The Arabic word thaqaafat translated as culture is derived from the word thaqqafa meaning to straighten an object or to instruct, educate or discipline a person. The word thaqqafa was also for straightening a spear to give it a perfect form. A spear when perfect in shape is more likely to reach its target. Metaphorically, a person who has the right thaqaafat will reach his destination.
Thaqaafat Fatemiyah includes various elements that make a Mumin distinct from others. It enables him to regain his perfect form and thus reach his heavenly abode. We have heard Syedna al-Dai al-AjalTUS saying:
بيجا بيجا ؛، غير غير ؛، اثثن اثثن ؛، اثثنو بوهره ثثنو، اثثنو surrounding اثثنوculture اْل محمد نو culture ، اهني نشؤنما دعاة ني بركة نا سايه ما، بولوا ما، اضضهوا ما، بيضضهواما، ححلواما، تمام ححيز ما خيال راكهوو ضروري ؛، تاكه اثثنا فرزندو اهوا ماحول surrounding ما مهوضضا تهائي كه اْنكهـ ضضهندٌي تهائي… دنيا سي ححهوضضوا واسطسس دنيا نا لوككو سي جدا تهاؤ، بيسرا جدا ؛، ككهنو فرق ؛.
Others are others, we are who we are. Our Dawoodi Bohra identity, our surroundings, our culture are that of Aale Mohammed. This culture has developed in the shade of the barakat of Duat Mutlaqeen. We need to be careful in our speech, in our actions and in all aspects [of our lives], so that our children grow up in such an environment, that [ultimately] we are delighted [when beholding them]. In order to free ourselves from this world we must distance ourselves from the people of this world. Other are different; the difference is stark.
A spear or any other log of wood needs to be heated in order to be straightened and given form. Similarly, the tenets of Islam prepare us to accept the thaqaafat taught by our Hudaat KiraamAS in all aspects of our lives. Thaqaafat Fatemiyah trains and educates us in our traditions, rituals and customs. Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Hayy al-Muqaddas Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA nurtured us with this Thaqaafat for fifty years. Today his mansoos al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal SaifuddinTUS continues to nurture us with the same benevolence as our beloved Burhanuddin MaulaRA.
This column on Thaqaafat Fatemiayh will shed light on different aspects of thaqaafat.