Saturday, August 19, 2017

SALAAT-AL-AYAAT

Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory on every Muslim. “Ayah” means Sign. Abnormal and unusual celestial phenomena which may generate fear among the people requires the faithful to pray special Salaat called “Salaat-al-Ayaat”. It directs the Muslims towards the Almighty Allah, who created these heavenly bodies, rain and thunder.
Salaat-al-Ayat is required to be performed at the time of Solar or Lunar Eclipses, earthquakes, severe wind storms. It is imperative to perform this salaat as soon as the abnormal phenomena starts with the intention of “Ada”. If for some reasons it could not be performed on time, then as soon as possible thereafter it should be performed with the intention of “Qaza”
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) guided the people when his son, Ibrahim died, it was a Solar Eclipse. The people speculated that because of the death of Prophet’s son, it caused Solar Eclipse. On hearing these comments, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) mounted the pulpit and said, “O People! The sun and the moon are the Signs of Allah. They run on the specified courses on His Command, and they are subservient to Him. Eclipses takes place irrespective of life or death of anyone. So, if there is a Solar or Lunar Eclipse, you offer the prayer.”
The Infallible Imam Jaffar as-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated that his father, the Infallible Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “Earthquakes, Solar and Lunar Eclipse, strong and dreadful winds, are among the Signs of the Day of Resurrection. Whenever you happen to witness them, think of the Day of Resurrection, seek refuge in the mosques, and stand in prayer.”   
Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory and should be recited during the life-time.
Methods of reciting Salaat-al-Ayaat:
1.It is two rak’a prayer like morning (Fajr) prayer. In each ra’at, there are five Roku’. After making intention (Niyyah) of offering salaat, one should say Takbir and then recite Surah al-Hamd and any other Surah and then bent into Roku’ and recite the Zikr. Thereafter, one should stand straight and recite Surah al-Hamd and any other Surah, then bent into Roku’ and recite the Zikr. Thereafter, one should stand straight and continue as stated above to complete five Roku’. One should proceed to prostrate two Sajda. After standing up, one should repeat the above procedure to perform five Roku’ and complete two sajda and finish the salaat.
2.Another way to perform the Salaat-al-Ayaat is to make intention of the salaat, say takbir then recite Surah al-Hamd. Then recite any other Surah but split in five parts. After completing one part, bent into Roku’, say the Zikr then stand up and recite other part of the Surah, bent into Roku’, say the Zikr then stand up and recite the third part and bent into Roku’. Complete the five parts of the other Surah as stated above then prostrate two sajda to complete first Rak’a. Stand up and repeat the procedure as performed in first Rak’a. Complete the second Rak’a and finish the salaat.
The prerequisites of performing regular obligatory salaat like purification, direction of Qibla and Zikr in Roku’, Qunoot, Sajda, Salaam and Tasha ‘Hud, are applicable in Salaat-al-Ayaat as well.
Salaat-al-Ayaat is obligatory whether it is partial or complete Eclipse.

Sources: Islamic Laws by Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani
               Salaat al-Ayaat by Hujjatul Islam Muhsin al-Qara’ati

               Prayer for the Signs-imamreza.net

Thursday, August 17, 2017

SAYYIDA NAFISA - THE GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER OF IMAM HASAN (A.S.)

Sayyida Nafisa was the daughter of al-Hasan al-Anwar, the son of Hazrat Zayd, son of the Infallible Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.). She is well-known for her worship, asceticism, narrating hadiths, generosity and memorization of the Glorious Qur’an. She was born in Madinah al-Munawara on 11 Rabi-ul-Awwal 145 A.H. Their house was near the house of the Infallible Imam Jaffar as-Sadiq (a.s.). She used to pray behind her father in Masjid-al-Nabawi at the age of six. She became well-known for her piety, fasting during the day and spending nights in prayers.
She was married at the age of 16 to her cousin Ishaq al-Mu’tamin, the son of the Infallible Imam Jaffar as-Sadiq (a.s.). It is said that initially, her father did not agree with the marriage, however, after a dream in which the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) ordered him to agree with the marriage, he decided to accept the request. Ishaq al-Mu’tamin was famous for his piety, knowledge and reliability in narrating hadiths. He witnessed the Infallible Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.)’s last will to his son; the Infallible Imam Ali ar-Raza (a.s.). Because of his trustworthiness, he was called “al-Mu’tamin”. They had two children named al-Qasim and Umm Kulthum.
Sayyida Nafisa along with her father, migrated to Egypt in the year 193 A.H. When the people of Egypt heard about her arrival, they flocked to welcome her. According to “Nasikh al-Tawarikh”, she received profound respect and high status while people asked her for blessings.” She was over-whelmed by the substantial number of visitors in her modest house, and, she had no time for herself to pray and supplicate, she decided to leave Egypt. When people heard about her decision to leave, they approached the governor to arrange for her residence. The governor, al-Sirri bin al-Hakam, gifted a house to her, wherein she lived for the rest of her stay in Egypt.
She was so much attached to the Glorious Qur’an, it is said that she had read the Glorious Qur’an 1900 times. It is reported that she breathed her last while reciting the Ayah 127 of Surah al-An ‘am of the Glorious Qur’an, “They will live in peace with Allah. Allah protects them as a reward for their deeds; He is their Guardian.” She had performed 7 Hajj.  Because of the fear of God, she would have tears in her eyes. She fasted most of the days and prayed at nights. She had dug-up her own grave and used to recite the Glorious Qur’an and prayed in it!
Some of the writers have expressed their thoughts about her piety, knowledge and compliance to Allah’s directives:
Yafai Yamani said, “She was a virtuous, gracious and respectable woman”
Ibn Khallakan said, “She was skilled in narrating hadiths and some of the great scholars have quoted her.”
Saleh al-Wardani said, “She shed tears for fear of God, memorized Qur’an and was familiar with its Tafsir”
Some of the great scholars were her students e.g. Mohammad bin Idris al-Shafi’i, Ahamd bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, Dhul Nun al-Misri, Bushar bin Haritha. She financially supported Muhammad Idris Shafi’I for education.
Some of her extra-ordinary acts included curing the sick, saving the Egyptians and saving the River Niles from drought, preventing a ship from sinking, helping the poor, freeing a prisoner through intercession.
She passed away on the 1st. Ramadan, 208 A.H. Her husband wanted to take her body to Madinah. The people requested him to bury her in Egypt and on receiving an order in the dream by the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), he agreed to bury her in Egypt. A mausoleum was erected on her grave and even today, it is the most visited site.


Sources: WIKISHIA, WIKIPEDIA, MOSAIC, SUNNAH.ORG

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

NAFSE MUT'MAINNAH (SERENE SOUL)

The word “Nafs” and its derivatives were used 298 times in the Glorious Qur’an. Similarly, the word “Rooh” and its derivatives were used 57 times in the Glorious Qur’an.
Marxism has defined man as an animal and the life is limited to the satisfaction of the body only and there is no life after death! Unfortunately, half of humans believes in the Marxism.
In one of the philosophical outlooks of Islam, man is composed of three parts; the Physique, the Nafs and the Rooh.
The Physique or body which is dealt with in physiology and biology. Islam agrees with its approach.
The Nafs which is the man’s personality which encompass desires, sentiments, wishes, tendencies, and genetic characteristics. Nafs differ from person to person. The Rooh transform and evolves in the direction the Nafs acts day and night. On the Day of Judgment, the Nafs will be questioned. Surah Al-Imran Ayah 185 says, “Kullu Nafsin Za’eqatul Maut”, which means, “Every soul is destined to experience the agony of death.”
The Rooh is described in Surah Al-Isra’ Ayah 85, “They ask you about Spirit (Rooh). Say, ‘The Spirit comes by the command of my Lord. You have been given very little knowledge.” The Spirit is clean and innocent and it cannot err. Rooh has always appeared in the Glorious Qur’an as a singular. What distinguishes one man from another is Nafs. To improve the Nafs, it is essential to analyze and examine the Nafs. There are seven stages of Nafs:
Nafse Ammarah (Commanding Soul). It commands man to sin. It is lower than animals. Surah Al-Yousuf Ayah 53, “all human souls are susceptible to evil except for those to whom my Lord has granted mercy.” The Gateway of Knowledge, the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “The Nafs is like a wild horse and you are riding upon him, if you move your attention for one second, he will throw you off.”
Nafse Lawwamah is the stage where if it commits a sin, its conscience criticizes the person and makes him sorry for the act. Most of the men in the world are at this stage. The Creator swears by the “Nafse Lawwamah” in Surah Al-Qiyamah Ayah 2, “and by the self-accusing soul”
Nafse Aqilah is the stage at which man thinks and reflects before any action and avoids extreme sentiments of desires.
Nafse Malhamah is the stage at which the person receives inspiration (Elham) from Allah (s.w.t.) by the development of virtuous and devotion to the Creator. Revelation or “Wahy” is the communication from Allah (s.w.t.).
Nafse Mutmainnah (Satisfied Soul) is the stage of certainty. It is the goal of life. It is the total contentment with Allah (s.w.t.). The man does not commit any sin knowingly and takes pleasure in performing virtuous deeds. Surah Al-Fajr Ayahs 27 to 30 refers, “O Serene Soul, return to your Lord well pleased with Him and He will be pleased with you. Enter among My servants into My Paradise.”
Nafse Raziyah is the state at which Nafs is satisfied with its own position.
Nafse Marziyah is the last stage at which the Nafs is a lover of the Divine. The Nafs is satisfied with itself and the Lord is also satisfied with it.
From Nafse Ammarah to Nafse Marziyyah is a long journey which needs discipline. The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Surely, Allah has characterized angels by intellect without sexual desires and anger, and animals with anger and desire without reason. He exalted man by bestowing him with all these qualities. Accordingly, if man’s reason dominates his desires and ferocity, he rises to the station above that of the angels, because this station is attained by man despite the existence of hurdles.”


Sources: The Glorious Qur’an. Islamicoccasions.com, al-islam.org, WIKIPEDIA

Monday, August 14, 2017

THE BEST CREATURES

Surah al-Bayyinah (The Testimony) is the 98th Surah of the Glorious Qur’an, revealed in Madinah. It contains 8 Ayahs. Ayah 7 defines as to who are the “Best Creatures”. Ayah 7 says, “Surely those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the best of all creatures.”
The Noble Messenger (a.s.a.p.) said, “There will be no servant who recites it at night but that Allah (s.w.t.) sends angels who protect him in his faith and his present life and that seeks forgiveness and mercy for him; and when on the day he recites it, he will be rewarded as much as what the day sheds light upon and what the night darkens.” (Majma’ al Bayan volume 10, page 521)
The rewards for the Best Creatures have been stated in Ayah 8, “Their reward with their Lord will be Gardens of eternity, beneath which rivers flow, therein dwelling forever; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him. That is for him who fears Lord and Cherisher.”  
Paradise for man’s body, is the eternal Gardens of the next world, but the Paradise for his soul is the Lord’s pleasure! Fear of his Lord Cherisher is the motivation of all obedience, piety, and righteous deeds.
There are great many narrations both from Shi’ite and Sunnite sources in which the Ayah “…they are the best creatures” is rendered to mean the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) and his followers. Hakim Haskani Neyshapuri, one of the famous Sunnite scholars in the fifth century A.H., have cited narrations with more than 20 different references in his book; Shawahid- but -Tamil:
1.Ibne Abbas says, when this Ayah was revealed, the Noble Messenger (saw’s.) told Imam Ali (ads.), “It is you and your followers who will come on the Day of Reckoning when you and your followers are well-pleased (yourselves) and well-pleasing Him and your enemy will come angrily pushed (into Hell)” (volume 2, page 357 # 1126)
2.Abu Barazah has narrated a tradition from the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) referring the above Ayah said, “They are you and your followers. O Ali! The appointment for you and I is beside Pool of Kauthar” (volume 2 page 359 # 1130)
3.Jabir ibne Abdullah Ansari narrates, “We were sitting with the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), when Imam Ali came in his presence, he said, “By the Lord of Ka’ba, this man and his followers will be triumphant on the Day of Judgment” At that time the above Ayah was revealed and from that time on, whenever the companions saw Imam Ali (a.s.) coming, they will say, “The best of all creatures next to the Messenger of Allah.” (volume 2 page 362 # 1139)
Some of these traditions were cited by Ibne Hajar-e-Makki in Sawaiq-e-Muhriqa and Muhammad Shablanji in Nur-ulu-Absar. Also, Jalal-ud-Din Suyuti in Durr-ul-Manthur. (volume 6 page 379)
4.Ibne Murduyah narrates from Imam Ali (a.s.) that the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said to him “Have you not heard the word of Allah: Surely those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are the best of all creatures? You and your followers are those and the appointment place of mine will be at the Pool of Abundance. When I come for the account of nations you will be invited while your foreheads are white”
The other Sunnite scholars who have cited the same meanings are: Khatib Kharazami in Manaqib, Abu Na’im Isphahani in Kifayat-ul-Khisam, Allam Tabard in Tabari, Ibne Shabbaq Maliki in Fusul-ul- Muhammad, Allana Shoukani in Fath-ul-Qadir, Shaykh Suleyman Qanduzi in Yanabi-ul-Muwaddah, Alois in Ruh-ul-Ma’ani and some others.
It is worth -mentioning here that the term “Shi’a” was already in use even during the life-time of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.). Also, Shi’a means followers in deeds not only by verbal repetition!

               Source: The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu Translation) (Tafsir-e-Namounah) by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Monday, July 31, 2017

A PRESTIGIOUS MAN IN THE EYES OF THE COMMANDER OF THE FAITHFUL IMAM ALI (A.S.)

The Gateway of Knowledge, the “Nafse Rasool”, the Most Truthful and Pure, the Infallible Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) had said in Nahjul Balagha, a book which is below the Divine Glorious Qur’an and above every book in the Universe. Imam Ali (a.s.), being the “Qur’an-e-Natiq” or “Speaking Qur’an”, his Golden Words are invaluable and its follower will achieve salvation in the Hereafter.
The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) has referred to one of his companions, who possessed the following qualities, hence prestigious in the Imam (a.s.)’s eyes:
“The world was humble in his eyes.
The needs of the stomach did not sway over him.
He did not long for what he did not get.
If he got a thing, he would not ask for more.
Most of his time he was silent.
If he spoke he silenced other speakers.
He quenched the thirst of questioners.
He was weak and feeble.
But at the time of fighting (for truth), he was like the lion of forest or the serpent of the valley.
He would not put forth an argument unless it was decisive.
He would not reproach anyone in an excusable matter unless he had heard the excuse.
He would not speak of any ailment except after its disappearance.
He would say what he would do, and would not say what he would not do.
Even if he could be exceeded in speaking, he could not be excelled in silence.
He was more eager to listen than to speak.
If two things confronted him, he would see which was more akin to the longing of the heart and he would oppose it. “

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) advised his followers saying, “These qualities are incumbent upon you. So, you should acquire them and excel each other in them. Even if you cannot acquire them (completely), you should know that acquiring a part is better than giving up the whole."


               Source: Nahjul Balagha

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

INSPIRATIONS FROM SURAH AL-QALAM OF THE GLORIOUS QUR'AN

Surah al-Qalam is the 68th Surah revealed in Makkah containing 52 Ayahs. The Glorious Qur’an is the last Message of Allah (s.w.t.) for the humanity at large.
About the benefits of reciting this Surah, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said, “Whoever recites this Surah will get the thawab of those who have moral nobility.”
Similarly, the Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a’s.) said, “Whoever recites this Surah in obligatory or supererogatory prayers, shall be saved from poverty and shall be secured from the pressures of the grave.”
It may be mentioned here that to attain maximum benefits of recitation of this Surah, its contents are practiced in our daily life.

Qalam or pen is the basic equipment for acquiring knowledge. Moreover, the Qalam or pen was also mentioned in Surah al-Alaq, Ayah 2 to 4, “He created man from a clot of blood. Recite! Your Lord is the most Honorable One, who, by the pen, taught the human being.”
The salient features of this Surah are as follows:
It emphasizes the excellence and nobility of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.).
It narrates the vices of the foes of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)
It describes the People of Paradise to warn the evil polytheists.
It describes some of the events of the Day of Judgment and the torments of the disbelievers.
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) is advised to exercise patience against the enemy.
Warnings against the polytheists.
It glorifies the Glorious Qur’an and warns about the conspiracies of the enemies of His Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.).

In Ayah 17 through Ayah 33, the story of the sons of a pious man is narrated relating to the harvesting of their garden. The garden was located near Sana’, the modern Yemen. The garden belonged to an old believing man, who made use of its revenues to meet his needs and gave away the rest in charity. After the demise of their father, the sons decided to deprive the needy and keep everything for themselves and their children.
When they went to sleep that night, they were afflicted by a Divine torment, such that a deadly lightening and a burning fire consumed the orchard. Next morning the sons, imagining that the fruits of their orchard were ripe and to be picked up. They whispered to each other lest the needy may hear them and ask them for some amount of fruits to quench their hunger. The needy seemingly expected some fruits every year owing to the charity of their father.
When they reached the orchard and saw the destruction, they thought they had lost their way and entered a wrong orchard. They realized that now they were the needy. Their attempt to deprive the needy led to their own deprivation from the material gains and the spiritual blessings that could have accrued from spending in the path of Allah (s.w.t.).

A general conclusion may be drawn from this story that there is an intimate relationship between committing sins and being deprived of the Divine Sustenance. The Infallible Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “Sometimes, when a man commits a sin, his sustenance is curtailed.” In the Ayah 34 and 35, the Glorious Qur’an compares the virtuous and disbelievers and reminds that they are not equal in rewards. This is an impressive way of education.
Similarly, in Ayah 44 and 45, the Omnipotent Allah (s.w.t.) is warning the disbelievers, saying, “Leave those who reject the Qur’an to Me and I shall lead them step by step to destruction, without their being aware of it. I shall give them respite; however, My plan is so strong that they will never be able to escape from it.” The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “Sometimes when rebellious people commits sins, Allah increases their gifts and they forget their sins and also forget the repentance.” Ayah 51 refers to evil eyes, “When the unbelievers listen to you reciting the Qur’an they almost try to destroy you with their piercing eyes.” It has been witnessed by many that some people have a magnetic influence in their eyes and utilize it to enforce hypnotic sleep in some patients. The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had recited this du’a for Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn, when they were young, “I give you in the protection of the Beautiful Names of Allah safety from death, harmful animals, evil eyes, jealousy.” The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Evil eye is truth and protection with supplication is also truth.”

               Source: The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu translation) by Ayatollah Nasir Makrem Shirazi (Tafsir-e-Namoona)


Monday, July 17, 2017

THE INFALLIBLE IMAM JA'FAR AS-SADIQ (A.S.) AND SCIENCE

The Infallible Successors and Progeny of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), who were the Imams of the Muslims, were given knowledge by Allah (s.w.t.). They were born with knowledge, they did not go to any school or had any teacher. The divine knowledge which was given to the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) was transferred by him to the Gateway of Knowledge, the Infallible Imam Ali (a.s.), who in turn transferred it to his elder son, the Infallible Imam Hasan (a.s.). Imam Hasan (a.s.) transferred it to his brother, the Infallible Imam Husayn (a.s.). From thenceforth, the knowledge continued to move from father to son till the last twelfth Imam Mahdi (a.s.) who is in occultation and will reappear when Allah (s.w.t.) wishes.
According to the time, environment and need, one of the Imams displayed the divine knowledge to the world. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) had the opportunity to disclose the knowledge to the world. An enemy of the Imam, Abu Shakir challenged the Imam about the existence of God. The Imam replied to him, “You do not believe in anything which cannot be perceived by five senses. Can you see the tiny living beings Allah has created in your body? They are like sand in the desert. You cannot see them with your eyes but you cannot live without them. Do see the air on which the life of plants, animals and human beings depend? Without which they will die. All scientists and scholars believe in a Creator, they may call Him by different names. When a wise man thinks about himself, he finds that his own body needs a controller so that all its organs and systems may function properly. He then realizes that this vast universe needs a controller so that it may run smoothly.    
Everything in the universe is in motion. Nothing is destroyed. Everything is subject to change. Mountains were in a liquid form and gradually it cooled down and Allah solidified it. Air is a creation of Allah, you cannot see it. He is everywhere you cannot see Him. The plants, animals and birds follow the laws made by the Creator that means they worship Him. The light which comes from the sun also worship Allah by obeying His laws. It comes into being by the combination of two opposite forces. If there was no Allah there would have been no universe.
At the age 11, the Imam refuted the theory that the sun, moon and the planets rotated around the earth. The earth, moon and the planets rotate around the sun. He also announced that earth rotated around its axis. When the astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, and directed their telescope towards the earth, they observed that it was rotating slowly on its axis.
At the age 12, he rejected the theory of four elements by Aristotle and proved that it was wrong. He said that earth is not element. It contains many elements. Each metal which is in the earth is an element. Also, there are many elements in the air which are essential for breathing.
About the origin of universe, the Imam said, “The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. In this way matter came into being.” About the human body, he said, “Whatever is in the earth is in the human body. It has four elements in large quantity and eight elements in small quantity and eight elements in minute quantity.” The Imam also discovered the oxygen in the air and his father Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) also discovered hydrogen in water. The Imam’s great contribution to the theory of light was that he said, “Light reflected by different objects comes to us, but only a part of the rays enters our eyes. That is the reason why we do not see distant objects clearly.” About the transfer of disease by rays, the Imam said, “Patients suffering from certain diseases emits special types of rays. If these fall upon healthy person, they are apt to make him sick.” The Imam said about a unique theory of “Anti-Matter”, “Everything, except Allah, has its opposites.” In the Anti-Matter, the electrons are positively charged and protons are negatively charged. Scientists have now concluded that if one kilo gram of matter collides with one kilo gram of anti-matter, so much energy will be released that the entire world would be destroyed. About pollution of environment, the Imam said, “We should not pollute our environment otherwise it would become impossible to live on earth.”
Lastly, the Imam advised mothers that they should put their new born babies to sleep on their left side.” Doctors at the Research Institute of Cornell University observed that the babies who are put to sleep on the left side of their mother’s sleep more soundly and peacefully but those who are put on the right side, wake up every now and then and cry.


               Source: The Superman in Islam – A thesis published by the Research Committee of Strasbourg, France