Reflections: Majlis 8

Majlis 8: 9th Muharram al-Haraam

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA addressed us today as the devotees of the two sayyids of the youth of jannat – Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS. They are the sons of Maulatona Fatima AS to whom Rasul Allah SAW bestowed Tasbeeh-e-Fatima which, when done after each namaaz, returns multifold reward. The Quran Majeed has stipulated that for every hasanat (good deed) there is at least a tenfold reward. As the hasanaat (pl. of hasanat) of Maulatona Fatima AS — their names also branching from the same root form as hasanat — Imams Hasan AS and Husain AS are an embodiment of Maulatona Fatima’s AS manifold barakaat.

What are the quintessential hasanat and sayyiʾat (bad deed)? Hasanat is the love of Awliya Allah AS and sayyiʾat – by which one will be sent face down into the fire according to the Imam AS – is harbouring their enmity and hatred.

Maulana RA touched upon the concept of tanzeel and taʾweel which must necessarily be commensurate with each other; you cannot have one without the other in equal measure. An Urdu speaking man of learning asked Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, if he believed in zaahir (exoteric) and baatin (esoteric). Syedna replied, ‘Of-course – we believe in both. There is the word – zaahir and its meaning – baatin.

As such the narratives or qisas of the prophets in the Quran are filled with lessons for those of intelligence.

لَقَد كانَ في قَصَصِهِم عِبرَةٌ لِأُولِي الأَلبابِ

There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. (12:111)

The word used in the Quran to signify instruction and learning is ʿibrat. However, by slightly altering the pronunciation of the ʿayn in the beginning and instead saying ʿabrat, the meaning then becomes ‘tear’. The qisas bring forth tears in disbelievers when they are confronted with their punishment for having denied their meanings. Both the Quran and the shariah are replete with meaning which can only be accessed by those who possess the keys provided solely by by the Ahle Bayt of Nabi Mohammed SAW.

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA explained that because of its importance, the 9th of Muharram al-Haraam is known as Taasuʿ (تاسوع) instead of the commonly used word for ninth, taaseʿ (تاسع).

Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS are the masters of the youth of jannat. Syedna al-Muqaddas RA explained that the youth of jannat are the Duat Mutlaqeen RA. Today in the majlis of Imam Hasan AS, Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA proceeded to expound upon his exalted status. He narrated two incidents which revealed the nobility of character he was renowned for. In the first narration, Syedna RA mentioned that Imam Hasan AS demanded of Muʿawiya to give him his rightful khumus, as ordained by the Quran Majeed. Due to his excessive generosity, Imam Hasan AS felt the need for additional funds for which he came to Muʿawiya. Muʿawiya made excuses. Hearing this, Imam Hasan AS lowered his head for sometime and was deeply displeased with Muʿawiya’s response. He then picked up a pen and tablet lying there and wrote two verses on it, of which one was:

O Muʿawiya, know you will forever be beholden to our munificence and magnanimity, even though we may come before you and ask. There is no loss of face in seeking from you what is rightfully ours.

He wrote the verses and left. Muʿawiya reached over and read what Imam AS had written, and regretted his act. He immediately sent a servant of his with 40,000 dirhams to present to Imam Hasan AS. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA added that Muʿawiya possessed a great deal of wealth, but it was not what he had inherited from his forefathers, rather that which he had wrongfully seized from Muslimeen. The servant caught up with Imam Hasan AS just as he was leaving and presented the amount to him. Imam AS refused to accept it and continued walking away. The servant came back and informed Muʿawiya, who thought that perhaps Imam AS considered the amount as being too little. He sent the servant to Imam’s AS presence with 80,000 dirhams, which he once again refused to accept saying, ‘Take them back, I have no need for them’. The third time, Muʿawiyya sent the servant with 80,000 dinars and informed his servant, ‘If Hasan AS accepts this amount, I will set you free.’ Syedna RA explained that there is a significant difference in value between a dirham and a dinar, with a dinar equalling half a British guinea at the time. The servant came before Imam Hasan AS and said, ‘This is 80,000 dinars!’ However, Imam Hasan AS replied, ‘I have told you twice before, take them back.’ The servant then beseeched Imam AS, ‘Do not deny me my freedom’. Out of his kindness and concern, the Imam AS immediately asked the servant what he meant by his statement. The servant explained the situation, following which Imam Hasan AS accepted the dinars. However, instead of keeping the dinars for himself, Imam Hasan AS took the entire sum and gave it to the very servant whose freedom had been contingent upon Imam’s acceptance. The servant returned to Muʿawiya and told him what had transpired. Muʿawiya exclaimed in praise of Hasan Imam AS and his lineage, ‘Great is his father!’ He then added, ‘In which household did his upbringing take place! The actions and deeds of Imam Hasan AS, his revered father and respected forefathers have always been such’. However, in a telling display of his baseness and lack of integrity, Muʿawiya told the servant that he could not see himself giving him 80,000 dinars. He gave him one tenth, and told him to be on his way. ‘Such lowliness!’, exclaimed Syedna RA.

In the second incident, a man seeking financial assistance was directed towards Imam Hasan AS. He was not aware that Hasan AS was Imam al-Zaman. As he arrived, he saw Imam AS arguing with an individual over a transaction in which Imam AS stated that he would not leave until what was owed to him was returned, even though the amount under dispute was negligible. Upon hearing this the man became disheartened, thinking that the person whose largesse and generosity he had come to seek was arguing over such a trivial amount. ‘What would someone like him give me?’ After the other man had left, he mustered up the courage to ask Imam Hasan AS for aid. Imam AS bestowed him with far more than he sought. Syedna RA stated, ‘not double, not four times, but many times more.’ The man offered gratitude to Imam Hasan AS, ‘Your benevolence is unmatched.’ He then added that he felt discouraged upon seeing him argue over a small amount. Imam Hasan AS replied that the man sought to swindle him and deny him his rightful share under false pretenses. ‘I will not tolerate anyone deceiving me,’ Imam AS declared. He then stated that benevolence was a gift granted to him by his grandfather, Nabi Mohammed SAW and he would bestow him with far more than he sought.

Syedna Saifuddin RA then stated:

‘Behold the exalted glories of the Imams! Lofty are their intentions; great are their interactions. If someone attempts to deceive them they will never tolerate it, and when someone seeks their benevolence, they will grant them more than they desired.’

As all things are to be found in the Quran, so too, the knowledge of all things is to be found in the possession of the Imam. Those who seek this knowledge will undoubtedly find it with him. However, Awliya Allah AS shield their adherents from access to knowledge that they are not capable of understanding. A man who had violated Dawat decorum and dictates by surveying texts beyond his capacity, was entrusted to Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA in the time of Syedna Abdullah Badruddin RA. Before all else, Syedna Saifuddin RA put forward the strict condition that the man should accept whatever Syedna RA instructed him to do. The man had become quite despondent and utterly confused, having read extensively without taking approval; books and brochures including material from numerous external sources. Syedna RA was his doctor and just as doctors tell their patients to refrain from certain foods that might exacerbate their condition, Syedna’s RA course of treatment began by instructing him to ‘sleep’ which in one sense meant to completely abstain from reading of any kind. After some days his demeanour was more balanced and Syedna RA then permitted him to study a specific text, then another one and so on.

In this context Syedna al-Muqaddas RA spoke about those who eschew any form of learning or instruction that have to do with faith. They are ignorant of its philosophy and do not observe those acts mandated by shariah like namaaz. They abstain from attending Dawat majalis, and eventually like those who reside in remote areas and have little access to religious knowledge and institutions, alienate and distance themselves choosing to remain ignorant of their faith. This ignorance eventually breeds enmity as Amirul Mumineen AS states, ‘Man is the enemy of that which he does not know.’

Shaitaan fears those who regularly observe five namaaz. However, those who are indifferent to prayer or lose interest in them, he then preys on them and eventually instigates them towards the most heinous of sins.

Syedna Burhanuddin RA related a journey which led Maulana Ali AS through Karbala where, upon arriving, he said to Abdullah bin Abbas that, ‘If you were to know what this place is you would weep as I do,’ and began to cry profusely until his beard was soaked with tears. He gazed upon his beloved shahzada Imam Husain AS and said, ‘Remain steadfast, as will befall me and your brother, so too will befall you!’

Amirul Mumineen AS directed Ibn Abbas to look for deer droppings which he did without success. Amirul Mumineen AS was sure they would be found and went to find them himself. When he came upon them he related that they had been left there by Eesa Maseeh AS who had picked them up and smelled them when he passed by Karbala. He too had wept upon the tragedy that he knew would befall Amirul Mumineen’s AS shahzada and he left them there as his ‘taʿziyat’ – condolence to Maulana Ali AS. Amirul Mumineen AS prayed a namaaz of eight rakʿaat and after every salaam he picked them up and smelled them and said to Imam Husain AS, ‘Be patient and endure!’ Ibn Abbas took a handful and wrapped them in a cloth. Maulana Ali AS told him they would remain as they are but, when they turn to blood, ‘Know that Husain AS has been martyred.’

After receiving the barakat of Imam Husain’s shahaadat in the voice of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS reminded us that ʿAashura was upon us. Today is Taasuʿ which corresponds with the word aansu (tear); the ninth day of Muharram exhorts us to shed innumerable tears on the day of ʿAashura. He further urged us to remember each shaheed and the manner in which they were slain. Maulana Abbas AS with his severed arms and an arrow to his blessed mouth; Maulana Ali Akbar AS with a spear to his hallowed chest; Maulana Ali Asgar AS with an arrow to his hulqum mubarak and Imam Husain AS with countless wounds inflicted upon the entirety of his jism mubarak. After severing Imam Husain’s AS raaʾs mubarak from his jism at-har, the wretched Shimr hung the raaʾs mubarak from his horse. At that moment the raaʾs mubarak spoke to Shimr saying, ‘You have severed my head from my body, May Allah part your flesh from your bones.’ Hearing this Shimr was consumed by a fit of rage and started hitting the raaʾs mubarak mercilessly with a whip.

Syedna Saifuddin TUS then narrated the shahaadat of Imam Hasan AS. When in Mosul, Imam Hasan AS stayed at the home of a man who professed to be a Mumin but was secretly in communication with Muʿawiya and was actively conspiring to poison Imam Hasan AS. Despite placing poison in the Imam’s AS food on multiple occasions, there was no effect. The man wrote to Muʿawiya asking him to send a more potent poison, one capable of slaying the Imam since all others had been ineffective. Muʿawiya wrote back that he would send a poison so potent that even a mithqaal (4.25 grams) would bring death to the entire world. The messenger with whom he had sent the poison and the letter was killed by a lion on his journey to Mosul. His riderless camel wandered off and was eventually intercepted by a Mumin who uncovered the plot and informed Imam Hasan AS of his host’s treachery. In an unparalleled display of good character, Imam Hasan AS refrained from confronting the man as he was a guest in the man’s home.

Imam Hasan AS left Mosul and made his way back to Madina where Maulatona Zainab AS and Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS were ever present in his khidmat and kept a diligent eye out for any attempts to cause him harm. One night when they were both overcome with fatigue, Jaʿda snuck in and mixed diamond dust into Imam Hasan’s AS water jug. At night when he awoke and asked for some water to quench his thirst, the poisoned water eviscerated his entrails and his liver was expelled from his body in 72 pieces signifying the martyrdom of 72 in Karbala. With his final breaths Imam Hasan AS asked his beloved brother, Imam Husain AS to wed Abdullah AS to Maulatona Sakina AS and then, turning to Maulatona Zainab AS and Maulatona Umme Kuthum AS, he bid them farewell and counselled them to endure the tragedies that were to unfold in Karbala. The two brothers embraced each other one final time before Imam Husain AS gently placed his hand under Imam Hasan’s AS chin and his ruh mubarak ascended towards the heavens.

May Allah Taʿala grant al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life in pristine health until the Day of Qiyamat. As the day of Ashura dawns upon us, may Allah Taʿala give us the strength and conviction to do maatam and shed countless tears.