Reflections Majlis 3

4th Muharram al-Haram

In today’s waʿz mubarak, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS delved into the meanings and depth of Rasul Allah’s SAW following hadeeth mubarak:

Masaajid (pl. of masjid and masjad) are the most beloved of places to Allah.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that a masjid is a place where sajda, or prostration, is performed. The reason why these places of sajda are so beloved to Allah, he further explained, is because they raise those who pray namaz in them to higher plateaus of existence; they uplift them. This upliftment is the result of the humility that is brought about in the worshipper through the act of sajda. Rasul Allah SAW has stated that, ‘Allah will elevate the one who humbles himself for His sake’. Mufaddal Maula TUS added that in each and every era, there is a Maula who inspires his followers to embrace humility, which ensures their ascension to the highest ranks. This rings true in Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s RA tender advice to his young son Syedna Mohammed Badruddin RA:

Always remain on the straight path so much so that those who behold you attest that the Shahzada is truly humble. Allah loves those who humble themselves. Kika bhai (O young one), make haste in learning. 

Further elaborating the concept of humility with relation to the masjid, Maulana al-Minʿam TUS quoted Rasul Allah’s SAW hadeeth shareef

He who builds a masjid for Allah, even if no more than the nest of a sandgrouse, Allah will build for him an abode in jannat. 

Syedna TUS explained that the sandgrouse digs a shallow depression in the ground in which it places its eggs. In employing this metaphor, Rasul Allah SAW demonstrates that even the most humble contribution towards the construction of a masjid serves to elevate one to jannat. Mufaddal Maula TUS then noted that the masjid, a house characterised by humility, can only be built through humble effort. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS counselled his audience to always remain humble, treating all with modesty and humility. This, he said, will lead to one lofty station after the next. 

Masjids, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS informed us, provide loftiness in many aspects of our lives, one of which is that they enhance our ability to focus. In namaz, one’s complete attention and focus must be towards Allah Taʿala, and his gaze must not veer from the place where he offers his sajda. Mufaddal Maula TUS affectionately recalled the manner in which Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA would often recite Syedi Abdeali Imaduddin’s QR verses regarding this matter. In explaining the verses, Syedna Burhanuddin RA would light-heartedly remark that there are certain people who while praying namaz during the kite-flying season, remain aware of the entire situation in the skies above them and have an accurate report of how many kites were cut. 

Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS  explained that the sharia prescribes that one should place a sutrat, i.e. an object that functions as a veil beyond one’s place of sajda, which serves to increase one’s focus and attention in namaz. If there remains a gap between the edge of the musalla and what is beyond, the mind may wander and become occupied with what lies in this space. He recalled that Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA when praying namaz alone in an open area, would often place his walking stick in front of his musalla as a sutrat.

Unwavering focus is a signature trait of the Hudood Kiraam QR who diligently serve the Duʿat Mutlaqeen RA with humility. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS illustrated this point with the example of Syedi Abdeali Mohyuddin QR. Despite being born prior to his brother, Syedna Abdullah Badruddin RA, Syedi Mohyuddin QR always demonstrated humility. He subverted this physical relation to Syedna Badruddin’s RA lofty rank as Dai al-Mutlaq. Emulating Rasul Allah’s SAW uncle, Maulana Abbas’ words who was asked who is the elder of the two (Rasul Allah SAW or himself), Syedi Mohyuddin QR answered, ‘Syedna is senior to me; I was merely born before him.’ His humility stemmed from his focus and attention to his obedience for the Dai al-Mutlaq. 

In an insightful commentary on the benefits of masjids to society, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained how the increasing rewards for namaz in various masjids encourages social cohesion. The reward of a single obligatory namaz offered in congregation in a masjid is multiplied according to the status of the masjid. The highest reward of 100,000 is found in al-Masjid al-Haram, while al-Masjid al-Nabawi is 10,000 and al-Masjid al-Aqsa is 1,000. For a city’s jamiʿ masjid, one namaz begets 100, while 25 is reserved for a local area masjid. Even outside of a consecrated masjid, praying namaz with imamate anywhere still gives the worshipper 12 times more reward than praying on his or her own. Thus, the reward-masjid correlation encourages individuals to come together regularly, and in greater numbers, guiding them towards living and working together for the overall betterment of society. 

Continuing his explanation on how masjids offer upliftment and elevation to society, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS listed a number of aspects of masjid attendance that elevate namaz-goers and practitioners. Praying shoulder to shoulder, urges us to learn how to live with people in harmony. The collective recitation of Quran Majeed after morning prayers pushes us to listen to one another. Similarly, the masjid is the venue where Mumineen form circles of matam in which the zeal and enthusiasm of one impacts all those who are in his or her circle. These collective forms of worship which the masjid caters to engender a greater sense of togetherness and remind Mumineen that they are part of larger communities and societies. Even a regular attendees’ absence uplifts and provides benefit because it suggests to other attendees that the missing person may be in need of assistance. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS concluded that in these ways, and many more, masjids uplift entire neighbourhoods, and even entire cities.

A masjid instils in us an awareness for others, and the understanding that causing even the slightest disturbance or difficulty to anyone is unacceptable. In particular, Rasul Allah’s SAW instructions to those who have eaten garlic or other pungent foods to refrain from visiting the masjid emphasises this awareness and compassion for others. A masjid is also a centre of learning, where through waʿaz and sabaq the faithful enlighten their minds and souls. A place of purity, the masjid also uplifts the congregation’s sense of hygiene. Instructions to tend to a masjid’s upkeep and maintenance, inspires masjid-goers to tend to their homes and properties with the same attention to detail and concern, thereby elevating their overall standard of life. It is for this very reason that the establishment of a masjid was the foremost act of Awliya Allah AS in all the towns and cities they travelled to. 

When referring to the uplifting acts of the Duʿat Mutlaqeen AS, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS gave the example of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust project, the very name of which indicates the integral role Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA have had in elevating the physical and spiritual conditions of Mumineen and society at large.  Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS spoke of Syedna Burhanuddin’s RA resolve; few would even contemplate undertaking such a massive project, let alone embark upon it with such dedication and commitment. Syedna TUS prayed for its quick completion, and spoke of the soon-to-be inauguration of Saifee Masjid, the masjid at the heart of this massive project. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi TUS prayed for the prosperity of Mumineen. He hoped that they would utilise their wealth in helping all humanity. He then recited the 51st verse from the 51st Dai Syedna Taher Saifuddin’s RA Philosophical Discourse:

Should you become a leader, then through moderation and compassion, seek the development of Allah Taʿala’s towns and cities; honour His servants. Do not adopt a colonising mentality and exploit them.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS spoke of the malicious effects of colonisation wherein a dominant world power takes command of a nation and then, instead of working for the prosperity of that dominion, plunders the colony’s resources and belittles and subjugates the local culture and tradition. The coloniser imposes their own norms and values upon the populace. Mufaddal Maula TUS declared that no purpose is served in securing your betterment through the destruction of others.

The Fatimiyeen Aimmat AS did not rule their dominions as did those who embraced the mentality and approach of colonisation. Across North Africa, and especially in Egypt, the Fatimi Imams AS not only preserved the local culture and traditions but strengthened them through their own participation. They also preserved architectural heritage, never forsaking existing Islamic buildings for their own establishments. Both al-Jamiʿ al-ʿAteeq and Jamiʿ Ibn Tulun saw patronage of the Fatimi Imams AS. Al-Jamiʿ al-ʿAteeq was not only maintained but embellished with fountains and expanded to cater to the growing populace. Likewise, Maulana al-Imam al-Mustansir AS regularly graced Jamiʿ Ibn Tulun where he built a beautiful mihrab on one of its pillars. Syedna TUS added that Syedna Burhanuddin RA regularly visited Jamiʿ Ibn Tulun and led namaz at this historic mihrab. 

Likewise, the annual flooding of the River Nile has been celebrated in Egypt since ancient times. When the river reached its peak the Fatimi Imam would ride in a grand procession towards the Nilometer and personally anoint it with saffron. Today, the widespread reverence for the Ahle Bait AS in Egypt speaks to the efforts of the Fatimi Imams AS towards the inclusive upliftment of its people. Close to a thousand years following their seclusion the name of the Egyptian capital remains as given by them: al-Qahira. Likewise, its renowned university continues to be known as Azhar, the name given by Imam al-Muizz AS.

In contrast, the Ayyubids behaved as colonisers, sparing no effort in their destruction of Fatimi cultural artefacts. They plundered the Fatimi libraries, and threw so many of its books into the Nile that the colour of the river was changed by the ink diffusing through it.

Syedna TUS then directed business owners not to interact with their employees with a colonial mindset, but rather cultivate an environment that brings out the best in individuals, and enables them to excel.

Adding yet another dimension of meaning to today’s hadeeth mubarak, Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS explained that the word biqaʿ which is the plural of buqʿa, also means the hue that stands out from the colours around it. For example, a crimson piece of cloth is strikingly distinct from the other coloured fabrics that surround it. Syedna TUS highlighted the phenomenon where people and communities seek to stand out from others. Through their traditions, their culture, their knowledge, their skills, their business, their language, their attire and their customs, they aspire to make themselves distinct from others. In this hadith, where biqaʿ is used in conjunction with masajid, we understand that the hue that is most beloved to Allah Ta’ala is the hue of humility and obedience. 

Syedna al-Qadi al-Numan RA narrates the instance of an Eid, when rains had led to mud-filled streets making access and the possibility of the Eid namaaz in the open air eid-gah difficult. People assumed that Imam Muʿizz AS would just lead the Eid prayers in a masjid. However, Imam AS was determined to pray at the eid-gah as the sharia calls for. Imam AS pointed out that Rasul Allah SAW himself spent Lailat al-Qadr with the ‘tip of his nose in mud.’ ‘By Allah, if it is Allah’s wish then we will make our way through the mud towards the eid-gah and fulfil the obligatory rites of Eid,’ he exclaimed. ‘In fulfilling the imperatives of worship, we will endure whatever hardships are necessary’ he added. All the inhabitants of the city duly followed Imam Muʿizz AS out to the eid-gah and all who attended were marked with the colour of mud. Yet, those mud stains were the very hues that were beloved by Allah. In his steadfast adherence and acceptance of the tenets of shariat, we see Imam Muʿizz’s AS hue of humility and servitude shine through. 

This hue of humility colours the Duʿat Mutlaqeen AS too. In every instance, they demonstrate nothing but humility, insisting they are nothing but the humble servants of Imam al-Zaman AS. Those Mumineen who seek their Dai’s RA advice and sound consul in every aspect of their lives, be it business or education, medical treatment or family issues, material or spiritual and act accordingly, they too are hued with the hue of their Maula TUS. By assuming the colours of their Maula TUS and resembling him, Mumineen distinguish themselves from others by creating an identity unique to them. Syedna TUS then mentioned Mumineen in every region, Europe, America, Africa, India, Pakistan and so forth and praised them for their admirable conduct and amicable relations with others that made them stand out from the crowd. 

In every waʿz mubarak of this year’s Ashara Mubaraka, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS has invoked verses from the revered and moving eulogy of Syedna Idris Imaduddin RAhuznun azaaba jawanehi – in lamenting what befell Imam Husain AS and his kin. Today, Syedna TUS recalled the following heart-rending verses: 

They [the Umayyad soldiers] dragged the sayyidaat of the family of the Nabi SAW with their heads and faces unveiled, and the marshal ushered them on towards Yazeed 

Held captive and bound, they wept grief-stricken, calling out to Rasul Allah SAW and crying out to Imam Husain AS

What has become of us after you, O Ahmed SAW, the descendant of noble ancestors, they cried.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS described the harrowing treatment that Imam Husain’s AS family of sayyidaat were subjected to in the aftermath of his shahadat. Bound and captive, they were taken to Yazeed. The Yazidi troops treated them with such disdain and derision, thinking nothing more of these noblewomen than the camel, cattle and goat herds pillaged as spoils of war. Incessantly beaten, struck, whipped and tormented, the caravan of heartbroken sayyidaat were forced to move on, as if woe and misfortune themselves had been pinned to the Ahle Bait AS. Spared not a moment for reprieve from their ordeal, the noblewomen of Ahle Bait AS endured endless anguish. With expressions that spoke of the grief that filled Syedna’s TUS heart, he spoke of their condition, where their heads were uncovered; their faces were uncovered and even more distressing, their sides too were laid bare. The wretched foes had sought to leave them completely unveiled. Subject to this indignity, they wept profusely, unable to stem the flow of tears. With overwhelming grief, they cried out to Rasul Allah SAW and Imam Husain AS “Save us! Rescue us from these heartless and wretched foes!”

Using these verses of Syedna Idris Imaduddin RA, Syedna TUS recounted with powerful imagery the torment that the Ahle Bait AS endured. As he did so the entire majlis was moved to tears as if that very suffering was transpiring right in front of their very eyes.

May Allah Taʿala grant Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life in happiness and health, and may we join him always, in masjids across the world, finding humility in his feet, and heaven in his obedience.