Reflections Majlis 7

8th Muharram al-Haram

Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS commenced today’s waʿz mubarak by revealing hues and themes in his opening address of the hadeeth shareef that would form the basis of his bayan mubarak. He spoke of kindness to all, family, and upbringing. He addressed us first as those who show kindness towards all forms of Creation be they human beings, animals, plants or minerals, and by doing so having the distinction of being Allah’s beloved and the beloved of His Awliya Kiraam AS. He added that we were the followers of Rasul Allah SAW who founded the religion of Islam, the religion of love, in order to call all of Allah’s Creation towards the eternal realm of kindness, and to inspire each and every being to lead lives characterised by kindness and benevolence. His legatee Amirul Mumineen AS continues to elevate — to this day — humankind and jinn, as well as animals, plants, and minerals. 

During the period of satr, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS stated that the Duat Mutlaqeen RA represent the imam and therefore they embrace Mumineen with the love and affection of both a father and mother. In another sense, Mumineen have the honour of being the Duat’s brothers because Imam al-Zaman AS is the spiritual father and mother of all Mumineen. Each dai provides for Mumineen in an exemplary manner, aiding them like a brother, showing kindness to them as a father and lavishing them with motherly affection. This is especially true in the case of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA who both nurtured Mumineen in the lap of affection and embraced them with love. 

Syedna TUS thereafter related Rasul Allah’s SAW hadeeth shareef which was the topic of today’s waʿz mubarak:

All of Creation is a family dependent upon Allah; therefore the most beloved to Him is the one who benefits His family the most.

He explained that ʿiyaal (عيال) is the plural form of ʿayyil (عيّل), which means to be dependent upon someone. A man’s family is known as his ʿiyaal because they are dependent upon him to provide and care for them. Similarly all of Creation is Allah’s family because every being is dependent on Allah for its sustenance, upbringing and well-being. Syedna TUS remarked that when someone offers a gift to someone’s child, the parent is understandably pleased. Likewise, it pleases Allah when others look after His children. 

The word anfaʿ (i.e. benefits the most) features in the hadeeth shareef as an ism al-tafdeel, the equivalent of which in English grammar would be the comparative and superlative degrees. This usage implies that the extent of benefit one can provide Allah’s creation is open-ended, and as such, one should strive for the greatest benefit possible. Syedna TUS explained that the scale of benefit accrued can be measured either quantitatively or qualitatively. As an example of a benefit that is measured as a quantity, Syedna TUS said that if only one person receives the benefit, then this is simply known as nafiʿ (beneficial). If one benefits three people, then this is known as anfaʿ (more beneficial compared to the first). Finally, when one benefits a large group of people, then this is also known as anfaʿ, but is the superlative form (most beneficial). The qualitative benefit was explained with the example of a lesson. When one person teaches another this is understood as nafiʿ (beneficial). However, if he teaches the same person with greater zeal and dedication, then that is considered anfaʿ (more beneficial than the first). Therefore Allah’s love for those who benefit His Creation is proportionate to the quality and quantity of the benefit they impart. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS demonstrated Amirul Mumineen’s AS care for Allah’sʿibaad, the scope of this care, and the inconspicuousness with which he administered it with the following narrative. Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS were returning after the burial of their respected father when, in the darkness of the desert night, they heard someone sobbing. A distraught man was crying and pleading to Allah, ‘Where is the one who used to come to me? He has been absent for two days; the one who brought me food and clothing!’  They asked who it was that he was referring to. He replied, ‘I have been sick for a year with no one to care for me but this one person, who would visit me bringing food and water. Like a caring father he would sit and converse with me, till I would forget about my illness.’ 

The Imams AS asked him if he knew his name and he told them that no, he had asked him on multiple occasions, but he never revealed it. What he did know of him was that he was a pious man, who — when he did tasbih, all of creation would join with him in it. He sat as would a man of little means, with utter humility. Hearing this description tears came to both imams’ eyes as they told the man that the one of whom he spoke was none other than their father, but he had been slain. The man cried out loud and wept. He asked the Imams to take his hand and lead him to Amirul Mumineen’s AS resting place which they graciously did. Upon reaching he kissed the qabr mubarak and prayed to the Almighty, that by virtue of this man who brought him food and water, may He have mercy on him and release him from this world. His prayer was answered immediately, and Allah relieved him of his troubles.

As an example of an object that benefits perpetually and is universally recognised for its singular importance, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS discussed the benefits and importance of water, beginning with the following ayat shareefa:

He sends down water from the skies, and the channels flow, each according to its measure. But the torrent bears away from the foam that mounts up to the surface. Even so, from the ore which they heat in the fire, to make ornaments or utensils there is a scum likewise. Thus Allah by parables shows the haqq and baatil: For the scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which benefits mankind remains on the earth. It is in this manner that Allah sets forth parables.

The water that rains down and flows through valleys is surfaced by foam which, though found in copious amounts, is of no use to man. Minerals such as gold and silver, when heated, release impurities which also appear like scum on the surface. This, too, is of no use to man. Baatil, falsehoods, are similar to ocean foam, rising to the surface, often shining as if substantial, but really of no productive value. Meanwhile the water that seeps down into the ground, out of sight, into the groundwater reserves, gives life to plants, trees, minerals and animals alike. It does this over many years and is therefore ʿanfa – more beneficial to Creation. Maulana al-Min’aam TUS graciously described Mumineen as being like this water – always benefiting humanity.

Syedna al-Da’i al-Ajal TUS explained the benefits of water conservation, in particular rain water harvesting which has many environmental benefits including fertility of the land, avoidance of pollution, and prevention of soil erosion. Man has, since time immemorial, extracted water from the ground. The well of Zamzam is one such example, dug first by Nabi Ismail AS  after the prayers of his mother, Maulatona Hajar AS. Although later concealed, it was rediscovered by Maulana Abdul Muttalib AS and has since benefitted, and continues to benefit, millions. Imam Mehdi AS built the coastal city of Mehdiyyah, found in modern day Tunisia, in the shape of an arm outstretched into the ocean, in which he built reservoirs and towards which he channelled streams. His successor, Imam al-Qaim AS began construction of the ʿAyn of Ayyub, an aqueduct which was to run from Mahdiyyah to Mansuriyyah and was constructed from stone and limestone. It eventually stretched 45km, cutting across mountains and ravines and was completed by Imam al-Muizz AS who also built a cistern in Susa — modern day Sousse — in Tunisia.

Duat Mutlaqeen RA, in Yemen and in Hind, have also made consistent efforts to extract and preserve water. In Hisn Afʾida, a mountain fort regularly sieged by enemies, there were seven reservoirs that stored a year’s worth of water. In India, wells were dug and water storage systems created which included those constructed by Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin RA in Sidhpur and Syedna Hebatullah al-Muayyad Fiddin RA in Ranala, where he stayed for seven months.

In elucidating how each Wali AS is superlatively beneficial to others, Syedna TUS narrated the well known victory of Khaybar at the hands of Amirul Mumineen AS. At each juncture, Amirul Mumineen’s AS every action reaped myriad benefits. Syedna TUS elaborated this through an analysis of Rasul Allah’s SAW words as he sought to allay the concerns of Maulatona Fatema AS who had been anxious about Amirul Mumineen AS. To carry the banner of Muslimeen, Rasul Allah SAW said that he had chosen one who was karrar ghair farrar – one who is relentless, never gives up, continues to fight and never retreats. 

Syedna TUS reiterated that one who benefits once is known as nafiʿ – beneficial – whereas one who keeps on benefiting, is known as anfaʿ – most beneficial. Amirul Mumineen AS is beloved by Allah for he benefits every element of Creation and continues to remove all the obstacles that fall in their path. Hence Rasul Allah SAW said that he is karrar ghair farrar, relentless in his every endeavour. Karrar means to persistently follow through on an action while farrar means to retreat, withdraw and possibly cause harm, let alone provide any benefit. 

During the Battle of Khaybar, Amirul Mumineen AS took up one beneficial action after another. Despite being afflicted with pinkeye, he still sought out ways to serve Rasul Allah SAW and strove to benefit others by preparing roti and meals for the soldiers. When his opponent Marhab struck his shield from his hands, Amirul Mumineen AS was not deterred and instead grabbed hold of the colossal door of the fort of Khaybar and used it in defeating Marhab. Amirul Mumineen’s AS outlook was to take advantage of every opportunity to serve Rasul Allah SAW, be it repairing the strap of his sandal or tending to acres of land in order to provide sustenance to others. 

Amirul Mumineen AS inspires Mumineen to benefit Mumineen, Muslims and humankind at large and to remove all obstacles in their respective paths. Syedna TUS encouraged Mumineen to help others, not just in one field or one way, but through multiple channels and a variety of methods.

Amirul Mumineen SA states: 

The fulfilment of needs will not be proper without three conditions.

  • By considering them insignificant so that their importance increases.
  • By being discreet so that they will become known.
  • By attending to them promptly so that they will be blessed.

Syedna TUS went on to give the example of Amirul Mumineen’s AS grandson, Imam Ali Zain al-Abidin AS as an exemplar of karrar, persistent in his discrete provision of meals to a hundred families in Madina Munawwara. 

Firstly, by considering one’s beneficial deeds as insignificant, one amplifies their importance. Despite ascending the loftiest of stations and representing Allah Taʿala on earth, Imam Zain al-Abidin AS assumed the traits of a humble servant of the Almighty. Syedna TUS explained that if one does good to another high-handedly, it may engender a sense of obligation on the beneficiary towards his benefactor. However, by adopting a more down to earth approach and recognising each other as fellow human beings, the burden of obligation is lifted. This is precisely what Imam Zain al-Abidin AS did and unburdened his beneficiaries of any obligation by appearing as a simple, ordinary man. Secondly, by concealing good deeds one is able to continue carrying them out, which ensures that the benefit remains evident, and thus sustained. Neither did Imam AS reveal to his own family members what he was doing nor did his beneficiaries know his true identity. By concealing their good deeds, the benefactor proves that what he is doing is not for pretence or for others to notice, but rather solely for the cause of Allah Taʿala. If for eye-service, then the actions are only enacted in the presence of others. Finally, one must be prompt in acting so that the deeds are blessed and replete with barakat

Syedna TUS added that Imam Zain al-Abidin AS undertook everything himself; the preparation of the food, how much to cook, how to distribute, when to distribute and so on. The personal attention, thought and care that he gave to this noble endeavour acts as a valuable lesson to those who seek to benefit others. Every step and process of a charitable endeavour should be carefully planned with personal attention to detail, so that all can benefit as intended. 

Fulfilling the needs of others is a lofty act. When the intent in carrying out a beneficial deed is Allah’s happiness and the reward that deed provides, one will naturally give it the requisite care and attention. Syedna TUS illustrated this with the example of a high-ranking official in Imam Muʿizz’s AS reign who would insist on washing the hands of the individual who washed his. Although the handwasher hesitated out of respect, the official persisted explaining that if the handwasher washed his hands with the intention of performing a good deed, then he too was in need of undertaking such deeds. 

Adding an important dimension to the waʿz mubarak’s central concept, Syedna TUS explained that although assisting someone in need once is a beneficial act, the most beneficial assistance is that which relieves the individual of their need and provides them with the means to sustain themselves. Syedna TUS fondly quoted the famous proverb: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Syedna TUS then tenderly remarked that certain Mumineen know many proverbs, and that this is a good thing, we should always take that which is beneficial. 

A quintessential example of such assistance is in the sustenance and succour provided by Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA during the extreme drought in the Kathiawar region (in the early 19th century). This drought and subsequent famine wreaked havoc in the region and brough Mumineen to the brink of demise. Syedna RA called all the Mumineen to Surat where he provided refuge for 12,000 Mumineen for a total of 11 months. During this time, Syedna Saifuddin RA sold many of his ancestral properties and even his family jewellery to fund the efforts. He housed and fed everyone twice daily for the duration of their stay in Surat. He created an administrative network to ensure that each individual was assisted sufficiently. For work, Syedna RA employed everyone, gave them vocational training and deposited their incomes into personalised accounts. The amount was subsequently returned to them upon their departure from Surat. 

Syedna TUS pointed out how challenging it must have been both logistically and financially to cater to so many Mumineen for such an extended period of time. In spite of all of this, Syedna Saifuddin RA persistently iterated that he had not done enough, much more could have been done. This entire account is testament to Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin’s RA sustenance, prudence and sagacity. Mumineen originating from the Kathiawar and Kutch regions of India, and the descendants of the 12,000 who came to Surat, who have migrated, established themselves and prospered all around the world, should be extremely grateful. The best way to express this gratitude is by assisting others, helping them find homes, and equipping them with the tools for them to prosper. 

The greatest benefit that Syedna Saifuddin RA provided was that he developed the skills and means for Mumineen to earn a living. He dispelled from their minds the idea that they were helpless and instead inspired a self-confidence that they passed down to their descendants. 

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS quoted al-Imam al-Muʿizz’s AS statement, ‘A Mumin is not a Mumin until he brings into existence another Mumin like himself’ to support the idea that there there is no greater benefit to give than to make someone else like yourself. This is where he introduced a potent discussion regarding the upbringing of our children, whom he described as his own. He asked Mumineen to raise their children in a manner in which they become like them. To raise them so that they are prosperous in both deen and dunya, and benefit not only their homes but the larger society, the neighbourhood, city, country, and the entire world.

For this to happen, the environment we foster in our homes is critical, Maulana TUS explained. This environment should be based on the conduct of our Hudat Kiram AS so that our children recall fondly the beauty of their homes and upbringing, and long to return to it. Maulana Jabir b. ʿAbdullah would roam the alleys of the Ansaar neighbourhood and call out to all, “Raise your children upon the love of Ali.” This love is so potent and unshakeable that Amirul Mumineen AS would proudly declare that if he were to strike a Mumin upon his nose, he would never hate him — ever. Once the pigment of muhabbat takes to a Mumin’s soul, no other pigment can take hold.

To evidence the role of love in encouraging adherence to value-systems, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS referenced a bayan mubarak by Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA in which he said that nations’ must make laws and systems for governance, but it is only when the populace embraces the nation with love that these laws and systems actually take hold. Laws on their own do not suffice.

Continuing his counsel on the upbringing of children, Mufaddal Maula TUS introduced the concept of ʿifat (عفة), which means to abstain from haram and all that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a Mumin. He specified three bad habits in particular: backbiting (gheebat), using foul words, and deceit. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS encouraged Mumineen to refrain from these habits stipulating that if the environments of our homes are free of such vice, then when our children experience places and cultures that are contrary to this vice-free upbringing, they will reminisce about the goodness of their homes and long to return. However, if our homes are tainted by this immorality, and our children find greater positivity and moral virtue elsewhere, then we cannot say what will happen and what thoughts they might have. Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS explained that getting married was an important element of ʿifat. Similarly, he explained the importance of ʿifat in speech, and the role Lisan al-Dawat plays in sustaining our culture and traditions. In his conclusion to this bayan mubarak on upbringing and the importance of ensuring our children remember where they come from, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS reasserted that our etiquette and conduct has a significant impact on our children. He then listed a number of principles that should dictate the upbringing of a Mumin’s household:

·  Every act should be inspired by taqwa

·  Humility before Allah Taʿala

·  Always have a sense of shame 

·  Loyalty

·  Act justly and fairly

·  Act in accordance with sharia

·  Recite Quran-e-Majeed and endeavour to commit it to memory

·  Instil in your children good character

·  Treat all Creation kindly

·  Be generous

·  Spend for good causes

·  Maintain a habit of taharat and cleanliness

·  Bear no prejudice against any knowledge or faith

·  Do not mistreat any human being,

·  Most importantly – Imam Husain’s AS zikr and remembrance should take place in this home.

Maula TUS ended this seminal guidance with the following duʿa mubarak: May Allah Taʿala inspire your mothers and fathers to raise their families according to these principles so that their children may be an image of their parents, and they always remain with them, never parting ways.

Syedna TUS shared some statistics of those attending Ashara Mubaraka with him this year. He mentioned that 107,000 Mumineen from a total of 716 towns and cities have come together for this year’s majalis, 56,000 of them are Mumineen while 51,000 are Muminat. For 4400 Mumineen this is the first time that they have attended Ashara with Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS. Overall, 9500 attendees are 65+ with the eldest being 103 years old (Syedna TUS offered a prayer for their good health), and 5300 attendees are four or below. There are a total of 4500 huffaz, 3400 khidmatguzars, 24,000 businesspersons, and 26,000 students.To gather in the presence of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, Imam Husain’s dai, and hear from him the tragedy that befell Imam Husain AS, is a bounty the gratitude of which can never be expressed. May Allah Taʿala grant him a long life in happiness and health until the Day of Qiyamat.