Reflections: Majlis 9/10

Ashara Mubaraka 1443 H
Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Nairobi

Majlis 9/10: 10th Muharram al-Haram

Today, on the blessed day of Ashura, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS addressed us as those who had gathered to cause our hearts and bodies to tremble in grief for Imam Husain AS.

Allah Taʿālā directed Rasul Allah SAW to convey the following instructions to all Muslims:

Say, [O Mohammed] if you love Allah — follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.

Rasul Allah SAW has declared, ‘Husain is from me and I am from him’. Elsewhere, he has stated, ‘May Allah love the person who loves Husain’. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then decreed that we are the ones who truly follow Rasul Allah SAW by expressing our love for Imam Husain AS and in doing so, we are certain of Allah Taʿālā and Rasul Allah’s SAW absolute love for us in return.

To illustrate the manner in which Rasul Allah SAW loves those who are engrossed in the love of Imam Husain AS, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS narrated how, one day, Rasul Allah SAW came upon a group of children playing in the streets of Medina. He sat beside one of them and displayed such affection towards the child that some of his companions felt compelled to enquire as to who the child was, since the child and his parents were not known to them. Rasul Allah SAW informed them that he had once seen the child with his beloved grandson Imam Husain AS and despite the child’s tender age, he touched the dust from under Imam Husain’s AS feet and placed his hands over his face and eyes [seeking its blessings]. From that day onwards, Rasul Allah SAW declared that he had loved the child as a result of the child’s love for Imam Husain AS and that he would intercede on behalf of the child and his parents on the day of Qiyamat. He then added that Jibraeel had told him that the child would grow up to become one of Imam Husain’s AS companions and sacrifice himself for the Imam in Karbala.

An example of Imam Husain’s AS love for those who follow him is illustrated in an incident with a bedouin who once came to him seeking his help. He had undertaken a guarantee for an entire indemnity for manslaughter which amounted to 1000 dinars, but now that the time for him to pay had come, he did not have the means to make the payment. The bedouin explained that he thought to himself that he should go to the noblest of all people and found none more noble than the Ahle Bait AS and therefore came seeking the benevolence of Imam Husain AS. Imam Husain AS responded to the bedouin’s plea by stating that he would ask him three questions. If he would correctly answer one question, Imam Husain AS would give him a third of the sum he sought. If he answered two questions correctly, he would give him two thirds, and if he answered all three questions correctly, he would grant him the entire sum. Quoting Rasul Allah SAW, Imam Husain AS told him that ‘Maʿrūf (favour or an act of kindness) should be to the extent of the maʿrifa (knowledge). The bedouin, in keeping with the candidness for which bedouins are renowned, said that he would try his best to answer Imam Husain’s AS questions and if he was unable, he would learn from him. Imam Husain AS asked him which deed was superior to all deeds. The bedouin responded that professing imān (faith) in Allah was the most superior of all deeds. Imam Husain AS then asked him how one could escape ruin. ‘By trusting in Allah one can escape ruin,’ the bedouin replied. Finally Imam Husain AS asked him what served to adorn a man. The bedouin stated that, ‘If a man had both knowledge and discernment, they would adorn and embellish him.’ ‘What if a man had no knowledge and discernment,’ Imam Husain AS asked him. The bedouin responded that if a man had wealth and generosity they too would serve to adorn him. ‘What if a man has neither wealth nor generosity,’ Imam Husain AS prodded further. ‘He should then be patient and exercise restraint,’ responded the bedouin. ‘What if he does not,’ asked Imam Husain AS. ‘It then befits him to be struck down by a thunderbolt,’ exclaimed the bedouin. Hearing the bedouin’s answers, Imam Husain AS could not help but smile and gave him a pouch filled with 1000 dinars in addition to his ring which was valued at 200 dirhams. He instructed the bedouin to pay off what he owed using the 1000 dinars and to spend the proceeds from the ring on his family.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then stated that regardless of what religion or faith people subscribe to, whether they be Shia or Sunni, whether pious or immoral, many individuals share in the love of Husain AS and are sure to reap the benefits of that love. He then stated that whenever members of other communities come to him seeking solutions to their problems and troubles he counsels them to abstain from all food and water on the day of Ashura. If they cannot go without food, he instructs them to at the very least abstain from water altogether. Many even inform Syedna TUS that following his instructions and remembering Imam Husain AS led to the fulfillment of their desires. Such is the potency of Imam Husain’s AS love and remembrance.

The penultimate kalām mubārak chosen by Maulana al-Minʿām TUS from the series of akālīm wherein Amirul Mumineen AS enumerates the things he sought and where he found them is:

I sought the love of people and found it in renouncing jealousy.

Renouncing jealousy, Syedna TUS explained, brings about two simultaneous benefits. The first is that such a person will be loved by all and the second is that he will in turn love all people. Jealousy is when one sees what other people have, asks himself why he does not have the same and hopes for it to be taken from the other and brought into his possession. In this manner, jealousy eventually leads to deep-rooted hatred. Therefore if one renounces and shuns jealousy by reminding himself of the love he bears towards Allah Taʿālā he will accept that Allah is just and will be happy for what others possess. This leads to the complete emancipation from the perils of jealousy. When one is jealous of what another has, he finds fault in Allah’s wisdom, accuses Him of being unjust and eventually casts aside Allah’s muhabbat entirely.

Allah’s muhabbat is unattainable without adherence to the Awliya Allah AS whose habit is to inspire people to do away with jealousy and cultivate a lasting love in the hearts of all mankind. Rasul Allah SAW states:

Prefer for your Mumin brother what you prefer for yourself.

Prefer for all people what you prefer for yourself.

Prefer for all others (all of Creation) what you prefer for yourself.

In light of these three ahādīth mubāraka, Syedna TUS explained that if we were to prefer that our most prized possessions and valuables become available to others and we would strive for the same, then others would undoubtedly begin to love us and jealousy would cease to exist.

There is no greater example of this kind of love and choosing others over one’s own self than that demonstrated by Awliya Allah AS throughout the ages. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS illustrated this by narrating that when Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS once took ill, Amirul Mumineen AS, Maulatona Fatema AS and Fiḍḍa (maidservant) pledged to fast for three days so that Allah Taʿālā would restore both Imams to health. After the first day’s fast, when they sat for iftār, a beggar came to their doorstep and they gave him their food, breaking their fast with water. The next day, an orphan came to their doorstep complaining of severe hunger and once again they gave away whatever they had, breaking their fast with only water. On the third day a prisoner came to them in want and again they gave away their portions without hesitation. Following these events, Amirul Mumineen AS borrowed a dinar from Aba Thaʿlaba and was on his way home when he came across Miqdad seeking refuge from the sweltering heat in the shade of a wall, his eyes upturned as a consequence of four days of hunger. Amirul Mumineen AS immediately gave him the dinar. Syedna TUS then explained that Maulatona Fatema AS gave preference to the beggar, orphan and prisoner over her own family by granting them the food that was meant for her household and similarly, Maulana Ali AS chose Miqdad over his own family by giving him his single dinar.

In yet another example of how Awliya Allah AS prefer others over themselves, Syedna TUS stated that historians document that Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS distributed half of their entire wealth to those in need on two separate occasions. Similarly, Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS relates that when his beloved father, Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS departed this world, and his blessed body was prepared for ghusl, those present noticed that in addition to the calluses that had formed on his appendages as a result of the thousand rakʿāt of namaz he prayed each day, there was also a callus on his shoulder. Upon enquiry, they were told by Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS that Imam Zainul Abideen’s AS standing instruction to the kitchen staff was to prepare more food than was required by his household. In the late of the night, after everyone had fallen asleep, Imam Zainul Abideen AS would fill a waterskin with food and head to the streets of Medina with the waterskin on his shoulder. In this manner, making multiple trips to and from his house, he would feed 100 households without them knowing who it was that fed them. On some occasions, when he would be delayed, the children of those households would stand at their doorsteps in keen anticipation and speaking amongst themselves they would exclaim, ‘When will the mashkī wālā arrive?’ Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS then explained that Imam Ali Zainulabedin AS would feed those 100 houses from the same food that he and his household consumed. The Duʿat Mutlaqeen AS remain true to his legacy which Maula TUS established with the example of Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA , who in 1277 H, wrote a letter on the 30th of Zilhijja al-Haram directing that from the 1st of Muharram, the same food that is cooked in his home be cooked for all Mumineen.

Rasul Allah SAW describes the detrimental effects of jealousy in his hadīth mubārak: ‘Jealousy consumes the body in the same manner that fire consumes wood.’ Elaborating the close connection between jealousy and the deterioration of the body, Syedna TUS quoted Amirul Mumineen’s AS kalām mubārak: ‘I am amazed by the carelessness of the jealous for the well-being of their bodies.’ Syedna TUS advised Mumineen to renounce jealousy in order to avoid illness. As long as Mumineen continue to prefer for others all that they would for themselves, there will be no room for jealousy which in turn will ensure their health. This is because love and jealousy cannot coexist. Amirul Mumineen AS has clarified that in his statement:

Being jealous of a friend is an illness that afflicts friendship.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then expounded upon the analogy drawn by Raul Allah SAW between the harmonious coexistence of Mumineen and the organs of the body. Coexistence between Mumineen is like that of the organs in the body. When even one organ is beset by illness, the entire body suffers as a result of fever and sleeplessness. All the organs in the body, he continued to explain, bear such love for one another that they always strive for the safety and well-being of each other. If even one organ in the body is harmed, all the other organs strive to restore that organ to health. Every organ has a specific ability which other organs do not. The eye can see and the ear can hear but these organs are never envious of each other. Rather, each organ helps and supplements the other.

In explaining Rasul Allah’s SAW hadīth sharīf, ‘Every act of kindness is sadaqa.’ Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS remarked that the power of sadaqa is such that it can even repel death. He demonstrated this through the example of the commonly narrated instance where a young woman wed a bedouin man solely on Rasul Allah’s SAW decree. When deciding when to solemnize the marriage, Jibraʾīl informed Rasul Allah SAW of the bedouin’s imminent death and that the wedding should take place that very night. Later, as the newlyweds were in each other’s company, a hungry man knocked at their door. Instead of sending him away, the bedouin not only fed him but assisted him in carrying enough food for his entire family. He sacrificed a pleasure dear to his heart and gave sadaqa. The next morning Rasul Allah SAW arrived expecting to lead his funeral prayer and was astonished to see the bedouin still alive. Rasul Allah SAW questioned him on what had ensued the previous night. Indeed, his act of selflessness had prolonged his life.

Maulana al-Minam TUS then conveyed a narrative by Ibn Wahab wherein he visited Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq’s AS house on Ashura. He saw the Imam in his mihrab, engrossed in Allah’s ʿibādat and supplicating Him on behalf of Mumineen and those who come for the ziyārat of Imam Husain AS. Of the many invaluable supplications he sought for them, in the last instance he stated: ‘O Allah I surrender the bodies and souls of those who come for the ziyārat of Husain AS to your care. May You safeguard them and quench their thirst on the day of Qiyamat when all other souls shall thirst for your benevolence.’ Ibn Wahab noticed that Imam Baqir AS was overcome with grief and a pearl-like tear rolled down his cheek. When Ibn Wahab inquired into the Imam’s condition, Imam AS exclaimed: ‘Do you not know what day it is today? Today is the day Husain AS was martyred!’ Witnessing the Imam’s AS condition, Ibn Wahab began to weep as well and enquired what he should do on this blessed day. Baqir Imam AS informed him that he should strive to do the ziyārat of Imam Husain AS, from near if conditions allow it, or even from a distance if not.

Syedna TUS then recalled the five Hudud Kiram QR martyred in the month of Muharram al-Haram. The first is Maulaya Raj QR who guised himself in the clothes of a beggar and went door to door to guide Mumineen during the time of the 23rd Dai, Syedna Mohammed Ezzuddin RA. When his enemies found out, they decimated his blessed body. His ʿurs mubārak falls on the 1st of Muharram ul-Haram.

The second is Maulaya Ghani Fir Saheb QR , buried in Kalawad, who was martyred on the 18th, while Syedi Hasan Feer al-Shahid QR was martyred on the 23rd and Syedi Fakhruddin al-Shahid QR on the 27th. Finally, Syedi Musanji bin Taj QR, who’s qubba mubāraka is in Baroda, was submerged in boiling oil on the 28th after he refused to disclose the whereabouts of Syedna Dawood bin Qutubshah RA. He remained elusive in his answers so as to give Syedna RA enough time to move to a safe location.


At the start of the maqtal bayān, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated the final kalām mubārak:

I sought the best of both worlds (this world and the hereafter) and found it in these words.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS explained that all the things Amirul Mumineen AS sought in the preceding eight kalāms led to the betterment of both this world and the next. Then he stated that during these days of Ashara Mubaraka we sought the good that these kalāms guided towards and that today, on Ashura, at the time of Asr, we seek the zikr of Imam Husain AS which entails the best of both worlds.

Syedna TUS expressed his gratitude that Mumineen journeyed from all corners of the world for the sake of Imam Husain AS and implored them to come even more prepared next year. He added that seeing everyone gathered in the love of Imam Husain AS has made his heart and Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah very happy. He bid his mubarakbādīs to Mumineen for they had the honour of gathering in Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah. He then said, ‘Mubārak to Aljamea for having Mumineen like you gathered within its precincts’.

Disclosing his heartfelt emotions, Syedna TUS shared that his late father, Syedna al-Muqaddas RA, has entrusted him with the custodianship of Mumineen. ‘You all loved Syedna al-Muqaddas RA and he loved you all; this is why I love you all as well,’ he stated.

He concluded with a summation of all ten mawāʿiz nūraniyya before narrating the heart-wrenching maqtal of Imam Husain AS.