Reflections: Majlis 3

Majlis 3: 4th Muharram al-Haraam

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA shed light on the loftiness of the office the Dai Mutlaq which holds a unique position in the annals of the faith, indeed within the history of mankind in totality. The Dai Mutlaq has been uniquely entrusted with what Syedna al-Muqaddas RA called the ‘office’ of the Imam of the Age. The Imam himself, of-course, is custodian of the faith and the legacy of Rasul Allah SAW and, in his seclusion, the singular role is entrusted to the Dai. The assignment of such a significant responsibility in itself is an indication of the lofty stature of the Dai Mutlaq. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA further explained the Dai’s stature in everyday terms when he compared it to an office left by the proprietor to an employee. For a proprietor to relinquish absolute control, he must have full-faith in the employee in his ability to run things exactly as he would himself.

The Duat Mutlaqeen AS and their role in the propagation of the Dawat in this period of satr is one which Rasul Allah SAW had made preparations for himself. How would they, as Ibrahim Nabi AS had asked, ‘Bring the dead back to life,’ how would the Duat Mutlaqeen AS foster the remembrance of Imam Husain AS?

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA narrated the manaam, or vision, of Ibrahim Nabi AS. The Quran Majeed states that Ibrahim Nabi AS informed his son Maulana Ismaʿil AS that in his sleep, he saw that he, i.e. Ibrahim Nabi AS, was sacrificing Maulana Ismail AS. Ibrahim Nabi AS then asked his son what he thought of this vision? Maulana Ismali AS affectionately replied,

‘O dear father (يأبت), do as you have been instructed. If you are concerned whether I will be able to bear this sacrifice, then fear not, my answer is yes; I will.’

Having both submitted themselves to the Divine Will, i.e. entered the state of islaam, Ibrahim Nabi AS positioned his son, Maulana Ismail AS upon his forehead in preparation for the act of sacrifice. At that moment the Almighty called out to him, ‘O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the vision, and this is how we reward those who are righteous.’ The Quran continues, ‘And We ransomed him (i.e. Maulana Ismaʿil AS) with a great sacrifice.’ Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA remarked that the incident of Nabi Ibrahim AS and Maulana Ismaʿil AS is well-known. On the day of Eid al-Adha, in Mina, they even show the mountain on which Ibrahim AS laid down his son and where Jibraʾeal is said to have descended with a goat to offer for sacrifice in son’s stead. This has led to the tradition of carrying out zabihat during Eid al-Adha in remembrance of that significant event. The notion of ‘great sacrifice’ should not be lost on those who partake in this tradition.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then narrated various visions of Awliyaaʾ Kiraam AS. In the 27th verse of Surah al-Fath, Allah Taʿala states:

لَقَد صَدَقَ اللَّهُ رَسولَهُ الرُّؤيا بِالحَقِّ ۖ لَتَدخُلُنَّ المَسجِدَ الحَرامَ إِن شاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنينَ مُحَلِّقينَ رُءوسَكُم وَمُقَصِّرينَ لا تَخافونَ ۖ فَعَلِمَ ما لَم تَعلَموا فَجَعَلَ مِن دونِ ذٰلِكَ فَتحًا قَريبًا

Certainly Allah has shown to His Messenger that his vision is haqq. You will surely enter al-Masjid al-Haram, if Allah wills, in safety, with your heads shaved and [hair] shortened, not fearing [anyone]. He knew what you did not know and has ordained before that an imminent conquest.

Rasul Allah SAW and 1400 Muslimeen journeyed towards Makkah in a state of ihram to perform umrah, bringing with them 70 camels for zabihat. However, they were denied entry that year as this would have been seen as a loss of face for the Arabs who had yet to enter the fold of Islam. Instead a peace treaty was signed between both parties in which it was agreed upon that Rasul Allah SAW would return for umrah the following year and accordingly, he made his way back to Madina. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA then mentioned, as always with such instances, those with clouded hearts began talking, insinuating that the aforementioned vision Rasul Allah SAW claimed to see, described in the Quran, was untrue. The next year Nabi Mohammed SAW did indeed proceed for umrah before which he was bestowed with the ‘imminent conquest’ he was promised: that of Khaybar. Those who had sought to smear Rasul Allah SAW were left open-mouthed for it became apparent to all that since he was able to conquer Khybar, the conquest of Makkah was now only a matter of time.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then narrated a manaam in which Ameerul Mumineen AS adjudicated in favour of Jibraʾeel. Jibraʾeel sought Ameeirul Mumineen’s AS direction when Mikaʾeel claimed that he was the more virtuous of the two. After Maulana Ali AS recollected this manaam before Rasul Allah SAW and those who were in the masjid, the Nabi SAW asked him why he had favoured Jibraʾeel? Maulana Ali AS replied, ‘Jibraʾeel is of us: the Ahle Bait.’ Mournful, Rasul Allah SAW then lamented those gathered stating, ‘I see that day when you will confine Ali to his house’.

Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS was deeply troubled by Imam Husain’s AS outstanding debt of over 70,000 dinars. In a manaam, he heard a person telling him ‘Do not be concerned by your father’s debt. It will be repaid by the income of Bujaish’.

Imam AS replied, ‘I am unaware of any of my father’s assets in Bujaish. What is Bujaish? Where is it?’ The next night, the same person appeared in Imam’s manaam repeating his earlier message. The next day, Imam AS enquired with members of his household into the meaning of ‘Bujaish’. A lady informed him that Imam Husain AS had a slave of European origin named Bujaish who had dug a spring in Zi Khashab (40 km north of Madina). She suggested that the Imam make further enquiries. Imam AS confirmed the well’s existence and learnt that on both the eve and during the day of Saturday, Imam Husain AS had granted the income generated from it to his consort, Maulatona Rabab AS, the mother of Maulatona Sakina AS. A few days later, Walid b.ʿUtba, the grandson of Abu Sufyan, approached Imam AS.

‘I have heard about the spring of your father’s in Zi Khashab, the Spring of Bujaish’ he said. If you are willing to sell, I would like to buy it. Imam AS told him that his father’s debt amounted to over 70,000 dinars. If he wanted to purchase it for the amount of the debt then Imam AS was willing to sell it to him. Walid agreed. Keeping aside the share of Maulatona Sakina, Imam exchanged it in fulfilment of the debt.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA proceeded to recollect select manaam of the Duat Mutlaqeen RA. Syedna Jalal Shamsuddin RA saw Imam al-Zaman AS twice in his manaam. In the first instance Imam AS informed him of Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin’s RA nass upon him. During the second manaam, Imam AS directed him to confer his nass upon the two Dawoods: first, Syedna Dawood b. Ajabshah RA, and then upon Syedna Dawood b. Qutubshah RA.

Syedna al-Muqaddas RA then mentioned that during the time of the 45th Dai Mutlaq, Syedna Tayyib Zainuddin RA, the 48th Dai Mutlaq Syedna Abdulhusain Husamuddin RA saw in a manaam that Imam al-Zaman AS was seated before him on a chair. This was a glad tiding that he would ascend to the august office of al-Dai al-Mutlaq.

Likewise, in the time of al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Abdulhusain Husamuddin RA, an Arab had a vision in which he saw that a ray of light emerging from Ahmedabad made its way towards Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, the 49th Dai Mutlaq. The Arab informed Syedna Burhanuddin RA, who at that time was the mukaasir. After a few months, Syedna Husamuddin RA passed away in Ahmedabad and news of his nass upon Syedna Burhanuddin RA came from Ahmedabad. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then stated that one cannot claim that the Arab man conjured up this thought. Yes, it is possible that he may have thought that Syedna Burhanuddin RA would be the successor of Syedna Husamuddin RA. But how could he know that Syedna Husamuddin RA would pass away in Ahmedabad? The Arab had explicitly stated that the light that connected with Syedna Burhanuddin RA was from Ahmedabad.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA encouraged Mumineen to feed each other in the name of Imam Husain AS. To feed one Mumin is to feed a thousand others, even 100,000 others. He then explained how the most preferable of deeds is to bring happiness to a Mumin by either offering him food until he is satiated or relieving him of his debt.

The waaz mubarak once again culminated with Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s TUS kalimaat nooraniya in which he bestowed upon us the barakat of the heart-rending nawh of the 49th Dai Mutlaq Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA who stated that the crescent moon of Muharram is one grief. It appears to be in the shape of a sword, the sword by which the tortured imam was slain.

Imam Husain’s AS fortitude increased with each bout of suffering and torment that he faced, He did not falter even for a moment. When his 18 year old son Ali Akbar AS lay breathing his last in his arms and blood poured out from his chest — Imam Husain AS did not waver. Even in such a personal, tragic moment, Imam Husain AS showed Mumineen how the Panjatan AS would come to their side during their last moments in this world, in the way they did for his son.

When his six-month old son Ali Asghar took his final breath in his arms, even then his fortitude did not fail him as he took the blood and cast it to the heavens and then buried his son with his own hands. As the number of enemies and the severity of their onslaught increased, so did his gratitude. Until — as an ultimate expression of gratitude — he bowed his sacred head in a sajda of such magnitude that the entire universe will forever benefit from its copious and manifold blessings.

His is the martyrdom for which all of creation has wept: all the angels of the heavens and the sun and the moon. Paradise itself wept and was reeling in pain, for its inhabitants, Imam Husain’s AS beloved grandfather Nabi Mohammed SAW and his pious mother Maulatona Fatema AS, were distressed and in agony. His sacred body lay uncovered and his blessed head forced atop spears. The raʾs mubarak was paraded from place to place and repeatedly and brutally lanced by spears at the very place where Rasul Allah SAW would show his affection.

His pious chest, in which resides the radiance of the Quran, is desecrated by the feet of the heinous foe. His pure body is trampled upon, while his hallowed beard is grasped by the tyrant so that he may hew at his blessed throat with his blunt dagger.

Imam Husain’s AS brother, Maulana Abbas’ blood lay spilled upon the desert sands mixed with the spilled water he had set forth to retrieve. He left not his brother, who without him is now alone in the battlefield, until both his arms had been severed from his body and his head separated.

And what of Imam Husain’s AS steed? That noble horse; how did it find the understanding to kneel on it’s forelegs to allow his exhausted rider to dismount?

As he sat against the date palm, one of the enemies approached him with nefarious intent but rapidly ran back. Why? Because he had seen Rasul Allah SAW at Imam Husain’s AS side, his head covered in dust. It was then that Shimr unrepentantly declared it was for him to slay Husain AS, and he had carried a blunt dagger with him for that very purpose.

May Allah Taʿala grant al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life in pristine health until the Day of Qiyamat. May we continue to benefit from his divine guidance, especially his zikr and remembrance of Imam Husain AS, so that we may face the difficulties of this life with grace and fortitude, and proceed to the Hereafter, our burdens eased, our worries relieved and our joys made eternal.