Ashara Mubaraka 1443 H
Majlis 3: 4th Muharram al-Haram
The zikr of Ibrahim Nabi AS is narrated on the 4th of Muharram. At the onset of today’s waʿz mubārak, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS stated that due to the lofty station of Ibrahim Nabi AS, ṣalawāt is prayed upon him and his descendants. Likewise due to the elevated position of Rasul Allah SAW, ṣalawāt is prayed upon Mohammed and Nabi Mohammed’s SAW descendants. He then added that praying salawāt is the foundation of all our prayers and duʿās. It is like the trunk of a tree, without which the fruits of our prayers cannot come to bear. Similarly, ṣalawāt is like honey, when added to the water of our prayers, it lends it sweetness. He then added, ‘Mumineen! You are like honey, may your sweetness always increase’.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then mentioned that today is Thursday, the day for reciting majālis; the day for disseminating knowledge. Despite the prevailing circumstances, Mumineen from the far corners of the world have gathered in Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Nairobi. ‘May Allah always keep your congregation united,’ Maula TUS prayed.
In today’s waʿz mubārak, in continuation of his intent to expound upon kalām mubārak pertaining to ‘seeking and finding’, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS focused upon the following counsel of Amirul Mumineen AS:
I sought comfort and found it in relinquishing whims and fancies.
Man is required to seek comfort and rest. Allah Taʿālā states in the Quran:
And we have made your sleep [a means for] rest (78:9)
Sleep allows the body to recuperate and is especially beneficial during times of illness. However, a slumber of heedlessness has no benefit. If, for example, someone sleeps in the morning and fails to pray fajr namaz, then it is to his detriment. Maulana al-Minʿām TUS then shared insight into a situation that most of us are familiar with. When waking for fajr, we often convince ourselves that there is still time and there is no harm in sleeping another 5 to 10 minutes. Maula TUS said that it is in situations like these where we have to be extra wary of Satan. He impressed upon us the importance of praying fajr and all other namaz on time.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then listed seven types of sleep:
- The Sleep of Ghafla (negligence), when one sleeps while the Quran is being recited and its meanings explained.
- The Sleep of Shaqāwa (misery), when one sleeps at the time of namaz.
- The Sleep of Laʿnat (accursed), when one sleeps towards the very end of the night.
- The Sleep of ʿUqūba (punishment), when one sleeps at the time of fajr namaz. The punishment being that he is denied his livelihood. Syedna TUS then added that Mumineen should remain awake after fajr namaz until sunrise, engrossed in prayers and duʿā.
- The Sleep of Rāhat (comfort), when one sleeps during the day.
- The Sleep of Rukhsa (permission), when one sleeps after a meal.
- The Sleep of Hasra (grief and regret), when one sleeps on the eve of Friday.
In the Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Safāʾ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity), Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS explains that a person is in a state of comfort when his body and all his matters are in balance and moderation. Tiredness and fatigue are brought on by imbalance in the elements that constitute the human body. If the proportion of one element decreases, another will increase causing loss of equilibrium and leading to one feeling tiredness or pain. Such a balance is required in all aspects of our lives. If one had the same dish every day, he would eventually derive little pleasure or joy from eating it. The same goes for sermons and discourses that do not offer a variety of topics; the audience tires. A bayān, Maula TUS said, should comprise of topics pertaining to history, philosophy, jurisprudence, literature, counsel, as well as light-hearted exchanges and of course the zikr of Imam Husain AS.
Referencing common examples from our daily lives, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS continued his discussion regarding the need for comfort and rest. Weekends and vacations are reserved for heading to a nearby farmhouse, hill station or to the seaside for rejuvenation. These visits help dispel physical and mental fatigue and revitalize us for the coming days and weeks. Maula TUS jovially remarked, however, that some holidays become so stressful that another holiday is needed just to recover from them. Regardless of whether one is working or on vacation, Amirul Mumineen’s AS guidance is a prescription with which one can spend their entire life in comfort and at rest.
Turning to the concept of hawā, Maulana al-Minʿām TUS explains that every individual has a nafs ammāra bi al-sūʾ, a soul that enjoins evil and leads him to follow hawā, i.e. whims and fancies, and indulge in acts of Allah’s disobedience. This evil soul subjugates him to a perennial state of tiredness and pain. The one who relinquishes his whims and fancies and adheres to Wali Allah AS will find comfort in all situations.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then elaborated upon this notion by relating the events which took place on the eve of Rasul Allah’s SAW Hijra from Makkah al-Mukarrama to al-Medina al-Munawwara. He explained that Amirul Mumineen sought — and found — comfort and solace in following and abiding by Rasul Allah’s SAW command. Rasul Allah SAW decided to migrate from Makkah to Medina because of the persistent persecution at the hands of the Quresh and Mushrikīn. So that he might leave unnoticed, the Prophet SAW desired that someone should take his place in his bedchamber during the intended night of migration. Following the refusal of all others despite Rasul Allah SAW asking thrice, Amirul Mumineen AS took on the perilous task. Rasul Allah SAW was moved by this act of devotion and fidelity and prayed that Allah Taʿālā keep him safe and protected. During the dark of the night, the Quresh broke into the bedchamber and assaulted whom they thought was Rasul Allah SAW sleeping in the bed. Recalling the event, Amirul Mumineen AS said that the bruises caused by the blows of their bludgeons swelled to the size of large eggs. After the assault, the assailants uncovered the sheet only to find Amirul Mumineen AS lying there instead of Rasul Allah SAW. Taken aback by his presence, they decided against trying to kill him and instead focused their energy on locating Rasul Allah SAW who had obviously escaped. They shackled Amirul Mumineen AS in iron chains, secured the door with a lock and left in pursuit of Rasul Allah SAW. Once they left, Amirul Mumineen AS recounts that he heard a voice call out ‘Ya Ali!’ and his bruises immediately healed. A second call of ‘Ya Ali!’ and the shackles broke and with the third the lock upon the door cracked open. Amirul Mumineen AS rendezvoused with Rasul Allah SAW and they proceeded to Medina.
Expanding our understanding of hawā, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that hawā also refers to having a delusion or making an assumption. These delusive assumptions lead to incorrect conclusions and is something that the enemies of Dawat are particularly known for. They delude themselves into believing they are more worthy than the Imam or Dāʿī, and as such, they become hawā in themselves. Adding to his analysis of Amirul Mumineen’s AS kalām mubārak on comfort, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that if a Mumin discards the enemy of Dawat, i.e. the hawā, as he would his own whims and fancies, he will find rāhat and comfort. However, when one continues to associate with such adversaries of Dawat, then they will never find comfort; they will only know fatigue, pain and frustration. This concept was then clarified with the example of Harith-e-Hamdān who discarded Amirul Mumineen’s AS enemy and found comfort, even when a fire was set all around him.
‘A Mumin takes great pains upon himself, however, others are always at ease with him.’ The above description of a Mumin is yet another kalām mubārak of Amirul Mumineen AS which Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS elaborated upon in the context of rāhat. A Mumin will tire himself, struggle and take pains, but he or she will always ensure that others remain undisturbed by his or her actions, even going out of his way to help and bring comfort to others. In this way, a Mumin is a source of rāhat. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that although some people may fit this description to a certain extent, this statement truly applies to Awliya Allah AS who take upon themselves great pains and difficulties to ensure Mumineen’s comfort. As an example, he referenced an oft-quoted sentiment expressed by al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA: ‘I find comfort and relaxation in serving Mumineen; when I try to take rest, I fall ill.’
Continuing his discussion on how Mumineen can find comfort in their daily lives, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recounted yet another pearl of advice from Amirul Mumineen AS regarding food intake: ‘Stand up [from your meal] while you still desire more.’ Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that when a person has had their fill, the stomach sends a message to the brain saying that it is full. However, this message is delayed and often one is already full before the brain receives the message. Therefore, if one continues to eat until they feel full, they have already over eaten. Thus, Amirul Mumineen’s AS directive to stop eating even though one might still desire more, allows one to consume the right amount of food, leading to moderation and ultimately to rāhat. Syeda TUS mentioned that it was walī al-neʿmat, Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s RA habit to only consume a specific amount of morsels of food.
The opposite of comfort gained through moderate eating was illustrated in a narration from Syedna al-Qadi al-Numan’s RA Kitāb al-Manāqib wa al-Mathālib in which he elaborates on the manāqib, virtues of Aimmat Tahereen AS as well on the mathālib, or shortcomings of the Umayyads. The example from this text demonstrates how the Umayyads, false claimants to the leadership of Islam abandoned Rasul Allah’s SAW dīn, followed their own whims and were therefore cursed with an existence of perpetual discomfort and pain. Sulaiman bin Abd al-Malik, an Umayyad ruler, was renowned for his gluttony and debauchery. A man that regularly brought him food recounts an occasion where he brought him two baskets, one filled with boiled eggs and the other with figs. He began to peel each egg and placed a fig on top of it before handing it over to Sulaiman and in that manner, fed him the entire two baskets. The man contends that it was Sulaiman’s excessive consumption that undoubtedly led to his death. Another man known as Shamardan describes an encounter with Sulaiman on his way to Taif. Sulaiman asked him if he had anything to eat. Shamardan knew of Sulaiman’s over indulgence and had prepared accordingly beforehand. He informed Sualiman that he had a goat as big as a cow which he had prepared for him. Sulaiman urged him to bring it quickly. Shamardan remarked that the goat was so rich that its melted fat looked like a trough full of ghee. Sulaiman invited Umar bin Abdul Aziz to join him but he was fasting and declined and so Sulaiman began to eat the goat all by himself until he finished it. He then asked if there was anything else to eat. Shamardan told him that he had six chickens as big as ostrich chicks. Sulaiman ate them all by himself. He then asked Shamardan if he had anything else. Shamardan had run out of food and told him that he had only drink left. Sulaiman said to bring what he had and Shamardan presented him a chalice of wine the size of a human head. He quaffed the wine and burped so loudly afterwards that it sounded as if someone was shouting in a well. After having consumed all this, Sulaiman called his regular cook and asked him if his lunch was ready, to which he replied in the affirmative. Sulaiman instructed him to serve it. The cook had prepared eighty pots of food which he brought to Sulaiman one after the other in addition to a plate of flatbread which the cook placed before him. Sulaiman took a few bites of food along with the flatbread from each of the eighty pots. He then instructed that the people in his company be called for lunch. When they sat down to eat Sulaiman joined them and began to eat as if he was the most eager of them all. This over indulgence was what led to his death. Syedna TUS then prayed to Allah to safeguard Mumineen and to keep them in rāhat from such afflictions.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that in 1161 centres across the world around 400,000 Mumineen – while observing necessary protocols – are gathering for the majalis of Imam Husain AS.
As has become custom during this ʿAshara Mubāraka, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS once again recounted the counsels of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA which he delivered to the Mumineen of Nairobi during his journey in 1383 H (1963) . Syedna Saifuddin RA stated that youngsters should utilise the strength of their youth in the khidmat of Dawat, which results in the betterment of both their bodies and souls, in addition to the divine rewards they receive for benefiting others. Allah Taʿālā states that if one does a good deed albeit as small as an ant, he will see it (reap its reward) and if one does a bad deed, albeit as small as an ant, he will likewise see it (suffer the consequences). Each and every deed results in thawāb; one should never think that the good he does goes in vain. Similarly the bad things they do incur punishment, even though not immediately but surely later on. When those who do bad deeds are faced with the consequences of their actions, they realise why. Thus youngsters should be made well aware that every action has its consequences. Whatever good one does is sure to benefit them.
Syedna RA went on to emphasise the importance of safeguarding our tradition and way of life. He noted how some people become so estranged from our customs and traditions that they speak only in English, dress according to English customs and grow increasingly unfamiliar with the ways of the Dawat. A father from Africa once wrote to Syedna RA telling him that he had a granddaughter who lived in Europe. When she returned, the father asked her to recite the kalima al-shahāda. She did so but stopped after Mohammed Rasul Allah and so her grandfather asked her to continue. She responded that she did not know what came next, meaning she did not know who Rasul Allah’s SAW legatee was. The daughter was ten or eleven years of age, and having lived in Europe, away from our centres, nobody had taught her about her religion. Such negligence ultimately leads to the diminishment of our faith’s strength and resplendence Syedna RA warned. The people of other religions have imposed a separation between dīn and dunyā (religious and secular matters). Those who have political power tend to worldly affairs and men of religion tend to matters of faith without having any say in matters of state. This notion appeals to many but they forget that dīn exists in dunyā and is a part of it. There is no other place where dīn is to be established and exercised. Rasul Allah SAW tended to both dīn and dunyā. Those who distanced themselves from the Dawat lost both dīn and dunyā. Sometimes it so happens that some of them are able to retain dunyā but that too is according to Allah’s hikmat and therein lies a secret to which only Allah and his Awliyā are privy.
Continuing the narration of Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA account of his visit to East Africa, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that Syedna Saifuddin RA then travelled to Tanga. He delivered a discourse there and Mumineen were fascinated that the Dawat had such a rich tradition of knowledge, such a robust administration and so many directives on how Mumineen should interact with each other. Even in Tanga, the wider community came to know of Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA arrival and they flocked to him. More than 500 locals would come to his presence each day and stand in queue awaiting the chance to meet him. At eleven in the morning or at noon, they would finally get a chance to make his acquaintance. Seeing this surge of outsiders thronging towards Syedna RA, Mumineen began to feel that they were not able to reap the full benefit of Syedna’s RA visit. They suggested that they should be given priority over others. Syedna RA counseled them that if they did so, it would send the wrong impression to the rest of the people that Mumineen considered them to be inferior. Syedna RA consoled Mumineen that his purpose in visiting them was so they could live in unity and harmony with their fellow brothers and sisters in the region. Their image within the wider community should not be that they consider themselves superior to others. Therefore it was decided that both Mumineen and people from the wider community would come to Syedna simultaneously and that for every five outsiders, Syedna RA would meet ten Mumineen. Syedna Saifuddin RA extended an invitation to the President for dinner and he readily accepted it travelling to meet Syedna that very night. Many thought that he would not come, but he came and spent many hours in conversation with Syedna RA.
Syedna Saifuddin RA then recounted how the Duʿat foresaw more than 150 years ago that Mumineen should travel far and wide in search of better prospects. Mumineen went to Africa, Aden, Singapore and Rangoon under the guidance of the Duʿat.
Seeing Syedna’s RA reception in Tanga and elsewhere, those who bore enmity towards him became disheartened. They saw that the government was in his favour and so were various ambassadors and officials. An ambassador in Kampala remarked that when he saw Syedna RA it was as though light radiated from his countenance. The Indian Ambassador stated that he had received such instructions from Delhi that no matter the effort he expended for Syedna RA it would never be considered enough. Many people sought Syedna’s RA counsel regarding whether or not to remain in the region as a result of the prevalent circumstances at the time. Syedna RA directed them to persevere and not to abandon the businesses that they had painstakingly cultivated over more than 150 years. Many even asked him that if they decided to stay and were removed from their jobs, what would they do? Syedna RA told them to tackle such issues if and when they transpired and not to burden themselves with such thoughts but to remain firm and resolute in taking on every challenge. He also guided them to have a contingency if they were able, so that if something were to happen, they would have a place to fall back on. As a result of Syedna’s RA counsel many people remained in the region.
After Imam Husain AS was brutally martyred in Karbala, his family’s unveiled women and shackled children were paraded through the markets of Damascus through unforgiving conditions until they reached Yazid’s palace. As they departed towards Medina, Yazid presented Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS with some money as restitution. Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS rejected this and exclaimed, ‘Have you no shame! You slaughtered my brother and my family and you offer me money in return!’
As the caravan approached Medina, Maulatona Umme Kulthum AS , facing her home, weeps as she recounts the atrocities that took place in Karbala in a heart-wrenching monologue:
O’ our grandfather’s Medina, do not accept us. We come only bringing grief and despair.
They decapitated Husain without any regard for our relation with you, O’ Rasul Allah.
Then, Syedna AS transitioned between verse and prose to depict Maulatona Umme Kulthum’s AS plight. She cries out to Rasul Allah:
If only you would have been there to witness Shimr slaughter your grandson, Husain! If only you could witness your daughters forced to ride bare-back camels in the scorching heat while the on-lookers gaze pierce their unveiled faces.
She cries out to Maulatuna Fatema AS:
These tyrants do not let us sleep! Our eyes cannot stay open due to the sleepless nights. If you could witness us right now, you would weep upon our tragedy until the day of Qayamah
As the caravan approached Jannat Baqi’, she cried out to Imam Hasan AS:
Your brother’s decapitated body lay slain in Karbala far away from you!
Entering Medina she cries out again:
O’ our grandfather’s Medina, do not accept us. We come only bringing grief and despair
O’ Medina, when we left we were a complete family, and now we return without any of our men or children!
She concludes this heart-rending monologue calling all those who have heard her story to weep upon her tragic condition.
Prior to his shahādat, as he lay inflicted with wounds, his sacred blood falling to the ground, Husain Imam AS addressed his different body parts with final words of counsel:
O heart! Persevere and accept Allah’s decree and divine will.
O Feet! Do not falter as you strive for Allah’s cause.
O head! When you are raised upon the tip of a spear, make sure to remain grateful to Allah.
O body! When you are smeared with blood and covered in dust, do not fail to praise the Almighty!
Gathered here in Aljamea-tus-Saifyah, Nairobi, in the presence of Imam Husain’s AS Dai, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, we are witnessing history unfold before us. Our hearts are overcome with gratitude that Allah decreed our presence here; our feet swifty move us in the direction of Imam Husain’s zikr; our heads rise to catch a glimpse of Husain’s AS Dai TUS seated upon Imam al-Zaman’s AS blessed throne; and our bodies tremble with mātam and bukā as we offer praise and gratitude for this great bounty that we have been bestowed with. May Allah Taʿālā grant Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin a long life in everlasting health and happiness until the Day of Qiyāmat.
Ashara Mubaraka 1443 H
Global Recording Relay
4th Muharram al-Haram
In today’s archive recording relayed around the world, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA told us of the origin of Baitullah and what it represents. It was Ibrahim Nabi AS who constructed the original Baitullah that we still recognize.
When Ibrahim Nabi AS called towards Haj, those who heard his azan responded by saying ‘Labbaik! Ya Dai Allah!’ Their response was not ‘Labbaik! Ya Rasul Allah!’ Instead, tellingly, it was ‘Ya Dai-Allah’.
It is said that when Ibrahim Nabi AS gave the original azan, those that replied ‘labbaik’ once would do Haj once and accordingly if they answered twice, thrice, four times, ten, twenty or however many they would do Haj that many times. The tasbiḥ of ‘Labbaik, Allahumma labbaik!’ is one that is repeated at almost every juncture during a person’s Haj. When they awaken in the morning, when a car passes by, when one descends from a higher plane to a lower one and many other instances as one travels towards Makkah al-Mukarrama.
The original Baitullah was elevated during the deluge in the time of Nuh Nabi AS and placed in the fourth heavenly sphere. It is located in line with Allah Taʿālā’s throne being directly above it; if water was to be poured from the throne it would fall upon it.
Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA recalled the narrative of Ibrahim Nabi AS where he was placed in the catapult and was about to be thrown into the fire. Allah Taʿālā sent Jibraeel AS with instructions to offer him assistance,if it was asked for. When Jibraeel AS asked him if he required any help, Ibrahim Nabi AS replied, “From you, no”. The narrative is related further by Syedna Jafar bin Mansour al-Yemen RA who adds, Jibraeel then asked, “And from Allah?” Again, Ibrahim AS replied that he did not. He was then thrown into the fire which transformed, by Allah’s will, into a cool garden. Jibraeel remained puzzled as to why it was that Ibrahim Nabi AS had said no when asked about Allah’s assistance and Ibrahim AS explained that if it were Allah’s will that he be burned in the fire then he could not summon the courage to ask that Allah change His decision for his sake.
Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS rendered the address of nawḥ and ʿaweel, telling us how some people faint at just the sight of a knife cutting flesh, but in Karbala the tormentors, after killing and mutilating the shuhadāʾ, brandished the severed heads in front of the Ahle-Bait.
He then spoke of Maulatona Zainab’s AS unbearable anguish as she re-entered Medina but could not bring herself to enter the door of her home. The memories of all those lost in Karbala, with whom she had started the journey from this very home, haunted her. She sat herself upon the doorstep, embarrassed as to what the walls of the house would ask her about them. “If it pleases you, I will sit on the doorstep, consider me as but a maid of this house!” was her plea until Imam Ali Zain al-Abidin AS entreated her to enter the dwelling.