", ch. 5, hadith 5.]

One of these stages of sincerity is to purge (cleanse) the act, whether cordial or formal, from the blemish of acquiring the creatures' pleasure and attracting their hearts for the sake of a praise, and advantage or anything else.
And the counterfeit of it is the act performed hypocritically, which is a juristic hypocrisy and is the meanest of all degrees of hypocrisies, and such a hypocrite is the lowest and meanest of all hypocrites.

The second stage is to purge (cleanse) the act from wanting the fulfilment of mundane objectives and transient desires, although these acts may be fulfilled in order to attain to Allah's grace, such as performing night salats [nafilah] for improving one's sustenance etc.
Some jurisprudents regard this degree of sincerity to be necessary for the correctness of the acts of worship…this salat however has no value, whatsoever, in the eyes of the people of knowledge, and it is like all other lawful gains, or maybe even lower.

The third stage is to purge (cleanse) the act from trying to attain to corporeal paradises, houris, luxurious abodes and the likes of the corporeal pleasures.
Its counterfeit is the worship of the traders, as is described in the noble hadiths.

The fourth stage is to purify the act from being afraid of the threatened bodily punishment and torture.
The counterfeit of this is the worship of the slaves, as is mentioned in the narratives.
To the people of the heart, this kind of worship is also of no value and far from being a service to Allah.

The fifth stage is to purge (cleanse) the act from trying to attain to intellectual happiness and everlasting spiritual pleasures, and to join the Cherubim, the group of the sacred intellects and the favourite angels.
Its counterfeit is acting for this purpose. Although this stage is great and an important goal, in the ways of the people of Allah, this stage has also its shortcomings in suluk, and its salik is also regarded as a trader or a worker, though his trade and business are different, in many ways, from those of others.

As regards this stage, I mean the sixth one, it is to purge (cleanse) the act from being afraid of not attaining to those pleasures and of being deprived of this happiness.
Its counterfeit is to act for this stage out of fear. Although this is a lofty stage and is beyond the desire of one like the writer, yet, to the people of Allah, this is also the worship of the slaves, for it has causes.

The seventh stage is to purge (cleanse) it from attaining to the delights of the Divine Beauty and enjoying the pleasures of the lights of limitless glories, which are the Paradise of Meeting [the Lord].
This stage, I mean the stage of Meeting Allah, is one of the most important goals of the people of knowledge and those of heart. And the people of love and attraction are of the perfect ones among the people of Allah and His chosen ones.
Yet, this perfection is not the most perfect degree of the people of Allah. It is one of their many common states.

What we read in some invocations, such as the Sha'baniyah supplication, that Imam 'Ali (AS) and his pure progeny demand the said state, or allude to their being in that state, does not mean that their states are limited to this one, since the eighth stage, which is on the same level as this one, and which is purging (cleansing) the act from the fear of separation, is also not of the perfect states of the perfect ones.
Imam 'Ali's saying: "How could I forbear separating from You?" is just a reference to a brim-full common state of him and of one like him. 
Generally speaking, purging (cleansing) the act from these two stages is also a must to the people of Allah, for to act with them will be endued with causes and not free from selfish wants.

It is, thus, perfect sincerity. There are other stages which are out of the limits of sincerity, and fall under the criterion of monotheism, abstraction and guardianship, all of which do not fit here.

Imam Khomeini (may Allah [swt] raise his status and sanctify his grave)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

An Important Rule Often Neglected 10

Holy Quran: Al-Hujurat» Surah no. 49, Verse 11

Allah (s.w.t.) through His messenger Muhammad (s.a.w.) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَومٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَى أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاء مِّن نِّسَاء عَسَى أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الاِسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

'O you who believe! let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they; and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust.'

Sunday, 9 March 2008

An Important Rule Often Neglected 9

Islamic Laws : Rules of Namaz » Adhan and Iqamah
Fatawa of Ayatullah al Uzama Syed Ali al-Husaini Seestani

Niyyah of pronouncing Ash hadu anna Amiral Mu'minina Aliyyan Waliyyullah in Adhan
Question: Is the Third Testimony part of Adhan and Iqamah?

928. Ash hadu anna Amiral Mu'minina 'Aliyyan Waliyyullah ( I testify that the Commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (AS) is the vicegerent of Allah) is not a part of either Adhan or Iqamah. But it is preferable that it is pronounced after Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulul lah with the niyyat of Qurbat.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The three tests for the Holy Prophet

Through successive chain of narrators reaching the Noble Shaikh Ja'far bin Mohammad bin Qawlawayh Qummi, who through his chain of transmitters relates from Hammad bin Usman, who in turn relates from Imam Ja'far as Sadiq (a.s) that when Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s) was taken to the heavens (on the night of Me'raj, Ascension), he was told by Allah Almighty that I will test you by three ways so as to know the extent of your patience. The Prophet re­plied, 

"I surrender to your command O Allah! But I lack the ability to forbear Your trial. Please tell me as to what the three ways are"?

It was said, the first is hunger and giving preference to the needy over yourself and your family.
The Prophet replied,
"I accept O Lord! And am satisfied and bow my head in front of your Command, while favour and patience are from You alone."

Second being the lies which people will attribute to you, the fear and severe danger, and donating your life in My way, and fighting the forces of disbelief with your life and wealth, and patience upon the sever­ity and difficulty which will befall you at their hands and the hands of the hypocrites, and the sorrows and troubles and the wounds of the battle­field.
The Prophet replied,
"I accept O Lord! And am satisfied and bow my head in front of Your Command, while favour and patience are from You alone."

While the third one being the sufferings and martyrdom which your family will have to bear after your death. Then your cousin (Imam Ali) will have to face vilification, reproach and suppression and will be frustrated besides falling prey to severity and oppression and will ultimately be martyred.
The Prophet replied,
"I accept O Lord! And am satisfied and bow my head in front of Your Command, while favour and patience are from You alone.”

As regards your daughter (sayyedah Fatemah), she too will have to bear the hardships (and all the affictions which would befall her were related to him). Then this daughter of yours will have two sons from your cousin, one of whom (Imam Hasan) will be killed by a coward and his belong­ings will be looted and he will be wounded with a lance, while these acts of tyranny will be performed by the people of your nation (ummah).

The Prophet replied,
"I accept O Lord! And am satisfied and bow my head in front of Your Command, while favour and patience are from You alone."

As regards her second son (Imam Husain), the people will call him for a battle and kill him to the extent that his sons and whoever (from his family or friends) accompanying him shall also be killed. Then they will loot his family, and he will request for help from Me, but verily Martyrdom has been decreed for him and for those accompanying him. And his Martyrdom is a proof over all the people from the east to the west. And the heavens and the earth shall weep over him, and the Angels, who would not be able to assist him, shall lament too. Then I shall emerge a man (Imam Mahdi) from his progeny, by whose means I will assist you, and his spirit is near Me under the Empyr­ean."

Source: Nafasul Mahmoom by Sh. Abbas Qummi (ra)

Saturday, 1 March 2008

An Important Rule Often Neglected 8

A Code of Practice For Muslims in the West : Work & investment » Questions and Answers
Fatawa of Ayatullah al Uzama Syed Ali al-Husaini Seestani

This ruling was initially from the sistani.org Q&A section but because that section is currently not working, we have questioned it's validity. It has however been replaced with the following ruling:

289. Question: A printer in the West prints the menus of restaurants. Such menus include pork. Is this allowed? Is he allowed to print the advertisements for pubs and establishments that provide forbidden entertainment knowing well that his business will be affected, if he does not print these kinds of materials?

Answer: It is not permissible for him to do that even if it affects his business.