Majlis 1

ʿAshara Mubaraka 1442 H

Majlis 1: 2nd Moharram al-Haraam

Reflections

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA stated that man was formed in the image of his Creator, al-Faatir (الفاطر). Man was created in harmony with His nature, i.e. fitra, and is destined to return to His side. Accordingly, the Islamic faith reflects human nature. Man and Islam are both created in their perfect forms, unlike the efforts of other creators and inventors who improve upon earlier designs through trial and error. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal al-Muqaddas RA, explained that man was not created, for example, first with one ear and then it was seen that two are better!

The word fitra means a beginning, the commencement of an event or activity. Abdullah bin Abbas RA narrates:

I was unaware of the meaning of faatir until two Bedouins came before me arguing over a well. One of them claimed, ‘ana fatartoha, (It was I who first started to dig it)’. It was then that I understood that al-Faatir differs from al-Khaliq (another name for the Creator) in that it means to be the originator, the one who initiated the act.

Prior to this narration, Syedna Burhanuddin RA spoke of the intellectual prowess of Abdullah bin Abbas RA. One day, 100 people came before him and put to him their various queries and questions in succession. He listened to all the questions and then — in the order in which they were asked — he proceeded to answer each one of them, one after the other.

Amirul Mumineen Maulana Ali AS was very fond of the epithet ‘Abu Turab’ (The Father of Soil) as this word referenced the origins of man and also the faithful. Rasul Allah SAW would say to him that we are of one origin, teenat (طينة), a word in Arabic that is also related to teen (طين) – clay. In another instance, Rasul Allah SAW made a similar declaration stating that both he and Amirul Mumineen AS were made of the same ‘nur’, or radiance. He went on to explain that that it was from this teenat, this nur whence also came the faithful.

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA stated that the foremost majlis of all majalis, or gatherings, are those held by the faithful. And amongst those, the majlis presided over by the Dai al-Zaman is the most pre-eminent. He then added that any majlis that takes place with the blessings and raza of the Dai receives the barakat of the Dai’s majlis, and therefore its pre-eminence.

 

In Kitab Daʿaaʾim al-Islam, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna al-Qadi al-Nuʿman RA writes that Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS counselled a group of his followers and by doing so outlined the traits of a Mumin:

  • Be truthful in your words.
  • Fulfil the oaths and pledges you make, both to your friends as well as your enemies. By doing so understand the sanctity of the vows you have undertaken. Likewise, if someone has entrusted you with something then honour the trust placed in you, even if he were to be a kharijite or the slayer of Imam Husain AS.
  • Help one another with your wealth.
  • Profess love and amity for one another with your hearts. Imam AS then stipulated ‘not just with shoulders coming together’. On the face of it a group may appear to be united by their physical proximity but their hearts may in fact be apart.
  • Distribute alms to the poor. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then added that a Mumin can never be called poor; he is only dependent upon Allah. However, if you come across someone in a difficult situation, then being a servant of the Almighty, come to the aid of your fellow brother.
  • Remain united in your cause. You are all on haqq, followers of the Dawat established by divine decree. Do not be in contention with each other.
  • Do not cheat, deceive or breach the trust of anyone.
  • Do not entertain any doubt after having attained certitude. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA added that if Satan or his ilk attempt to sow seeds of doubt in you, do not pay any heed to them because doubt does not nullify conviction, and you have attained conviction. Praise and offer gratitude to the Almighty that your forefathers were Mumineen, people of conviction.
  • After having made great strides do not turn back in cowardice. With great effort you have advanced yourself and have entered the fold of Islam and Iman, now do not turn back.
  • Not a single one of you should ever turn his back on his loved ones. For trivial, worldly matters do not sever relations with your loved ones.
  • Your desire should not be for the affection and fondness of others. Some people prefer to refrain from interacting with Mumineen and deliberately seek friendship and companionship of those outside of the community. They do not enjoy associating with Mumineen, claiming that within community circles the only talk is of faith. Gradually, such people lose all connection with us, our majlis, and eventually end up stranded, far from home. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then added, ‘my dear children, never distance yourself from your home’.
  • Your deeds and actions should only be for your Lord.
  • Your faith and your intentions should be solely for your Nabi SAW.
  • Seek aid from Allah and be patient. The earth is Allah’s and He will bequeath it to His pious servants.

 

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA mentioned that over 40 years ago, a person overcome by doubts came to him. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA directed him to recite the tasbeeh:

Unquestionably, by the zikr of Allah, hearts are reassured (13:28).

 

The zikr of Allah is Imam al-Zaman AS, and through his remembrance  our hearts and minds are at peace.

 

Continuing with the theme of ‘nur’, Maulana Burhanuddin RA stated, ‘During these days, by attending these congregations of mourning, you should return bearing such illuminating concepts and thoughts that they become your treasure for the hereafter.’

 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal RA related the narration of Abu Huraira who once was in prayer with Rasul Allah SAW. Imams Hasan AS and Husain AS would repeatedly climb on Rasul Allah’s SAW back during sajda and he would have to gently lift them off and put them to the side. After the prayer ended Rasul Allah SAW sat and affectionately took them both into his lap. As night had fallen and it was dark outside, Abu Huraira offered to take them home. However, Rasul Allah SAW said there was no need for him to do so. He raised his arms aloft in prayer, and a bolt of light lit up the night sky for the two to safely make their way home.

 

It was the nur from Maulana Ali’s SA blessed finger that led Maulana Jabir bin Abdullah RA to Madina Munawwara. Likewise, the radiance of Maulatona Fatema’s AS cloak guided 70 to Islam. If the radiance of a cloak belonging to Maulatona Fatema SA is such, then surely the effulgence of the Fatimi Dai can guide not only the faithful but the entire universe.

 

It was this very nur which enemies sought to extinguish in Karbala. However, by the virtue of Imam Husain’s SA sajda and duʿa, the divine lamp of Imamat continued to shine throughout the ages through the succession of the Aimmat Tahireen AS. And following their seclusion, due to the radiance of the al-Dai al-Mutlaq, the night of satr is illuminated.

 

Imam Husain’s AS final salam upon his Ahle Bait AS, and especially upon Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS, ensured that despite the most unspeakable of oppression, no one would be able to slay Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS. The camps of the Ahle Bait AS may have been burnt to the ground, but the ‘Tent of Radiance’ remains standing, unscathed.

 

The spiritual radiance of Imamat was one that was visible to the Christian monk of the monastery near where the wretched enemies passed by as they returned to Syria after ʿAshura. At each waypoint they would remove the severed head of Imam Husain AS from the container it had been placed in and mount it upon a spear. It was then that the monk saw light emanating from it towards the heavens. A light that those supposedly professing Islam were blind to: ‘Allah guides towards His light, whom He wills’. He inquired of the Syrians as to who it was and was appalled when they told him it was the grandson of their own Prophet SAW.

 

‘If Eesa Nabi AS had left a son we would have venerated him,’ he told them, before offering them ten thousand dinars to keep the hallowed head with him for the night. It was a night he spent weeping and in lament before he embraced the Islamic faith by  proclaiming the shahada and thereafter dedicated himself to the service of Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS.

 

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS narrated the story of Sahl bin Saʿeed al-Shahr e Zuri, who hailed from the town of Shahr-e-Zur in Western Azerbaijan. He was on pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he arrived in Damascus just as the remaining members of Imam Husain’s AS family and the severed heads of the shohadaa were being brought to the city in disreputable triumph. The city shops were closed and a festive atmosphere prevailed. Sahl inquired what the festivities were for and was told that it was to celebrate the victory of the caliph over an insurgent in Iraq. When, inquiring further, he was given the name of Imam Husain AS and he became overcome with grief and wept uncontrollably. Amongst the cheering crowd his dismay went unnoticed and he made his way towards the sayyidaat mounted on bareback camels, their faces uncovered. He recognised Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS and bade salam upon them as ‘Ahle Bayt’. She replied that he was the first person since the tragedy of Karbala to have addressed them in this way.

 

She asked him to plead with the leader of the caravan to bring the revered heads of the shohodaa back amongst them, thus the eyes of the people that were trained on their open faces would instead be directed to the heads.However, Sahl’s request was met with a shove in the chest. With him was a Christian whose eyes were opened as he heard the blessed head of Imam Husain AS reciting from the Quran:

And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do

He withdrew a sword hidden in his cloak and cut down a number of the enemy soldiers before being surrounded and overpowered. Upon hearing of this Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS rued how it was a Christian upholding the honour of Islam while those who claimed to be of the faith were slaying the kinsmen of their Prophet SAW and holding them captive.

***

In this ʿAshara Mubaraka we are faced with an entirely new circumstance, which has left us all but confined to our homes. Yet throughout today’s waʿaz mubarak, the words of all three Duʿat Mutlaqeen AS reminded us that though we may be distant in body, we are as close as ever to our Maula. As Burhanuddin Maula RA stated, “Come! Come! Before me, with me; shed an ocean of tears upon Husain!” These words came from a waʿaz mubarak delivered in 1424 H, yet seemed as if uttered before us this very moment and resonated as strongly within the hearts of every one of us 18 years later.

 

May Allah Taʿala grant al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life in pristine health till the Day of Judgment.

 

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