'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

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Imam Sajjad (as) and The Caravan to Hajj

A caravan of Muslims was headed towards Makkah. As it arrived in Madina, it rested a few days, and continued on towards Makkah.
On their way from Madina to Makkah, a man joined the group. This man noticed one of them who had the appearance of a guided person. He was eagerly busy in service of the passengers. The man recognized him. With much surprise, he asked the pilgrims if they knew this man who was at their service.
''No, we don't know him. He joined us in Madina. He is a decent and pious man. We haven't asked him for help. But he has been eager in helping us."
"Obviously you don't know him. For if you did, you would never have allowed a man like him to be at your service."Who is this person?"
"This is 4th Imam, Imam Sajjad (as)."
The group stood with shame and apologized to Imam Sajjad (as). Then complaining to him, they said:
"Why did you treat us as such? We may have gone beyond our bounds in our ignorance, and would have committed a big sin in being disrespectful to you."
Imam Sajjad (as): "I intentionally joined your group, for you didn't know me. When I join a group, where people know me, for the sake of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), they are very kind to me. They don't allow me to be of some service. Thus I was eager to join a group where I will be anonymous, so that I may have the honor of being of some service to my brethren."
Moral: Service to fellow Muslims should be a pleasure, something we should go out of our way to do! Besides it being one of the fundamentals of the spiritual journey - Hajj!

Sunday, 1 November 2009


When prophet Musa (‘a) went to Mount Sinai and had a secret mutual conversation with Allah for thirty nights [Wa waa‘adna Musa thalathina laylatan (and And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights- Qur’an 7:142], they actually were the thirty nights of the holy month of Dhu al-Qa’da [Ref: ‘Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.13, pp. 213-214], a month when those who aspire to meet the Beloved, and not merely His house (ka’ba), engage in spiritual pursuits in preparation for the fundamental vertical (spiritual) journey to the Beloved. 

Then Allah says “wa atmamnaahu bi ‘ashr” (And we completed them with ten [more days]-Qur’an, 7:142). Almighty Allah confers ten more days to Musa (‘a) for munajat. And these ten days are the very first ten days of the holy month of Dhu al-Hijja when the hajis are busy in their spiritual excursion. 

Having undergone specific stages of spiritual change through the help of his Lord, Musa (‘a) finally asks for vision. He says, “Rabbi arini anzuru ilayk” (My Lord, show [Yourself] to me, that I may look at You!’- Qur’an, 7:143). 

Insightful scholars like Imam Khumayni say that Musa (‘a) did not aspire for vision through the physical eye, free from such kind of thinking are the Prophets of Allah [Ref: Imam Khumayni, Notes on Nubuwwat, p. 352]. He yearned to see the Beloved through the heart. Such vision obviously is not “complete comprehension” which presumes the comprehending one to encompass the object of comprehension. It rather is a limited comprehension of the Divine Attributes according to the capacity of the beholder. And this can only be achieved through self-purification, whose fundamental stages according to authoritative divine sages are as follows:

1) Al-Tajliya (Strictly adhering to the apparent Islamic laws and refraining from whatever Islam has prohibited)
2) Al-Takhliya (Cleaning oneself through the water of repentance and tawba)
3) Al-Tahliya (Beautifying oneself with the perfections of the Absolutely Beautiful according to one’s capacity)
4) Al-Fana (Dissolution in the Beloved, such that one visions that no identity exists save that of Allah)

Aspirants of hajj should try to journey through these stages, so that on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijja they deserve to put on the Ihram of Musa (‘a) and sincerely yearn for the vision of the Only Beloved.

What is so captivating is to behold the Musa of Karbala, who in the Mount Sinai [Bihar al-Anwar, v.98, pp. 108-109] of Ghadhiriyya (another name for Karbala), is reported to have said:

I left the entire creation in Your Desire
And made my family orphans so that I may see You
So even if you cut me into pieces in my love for You
My heart would not incline to other than You

This peerless Musa of history was so intensely sacrificing, that the Beloved bestowed him with peerless bestowals, one of which is:
Al-sujud ‘ala turbat al-Husayn (‘a) yakhriqu al-hujub al-sab‘ (prostrating on the clay of al-Husayn severs the seven veils [‘Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.82, pp. 153]). A probably meaning of the seven veils is ‘the seven levels of existence’, the highest of which is in the close proximity of the All-Beloved.

But the Beloved’s love is so special for this Moses of Karbala. According to a tradition narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) [Ref: ‘Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.98, pp. 87] Allah on the day of ‘Arafa begins with the visitors of the grave of al-Husayn first, and then the lovers stationed in the sacred plains of ‘Arafa.
We pray to Almighty Allah to enable us comprehend the secrets of Hajj better as we cross the stations of our transient life.

Shaykh Muhammad Khalfan

In consequence of a fractured leg,
God bestows a wing.
Likewise, from the depths of the pit,
He opens a door of escape.
God said, "Don't consider whether
you're up a tree or in a hole:
Consider Me, for I am the key of the way."