'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

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Worshippers of the night of 'Ashura

Sayyid Radi al-Din bin Tawus al-Hasani (may Allah elevate his noble spirit) in his well-known maqtal, al-Luhuf ala Qatla al-Tufuf narrates:
‘Al-Husayn and his companions were awake the whole night [of ‘Ashura] and their environment resembled an area permeated with the sound of the humming of bees. [In other words all of them were busy in the remembrance of Allah and the sound of their whisperings permeated the entire environment.] Some were in the state of ruku’, others in the state of sujud, some standing and others sitting...'

And al-Qazwini narrates from the History of al-A’tham al-Kafi:
'Surely that night neither al-Husayn nor anyone of his companions and supporters slept until morning.'

Worship is undoubtedly a merit when it is not reduced to mere actions and recitals. The companions of al-Husayn (a) were men who worshipped Almighty Allah out of awareness and knowledge. Their appellations such as ahibba’Allah (Divine lovers), ushshaaq (intense lovers) and kushifa lahum al-ghita (the curtains were unveiled for them), all demonstrate their knowledge and deep insight. This is because such qualities are essential corollaries of knowledge, without which they carry no meaning. It is such kind of worship that is natural and praiseworthy.

Expression of utter humility near the Absolute Perfect Being can only come about naturally after one realizes whom he is infront of. Such realization is in stages. Sometimes one has conceptual knowledge about the Creator and thus he maintains a degree of humility in prayer, but that cannot be compared to one who has presential knowledge of Allah.

It is such knowledge about which Imam Ali (a) talks in a conversation with a rabbi:
Abu al-Hasan al-Mawsali narrates from Abi Abdillah [al-Sadiq (a)] who said:
A rabbi came to Amir al-Mu’minin (a), and said: ‘Ya Amir al-Mu’minin, did you see your Lord when you worshipped Him?' Imam (a) said: ‘Woe unto you! Eyes do not comprehend Him in their ocular vision, but hearts see Him through the realities of conviction.'
[Al-’Àmili, al-Fusul al-Muhimma fi Usul al-A’imma, v.1, p.180]

The Holy Quran says:
'Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Tawrat and their description in the Injeel; like as seed-produce that puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them; Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward.' (48:29)

Reflections on Ziyarat 'Ashura of Sayyid al-Shuhada al-Husayn b. 'Ali, by Shaykh Muhammad M Khalfan, p 192

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