Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Ramadan Thoughts This Year

Assalamu `alaykum wa rahmautllah
I don't have an article or video to share, but I wanted to relate to you all some of my reflections on a couple of current events taking place in our world which concern me. I've been quietly watching the progress [there *must* be a better word!] of the flooding in Pakistan, as well as the spread of racist hate throughout the US.

It's so strange to me that the flooding in Pakistan happened now, during Ramadan. I mean, it started before Ramadan. However, it has been a major event in the Ummah for the entire month. And with Ramadan being a month in which we are to be especially charitable, I would think that donations would be flooding into Pakistan. They might just be. But I don't *feel* as if they are. And I am positive that our "Islamic" countries just aren't giving according to their abilities. That really upsets me. And it isn't because I expect more from our Islamic countries. They have proven themselves to be tight-fisted on many occasions like this. The need is just so dire now, though. It seems like such a violation of the concept of justice which we Muslims are supposed to uphold to see wealthy nations, ostensibly guided by Islamic principles, only bothering themselves to look like Muslims while not performing some of the most requisite Islamic acts.

And the hate. We have seen the wave of hate. Hardly anyone could have missed the anti-mosque protests, the arsons, vandalisms, attacks, even bombings which have been directed at our American communities. What we may not have noticed is that it isn't just us. Some of the most horrid, spitefully racist things have been said about our President, high-ranking Afro-descendant and Latino officials, and everyday people of colour. A gay legislator, along with an African-American legislator, were spat on by protesters from a certain conservative movement. We've even had some a synagogue in Maryland vandalised. As sister Masooma pointed out very eloquently in a recent article, this very obviously racist movement isn't targetting only us. I strongly feel that unless we stand together with others, including non-Muslims, of all colours, all religions, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, and voice our collective condemnation of the hate, we will all be suffering even worse violence. I also strongly feel that we need to take a long, hard look at our own communities and weed prejudice out of our own ranks. I am so sick of hearing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, or declarations that one would never marry a black person, or other hateful nonsense like that. And no, I don't think that we have the time to cure ourselves before we point out voices outwards. Now is the time to target hate from both directions: in and out.

And please donate for Pakistan, or do what you can to help.


1. Is there a need to prepare for Lailatul Qadr?
In order to answer this, let us define what the word PREPARE means?
Simply, put it means to make ready or fit, to bring into a suitable state, to make one ready
For e.g. when we want to prepare a meal, or go out for an event, we must have a GOAL in mind.
As in what is my end result, the final dish or my final destination where I wish to end up.
And as per the subject under discussion i.e. “Preparing for Lailatul Qadr” our GOAL is to take full benefit/make full use of the BOUNTIES & RAHMA that Allah (swt) bestows opens us in this night of LAYLATUL QADR.

It is important that we first understand the significance of LAYLATUL QADR in order that we know what sort of ‘ingredients’ are required for our preparation to reach the Ultimate Goal which is earning the pleasure of Allah (swt)

2. What is Laylatul Qadr therefore?
You are all aware of its importance so I will just briefly re-run through it.
In surah AL Qadr Allah (swt) clearly states: "Surely We revealed it (the Holy Qur'an) on the grand night. And what will make you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand months. The angels and Gabriel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning." (97:1-5)

Allah (swt) is inviting all the believers for a Divine feast; the invitation which has been brought by the messengers. Allah (swt) is the host, his most favorite angels are the servants and the believers are the guests. The table is spread with Divine blessings containing all sorts of rewards and favors. Though the eyes cannot see them nor the ears hear them not the human hearts imagine them, yet the bounties are all kept in readiness to be awarded to the guests in accordance to her actions.

Lailatul-Qadr is a blessed night because the Almighty brings down during it goodness, bliss, and forgiveness for His servants. It is a feast which has come with a message that shows one the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.
Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night.
When our Prophet (saw) was asked how man could enjoy the favors and good grace of proximity to, and mercy of, Allah (swt) he quoted Nabi Musa’s (as) supplication:

“Oh My God, I seek proximity to You; He (Allah) said: Proximity to Me is for him who stays awake on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of Your Mercy; He said: My Mercy is for him who shows mercy to the poor on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the passport to cross the bridge; He said: that is for him who give alms on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the trees in Paradise and their fruits; He said: that is for him who seeks forgiveness on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek deliverance from fire; He said: that is for him who remembers Allah on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek Your good pleasure; He said: that is for him who says a two rakat prayer on Laylatul Qadr
On another occasion Nabi Musa (as) said: “Oh My God, are You far away that I shout to You, or are You near that I whisper to You?” He said: “O Musa, I am sitting together with you!”

3. What do we therefore have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr? That it is:
• A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life times worth of activity.
• Full of long lasting blessings
• The night of unsurpassed grandeur when the absolute Grand God revealed the Grand qur’an through the Grand Wahy - Jibraeel into the heart of the Grand Holy Prophet (saw)
• A once in a year occasion for influencing our future destiny - “QADR” - taqdeer. The Masumeen have explained to us that god in his infinite wisdom had planned the system of the universe in such a way that every persons destiny will be determined on a yearly basis in the angelic spheres through the agency of the imam of the age. Who is the leader and focus of the whole spiritual world) this gives MANKIND a unique opportunity to influence his own future (gains, loss/health/sickness, richness/poverty/ etc by performing certain acts, e.g. dua salat, sadaqah, jihad, acquiring knowledge, quran recitation etc.
• The night when the whole multitude of angels and the great spirit (ruh) descend on earth, greeting and praying for the believers and conveying messages to the Imam of age.

4. Do we than still need to PREPARE OURSELVES FOR LAYLATUL QADR after knowing its significance?
Yes, Let us imagine for a moment that we are invited for a special feast by the president of our country, who also tells us in advance that he is going to reward us with magnificent gifts as per the way we present and behave ourselves during the feast - What would we do ?
After the initial euphoria, we would leave no stone unturned to present themselves in the best possible manner. Preparations of what to wear, how to get there, what will I speak with the president, If I have to go through his secretary what will I say to him, what sort of gifts will I take with me, what sort of conversation with I have with him, all this and more will be thought about, rehearsed and re-rehearsed. Correct me if I am wrong!!

All this ‘tension’ in honor of an invitation from the President of a country. Lailatul Qadr is an invitation form the President of all Presidents, The Supreme One. Do we need to make preparations for this night?

Undoubtedly, we must start our preparations way ahead of time, after all going by human fitra, there is more than profit that can be got from this feast of Lailatul Qadr unless out of sheer carelessness we end up amongst those negligent and idle ones, who do not achieve anything except tiredness, loss and eternal doom, who will gain nothing except regret and cry out aloud on the day of Reckoning:
"Ah! Woe upon me! In that I neglected (my duty) towards Allah."

5. What sort of Pre-preparations are needed before the advent of this grand Qadr?
Jibrael was asked; "What has the Almighty Allah done on this night with the wishes of the believers among the nation of Muhammad (pbuh)?" He answered, "The Almighty Allah has looked upon them on this night and forgiven them, all of them, except the following:
“One who is addicted to drinking, One who severs his ties with his kin, and One who is a trouble-maker."

We have been advised to beseech Allah (swt) during the whole year before the arrival of the Night of Power,
to keep us alive for this night,
• To bestow upon us the towfiq to remain vigilant during this night and pray for blessings and forgiveness.
• To bless us that we are able to do the best of deeds on this night
• To comprehend fully the importance of this night which is superior to one thousand months.
• To pray that we can become one of the favorites of Allah (swt) and be blessed with His love, learning, nearness, union, pleasure, together with health, happiness, and welfare;
• To yearn and act so that Allah (swt) be so pleased with us in such a manner, that after this night He would never be displeased us again.
• To pray that our Aimma esp. the Imam-ul-Asr be pleased with us & intercede on our behalf

6. How to Prepare oneself for The Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr).
(I) Preparing Mentally
• Strive to keep Allah (swt) at the fore of one’s mind the whole night long.
• All the Ibadah done should be recited in the state of being completely awake, aware, conscious, and with a live heart
If one feels that one will not be able to concentrate then start reciting from now "We are from Allah and towards Him is our return.” - Holy Qur'an (2:156) for it is considered as a tragedy if one can not in this night receive the divine grace in supplications
"Their prayers ascend upwards and reaches Allah, their words are accepted, and Allah loves to listen to their prayers the way a mother likes her own child."
Is not it shameful that the prayers which ascend upwards should be recited from the tip of the tongue, while the heart and soul remain occupied in worldly affairs?

Many a times, one feels that one cannot ‘properly’ perform a certain ibadah and so decided to forgo it. One should not do listen to this ‘waswas’ instead, one should perform it & more, for acceptance lies in the Hand of the Mercy of Allah (swt).

(ii) Preparing Physically
The other preparations to be done for this night are,
• for worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance (comfortable dress which does not distract us)
• paying alms during this night - to the people who really deserve financial support
• Follow the translation of the duas in order to understand what you are reciting for lutf is only got when one knows what one is reciting.

(iii) Preparing spiritually
• increase ones eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings;
• select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with ones mood
• When one stands for prayer, or any other ibadah, to briefly spare a moment to think about the wisdom of that action/its meaning etc for e.g. Why am I standing towards Mecca? To realize that when I stand on my two feet, it indicates my hope and fear about the acceptance of my worship
• Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul-Bait [a] - With persistence, supplicating in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon us the grace of being vigilant during this night.
• Crying and Shedding Tears:
that during these nights ones fear, humility, tears, crying, anguish, and lamentation be increased as much as possible. The Learned Scholar Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (r.a.) in his book (Suluk-i Arifan) Spiritual Journey of the Mystics tell us that One of the best method is that one should tie ones hands around ones neck; should pour dirt upon ones head; should place ones head against a wall; sometimes one should stand and sometimes one should cry; should imagine oneself at the scene of Judgment Day; and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, then one should imagine and be scared least Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders: "Seize ye him, bind ye him, burn ye him in the blazing fire, and make him march in a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits." - Holy Qur'an (69:30-32)
Then one should cry: "O' Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!" "Where is Your vast blessing? Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?" Ask for forgiveness of past sins in the most appealing manner with a promise to try never to return to the sins again - a TAWBA in every sense of the word Present ones requests before the Almighty with full hope that they will be answered. The Prophet (S.A.W.) when asked what one should invoke Allah during these nights, said: "Ask for your safety (here and in the hereafter)".

7. Recommended Ibadah to be performed on The Night of Qadr:
WE are advised that this night be divided into 3 parts -
1st part to be allocated for Gaining Knowledge - Najhul Balagha, Tadabbur etc
2nd part to be allocated for Meditation (not when you are too sleepy)
One should not forget to select a period for having a private union between oneself and ones Creator and
3rd part to be allocated for Salatul Layl to connect with Nawaafil with Subh prayer

Suggested ways to get the maximum of this blessed opportunity”
1: Imam al- Sadiq (as) quotes “On all these nights, it is recommended that you perform the ghusl twice: once at the beginning of the night, and once at its end”.
When performing the recommended ghusl, to remember that while god likes physical cleanliness, more important He loves inner cleanliness of the heart, from immoral character e.g. jealousy, greed, etc. Thus resolve to clean the soul also by TAUBAH + JIHAD of NAFS

2: When praying 2 rakat namaz of recommended prayers with 7 times surah tawheed, make efforts to concentrate on the message of tawheed and get the heart to believe that truly GOD ALONE is ALL -powerful/All Merciful/Independent etc. therefore we should fear none BUT HIM, hope from none BUT HIM, we should ask from none BUT HIM

3: After the salaah when repeating ISTEGHFAR 70 times try to first be really repentant for serious mistakes done, sincerely ask for forgiveness either by: (a) recalling 70 different sins OR (b) feeling remorseful for 10 sins of the 7 main organs: eyes, ears, tongue, hands, mouth, stomach + private parts OR (c) some particular sins that you may have committed repeatedly OR
(d) recalling the variety of punishments of different sins and finally resolve NOT TO Repeat them in the future, then only can one realistically expect to deserve the reward the HP has promised “Whoever performs this act will surely be forgiven by the Almighty even before here rises from his place".

When opening the qur’an and praying for your needs with the intercession of the qur’an, realize that while the qur’an is a cure for spiritual illness, it only benefits the pious ones and the evil doers are deprived of its illumination. Thus increase the chances for qur’an intercession to work on your behalf by earnestly following the rulings of the qur’an.

While placing the qur’an on the head. Remind yourself that true salvation can only be achieved by always keeping the rules of qur’an ahead of us to follow. The fact that we put the Qur’an on our head is a sign of respect and reverence. We beseech Allah by the thaqalayn - the speaking and the silent Qur'an. - Holy Qur'an (39:56)

As you seek intercession of the Al mighty (bika ya al…) and the 14 infallibles realize that God is limitless Ounces of Mercy and the Ma’sumen pure agencies for the distribution of divine mercy to all creations.

While performing Ziyarah of Imam Husein (as), remind yourself that on this august night, the souls of 124,000 Prophets (peace be upon them all) visit Imam, who is aware of our inner spiritual reality and is hurt and repulsed by our record of repeated evil deeds, indifference to God’s commandments; thus, we should avoid disgracing ourselves in that great audience of Imam. Also, associate the themes in the ZIYARAH of:
• Firm bond of love and obedience of God (SALAT).
• Economic betterment of community (ZAKAT).
• Overall mobilization of forces towards virtue (AMR BIL MA`RUF).
• Overall cleansing of evil from society.
• All-out war in all spheres of life to promote truth (JIHAD).
• Tremendous endurance of all ensuing difficulties (SABR).
• Complete distancing (LA`NAH) from all forms of injustice (DHULM) with destiny- shaping opportunity of this night and resolve to become on active player in improving the future in preparation for the REAPPEARANCE OF AL-MAHDI.

8. How to Farewell the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr) One should resort (tawassul) to the M'asumin - to whom that night belongs - should submit ones deeds & worship to those exalted ones, with a heart broken, with grief & shedding tears, should request them to make those deeds as righteous, and request them to intercede with Allah (swt)

9. The Day of Power (Qadr)
According to Ahadeeth both the night and day are interconnected, as far as their worth, value, esteem, and splendor are concerned, i.e. if the day is esteemed and honorable, the night of that day also possesses the same distinction and vice versa. Therefore, we must appreciate the importance of the Days of Power and like the Nights of Power, should celebrate them by sincerely performing worships and righteous deeds.

On a final note, our destiny to large extent can be changed in this very night and much depends on us, how we decide to utilize both the night and the day of Qadr and for that matter each single moment of this blessed month of Ramadhan.

Let us therefore pray together that we may be granted the Tawfiq to be able to do the A’maals of Laylatul Qadr in its correct essence, that we may be granted the Maghferah and that we may earn the Pleasure of Allah (swt) in such a manner that our lives take a positive turn in a manner that we may earn the salvation for both this world and the Hereafter. Ameen

A humble request that we remember each other in our prayers and especially those we do not forget our Marhumeen...

Rabbana Taqabbul Minna……………

Source : http://www.dartabligh.org/

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laylatul Qadr and Martyrdom of Imam Ali (as)

Aamal for 19th, 21st, and 23rd nights here.

The month of Ramadhan has been singled out for special worship (`Ibadat) and exclusive favours. It is a month unlike other months. One reason for this, as defined by the Qur'an, is because the Holy Qur'an was revealed in this month. Says Allah in Sura al­Baqarah: The month of Ramadhan, that in which the Qur'an was sent down; a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of guidance and distinction (2:185). In fact, according to a hadith of the 6th Imam (a), the other holy books were also revealed in this month.

Among the nights of Ramadhan is one special night, which is better than a thousand months (HQ, 97:3). Good deeds performed on that single night are equal to those performed over a thousand months. It is the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr), when the Qur'an was revealed. Some commentators believe it was the night when the Qur'an was brought down from Baytul M`amur (Heavenly abode), for Jibrael to reveal in parts to the Prophet (s). Others say it was the night when the Prophet received the entire Qur'an, but was asked to transmit it as and when the occasion demanded.

Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. It is a tribute to the commencement of the message revealed to mankind by their Creator, a message which shows them the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Just as the arrival of a child is celebrated, on its birth and then every year, as a bringer of joy and fulfilment for the family, Laylatul Qadr is celebrated as a bringer of light and guidance for mankind. Unlike the birthday which is celebrated with a feast for the senses, Laylatul Qadr includes a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.

Some Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night. That is why the Du`as for this night ask for special favours in the decree for the year. Believers are encouraged to stay awake the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness. It is the holiest night of the year, and it would be unwise to be heedless of the tremendous benefits of this night.

The Last Will of Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)

Imam Ali's (AS) last will to his sons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) after the attempt on his life by a stab from Ibn Muljam:

My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed.

I advise you, and all my children, my relatives, and whosoever receives this message, to be conscious of Allah, to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grandfather, peace be upon him, say: "Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting."

Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests in the middle of yours.

Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance.

Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it.

Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion.

Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. It you should do that you would abandon your dignity.

Persist in jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue.

Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that,the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response.

O Children of Abdul Mattaleb! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam has been assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death.

If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! I have heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: "Mutilate not even a rabid dog."

Source: Najul Balagha

In the 40th year of Hijri, in the small hours of the morning of 19th Ramadan, Imam Ali (AS) was struck with a poisoned sword by the Kharijite Ibn Maljam while offering his prayers in the Masjid of Kufa. He died on the 21st day of Ramadan 40 A.H. and buried in Najaf-ul-Ashraf. He was born in the House of Allah, the Kaaba, and martryed in the House of Allah, Masjid-e-Kufa. The Lion of Allah, the most brave and gentle Muslim after the Prophet (PBUH&HF) himself, began his glorious life with devotion to Allah and His Messenger, and ended it in the service of Islam.

"And do not speak of those who are slain in the the Way of Allah as dead; nay, they are alive, but you perceive not." Quran 2:154

Why Religious Fasting Could be Good for your Health

By Andrea Useem | September 17, 2008

Ramadan is in its third week now, and the required dawn-to-dusk fasting often feels like a daily mini–marathon. By late afternoon, hunger and thirst have sucked me dry, leaving me sleepy, slow-minded, and sometimes short-tempered.
I know that the purpose of fasting is spiritual—God will reward us in the next life—but in this lifetime, fasting sometimes makes me an ineffective, irritable person. So I was excited to learn that Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, MD, had spoken at a recent Renaissance Weekend event about how caloric restriction can improve brain function.

I emailed Dr. Ratey to find out if those benefits might extend to religious fasting, and he sent me a 2006 paper on the brain functioning of men during the Ramadan fast. The researchers studied a small group of healthy men during and after the holy month, looking at their brain activity via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They concluded that “all individual results showed consistent and significant increase of activity in the motor cortex during fasting.”

Other research shows similar results
That research builds on the work of other scientists, including Mark Mattson, PhD, who heads a neuroscience lab at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging. Mattson has done important research on how dietary restrictions can significantly protect the brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

In a 2003 article, Mattson and others reported that rats who were deprived of food every other day, or restricted to a diet at 30% to 50% of normal calorie levels, showed not only decreased heart rates and blood pressure, but also “younger” brains, with “numerous age-related changes in gene expression.”

Mattson and his colleagues also shared data from research on humans, which shows that populations with higher caloric intakes—such as the United States and Europe—have a greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s than do populations that eat less—such as China and Japan. The authors speculate that humans may have adapted to conditions of feast and famine; the stress of having little food, they write, “may induce changes in gene expression that result in adaptive changes in cellular metabolism and the increased ability of the organism to reduce stress.”

Although this research is relatively new, with many questions left unanswered, the authors conclude that “it seems a safe bet that if people would incorporate a spartan approach to food intake into their lifestyles, this would greatly reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.” (Of course, how this recommendation translates for individual people remains almost a complete unknown; consult with your own doctor before restricting your diet in dramatic ways.)

But here’s the hard part: Although we know eating too much leads to all sorts of health problems, “it has proven very difficult to successfully implement prolonged dietary-restriction regimens,” reports Mattson and his team. Information and doctor’s orders are rarely enough motivation.

This last observation gave me hope, because it seemed the authors were overlooking the role of religion; it can inspire people in ways information or experts don’t. Would I be undergoing this rigorous month of fasting unless I believed strongly it was the right thing for me to do? Probably not. And the same goes for millions of Muslims around the world.

And many other religions include fasting or dietary restrictions as part of their religious observances. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons, for example, fast one Sunday a month. The Orthodox Church in America notes five separate fasting seasons on its website, in addition to individual fast days; during some of these fasts, all food is restricted, and during other fasts, only certain foods are off-limits. Some Roman Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays, and all do during Lent. Many types of Buddhist monks abide by a code that prohibits eating after noon each day.

Science may only now be discovering that some of these religious practices, both ancient and modern, offer nourishment not just for the soul, but for the body as well.

From Tafseer Al-Mizan , Ch.1, Verse 6-7

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

Holy Quran:

{6} Guide us to the straight path. {7} The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, not of those inflicted by Thy wrath, nor of those gone astray.


QUR'AN: Guide us to the straight path... nor of those gone astray: The meaning of "al-hidayah" (guidance, to guide) may easily be understood, if we consider first the significance of the "path." "as-Sirat" (path) is synonymous with "at-tariq" and "as-sabil. In these verses, Allah has commended the path that it is straight and that it is the path taken by those upon whom Allah has bestowed His bounties and favors. It is this path guidance to which has been asked for. And it is the ultimate goal of the worship: The servant prays to his Lord that his worship, clean from all impurities, be performed in this path.

Allah has mentioned in His Book that He has laid down a path for man, nay, for all the creation, a path upon which they are proceeding. He says: 0 man! surely thou artstriving to thy Lord, a hard striving, until thou art to meet Him (84:6); ...and to Him is the ultimate resort (64:3); ...now surely to Allah do all affairs eventually come (42:53). There are many such verses, showing that all are proceeding on a prescribed road and that their destination is Allah.

So far as the way is concerned, Allah has said that there are two ways, not one: Did I not enjoin on you, 0 children of Adam! that you should not worship the Satan? Surely he is your open enemy. And that you should worship Me; this is the straight path (30:60-61). So, there is a straight path, and also there is another path. Again He has said: ...then verily I am near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me, that they may walk in the rightway (2:186); Call upon Me, I will answer you. Verily, those who are arrogant to My worship shall soon enter hell, disgraced (40:60). Obviously, Allah is near to Ms servants, and the nearer path to Him is that of worship and prayer. Compare it with description of those who do not believe in Him: ...these shall be called to from a far-off place (41:44). Obviously, the station of unbelievers is far-off place.

There are thus two ways to Allah, a near one - the way of the believers - and a distant one, that of the others. It is the first difference between the ways.

Second difference: Surely (as for) those who reject Our signs and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven shall not be opened for them (7:40). What is the function of a door? To let authorized people pass through it and bar the entry to unauthorized ones. The verse shows that there isa passage from the lower level to the upper heights. On the other hand, Allah says: ...and to whomsoever My wrath descends he shall perish indeed (20:81). The word translated here as "shall perish" literally means "shall fall down." Therefore, there is another passage coming for the upper heights to the lower level. Also He says: ...and whoever adopts unbelief instead of faith, he indeed has gone astray from (i.e., has lost) the right way (2: 108). Allah uses the term "polytheism" for "going astray."*

Accordingly, people are divided into three categories: First, those who proceed to the upper heights - those who believe in the signs of Allah and are not arrogant to His worship. Second, those who fall down to the lower levels - they are those upon whom the wrath of Allah has descended. Third, those who have gone astray from the right path; they are lost, wandering hither and thither. The last verse under discussion points to these three categories: "the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, not of those inflicted by Thy wrath, nor of those gone astray."

Obviously, "the straight path" is separate from the last two paths. It is the path of the believers who are not arrogant. At the same time, the following verse shows that the straight path itself may be divided in various "traffic lanes", ways or branches: ...Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees. (58:11) This statement needs some elaboration:

Every straying is polytheism and vice versa, as may be inferred from the words of Allah: ...and whoever adopts unbelief instead of faith, he indeed has gone astray from the tight way (2:108). The same is the theme of the verse: Did not I enjoin on you, 0 children of Adam! that you should not worship the Satan? Surely he is your open enemy. And that you should worship Me; this is the straight path. And certainly he has led astray a great multitude from among you (36:60-62). Likewise, the Qur'an counts polytheism as injustice and vice versa, as may be seen in the words which the Satan shall utter after the judgment will be delivered against him and his followers: ...surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah, before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment (14:22). Then it counts injustice as straying: Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with injustice, those are they who shall have the security and they are those who shall be guided aright (6:82). It should be noted that they shall be guided aright and shall have security against straying or its resulting punishment only if they do not mix their faith with injustice and inequity.

It is clear from looking at these verses together that going astray, polytheism and inequity all have the same effect; all three are adjunct to each other. That is why it is said that each of them is identifiable by the other two. For all practical purposes the three are one and the same, although they may be different in their literal meaning.

The straight path, then, is different from that of those who have gone astray; it is a path which is far away from polytheism and injustice. There can be no straying in this path - neither in hidden ideas and beliefs (for example, the disbelief or the thoughts disapproved by Allah); nor in open actions or omissions (like committing a sin or omitting a good deed). It is the true monotheism in belief and in deeds. And what is there after the truth but error? The above-mentioned verse 6:82, fits on it completely. That verse guarantees -security in the way and promises perfect guidance. The promise is inferred from the fact that the original word translated as "guided aright" is noun-agent, and the grammarians say that such a noun is really made for future. This is one feature of the straight path.

Allah has identified those bestowed with divine favors, in the verse: And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous ones; and excellent are these as companions (4:69). The belief and the obedience have been explained shortly before it in these words: But no! by your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then they do not find any straitness in their selves as to what you have decided, and submit with total submission. And if We had prescribed for them: Kill yourselves or go forth from your homes, they would not have done it except a few of them; and if they had done what they were admonished, it would have certainly been better for them and most efficacious in strengthening (them) (4:65 66). Those who truly believe are really strong in their servitude and submission, in words and in deeds; in appearance and in secret. Yet such perfect believers shall be placed in a rank behind those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors; that is why Allah has said, "these are with those..." and not, 'among those'. They shall be with them, but not of them. It is further strengthened by the last sentence, "and excellent are these as Companions." Companions are other than the self.

There is another, somewhat similar, verse in fifty-seventh chapter: and (as for) those who believe in Allah and His apostles, these it is that are the truthful and the martyrs with their Lord; they shall have their reward and their light... (57:19). The believers, thus, shall be included in the ranks of the martyrs and the truthful - in the life hereafter. The fact that it will happen in the next world is inferred from the-words, "with their Lord", and "they shall have their reward ."

Those bestowed with divine favors who are the people of the straight path - with whose relationship the straight path is identified - have greater prestige and higher rank than these believers who have cleansed their beliefs and actions from straying, polytheism and injustice. Pondering on these verses together, one feels sure that this group of the believers (with this quality) still continues; it has not come to its end. Had this group completed its term, it would have been counted among (and not, "with") those bestowed with favors; these believers would have gone up and instead of being with those bestowed with favors, would have become part of them. They probably are among those who have been given knowledge from Allah, as He says: Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees (58:11).

The people of the straight path are bestowed with excellent bounties that are more precious than that of the complete faith and perfect belief. This is the second feature of the straight path.

Allah repeatedly mentions as-sirat (path) and as-sabil (way) in the Qur'an; but He has never attributed to Himself except one straight path; although He attributes several ways to Himself And (as for) those who starve hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them onto Our ways (29:69).

Likewise, He has never ascribed "the straight path" to any of his servants, the only exception being this verse under discussion which ascribes it to those who are bestowed with divine favors; but He frequently attributes "the way" to one or the other of His chosen servants: Say: "This is my way; I invite you unto Allah; with clear sight (are) I and he who follows me" (I2:108); ...and follow the way of him who turns to Me (31:15); ...the way of the believers... (4:115). It is an indication that "the way" is other than "the straight path." There may be various and different ways taken by various chosen servants proceeding on the way of worship and submission; but "the straight path" is only one, as Allah points to it in these words: Indeed, there has come to you a light and a clear Book from Allah; with it Allah guides him who follows His pleasure into the ways of safety and brings them out of utter darkness into light by His permission and guides them to the straight path (5:15 -16). See, how the verse refers to "the ways" (in plural), and to "the straight path" (in singular). Now, there may be two explanations for it. Either "the straight path" is the same thing as "the ways", or "the ways" on going further join together and then merge into the straight path.

There is another difference between the straight path and the way. Allah says: And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him) (12:106). Note how the believers are said to associate others with Allah. It shows that some sort of polytheism (that is, straying) may co-exist with belief (and the belief is a "way"); in other words the way may co-exist with polytheism. But the straight path cannot do so because it is not the path of those who have gone astray.

Each of these ways has some excellence or some deficiency - but not so the straight path. Each way is a part of the straight path, but is distinguished from the other ways. It may be inferred from the above-mentioned verses as well as from others. For example, Allah says: And that you worship Me; this is the straight path (36:61) ; Say: "Surely, (as for) me, my Lord has guided me to the straight path; (to) a most right religion, the faith of Ibrahim the upright one" (6:161). The worship and the religion are common to all the ways, and they are also "the straight path." The relation of the straight path to the ways of Allah is that of the soul to the body. The body, during the life, undergoes countless changes, varies from day to day - from infancy to childhood; from adolescence to youth, from middle to old age and to senility. But the soul remains the same, and is always one with body at every stage. Sometimes, the body is inflicted with undesirable effects, which the soul would never accept, if left to itself. But the soul - the creation of Allah, upon which He created the man - never deteriorates. Yet, in all these states, the body remains one with the soul. Likewise, the ways of Allah are one with the straight path; but sometimes a way - the way of the believers, of the followers of the Prophet of those who turn towards Allah or any other way - suffers from some kind of deterioration, although the straight path is immune from all defects and imperfections. You have seen how one of the ways, the belief sometimes combines with polytheism and straying, but the straight path does not do so. In short, the ways are of various grades near or distant; safe or unsafe; clean or unclean - but all are in the straight path, or, let us say, are one with the straight path.

Allah has mentioned this fact, in a parable of truth and falsehood, in these words: He sends down water from the heaven, then the valleys flow according to their measure, and the torrent bears along the swelling foam; and from what they melt in the fire for the sake of (making) ornaments or apparatus arises a scum like it; thus does Allah compare truth and falsehood,- then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing; and as for that which profits the people, it remains in the earth; thus does Allah set forth parables (13:17). It clearly shows that the hearts and mind differ in their abilities and capacities to receive the divine knowledge and spiritual perfection, although all partake of the same divine sustenance. (Its full explanation will be written in the chapter 13).

This was, however, the third feature of the straight path.

From the above analysis it may be seen that the straight path is a sort of controller of all the ways leading to Allah. We may say that a way leading to Allah leads a man to Him as long as it remains one with the straight path; but the straight path leads to Allah unconditionally, without any if or but. That is why Allah has named it "as-siratul-mustaqim" (the straight path). as-Sirat means a clear path, and is derived from "saratttu sartan" (I swallowed it completely); in other words, this clear path swallows its walkers; without letting them go out. "al-Mustaqim" (straight)

literally means the one who stands on his legs, and has full control of himself as well as of the things attached to him. In other words, it is a thing, which is not subjected to change or variation. Thus "as-siratu'l-mustaqim" = the straight path is the path which never fails to guide and to lead the walker to his destination. Allah says: Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast unto Him, soon will He admit them to Mercy from Him and (His) Grace, and guide them unto Himself (by) the straight path (4:175). Obviously this guidance does not fail; it always succeeds. Also He has said: Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aught, He expands his breast for Islam, and (for) whomsoever He intends that He should leave him to err, He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending into the sky; thus does Allah lay uncleanliness on those who do not believe. And this is the path of your Lord, (a) straight (path) (6:125 -126). That is, this is Allah's path that never changes, nor does it fail to reach its destination. Again He says: He said: "7his is a straight path with Me; surely as regards My servants, thou hast no authority over them except those who follow thee of the deviators" (15:41 - 42). The verse declares that this is His settled course which never varies. In this way, it conveys the same idea which is contained in the verse: For you shall not find any alteration in the course of Allah; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah (35:43).

The above-mentioned discourse has made the following points clear:

First: There are various ways to Allah each differing with others in perfection, easiness and smoothness. It all depends on its nearness or remoteness from the basic reality, from the straight path, like the way of submission, of faith, of worship, of purity of intention or of humility before Allah. Some of the ways leading to the opposite direction are disbelief, polytheism, infidelity, exceeding the bounds, committing sins etc. Allah has said: And for all are grades according to what they did, and so that He may pay them back fully their deeds and they shall not be dealt with unjustly (46:19). The same is the case with the spiritual knowledge which the human mind receives from Allah. They vary according to mental and spiritual capacity of the receivers, and are tinted by colors of visions of the beholders. This fact is shown in the Qur'anic parable mentioned earlier: He sends down water from the heaven, then the valleys flow according to their measure (13:17).

Second: The straight path controls all the ways. Likewise, the people of the straight path (who have been firmly established in it by Allah) do enjoy complete authority to guide the other servants of Allah. Allah says: ...and excellent are these as companions (4:69); Verily, your only Master is Allah and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayer and pay zakat while they are bowing down (5:55). The last mentioned verse was revealed about 'All, the Leader of the faithful (a.s.), as al-mutawatir traditions say; and he (peace be on him) was the first to open this door in Islam. More details of it will be given in the fifth chapter. Third: The import of the guidance to the way depends on the meaning of the way itself. al-Hidaya means to guide, to lead; it accepts two objects, either without any preposition (as in the language of Hijaz) or with ila (to) before the second object (as in the language of other tribes). This detail has been given in as-Sihah of al-Jawhari, and obviously it is correct. Before going further, a mistaken notion should ' be removed. Some people think that the meaning of guidance changes, depending on whether its second object is preceded by the preposition ila or not. If there is no such preposition, then according to them, guidance means "to convey to the destination"; if it is preceded by ila, then it denotes "to show the path." In evidence, they offer the following verses: Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases (28:56). This verse, in which the verbs, "cannot guide" and "guides", have been used without preposition, says that the Prophet could not guide whom he pleased. But it is known that he, throughout his life, guided the people, that is, showed them the path of Allah. Therefore, what has been negated must be the other meaning. What the verse, then, says is this: you cannot convey to the spiritual goal whom you please; but it is Allah who conveys to that destination whom He pleases. This difference in meaning is more clearly seen in the verses: And We would certainly have guided them in the right path (4:68). The verb (in the Arabic text) has been used without any preposition and it refers to the divine guidance -that is, conveyance to destination. And Allah addresses the Prophet in these words: and most surely you guide to the right path (42:52). Here the verb is followed by ila and the sentence attributes to the Prophet the task of guidance, in the meaning of showing the way. According to their reasoning the three verses put together show that when guidance is used in the meaning of "conveying to destination", its second object accepts no preposition; when it is used for "showing the path", the said object is preceded by ila.

But this notion is not supported by the Qur'an. Allah quotes the believer of the people of Pharaoh as saying: "O my people! follow me, I will guide you to the right course" (40:38). Here the Arabic text has no preposition and yet it does not mean conveying to destination, it only denotes showing the way.

What has been mentioned in the verse 28:56 (Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases) is the reality or perfection of guidance. The verse shows that the Prophet could not bestow on his people the perfect guidance, the reality of guidance, as it was a task that Allah has reserved for Himself.

In short, the meaning of guidance does not depend on preposition ila coming or not coming before the second object. In both cases the meaning is the same.

al-Hidayah means to guide, to show the destination by showing the way, or, let us say, to convey to the destination. Guidance, in reality, is reserved for Allah, and He guides His servants by creating such causes that point the destination to them and lead them to their spiritual goal. Allah says: Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him alight, He expands his breast for Islam (6:125); ...then their skins and their hearts become pliant to the remembrance of Allah; this is Allah's guidance, He guides with it whom He pleases (39:23). The verb "become pliant" is followed by the preposition "to", giving the verb a shade of meaning of inclination and repose. Guidance, thus, means that Allah creates in the heart an aptitude by which it initiates, accepts, inclines towards and becomes serene in the remembrance of Allah. It has been mentioned earlier that there are many ways leading to Allah. Consequently, guidance for one way would differ from those of the others. Each way has a special guidance of its own. This variation has been hinted at in the verse: And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them unto Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good (29:69). A man strives "in the way of Allah"; and another strives "for Allah." There is a great difference between the two. The first tries to keep the way safe and free from all dangers and blockades; the second's attention is fixed on Allah only. It is this man who is praised in this verse - he strives hard for Allah; thereupon Allah helps him and guides him on the way most suited to his ability and power; and thereafter keeps guiding him from one way to another until He exclusively attaches him to Himself.

Fourth: The straight path is preserved in the ways of Allah - the ways that are of various grades and levels. Allah guides man to it; and the man is thus guided aright. As mentioned above, Allah may keep guiding a man from one way to the other which is of a higher grade, and then to a third one still higher. The prayer in this verse, "Guide us to the straight path" (revealed on behalf of those whom Allah has already guided to His worship) points to this very fact. If we keep this point in view, there would be no room for an objection like the following: The one who utters this prayer is already guided aright - how can he pray afresh for guidance? It would be an attempt to re-obtain a thing which is already in hand, and it is just impossible. Also, the worshipper is already on the straight path - how can he pray to be guided again to the same path? Isn't it an impossibility? But the explanation given by us clears away the mist of such objections.

Another objection: Our Law is the most perfect and most comprehensive of all the laws sent by Allah since the dawn of humanity. Why should we ask from Allah to guide us to the path of those of the previous people upon whom He had bestowed favors?

Reply: Admittedly, the Law brought by Muhammad (s.a.w.) is more perfect than any other one. But it does not necessarily mean that all those who follow this Law are more perfect than all those who followed the previous laws. An average follower of the Law of Muhammad (s.a.w.) cannot surpass Nuh or lbrahim (a.s.), although their laws were sent long before the Islamic Law. It is one thing to accept and follow a law; it is quite another to get spiritual perfection by total submission - by perfectly molding oneself in that law's pattern. A believer of previous nations who attained a high spiritual level, who became a mirror of divine attributes, -is most certainly better than, and superior to, a follower of this law who did not reach that state - even though the latter would be following the most perfect and comprehensive law, that is, the Law of Muhammad (s.a.w.). Therefore, it is quite in order for a believer of lower grade (although he may follow a perfect law) to pray to Allah to help him reach the level of a believer of higher grade (although he might have followed a less perfect law).

An exegete has replied to the above-mentioned objection in a way that is not free from defects. He has said: The religion of Allah is one, and that is Islam. The fundamental truths - the belief in One God, the Prophethood and the Day of Judgment and all that results from this belief - are the same in all the laws and revelations sent by Allah. The Law of Islam has an added distinction, in that it covers all aspects of human life and is, thus, the most comprehensive one. It looks more properly after public welfare. Moreover, its foundation is laid on reasoning - in all its forms: The logic, the admonition and the goodly argumentation.

All divine religions are, thus, the same and the fundamental truths are common to all. The previous people have preceded us in this path. Therefore, Allah has ordered us to look into their affairs, to take lessons from them and to follow them to spiritual perfection.

The author says: The principle upon which this reply is based is against the principles that guide us in exegesis of the Qur'an. The reply assumes that the realities of fundamental truths are on the same level in all the religions; that there is no difference in their grades; that the spiritual perfection and religious virtues are of the same quality everywhere. According to this view, the highest ranking prophet is equal to the lowest type of believer in his existence and natural perfection - so far as his creation is concerned. The difference, if any, is based on the subjective outlook of shari'ah, not on any matter of creation. In their opinion, this case is similar to that of a king vis-a-vis his subjects - they are not different in their human existence, the difference is in their subjective and assumed positions only which are laid down by people and which do not have any independent existence.

This thinking, in its turn, is based on the theory of materialism, which teaches that nothing exists but matter; metaphysical "things" have no existence at all (or, at least, we are not in a position to know that they exist). The only exception is God, and we believe in His existence because of logical evidence.

Those who accepted this view did so because, coming under the influence of natural sciences, they put all their confidence in their five senses. Or because they thought that "commonsense" was enough for explaining the divine words, and therefore, neglected to meditate on the Qur'an. God willing, we shall throw more light on this subject at some other place.

Fifth: The people of the straight path are higher in rank than others, and their path is superior to the others' ways. It is because of their knowledge, and not because of their virtuous deeds. They have that knowledge of divine aThe following verses too point to this fact: Allah will exalt those of You who believe, and those who are given knowledge in higher degrees (58:11); To Him do ascend the good words; and the good deed lifts them up (35:10). What ascends to Allah is the good words, that is, true belief and knowledge; good deeds lift up the good words and help them in their ascension, without themselves going up. We shall fully discuss this verse when we shall reach it.

Fifth: The people of the straight path are higher in rank than others, and their path is superior to the others' ways. It is because of their knowledge, and not because of their virtuous deeds. They have that knowledge of divine attributes which is hidden from others. (We have explained earlier that perfection of virtuous deeds is found in some of the inferior ways also. Therefore, deeds cannot be the criterion by which the people of the straight Path are given excellence over the rest.) The question arises as to what is that knowledge and how it is acquired. We shall deal with these questions when we shall explain the verse 13:17 (He sends down water from the heaven, then the valleys flow according to their measure) The following verses too point to this fact: Allah will exalt those of You who believe, and those who are given knowledge in higher degrees (58:11); To Him do ascend the good words; and the good deed lifts them up (35:10). What ascends to Allah is the good words, that is, true belief and knowledge; good deeds lift up the good words and help them in their ascension, without themselves going up. We shall fully discuss this verse when we shall reach it.


as-Sadiq (a.s.) said about the meaning of worship: "Worship is of three kinds: some people worship Allah, because they fear Him - so it is the worship of slaves; and a group worships Allah, Blessed and High is He, to seek reward - so it is the worship of hirelings; and a group worships Allah, Mighty and Great is He, because of (His) love - and this is the worship of noble persons, and it is the most excellent worship." (al-Kafi)

Verily, some people worshipped Allah being desirous (Of His reward) - so this is the worship of traders; and some people worshipped Allah fearing (His punishment) - so it is the worship of slaves, and a group worshipped Allah in gratitude (to Him) so this is the worship of noble men. (Nahju 'I-balaghah)

as-Sadiq (as.) said: 'Verily people worship Allah in three ways: One group worships Him in desire of His reward, and it is the worship of covetous ones, and it is greed; and others Worship Him in dread of the Fire, and it is the worship of slaves, and it is fear; but I worship Him in His love - Mighty and Great is He and this is the worship of noble ones. (It is) because Allah has said: and they shall be secure from terror on that days (27: 89); and He has said, Say: If You love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you... (3:31). Therefore, whosoever is loved by Allah, he shall be among the secure ones; and it is a hidden position, cannot touch it save the purified ones." (al-Ilal, al-Majalis and al-Khisal)

The author says: The meaning of these traditions may be understood from the preceding commentary. The Imams (of Ahlu 'I-bayt) have variously attributed the worship of the noble ones sometimes to gratitude and sometimes to love, because in final analysis both are one and the same. Gratitude and thank means putting the received bounty in its proper place. It is the thank of worship that it should be addressed to Allah, as only He, Himself, deserves to be worshipped. A115h is worshipped because He is Allah, that is, because He alone holds all attributes of beauty and glory. He, of all things, is Beautiful; He alone is loved for Himself. What is love? It is inclination and attraction towards beauty. We say: He is worshipped because He is He; We may express the same idea if we say: He is worshipped because He is beautiful and beloved. Again, the same theme may be explained by saying that He is worshipped because He is the Bestower of favors and is thanked through worship. All three expressions carry the same import. It has been narrated through Sunni chains that as-Sadiq (a.s.) explained the verse, "Thee do we worship..." in these words: "We do not ask from Thee other than Thee, and we do not worship Thee by substitute and replacement, as do those who are ignorant of Thee, removed from Thee."

The author says: This tradition points to what has been explained in the commentary that worship demands presence (of heart) and purity (of intention) which does not allow diversion to any substitute, to anything else. as-Sadiq (a.s.) said inter alia in a tradition: "And whosoever thinks that he worships (Allah) by (His) attributes without being conscious of Him, he refers (his worship) to an absent one; and whosoever thinks that he worships the attribute and the person (having that attribute) he nullifies monotheism, because the attribute is other than the person; and whosoever thinks that he ascribes the person to the attribute, he belittles the Great One, 'and the do not assign to Allah His proper prestige..." (Tuhafu 'I-'uqul)

as-Sadiq (a.s.) explained the verse: Guide us to the straight path, in these words: "Guide us to adhere to the path that leads to Thy love, and conveys to Thy Garden, (the path that) prevents us from following our desires (lest we be ruined) and from adhering to our opinions (lest we be destroyed). (Ma'ani 'I-akhbar)

The same book quotes 'Ali (a.s.) as saying about this verse: "Continue for us Thy help with which we obeyed Thee in our past days, so that we continue to obey Thee in our coming days also.

The author says: The two traditions point to two aspects of the reply of the previously mentioned objection - that the prayer for guidance, addressed by a person already guided aright, is trying to obtain a thing in hand, and that it was asking for impossible. The first tradition looks at the difference in the grades of guidance, and the second looks at oneness of guidance in its reality. Again Ma'ani 'I-akhbar quotes 'Ali (a.s.) as saying: "The straight path, in this world, is that which stops short of excesses and rises above shortcomings, and remains straight; and, in the next world, it is the path of the believers (leading them) to the Garden. "

The same book quotes the same Imam, explaining the verse: The path of those..., as follows: "Say: Guide us to the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors by strengthening them for Thy religion and Thy obedience - not (of those whom Thou favored) with wealth and health because such things are sometimes given even to the disbeliever or to the sinful." (Then he said:) "And those (bestowed with divine favor) are those about whom Allah says: And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous ones, and excellent are these as companion (4:69).

ar-Rida (a.s.) narrates through his forefathers from Amiral al-mu'minin (a.s.) that he said: "I heard the Apostle of Allah saying: 'Allah, Mighty and Great is He, has said: "I have divide the Opening of the Book between Myself and My servant; so, half is for Me and the (other) half is for My servant. And My servant shall get what he asks for." When the servant says: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Allah, Great is His Glory, says: "My servant has started with My name, an it is incumbent upon Me that I should complete his works him and bless him in his affairs." And when he says: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, Allah, Great is His Glory says: "My servant has Praised Me, and he knows that the bounties that are with him are from Me, and that the misfortunate that have been averted from him were so averted by My grace; (O My angels!) I appoint You as My witnesses that I shall add for him the favors of the next world to those of this world, and will avert from him the calamities of the next world as I have averted from him the calamities of this world." And when he says, The Beneficent, the Merciful, Allah, Great is His Glory, says: "My servant bore witness for Me that I am the Beneficent, the MercifuI; I make you My witness that I will most surely augment his share in My mercy, and I will most certainly increase his portion My bounties." And when he says, The Master of the Day of Judgment, Allah, the High, says: "I make you My witness that, as he has acknowledged that I am the Master of the Day of Judgment I will most certainly make his reckoning easier (for him) on the Day of Reckoning, and I will most certainly accept his good deed and look over his sins." And when he says: Thee do we worship, Allah, Mighty and Great is He, says: "My servant is telling truth, He worships Me only. Be My witness that I will most surely give him for his worship a reward that will be the (object of) envy to all who opposed him when he worshipped Me." And when he says, and Thee do we beseech for help, Allah, the High, says: "From Me has My servant sought help, and in Me has he taken refuge. Be My witness that I will most certainly help him in his affairs, and will aid him in his difficulties, and will take his hand in his calamities." And when he says, Guide us to the eight path..., Allah, Mighty and Great is He, says: "This (part) is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for; and I have answered (the prayer of) My servant, and have given him what he hopes for and have protected him from what he is afraid of." ' " ('Uyunu 'I-akhbar).

The author says: as-Saduq has narrated in 'Ilalu 'sh-shara'i', an almost similar tradition from ar-Rida (a.s.). The tradition explains the chapter of The Opening in the frame of the daily prayer. It further confirms the previously mentioned fact that this divine revelation has been sent, as though on behalf of the servants of Allah, to teach them the manners of servitude; to show them how to praise their Lord and how to declare their allegiance to Him. It is a chapter made especially for the purpose of worship; and no other chapter comes near to it in this respect. For example: -

1. The entire chapter is a divine speech, revealed on behalf of His servant, so that he may recite it when he stands to worship his Lord.

2. It is divided in two parts: one for Allah and the other for the servant.

3. It contains, in spite of its brevity, all the Qur'anic wisdom. The Qur'an is a vast treasure of fundamental truths, moral values and the most comprehensive shari'ah which consists of the rules of worship and mutual dealings, as well as the penal and civil codes. Further it is a valuable mine of divine promises and threats, stories of previous peoples as well as parables and moral lessons. But, in spite of this wide scope, all its teachings may be returned to four fundamental truths: the Oneness of God, the prophethood, the resurrection (with all its details) and the guidance of mankind to its bliss in this world as well as in the next. Needless to reiterate that this chapter contains all these basic realities in these very short, and at the same time very eloquent, sentence.

It will not be out of place to compare the beauty, glory and spirituality of this chapter, used in the Muslims' prayers, with the Lord's prayer, used by the Christians in their prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

for ever. Amen. (Matthews 6:9 -13)

Ponder deeply on the teachings contained in these sentences, supposed to be of divine revelation, and see what manners of servitude does this prayer teach. First it tells them that their Father (i.e. God, in their terminology) is in heaven. Then it prays about the Father that His name be hallowed, His kingdom come and His will be done in earth as it is in heaven. The question is: Who will fulfill these wishes which look more like political slogans than spiritual invocation. Then it makes them ask for their daily bread, and for His forgiveness in lieu of their forgiveness - that He should waive His rights as they have waived theirs. But what right do they possess except that which they have been given by God Himself? Then they beseech Him not to lead them into temptation but to deliver them from evil. This is asking for impossible, because this world is the place appointed for our test and trial, so that we may acquire spiritual perfection. Would not salvation lose its meaning, if there was no test and trial?

And yet some orientalists have temerity to write: "Islam does not have any superiority over other religions, so far as spiritual knowledge is concerned, because all divine religions invite the men to the belief in one God, and ask them to purify themselves by good character and virtuous deeds. The religions excel one another only in deep-rootedness of their social fruits."

Other Traditions

It is narrated in Man la yahduruhu'l-faqih and at-Tafsir of al-'Ayyashi that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "The straight path is Amiru'l-mu'minin (a.s.)."

as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "(The Straight path) is the path to the knowledge of Allah. And there are two paths, one in this world and the other in the next. As for the path in this world, it is the Imam whose obedience is obligatory; whosoever knows him in this world and follows his guidance, he shall proceed on the path which is the bridge over the hell in the next world; and whosoever does not know him in this world, his foot shall slip (over that bridge) in the next world, and he shall fall down into the fire of the hell." (Ma'ani 'l-akhbar)

The same book quotes as-Sajad (a.s-) as saying: "There no curtain between Allah and His proof, nor is there any screen for Allah against His proof. We are the gates of Allah, and we are the straight path, and we are the (treasure) chest of His Knowledge, and we are, the interpreters of His revelation, and we are the pillars of His Oneness, and we are the place of His secret."

Ibn Shahrashub has quoted from at-Tafsir of Waki' Ibn al-Jarrah from ath-Thawri from as-Suddi from Asbat and Mujahid from ibn 'Abbas that he said about the verse: Guide us to the straight path: "Say O group of the servants (of Allah): Lead us to the love of Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his family members."

The author says: There are other traditions of the same meaning. Such traditions are based on the "flow" of the Qur'an, that is, application of the Qur'an wherever it is applicable. It should be noted that the term, "flow" - and it will often be used in this book - has been taken from the traditions of the Imams of Ahlu 'I-bayt (a.s.):

al-Fudayl ibn Yasar said: "I asked Abu Ja'far (a.s.) about the tradition, 'There is no verse in the Qur'an but it has an exterior and an interior, and there is no word in it but it has a boundary, and every boundary has a watching place.' (I asked him) what was the meaning of exterior and interior. The Imam said: 'Its exterior is its revelation and its interior is its interpretation; some of it has already passed (i.e. happened) and some of it has not come about yet; it runs along (or flows) as run the sun and the moon; when a thing of it comes (to its appointed place and time) it happens... (at-Tafsir, of al-'Ayyashi)

This theme is found in other traditions too. It is the convention of the Imams of Ahlu 'I-bayt (a.s.) that they apply a Qur'anic verse to all things it may be applied to. And this convention was correct and reasonable, because the Qur'an was revealed as a "guidance to the worlds"; it guides the mankind to correct belief, correct ethics and correct action. The matter of belief that it has explained is eternal truth; it is not limited to a certain time or certain place. The virtue or vice and the rules laid down for them are not confined to one person or one period - they are general and applicable to all relevant persons and times. The traditions explaining the background of revelation of a certain verse - when, why and about whom or what was it revealed - do not affect its general import. The rule is not restricted to that particular person or event; otherwise, it would cease to be valid in other similar conditions, and would die with the death of that person. The Qur'anic declaration is general. If it praises some persons, or condemns some others, it is because of the presence of good or evil characteristics in them. And wherever those good or evil characteristics are found, even in later generations, the verse will in all truth be applied to them. The Qur'an itself proves it, as Allah says: With it (i.e., the Qur'an) Allah guides him who follows His pleasure into the ways of safety... (5:16); ...and most surely it is a Mighty Book, falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it (41:41 - 42); Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian (15:9).

There are numerous traditions, perhaps reaching to hundreds, which apply various verses of the Qur'an to the lmams or to their enemies. They are called the traditions of "flow." But now that the general principle has been explained, we shall not include those traditions in this Book - except where it becomes necessary for the explanation of a verse or for some reasoning or discussion.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

17 Shahr Ramadan - Battle of Badr

HE WAR OF NERVES BETWEEN THE QURAYSH AND THE MUSLIMS could escalate into open hostilities at any time. Abu Jahl was one of the "hawks" in Makkah who carried on a non-stop private war against Muhammad Mustafa and his followers. His jingoism kept Makkah in a state of constant agitation.

V. C. Bodley

Abu Jahl's monomania about Mohammed had remained at boiling point. He kept raiding parties continually on the move, attacking any isolated parties of Moslems which could be ambushed. He made forays into the suburbs of Medina and damaged crops and gardens. He let Mohammed see that his feelings had not changed, that his intentions were still murderous. (The Messenger, the Life of Mohammed, New York, 1946)

In early March 624, reports were received in Medina that a caravan of Quraysh was returning to Makkah from Syria. The caravan was carrying not only merchandise but also weapons. It was estimated that the caravan had made a profit of 50,000 dinars (pieces of gold). The weapons and the newly-acquired wealth were to be used, according to the same reports, to equip an army to fight against the Muslims. The caravan was led by Abu Sufyan, the chief of the clan of Banu Umayya.

Muhammad Mustafa decided to intercept the Makkan caravan. He appointed Abu Lababa as governor of Medina, and left the city with a force of 313 men. Of these 80 were Muhajirs, and 233 were the Ansars. Their destination was Badr, a village in the south-west of Medina where they expected to make contact with the Makkan caravan.

The Muslims did not know it then that they would never see the caravan of the Quraysh, and that they would, instead, be engaged in an encounter, on the battlefield, with the army of the Quraysh.

In the meantime, the Makkan spies also informed Abu Sufyan that a body of Muslims had left Medina, and was rapidly moving toward his caravan. As soon as he heard this, he abandoned thecustomary caravan route, led the caravan westward to the Red Sea coast, and then turned south toward Makkah via an off-beat track. He also sent a messenger to Makkah asking for aid. In Makkah, Abu Jahl was already busy whipping up public fury against the Muslims, following the incident at Nakhla. He eagerly responded to Abu Sufyan's appeal, and led out of Makkah a force of 1000 warriors including a cavalry of 100, against the Muslims. A train of 700 camels carried materials for war and other supplies. The infantry was wearing chain-mail and armor.

Muhammad Mustafa did not know that an army had left Makkah and was marching toward Medina to protect the caravan of the Quraysh, and to challenge the Muslims. When the Prophet arrived in the environs of Badr, he sent Ali ibn Abi Talib to reconnoiter the surrounding country. At the wells of Badr, Ali surprised some water-carriers. In reply to his questions, they told him that they were carrying water for an army which came from Makkah, and which was encamped on the other side of the nearby hills.

Ali brought the water-carriers before the Prophet of Islam. From them he learned that the caravan of the Quraysh had already escaped, and that the Muslims, at that very moment, were confronted by the army of Makkah.

Sir William Muir

On reaching the neighborhood of Badr, Mohammed sent forward Ali, with a few others, to reconnoiter the rising ground above the springs. There they surprised three water-carriers of the enemy, as they were about to fill their sheepskins. One escaped to the Coreish; the other two were captured and taken to the Moslem army. From them Mohammed discovered the proximity of his enemy. There were 950 men; more than threefold the number of the Moslem army. They were mounted on 700 camels and 100 horses, the horsemen all clad in mail. (The Life of Mohammed, London, 1877)

This most vital intelligence was received through Ali ibn Abi Talib. His action, on the one hand, alerted the Muslims; and on the other, robbed the enemy of the advantage of surprise. The Muslims were ready to meet him.

Nevertheless, the presence of an active, aggressive and menacing enemy, instead of a rich caravan, within close proximity, had changed the entire situation for the Muslims, and they had to make a fresh assessment of the perils and possibilities of a confrontation with him. They were poorly equipped, and had only two horses and 70 camels with them. Some of them had swords but no shields and others had shields but no swords. The Prophet who was aware of these apparent handicaps, called a council of war, and put the matter before his companions for consideration and decision.

The first man who rose to speak on this critical occasion, was Miqdad. He voiced the feelings and thoughts of the Muhajireen when he said: "O Messenger of God, do what God has commanded you to do. We are with you, now and at all times; and we shall not tell you what the Israelites told Moses: ‘You and your Lord should go and fight against the enemy; as for us, we shall stay here, and sit here.' No, we shall not imitate the Israelites. We shall follow you and obey your orders."

Muhammad gave his blessings to Miqdad. But Miqdad was a Muhajir, and Muhammad was anxious to know what the Ansar would do. He had assumed that the Ansar would fight in the defense of Medina itself but might not like to fight outside their city. Sensing his anxiety, Saad ibn Muadh, one of the leaders of the Ansar, rose and said: "We have borne witness that you are the Messenger of God. We have given you our pledge to obey you. Wherever you go, we shall go with you. If there is a showdown with the polytheists, we shall be steadfast in our support to you. In war and in peace, we shall be consistently faithful to you."

This unequivocal declaration of support by the leader of the Ansar, pleased the Apostle, and he invoked the blessings of God upon them all. He knew that neither the battle of Badr nor any other battle could be fought without the support of the Ansar. The Ansar were, in fact, indispensable for success in the struggle between Islam and paganism, as noted before.

Materially and numerically, the Muslims were at a disadvantage but these disadvantages were offset by their morale. They had faith in the inspired leadership of Muhammad. And they were united. Their unity and singleness of purpose were going to be a source of immense strength to them in the forthcoming contest with the Makkan army.

With the support of the Ansar assured, Muhammad Mustafa took the decision to accept the challenge of the Quraysh. He and the rank-and-file of the army of Medina appear to have been fully aware that the outcome of the contest with the foe on the following day, would be overwhelming in its effects.

Sir William Muir

Mohammed was fully alive to the critical situation. The fate of Islam hung upon the issue of the approaching battle. (The Life of Mohammed, London, 1877)

The Prophet ordered the Muslims to pitch their tents on the ground where they had halted. But a young man of the Ansar pointed out the advantages of choosing another campsite where the ground was higher and firmer, and he also suggested that the Muslims take possession of all the wells of Badr. His suggestions were forthwith accepted.

S. Margoliouth

Hubab son of al-Mundhir, the Prophet's junior by twenty years, having ascertained that they were engaged in ordinary warfare, and possessing a special knowledge of the wells in the neighborhood, advised the Prophet to get in front of all except one, round which they should make a reservoir, so as to have a constant supply of water for the troops; the possession of this valuable element would then save the day. The Prophet welcomed the suggestion and placed his force under Hubab's guidance. (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, London, 1931)

Events soon proved that Hubab's suggestion was an excellent one, and its acceptance by the Prophet gave the Muslims a great tactical advantage over the enemy.

The battle of Badr was fought in the second year of Hijra, on the 17th of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (March 15, 624). The Makkan army moved out of its camp early in the morning to meet the Muslims. The two armies ranged themselves in battle formation. The Prophet took a bow in his hand and walked between the lines dressing the rows of the Muslims. His last act before the battle began, was to pray to God to grant victory to His humble slaves.

The battle began in the traditional Arab manner of warfarein which a champion of one side rode or stepped out of his line, and challenged the heroes of the enemy to meet him in single combat. This gave him an opportunity to win personal glory by showing his own bravery, his strength and his skills at horsemanship. The two armies often served as a kind of chorus for combats between a few boastful heroes. After these initial duels, it was customary for the two armies to attack each other, and to engage in hand-to-hand fighting.

From the Makkan side, three warriors, Utbah the son of Rabia; Shaiba, his brother; and Walid, his son; came out into the open space between the two armies, and challenged the Muslims. Their challenge was taken up by Hamza, an uncle of Muhammad and Ali; Obaida ibn al-Harith, a cousin of Muhammad and Ali; and Ali ibn Abi Talib.

Walid bin Utbah was one of the fiercest warriors of Makkah. Ali found himself facing him. They were the youngest pair, and they were the first to engage in fighting. The other two pairs paused, to watch the young warriors in action. The two young men exchanged a few blows, and then Ali struck the blow which killed Walid.

As soon as Walid was killed, the other warriors also charged at each other. Hamza killed Utbah. But Obaida was mortally wounded by Shaiba. When Ali saw Obaida collapsing, he attacked Shaiba, and killed him too. With their opponents dead, and no one in the field, Ali and Hamza carried Obaida back into the Muslim lines where he succumbed to his wounds. He was the first Muslim to be killed in the battle-field.

Sir William Muir

The two brothers, Shaiba and Otba, and Walid, the son of Otba, advanced into the space between the armies, and defied three champions from the army of Mohammed to meet them singly. Mohammed turning to his kinsmen, said: "Ye, sons of Hashim! Arise and fight, according to your right." Then Hamza, Obeida, and Ali, the uncle and cousins of the Prophet, went forth. Hamza wore an ostrich feather in his breast, and a white plume distinguished the helmet of Ali. Then Otba called on his son, Walid, "Arise and fight." So Walid stepped forth and Ali came out against him. They were the youngest of the six. The combat was short; Walid fell mortally wounded by the sword of Ali.

(The Life of Mohammed, London, 1877)

Sir John Glubb

Three Meccan chiefs, Otba, Shaiba and Waleed, the son of Otba, advanced in front of the line of Quraish and defied three Muslims to meet them in single combat. Mohammed turning to the Emigrants called out: "O Beni Hashim, stand up and fight." Three men in chain-mail stepped from the Muslim ranks. They were Hamza, the Prophet's uncle; Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin, and the first male convert; and Ubaida ibn Harith.

The youngest pair engaged first, Ali stepping forward to meet Waleed. After a few moments of fencing, Waleed fell by the sword of his Muslim opponent. Then Hamza engaged Otba and cut him down. Ubaida ibn Harith, the third Muslim champion, received a fatal wound from Shaiba. Ali and Hamza hastily dispatched Shaiba, carrying Ubaida to die in the Muslim lines. (The Great Arab Conquests, 1963)

Badr was the first encounter, on the battle-field, between Islam and Heathenism. It was opened on the side of Islam, by Ali ibn Abi Talib, the young lion, and his victory was the signal of the triumph of Islam. All other battles of Islam followed the same pattern; Ali was the victor in every one of them

Quraysh had sent three champions against the Muslims, and all three had been slain. Abu Jahl, therefore, was not very eager to take further chances with Ali and Hamza, and he ordered his troops to advance. The Makkans charged the Muslims but could not break their formations. They charged again and again but the Muslim line held firm under the command of Ali and Hamza.

The Makkans were regrouping for a new attack when the Prophet signaled the Muslims to advance. Ali and Hamza led the counter-charge, and both of them carried slaughter and dismay into the thickest of the enemy ranks. Many of the Makkan leaders and officers were killed, among them Abu Jahl himself. After his death, the idolaters were unable to regroup, and they began to retreat. The Muslims pressed their advantage, and the Makkan retreat soon became a rout.

Islam had won its first and the most important victory!

S. Margoliouth

It certainly appears that the winning of this most important fight was in the main due to the prowess of Ali and Hamza. The Prophet is said to have bestowed especial praise on the valor of Simak s/o Kharashah;Sahl s/o Hunaif; al-Harith s/o al-Simmah; and Kais s/o al-Rabi; all of them Medinese. (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, London, 1931)

Tor Andre

By noon the battle was over. The Quraysh fled. Forty-nine of the enemy had fallen and Ali had killed twenty-two, either alone or with the help of others. An equal number was captured. The believers had lost fourteen men on the field of battle. (Mohammed, the Man and his Faith, 1960)

As noted above, Badr is the most important battle in the entire history of Islam, and one of the most important in world history. Victory guaranteed the existence of Islam, and the physical survival of the Muslim community of Medina which heretofore had appeared, at best, to be precarious.

A. Nicholson

But the importance of Mohammed's success (in the battle of Badr) cannot be measured by the material damage which he inflicted (upon the pagans of Mecca). Considering the momentous issues involved, we must allow that Badr, like Marathon, is one of the greatest and most memorable battles in all history. (A Literary History of the Arabs, 1969)

Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Battle of Badr

The architect of the Victory of Islam at Badr, without any doubt, was Ali ibn Abi Talib. M. Shibli, the Indian historian who wrote the most authoritative biographies in Urdu of Umar bin al-Khattab and of the Prophet of Islam, says in his Life of the Apostle, that the hero of the battle of Badr is Ali ibn Abi Talib.

F. E. Peters

Badr was a Muslim triumph, as total as it was unexpected; the Muslims lost 14 men and the Quraysh from 50 to 70, including their leader, Abu Jahl. It was an immense psychological victory and there was plentiful booty for the economically distressed Emigrants. This was no mere raid, however. It pitted Muslim against non-Muslim in Holy War, and fathers against sons in civil strife. The Quraysh casualties were extraordinarily high, and since most of them had occurred among the chiefs, the leadership at Mecca was permanently crippled. (Allah's Commonwealth, 1973)

The leadership of the polytheists of Makkah was indeed permanently crippled at Badr. The hero responsible for this was Ali. He alone killed 22 Makkans, twelve of them being the leading members of the clan of Banu Umayya. The rest of the army of Islam killed another 27 pagans.

Among the spoils of the battle of Badr was a sword which was to become the most famous sword in the whole history of Islam. Its name was Dhul-Fiqar.

Washington Irving

Among the spoils of the battle of Badr was a famous sword of admirable temper called Dhul-Fiqar, or the Piercer. Mohammed ever afterwards bore it when in battle, and his son-in-law, Ali, inherited it at his death. (The Life of Mohammed)

Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the translator and commentator of Qur’an, says that the battle of Badr is called the Furqaan in Muslim theology, because it was the first trial of strength by battle, in Islam, between the powers of good and evil. Furqaan means criterion between right and wrong; decision between the forces of Faith and Unbelief. The battle of Badr is called by this name.

The Prisoners of War

The Muslims captured fifty prisoners of war. They were brought before the Prophet who had to decide what to do with them. He consulted his companions in the matter. Umar advised him to kill them all, but Abu Bakr advised him to set them free for ransom. The Prophet accepted Abu Bakr's advice.

Since there was no house of detention in Medina, the Prophet distributed the prisoners among the Muslim families. These families treated their prisoners as if they were their guests. Some of them fed their own food to their "guests" and themselves went hungry. They actually embarrassed their prisoners by their solicitude for their welfare. The rich prisoners were released for a ransom. Those prisoners who could not pay a ransom but could read and write, were asked to teach these arts to the Muslim children, and when they did, they were also released. Those prisoners who were destitute, were released without any ransom.

Results of the Battle of Badr

Victory at Badr invested Islam with immense prestige. The threat to the security of Medina was averted, and Muhammad Mustafa could now lay the foundations of the first and the last Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

S. Margoliouth

No event in the history of Islam was of more importance than this battle (Badr); Koran rightly calls it the Day of Deliverance, the day before which the Moslems were weak, after which they were strong. Wealth, fame, honor, power, all of them were secured or at any rate brought within reach by the Day of Deliverance. (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, London, 1931)

One lamentable outcome of the battle of Badr, however, was that Islam's victory kindled new and fiercer fires of hatred and hostility in the breasts of the Banu Umayya against Muhammad Mustafa and Ali ibn Abi Talib. Their hatred and jealousy of Banu Hashim had spanned many generations. But after the battle of Badr, their hostility was focused on Ali and on the children of Muhammad Mustafa.

If to the Muslims, Ali was the symbol of the triumph of Islam, to the Banu Umayya, he was the symbol of the destruction of their polytheism and their privileges. Therefore, they, their generations to come, and their friends and their supporters, never forgave Ali for the role he played before, during and after the battle of Badr. Their hatred is understandable. It was Ali, and Ali alone who had struck, not only at Badr, but in every encounter, at the massive, coordinated and concentrated power of heathendom, and had destroyed it.

Source: http://www.al-islam.org/restatement/22.htm

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Namaz/Amaal for any one day in the Holy Month of Ramadhan

I've received this every year for the past few years in e-mail, but I don't know of the source - if anyone has it please let us know.

Recite a 12 rakaat namaz in twos.

In each rakaat after Surae Al-hamd, recite 25 times Surae Ikhlaas.

After finishing this prayer, recite 70 times:


Next recite 70 times:


The reward as mentioned above is given as soon as one lifts his/her head from the last sajdah.

(Please forward this to as many people as you can and do remember us in your duas.)

The a'amaal has the following benefits, if done on any one day in
Holy Ramadhan.

ALL your sins are forgiven.
Sawab of seven hundred thousand for going to Hajj.
Sawab of seven hundred thousand for going to Umra.
Sawab of seven hundred nights of doing ibadaat after getting up from sleep.
Sawab of having kept seven hundred fasts.
To be kept away from the calamities of this life and of the hereafter.
One will always say the right religious things.
If the person dies in the same year, he/she will get the status of a martyr.
Last but not least, assurance that one will safely get into paradise after death.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

About The Birth of Imam Hassan (as) on 15 Shahr Ramadan

Imam Hasan Mujtaba - upon whom be peace - was the second Imam. He and his brother Imam Husayn were the two sons of Amir al-mu'minin Ali and Hadrat Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet. Many times the Prophet had said, "Hasan and Husayn are my children." Because of these same words Ali would say to his other children, "You are my children and Hasan and Husayn are the children of the Prophet."

Imam Hasan was born in the year 3 A.H. in Medina and shared in the life of the Prophet for somewhat over seven years, growing up during that time under his loving care. After the death of the Prophet which was no more than three, or according to some, six months earlier than the death of Hadrat Fatimah, Hasan was placed directly under the care of his noble father. After the martyrdom of his father, through Divine Command Imam Hasan became Imam; he also occupied the outward function of caliph for about six months, during which time he administered the affairs of the Muslims. During that time Mu'awiayh, who was a bitter enemy of Ali and his family and had fought for years with the ambition of capturing the caliphate, first on the pretext of avenging the death of the third caliph and finally with an open claim to the caliphate, marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Imam Hasan's caliphate. War ensued during which Mu'awiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Imam Hasan's army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against Imam Hasan.

In this way Mu'awiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and entered Iraq. In a public speech he officially made null and void all the conditions and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon the members of the Household of the Prophet and the Shi'ah. During all the ten years of his imamate, Imam Hasan lived in conditions of extreme hardship and under persecution, with no security even in his own house. In the year 50 A.H. he was poisoned and martyred by one of his own household who, as has been accounted by historians, had been motivated by Mu'awiyah.

In human perfection Imam Hasan was reminiscent of his father and a perfect example of his noble grandfather. In fact, as long as the Prophet was alive, he and his brother were always in the company of the Prophet who even sometimes would carry them on his shoulders. Both Sunni and Shi'ite sources have transmitted this saying of the Holy Prophet concerning Hasan and Husayn: "These two children of mine are Imams whether they stand up or sit down" (allusion to whether they occupy the external function of caliphate or not). Also there are many traditions of the Holy Prophet and Ali concerning the fact that Imam Hasan would gain the function of imamate after his noble father.

Source: Shia by Allamah Tabatabai (ra)