In every rak´at of every namaaz one recites the aayat shareefah اهدنا الصراط المستقيم – [O Lord,] guide us towards Siraat-e-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path). In every day and age by following the guidance of Awliyaa’ Allah AS and repenting for our sins and transgressions we remain steadfast upon this path, attain perfect tahaarat and ensure our ultimate salvation.
At the onset of the waaz mubarak, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS revealed a nuance of Rasulullah’s SA hadeeth, ‘The one who grieves and laments upon my son [Imam] Husain AS or causes another to grieve and lament upon him or [with an affirmation of grief in his heart] attempts to grieve and lament is assured of jannat’. He explained that the word bukaa’ can be written as بكا and بكاء . The first spelling, without the ء is known as maqsur (shortened) while the other form is known as mamdud (prolongated). Bukaa, without the hamzah, means to only shed tears, a form of grief which is imperfect. While bukaa’, with the hamzah, is to shed tears, and wail in lament giving voice to one’s pain. This form of grief is, thus, of the utmost perfection. It is this form and manner of grief upon Imam Husain AS which we are to express.
Mumineen should derive inspiration from the manner in which Imam Ali Zain al-Abedeen AS grieved upon Imam Husain AS, while Muminaat are to follow the exceptional conduct of Maulatona Zainab AS and Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that Awliyaa’ Allah AS have remained engrossed in this grief, and implored Mumineen to remain so as well: Syedna al-Moaiyyad al-Shiraazi RA, Syedna Abi al-Barakaat RA, Syedna Idris Imaduddin RA, Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA, Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and the Maula whose grief-stricken countenance and lament we have all seen and heard: Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA.
The final portion of Rasulullah’s SA hadeeth reveals his mercy upon his ummah. It was his desire that not one of his followers, those who profess mohabbat for him, be denied of salvation no matter how grave their sins. In face of these efforts, as is the divine sunnat, there are always those who question the need to hold such majaalis, the need to make such extensive preparations for it, the need for one to set aside his business and profession for it. It is during such times that Maula gives an azaan calling the faithful to the majaalis of Imam Husain AS and securing their place among malaai’kat.
The First Aayat
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS mentioned that this is his third Asharah Mubarakah following his accession as al-Dai al-Mutlaq. He informed us that the central theme of this year’s Asharah Mubarakah would be the nine aayaat (auspices; a miraculous change of form and state) that occurred during the revival and restoration of al-Jami´ al-Anwar, the masjid of the 16th Fatemi Imam, al-Imam al-Hakim bi Amr Allah AS in Cairo, Egypt. He added that the numerical value of Moosa and al-Dai are both 116. Similarly, Moosa Nabi AS had also revealed nine miracles in Egypt. He further elaborated that Imam Hakim AS was the 16th Imam, and the restorer of his masjid, a masjid in which one attains thawaab of one hundred namaaz, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA ascended to his heavenly abode on the 16th of Rabi al-Awwal, 1435 H.
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA always called towards the remembrance of Imam Husain AS. In 1401 H and 1402 H he conducted Asharah Mubarakah in Jami´ Anwar, as well as a Lailatul Qadr in 1401 H. Further, Syedna Burhanuddin RA longed for the day when he would conduct one more Asharah Mubarakah in the sacred precincts of Jami´ Anwar, a desire which he expressed on the 20th of Rabi al-Aakher, 1411 H, the very year in which he graced Dar es Salaam for Asharah Mubarakah.
Cleaning Jami´ Anwar
The first of the nine aayaat (auspices) is the nazaafat (cleaning) of Jami’ Anwar. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stressed the importance of maintaining purity and cleanliness in all aspects of our lives. He mentioned that Rasulullah SA directed one of his servants to ensure that the masjid is cleaned every Thursday. In this manner, Syedna Burhanuddin RA not only cleansed the masjid of Imam Hakim AS, but also disproved the numerous allegations made upon the Imam’s persona by historians.
The cleansing of al-Jami´ al-Anwar, was undertaken by Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS at the behest of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA in 1398 H (1978). Hundreds of years of neglect had left Anwar a ruin. There was little indication left that this was at one time a majestic place of worship and tranquility. Instead, over the years, it had been used as a store, pathway, school, museum, football ground, while the masjid’s extension built by al-Imam al-Zaahir AS, known as the ziyaadah, was used as a stable and had churches built within it by the Crusaders. Worse, it was being used as a place for local inhabitants to relieve themselves, with excrement filling-up a deep pit behind the mihrab. The resultant putrid stench by the mihrab was so foul that merely standing by it was unbearable.
Following the inauguration of Maulatona Zainab’s AS zareeh mubarak, Syedna Burhanuddin RA was departing to Kuwait. Syedna Saifuddin TUS having sensed the wishes of Syedna Burhanuddin RA sought his raza mubarak to remain in Cairo and commence the cleaning of this revered masjid. On 29th Safar, 1398 H, Syedna Saifuddin TUS gathered some loyal volunteers and set about cleaning the masjid. To their dismay, when they returned the next day the filth had returned. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then narrated, that even though it has been around 40 years, he vividly remembers how the masjid caretaker took him by the hand and said ‘come with me, I will show you’. He took him to the cavity behind the mihrab and showed him the cesspool of excrement and human waste. The stench and the uncertainty over its depth had made even the municipal workers reluctant to clean the pit. Finally, workers were found, the pit cleaned and made fragrant with bukhoor. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then expressed his wish to perform a zabihat at the place, and at that moment, as if out of nowhere, a man appeared with a black goat and the zabihat was done. He added that over 29,000 cubic metres of sand and waste was removed from the masjid site.
Cleansing the Soul
Following on from this narration, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stressed the efforts made by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA to cleanse and purify the faith of Mumineen, adding that it is impossible to enumerate the ways in which he did so. He then mentioned the hadeeth of Rasulullah SA ‘Clean the path of the Quran’. When asked what this path is, he replied ‘your mouths’. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stressed the importance of keeping pathways clean. If the path is kept clean, then one will reach his desired destination. Many people throw litter on the road, out of their car windows and from their balconies. The sight of dirty streets and littered neighbourhoods adversely influences our mood, mindsets and dampens our enthusiasm. He related how the traveler Nasir Khusraw likened the houses of Fatemi Cairo as being made of jewels. He appreciated the distances between each dwelling which ensured that renovation work in one premise would not disturb one’s neighbor. He mentioned how the Tanzanian cities of Mwanza and Arusha are competing over being the cleaner, how Mysore and Chandigarh are considered as the cleanest cities of India, while Calgary and Honolulu hold the distinction of the being the world’s cleanest cities.
Similarly, if a doctor’s instruments are not properly sterilized the patient is more likely to fall further ill than be cured. Just as there are appropriate and clearly defined ways, means and methods for worldly activities, the same is also to be said for matters pertaining to the hereafter. Just as a path is required to reach a destination, a waseelah is needed for one to reach the hereafter.
A lady in the time of Rasulullah SA threw waste upon him whenever he passed by her house with the intent of damaging his health and in turn the health of his ummah. However, when one day she failed to do so, Rasulullah SA enquired about the reason behind this. When informed that she was unwell, he proceeded to visit her for the purpose of granting her health. The nobility of Rasulullah’s SA character guided her towards the path of Islam.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that sharia means path, the pathway to salvation. He stressed that the Dai is the pathway to salvation, and one should refrain from any action or words that attempt to bring disrespect to his lofty status. If one fails to do so, then the consequences will be severe. He recollected how Duat Mutlaqeen RA ensured that the path of Dawat always remained clean. In 1399 H, Syedna Burhanuddin RA issued directives to preserve the sanctity of the Deori Mubarak, Surat, and how Miyasaheb Ibrahim Yamani wrote a prose in praise of the Deori Mubarak’s sanctity. The 49th Dai Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA specifically mentioned three people who would not take part in his funeral proceedings, and by divine providence it happened that all were not present. In the same way, the janaazah mubarakah of Syedna Burhanuddin RA rid us of all existing waste and filth.
Outer cleanliness impacts the inner cleanliness as inner cleanliness does outer cleanliness. This is seen vividly in the meeting of Eesa Nabi AS with the men washing their clothes upon the river bank. He asked them what they thought of those who wear these clean clothes whilst their bodies remained filthy; they agreed that this would be senseless. To this Eesa Nabi AS responded, that this was what they themselves were doing. Though they were initially incredulous; it was not so, he told them that indeed it was so since they were draping their sinful, defiled souls in bodies that were clean and well groomed.
Amongst these many sins of the soul is the cardinal sin of jealously, which takes one away from the path leading towards attaining Allah’s blessings. Imam Mu’iz AS counseled that even praying to be blessed with the same level of wealth as another is actually a form of jealousy. Rather, instead of making suggestions to Allah, one should simply beseech him to grace him with His blessings, as He wishes.
In Karbala, each of Imam Husain’s AS deeds and actions were of nazaafat and cleanliness. Initially, Hur AS was with the opposing forces. Imam Husain AS suggested to him that they both lead their followers in separate groups of namaaz. However, Hur AS requested him to lead them all in namaaz. This was the beginning of his path towards good fortune and salvation.
As Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS established at the beginning of the waaz mubarak, that the zikr of Imam Husain AS is the path towards salvation. A path that we should all adhere to by expressing noh and aweel; an expression that involves all organs and limbs of our body. It is this level of unwavering and complete commitment that rids our thoughts of impurities and firmly secures for us the best of both worlds.
The concepts of cleanliness and the impact between the outer and the inner can be examined in the context of baka and tabaaka – wailing and lamentation upon Imam Husain AS. Over the last few months a deep emphasis has been placed on Mumineen expressing wailing and grief out loud, uninhibited and without recalcitrance. To some wailing out loud as a display of grief when it hasn’t come naturally is seen as hypocrisy; but it is here that we realize, that when the soul does have genuine grief then the display of outer grief no longer remains hypocritical – no matter how ostentatious it may seem. Instead, it is this very expression itself that becomes the path that leads a person towards the perfect form of bukaa’ which is weeping tears with noha and aweel – explicit wailing and lamentation. Each impacts the other and for the faithful, whose ultimate aim is to shed a tear upon Imam Husain AS and cleanse their soul of the sins holding them back from reaching the Hereafter – any path that achieves this aim is a righteous one.