Monday, April 20, 2015

THE SEVENTH MONTH OF THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR - RAJAB AL-MURAJJAB

Rajab is the seventh of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. It is one of the four months in which even pagans did not engage in war fare. It is the month of supplications and seeking repentance. There are many Dua’as; some of them are for specific dates and others may be recited any day of the month. Following are the important dates:
Rajab 1st                               Birth Day of the Infallible Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.)
Rajab 3rd                              Martyrdom of the Infallible Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.)
Rajab 5th                               Birth Day of the Infallible Imam Ali al-Naqi (a.s.)
Rajab 9th                               Birth Day of the son (Ali al-Asghar) of the King of Martyrs
Rajab 10th                            Birth Day of the Infallible Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.)
Rajab 13th                            Birth Day of the Infallible Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) inside Sacred                                                  Ka’ba
Rajab 20th                            Birth Day of the daughter of the King of Martyrs Sayyida Sakina (a.s.)
Rajab 22nd                            Nazar of the Infallible Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) – Koonday
Rajab 25th                            Martyrdom of the Infallible Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.)
Rajab 27th                            Ascension-Mairaj night
Rajab 28th                            Journey of the King of Martyrs the Infallible Imam Husayn (a.s.) towards Karbala
According to the Traditions, the following supplications and Dua’as are recommended:
Whosoever fasts (even one day) during the month of Rajab, gets Allah’s pleasure.
Ask forgiveness and turn repentant to Allah as much as you can. There is big reward for Sadaqa and charity in this month.  Repeat “La Ilaha Illallah” 1,000 times. Repeat “Astaghfirullaha  Zul Jalale Wal Ikram Min Jamee al Zunoobe Wal Aathaam” 1,000 times. Repeat 1,000 times to get the rewards of 1,000 angels and blessings on the recite, his family and neighbors.
Hazrat Salman-e-Muhammadi narrates that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “O Salman, whoever recites 10 rakat salat on the first day of Rajab, 15th day of Rajab and the last day of Rajab and in each rakat recite Surah al-Fateha once, Surah Iqlas three times, and Surah Kafiroon three times and after Salaam read the supplications (Arabic version may be seen in Mafatih-al-Jinan of Shaykh Qummi) on each of the three days, and pray for his needs, your supplication will be accepted and will create 70 trenches between you and the Hell-Fire, the distance between each trench will be like it is between Heaven and Earth, and will be written for you freedom from Hell-Fire and from crossing the Bridge on Siraat.”
Amal –e-Umme Daood is performed on the 15th Rajab. One should fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Rajab which are called the “Ayyam al-Bayz”
Aa’maal of 1st Rajab: Keep fast on this day, take a shower, wear new clothes, recite Ziayrat-e-Imam Husayn (a.s.), and read the “Namaz of Salman Muhammadi” as stated above.
Aa’maal of the night of 7th Rajab: The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “If a person recites 4 raka’at namaz such that after Surah al-Hamd recites Surah al-Tawheed three times, and recites Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Naas once. After finishing namaz, recites Salawaat and 10 times Tasbeehat-e-Arba’a. Allah will offer him shelter under the Arsh and give him the reward of fasting one month of Ramazaan. The angels will pray for his forgiveness till he completes the namaz. Allah will ease the pangs of death on him and save him from the squeeze in the grave. He will not die unless he sees his place in the Paradise and will be safe from the hardships of Qiyamat.
A’amaal of the 15th night (night between 14 and 15) of Rajab: Take a shower and spend the night in Ibadah. Recite Ziarat-e-Imam Husayn (a.s.). Dau’d bin Sarhan reported from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) that 12 raka’at namaz be performed and after finishing the namaz, recite 4 times: Surah al-Hamd, Surah al-Falaq, Surah al-Naas, Surah Ikhlas, and Ayatal Kursi.
Aa’maal for Lailatul Raghaib-the first Thursday of Rajab, and a’amaal for 26 and 27 of Rajab may be seen in any of the following books or web-sites:

Mafatih al-Jinan, Sibtayn International Foundation, Islamic occasion, Jafarianews, and Ziaraat.com

Saturday, April 18, 2015

AL-HARITH AL-HAMADANI (R.A.) - A COMPANION OF IMAM ALI (A.S.)

Harith al-Hamadani was one of the companions of the Commander of the Faithful, the Conqueror of Khyber, the successor of the Chief of Prophets, Muhammad-e-Mustafa (s.a.w.a.s.), Imam Ali (a.s.). Harith came in the presence of Imam Ali (a.s.). After usual salutations, Harith said: “There are those who have gone to the extreme in their passionate love for you, and there are those who are yours in moderation, and those who waver in doubt.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) replied: “Suffice it for you, O brother (from) Hamadan! Be it known that my best followers are the people who are united in the middle path. To them should the extremists return, and with them should the hesitant join.” Then Harith said: “My father and mother be your ransom, could you further clarify to remove filth from our hearts.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) replied: “That is enough for you. Surely, the religion of Allah is recognized by the Truth. Truth is the best and sublime narration. Be it known that I am a slave of Allah, the brother of His Messenger and His first Confirmer. I confirmed His Truth when Adam lay between the spirit and the body! Then I am His first Confirmer of Truth among you people. We are the first and we are the last. And we are his special ones with distinction, and we are his sincere ones. And I am his cousin, and his successor, and his trustee and possessor of his confidence and secrets. I have been given the understanding of the Book, (blessed with) sound judgment and decision, and the knowledge about the generations and the relations.
And am entrusted with a thousand keys, each key opens a thousand chapters, each chapter breaks into a thousand testaments. And in addition, I am supported and especially chosen and helped by the Night of Qadr, and that continues for me and my descendants who guard against sins, for as long as the days and the nights subsists, till such time when Allah shall inherit the earth and all who are upon it. I give you glad tidings, O Harith, you shall recognize me at the time of death, and at the Bridge, and at the Pool, and at the time of Division.”
Harith said: “O my master, what is the time of Division?”Division is at the Hell-Fire, when I will make a correct separation. I shall say: This is my friend, so leave him; this is my adversary, so take him.
Then the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) took (Harith) by hand and said: “I hold your hand the way the (Noble) Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.), held my hand and said (when I complained to him about the envious Quraish and the hypocrites)’ Surely, on the Day of Judgment, I shall hold the rope of Allah and cling to His safeguard, and you O Ali, shall hold fast to my safeguard, and your descendants shall cling to your safeguard , and your Shias shall hold fast to the safeguard of all of you. ‘So what will Allah do to His Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.)? And what will the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) do to his successor? (The same shall we do to our followers). Take this, O Harith, the summary of all the details. Yes, you shall be with the one you love, and for you shall be what you have earned.” He said this three times.”
The Harith stood up, pulling his cloak behind him, and saying: “After this, I care not when death meets me or I meet it.” 

Condensed from:

                Al-Amali                                                                           By Shaikh al-Mufid (R.A.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

INFALLIBILITY OF THE PROPHETS AND THE PURE IMAMS

Allah, the Wise, had sent the Prophets to guide the humanity towards piety; advise them to do virtuous deeds and abstain from committing vices and sins. They had to first practice what they preach. There is a difference between infallibility and incapacity. The prophets and the Pure Imams could commit sin but they did not do so.
Infallibility of the Prophets and the Pure Imams is the cardinal principle of the Shiite Islam. However, other Muslims believe that the prophets did not commit any sin while delivering the message but in their personal lives they made mistakes. If for a moment, it is agreed that a prophet commit a sin, then a strange situation will arise. It would be necessary to obey and disobey at the same time, because Allah says in Surah al-Imran Ayah 31: “(Muhammad), tell them, “If you love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful.”  When it has been proved for the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.), it must be true for all other prophets because Allah does not discriminate between His Messengers. On the other hand, it is not allowed to follow a sinner in his sinful activities.
In order to achieve salvation in this world and the Hereafter, Allah is directing the humanity to obey Him, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) and the (Qualified) leaders as mentioned in Surah al-Nisa Ayah 59: “Believers, obey Allah, His Messenger, and your (Qualified) leaders. If you have faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment, refer to Allah and His Messenger concerning matters in which you differ…”
In Surah al-Baqarah Ayah 44, Allah says: “Would you order people to do good deeds and forget to do them yourselves even though you read the Book? Why do you not think?” When Shaitan said: “By God, I will make your people to follow the wrong path except your Mukhlus believers.” Allah said: “The people who will follow you, will be unbelievers. The righteous people will always follow My Apostle and their orders.”
When a man commits a sin, he follows his desires not obeying his Creator’s commands and is misguided and the Prophets are guided by Allah as stated in Surah al-Zumar Ayah 37: “Who can mislead one whom Allah has guided? Is Allah not Majestic and capable to exact retribution? Surah al-Najm Ayah 1-5: “By the star, when descending (in space), your companion (Muhammad) is not in error nor has he deviated. He does not speak out of his own desires. It (whatever he says) is a revelation which has been revealed to him. The Great Mighty One taught him.” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.)’s infallibility is confirmed by the Divine Ayah Tatheer in Surah al-Ahzab Ayah 33: “O People of the house, Allah wants to remove all kinds of uncleanness from you and to purify you thoroughly.” This Ayah refers to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) including the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.).
 Allah provided guidance to the Prophets as mentioned in Surah Sad Ayahs 45 to 47: “(Muhammad), recall our servants Ibrahim, Ishaque, and Yaqub all of whom possessed virtuous hands (power) and clear visions. We gave them this pure distinction because of their continual remembrance of the Day of Judgment. In our eyes they were of the chosen, virtuous people.” Similarly, He is clearly directing the people to follow the Messenger as in Surah al-Imran Ayah 31: “(Muhammad), tell them, “If you love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful.”
Allah is inviting people that if they want to be successful then obey Allah and His Messenger as in Surah al-Nur Ayah 52: “Those who obey Allah and His Messenger, who are humble before Allah, and who have fear of Him, certainly, be successful.”
Al-Shaykh al-Tusi (r.a.) said: “Infallibility is necessary for a Prophet so that surety in him is attained and the purpose of creation is fulfilled.”Moreover, if a Prophet is not infallible, he will make mistakes and people will not trust him or his message. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) established his “Trustworthiness” and “Truthfulness” for 40 years in Makkah among the Polytheists before formally invited them towards Islam.
Whatever is stated above for the Prophets holds good for the Pure Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)

Information obtained from:

The Glorious Qur’an, Faith & Reason by Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CHANGE OF QIBLA

In Islam, great emphasis is placed on the “Congregational Prayers”. We cannot imagine any congregational prayer without the concept of a fixed direction. Hence, in His Infinite Wisdom, Allah ordered that Ka’ba be built in the heavens at Bait-al-Ma’moor. Later, He ordered Prophet Adam to build a similar sacred place of worship on earth, which was Ka’ba built in Makkah. During the mammoth storm of Prophet Noah, it was washed away but later on rebuilt. Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Isma’il raised the walls of Ka’ba again (apparently the foundation was intact) as stated in Surah al-Baqarah Ayah 127: “While Ibrahim and Isma’il were raising the walls of the House (Ka’ba), they prayed: “O Allah! Accept our labor. You are All-Hearing and All-Knowing.”
The importance of Qibla may be described as it is needed for single direction for all Muslims in any part of the world. It encourages unity, discipline, international brotherhood of Muslims, and an identity for being a Muslim. As stated earlier, Qibla is needed for performing not only solitary prayers but also congregation prayers like Friday Prayer, Eid Prayers, Prayers for the dead etc.
Before the dawn of Islam, the Jews used to pray facing the Grand Mosque of Jerusalem. In reality, every Prophet preached Islam and oneness of Allah. However, when the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) started praying openly, he was directed to face towards Jerusalem. The Jews would criticize Islam and the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) saying that Muslims do not have their own Qibla and that they were facing the Jewish Qibla. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) was very disturbed by such criticism and he would come out at night and look towards the sky as if waiting for a revelation to change the Qibla. About seventeen months after the Migration to Madinah, while the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) was performing Mid-day prayers, and was in the second rakat, the Archangel Jibra’eel arrived with the Divine Order to change the Qibla from Jerusalem to Ka’ba. The Muslim followers also changed the Qibla along with the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.). The mosque in which Qibla was changed is still there in Madinah which is now called “Masjid-e-Qiblatayn”; meaning the mosque in which prayers were performed facing two Qibla.
The relevant Ayahs relating to the change of Qibla are as follows:
Surah al-Baqarah Ayah 143-144: “The direction which you had been facing during your prayers (the Qibla) was made only in order that We would know who would follow the Messenger and who would turn away. It was a hard test, but not for those to whom Allah had given guidance. Allah did not want to make your previous prayers worthless; Allah is compassionate and All-Merciful. We certainly you (Muhammad) often turn your face to the sky, so We shall instruct you to face a Qibla that you will like. (Muhammad), during prayer, turn your face toward the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah).Muslims, also, wherever you are, during your prayers, turn your faces towards the Sacred Mosque. The People of the Book certainly know that this command (to change the Qibla) is truly from their Lord. Allah is not unaware of what they do.”
The Western writers tried to give other political reasons for the change of Qibla, but for the Muslims, Allah’s command is the last word. We have to follow Allah’s orders without searching for the reasons. Islam means complete surrender and unquestionable obedience to Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)

Sources used:
The Glorious Qur’an
The Message                                                                                  By Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
Restatement of history, Islam and Muslims                                  By Allama Sayyid Ali Asghar Razwi
Al-Ihtajaj (volume1 page 81-86)                                                   By Allama Tabari

Imamreza.net and WIKIPEDIA

Sunday, April 12, 2015

THE SOUL (NAFS)

The word “Nafs” or its derivatives has been used in the Glorious Qur’an 298 times. It is a wide and broad topic, hence we are concentrating on the Ayahs 7 to 10 of Surah ash-Shams which says: “…and by the soul and that (Power) Who designed it and inspired it with knowledge of evil and piety, those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their souls will certainly be deprived (of happiness).”
In this Surah, the word “Nafs “may be referred to for both body and soul. And also the word “Alahamaha” may be used in Arabic for meaning drinking or gulping, but some translators believe that its root word is “Ilham”.  The person who receives “Ilham” does not know the sender while in case of “Wahi” or revelation, the receiver knows the sender and the messenger. In this Surah, the All-Mighty Allah have sworn on His other “Signs” like sun, moon, day, night, sky, and earth. Then He is swearing on the soul or “Nafs” and Himself Who designed it.
After acquiring the knowledge about vice and virtue, it is within the power of every soul to protect it from sins and vices, perform virtuous deeds and develop his Nafs to the zenith of piety.
Human beings are the combination of body and soul. Body is matter while soul is not matter. We need food for the growth of our body and the food for soul is knowledge (Ilm). There is a limit for the consumption of food for body but there is no limit for acquiring knowledge. Dream is a good manifestation of soul. When we dream, our bodies are in the bed while the soul travels to any part of the world. We cannot see beyond our scope of vision but the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) could see at the back as perfectly as in front.
In order to attain perfection of soul, we need the knowledge (Ilm) and virtuous deeds (Amal). Any one of the two is insufficient.  The alphabets of both Ilm and Amal are the same-Ain, Laam, Meem. To attain perfection of Nafs (soul), we need the knowledge (Ilm) and in the light of knowledge we should perform (Virtuous) deeds. As the knowledge increases it becomes part of faith (Yaqeen). There is no limit of faith (Yaqeen). Hence, Allah (s.w.t.) ordered the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) to pray for the increase of knowledge- Rabbe Zidni Ilma. Surah Ta-Ha Ayah 114: “Allah is the Most High and the True King, (Muhammad), do not be hasty in reading the revelation to the people before its revelation is completed. Say, “My Lord, grant me more knowledge.” The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) prayed for more and more knowledge and whatever knowledge he received, he transferred it to the Gateway of Knowledge, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.). Hence, in one of His sermons, Imam Ali (a.s.) had said that there will not be any change in his faith even if the curtains were removed for him.”
There is a tradition of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.): “Whoever sees me as if he is seeing the haq.” Imam Ali (a.s.) is “Nafs-e-Rasul”. That is the reason the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “Looking at Ali is ibadat (prayer), Ali is with haq and haq is with Ali. O Allah, turn the haq wherever Ali goes.” For the generations who came after Imam Ali (a.s.), it is narrated that zikr of Imam Ali (a.s.) is ibadat (prayer); Azadari is ibadat (prayer). Imam Ali (a.s.) had said: “Whoever knows his soul (Nafs) knows his Creator”
During our life-time we see through our eyes, hear with our ears; hence Nafs comprehends things with the help of the five senses, but as soon as the Nafs leaves this material body, it does not need the five senses. Hence, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s) having supreme Nafs, even now sees and hears everything.
The unit of faith or (Yaqeen) is Salaat or namaaz. It is one of the most important factors of the progress of our souls.
Hakim Luqman said to his son: “Son, Take care of your Nafs (soul). Always think that Allah is in front of you. He is watching your activities, speech, actions and thought. So do such deeds that please Allah.

Sources used:
The Glorious Qur’an, Nahjul Balagha, Wasiyatnama, LastWill & Testament by Ayatollah Shaikh Abdullah Mamkani

Marefat-e-Nafs by Ayatollah Sayyid Aqeel-ul-Gharavi

Friday, April 10, 2015

THE NEGLIGENCE OF PRAYERS

The Pillar of faith is Salaat. It is Tradition that if Salaat is accepted by the Creator, every other deed may be accepted. In Persian, there is a saying “Rouz-e-Mahshar ke Jangudaz Bu’ad: Awwaleen Pursish-e-Namaaz (Salaat) Bu’ad” The translation is “The Day of Resurrection will be a trying day when the first question will be asked about performance of Salaat.” It is also said that the Salaat is the Ascension (Mairaj) of the faithful. The followers of the Commander of the Faithful are supposed to obey the Imam (a.s.).
The Chief of the Women of the World and the Lady of Paradise, Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.) asked her beloved father, the Chief of the Prophets, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.): “O Father, what about one man or woman, who neglects his/her prayers? He said: “O Fatima, whoever, man or woman, neglects his or her prayers, Allah will afflict him or her fifteen things; six in this life, three at the time of dying, three in his or her grave, and three on the Day of Resurrection when he or she will be taken out of the grave, detailed as below:
                The six in this life are:
(1)    Allah removes blessings from his or her age.
(2)    Allah removes blessings from his or her livelihood.
(3)    Allah effaces the appearance of benevolence from his or her face.
(4)    He or she will not be rewarded for any deeds.
(5)    His or her Supplication (Dua’a) is not taken up to the Heaven.
(6)    He or she shall not be included by the Dua’a of the benevolent.

              The three things at the time of dying are:
(1)    He or she dies lowly.
(2)    He or she dies hungry.
(3)    He or she dies thirsty.

                The three things in the grave are:
(1)    Allah will entrust with him or her, an angel who will trouble him or her in the grave.
(2)    The grave will be narrow for him or her.
(3)    The grave shall be dark for him or her.

              The three things on the Day of Resurrection are:
(1)    Allah will entrust with him or her, an angel who will draw him or her on his or her face while other creatures will be looking at him or her.
(2)    He or she shall face a strict reckoning.
(3)    Allah will not look at him or her, nor will He purify him or her, and he or she shall get a painful torment.

Allah says in Surah al-Ma’un Ayahs 4 and 5: “Woe to the worshipers who miss their prayers.”
May Allah protect us from the clutches of the Accursed Shaitan and remind us the grave and the Day of Resurrection and Reckoning and guide us to the Golden Luminous Lives of our Pure Masoomeen (a.s.)

Sources used:
The Glorious Qur’an
Bihar al-Anwar volume 83 page 21                                    By Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (r.a.)
The Life of Fatima az-Zahra                                               By Allama Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi


Saturday, April 4, 2015

SAYYID SHARIF AL-MURTAZA ALAM AL-HUDA (R.A.)

Abul Qasim Ali ibn Husayn al-Sharif al-Murtaza was commonly known as Sayyid Murtaza or Sharif Murtaza. He was born in 355 A.H. and died at the age of 81 in the year 436 A.H. He was also called Alam al-Huda (Banner of Guidance) due to his vast knowledge, and was one of the greatest Shia scholars of his time. He was one of the students of the famous Shaykh al-Mufid (r.a.). He was the elder brother of Sayyid Razi, the renowned scholar who compiled the supreme book Nahjul Balagha. His mother’s name was Fatimah. She was a pious and noble lady and was held in high esteem by the scholars. She requested Shaykh al-Mufid (r.a.) to write a book on the Fiqhi rules for the women folks which resulted in the compilation of “Ahkam al-Nisa”. Her family had carved out a principality in Tabaristan.
There is a famous dream reported by Ibn Abil Hadid al-Mu’tazali, in his commentary on Nahjul Balagha writes that Shaykh Mufid saw the Chief of the Women of the world and the Lady of Paradise Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.) in his dream. She was accompanied by her two young sons, the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise, Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husayn (a.s.). Addressing him she said: “O My shaaykh, teach Fiqh  (Jurisprudence) to these two boys of mine” Next day, Fatima, the mother of Sayyid Murtaza and Sayyid Razi, came to Shaykh Mufid and uttered the same words which the Lady of Paradise Fatima Zahra (s.a.) had uttered in his dream.
His father Husayn was 5th in line of the descendant of the Infallible Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.). His mother was a descendant of the Infallible Imam Zain al-Abidin (a.s.). The detail lineage is; Fatima daughter of Husayn, son of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Utrush, son of Ali, son of Hasan, son of Umar al-Ashraf, son of Ali Zaynal-Abidin (a.s.).
He was a multi-dimensional personality. All Shi’ite scholars acknowledge that Sayyid Murtaza was the greatest scholar of his time and groomed many outstanding scholars including the Shaykh al-Tusi (r.a.), the founder of the great theological center of Najaf al-Ashraf. He served as the “Naqib al-Nuqaba” after the death of his brother. He had served as the Chief Judge of Baghdad for 30 years. He was equally respected by Sunni and Shi’ite scholars.
Sayyid Murtaza was deeply interested in “Fiqh”. He was considered the master of Kalam,Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, literature, grammar, poetry and other fields of knowledge. His poetry collection contained more than 20,000 verses. He had authored 66 books including:
                Al-Zakhira  fil Usul al-Fiqh
                Al-Ghurar wa al-Durar
                Al-Intisar
                Al-Shafi
                Al-Tanzih al-Anbia
                Jamal al-Ilmi wal Amal
On the death of Shaykh al-Mufid, Sayyid Sharif Murtaza led his funeral prayer.

Sources used:

WIKIPEDIA, Imamrezanetwork.org