‘Fi Raqqin Manshoor’
-In The Parchments Spread Open-
Awliyaullah AS, and today the Dai Mutlaq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS are manifestations of the word of Allah. Their words and deeds reveal for the believers the meanings of the Quran. Over the course of time there have been a total of 104 divine revelations. 50 were revealed to Nabi Adam AS, 30 to Idris Nabi AS, and 20 to Ibrahim Nabi AS. Dawoodi Nabi AS was bestowed the Zabur, Moosa Nabi AS the Torah, Eesaa Nabi AS the Injeel (Bible) and to Nabi Mohammed AS the Furqan, or Quran, was revealed. In order to convey the meanings embodied in these divine revelations, the Aimmat Tahereen AS themselves composed a number of kutub and directed their Duat to do so as well. As they prepared for their satr, and in the face of constant threats to their physical texts, the Aimmat Tahereen AS ensured that all this knowledge was preserved in the hearts of their Duat Mutlaqeen AS.
Alluding to this meaning and many others, during Asharah Mubarakah 1374 H in Udaipur, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, related the third ayat mubarakah of Surat Tur – the 52nd surat– to his mansoos, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA: fi raqqin manshoor. Raqq, parchments, in the olden times were made of very fine leather or paper. The Arabic term raqq also means a glowing book as well as water. Syedna Abdulqader Najmuddin RA states that the Imam AS is a kitab written by the Lord, and the Duat Mutlaqeen are its pages. Each page is of unique glory, filled with divine grace. The Duat Mutlaqeen AS reveal divine glories and make apparent to all what is inscribed in the raqq manshoor. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA made the divine glories of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA clear to the world. On numerous occasions he stated that the birth of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA opened doors of barakat in Dawat. He directed Mumineen to take Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA to their homes and shops, stating that good fortune lay beneath his mubarak qadam. He even declared that Mumineen’s mohabbat for Syedna Burhanuddin RA may even be greater than their mohabbat for him. He also mentioned, that this youth is ‘but I’, and bestowed him with numerous titles and epithets.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS narrated that Imam Ja´far al-Sadiq AS was once walking with a staff. He was confronted by Abu Haneefah (the founder of one of the four primary Islamic schools of jurisprudence). He expressed disapproval of Imam’s AS actions by questioning his need to use a staff, saying that he had not reached such an advanced age. Imam AS replied that it was Rasulullah’s AS staff and he was using it for barakat. Abu Haneefah retorted saying “had I known it was Rasulullah’s staff, I would have kissed it.” Imam Ja´far al-Sadiq AS delivered a ‘crushing response’ (dandaanshikan), he rolled up his sleeve and said, “Granted that you may doubt this staff, but do you also doubt that this flesh and skin is that of Rasulullah?” The chastened man attempted to kiss his hand, but Imam AS pulled it back and entered his room. Imam’s AS actions and statements illustrate that Abu Haneefah’s contention was not with the staff but with accepting Imam AS as the true heir of Rasulullah SA. If he believed Maula to be Maula then he would never doubt his actions. Maula TUS added that in every age there are people who do not consider Maula as Maula, and subsequently, question all their words and actions. Imam AS denied Abu Haneefah the honor of kissing his hand, but this same Imam al-Sadiq AS is the one who vouched to extend his hand into hellfire in order to remove any Mumin from it.
In every age Awliyaullah AS ensure that the barakat of this raqq is conveyed to Mumineen. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS mentioned how Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA conveyed this barakat with the various gestures of his hand. He recalled his salaami, the gesture he made when giving raza mubarak, the placement of his soothing hand on a Mumin’s back or on the cheek of a child. He spoke of Syedna al-Muqaddas’ blessing the homes and shops of Mumineen, granting Mumineen the honor of hosting him at their homes, gracing them by riding in their cars, talaqqi, and the bestowal of various tashaareef such as shawls, masallas and handkerchiefs. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS narrated one incident when a child from Madras was to undergo a cornea transplant due to an allergy. His parents took him to Mumbai and did araz to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA instructed them to have him stand by the lift in Saifee Mahal. After the bethak, Syedna RA told the child to come into the lift with him. Once inside, Syedna RA asked the child to look him directly in his eyes. Then Maula RA blessed him with shifaa’ and placed his finger on the child’s eyes. When the child was examined by doctors upon returning to Madras, they found that the cornea was fine and no treatment was necessary. Today, it is Syedna Aali Qadr TUS who continues to convey the barakaat of all these gestures and actions.
This spread of barakaat and blessings is something the visiting Judge of Harris County stated as he spoke, after zohr asr namaaz, of how the inspiration that Syedna has for the Bohra community is clear to see but it is an inspiration that reaches beyond the Bohra community and spreads out to everyone.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS went on to relate the word raqq to riqq, which means slavery, and raqeeq meaning slave. He mentioned that freedom is a much-deliberated issue today, and there is even a well-known statue, here in the US, dedicated to this ideal. But what is genuine freedom? We are bound to the slavery of hardships and difficulties and that life in this world is a form of imprisonment. The hardships of this world come from finances, health, accommodation and other worries and sorrows. This planet has many forms of internment, from the freezing chill of the North Pole to the core of the Earth in which there is much to ponder as to how and why Allah has created this planet this way. True freedom is that which leaves us free of every trial and hardship. It is this freedom that is given to us by Awliyaullah AS. It is in this context, that sharia provides the rules and regulations that free us from all hardships. There is a likelihood of some inconvenience but this is akin to traffic rules and regulations that ensure road safety for drivers and pedestrians.
He further explained that a person who attaches himself to Maula will be at peace. If one does something on his own accord, a doubt persists over the correctness of his actions and whether he has carried it out as he should. However, when a Mumin acts in accordance to the directives of Maula he is rest assured that Maula will rectify his shortcomings. If a person prays namaaz alone and makes a mistake he has to do either do sajadah al-sehw or start his namaaz afresh. However, if he prays with imaamat, then it is the Imam who bears all mistakes. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS narrated in detail how the qadam mubarak and alaamat shareefah of al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin RA protected the Mumineen of Umreth, Gujarat from the influences of jinnis. Adding to this, Maula TUS stated that in order to protect ourselves from such influence we should do the tasbeeh of La Haul Wa la Quwwata… 40 times or 110 times. We should also pray namaaz, Quran and other duaa’ regularly. Before our children sleep at night they should brush their teeth properly and make sure their hands are clean of any smell.
Awliyaullah AS protect their followers through their physical beneficence. Through their handwritten words, such as the Ya Husain given to Mumineen in the handwriting of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin following the inauguration Masjid Moazzam. Imam Ali Zain al-Abedin AS did away with the hardships of people by personally delivering meals to a 100 homes under the darkness of night. Until his passing no one had the faintest of ideas as to the identity of the individual who would feed them each night. His compassion and kindness was such that even his slave had no fear of him, and remained in his service with heartfelt dedication. In view of this Maula TUS counseled all those employing their fellow Mumineen to show them compassion while dealing with them. He added that if one shows kindness to those working for him they will render their services with heartfelt dedication. Likewise, Imam Ali Zain al-Abedin AS showed the same level of compassion to his former slave who had neglected the plantation he had been entrusted with.
Awliyaullah AS are here to set us free from the hardships of this world and ultimately from this world itself. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recollected a number of narratives that vividly demonstrated this. For example, when a downtrodden man came before Rasulullah SA and asked for aid, food, and clothing, he directed him to Maulatona Fatema AS. Maulatona Fatema AS gave him her pearl necklace and asked him to go to the market and sell it and use the proceeds to fulfil his needs. The man went to Rasulullah SA with the necklace, which Maulana Ammar b. Yaasir offered to purchase in addition to providing him a ride, food and clothing. In an instant the man gone from being a pauper to a man of means. Maulana Ammar gifted the necklace along with a slave to Rasulullah SA, who in turn gave both to Maulatona Fatema AS. Maulatona Fatema freed the slave who recollected before Rasulullah SA that this necklace, fed the hungry, provided him with means to return home, clothed a man, freed a slave, and yet it remained as it is.
Similarly, Rasulullah’s staff was with Imam Hasan AS who was riding a mule. Along the way the staff fell and was retrieved by a man with unsightly features. He returned the staff to Imam Hasan AS whose words of prayers for him gave him a comely appearance. Likewise, Akkashah responded to a petition by Rasulullah SA for anyone to whom he was indebted to, to come forward and have that debt fulfilled. Akkashah stated that Rasulullah SA had once struck him and he wanted retribution. Rasulullah SA agreed, and revealed his back for him to strike. The moment Rasulullah SA raised his shirt Akkashah ran and kissed the seal of prophecy on his back. Rasulullah SA had stated that whoever kissed this seal would attain salvation.
A final narrative showed how Imam Hasan AS accepted Muawiya’s tribute of 80,000 dinar, only because he had stipulated to the slave that if Imam AS accepts this he will be set free. Initially, Imam Hasan AS refused but when the slave beseeched him to not deny him of his freedom, he accepted it.
Maula recalled the hadeeth mubarak that one who looks at his brother’s kitaab, without his permission is gazing at hell fire. He counseled us to not look at the private and personal messages and documents of others. He then mentioned that ‘looking at the Quran is a form of ibaadat,‘ the zikr of Maula is indeed an act of ibaadat.
He mentioned that around 24,500 Mumineen have gathered for Asharah Mubarakah in Houston from 330 cities world over and hoped that the total for Ashura would surpass 25,000. With great compassion he stressed that their not be a single Mumin, who tomorrow on the day of Ashura, does not remember Imam Husain AS.
Maula raises us out of riqq (slavery) to the freedom of raqq, a state associated to their very beings. The difference is in the symbols of Arabic short vowels (‘aeraab): one below and one above. This illustrates how Awliyaullah AS take us from lowliness to the loftiness of their realm and presence. Over the course of this Asharah Mubarakah Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS has raised us with each of his words, gestures and glances, and has prepared us for Ashuraa’, for the bukaa’, maatam, istighfaar and duaa’ which are all vital to our salvation. He has prepared us such that in the sajdah following the maqtal, we in him see Imam Husain AS. May Allah Taala grant our beloved Maula a long and prosperous life till the Day of Qiyaamat.