Friday, January 6, 2017

SACRIFICE BY THE COMMANDER OF THE FAITHFUL IMAM ALI (A.S.)

Although, the Ahlal Bayt (a.s.) were the creatures of light in human attire and enjoyed a supreme status with Allah (s.w.t.) but in the face of physical demands of hunger and thirst, they sacrificed themselves for the Allah's creations.
Surah al-Hashr Ayah 9 states, “Those who established a community center and embraced the faith before the arrival of the immigrants love those who have come to their town. They are not jealous of what is given to the immigrants. They give preference to them over themselves – even concerning the things that they themselves urgently need. Whoever controls his greed will have everlasting happiness.”
The commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) lived a life entirely and completely for the love of Allah and His Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.); from his unique birth in sacred House of Allah-Kaaba to the last of his apparent life in the House of Allah; the Mosque of Ku'fa. He (a.s.) was the “Nafse Rasool” as Allah addressed His Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s) in Surah al-An'am Ayah 162, “(Muhammad), say, “My prayer, sacrifice, life, and death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Universe.”
Once Imam Ali (a.s.) asked for food from the Lady of Paradise, Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.). She (s.a.) replied that there was nothing in the house for eating. Imam Ali (a.s.) borrowed a dinar from someone and went towards the market to buy some food. The Imam (a.s.) met Meghdad, exhausted, and looked very weak from his face. When asked by Imam Ali (a.s.) about his welfare, Meghdad expressed gratitude to Allah for His Grace for him and when pressed further Meghdad said that there was nothing at all at home for his family and children to eat, and himself hungry. Imam Ali (a.s.) said that the same situation had brought him out of his house and gave away the borrowed dinar to him to take some food for himself, his family and children. When Imam Ali (a.s.) returned home empty-handed, he found that some heavenly being having delivered some delicious food for Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.) Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husayn (a.s.) and for himself. This was one of the many occasions when the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) were provided by Allah with some heavenly food.
Abdullah ibne Masood says that once after the night prayers he and some others were seated in the mosque along with the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) when a man got up and the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said:
O' man, do not call yourself as poor, for there are four things which are really poor ones in the world”
The mosque in the midst of the people who do not pray in it.
The Glorious Qur'an in the house, the inmates of which do not recite it.
The scholar in the midst of the people who do not resort to him to get benefited by his learning.
The Believer (Muslim) who is a helpless captive in the hands of the disbelievers.
Then he (s.a.w.a.s.) turned to his companions and asked “who among you would take this brother of yours and feed him.” The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) brought the man to his abode and asked the Lady of Paradise, Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.) if there was any food. She (s.a.) replied that the quantity at home was hardly sufficient for one soul. The food was served but if Imam Ali (a.s.) takes part into it, it would not be sufficient for the guest and if he did not take part, it would be against the etiquette. Imam Ali (a.s.) extinguished the lamp and gave it to her to delay in relighting until the guest finished eating. In the dark the guest ate the food and Imam Ali (a.s.) sat with him, moving his mouth as if he was also taking part in the eating. When the guest had finished eating, the lamp came relighted and the food was there as it was. Imam Ali (a.s.) asked the man why he did not have the food, the man said that he had his fill. After the guest had left, the “Panjetan” ate of the food and even when they were fully satisfied, the food remained the same in quantity which was given away to the poor. This is one of the many instances of the miraculous happenings with these Godly ones. When Imam Ali (a.s.) returned to the mosque, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) informed Imam Ali (a.s.) of what happened at the house saying that Gabriel informed him of the event in all the details and conveyed the above-mentioned Ayah 9 of Surah al-Hashr.

Sources: The Glorious Qur'an translation in Urdu by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi
The Glorious Qur'an translation in English by S.V.Mir Ahmed Ali & Ayatollah H.M.M.Pooya




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

SADAQA REMOVES EVIL, SICKNESS, DISASTER, AND UNFORTUNATE INCIDENCES

There are numerous stories related to the fact that when people gave sadaqa, they were relieved of many kinds of misfortunes.
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had said, as quoted in Bihar ul-Anwar (v 62 page 269), “Allah says that when the angel of death is asked to remove the soul of a person, and if he or she gives sadaqa, Allah orders the angel of death to stop.”
Similarly, the Infallible Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, as quoted in Bihar ul-Anwar, “A Sadaqa given openly, prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a Sadaqa given secretly cools of the anger of Allah. Sadaqa shields us from seventy evils of this world, including ill-fated death.”
When we give charity, Allah in His Infinite Mercy changes our fate as stated in Surah ar-Ra'ad Ayah 39, “Allah removes what He wishes and establishes what He wishes, for He has Mother of Books.”
If charity is given in the name of the Imam Zamana and the Infallible Imam Husayn (a.s.) and request them for help, the sickness may be cured and other duas are responded.
In a book named “Jazaa al-Amal” on page 37, Shaikh Ahmad Mujtahidi described that there was a disease in the grape gardens of a village Shahryar in Iran which caused extensive damage. A man, who used to give zakat and other charity, was fortunate that his garden was safe.
Once, a business man was on the death bed and his family was very upset and crying. The man asked his family to give what ever was in the storage room as charity which resulted in his recovery and a long life of 130 years!
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said, (Najafiat page 117), “Cure your sickness with charity.”
Allama Hilli reports that once the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) passed by a Jew who was chopping wood. On seeing the Jew, he (s.a.w.a.s.) said that the Jew would be bitten by a snake and will die. In the evening, people saw that the Jew was still alive. He (s.a.w.a.s.) asked the Jew to be brought in his presence. The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) asked him to open the bundle of chopped wood and out popped a snake. He (s.a.w.a.s.) asked the Jew as to what act did he do on that day. The Jew replied that while he was eating his food a beggar came and asked for some food and he without hesitation gave him one of the two breads he had. The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said that the Jew was destined to die but the charity saved him. The Jew became Muslim.
Shaheed Hassan Shirazi narrated on page 202 in his book “Kalimatullah” that Prophet Yaqub was visited by a beggar on a Friday night, he had heard the beggar but did not feed him. Allah put him to a test to make him realize the importance of charity and Prophet Yousuf was separated from him for a long time.
In the book “Liaalil Akhbaar” page 82, it is reported that the Infallible Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said that Prophet I'sa was told that a certain girl was getting married. When they mentioned her name, he said that she was going to die on her wedding night.
The morning after the wedding they found that the bride was still alive. Prophet I'sa wanted to see the bride and asked her if she had done any good act on the wedding night.
The bride replied that there was a beggar who used to beg on every Friday night. On the wedding night, which was a Friday night, he came and beg as usual and because nobody bothered with him, she got up and went to give him some charity. Prophet I'sa asked her to look at a pile of clothes which lay in her room. When the bride tried to look beneath the pile of clothes she found a scorpion. Prophet I'sa remarked that due to the good act, she had been saved from death.


Source: The Beauty of Charity by Ahmad Ali Al-Kuwaity

Monday, January 2, 2017

THE GLORIOUS QUR'AN

The Gateway of Knowledge, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) had said about the Last Message of Allah (s.w.t.) as follows:

Then God revealed to him (the Prophet) the Book. It is a light whose radiance shall not be extinguished; a lamp whose flame shall not die; an ocean whose depths shall not be fathomed; a path which shall not lead astray; a blaze whose brilliance shall not be darkened; a criterion whose evidence shall not be suppressed; an elucidation whose cornerstones shall not be demolished; a cure with which there is no fear of ailments; a power whose supporters cannot be defeated; a truth whose helpers cannot be forsaken. Thus, it is a source of faith and its prosperity; it is the fountainhead of knowledge and its vastness; the meadow of justice and its flowing streams; the support of Islam and its foundation; the valleys of the truth and its fields; an ocean that shall not be drained by those who draw upon it; a spring that shall not be exhausted by those who draw upon it; a watering place that shall not be depleted by those who come to it; a station whose road travelers do not miss; a signpost which the wayfarers always see; the hilltops that cannot be bypassed by those who seek them. God has made it the quencher of the thirst of scholars; a vernal season for the hearts of the jurists, a destination for the path of righteous, a cure after which there is no malady, a light which does not alternate with darkness, a rope whose knots are firm, a stronghold whose peak is impregnable. It is (a source of ) power for whoever cultivates it, peace for whoever dwells on it, a guidance for whoever follows it, a laudable act for whoever embraces it, an argument for whoever speaks for it, a witness for whoever fights for it, a sharp instrument for whoever bases his argument on it, a support for whoever supports it, a means of deliverance for whoever employs it, a sign for the discriminating, a shelter for whoever seeks healing, a source of knowledge for whoever has sense, and the best narrative for its transmitters, and a means for the one who sits in judgment.

Source:

Nahjul Balagha, compiled by al-Sharif al-Radi Mohammad bin al-Husyn commentary by Muhammad Abdul, ed. Abd al Aziz Sayyid (Beirut: Dar ul-Andalus 1963) vol. 3 page 390-92



Friday, December 30, 2016

EXCEPTIONAL AND UNBELIEVABLE SELF CONTROL

What is self-control? It is the ability to sub-due our emotions and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses in order to achieve longer term goals.
What is anger? It is an emotion that involves an uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat.
Normally, it is difficult to control our anger and we spontaneously respond to the situation and react in an unthoughtful way which results in physical or emotional damage to the person causing the anger.
The Quraysh had gathered more than ten thousand warriors to attack Madinah and obliterate Islam once and for all. One of the companions of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), Salman Farsi (later named as Muhammadi), advised him to arrange to dig a trench around the city of Madinah. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.) agreed and a trench was dig out to ward off any attack from the infidels.
The famous Egyptian writer Muhammad Husayn Haykal described the events as follows:
Although the campaign was organized by Abu Sufyan but the fighting man of his army was Amr ibn Abd Wudd.
It is reported by the historians that he was more than a match for one thousand cavaliers.
The attacking army laid a siege of Madinah and all exit routes were closed. One day Amr and three other infidels succeeded in clearing the trench and entered the premises of Madina. He advanced into the Muslim camp and challenged the heroes of Islam to come out and fight with him. There was no answer form the Muslim camp. The idolaters saw in him their hope of victory, the Muslims saw in his challenge the sentence of their death!
Surah al-Ah'zab Ayah 10 describes their condition as , “Behold!They came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped to the throats, and you imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah.”
Amr ibn Abdu Wudd expressed amazement that the Muslims were not showing any eagerness to enter Paradise where he was ready to send them! It is true that most of the Muslims were terror stricken but there was one among them who was not. He had, in fact , volunteered to accept Amr's very first challenge but the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had restrained him, hoping that someone else might like to face him (Amr). But he could see that no one dared to measure swords with him.
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had no choice but to allow his cousin, Ali, the Lion of Allah, to go and silence the taunts of Amr ibn Abdu Wudd. He (s.a.w.a.s.) gave Ali his own battle dress and Zulfiqar and prayed to Allah as, “O Allah! You have called to your service Obaida bin Harris in Badr, and Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib in Uhad. Now Ali alone is left with me. Be his protector, give him victory, and bring him back safely to me.” When Ali was going towards his adversary, he said, “He (Ali) is the embodiment of all Faith who is going to an encounter with the embodiment of all Unbelief.”The Battle is not being described here in detail but only a part which relates to the Most Bravest Man in human history and his enormous, unbelievable exhibition of his supreme self-control!Amr struck a mighty blow with his ponderous sword which cut through the shield, the helmet and the turban of Ali, and made a deep gash in his forehead. Blood leap out from the wound in a jet but Ali was not dismayed. He rallied, and then struck a counter-blow with the famous Zulfiqar, and it cleft the most formidable warrior of Arabia into two!”
However, Charles Cameron, a former researcher at Boston University, describes the duel with Amr ibn Abdu Wudd as, “Amr hammered blows on Ali's shield and clashed with his sword . Ali dropped his sword and shield to the ground; he leap to grab Amr's throat, and kicked him out of balance. Amr crashed to the ground, with Ali now towering over him. Amr spat over Ali's face, fully expecting death. Ali rose calmly from Amr's chest and stood a few paces away and said, “I only kill in the way of Allah and not for my private motive. Since you spat on my face , my killing you now may be from a desire for personal vengeance. So I spare your life. But Amr lunged at Ali who had enough time to prepare for a fresh assault. Amr's devastating blow shattered Ali's shield, inflicting a shallow cut on Ali's temple. As the second blow blow rose Ali's Zulfiqar decapitated Amr.”

Sources: Psychology today, WIKIPEDIA, Restatement of History of Islam and Muslims by S. Ali Asghar Razvi
Fourteen Stars by Allama Sayyid Najm-ul-Hasan Kararvi


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

SHAYTAN - THE ARCH ENEMY OF MANKIND

When Allah created Adam and asked the angels to prostrate to him, every one complied except Shaytan (Iblis). Allah expelled him but on his request allowed him a determined time. Shaytan's enmity with Adam and his progeny started from that time. He vowed to distract them all from the right path.
Shaytan's strategy is to first obstruct man in his virtuous deeds. If the man is not trapped in the devil designs, he will next try to influence his intention. For example, if a man wants to give charity, Shaytan will scare him of poverty but if still he gave charity, he will encourage the man to openly remind the person about it so that the person will not get any thawab for the charity.
Is'te'aza is seeking protection from Allah against Shaytan. The verbal portion is by saying “Auzu Billahe Minashshaytanir Rajeem” translated as “I seek protection from Allah against Shaytan, the banished one”
Hence, one should recite “Is'te'aza” before performing any virtuous even recommended deeds.
Even the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) was asked by Allah to recite the Du'a as stated in Surah al-Mu'minun Ayah 97 and 98, “Say, 'Lord, I seek your protection against the strong promptings of the devils (Shaytan). I seek your protection should they approach me.'”
According to the traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), protection from Shaytan is specially recommended on three occasions; in the company of a strange woman, while one is angry, and at the time of dispensing justice.
We cannot see Shaytan but he sees us as stated in Surah al-A'raf Ayah 27, “Children of Adam, do not let Shaytan seduce you , as he caused your parents to be expelled from the garden (Paradise) . Shaytan and those like him see you but you do not see them.”
Shaytan does not force man to commit sins, he misguides and lures man towards the evil. If a man is pious, he will return to Allah and seek His protection and is saved from Satanic actions. But if the man is not pious, he will be trapped in Shaytan's network. Man is independent in his decision for any action and answerable on the Day of Judgment. Surah Ibrahim Ayah 22 says, “When the decree of Allah is issued, Shaytan will say, “Allah's promise to you was true, but I, too, made a promise to you and disregarded it. I had no authority over you. I just called you and you answered. Do not blame me but blame yourselves.”
It is Allah's justice that if He had given Shaytan access to the mankind then He has kept the door of repentance open for the mankind. According to a tradition of Behar-ul-Anwar volume 3, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had said, “Whoever repents one year before his death, Allah will forgive him. Then he said, “If he repents even one month before death he will be forgiven.” He said further, “If he repents one day before his death he is forgiven.” Lastly, he said, “Even one day is too much, if repents before seeing the death, Barzaq and the angel of death, he will be forgiven.” The Mercy and Forgiveness of Almighty Allah may be realized!
Shaytan's only purpose is to deprive mankind from faith on Allah and the Day of Judgment or at least he may not perform any virtue and continue in doing prohibited and bad deeds.
Protection (Is'te'aza) should not be only on our tongue but it should be from the depth of our souls. If we only recite Is'te'aza by tongue and continue to disobey Allah, it has no effect.
Seeking protection from Allah against Shaytan (Is'te'aza) may have three situations; one may recite 'Auzu Billahe Miashshaytanir Rajeem' without knowing its meanings and also not from the bottom of ones soul; next, one may know the meaning but without effecting the soul, which may be evident from the Shaytani acts; lastly one knows the meaning of Is'te'aza recited from the bottom of his heart and being fully aware of the Might and Exaltation of Allah. This is the true Is'te'aza.

Source: 
The Glorious Qur'an
 Is'te'aza by Ayatollah Syed Abdul Husain Dasteghaib


SOCIAL EVIL - PRIDE

Pride (Kibr) is the off-shoot of Ujb. When a person perceives a merit in himself and is overcome by a sense of pleasure, exultation and vanity, that state is called Ujb. Pride is the name of a psychic state in which a person feels a sense of superiority and behaves highhandedly with others.
The sense of pride or “Takabbur” may be for good attributes or even sinful behavior; for true faith or invalid faith, good qualities or praiseworthy attributes, righteous or sinful deeds.

Some of the Ayahs of the Glorious Qur'an are given below:
Surah al-Baqarah Ayah 34, “When We told the angels to prostrate before Adam, they all obeyed except Iblis, who abstained out of arrogance, and so he became one of those who deny the truth.” Surah al-A'raf Ayah 13, “The Lord ordered Shaytan to get out of the garden saying, “This is no place for you to be proud. Get out of this place, for you are worthless.”
Surah-al-Nahl Ayah23, “Allah certainly knows whatever you conceal or reveal. He does not love the proud ones.” Surah al-A'raf Ayah 146, “We will deprive those who are wrongly proud in the land of the blessing of revelations.” Surah Luqman Ayah 18,, “Do not show people that you are an inferior person. Do not walk around puffed-up with pride.” Surah al-Gha'fir Ayah 35 and Ayah 76, “Thus Allah cause to go astray the skeptical , transgressing people, those who dispute the revelations of Allah without having received clear authority. This act greatly angers Allah and the believers. Thus Allah seals the hearts of every arrogant oppressor.” “Enter the gates of Hell to live there in forever How terrible is the dwelling of the arrogant ones.” Surah al-Nisa Ayah 36, “Worship Allah and consider no one equal to Him. Be kind to your parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, your near and distant neighbors, your companions, wayfarers, and your slaves. Allah does not love the proud and boastful ones.” Surah al-Ah'qaf Ayah 20, “On this day you will suffer a humiliating torment for your unreasonably arrogant manners on earth and for the evil deeds which you have committed.” Surah al-Zumar Ayah 60, “On the Day of Judgment you will see the faces of those who had invented falsehood against Allah blackened. Is not Hell the dwelling of the arrogant ones.”

The Infallible imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “There is no person who does not have a harness on his head, and an angel who attends to it. Whenever he is proud, the angel says, 'Be humble, lest God should disgrace you. Thus he is the greatest of human beings in his own eyes, whereas in other people's eyes he is the smallest of creatures. When he is humble and modest, God removes the harness from his head and the angel says to him, 'Elevate yourself, as God Almighty is elevating you'. Thus he is the smallest of persons in his own eyes, while the most elevated and exalted in the eyes of others.” (Al-Kafi volume 3 page 424)
He (a.s.) further said, “Refrain from pride and self-glorification, since pride is God Almighty's mantle, and one who contests with God regarding His cloak, God will shatter him and disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection.”
(Al-Kafi volume 3 page 424)

Sources used:

The Glorious Qur'an, Al-Kafi by Muhammad Yaqoob Kulayni


Sunday, December 18, 2016

MANNER AND MORALS OF THE NOBLE MESSENGER (S.A.W.A.S.)

The Creator Himself has praised His Prophet by saying in Surah al-Qalam Ayah 4, “And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.” The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) established his unparalleled moral character before inviting the infidels of Makkah to Islam when they gave him the titles of “Siddique” (Truthful) and “Ameen” (Trustworthy). Manner and morals were the most important factors of his popularity and influence.
His morals reflects the Ayahs of the Glorious Qur'an, some of which may be reproduced below:
Surah al-A'raf Ayah 199, “Have forgiveness, preach the truth, and keep away from the ignorant ones.”Surah al-Nahl Ayah 90, “Allah commands to maintain justice, kindness and proper relations with the relatives...”
Surah al-Nahl Ayah 127, “Exercise patience and let it be for the cause of Allah...”
Surah Luqman Ayah 17, “....and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage.”
Surah al-Shu'ra Ayah 43, “And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are actions due to courage.”
Surah al-Ma'idah Ayah 13, “...so pardon them and turn away; surely Allah loves those who do good (to others)”
Surah al-Nur Ayah 22, “Be considerate and forgiving. Do you not Allah to forgive you?”
Surah al-Fusssilat Ayah 34, “Repel (evil) with what is best, you will certainly find that your enemies will become your intimate friends.”
Surah Al Imran Ayah 134, “....and who also harness their anger and forgive the people.”
Surah al-Hujurat Ayah 12, “...and avoid most of suspicion, for surely in some cases suspicion is sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others.”

He (s.a.w.a.s.) was the most generous, brave, truthful, loyal, kind and social person. Whoever encountered him initially was influenced by his awe and after meeting him became fond him.
The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “He (s.a.w.a.s.) was always cheerful, good-natured and soft spoken, he was never nasty, never disappointed anyone. He had purified himself from three things; vain acts, extravagance, and argumentation. He spoke only when it entailed gaining heavenly rewards.”
He was extremely humble and kind, treated all Muslims equally, respected all and expressed his love for them. He was present in funeral ceremonies and saluted children first. He visited the poor to show his support and interacted with underprivileged and even accepted invitation of slaves. When he entered in an assembly, he would sit at the last row. Abu Zarr said that when he used to sit with his companion it would be difficult to identify him as he did not sit at a conspicuous place.
If he did not see a companion for three days, he would inquire about his well being. The Infallible Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “The Messenger of Allah distributed his attention equally to all his companions and looked at them for equal duration of time.”
He was extremely kind and friendly to his wives and helped them in the family chores. Anas was his servant and he said that the Prophet never said:why did you do this? Or why you did not do that.
His life style was simple. He distributed equitably the funds from public treasury. His and his relative's share was never more than others. Ibn Abbas says: Some times many days and nights passed on the Prophet and his family when they did not have any food.

Source: Prophet hood and the Prophet of Islam by Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini