< Thoughts & Readings

Tuesday, April 27, 2004  

The Imams of the House of the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) Every member of the house of the Prophet, peace be upon him, was gifted with the inherent purity and enjoyed a high status in spirituality, so that every one of them was a perfect guide of the Sufi community. I shall deal with only a few of them for the sake of brevity. Imam Hasan bin ‘Ali Al-Murtadha Hadhrat Imam Hasan bin Hadhrat ‘Ali who was the peace of the heart of the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him), the light of the eyes of Ali Al-Murtadha, and pleasure of the heart of Zahra (the Prophet’s daughter), enjoyed an extremely high position in tariqat (Sufism). His sayings are full of spiritual wisdom. It is he who said on his death bed, “ ‘Alaikum bi hifzis-sarair fa in-Allaha mutlau ‘ala-al-zamair “ (Guard your sarair [secrets] for Allah knows your zamair [minds]). In fact guarding of Divine Secrets is as important as guarding of minds. What is guarding of secrets? It is nothing but keeping yourself away from every act contrary to the will of God. When the Qadarites (believers in free will) rose to power and their cult of Mu’tazilah became popular, Imam Hasan of Basrah, may Allah be pleased with him, wrote that the following letter to Hadhrat Imam Hasan bin ‘Ali asking his opinion about predestination and free will: “I begin in the name of Allah, the most Merciful and most Gracious. O, the son of the prophet, and light of his eyes, may Allah shower his blessings on him and you. You the descendants of Hashim are like the ship on a stormy ocean, or like a lamp in the dark night, and are commissioned to guide those striving in the dark for a lead. Please guide us and show us the right path in regard to the controversy on predestination (jabr) and free will (qadr) raging among Muslims, because you are the descendants of the Prophets generation after generation, and the custodians of true knowledge and true guidance.” Imam Hasan bin ‘Ali sent the following reply: “I begin with the name of Allah, the most Merciful and most Gracious. I receive your letter indicating the anxiety over the controversy, and the state of bewilderment prevailing in the ummah. I am firmly in the opinion that he who does not believe in predestination of good and evil (like the Qadarites) is an infidel; and he who attributes evil to the Almighty like the (Jabarites) is a sinner. He who does good, does so by his own free will, and he who commits a sin, does so of his own accord. But still Allah is the Supreme Lord. Although He has given u the brain to decide, He is still Rule over your brain. He does not stop any man from doing good, nor does He force anyone to commit a sin. At the same time, He has the power to prevent man from committing a sin, but if He does not prevent him, it does not mean that He has forced him to do so. This is where the Jabarites have erred. Allah Almighty has given man the discretion to decide what is good and what is evil. He has also given him the power to do good and avoid evil. Thus His policy remains irrefutable. Wassalam." This means that he who does not attribute the power to do good or evil to God is not a Muslim. And one who ascribes evil to God is a sinner. That is to say those who disbelieve in predestination are Qadariya (Qadarites) and those who attribute evil to God are Jabriya (Jabarites). Man is free to act in accordance with the (limited) power given to him by God. And our religion (Islam) is between Jabr and Qadr. This is the crux of the problem which I wanted to make known. I have quoted the whole letter to show Imam Hasan’s knowledge of the secrets (haqaiq) of Islam. It is said that once Imam Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, was sitting in the courtyard of his house in Kufah, when a villager came and started abusing him and his parents. Imam Hassan got up and said, “My dear man! Are you hungry or thirsty? Should I bring you food and drink?” But he went on hurling abuses on him and his parents. Even so the Imam remained calm and told his servant to go into the house and bring a bag full of silver for him. When the bag was brought to the Imam said, “I am sorry, there is nothing more than this at the moment in my house. If I had more, I would have spared it.” On hearing this, the villager said, “Now I am convinced that you are the son of the Prophet, peace be upon him. I came here to verify it by testing your patience.” Indeed it is one of the signs of the auliya-Allah (Friends of God) and the mashaikh-i-tariqat that they are equally indifferent to both admiration and vilification. Imam Hussain bin ‘Ali al-Murtadha Hadhrat Imam Hussain bin Hadhrat ‘Ali al-Murtadha is another member of the house of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who is one of the great auliya-Allah devoted exclusively to God and famous for renunciation, patience and forbearance in the hour of extreme affliction, such as experienced in the massacre of Karbala. The ahl-i-haq (auliya-Allah) are agreed on the fact that Imam Hussain was the man who stood for Truth all his life and sacrificed his life for Truth. The Prophet himself, (may blessings and peace be upon him) indicated some of Imam Hussain’s spiritual merits in his sayings. It is reported that Hadhrat ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that once he saw young Hussain sitting on the back of the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) with the Prophet holding a string in his mouth and walking on his knees like a camel. ‘Umar said, “What a good camel.” The Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) replied, “What a good rider! O son of ‘Abdullah!” Imam Hussain also have some subtle sayings on the mysteries of the Sufi path. He said “Ashraful Ikhwani ‘alaik dinakum,” which means your best friend is your faith (din), because man’s emancipation lies in faith (religion), and his destruction in opposing it. So a wise man is he who obeys his well wishers and does not oppose them, for they are like brothers to you who never reject you. It is said that once a man came to Imam Hussain, may Allah be pleased with him, and said “O the son of the Prophet, I am a poor man with a large family. Kindly give some thing to me to suffice for the night,” He said, “Sit down. The money is on the way.” After a short while a man arrived and placed before him five bags each containing a thousand dinars (sterlings) saying that Amir Muawiyah had sent the money and wanted Imam Hussain to utilize it sparingly since there was a shortfall in his budget (Amir Muawiyah was the governor of Syria). Imam Hussain ordered the man to give the entire amount to the beggar and addressed him thus, “I am sorry to have kept you waiting for long. Had I known that the amount was so little, I would not have troubled you to wait. Please forgive me the inconvenience caused to you. We are the people called ahli-bala (sufferers). We love bala (calamities) and feel pleased with it. We live for others and not for ourselves.” His merits are too well known in the ummah to be enumerated here. Abul Hasan ‘Ali Zainal ‘Abidin Abul Hasan ‘Ali Zainal ‘Abidin bin Hussain bin ‘Ali al-Murtadha, may Allah be pleased with him, was the best and the greatest devotee of his time. He is famous for unveiling the mysteries and secrets of the Sufi path. He is reported to have said, “If you are fortunate you should be driven to misdeeds by fortune. If you are unfortunate you should be driven to by misfortune to give up what is right.” And this is one of the merits of those who have reached perfection in the Sufi path. What the saying means is that it is wrong to be misled either by fortune or misfortune, for a mu’min is never misled. It is said that his father Imam Hussain was martyred along with his sons. ‘Ali Zainal ‘Abidin was the only male left alive to look after the females; because at that time he was indisposed and could not take part in the battle. On being brought to Damascus (the seat of Yazid’s government) on the backs of camels, someone asked him, “How are you O the descendant of the Prophet?” He said, “Our condition is like that of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, in the hands of Pharaoh who killed all the males and let the females live, so that we cannot tell the day from the night.” What he meant was that they were the people called the ahli-bala (bearer of hardships) who were obliged to God for fortunes and exercised patience in adversities. It is said that once the Umayyad emperor, Hisham bin Abdul Malik arrived in Makkah for hajj. While going round the Ka’bah (shrine) he wanted to perform the ceremony of kissing the Holy Stone, but was unable to reach it due to the great rush of the pilgrims. Then came Imam Zainal Abidin with his face shining like the moon, his cheeks glowing with light and his garments fragrant with perfume, and started going round the Ka’bah. When he moved towards the Holy Stone to kiss it, the whole crowd vanished to make room for him and he kissed the stone with perfect ease. One of his friends asked the emperor, “Who is that person who commands so much respect among the people?” “I do not know” said he out of jealousy, although he knew who he was. This provoked the anger of the poet Marzuq who overhead the conversation. He came forward and said, “I know who that personage is, listen to what I say about him and his family.” He then started pouring forth the following eulogy to the utter amazement of the crowd and the Emperor: He’s the man whose feet, The lands of ‘Arabia know well. He’s the man whose face Makkah and Ka’bah aspire to see, He’s the man dearest to Zahra, He’s the man whose grandfather the Prophet is, Whose face is the candle of night, Like the sun which tears the darkness, His grandeur men could bear not, His smile would give bliss to all, His position none could reach, His dignity none could covet, Best among Prophets and all men, Is his grandfather thou knoweth not? Holy Stone which emperors miss, His hand would Ka’bah covet to kiss. This praise of the grandson of the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) infuriated Emperor Hisham who flung Marzuq in prison in Asfan midway between Makkah and Madinah. Imam Zainal ‘Abidin felt sorry for him and sent him a gift of 12,000 dinars saying that he was sorry he could not afford to give more. But Marzuq returned the money saying, “I have amassed enough wealth by falsely eulogising kings and nobles, and sinned. What I have said in your praise is the result of the love which I bear for God and for the sons of the Prophet, so that the Almighty may be pleased, and forgive me.” But the Imam sent the money back to him saying, “If you love us, do not force me to take back what I have once parted with.” Marzuq accepted the gift. - Shaykh 'Ali al-Hujwiri, Unveiling of the Enshrouded (Kashf al-Mahjub)

posted by SuFiSTiC | 4/27/2004 06:47:00 PM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
Md Mubaraq
Md Firdaus

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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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