Reflections Majlis 2

3rd Muharram al-Haram

On the 3rd of Muharram, 1444 H, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS enlightened Mumineen with the true meanings of wealth. As per tradition, the waʿz mubarak commenced with a khitaab in which Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS addressed Mumineen in terms of their various associations to Panjatan Paak. He stated that we are the special Ummah of Nabi Mohammed SAW, the Nabi who brought forth the Quran Majeed, which is the greatest wealth. Nabi Mohammed SAW also stated, ‘al-Faqr fakhri’, ‘poverty is my pride’, i.e. ‘I take pride in my helplessness and dependence [upon Allah Taʿala]. The Holy Quran speaks of this ‘poverty before Allah’ as well, in the following ayat shareefa:

O mankind, you are those who are in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.

Referencing historical incidents involving the meanings of wealth and poverty, Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS related an interaction between Hasan bin Katheer and Maulana al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS. In response to the Imam’s gracious inquiry into how he was doing, Hasan complained of financial constraints and mistreatment he was suffering at the hands of his brothers. Baqir Imam AS consoled him, adding that the most wretched of brothers are those who feign concern when one is wealthy, yet show none during times of hardship and poverty. Imam AS then called for his servant and instructed him to fetch a pouch which he then handed to Hasan. He directed him to use its contents for whatever he required and to let him know if he needed more. Hasan related that when he opened the pouch, he found that it contained 700 dirhams.  

Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS also explained how Maulana al-Imam al-Mahdi bi Allah AS once distributed 100,000 gold dinars among Mumineen during the holy month of Ramadan. Believing this to be too much, the head of the treasury expressed his concern to the Imam to which he responded that if Allah would enable him and grant him his wish, he would not be content even if he gave the entire amount to just one Mumin.  

Today’s waʿz mubarak was based on Amirul Mumineen’s AS following kalaam mubarak

I am astonished by the miser who hastens towards himself the very poverty from which he flees, and forfeits the very wealth he seeks. As a result, he spends his life in this world like a beggar, yet is judged as a wealthy man in the Hereafter. 

‘Why does a human being seek wealth?’ Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS asked; so that he may provide for himself and his family and avoid having to ask others. Wealth enables him to contribute to charitable causes and help others. Now if someone has wealth, and does not look after his affairs as he should, resorting instead to stinginess and miserliness, then he will end up falling back into the very poverty from which he has escaped. This individual’s situation is what bewilders and astonishes Amirul Mumineen AS.

Being a miser is a terrible trait and the Quran Majeed has condemned miserliness in several places. A miser not only refrains from spending his own wealth, he encourages others to not spend as well, specifically with regards to acts of charity and fulfilling Allah Taʿala’s obligations. There are always those of this mindset in every age, who out of their own stinginess do not spend and question other’s spending as well. They say, ‘If you keep spending like this, give so much zakat, you will become poor.’ ‘If you close your shops in order to attend the majalis of Imam Husain, you will lose so much business.’ It is satan’s job to instigate fear as the Quran Majeed informs us:

Satan threatens you with poverty. 

Mufaddal Maula TUS described how he had seen the transformation over the years and how Mumineen who heeded al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA call to spend for good causes had prospered. 

Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS explained that lending money with interest is miserliness, whereas lending it as Qardan Hasana is being generous since the lender allows for someone else to benefit from his wealth, asking him to return only what he has taken.  Lending should be an act of generosity but by attaching interest to the loan the loanee is placed in greater difficulty. Interest leads to a number of problems and hardships as we see across the world today, Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS commented. 

Revealing the true meaning of spending, Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA explained, ‘If you have wealth then spend it. It is not yours until you have spent it. Otherwise it will merely lie in your safe where it will decay or be taken by others. If you spend it, then it has already become yours and you receive a reward in return.’ In this context Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS quoted Amirul Mumineen’s AS kalaam mubarak, ‘The dinar of a miser is no better than a stone.’

The Umayyids were infamous for their miserliness even though they were “kings”. Abdul Malik was particularly well known for being a miser, so much so that he was nicknamed ‘sweat of a stone’; to prise a dirham from him was as impossible as sweat coming from a stone! Another of them, Hisham, would pay wages once every two years, levy exorbitant taxes regularly and was known as ‘the thief’. Then there was the one who had the kunya or nickname of Abu al-Dawaaniq from the word daaniq which means one sixth of a dirham. He could not even part with that little. 

Mufaddal Maula TUS shared an anecdote of a miser who would talk to any dirham he received, acknowledging the fortunes it had changed, the people it had impacted and the places it had been. The miser reassured the widely travelled dirham and said that it should now rest, for it would never leave his bag. His miserliness brought misery to his family. They chided him to spend at least one dirham and bring home some food. One day, he finally agreed and took out a dirham from his bag and went to the bazaar to purchase some food. There he saw a man who would put a snake upon himself [to entertain others] if he was paid a dirham. When he saw this, the miser put his dirham back in his bag saying to himself that if a dirham is valuable enough for a man to risk his life, then he should not waste it on food! His family was so fed up with him that they hoped for him to die so that they could finally be relieved. 

Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS mentioned the role spending has in sustaining the health of an economy, going on to remark that the ‘Father of Economics,’ Adam Smith, was from the United Kingdom. Upon mentioning his name, Mufaddal Maula TUS compared the names of Prophets in Arabic and English. ‘They say Adam, we say Aadam,’ Maula TUS remarked and then mentioned the names of Nabi Ibrahim AS and Nabi Musa AS and their English equivalents. He reminded us that when raising our children it was important for them to know the names of the prophets as they are said in Arabic. 

Providing examples from nature, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained how generosity results in growth. Minerals ready themselves for plants, while plants in turn are consumed by animals. Each subordinate category expends itself for the betterment of its superior, until ultimately, they reach the human form which is the final stage before salvation and the highest level of existence. 

As an example of how expending oneself in noble causes results in growth and elevation, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recounted the construction of Rasul Allah’s SAW masjid in Madina.  When Nabi Mohammed SAW first arrived, he instructed the Muhajirun and the Ansaar to help with its construction. On that day, while everyone else carried a single brick at a time, Ammar bin Yasir carried two. Nabi Mohammed SAW asked him why he did so, and he responded by saying that he had come down with a fever. Mufaddal Maula TUS explained that Ammar answered in this way because were he not ill, he would have carried even more. Hearing his response, Rasul Allah SAW stated that Allah Taʿala had filled Ammar’s eyes, ears and nose with haqq (what is true and right), and that whenever haqq is presented to him, he accepts it just as whenever batil, falsehood, is presented to him he refuses to accept it. 

While occupied with the construction, Ammar began to recite a couplet which subtly criticised those who did not participate and merely watched from the sidelines. Offended by this suggestion, Ammar was met with an onslaught of abuse and threats. Seeing his dedication and commitment that day, and responding to this abuse, Rasul Allah SAW declared that Ammar’s stature was that of the skin between his eyes; when one is injured here, the entire face is marred with blood. Ammar’s expending himself for Rasul Allah’s SAW cause led to a rise in stature of unprecedented proportions.

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS then expanded his discourse to include discussions on the different forms of wealth. ​​Spending is not just limited to financial assets or worldly possessions; knowledge too is a valuable resource which constitutes wealth. Amirul Mumineen AS told his companion, Kumail that knowledge is a resource that increases every time it is spent, yielding benefit to both the recipient as well as the giver. 

Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Ali bin Mohammed al-Waleed RA drew a comparison between blood and wealth, stating that just as the temporal world is sustained by wealth, blood sustains life in the body. Shedding tears, which are formed from many droplets of blood, is tantamount to spending money and as such, weeping in the zikr of Imam Husain AS is like any other expenditure towards charity or an act of good. 

Syedna TUS then expounded upon the final phrase in Amirul Mumineen’s AS kalam mubarak wherein he states that the miserly live impoverished lives in this world yet will be judged as wealthy in the Hereafter. He remarked that in another kalam mubarak, Amirul Mumineen AS has declared that Allah Taʿala has obligated the wealthy to spend enough so as to sustain those who live in poverty, yet refrain from seeking alms. Therefore, if the poor are found to be neglected and without the means to clothe and feed themselves, the reason behind this is that those who have wealth have not spent as Allah has directed. 

To this effect, Amirul Mumineen AS explained that the wealth withheld by those who do not give zakat will be transformed into a large venomous snake on the Day of Qiyamat. The snake will coil itself around the necks of those who withheld zakat and will repeatedly sting them so as to remind them that they are in this predicament because they did not give zakat. 

Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS then related that only those who always consider themselves dependent upon Allah’s fadl, continually seek it and spend it for His cause, can truly be deemed wealthy. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA stated that if it is ordained that one must live a life of poverty, the only way for him to be transformed is through a sincere and devoted practice of the tenets of sharia. By doing so, even if he does not gain much wealth in this world, his outlook will be transformed to such an extent that he will consider himself poor only in the eyes of Allah and in doing so will gain true wealth. 

Amirul Mumineen’s AS generosity is well documented. On one visit to Makkah al-Mukarramah he listened as an Aarabi (villager), clinging to the Kaaba, prayed aloud to Allah Taʿala that, ‘This is Your House and You would never disappoint your guest.’ Maulana Ali AS similarly declared that Allah is too virtuous to not fulfil the wish of His guest. The next day, he heard him praying again – asking for Jannat. The day after Maulana Ali AS heard him near al-Hajar al-Aswad, asking for 4000 dirhams. Amirul Mumineen AS enquired as to why he sought a specific amount. The Aarabi answered that he needed a thousand dirhams to clear his debt, a thousand for his mahr, a thousand to buy a home and a thousand for everyday purchases. 

Maulana Ali AS asked him to come to his home in Medina Munawwarah. He instructed Maulana Salman RA to sell an orchard for 12000 dirhams from which he gave the Ararabi 4000. Soon after, Medina’s poor flocked to him until all of the money was given away. Maulatona Fatema AS asked him if there was anything left and Maulana Ali AS replied that he had spent it all. Maulatona Fatema AS said that she and the children were hungry just as Maula himself must be. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then proceeded to narrate the remaining incident where Amirul Mumineen AS receives seven dirhams from Rasul Allah SAW and gives them away as well, only to receive ten fold through a transaction involving Jibraeel and Meekaeel. 

Following a painful retelling of the shahadat of Maulana Abbas AS, Syedna TUS demonstrated how his shahadat encapsulates three types of generosity. When Maulana Abbas AS reached the furat and filled his waterskin and chose not to taste even a single drop because he knew that the Ahlebayt AS and more importantly Imam Husain AS himself was still thirsty. In doing so he was generous with his wealth. By sacrificing both his arms he was generous with his person. And finally, when he fell from his steed and called out to Imam Husain AS, he was generous with his knowledge because he strengthened Mumineen’s belief in the knowledge that when death comes, it is only Maula who can provide succour, solace and salvation.   

The liver is a vital organ and is often used with reference to someone who is held extremely dear to another. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS spoke of three instances where the liver is mentioned. Each more heartrending than the next. 

The first instance was when Maulana Hamza AS was slain during the Battle of Uhud and Hind intended to disrespect him by mutilating his body, particularly his liver. The second instance was when Imam Hasan AS was sent the poison of hira-kani (powdered diamond) by which his liver was shredded into 72 pieces.

The third instance was on Ashura – when Imam Husain AS , Rasul Allah’s SAW kaleja, was sitting against a date palm and the enemies had surrounded him, lacerating him with one wound after another. How deep must those wounds have been! Imagine, Maula TUS told us, of what would happen if someone was wounded so deeply? What must have this done to Rasul Allah SAW?

May Allah Taʿala grant our beloved Maula, the one who shows us the true meanings of wealth, a long life in health and happiness until the Day of Qiyaamat. 

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