'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, 27 November 2011

Ashura and al-Husayn's words

Muhammad ibn Bakran al-Naqqash in the Kufa Mosque and Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ishaq al-Mokattib in Ray - may God be pleased with him - narrated that Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’eed al-Hamadani - a servant of the Hashemites - quoted on the authority of Ali ibn Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Fadhdhal, on the authority of his father that Abil Hassan Ali ibn Musa Al-Reza (s) said, 
“God will provide for the needs of this world and the Hereafter of whoever does not try to provide for his needs on the Day of Ashura. The Honorable the Exalted God will make the Resurrection Day a day of pleasure and happiness for whoever makes the Day of Ashura his day of calamity, mourning, sorrow and crying. If one considers the Day of Ashura to be a blessed day for him and hoards things up in his house on that day, whatever he hoards up will not be blessed. He will be resurrected along with Yazid, Ubaydillah ibn Ziyad and Umar ibn Sa’d - may God damn them - on the Resurrection Day.”
Ch 28, Part 1, 28-52, 'Uyun Akhbar al-Reza (as); By: Sheikh Sadooq
Imam Al-Hussein (as) on his way to Karbala said:          
This world has changed, snubbed, and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? This is sufficient for making the believers desire for meeting God rightfully. I consider death as happiness and life with the wrongdoers as boredom. People are certainly the slaves of this world. The religion is only a slaver on their tongues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the religious will be very little.
Tuhfaul Uqul; Abu Mohamed al-Hasan Bin Ali Bin al-Husein Bin Shu'ba al-Harrani
Imam Redha (A.S.) said: 
With the advent of the month of Muharram, my father Imam Kadhim (A.S.) would never be seen laughing; gloom and sadness would overcome him for (the first) ten days of the month; and when the tenth day of the month would dawn, it would be a day of tragedy, grief and weeping for him.
Amaali Saduq, pg. 111

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pinnacle of Nobility

Morals from the life of 'Allāma Tabatabai
[On the 30 years death remembrance of Marhum Allamah Tabatabai - died Sunday - Sunday 15th november 1981]

'Allāma Tabatabai's manner and behavior at home was truly like that of Prophet Muhammad (s) (Muhammadī). He never became angry, and we never heard him raise his voice while speaking. While he was gentle, he was also decisive and firm. He gave importance to praying on time, staying up during the nights of the month of Ramadhān, reading the Qur'ān out loud, and maintaining organization in all things. As a result of his strong, kind sentiment and extremely kind heart, he would never refuse anyone. One day he said to me, "from morning until now I have answered the door 24 times in order to reply people's queries".'Allāma's daughter
Although he had very little time, 'Allāma managed his schedule in such a manner that he would spend one hour every afternoon with his family. During this time he was so kind and affectionate that one could not believe that this was an individual occupied with so much work.
'Allāma's daughter

At home 'Allāma was strongly opposed to anyone else carrying out his personal tasks for him. There was always a competition in turning down the bed [at home]. My father would try to carry out this task before anyone else, and my mother would try to anticipate him. Even in the end when he was sick and I used to go to his home, he would get up from his place to pour his own tea despite his state of illness. And if I objected and said, "why didn't you ask me to bring me some tea," he would reply, "no, you are a guest, and you are also a descendant of the Prophet (s) (Sayyid), and I cannot give you any orders".'Allāma's daughter

Eternal Manifestations: by Ahmad Luqmani

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tazkiyat an-Nafs

William Chittick

In order to learn how to see God in oneself and things, one has to learn how to be aware of God constantly. One has to see the shining light of the risen sun in a landscape that others perceive as shrouded in midnight. All the practices of Islam and Sufism are focused on one goal – allowing people to open up their eyes and see. Numerous Koranic verses and prophetic sayings speak of this goal with a great variety of images and expressions. One of the most succinct of these and one that has often been taken by Sufi teachers as the definition of the path to God is tazkiyat an-nafs, a phrase that is usually translated as “purification of the soul.”

The phrase is derived from a Koranic verse that I would translate, with some hesitation, as follows: “By the soul and That which shaped it, and inspired it to its depravity and its godwariness. Prosperous is he who purifies it, and failed has he who buries it” (91:7–10). According to this verse, only those who purify their souls achieve “prosperity.” The Koranic context makes clear that this prosperity pertains to the next world and that the prosperity of this world is irrelevant, if not positively dangerous. Those who fail to purify their souls and instead “bury” their souls – as if they were hiding their souls under the ground – will not be prosperous. Instead, they will be miserable when they move on to their final home, whether or not they consider themselves prosperous here.

Like all translations of Koranic passages, this translation is problematic and tentative. To begin with, “purify” is definitely a misleading translation for tazkiya. All the dictionaries tell us that tazkiya has two senses, though the lexicographers disagree as to which sense is more basic.

One meaning of the verb is to purify and cleanse, the other to augment and increase. Hence tazkiyat an-nafs, as the Koran commentators recognize, can be understood to mean both “purification” of the nafs and “augmentation” of the nafs. Most commentators stress the first meaning, apparently for theological reasons. After all, the primary task of Muslims is to submit themselves to God, and this cannot happen until they rid themselves of things that God does not like. This can be called “purification.” However, it is obvious that the soul also needs to grow and to increase in stature with God’s help. Bringing about this growth can also be called tazkiya.

Thus, two things need to take place, and both are implied in the word tazkiya – purification and augmentation. We can also consider purification as occurring simultaneously with the soul’s growth and increase, and thus the two senses of the word coalesce. The complementarity of these two meanings can be seen in some of the ways in which the word tazkiya is used. The dictionaries tell us that it can be employed for planting seeds or raising cattle, in which cases it means neither to purify nor to augment, but something that combines these two senses. When seeds are planted in the ground, they are purified of everything alien to them and exposed to God’s bounties – earth, water, and sunlight.

This prepares the way for the seeds to increase and grow. Those who plant the seeds neither “purify” them nor “augment” them. Rather, they put them into a situation where they can thrive, prosper, and bring out their own potentiality. Hence tazkiyat annafs means not only “to purify the soul,” but also to allow the soul to grow and thrive by opening it up to the bounty of God. A better translation might be “cultivation of the soul.”