Reflections Majlis 1

2nd Muharram al-Haram

At the inception of the Ashara Mubaraka mawaʿiz nooraniya of 1444 AH in London, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS addressed the gathering by saying: 

“O’ Mumineen! In this Ashara Mubaraka, we have gathered from around the world to remember Imam Husain. We are here to mourn him. We have gathered to lament over the injustices and torment he suffered for our sakes.

On this historic occasion, the first ever Ashara Mubaraka in London, a major centre for Mumineen in the West and a city al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA visited a number of times, Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS commented on the consonance of milestones from history to illustrate the momentous nature of the current gathering. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA first visit to London as Da’i Mutlaq was in 1394 AH, which meant he continued to visit the city for nearly forty years up until his wafaat. Addressing the elders of the London jamaʿat, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS spoke of what the situation had been and what it has now become. Forty years was also the duration of time that passed between London’s first araz to host Ashara Mubaraka in 1404 AH and the realisation of that araz this year in 1444 H. Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS also explained the converse relation between the UK and East Africa in that the announcement for 1405’s H historic Ashara Mubaraka in East Africa was made in London, while the announcement for this year’s similarly historic Ashara Mubaraka was made in East Africa. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS noted that Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s first visit as al-daʿi al-mutlaq to the UK had taken place in the month of Jumada al-Ukhra while he arrived for his final visit in the month of Rajab al-Asab. 

There is amazement, complete amazement, between the months of Jumaad [al-ula and al-aakhar] and Rajab. 

Between these months, and throughout these years, Mumineen of the UK were witness to one remarkable event  after another, and barakaat that continues to astonish. With this reference to ‘ʿajab’, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS introduced the theme of this year’s Ashara Mubaraka. As in previous years, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS declared that the mawa’iz nooraniyya for Ashara Mubaraka 1444 H would explore the barakaat contained in the blessed sayings of Rasul Allah SAW and Amirul Mumineen AS that begin with the phrase ‘ajibto’ – ‘I am astonished’. Mufaddal Maula TUS proceeded to distinguish between the phrases ‘ajibto’ and ‘aʿjabanee’ which both indicate a sense of amazement. The former, however, normally accompanies acts that astonish in a negative way, while the latter is used more frequently to express amazement with something positive. 

Today’s waʿz mubarak focused on Amirul Mumineen’s AS kalaam mubarak

I am astonished by the one who despairs even though he can seek forgiveness.

Maulana al-Minʿam TUS explained that one should never despair since Allah Taʿala forgives all sins when one sincerely seeks forgiveness.

There are many factors that lead to despair, Syedna TUS explained, as Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS states, that people are overcome with despair when they lose their loved ones, are taken seriously ill, subjected to torment and afflicted by poverty. Under such conditions they can give up hope entirely and think that they have reached the ‘end of the road’. Despair of this kind can lead to depression, eating disorders and drug use. Some people run away from home and, in severe cases, commit suicide. Suicide is the gravest of sins, since it comes from abandonment of all hope.

Maulana al-Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS states that the worst of all people is one who does not believe in the day of Qiyamat: he does not believe in the hereafter or that he will be judged for his deeds. Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS counselled Mumineen to never despair and always seek a way out through hope. He  listed ways in which despair can be tackled such as exercise, meditation, antidepressants and other therapies that change one’s perception and provide mental or physical relief. Nevertheless, the most effective way of dispelling despair is the one laid out by Amirul Mumineen AS where he states that istighfaar, to seek Allah’s forgiveness, does away with despair. 

Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS explained the link between istighfaar and despair by pointing out that the root cause of all despair is sin. Humans nurture a number of hopes and aspirations, but not all of those hopes are fulfilled. This failure is the result of their sins. Thus, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, which consequently leads to the fulfilment of aspirations, is the most effective antidote against despair.

Rain is rahmat and when it ceases to fall, shariat prescribes salat al-istisqa (a special namaz for seeking rain) which should be preceded by sadaqa, good deeds and a sincere intention to seek forgiveness. Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Ibrahim Wajihuddin RA  and al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin’s RA miracles in this respect are well known. Various others had prayed for rain without success but when both these Syednas performed salat al-istisqa, the heavens opened up with rain before they even reached their homes. Allah Taʿala states in the Quran Majeed:

And it is He who sends down rain after they have lost all hope, and unfolds His grace [thereby]: and He is the Guardian and the One to whom all praise is due.

Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS offered greater insight into the meanings of this ayat shareefa where Allah Taʿala states that He sends forth rain after the state of despair. This is not unlike someone who has pursued an aspiration without avail for an extended period and then loses hope only to then find Allah Taʿala fulfils their aspirations and dispels their despair. 

Another form of rahmat is children. Mufaddal Maula TUS reassured Mumineen, particularly those who do not have any children, to never despair, for Allah Taʿala blessed Nabi Ibrahim AS with his progeny at an old age. His son Ismail was born to him at the age of 64 by his respected consort Maulatona Haajar AS.    

In the Rasaʾil Ikhwan al-Safa, Maulana al-Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS has stated that the human body comprises four elements: earth, water, fire and air. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained that the element of earth correlates with despair while water is associated with hopefulness and wellbeing. When children are born, their bodies are 78% water which helps explain why they are inherently more happy and hopeful. As people age, the proportion of water in their bodies decreases and yet, by Allah’s power, it still remains at more than 50% which is a testament to the fact that hope is an intrinsic human trait which endures. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then emphasised the need to drink water in order to maintain good health. He quoted Rasul Allah’s SAW hadith mubarak that water is the ‘sayyid’ of drinks before jovially asking how that might be said in English, ‘King of all drinks!’ Mufaddal Maula TUS then spoke of how it is advised that one should drink eight glasses of water a day.

London’s famous River Thames, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS told us, was once in such a dire, polluted state that it was considered biologically dead. After years of effort, the river has been restored to a state where it is considered one of the cleanest rivers to flow through a major city. He also stated that there is great emphasis on hygiene in the West while adding that this is also true for India – lest anyone think otherwise! Mumineen should adhere to the highest standards of personal, physical hygiene, but more importantly, they should ensure their spiritual hygiene by refraining from all those things that would cause impurity. 

Maulana al-Minʿam TUS related Imam Ahmed al-Mastur’s AS bayan mubarak regarding the elements of earth and water in the human body with the events of Karbala. Just as the element of earth represents despair, the intention of the foes in slaying Imam Husain’s AS Ahlebayt AS and Ashaab RA and leaving their bodies upon the scorching earth of Karbala was to induce despair. They were prevented from even a sip of water so as to leave them without hope with the intent that they would ultimately abandon Maulana al-Imam Husain AS. These vile efforts were in vain for the Ahlebayt AS and Ashaab’s RA only desire was Imam Husain AS, as evidenced in Maulana Ali Akbar’s AS appeal for water from Imam Husain AS despite the enemy’s capture of the river.

Nabi Eesa AS once saw an elderly man working with a spade on a farm. The Nabi AS asked Allah Taʿala to free the old man of all desire, and as a result, the old man dropped his spade and sat in the shade of a tree nearby. After some time, Eesa Nabi AS asked Allah Taʿala to restore the old man’s hope and consequently the old man resumed his work. Eesa Nabi AS asked the old man why he had abandoned his labour in the first instance and taken it up again after a while. He responded that when he was first digging he said to himself that there was no escaping the need to seek a livelihood but then the thought occurred to him that by the time he would see the fruits of his labour, he might not even be alive and so he stopped. Then as he sat under the tree he said to himself that he should strive and seek a livelihood for it may pass that he would live long enough to see the fruits of his labour and so he resumed. Upon hearing this Eesa Nabi AS remarked that indeed despair is what prevents one from action. 

In explaining the far-reaching detriment of despair, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS relayed two historical incidents. On one occasion, the 35th daʿi, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Abdul Tayyib Zakiuddin RA expressed some dissatisfaction with Syedi Khanjee Feer’s QR bookkeeping. Syedi Khanjee Feer QR hastened to Maula’s  residence and requested an audience. The steward communicated the request to Syedna but he gave no reply. Syedi Khanjee Feer did not despair, and instead, continued to wait, removing himself to the common area. Late into the night, Syedna enquired as to the whereabouts of Syedi Khanjee Feer QR and the steward replied that Syedi Khanjee Feer QR had not left. Syedna granted him an audience and forgave him, informing him that this was all simply a process of purification.  

In complete contrast, Ahmed bin Fateh Mohammed was instructed by the 33rd daʿi, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Feerkhan Shujauddin RA to make his way to Jahanabad with the explicit instruction to not return until he had secured a royal release for Syedna from prison. After some time, Ahmed gave up and returned empty-handed. Syedna, dismayed that Ahmed had disobeyed his instructions, reprimanded him. Where Syedi Khanji Feer QR waited for Maula’s audience, Ahmed simply returned home when he found that Syedna was unresponsive to his requests. His fear lay more in the possibility that Syedna would strip him of title and rank. He allied himself with yet another individual who had equally lost favour with Syedna, and together they schemed against Syedna ultimately forming the splinter group, al-Hujoomiyah. 

Whilst showering Mumineen with his duʿa mubarak, Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS, in a unique moment of fatherly love, exclaimed that he was amazed that Mumineen had closed their stores and business for Imam Husain’s majaalis: Aʿjabanee!

Keeping to the tradition of Duʿat Mutlaqeen RA, Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS delivered a powerfully emotive recitation of Syedna al-Mu’ayyad’s RA ibaarat al-nawh (A complete translation of the ibaarat can be found here). In his insightful and heart-rending rendition, Maula TUS expounded on a few phrases in particular. When explaining the command to shed tears, asbilu, Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS remarked that its more precise definition is to ‘let go.’ In letting go of the tears that well within us in remembrance of Imam Husain AS, one will find relief: relief from the difficulties encountered in our day-to-day lives whether it be in business, relief from illness, or the repercussions of sins. And the ultimate relief is when the soul is let go from the body providing salvation  from this temporal world. Let go of your tears, Maula TUS said. He also explained the transformative power of the rahmat that accompanies the mourning and buka upon Imam Husain AS, expressed in Syedna al-Mu’ayyad’s RA prayer ‘rahimakum Allah’, ‘May Allah shower His mercy upon you’. 

Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS described the disturbing treatment of Maulana al-Imam al-Husain’s AS ra’s mubarak when raised aloft upon the ‘rumhin mayyaal’ — ‘the swaying spear’. The wicked troops of Yazeed’s army paraded the ra’s mubarak as they made their way to his court. It swayed at times due to the wind, but also due to the enemies’ disrespectful rocking back and forth, and side to side, which caused onlookers to fear that it may fall to the ground at any moment.   

Imam Husain’s AS cherished shahzada, Maulana Ali Akbar AS, just eighteen years of age – came to his father to ask for permission to go into battle. Husain Imam AS denied the request, how can I give you raza? Ali Akbar AS persisted, petitioning in the name of Rasul Allah SAW and Ali AS, a petition his revered father was unable to deny. His permission granted, Ali Akbar said goodbye to his mother, embraced his brother Maulana Ali Asghar who was brought to him from his crib and they cried together.

As he fought valiantly amidst the foes, he was struck by a spear to his chest. Clasping his hand to his heart to try to stem the flow of blood, weakness soon overcame him, and he fainted, losing consciousness as he lay on the nape of his horse. Coming to, he dismounted and called out to Imam Husain to give him one last deedaar. This harrowing call caused Husain to cry out, ‘the world is now all darkness. My body trembles. No one is left to help me. Where are you, Ali Akbar?’ He set out to reach his shahzada, calling to know where he had fallen but the enemies mockingly misled him saying Ali Akbar is here, no he is here, he is there; in such a manner that Imam Husain stumbled seventy times before finally reaching him.

Imam Husain AS picked up Maulana Ali Akbar’s AS blessed body and brought him to the camp and he wept as he had wept when Rasul Allah SAW had passed because Ali Akbar AS so resembled Rasul Allah SAW. Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS spoke of Maulana Ali Akbar’s AS supreme hope in his father. He knew full well that Husain had no water yet he returned to him in hope. And that hope was indeed fulfilled. In doing so he became a paragon for the hopeful and in quenching his thirst, Imam Husain AS demonstrated how he was indeed the leader of all those who are givers of hope. Our despair vanquished, our hope rekindled, may we forever more rest in the blessed shade of Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. May Allah Taʿālā grant him a long life and good health until Qiyamat.