Reflections: Majlis 5

Ashara Mubaraka 1443 H
Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Nairobi

Majlis 5: 6th Muharram al-Haram

Archive recording of 6th Muharram 1419 H, Nairobi

Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA commenced the majlis of Mohammed Rasul Allah SAW with Imam Mohammed al-Baqir’s AS promise, that he repeated thrice, ‘Verily, we will intercede!’ When asked for whom this promise was made, he replied, ‘Our Shia.’

At the time of his transgression, Adam Nabi AS appealed to the intercession of the Panjatan Pāk AS, whose radiant forms he had previously witnessed by the Throne in rukūʿ and sujūd. At that instance he asked Allah Taʿālā if He had created anyone before him and was told, no. However, these radiant entities before him were from his descendants and were the very reason for the creation of the universe and everything in it. The Almighty then stated, ‘I have derived their names from mine. I am Maḥmūd (the Praised) and this is Mohammed, I am ʿAalā and ʿAlī (the Lofty) and this is Ali, I am Fāṭir (the Creator) and this is Fatima. I am Moḥsin (the Generous) and this is Hasan, and I am Eḥsān (the Munificent) and this is Husain.

Syedna al-Muqaddas RA addressed Mumineen saying that they are sincere devotees of Khamsat Athār. Explaining the wisdom in this statement, he quoted Imam Abu Ja’far Mohammad al-Baqir’s explanation of the Quranic verse:

Say (O, Mohammed), if you do love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins – for Allah is All-forgiving, All-merciful.

Imam AS asks what condition of love does the verse set? Follow me; obedience is the condition. He explains that love is only valid if there is a Maula to obey. Thus, every epoch must have a Maula to validate the love of every generation.

Allah Taʿālā further asserted that whosoever brought even a mustard seed’s worth of love for Awliya Allah would enter janna, while anyone bearing even that much of enmity would enter hellfire. This love, however, as the Quran states, is contingent upon the obedience of Awliya Allah AS.

The promise of love-reciprocated is exemplified by the story of Ziyād al-Aswad, who having travelled on foot to Imam Mohammed Al-Baqir’s AS presence, arrived with his feet wounded and torn. Imam AS asked him, ‘What is this o’ Ziyad?’ When he heard of his journey of devotion, his eyes brimmed with tears. Ziyad submitted that he had so many sins that at times he despaired for his salvation until he remembered his love for Wali Allah AS. At this Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS declared emphatically thrice, ‘Faith is nought but love!’

Syedna Burhanuddin RA spoke of the everlasting sharia, the age-old religious code that modern men of science, those who see themselves as being ‘excessively intelligent’, regard as being redundant. ‘Mother, father; who made them a mother and a father? The sharia did!’ Syedna Burhanuddin RA then explained the necessity of sharia through the example of marriage. Today there is a notion that if a man and woman are happy together then what need is there for a qadi? That, however, is adultery whilst nikah is only valid if performed by a qadi.

Maulana al-Muqaddas RA then spoke at some length of the nuances of sharia, speaking on topics of marriage, divorce, childbirth, child-rearing, domestic expenditure and finally, the rites of death. In one instance, to show the flexibility of the sharia, we were given the example of a mother-to-be and that she should not fast, if fasting would cause detriment to her unborn child. Also a lactating mother should refrain from fasting if she fears for her child.

Maulana RA then mentioned the importance of names and that they should be of our Hudat Kiram AS. Citing the name Husain, which does not need to be double-barrelled such as Khurshid-Husain, he told us of a humorous instance when he had said to a Mumin, in English, ‘Only Husain,’ which the Mumin took to mean that he should go by this very name, ‘Only Husain’!

Syedna Burhanuddin RA directed Mumineen to lead a simple life, employing an analogy that the cost of stitching should not be more than the value of the cloth. He added that expenses should be controlled and debt avoided, for debt is a stain. We should follow in the footsteps of our forefathers. Husbands and wives should enjoy a blissful life. He then recollected how Maulatona Fatema AS gave a beggar the new clothes given to her by Rasul Allah SAW for her wedding night. Syedna RA then pointed out that the crux of the matter was Rasul Allah’s SAW question to her, ‘Was Ali happy.’ to which she replied, ‘He was very happy.’ Syedna RA then pointed out the extent to which Maulatona Fatema AS maintained her purdah by leaving the room as a blind man entered.

After demonstrating how sharia encompasses each and every aspect of man’s existence, Syedna Burhanuddin RA explained the manner in which the deceased should be buried. After detailing the various steps and procedures, he stressed that once a Mumin is laid to rest in his grave, all the knots in his shroud should be undone: not even a single one should be left. He then revealed that this Mumin has reached the final stage, there are no more restrictions on him. Amirul Mumineen AS , he who unfastens all knots, has freed him from all difficulties.

In a recording from Ashara Mubaraka 1384 H (1964), al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher RA stated that Rasul Allah SAW is the bearer of four ranks. He then mentioned that groups of four feature regularly in our discourse. He started his recollection with the four rivers of janna: water, milk, khamr and honey, all of which flow by the barakat of Rasul Allah SAW.

Syedna al-Muqaddas RA then recited a verse from a qaṣīda he had penned:

Rasul Allah’s SAW faith is the betterment of dīn, dunyā, good character and etiquettes.

Continuing his elaboration of how the number four is prevalent in all aspects of Rasul Allah’s SAW sharia, Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA referenced the bayān mubārak of Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS in the Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Safāʾ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). Imam AS states that the completion of dīn and dunyā for those who follow the sharia, lies in four qualities:

  1. The exercise of intellect which enables one to differentiate between good and bad and thereafter, call towards good and forbid the bad.
  2. Following the example of the bearer of the sharia in every instance: in word, deed and etiquette. For instance Rasul Allah SAW has mandated five farāʾiḍ throughout the day and therefore one should pray no more than five.
  3. Each individual should be well acquainted with the wasīyyat (counsels) and books of the bearer of the sharia. Syedna RA then elaborated on an interesting nuance in meaning. He stated that the bearer of the sharia must appoint a waṣī (legatee). It is incumbent upon every individual to follow the waṣī and imam, just as they follow the imam of a masjid when praying namaz, neither preceding him in action nor falling behind. They must act in unison with him. This unison with the imam was explained with the example of a moth which stays true to a flame and never leaves its side. He then narrated that there once was a housefly which came to the leader of the moths asking to be accepted as a member of their kind. The leader of the moths told the housefly that it would never be able to be one of them but the housefly insisted and so the leader of the moths said nothing. When night fell, he called the housefly and asked it to go and check if the lamps had been lit in the village. The housefly went and came back informing the leader of the moths that indeed the lamps in the village had been lit. Immediately, the moth told the housefly that it could never join their ranks because if it were a true moth it would never have returned. In returning, the housefly had made it evident that it was indeed a housefly and not a moth. Syedna RA then exclaimed that some people are like houseflies, irritatingly persistent and hard to get rid of.
  4. Every jamāʿat should have a leader and a set of rules which govern the actions of the people.

Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then quoted Amirul Mumineen RA who stated, ‘The one who is given four will not be denied four:

  1. The one who has been granted duʿāʾ will not be denied its acceptance’. Syedna RA stated, ‘Allah will answer your prayers, do not become disillusioned, do not say that I pray so much yet my prayers go unanswered. There must be something wrong in your prayers, you may be reading the ʿirāb incorrectly or that you are not taking the wasīla of those whose wasīla should be taken. If so, how can He answer you? Take a wasīla and pray. If one does not knock on the correct door but instead knocks on the back door, who will hear him!’
  2. The one bestowed with repentance will not be deprived of its acceptance.
  3. The one granted istighfār will not be refused forgiveness, and,
  4. The one who has been given gratitude will not be denied further blessings. On behalf of Allah Taʿālā the Quran assures us:

If you are grateful, surely I will grant you more,

And if you are thankless then verily My punishment will be severe.

For the final set of four, Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA stated that when Allah intends to bestow one with the best of both worlds, He grants them:

  1. A tongue that remains engrossed in Allah’s remembrance,
  2. A heart filled with humility,
  3. A body that is able to patiently bear hardships and illnesses, and,
  4. A Mumina wife who fills him with delight each time he sees her and in his absence protects both him through her piety as well as his wealth. Such a wife is a man’s good fortune. Therefore, a wife should also ensure that she becomes a source of bliss and felicity for her husband; such should be the nobility of her character.

May Allah Taʿālā grant Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin, heir to Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, a long life in everlasting health and happiness until the Day of Qiyāmat.