Reflections: Majlis 4

Majlis 4: 5th Muharram al-Haraam

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA began today’s waʿz mubarak by lauding the fact that it was Mumineen who truly understood the Quran. The true understanding of the Quran can only come from the true people of the Book — the Ahl al-‘Zikr’ — the People of the Zikr and its living embodiment who are Allah Taʿala’s Awliya AS. As Mumineen, we have recognised and acknowledged these lofty individuals and thus are privy to the true meanings of the Quran Majeed.

As a result of this acknowledgment our esteem is raised to such heights that Maulana Burhanuddin RA told us that jannat itself has a longing towards Mumineen and its radiance increases because of Mumineen. Speaking of Maulana Salman al-Farisi RA Syedna al-Muqaddas RA stated, ‘The desire jannat has towards him is greater than the desire he has towards jannat.’ As adherents of Awliya Allah AS, Maula al-Muqaddas RA explained, we too have the honour of having jannat desire our arrival and our presence within it.

He further elaborated the honour, pre-eminence and benefit our association and devotion to Allah’s Awliya AS provide us, with the example of a house and its sayyid, i.e. the lord of a house. When a household’s sayyid is of a certain nobility and preeminence, all the members of his household share in this honour through association. So, too, is our relationship with the Fatimi Imams AS and the Duat Mutlaqeen AS. This association extends beyond this worldly realm and was evidenced with reference to a statement given by Maulana al-Imam Jaʿfar al-Sadiq AS.

Imam Jaʿafar al-Sadiq AS said to his followers, ‘the vestment of our grandfather, the Nabi will be in our hands and our vestment will be in yours, then where do you think you are intended for?’ One of them replied, ‘Towards jannat, inshallah,’ and Imam responded, By Allah! Indeed, towards jannat, inshallah!’. Syedna Burhanuddin RA added, ‘you will be pulled towards jannat’.

By virtue of the three Duat Mutlaqeen AS we have the honour of listening to on a daily basis, our understanding of the Quran increases with every waʿz mubarak in varying ways. Today, Maulana Burhanuddin RA spoke about the relevance of that which has happened, i.e. history, to that which is happening today — the present. Those who think of the Quran Majeed as being a collection of stories from the past have failed to grasp that one cannot understand ‘today’ without a strong knowledge and understanding of the ‘past’. That said the events that take place, on a daily basis, in the age of Nabi Mohammed RA are detailed in the Quran. How can it be that the Quran covers thousands of years of history but makes no mention of today?

The narratives in today’s waʿz mubarak, being the fifth day of Muharram, were related to the fourth and fifth prophets, Musa Nabi AS and Eesa Nabi AS. Musa Nabi AS is mentioned in the Quran in 28 places. Musa AS was so taken with the description of a group of people praised throughout the Torah that he felt as if they were Anbiya due to their strong sense of discernment and perceptiveness. Nabi Musa AS implored Allah to make them amongst his followers. Allah informed him that ‘they are the ummat of Ahmed (Rasul Allah SAW): the Duat Mutlaqeen AS. Musa AS then questioned the Almighty, ‘have you placed all that is good in the ummat of Mohammed? Make me amongst them’. Allah answered his prayer by saying, ‘You are of them and they are of you. You are on the faith of Islam, they are on the faith of Islam’.

Nabi Eesa AS is invested by Maulatona Maryam AS and her parallel is drawn with Maulatona al-Hurra al-Maleka RA through whom Maulana al-Imam al-Aamir AS invests the Duat Mutlaqeen AS. Each Dai Mutlaq is the Masih, the son of Maryam AS: Maulatona al-Hurra al-Maleka RA.

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA explained that Dawat is a potential jannat because it eventually leads its adherents to the actual jannat. An apt example of the notions of potential (bil quwwa, بالقوة) and actuality (bil fiʿl, بالفعل) is given by Amirul Mumineen Maulana Ali SA. One day as a caravan of camels carrying date seeds was passing, someone asked Amirul Mumineen AS, ‘what is this’? He replied, ‘Date palms, inshaAllah’. Today they are seeds, but tomorrow they will become date palms.

If man had not witnessed the growth and development of a child entering the world from the mother’s womb, he would have never accepted the fact that such a small child could turn into a full grown adult and carry out all the tasks that he or she does. Similarly, many deny the existence of the hereafter. Why? Because they cannot comprehend it. A child in his mother’s womb is wholly unaware of the fact that he will one day enter a world infinitely more vast than where he is; a world filled with unceasing wonders.

Awliya Allah AS have revealed this reality to man. Why? So that they are aware that they have to enter the Realm of Choice. Despite what he may think, man is currently confined to the Realm of Compulsion. Night comes after day, yet he has no choice but to accept these changing circumstances. He cannot run away from the night.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then explained the difference between a hadith qudsi and hadith nabawi. The words spoken by Rasul Allah SAW on behalf of the Almighty are known as hadith qudsi, while Rasul Allah’s SAW own words are known as hadith nabawi.

In one such hadith qudsi, the Almighty states, ‘The one who does not agree with my decrees is free to leave my land and my sky’. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA asked, ‘where will he go?’ Wisdom and divine philosophy dictate for one to be in ‘harmony with fate’. This approach to life in this world alleviates all difficulties and allows a Mumin to lead a blissful and content life.

Our time in this world is akin to undertaking a journey. There are stations on the way, each with their various appeal. However, if one decides to remain at the station, the train will depart and he will not reach his intended destination. Stations are there to provide us with the various amenities and facilities required for our journey; they should not detract us from it.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA mentioned that today is the 5th of Muharram and the narration of the life and times of 5 prophets will be completed. He then proceeded to give two sets of counsels with 5 aspects in each.

Rasul Allah SAW stated, ‘Five things are an indication of a man’s good fortune’:

  1. A virtuous wife, who is the beauty of one’s home and a source of mental and emotional stability.
  2. Upstanding children. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA added that one has to make a concentrated effort in the upbringing of their children to ensure that they become principled and right-minded. Teach them to adhere to the directives of the Dai, ‘do as he directs, refrain from what he forbids’. ‘If you teach them nothing else, this will suffice’. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA described how he calls young men and women to him and offers them guidance. He mentioned that he calls both genders separately so that he can specifically counsel young women of the roles and responsibilities they will have to discharge in the context of both their parents’ homes and in their marital homes.
  3. Honourable friends and companions.
  4. One earning his livelihood in his hometown. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA encouraged Mumineen to engage in both trade and industry.
  5. The Mohabbat of Aale Mohammed SAW

In the 2nd set of counsels, he quoted Amirul Mumineen AS who stated that 5 traits are such that it is justifiable for one to journey thousands of miles to learn them.

  1. Not a single one of you should seek from anyone but your Lord. The Creator is Allah, the Provider is Allah, so why seek from the created? Even worse is to seek from man while disobeying Allah. Seek Allah’s happiness! How? By attaining the happiness of Imam al-Zaman AS. How can one attain the Imam’s happiness? Through the happiness of his Dai. Syedna RA added that many office-goers do not pray zuhr namaaz. ‘Who bestows you livelihood? Allah or your employer? Your employer may relieve you tomorrow.’ Students say that if we pray namaaz we will not come first in our class. ‘Do you desire to be ranked first amongst Allah’s servants, or in some school or college? You will not lose any ground because of praying namaaz’.
  2. One should not fear anyone or anything but his sins. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA added ‘There is no need to fear anyone, what will they do?’
  3. One should never be ashamed of replying ‘I don’t know’, when asked about something he does not have knowledge of’. This applies to both the learned as well as students. If one deliberately misleads someone it will catch up with them.
  4. One should never be ashamed of learning if there is something he does not know. In the context of this counsel Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA dismissed the excuses of those who delay marriage citing education as a reason. He asked if there are any colleges and schools which deny entry to students who are married? He gave the example of American society in which women married at an early age and attended college even after having children. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA also reprimanded those who put off marriage until they are earning for themselves. He remembered asking a 25-year-old in Kolkata whether he was married or not. The young man replied that he would get married once he was standing on his own feet. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA retorted, ‘are you standing on your hands now?’ Syedna RA added that he tends to focus upon marriage in his counsels, as this issue is one that ‘concerns me greatly’.
  5. Remain forbearant. The position of forbearance in imaan is that of the head in the body. There is no good in a body without a head, likewise, there is no good in an imaan void of forbearance.

The waʿaz mubarak format thus far allows us to seek barakat from the kalimaat nooraniya of two Dais, and then concludes with the zikr of Imam Husain AS as delivered by their mansoos and shahzada, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. In his radiant words we hear the nawh of all previous Duat Mutlaqeen AS. Today we heard Aali Qadr Maula TUS relating from the nawh of Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA and particularly the zikr of Imam Husain’s AS noble steed, Zu al-Janah. To mount him for his final foray into battle Imam Husain AS permitted Maulatona Zainab AS to hold the bridle but now, with the time to dismount having come, there was no-one around.

Zu al-Janah wept. In his own way he recalled to his master how, when Imam Husain AS had first chosen him from among the line of horses, he had knelt his forelegs to allow the young Imam AS to mount him. At that time, around them stood Nabi Mohammed SAW and the Panjatan AS. Here, now, they were surrounded only by the enemy as he prepared to kneel again, this time to let Imam Husain AS dismount one last time.

Imam Husain AS ordered Zu al-Janah to give news of his shahaadat to the camp. Having carried out that instruction he then returned to seek his master only to find him now slain, his blessed jism mubarak lying abandoned on the desert sands of the scarred battle field. The horse was panting from thirst and an arrow pierced his tongue yet he soaked his head in the blood of Imam Husain AS to go back to the camp and give them the final news of shahaadat.

The fifty-two Duat Mutlaqeen AS and their successor Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS are the harbingers of the events of Karbala. Without the efforts and benevolence of each one, we would not have these majalis of Imam Husain AS, not weep for him, nor attain forgiveness for our sins.

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.