Reflections Majlis 6

7th Muharram al-Haram

At the start of today’s waʿz mubarak al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS narrated the wedding of Amirul Mumineen AS and Maulatona Fatema AS. Whilst relating that Rasul Allah SAW accepted Amirul Mumineen’s AS suggestion to sell his armour for 400 dirhams as dower, Syedna TUS added that the marriage of Amirul Mumineen AS and Maulatona Fatema AS is the ideal armour that shields Mumineen and Muminaat from haram, indicating that this holy union defines the ideals of matrimonial conduct. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal’s TUS chose the following hadeeth shareef as the topic for today’s waʿz mubarak:

‘Indeed the most beloved of people to Allah on the day of Qiyamat, and the one seated closest to him, is the just imam.’

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that while every imam from the progeny of Amirul Mumineen AS is just, Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS hold a place of prominence amongst them by virtue of their precedence. Elucidating to the world their lofty position, as well as that of their revered father, Rasul Allah SAW states:

‘Hasan and Husain are both rightful imams, whether they take a stand or refrain, and their father is superior to them both.’

Of all those who have delivered a just judgement, Amirul Mumineen AS is undoubtedly the most exalted. Rasul Allah SAW describes him as being the most just of judges. It follows, that on the day of Qiyamat, Amirul Mumineen AS will be seated closest to Allah.

Syedna TUS then explained that the reason why Allah loves those who are just is because the rule of justice fosters the prevalence of peace and harmony in society and the betterment of the populace. Allah Taʿala states:

‘If two parties among the believers take up arms against each other, make peace between them. However, if one of them transgresses against the other, then fight the one that transgresses until they comply with the command of Allah; but [on the other hand] if they comply, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair (practise qist); for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).’

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS relayed the commentary on this ayat shareefa as found in tafseer (corpus of Quranic exegesis). It is said that Rasul Allah SAW once set out to meet with ʿAbdullah bin Ubay, a major munafiq (dissembler). When Rasul Allah SAW neared him, ʿAbdullah disparagingly asked him to step back because the smell of Rasul Allah’s SAW mount repulsed him. Enraged by this slight, one man from the Ansar retorted that ʿAbdullah’s own stench was far worse than that of the mount. A quarrel ensued between the two parties and that is when Allah Taʿala revealed the above mentioned ayat shareefa. Syedna TUS pointed out that in this ayat, Allah first decrees that a reconciliation be sought based on ʿadl and thereafter exhorts that qist — literally fairness but more generally a variety of practices couched in fairness that enhance the administration of justice — be undertaken.

One meaning of qist, like ʿadl, is justice. However, a nuanced definition is to be cautious and ensure that justice is being properly delivered. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained this by stating that it is inappropriate for anyone in an adjudicating situation to even contemplate favouring one party over the other before thoroughly hearing the matter. Following the passing of Rasul Allah SAW, a disputant took Maulana Ali AS to a judge after a disagreement arose between them. Before the proceedings took place, the judge addressed the two parties, calling the plaintiff by his first name and addressing Amirul Mumineen AS – out of respect – as Abu al-Hasan. At this point, Amirul Mumineen AS pointed out that this was improper; a judge should address both parties in the same way. ‘You must address me in the same manner you address this person, with my name.’ In Arabic, a person is addressed by his kunya, teknonym, as a mark of respect and reverence. Maulana al-Min’aam TUS then gave an example, ‘If someone has the name Mudar, and his son’s name is Kinana. If you wish to address this person with respect you will say ‘Ya Aba Kinana’ instead of Mudar’.’ He continued that even women have a kunya as part of their names, some are named Ummul Kiram, or Umme Haani, Umme Salama, Ummul Baneen. 

Judges, and for that matter, anyone who administers justice, have to be exemplarily careful. In explaining the importance of absolute neutrality and unbiasedness, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS relayed the following example. One judge from Banu Israail renowned for his justness told his wife to look at his face after he is laid to rest in his grave. When he died, the wife did as her husband instructed only to find a large insect emerging from her husband’s nose. That night the judge came to her in her dream and asked her if what she had seen had made her distraught and she replied that she was.  Her husband said to her that this awful situation was her doing. He then reminded her of a case he adjudicated that involved her brother. Prior to the proceedings, the judge hoped in his heart that the judgement would go in his brother-in-law’s favour, which it did. It was this mere thought that had brought about this horrific consequence.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS said that qist also meant to examine the scale by which the judgement is made. He gave the example of a scholar who’s uncle’s son was a purveyor of grain. He saw him cleaning his scale after every transaction, and asked him why he did so? His uncle’s son responded saying that he wanted to ensure that the presence of even the slightest dirt and dust did not compromise the accuracy of his scale.

Another meaning of qist, as Syedna Saifuddin TUS explained, is justice with benevolence, or ihsaan. Sometimes justice in the absence of benevolence can lead to discord. Rasul Allah SAW had sent Khalid b. Waleed to the Banu Jazeema clan with orders not to fight, and simply call them to Islam. When Khalid arrived, they took up arms but Khalid assured them that there was nothing to fear and that he had been directed to not fight. The people laid down their arms except one individual named Jahdam who did not trust Khalid. His people ultimately subdued him and once he was unarmed, Khalid ordered for them all to be bound and had a number of them killed. When Rasul Allah SAW learnt of this he sent Maulana Ali AS with reparations to redress Khalid’s transgressions. Blood money was offered to the families of those killed and recompense for any damaged property was provided. After all the heirs had been compensated, there remained a sum from that which Rasul Allah SAW had sent with Maulana Ali AS, which he too handed over to the clanspeople. Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS explained how Amirul Mumineen’s AS ihsaan helped assuage the people, and complement the justice that he had already provided. When he returned, Rasul Alllah SAW praised him for his actions and declared his renunciation of Khalid three times over. 

In explaining the following ayat shareefa from the Quran Majeed:

Surely Allah loves those who practise qist.

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS gave the example of a situation that arose during the era of Syedna Ismail Badruddin RA, the 38th Dai, whose urs mubarak was today. Syedna Badruddin RA had sent Syedi Luqmanji QR , whose qabr mubarak is in Surat, to Sironj to arbitrate between two quarrelling sides and help dispel the resentment that had festered between them. Syedna Badruddin RA then sent Syedna Ibrahim Wajihuddin RA as Saheb al-Dawat to the same city. After acquainting himself with the matter, Syedna Wajihuddin RA was of the opinion that the quarrel between the two sides should be resolved amicably where both sides walk away content. Syedi Luqmanji QR, however, was of the opinion that justice alone should dictate the outcome and mutual understanding was not necessary. Out of respect for Syedi Luqmanji’s QR stature, Syedna Wajihuddin RA did not press the matter further. It happened that in the coming days, Syedna Ismail Badruddin RA passed away, and news of his nass on Syedna Ibrahim Wajihuddin RA reached Sironj. In order to resolve the matter, Syedna Wajihuddin RA once again approached Syedi Luqmanji QR and sought his opinion on how to proceed. This time, however, Syedi Luqmanji QR declared that Syedna’s RA will and desire were all that mattered. Yesterday, he and Syedna Wajihuddin RA were both dignitaries of Dawat, sharing similar stature. Today, however, he was Syedna Wajihuddin’s RA servant and devotee. “Maula, do as you see fit!” Mufaddal Maula TUS added that Syedi Luqmanji QR wished to resolve the dispute with justice, while Syedna Wajihuddin RA desired for justice to be accompanied with benevolence, a manifestation of qist. Syedi Luqmanji’s QR actions and belief illustrated that submitting to the Dai’s happiness and will in itself is the source of justice as it is the source of qist.   

Furthering this notion of benevolence and justice, Mufaddal Maula TUS offered a perspective essential to a life of peace and contentment, and integral in enabling us to return to our heavenly origins. When Allah Taʿala showers His bounties and privileges upon us we should consider this as an act of Allah’s sheer fadl (benevolence) upon us, acknowledging that we are totally undeserving of it. On the other hand, when Allah Taʿala favours one of our brethren, we should see this as Allah’s justice of which he was fully deserving. This will ensure that we never become jealous of our fellow brethren.  

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then elaborated the mindset of someone who sees things contrary to what is described above. If Allah favours us with a bounty, for example, and we believe that we received this bounty because we were deserving of it, then our gratitude will be flawed, if not lacking altogether. Similarly, when someone else receives Allah’s grace and fadl, and we assume that he is undeserving we may fall prey to the snares of jealousy, which Maula TUS described as a grave sin. Mufaddal Maula’s TUS commentary illustrated the importance of seeing one’s own bounties as Allah Taʿala’s fadl, and those upon others as His ʿadl

In his magnum opus, Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa, Imam Ahmad al-Mastur AS offers a fascinating insight into how ʿadl (justice) and fadal  (benevolence) combine. Allah has endowed His creation by apportioning every class and category of creatures with what it requires. By doing so, He has ensured that balance and fairness prevail in every thing. For example, Allah Taʿala has assigned large anatomies to the elephant and camel, but has made them feeble of will and weak of hearts. However, He has allocated small creatures like the bee and silkworm fragile bodies yet has made them resolute and tough of spirit, enabling them to craft their products with exquisite proficiency and dexterity. They are able to create honey and silk respectively, both of which are prized for their unique properties. Through this distribution, a harmonious balance is maintained in the world. Syedna TUS went on to elaborate that if Allah had granted animals like the camel and elephant strength of character and willpower, they would have wreaked havoc amongst creatures. In the same manner, Syedna TUS, pointed out that a balance has been maintained in the organs and limbs given to man. Some organs are single while others are in pairs. 

Syedna TUS then referenced a bayan mubarak of al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA in which he recited the ayat shareefa:

Verily, We have created man in the best of forms

Syedna RA stated that though the forms of all living organisms have their distinctive qualities, there is no form like that of the human being. To demonstrate the sophistication of the human body, Syedna RA gave an example of a handkerchief dropping from one’s hand. The speed with which the eye after seeing it fall conveys this information to the brain, which Syedna RA mentioned was ‘the head office’, and the fraction of a second taken to decide to pick it up and send instructions to the arm and hand to do so reveals the superiority of the human form.

After elaborating the balance in the human physiological composition, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS asserted that humans should espouse balance in their character as well. Adducing Imam Ahmed al-Mastur’s AS explanation of balanced ethics, Syedna al-Min’am TUS explained that these ethics are situated in the middle of two diametrically opposing extremes. For example, shujaa’at (courage) is situated between the extremes of iqdaam (recklessness) and ihjaam (cowardice). Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS illustrated how Imam Husain AS embodied courage in his conduct in Karbala. When Zohair bin Qain RA proposed that Imam Husain AS preemptively attack Yazid’s army as their numbers were small and thus the battle would be easier, Imam Husain AS did not act recklessly, rather he refused to attack on the grounds that the enemy army were still muslims. Another example is when Shimr insulted Imam Husain AS on the day of Ashura (before battle had commenced), Muslim bin Usajah RA grabbed his bow and arrow to attack him. Imam Husain AS swiftly stopped him, insisting that he would not be the one to initiate war. In contrast, Imam Husain AS showed no cowardice when he was being implored to submit and pledge allegiance to Abaydullah b. Ziyaad. He firmly refused and exclaimed: ‘Death would prove more favourable than that’, highlighting his bravery for death was no concern to him.  

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then elaborated the two extremes of hazm (prudence), which is to act with careful planning and deliberation. On one end of this spectrum are those who spend their entire time planning and do not act. On the opposite end are those who act impetuously without considering the consequences of their actions. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS revealed how Syedna Abdullah Badruddin RA demonstrated prudence not only in major matters but also in minor, seemingly trivial, matters as well. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS related an instance where Syedna Badruddin RA insisted on using solid coloured fabric to wrap his books rather than printed fabric. His reason being that the same pattern printed fabric may not be available in a few years whereas solid colour fabric can always be easily procured.  

While elaborating Syedna al-Muayyad al-Shirazi’s RA lamentation on Imam Husain AS, Syedna al-Mannan TUS recited a verse from Syedna Idris Imaduddin’s RA heart-rending elegy that states that Imam Husain AS was slain by ‘Shimr’s two hands’. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS incited visceral chants of ‘Ah!’ and a flow of incessant tears as he explained the imagery in this expression. Mumineen hearing this erupted into thunderous matam and buka, illustrating once again Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal’s TUS unparalleled maqam in relaying the tragedy of Karbala and igniting our hearts with the grief of Imam Husain AS. May Allah Taʿala bless Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS with a long life in health and happiness until the Day of Qiyaamat.