Waʿaz Mubarak 4
5th Moharram al-Haraam, 1439 – Reflections
Spirituality in a material world is not easily achieved. The distractions and burdens of this life, mental and physical, inhibit the pursuit of loftier ideals and principles. Aale Mohammed AS and their Du’at Mutlaqeen are the means by which Mumineen obtain this spirituality through knowledge and action. Taʾweel is particularly important for this process since its very definition is to go back to the origins, to move from exoteric understandings to deeper esoteric meaning — from the physical to the spiritual. The teaching of taʾweel in Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is important for this reason alongside the other subjects al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS has mentioned in his previous mawa’iz shareefah.
Nabi Mohammed SA obligated seeking knowledge upon every Muslim man and woman. In today’s waʿaz mubarak, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS explained that what is already obvious or apparent is not sought. Rasulullah’s SAW statement must refer to knowledge which is hidden and therefore requires finding. This hidden knowledge is taʾweel (esoteric knowledge). Maulana al-Min’aam TUS went on to felicitate the Mumineen gathered before him for they had, in their talab and quest for knowledge arrived at the majaalis of Imam Husain AS in which all forms of knowledge are found: zaahir (exoteric), baatin (esoteric) and haqeeqat (essential truths and reality).
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS described the important process by which spirituality becomes physicality and results in what is referred to as tanzeel: that which has descended. Rasulullah SAW took the fayd (divine effluence) that descended upon him from his Lord and transformed it into physical forms: words in the Arabic language and actions which came together as the shariʾat garraaʾ. This is collectively known as tanzeel. The process described here, however, is not easily achieved. The fayd is spiritual, yet must take a physical form for it is meant for individuals confined to the physical realm. The purpose of ensuring that this spiritual fayd reaches those in the physical realm is so that they too may return to their original spirituality by virtue of this fayd. Taʾweel is critical to regaining spirituality since, in one sense, it reverses the process by identifying the spiritual origins of tanzeel.
In a Mumin’s transformation from physical to spiritual, mohabbat is the most important element. Maulana al-Min’aam TUS illustrated mohabbat’s power in transforming the physical to spiritual by highlighting the manner, physically unimaginable, by which thousands of Mumineen gathered in Mumbai for the janaza mubaraka of al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. They arrived from far and wide and in so little time, as if their spirituality overcame the physical constraints that would otherwise have hindered them from reaching Maula. Throughout his pious life, Syedna Burhanuddin RA raised Mumineen in their spirituality, and in his wafaat as well, he gathered them all together, bonded them to him and raised them even further.
Wali Allah’s AS miracle is the spirituality he gives to both a Mumin’s life and his death. Maulana al-Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq AS addressed a group of his followers in Madina and said to them:
You loved us; others disliked us. You considered us your leaders (Moulas); others dismissed us. You believed in us; others rejected us. You maintained relations with us while others severed them.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that a Mumin’s relation with imam and his dai bears these four characteristics: love, walaayat (the acceptance of him being Maula), belief and silat (maintaining relations). Thereafter, Imam AS offered a moving prayer where he stated, ‘May Allah Ta’ala render your lives our lives, and your deaths our deaths.’
The four traits described by Imam AS are present in the phrase Inni wa Allahi uhibbuka ya Maulaya. Almost every Mumin knows of this powerful phrase uttered by the ghulaam of the Bani Riyah clan of Madina. In today’s waʿaz mubarak, however, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS enlightened us further with a deeper analysis of the incident linking it with Imam’s AS above kalaam mubarak. In his oft-repeated declaration, the ghulaam of Bani Riya professed his love, addressed Maulana Ali AS as Maula, verbally expressed his belief in Amirul Mumineen AS and never failed to utter these words whenever he met him, a sign of his continuous relationship. Syedna TUS said that in all his years as a slave, shackled and deprived of his freedom, the ghulaam never requested Amirul Mumineen AS to free him. His only statement was ‘My Maula, I swear by Allah that I love you.’ It was this love, Maula TUS explained, that had enabled the ghulaam to live with the difficulties of his life, the chains and shackles, the darkness of his prison cell. The knowledge of his love for Ali AS and the reassurance of his deedaar freed him from the pain of all his difficulties. Although confined in physicality, he was spiritually free, and this freedom was made apparent at the time of his passing.
In explaining the taʾweel of the Quran Majeed, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS discussed how certain scholars interpret the various references to the prophets’ lives literally. For example, Maulana TUS spoke of how some interpretations of Adam Nabi’s AS account in the Quran claim that Adam Nabi AS and Hawwa AS were allowed to live in Heaven, but prohibited from eating grapes or, according to others, figs. Then, as a punishment for their transgression, they were stripped of their clothes. Maulana TUS clarified that to allow one to live in such a glorious place, but deny such a trivial thing was not logical. Moreover, a punishment that strips one’s servant of their clothes would be cause for censure and rebuke even in our world and can hardly be acceptable from the Creator of the universe. The truth is that these narratives carry hidden meanings in the form of taʾweel.
Why does the Quran Majeed then have this style that seems contradicting and confusing? Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS declared that there is no contradiction in the Quran. The style is deliberate for it forces those who do not understand its apparent understandings to seek its hidden explanations, its taʾweel, which can only be found with the imam and his dai.
Tanzeel and taʾweel go hand in hand. This truth is made evident in the incident where the Nabi Mohammed’s SAW sandal strap broke. Amirul Mumineen AS took the sandal in order to mend it and began sewing the strap back in place. At that time, Rasulullah SAW turned to his companions and announced, ‘As I have fought for the apparent aspects of the Quran (tanzeel), there is amongst you the one who will fight for its hidden (taʾweel).’ Various individuals who vied for this honour enquired with Rasulullah SAW whether they were the ones destined for this position. However, Rasulullah SAW denied them and simply stated, ‘it is the mender of the sandal’ referring to Maulana Ali AS. Maulana Saifuddin TUS proceeded to reveal the various allusions regarding the importance of Rasulullah’s SAW sandal and what it meant for Amirul Mumineen AS to sew and mend it. He explained the relevance of sandals in taʾweel and gave references to various other historical incidents which highlight the importance of Wali Allah AS and his qadam mubarak.
The 45th al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Tayyeb Zainuddin RA was elder to his brother the 44th al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin RA and was in the office of mukasir when the latter became dai. He took his respected brother Syedna Ezzuddin’s RA slippers from the khadim and placed them on his aqdaam mubaraka himself. When Maulana Ezzuddin RA protested as to why he was doing this he replied, ‘today you are the dai and I, your lowly serf’.
Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA had innumerable requests for him to visit Mumineen’s households. Often he would send his mansoos Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA in his stead saying, ‘take bhai Burhanuddin, for fortune lies lies beneath his feet’. Syedna al-Dai Ajal TUS explained that this ‘fortune beneath Burhanuddin Maula’s RA feet’ was both a material kind as well as a spiritual — it would manifest itself in terms of worldly prosperity as well as in the tears that fall from eyes in tandem with the repeated call of ‘Ya Husain, Ya Husain!’
Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS narrated how once an individual considered by some as a companion of the Nabi SAW, who Maula TUS described as lanky, took one of Maulana Ali’s AS sandals and placed it at a height where he thought Amirul Mumineen AS would not be able to reach. His intention was to ridicule Maulana Ali AS. What transpired was that Amirul Mumineen AS lifted a pillar of the masjid and placed it on the man’s clothing in such a way that when he went to stand he could not get up from his spot. A clamour ensued as people surrounded him and spied his plight. He became the object of ridicule instead.
In discussing the sublime, non-material manifestation of spirituality Malauna TUS spoke of the Hajar-e-Aswad, the Black Stone of the Ka’aba. The aforementioned companion of foiled intent, once stood by it and declared that he did not know if kissing the stone had any benefit or any detriment and that he kissed it only because he had seen Rasulullah SAW do so. Witness to this blasphemy, Maulana Ali AS responded instantly stating that it did indeed benefit and cause detriment. Amirul Mumineen AS recognized that the comment was intended as a swipe at Rasulullah SAW and at his shariʿah gharraʾ, effectively intended to mean that neither had any basis in truth. Maulana Ali AS, the guardian of the exoteric and esoteric faith, would not let him get away with doing so without reply. The love for the ‘who’ or ‘what’ Hajar-e-Aswad and the shariʿah gharraʾ represent does indeed benefit, and failure to do so does indeed lead to harm. The benefit or detriment will take place according to the individual’s walaayat or enmity. It is like pure honey which has the property to heal but if taken by someone suffering from leprosy it will instead lead to death.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then related the well known instance between Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq AS and Abu Hanifa wherein the latter met the Imam AS outside of his house, a cane in Imam’s AS hand. Abu Hanifa inquired why the Imam AS should have need for its support and was told that it was the stick of Rasulullah which the Imam AS was using for blessings. Abu Hanifa replied, cynically and doubting the truthfulness of Imam AS, that if he knew it to be the stick of Rasulullah SA he would kiss it. Imam AS retorted raising his sleeve and saying, ‘you know full well that this is the blood and flesh of Rasulullah SAW yet you do not kiss this!’ Abu Hanifa made to take the Imam’s AS hand and kiss it but, Imam Sadiq AS straightened his sleeve and walked away resolutely.
Man in his continued pursuit of scientific knowledge has managed many astonishing feats but the fact remains that his ability to change the material world, whilst staggering in its scope, is still limited to the transforming of one physical form to another physical form. What is beyond him, is the ability to transform something that is physical into something that is spiritual. When matter is transformed to release energy for example, like when a piece of wood is burned, both the wood, now mostly ashes and smoke, and the resulting energy of heat and light are still physical entities. Even at the sub-atomic level of the nucleus, man’s ability to affect change is still only on a physical level. The Quran Majeed has laid down the challenge that man can try to transcend the universe but he will not be able to except by the aid of a ‘sultan’, a guide — the imam — who can take mankind beyond the physical world to the metaphysical realm.
Medical science, with all the progress it has made, can still not turn even a single object from physical to spiritual while Awliyaa Allah AS are able to imbibe the spiritual into the physical as illustrated by the narrative of Ibrahim bin Abi Salama QR. He came from Yemen to the presence of the Imam AS in Egypt and contracted a fever that prevented him from attending the Imam’s AS court. Imam AS sent some water in an earthenware pot and Ibrahim recovered the instant he took some, a testament to his unfaltering conviction in the Imam AS. When he returned to Yemen he carried the pot with him and gave water from it to those who came to him with an ailment. At length it happened that the pot broke, so Ibrahim crushed the pieces to a powder and then gave the powder as a cure to those who sought it. When his time came he instructed that the remains of the powder be placed in his kafan that it might give its spiritual benefit to his body after burial.
Syedna Saifuddin TUS spoke of the meaning of zakat which is to purify and to increase. Zakat of wealth purifies and increases it and places a spiritual manifestation in the soul of the giver. The zakat of the body is to fast and that of knowledge is to teach it to others. The zakat of overpowering an adversary is to forgive him. When the days of Ashara would arrive Imam Sadiq AS would state that the zakat of happiness is to weep in these days. We are, even in this vacillating mortal realm, largely happy and at ease in life throughout the year. The zakat for this is to shed tears upon Imam Husain AS and the shohadaa’ of Karbala, tears which are rewarded by eight jannah, a reward no other tears have come to bear.
As an example of the profound joy brought about by Imam Husain’s AS gham, bukaaʾ and maatam, Maulana TUS vividly described the unparalleled grief and weeping that takes place in the evening time of ʿasr on the day of Aashura. As soon as maghrib descends it turns into an intense and palpable sense of joy and happiness.
What awaits a Mumin was shown in the final moments of Maulana Ali Akbar AS. Having had his thirst quenched by the zabaan mubarak and ring of Imam Husain AS he was able to speak at a time when the dying have no means to do so. He had been given that spiritual capacity to enable him to transcend his physical limitations and convey what it was that he was witnessing — the Panjatan Paak AS coming to receive him at his death.
This is the miracle of our Mawaali Tahereen AS whose heir and waaris today is our beloved Maula Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. May Allah Taʿala grant him a long and healthy life to take generations of Mumineen from this world to the next until Qiyaamat. In his benevolent shade, may we continue to strive in reaching greater heights of spirituality, leaving this physical world behind once and for all.