'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, 29 December 2011

The 'Ahl al-Islam' in Ziyarat 'Ashura

Are WE part of the Ahl al-Islam?
Sh Muhammad Khalfan

The genitive construction Ahl al-Islam denotes ‘those who are intimate and attached to Islam’. The literal meaning of the word ahl according to some lexicographers is uns (intimacy) coupled with specific relationship and attachment (Al-Mustafawi, Al-Tahqiq fi Kalimat al-Qur'an al-Karim, v.1, p.169). The word Ahl al-Bayt refers to the people of a house, because they are intimate, attached, and have a specific relationship to the house.

Therefore when we say that the loss and calamity is great on all the Ahl al-Islam we mean that all those who really have intimacy, attachment and relationship with Islam suffer with great loss and calamity. This is where we must try to analyze ourselves and see whether we are from the Ahl al-Islam or not.

The main reason why the Ahl al-Islam must express sorrow is that Imam al-Husayn (A) is the epitome of Islam. Naturally therefore, all the lovers of Islam would tangibly feel sorrowful when any kind of calamity befalls him.

In one of his counsels to his contemporary, Imam al-Baqir (A) describing the Ahl al-Bayt (A), says: 'And we are the places of the Divine Message, and we are the Religion...' (Al-Daylami, Irshad al-Qulub, v.2, p.418)

And in another tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (A) informs his companion Dawud: 'O Dawud, we are the prayer (al-Salat) in the Book of Allah, the Invincible and Exalted, and we are the poor rate (zakat), and we are the fast (al-Siyam), and we are the pilgrimage (al-Hajj) and we are the sacred month (al-shahr al-Haram) and we are the sacred city (al-balad al-Haram) and we are the Ka'ba of Allah and we are the qibla of Allah...' ('Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.24, p.303)

These traditions inform us that the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) were epitomes of religion. Therefore love for religion in the true sense is love for them, and vice versa.

Sh Muhammad Khalfan; The Sacred Effusion

Wisdom of Faith

If you wish your misery to end,
seek also to lose your wisdom—
the wisdom born of human illusion,
that which lacks the light
of God's overflowing grace.
The wisdom of this world increases doubt;
the wisdom of Faith releases you into the sky.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Din ast Husayn - Revival of Religion!

Sh Muhammad Khalfan
 One of the brilliant masterpieces of poetry is the famous couplet written by the Sufi saint Mu’in al-Din Chishti, which starts with “Shah ast Husayn Paadshah ast Husayn Din ast Husayn Din panah ast Husayn…” 

What is so remarkable in this poetry is the phrase “Din ast Husayn” (Husayn is Religion). All those who commemorate Imam al-Husayn (‘a)’s Divine movement, participate in the mourning sessions of Muharram, and lament for Imam al-Husayn (‘a)’s tragic martyrdom, must inculcate this important phrase in their minds and make it their yardstick for deciphering whether the gatherings truly commemorate this unparalleled and unique event in the history of mankind or not. Imam al-Husayn (‘a) represents religion in all the dimensions of human life. He is the epitome of Islam and his aim likewise was the salvation of Islam. 

If our gatherings facilitate the revival of religion within ourselves and the society at large, we must satisfactorily say that we do commemorate the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), but if they do not serve the aforesaid purpose and are reduced to gatherings for merely earning thawab (Divine Reward), we must struggle to change and render them to be a means for what al-Husayn (‘a) actually rose: Shah ast Husayn paadshah ast Husayn Din ast Husayn Din panah ast Husayn sar daad nadaad dast dar daste Yazid haqqa ke binaaye la ilah ast Husayn (Husayn in the king, the king of kings; Husayn is Religion; Husayn is the Protector of Religion; He gave his head, but not his hand to Yazid; Truly Husayn is the foundation of negating all deities other than Allah).’ 

Therefore if one majlis were to ignite our hearts to change our sinful life to that of obedience to Allah, we have really commemorated the tragic martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (‘a). If one marthiya (elegy) were to make us resolve to pray on time with concentration, establish good relations with our near ones, pay our religious dues, respect our parents, refrain from unlawful deeds and reform the situation of the afflicted ones, we truly have commemorated Husayn’s movement. If participating the majaalis (gatherings of commemoration) revive our inner selves and enable us to relinquish our tarnished past, and begin the life of taqwa, then we truly have mourned for Imam al-Husayn (‘a). Din ast Husayn, Din ast Husayn Din ast Husayn…(Husayn is Religion! Husayn in Religion! Husayn is Religion!)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Never abondon 3 things

"There is no Prophet in the heavens or on earth who does not ask Allah for permission to go to the Ziyarah of Husain. (There is always) a crowd (of Prophets) descending (to go to the Ziyarah of Husain) and a crowd ascending (back to the heavens).
(Imam As-Sadiq, as) Kamil Al-Ziyarat, p225
Never abondon 3 things
Ayatullah Sayed Murtadha Muwahhid Abtahi (ra) narrates:
When the controversy about tobacco had surfaced, some scholars from Isfahaan rose to defy the tyrannical government. Their revolt paid off and the Government had to admit defeat. Then the government officials wrote a letter in Arabic and sent it to Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) in Isfahaan, who was to deliver it to Ayatullah Mirza Mohammed Hussein Shirazi (ra) in Najaf.  
Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) went to Samarrah to deliver the letter; he met Haaj Mirza Fateh Ali Sultan Abaadi (ra). The latter is the teacher of Ayatullah Haaj Mirza Hussein Nadwi (ra) and has written the famous book 'Al Kalematut Tayyebah fil Infaaq.'

Haaj Mirza Fateh Ali Sultan Abaadi (ra) after greeting Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) declared, 'I know the purpose of your visit, it is to deliver the letter.'
Then Mirza Fateh Ali (ra) began narrating the contents of the letter which was still with Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra).

He gave a glimpse of his astonishing spiritual powers by recounting the exact text of the letter. When Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) witnessed this, he was shocked and asked Mirza Fateh Ali (ra) was some recomendation. The latter said, 'But you are yourself very spiritual.

Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) insisted and said,
'I want to acquire some teachings from you that will serve me as guidance.'
Mirza Fateh Ali (ra) replied, 'Never abondon 3 things:
1. The Salaah at the beginning of every month
2. Salaat-ul-Wahshah when you receive the news of someones demise
3. Recitation of Ziyarat-e-Ashura regularly'
After this incident, Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) used to recite Ziyarat-e-Ashura regularly; to the extent that on the day of Ashura, he used to recite this Ziyarah on behalf of each martyr, individually. He never gave up recitation of this Ziyarah.

Even if he was in some gathering (majlis) or in the mosque, he used to get busy in its recitation for this Ziyarah is nothing but the word of Allah narrated to us by the Aimmah (as).
Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) used to recite this Ziyarah with such focus that he did not like to be disturbed while reciting.

Once he was invited for a feast. There, everyone sat down to begin eating. Even Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) was seated along with other guests. But he had begun recitation of this Ziyarah and therefore did not touch the food. When he host learnt of this, he sent the food to Mirza's house.
Haaj Mirza Burujerdi's son-in-law, Mirza Mohamed Baqir (ra) (author of Faz-e-Akber) narrates, 'I witnessed that even during Sakaratul Mout, Haaj Mirza Burujerdi (ra) was engrossed in reciting this Ziyarah. When the intensity of his pain increased, he used to halt and then again resume its recitation. Till such a time that he left for the Aakhirah in that very state.'

Miracles of Ziyarat-e-Ashura