Reflections Majlis 6

7th Muharram al-Haram

In outlining the characteristics of those who practise taqwa (piety; knowledge combined with action), Amirul Mumineen AS explains that they are the ones who live amicably amongst others in the world, mingling and interacting with them. They wear the best of what can be worn, consume the best of what can be consumed and lead the best lives possible. They acquire the fortunes of the kings and rulers of this world, enjoying the pleasures of this earthly realm. Yet, when they pass on, they do so having planned and prepared fully for the Hereafter. Hence, even though they share with others the riches of this world, no one shares with them their fortunes in the Hereafter. 

Syedna TUS first addressed the Mumineen of the West and then extended that address to include those that reside in the North, South and East. He encouraged them to live in peace and happiness and to contribute to the development of their places of abode. Just as Mumineen give back to their communities in their adopted ‘homes’, they should continue to contribute to the development and progress of Hind, Sind (South Asia) and Yemen. 

Today’s waʿz mubarak continued the theme of ‘ajibto’ with Maulana Ali’s AS kalam mubarak:

 I am astonished by the one who tends to the home that is finite, and forgoes the one that is eternal.

It defies logic to make a house out of hay which the rain can wash away when one can make a house of more lasting material. Maulana Ali AS states: ‘No house in this world will ever remain. So make a home that will be eternal, the home of akhirat

With this kalam mubarak, Amirul Mumineen AS is encouraging us to build a home in the hereafter. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS offered insight into how this can be achieved in the following words of Syedna Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi RA

Let not one dirham of your life be spent from your body except that you have earned a dinar’s return for it in the hereafter.

That is to say that one’s lifetime is one’s capital and therefore he or she should make the most of every moment. Every good deed a Mumin performs with the use of his body during his lifetime is like a dirham, the reward of which in the hereafter is a dinar. In earlier times, dirhams were made of silver and dinars were made of gold, and Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS used this distinction to list six characteristics of gold that illustrated the superiority of actions carried out with the intent of the hereafter over those simply done for worldly intent. 

The first trait of gold, we were told, is that it is pure and will never tarnish, unlike pure silver, which blackens over time. By acting in accordance with the directives of Awliya Allah AS in this world, we earn eternal reward in the form of radiant surats, incorporeal forms made of light that accompany us beyond this life. Thus, Amirul Mumineen AS is astonished with the one who has the option to collect eternal reward, but settles with material objects that will ultimately perish. 

The second trait of gold listed by Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS was that it is precious, and therefore extremely valuable. Referencing the current gold rate, Maulana Mufaddal TUS remarked that where a gram of silver is currently half a pound [sterling], gold is currently 42 pounds [sterling]. To illustrate that the temporal world has no value in the eyes of Awliya Allah AS, Mufaddal Maula TUS recounted a statement by Amirul Mumineen AS in which he states that dunya is more repugnant to him than the entrails of a pig in the hands of a leper. However, he also defended dunya elsewhere. Amirul Mumineen AS overheard a man censuring dunya and interjected by pointing out to the man that for Allah’s beloved, dunya is a place of prostration and prayer, a place where Allah’s wahy descends and where Mumineen strive for the happiness of Allah and receive Jannat as their reward. What is understood from these two seemingly contradictory instances is that those who engage in worldly actions according to the guidance of Awliya Allah AS, their actions become immensely valuable. Syenda TUS then illustrated this with the example of marriage. When a man and woman come together within the parameters of shariat, they earn divine reward. However, any such relation outside the prescriptions of shariat is a transgression that carries sin. Again, this is why Amirul Mumineen AS is astonished; when you have the opportunity to acquire what is so valuable, why settle for something that is clearly of far less value?

The third characteristic of gold is that it has a much higher density than silver. Whereas one cubic centimetre of gold weighs approximately 19 grams, the same volume of silver weighs approximately 10 grams, making gold almost twice as dense as silver. When appreciated in the light of spending a dirham in this realm to secure a dinar in the hereafter, what becomes apparent is that when a Mumin undertakes any action according to the directives of Awliya Allah AS and his intention in doing so is the hereafter, his action then bears such gravity that not only is it beneficial to him in the hereafter, but in this realm as well. Rasul Allah SAW has informed us of the benefits of fasting in his statement:

Observe sawm and you shall become healthy.

Therefore, if a Mumin observes the sawm of the sacred month of Ramadan with the belief that doing so is obligated upon him by Allah, his sawm will not only shield him from hellfire, but result in bodily health as well. In contrast, if someone merely fasts in order to reap physical benefit, he will forfeit reward in the hereafter. Dieticians today agree that fasting is a good way of reducing weight, but when a Mumin abstains from food and drink with the niyyat (intention) of sawm, the weight of his good deeds increases while his physical weight decreases. Here, too, Amirul Mumineen AS expresses his astonishment with the one who potentially can benefit from a single act in both his physical and spiritual realms, but settles with just the former.            

The fourth characteristic of gold is that it is highly malleable. A single gram of gold can be hammered into a sheet measuring one square metre. Religion is easy and accommodating, Syedna TUS stated, explaining gold’s malleability as the facilitating nature of shariat which represents the spiritual world. He further illustrated this with the example of marriage. Even though marriage is a happy occasion, it requires immense preparation and can become a worrisome burden. But if Mumineen participate in Rasme Saifee, the ceremony instituted by Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and carried forward by Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, marriage is eased and ceases to be a burden. Syedna TUS then remarked that speaking of marriage inevitably reminds us of the marriage which Imam Husain AS officiated in Karbala between Maulana Abdullah AS and Maulatona Sakina AS. Imam Husain AS not only facilitated their marriage in the midst of battle, but demonstrated to all Mumineen that if they follow the tenets of the shariat, every aspect of their lives will be eased. So why would you choose something difficult over what is clearly something easier? That is a situation that surprises and astonishes according to Amirul Mumineen AS.

The fifth characteristic of gold is that its colour and beauty are akin to the colour and beauty of the sun. This golden-red brings joy to all those who gaze upon it. Imam Ahmed al-Mastur AS states that the colour red is superior to all other colours because it is the colour of the sun. Elsewhere he also states that the colour of the sun is yellow. Gold therefore takes on both colours. In the context of spending a dirham in this temporal realm in order to gain a dinar in the hereafter, Syedna TUS explained that this quality of gold manifests itself in the actions and deeds that Mumineen carried out under the guidance of Awliya Allah AS. These deeds become such that they are appreciated by all and their benefits are far reaching. 

Uthman bin Mazʿun came to  Rasul Allah SAW and informed him of his intention to roam the earth as a recluse so that he might dedicate himself to worship and the Creator. Rasul Allah SAW directed him to frequent the masjid instead, because in doing so, one not only engages in prayer and worship but also benefits society through interactions which foster warm relations and inspire individuals to enquire after one another. In this manner, individual benefit is transformed into collective benefit; the dirham is transformed into a dinar.   

The sixth characteristic of gold is that it has a pleasing sound. When a pure gold coin strikes iron, it gives off a high pitched sound which resonates at length. However, if the coin is not forged from pure gold the sound it produces is dull and short lived. In this context, the meaning of spending a dirham in this world to gain a dinar in the next is that even if a Mumin underakes the smallest of deeds according to the teachings of Awliya Allah AS, its impact will be far greater than that of a similar act carried out without this guidance and intent. 

To illustrate this, Syedna TUS narrated an example given by al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA. He states that there once lived a Mumin in Kapadwanj who would run small errands for Mumineen. When Syedna Dawood RA visited Kapadwanj he stood beside the grave of this Mumin and spoke of his service, praising him for his dedication, and eternalising his efforts.  

Today, on the 7th of Muharram, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recounted the heart-rending final moments of Maulatona Fatema AS as she bid farewell to Amirul Mumineen AS, her beloved shahzadas, Imams Hasan and Husain AS and the rest of the Ahle Bayt AS. She had humbly conveyed to her respected spouse, ‘O Maula! I have never willingly lied or done anything wrong since I set foot in this house. But if there has been any misdeed, I apologise and seek forgiveness!’ 

Maulatona Fatema AS requested Amirul Mumineen AS to bring her a vial and qamees (type of garment). She explained that the vial was filled with her tears which she would use to douse the flames should any Mumineen enter hellfire. Maulana Ali AS wept upon hearing this. He saw the qamees – made of silk and asked what it was. She told him, ‘On the night we were married, I had worn an old dress and had given the new dress away in sadaqa.’ When Rasul Allah SAW asked her why she had done this she had told him, because it pleased Maulana Ali AS and she wanted to carry this token of what had brought happiness to Amirul Mumineen AS with her into her grave.

May we be guided to always follow this supreme example of doing only that which pleases our Maula, Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, and may Allah Taʿala grant him a long life and good health and happiness until the Day of Qiyamat.