Waʿaz Mubarak 6

7th Moharram al-Haraam, 1439 – Reflections

All pursuits require a considered path, a tried and tested route, to reach its end. Taking this route requires training and practice and what the shariʿah gharaaʾ does is provide the training and practice to go from being human to being angelic. The training and practice in language acquisition, specifically Arabic, refer to subjects from Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah’s curriculum known as tadreeb and tamreen.

The pathway, this route to achievement, is laid out in the first surah revealed to Rasulullah SAW, al-Iqra, which begins:

‘Read! Read in the name of thy Lord who created. Created man from a clot of blood. Read, and thy Lord is virtuous. He that taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not.’

The path begins by invoking Allah’s name. In this waʿaz mubarak, Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS described the ensuing balance, of tenderness and firmness, that are needed to be successful in life and in faith. Tenderness being another definition of the word tamreen. The bayaan mubarak explored themes of tamreen: tenderness as well as practice and training, all while highlighting the pre-eminence of Awliya Allah AS with relation to these concepts, particularly Maulatona Fatema AS.

Maulana Ali AS was, on the one hand, so steadfast in his faith that he would sacrifice body and wealth for it. Yet his tenderness of heart was such that he would weep and lament through nights of worship in order to gather a repository of goodwill for his followers and their journeys to the Hereafter.

Maulatona Fatema AS had, on the one hand, a physical will that was unshakeable as she rose from the debris of the door that crushed her, taking the life of her unborn shahzada, and pursued the assailants who had taken Maulana Ali AS away by force. Yet on the other hand she lay awake through nights weeping tears for the salvation of her adherents from hellfire.

Imams Hasan and Husain AS were bestowed with two qualities each, one epitomizing their firmness and one their tenderness. Imam Hasan AS was endowed with gentility and solemnity, Imam HusainAS with courage and generosity.

For a Mumin, therefore, this balance of firm and tender qualities is essential. In these days of Ashara Mubaraka we are solidifying and strengthening our faith through the tenderness of the tears we shed upon Imam Husain AS. As Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA writes in eulogy of Imam Husain AS:

He was in faith most firm, deeply founded

He was in his nature a person of empathy and tenderness.

The Duʿat Mutlaqeen have nurtured the Dawat in this way: firm upon the faith and tender upon Mumineen. When one studies the alqaab and names of the Duʿat they find that every single laqab ends with ‘deen’ whilst the prefix word differs. So the third al-dai al-mutlaq is Syedna Hatim Mohyiddin (muhy al-dīn), the giver of life to the faith while the 19th dai is Imauddin (ʿimād al-dīn), the support of the faith.

Syedna Hatim RA, at a time of immense difficulty, nurtured the fields of Dawat and the souls of Mumineen with love and tenderness such that Syedna Ali bin Mohammed al-Waleed RA wrote of him in verse:

I testify that you are unique, singular, a sovereign.

You bequeathed life to us and then you gave us guidance.

Syedna Idris Imaduddin RA composed many works which today capture the history of Dawat and support the authenticity and veracity of Fatimi history and its faith. As an example, Syedna Saifuddin TUS told us that there was a view that was propagated that wailing and lament upon Imam Husain AS were an innovation by the Duʿat of Hindustan. One only has to show them Syedna Idris’s RA eulogy to Husain Imam AS, “Huznun azaba jawanihi wa fuʿaadi”, to disprove this claim. (Grief has melted my body and heart and sent my tears streaming like a river in a valley).

The third example of how the names of Duʿat epitomized their eras is of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA. The sword (saif) of the faith vanquished all enemies, fighting twenty-eight major battles in the courts in defense of the Dawat, similar to the number of major battles fought by Nabi Mohammed SAW. Then there came Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA who was the proof (burhan) of the faith as his janaza mubaraka melted the hearts of every Mumin.

Training and practice have to be done according to human nature and Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS portrayed several facets of this nature for us today, particularly the method of teaching children at various ages. Very young children require a firmness of hand and discipline, they have to be watched over carefully. This does not, however, entail the use of physical force or intimidation through any means. At this young age children learn things as they are taught to them and are not given meanings or reasons. A parent teaches his or her child Allah’s name and that of Panjatan Paak SA. They will teach the child salawaat but when doing so they will not explain the grammatical reason for why it is Mohammedin and not Mohammedun.

Language, for example, cannot be taught with grammar first. That is not the intuitive way of teaching or learning any language. The natural way of learning a language is to learn it as it is with the grammatical nuances explained at a later stage. This method is employed in Aljamea and as a result the Arabic the students learn puts them in good stead when they go to study further in Arabic speaking countries. Aljamea students in Al-Azhar University in Cairo are found to be very fluent in their reading of texts, a fluency deemed surprising given that they are coming from India and often surpassing those whose mother tongue is Arabic.

As a child grows, the style of imparting knowledge has to change and reflect the child’s increased maturity. Now he will be taught grammar which entails explanations for why a given eraab (Arabic vowels) is used for example. This natural structure of teaching will get the most potent results. In teaching language, the system allows the learner to imbibe it as if it were his or her mother tongue.

It is a process we have seen work remarkably in how Mumineen have learnt the shahaadat of Imam Husain AS. Syedna Burhanuddin RA narrated the shahaadat countless times and the result is that even very young children can deliver it by heart. There are many children, indeed, who can even do so in Arabic. Maulana al-Min’aam TUS stated that the shahaadat is so natural to us, it is as if it is our natural mother tongue.

The natural process is one that causes the individual to be drawn in automatically and this drawing in is demonstrated in the narrative of Ziyad al-Aswad. His remarkable story of walking on foot from Khurasan, a region in present-day Iran, to Madina continues to flow forth with new meaning. Here it was the natural process of attraction that brought Ziyad to Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS despite the distance and difficulty of travel that he had to overcome in order to do so.

What one is attracted to will determine what one becomes. Thus when one let’s go of the devil’s allures one is automatically inclined towards the qualities of angels. The devil’s deceits were illustrated by a conversation between Nabi Mohammed SAW and Iblis, one Syedna al-Min’aam TUS has now referred to in multiple bayaans, in which the prophet asked him the following:

  1. Who is your friend? Iblis replied, ‘My friend is the drinker of alcohol.’
  2. Who is your companion? My companion is the one who makes no discernment between halal and haram in food.
  3. Who are those that you sit with? Those who indulge in idle gossip.
  4. Who are your counsellors? Those who appropriate wealth through false vows.
  5. Who is your messenger? The slanderer.
  6. With whom do you converse? The one who feigns expressions of love.
  7. Who is beloved to you? The one who is aware of the time of namaaz yet delays and delays until it has passed.
  8. For whom do you have the most respect? (Pointing towards Rasulullah’s SAW companions, he said) Those that have enmity towards them.
  9. Whom do you consider most superior? Those who cause most harm to Allah’s worshippers.
  10. Who is your assistant? Those who cause difficulty to Allah’s worshippers.

Elaborating upon the notion of tenderness and difficulty, Syedna Saifuddin TUS explained how the requirements of each of the pillars of Islam is easier to carry out than the one that follows it. So, tahaarat (ritual purity) is less taxing than salaat, salaat is less taxing than zakaat and so forth. In analyzing tahaarat, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that tahaarat from one aspect is easy and from another requires continued vigilance and fortitude, both of which are difficult to sustain. Shariʿat gharraaʾ encourages one to remain in a constant state of tahaarat which does not come easily. That said, in a scale of relative difficulty, Maulana TUS explained that tahaarat can be considered the easiest of the pillars. Salaat follows tahaarat, which must be prayed daily. After tahaarat and salaat, there is zakaat. Spending one’s material wealth is difficult because man is by nature miserly. In fact, man is generally more forthcoming with his body, i.e. physical exertion, than he is with his wealth as can be seen in taharat and salaat versus zakaat. Because of the difficulty associated with zakaat, it is prescribed only once a year. Rozas, too, are only obligated once a year in the month of Ramadan. Hajj follows and requires the expenditure of wealth as well as the physical exertion of the body. It is because of the degree of its difficulty that it is required only once in a Muslim’s lifetime. Jihad is the most arduous of the pillars and is only required when the call for jihad is given by the Imam of haqq.

The remaining pillar is walaayat. As al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA has mentioned in his naseehat shareefah, walaayat is both the first of the pillars of Islam and the last. Hence, in the progressive scale of difficulty it features both at the beginning and at the end essentially making it a paradox. It is, at the same time, both the easiest to perform and the most difficult. Walaayat comes naturally, hence, it is considered the easiest. Syedna TUS even recounted Amirul Mumineen’s AS statement that if he were to strike a Mumin upon his nose with the intent that he cease loving him, the Mumin would not do so. If he were to offer an enemy all the wealth of the world so that he may love him, he would never do so. Walaayat comes naturally to a Mumin. However, unlike tahaarat, which is only encouraged to be maintained continuously, walaayat must be maintained at all times and under every circumstance — without fail. Maulana al-Min’aam TUS remarked that even a single moment without walaayat could have disastrous consequences.

Syedi Najam Khan b. Syedna Feerkhan Shujauddin QR, whose qabr mubarak is in Aurangabad, embodies ‘walaayat first and walaayat last’. Syedi Najam Khan QR was the Mazoon of al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Ismail Badruddin RA. As a test of his faith and mohabbat, Syedna RA removed him from the position of mazoon. Members of a group known as Hujoomiyyah who had broken away from Dawat-e-Hadiyah, saw this removal as opportunity to gain Syedi Najam Khan’s QR allegiance. Syedi Najam Khan QR forcefully declined their invitation to join them and replied to them in no uncertain terms, saying that it was Syedna’s RA sheer benevolence and mercy that he had still left him with the rutbah and rank of a Mumin. This is what it means to maintain walaayat at all times — at the beginning and at the end. Even after the rutbah of mazoon was taken away, Syedi Najam Khan QR did not falter in his walaayat and allegiance to Maula RA, not even for a single moment.

As an example of Awliya Allah’s AS ability to shower their benevolence upon a multitude of people in one simple action, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS made reference to an incident involving Maulana Ali b. Abi Talib AS. One day Amirul Mumineen AS was circumambulating the Kaʿbah when he heard a man at the Kaʿbah’s door beseech Allah Taʿala for 4000 dirhams. Amirul Mumineen AS asked him why instead of Allah’s forgiveness he was seeking material wealth. The man replied that his destitution was so severe that it had made him forget the seeking of forgiveness. Maulana Ali AS asked him why he needed the amount he had specified. The man said that 1000 was for an outstanding debt, another 1000 to purchase a home and the remaining 2000 to buy things he was in dire need of. Amirul Mumineen AS, who was unrecognized by the man, told him to come to Madina and ask for the house of Ali b. Abi Talib. When he reached Madina, he found Maulana Ali’s AS house and knocked on the door. Amirul Mumineen AS opened the door, and upon seeing the man in question, Amirul Mumineen AS told his servant to gather the various merchants nearby. Once gathered, Maulana Ali AS addressed them announcing that he wished to sell his garden property and was accepting offers. One of the merchants immediately submitted an offer for 12,000 dirhams which Amirul Mumineen AS accepted. He gave 4000 to the man in need, another 4000 he distributed between the Muhajirun and Ansar and the remaining 4000 he gave to Madina’s widows and orphans. Amirul Mumineen AS gave away all 12000. Upon returning home, Maulatona Fatema AS did araz to Amirul Mumineen AS that she had heard that he had sold his property, but saw that he had no dirhams with him. Maulana Ali AS said that he had entrusted them as a deposit to He who does not squander what He has been entrusted. ‘Could you not have left at least one dirham’, Maulatona Fatema AS replied. Amirul Mumineen AS declared that Allah Taʿala does not waste the reward of those who do good. In this way, Amirul Mumineen’s AS generosity in response to a single man’s individual prayer benefitted an entire city.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS related this act of Amirul Mumineen AS with that of his dai, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA. Syedna al-Muqaddas’s Fayd al-Mawa’id al-Burhaniya is an initiative that has benefitted countless Mumineen across the world. Maulana TUS commented that it was perhaps a Mumin’s duʿa, similar to the duʿa of the destitute man in Kaʿbah, to be rid of his hunger and his concern for feeding his family that led Burhanuddin Maula RA to establish this bounty of FMB thereby benefitting thousands of Mumineen in hundreds of cities the world over.

In the fraught atmosphere of Karbala Imam Husain AS called for Maulatena Zainab and Umme Kulsum AS and said to them, ‘Do you know that every facet of mine is sublime?’ He then proceeded to inform them of his intent to perform a marriage right there and then, even as battle continued on the day of Aashura. It was a demonstration of his remarkable tenderness even in the overwhelming severity of that final day.

Our Maula TUS is leading us through a fraught, often overwhelming and consuming battle of wills in a world where the friends of Iblis are ubiquitous and pounding on every door. Maula TUS is leading us with a tender, yet firm hand; may Allah Taʿala grant him a life of happiness in everlasting health until Qiyamat and may He show us the path of tenderness and fortitude in all aspects of our lives.