‘Not even in fifty years’, was the then Egyptian Home Minister’s response upon hearing Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA intention to complete the restoration and revival of Jami’ Anwar in just 27 months. Likewise, the then prime minister, when informed of the intended date of completion was also taken aback. He commented that completing such an immense task within such a limited time defied logic. He like many others was unaware that the restoration of this luminous masjid was being undertaken by the Maula in whose service are time and space.
In today’s wa’az Mubarak, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS focused on the 2nd aayat (auspices; a miraculous change of form and state) that was revealed during the restoration of Jami´ Anwar: the completion of the restoration work in the astonishingly short span of 27 months. The narration of some of the events that transpired over these months formed the basis of an exploration of the concepts of time and space: how they restrict man but serve Awliyaa’ Allah AS and all those who serve them. Time and space are restrictions of a physical nature in which we are encumbered. The reason being that we did not repent at the correct time. It is now time to redress that failure, to be timely in our repentance and regret and seek the paradise lost because of that missed opportunity.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that in every day, age, time and place the deeds and actions of Awliyaa’ Allah AS are always that which are the most appropriate. If another course of action had been taken, then the consequences would have only been detrimental. Just as time and space remain in their khidmat, it compels their followers to value time and make the most of it. Just as praying namaaz at its first time, its foremost time, is a source of Allah’s happiness, similarly, attending the majaalis of Dawat and complying with the directives of Maula TUS without hesitance or delay are means to attaining Allah’s happiness.
The number 27, the number of months in which Anwar was restored, holds great significance. The 27th of Rajab al-Asab was the day of Rasulullah’s mabath, the eve of 27th Rajab was the night of his israa’ and mi´raaj, 27th Jumaad al-Ukhraa the shahaadat of Syedna Qutubkhan Qutbuddin RA with 27th Moharram being the shahaadat of Syedi Fakhruddin al-Shaheed QR. The 27th of Shawwal is when the urs mubarak of Syedi Abdulqader Hakimuddin QR is commemorated, 27th Zilqadah is the milad mubarak of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and 27th Zilhaj is the urs mubarak of both Syedna Abdulhusain Husamuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recollected how over these 27 months, time and space had served Syedna Burhanuddin RA by bringing together all the raw material, equipment, expertise and resources required for the restoration.
He then added that the number ‘27’, made of ‘2’ and ‘7’, alludes to the 2nd day of Moharram on which the steed of Imam Husain AS stopped upon the plains of Karbala, and the 7th day, from which he was denied water.
‘Just as we had left, we have returned’
During the Asharah Mubarakah of 1401 H in Jami´ Anwar, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA addressed the congregation with words that encapsulated the efforts of Duat Mutlaqeen over the 900 years following the Imam’s seclusion, ‘we are fortunate to be coming here (Misr) after 900 years in this manner. Just as we had left, we have returned’. During Asharah Mubarakah 1402 H, Syedna Burhanuddin RA expressed his desire for Cairo to become an imaani city and for Mumineen to settle here, do the ziyaarat of Imam Husain AS. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS elaborated that we had returned to the Fatemi capital, after nine centuries, with the same tradition, philosophy, etiquette, history with which we had left. In the same way that Duat Mutlaqeen have preserved the monuments of that era, and brought them to vigourous life, they had preserved Mumineen. A vivid example of this is the expression of noh and aweel upon Imam Husain AS. Just as al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna al-Moayyad al-Shiraazi RA had directed Mumineen to express noh and aweel upon Imam Husain AS during the time of Imam Mustansir AS, today Mumineen all over the world continue to do so. Even if there is a congregation of a 100 Mumineen, or even less, say 50 Mumineen, their expression of noh and aweel, in the morn and eve, is uncompromised.
Time and timeliness are essential to faith. Doing something at the correct time or in the right moment can make a world of difference. Maulana Hur AS halted Imam Husain’s AS horse in Karbala, but on the day of Ashuraa’ in a single moment came from the side of purgatory to that of salvation. It is also a feature of time to influence all that it comes to bear upon. A child becomes an adult, and ultimately, meets his end. Similarly, a person is also affected by his location: heat, rain and cold all take their toll on him. Yet, Duat Mutlaqeen remain unaffected by such vagaries. The seat of Dawat moved from Misr to Yemen and then on to India. In India, it moved from one place to another in accordance with the needs of the age. Such changes were multiple, yet in the face of them Duat Mutlaqeen remained constant and steadfast.
A Moment’s Contemplation
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS quoted the hadith of Rasulullah SA – تفكر ساعة خير من عبادة سنة – ‘contemplation of a moment is superior to a year’s worship’. This contemplation obviously has to be of a superior caliber, pertaining to Allah’s creation and the intricacies of faith. He explained that the true meaning of ‘moment’ is the Maula present in every day and age. Pondering over and contemplating over the glories of Maula, even one that appears to be small is a supreme form of thought, a source of great divine reward and to do so at the time of one’s death is an assured means of salvation. For Ziyaad al-Aswad, the thought of gaining an audience with the Imam was foremost in his mind, and one that ultimately propelled him to the Imam’s presence; overcoming the obstacles of time and distance: the arduous journey over scorching desert sands. Another example pertained to those who have the opportunity to worship in the most sacred and revered space on earth, between Hajar Aswad and Maqaam Ibraahim, yet their worship yields no reward for they are void of thought and contemplation which in this context is the mohabbat of Awliyaa’ Allah AS. However, even the smallest of deeds done with ‘thought’ and ‘contemplation’ is significant and a source of great reward.
The ability to think and contemplate should make one ponder over the state of those, who despite living in advanced countries barely make ends meet and those who reside in less advanced nations yet lead a life of contentment.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then narrated how Mumineen, with the raza mubarak of Duat Mutlaqeen have settled all over the world. Yet, despite their location they remain engrossed in the worship of contemplation and hold firm to Maula. Those who harboured ill towards the community attempted to prevent Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA from visiting East Africa. Similarly, in India, all those whose wealth and status gave rise to hubris and disrespect of the Dai Mutlaq ended up in such a state of destitution that neither their wealth nor status remained. Even the homes in which they stayed in no longer remained with them.
Time and space are subservient to the will of Awliyaa’ Allah AS. Rasulullah SA placed his head in the lap of Maulana Ali AS and slept. As the time for ´asr namaaz was about to pass, Maulana Ali AS determined that Rasulullah SA was receiving divine revelation and even though it was the time for namaaz, the moment required that he did not disturb Nabi Mohammed SA and disrupt his comfort. When Rasulullah SA awoke, he asked him whether he had prayed ´asr namaaz, to which he replied no. Rasulullah SA prayed for the sun to return to its place at the time of Asr, and subsequently, Maulana Ali AS prayed ´asr namaaz at its right time. The sun had returned for Amirul Mumineen AS many times after that, in Khyber, Siffeen and Babel.
Likewise, Imam Husain AS demonstrated his control over time and space, when he bestowed a couple with 7 children. This was despite the fact that their potential for bearing children had passed. The same Imam Husain AS, on the day of Aashuraa’ asked a question that parallels the action of Maulana Ali AS with Rasulullah SA. Imam Husain AS was offered the services of malaai’kat to destroy the enemy forces. Though he knew that they had descended in accordance with Allah’s orders, he was still determined to ask them what Allah’s will is. Immediately upon being told of Allah’s wish he sheathed his sword. Maulana Ali AS had not wished to disturb Rasulullah SA, likewise, Imam Husain AS had no desire to renege on the promise he had made to his noble grandfather; a promise that for Rasulullah SA was a source of comfort and respite.
Whoever strives to attain the happiness of Maula and perseveres in his khidmat will never miss out on anything; he will never be restricted by time and space. Similarly, one who attends the majlis of Imam Husain AS at the beginning of the year yields blessings that sustain him for the remainder of the year and beyond. During these ten days the one who attends these majaalis will never miss out or forego anything despite what others may want him to believe. Here and now there is only one place that counts and that is the majaalis of Imam Husain AS. Other things, if given preference over it, will result in him missing out on the barakat of these majaalis, which once forsaken will be forever gone, and the extent to which he may benefit from his misplaced sense of priorities is questionable. Even if one has an important business meeting or court date during these days he should set them all aside since the majaalis of Imam Husain AS take precedence over all worldly commitments.
Another meaning for ´asr is time. Despite the hardships he faced and the oppressions he was subjected to, the time for Amirul Mumineen AS to retain the caliphate did eventually dawn. Likewise, following decades of decadent rulers, the sun rose from the west with Imam Mehdi AS coming out of seclusion in 297 H in Sijilmasa, Morocco heralding the dawn of the Fatemi state which then proceeded eastwards towards Cairo. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS encouraged Mumineen to visit the countries where the Fatemi state prevailed: Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and prayed that may he too soon visit.
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA was very particular about time and timeliness, to such an extent that one could set his watch by him. Similarly, Mumineen too should be particular about time and punctuality. If they have taken an appointment they should attend to it on time, if they have given someone an appointment then they should honour it. They should not keep any one waiting outside, or even seated before him while they talk away on their mobile phone.
Seven Types of Sleep
Just as there is a time for everything, there are times for sleep as well. While mentioning the biological clock, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS listed the 7 types of sleep, the time for each one being the determining factor of whether it is beneficial or detrimental:
- Sleep during the recitation of al-Quran or a bayaan is the sleep of neglect
- Sleep at the time of prayer is the sleep of depravity
- Sleep at the cusp of dawn is the accursed sleep
- Sleep after Fajr namaaz is a sleep that is punishable by a loss in livelihood
- Sleep in the middle of the day is a sleep of rest and respite
- Sleep at night is the permissible sleep
- Sleep on Friday eve is a sleep of regret and angst.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS mentioned the five things one should take advantage of before they are replaced by five others: your youth before old age, your health before illness, your wealth before poverty, the time available to you before becoming occupied, and your life before your death. After being bestowed with an understanding of time and space, may we, during these days of Imam Husain AS, utilize our youth, health, wealth, opportunity and lives in the remembrance of Imam Husain AS and the khidmat of his Dai, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS and ascend to a realm free from the constraints of time and space.