'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, 31 May 2012

Ethics and Practice by Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli

Question: We students do not have access to educationalists of ethical values, what should we do to learn ethics?

Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli: The study of ethics carries a segment of theoretical subjects which can be accomplished by studying, conducting catechization and dialogue sessions, whereas the other segment consists of practical learning which requires guidance and instructions of a mentor. 

If a person acts upon his knowledge, first of all his deeds surface the positive outcome and then afterwards, Allah will open for him new horizons of learning he never knew before. 

It has been narrated that: 
مَنْ عَمِلَ بِما عَلِمَ وَرّثهُ اللّه عِلْمَ ما لَمْ يَعْلَمْ 
“The one who practices what he learns Allah will grant him with learning that he didn’t know.” 

Learning when with practice provides durability and prosperity to knowledge

A man is successful if he tries to fulfill obligations, tries to perform the recommended as much as possible, refrain from the forbidden, tries to keep away from the non-recommended and abstain from going extremes.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ayatullah Bahjat and his Spiritual Status through the Shari'ah

Our condolences to the Imam of our time (aj), to you all and to the Muslim Nation on the 3rd death anniversary of this effulgent 'Aalim/'Aarif who left this material world on 17th May 2009

One of the important characteristics whereby Sheikh Bahjat was distinguished and which can be witnessed at the first look was his special care for observing the norms of conduct according to the Shari'a (Islamic legislative system) and the tradition of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them. 

Sheikh Misbah says the following in this regard, "Shiite scholars of etiquette, all of them save those who are deviated in their way of thinking and conduct, agree that the right path to perfection is the path of adoration, that man cannot reach any moral station via obedience to Allah, the most Exalted and Great, and acting upon His commandments. But the attention paid by the scholars to observing the Shari'a etiquettes and the tradition of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them, is not equal. Sheikh Bahjat was regarded as one of the most distinguished [theologians] for observing these norms. He observed in his conduct particularly interesting behavioral habits which cannot be easily described. 

I am going to mention this incident which I remember, perhaps it will remain in history so those who wish to act upon the commandments of the Shari'a may get to know to what extent one must observe the commandments of the Shari'a:
"The Sheikh inherited from his father a small plot of land suitable for planting rice. It was financing some of his domestic expenses. The Sheikh was used to give a measure of rice, though it could be a few kilo grams of it, to his friends and neighbors when they brought the crop to his house. Once, I left Qum city for some time during the days of struggle. Nobody knew anything about my place of residence, not even our close relatives. During that period, the Sheikh had sent to our house a sack of rice once and a good sum of money some other time. What was noticeable is that he sent us the money in the hand of his wife and son Ali. His wife brought the money and gave it to my wife as his son, Ali, was standing before the alley.

"When I returned home, I kept thinking about the secret that prompted the Sheikh to send his wife to our house, but I soon realized that this was one of the etiquettes of the Islamic Shari'a. According to Islamic ethics, if the husband is traveling, nobody should go to his house. If it is necessary to go to his house, a woman has to go. 

"There are minutely interesting statements articulated by the friends of Allah, their conducts, the way they stood up or sat down, which cannot be comprehended except through the study of a complete branch of knowledge, let alone undertaking them and acting upon them. These maters are the ones that raise the servant in his adoration and endear him to his Lord, granting him a lofty status. The Sheikh used to advise anyone seeking his advice to observe what is taken for granted by the Shari'a. He always emphasized observing what the Shari'a regards as taken for granted, believing that the matters where doubt is entertained or confusing matters fall in the second degree of importance.
"The Sheikh derived useful evidence in this field which I learned from him and which I sometimes used in my sermons and in other places. He says that Allah Almighty wants to guide His servants to perfection; therefore, He quite often mentions the things which have the greatest impact on man's happiness and on determining his fate. So, if we want to know the matters that cause man's happiness, we have to know the matters which Allah, Praise and Exaltation belong to Him, emphasizes more than others. This is so because any pursuit more stressed in the Qur'an, traditions and statements of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them, will have a role in perfecting man and determining his fate in a greater way. Observing the prayers is one of the most important of these matters because we may not find in any chapter of fiqh the like of all these Qur'anic verses which call for upholding the prayers and all these narratives which are cited about observing its timing, etiquette and the necessity of performing them with full attention of the heart.

Sometimes the Sheikh used to say the following by way of jesting: "We look for something for our own perfection which neither Allah nor His Messenger nor any Imam has sanctioned."
 Ayatullah Sheikh Jawad al-Karbalaai says the following in this regard: 
"Ayatullah Bahjat used to say this to me in a special tone: 'Whenever you get to know what the Shari'a holds as taken for granted, such as abandoning sins, observing what is obligatory and what is highly commendable, the recitation of the Qur'an during solitude, earning the qualifications of health, the acceptance of your adoration and its inclusion of secrets such as prayers and other rituals, so you may get to know their results…, do not come to me to ask me instructions leading you to the right conduct and to the path to Allah Almighty, as though a mentor from the unknown comes to you and guides you to the path! Are these matters that are taken for granted and are issued by the most pure Shari'a not sufficient for you to act upon as they should be acted upon so you may reach the anticipated goal?' I came to know from the statement of the mentor that one who is seeking the path must safeguard the manifestations of the holy Shari'a, must keep things to himself with regard to spiritual conditions and not manifest them except to those who are worthy of them, and the latter are indeed few. The mentor also said this to me when I was studying ethics in Qum city: "Tell the scholars issues which they understand and do not tell them things over their level of comprehension."

Mahmoud al-Badri; Uswat al-'Aarifin; tr by Yasin T al-Jibouri

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bowing in front of the World Arrogance

Sh Muhammad Khalfan

To keep abreast with the contemporary history of the world may seem to be insignificant for some: what can I do, for example, if others are dying of starvation in Afghanistan? I have no means to attend to them and thus it makes no difference whether I know about their awful state or not.

Clearly, such thinking stems from a narrow outlook. The human being enjoys a disposition that yearns for the salvation of every other human being. Therefore indifference is an alien concept to his nature. ‘Not being able to help the oppressed’ does not necessitate indifference on our part.

Firstly, our natural conscience would like to know the situation of those of our brethren who are suffering throughout the world.

Secondly, if we are materially unable, Almighty Allah has opened the door of prayer for us. Through prayers for the destitute, things can really change.

Thirdly, there are so many things that we can do together to crush the power of the world arrogance, but we do not realize the same. Our businessmen who import goods from countries like Israel and buy them at relatively low costs, can stop such transactions, so that they may not indirectly take part in killing the innocent Palestinians. Many of us indirectly promote the commodities that the world arrogance produces. If we were to boycott such products, these groups would never be as materially prosperous as they are. Today, if the Arab leaders were to wake up and stop bowing in front of the world arrogance, a great transformation can take place.