'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

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Husnu'l Hal - A Unique State of Utter Ecstasy

The contemporary mystic-scholar, Āllāmah Hasan Zadeh Āmolī, may the Almighty Allāh protect his noble presence, in his treatise- Nūrun 'Alā Nūr [section 9, pg. 78], says:
'Try to reach the water, although you are not cut off from water. And when you reach the water, you would have husnu'l hāl and your joy would be inexpressible.'

In one of the narrated supplications we read: O Allāh change our unpleasant state into your Beautiful State. Thus Almighty God Has the State of Husnu'l Hāl. Yes, this State of Joy (Husnu'l Hāl) is that very state that Shaykh (Ibn Sinā) speaks about in chapter eighteen of the section on Joy and Happiness of his monumental work al-Ishārāt:
'The Being that has the greatest joy in a thing is the First (i.e. God) as having joy in His Essence.' [al-Ishārāt wa al-Tanbīhāt, pg. 350 (trans. By Shams Inati, pg. 78 - Translation)]

With regard to Almighty Allāh's sincere servants, the state of Ridā is known to be the state of joy and ecstasy. 

Shaykh al-Rā'īs also mentions this in section nine of his monumental al-Ishārāt, as follows:
"The Gnostic ('ārif) is bright faced, friendly and smiling. Due to his modesty he honors the young as he honors the old. He is as pleased with the unclearheaded as he is with the alert. How could he not be bright-faced when he enjoys the Truth (i.e. God) and everything other than the Truth, for he sees the Truth even in everything other than the Truth. Furthermore, how could he not treat all as equal when, to him all are equal! They are objects of mercy preoccupied with falsehoods." [al-Ishārāt wa al-Tanbīhāt, pg. 364 (trans. By Shams Inati, pg. 89 - Translation)]

Avicenna's statement "for he sees the Truth even in everything other than the Truth" reminds us of the Holy Prophet (s), and the Holy Imāms of the Ahlu'l Bayt (as). Imām 'Alī (as) is reported to have said: "I did not see anything save that I saw Allāh before it, after it, and with it."

A similar dictum is reported also from Imām al-Sādiq (as). Some analysts say that the following tradition also alludes to the sublime state of ecstasy and joy of the Leader of martyrs, Imām al-Husayn (as), as he neared his supreme sacrifice, which guaranteed the salvation of Islam forever: Shaykh Sadūq in his Ma'āni al-Akhbār reports Imām al-Sajjād (as) to have said:
"When the situation became tense for Imām al-Husayn (as) those who were with him looked at him and saw that his state was contrary to theirs, for whenever the situation grew tense they changed color and were shaken and experienced fear, whereas the faces of al-Husayn (as) and some of his companions shone, their bodily members were relaxed and their souls were tranquil." [Ma'āni al-Akhbār, pg. 288]
Manifestations of the All-Merciful, Sh Muhammad Khalfan, Section 4

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A narrative from the oceans of the Gnostic

Absolute Contentment/Submission/inner Satisfaction to the decree of Allah
On the 2 year death remembrance of Marhum Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Bahjat - died Sunday 17 May 2009

Hujjatul-Islam wal Muslimin Quddas, one of the students of Sheikh Bahjat, says, “One day I went to the house of Sheikh Bahjat a few minutes before the start of the class becaue often the sheikh used to attend the class room when some of his students come (even if it is one single student), and he would narrate a story or a tradition or a moral lesson till all the students attend.
For this reason, I went to the house of the sheikh early, hoping to hear those pursuits. Luckily, when the sheikh heard my voice as I said, ‘Ya Allah!’ as I entered, he came to the room early and said this to me after the greeting and the salutation, 

‘In the city of Najaf, a handsome Iranian youth was with us from the people of Hamadan, and he was famous for being neat and physically well formed. One day, this youth became paralyzed to the extent he could not walk except after leaning on a cane. I tried not to meet him because I used to think he would feel embarrassed due to his particular condition; therefore, I used to avoid meeting him so I would not add one more grief to his grieves.
One day, I got out of the alley and saw him standing in the street, so I had no choice except to meet him. Without contemplating, I asked him, ‘How do you feel? (but I was upset with having said so and kept saying this to myself: ‘What empty talk is this?! Do you not see in what condition he is?!). 
But contrary to my expectation, when he opened his mouth to answer my question, his speech was like cool water with which he put out what I had felt inside. He kept praising and thanking Allah with a spirit filled with activity and pleasure as if he was drowned in blessings of Allah, the Praised and the most exalted One. I felt relieved and my grief departed from me.’”
 Uswat Al-Aarifeen; Chapter 10

Saturday, 14 May 2011

30 Obligations of every Believer

Jami' al-Sa'adat by Muhammad Mahdi ibn abi Dharr al-Naraqi

In a prophetic tradition, social rights are enumerated in the following manner:

Every believer has thirty obligations over his brother in faith, which he could not be said to have met unless he either performs them or is excused by his brother in faith from performing them. These obligations are:
forgiving his mistakes;
being merciful and kind to him when he is in a strange land;
guarding his secrets;
giving him his hand when he is about to fall;
accepting his apology;
discouraging backbiting about him;
persisting in giving him good advice;
treasuring his friendship;
fulfilling his trust;
visiting him when he is ill;
being with him at the time of his death;
accepting his invitation and his presents;
returning his favours in the same manner;
thanking him for his favours;
being grateful for his assistance;
protecting his honour and property;
helping him meet his needs;
making an effort to solve his problems;
saying to him: `God bless you', when he sneezes;
guiding him to the thing he has lost;
answering his greetings;
taking him at his word (not drawing a bad interpretation of things he says);
accepting his bestowals;
confirming him if he swears to something;
being kind and friendly towards him, not unsympathetic and hostile;
helping him whether he is being unjust or is a victim of injustice [when we speak of helping him when he is being unjust, we mean that he must be kept from being unjust;
when we speak of coming to his aid when he is a victim of injustice, we mean that he should be assisted in securing his rights];
refraining from feeling bored or fed up of him;
not forsaking him in the midst of his troubles.
Whatever good things he likes for himself he should also like for his brother in faith, and whatever he dislikes for himself he should also dislike for his brother.

Jami' al-Sa'adat by Muhammad Mahdi ibn abi Dharr al-Naraqi


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Friday, 6 May 2011

Radiance from the Will of Fatima

Before Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) departed from this world, she asked Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to execute her will, in which lie many lessons and treasures of knowledge for us which we can all benefit from.

On the last day of her life, it is narrated that Al-Zahra said to Imam Ali: "You have not known me to be a liar or a traitor, and have I ever disobeyed you since we were together?" Imam Ali replied: "Allah forbid! You are more knowing of Allah, more devoted, more pious, and more honorable and more fearing of Allah than (to give me a reason) to reprimand you for disobeying me. Surely it is very painful for me to be separated from you and to lose you; but it is an inevitable destination. By Allah, you have renewed the sorrow I have just encountered with the death of Allah's Messenger; surely your death and departure will be a great calamity, but 'to Allah do we belong, and to Him shall we return.' What a painful, bitter and sad calamity. Surely this is a calamity for which there is not consolation, and a disaster for which there is no compensation. Instruct me to do anything you wish; you certainly will find me devoted and I will execute everything that you command me to do."

She then made two particular requests:

1. "I ask you to marry after my death, my niece Umamah; surely she will be good to my children as I was. Besides, men cannot do without women."
2. "I ask you not to let anyone who did injustice to me to witness my funeral, for they certainly are enemies of mine, and the enemy of Allah's Messenger. Also don't give them the chance to pray over me, nor to any of their followers. Bury me at night when eyes are rested and sight is put to sleep."

The Pitfalls of a Marriage
Al-Zahra eloquently summarized in her will the major pitfalls (from a wife's perspective) that can destroy a marriage, by pointing out the three main faults: Lying, betrayal and disobedience. These three faults encompass all other faults and one can be confident that if there was anything missing, she would have mentioned it.

Lying induces a lack of trust and continuous negative speculations in the relationship. Betrayal, whether relating to money, secrets, talking behind each other's backs or in any other form, can lead to the destruction of the social image of the individual and the couple's relationship itself. Disobedience will induce a very tense life in the house and will take away from smooth interaction.

Apart from the immediate and long-term direct effects, these faults are actually against the laws of Allah and will cause the marriage to suffer the indirect negative consequences (both materialistic and non-materialistic). With just a few words, Al-Zahra gave social, behavioral, and theological dimensions to her words.

Marriage of Widowers
We often hear the words, "I will stay true to my deceased wife and never marry again." Al-Zahra declared there is nothing wrong with a man marrying again after his wife passes away; in fact, she encouraged it. Her request for Imam Ali to marry again promotes the notion of marriage, highlighting its importance for both the family and the society. Her words naturally extend to widows re-marrying.

Protecting the Children
Al-Zahra emphasized how important taking care of the children is. Often when someone passes away, people usurp the rights of the helpless children because of the lack of law protection, especially in our man-made law structure. Of course, taking care of the children involves making sure there is someone trustworthy when it comes to taking care of them. Also, if one can manage to secure their financial rights, one should do so.

The Oppressed Daughter of the Prophet
While Al-Zahra's words extend from her particular special case to any general case, there is one part that stands out – she had asked Imam Ali to do two things after he washes her purified body and finalizes the pre-burial actions: To bury her at night, and hide her grave.

Both requests have immediate implications related to the situation at that time and long-term implications that affect us to this very day. What is it that Lady Fatima wants us to learn and comprehend from these requests?

Studying history and the religion of Islam, one will immediately recognize the status of Lady Fatima as the Prophet's only daughter and the leader of women of all times. In addition to that, the books of history do not hide the fact that Lady Fatima's right to Fadak was usurped, that people burned her house, beat her with a whip and caused a rib of hers to break after being squeezed between the door and the wall, causing the miscarriage of her unborn son.

No matter how much historical facts are twisted to help glorify those who oppressed the daughter of the Prophet, the fact that she did not approve of them attending her funeral is enough for one to discern the truth. The mere knowledge that the daughter of the Prophet refused certain people to attend her funeral makes the academic researcher investigate those personalities. Her secret burial and hidden grave affirms how angry she was with those who oppressed her. It reflects the oppression brought upon her and as long as her grave is hidden, people will and must continue to question the events that took place after her father's death.

Our Duty
For all those who love Fatima, remember her grave is hidden, but she is not far. She attends gatherings held in the name of the Ahlul Bayt. Let us carry her grave in our hearts and fulfill our responsibility of spreading the truth that the daughter of the Prophet of Islam and the leader of the women of the worlds, was, and still remains today, oppressed.

Ali Jamaleddine