Sunday, November 29, 2009


The Holy Qur'an says: "And We ransomed him with a Great sacrifice.” (37:107)

Eid al-Adha is the day when Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ready to sacrifice his own son in submission to the will of Allah. Despite Satanic insinuations, he took his noble son, and resolved to undertake what Allah wanted from him. As he was about to move his knife, Allah commanded him to stop, and placed a ram and ordered him to slaughter it instead of his son. Ibrahim passed the Divine Test. The Holy Qur’an narrating this scenario employs the expression ‘wa fadaynahu bi dhibhin ‘azim’ (and we ransomed him with a great sacrifice (37:107)). Exegetes of the Qur’an opine that, as is apparent, “the great sacrifice” mentioned in this verse refers to the ram placed for slaughter instead of Ismail (peace be upon him). This is the apparent extension (misdaq) of the verse. There is however a deeper and more perfect extension of the ransom which some exegetes draw from the radiant teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them). In fact they believe that a ram cannot be termed to be “a great sacrifice” for a great human being like Isma’il (peace be upon him).

Shaykh al-Saduq narrates the following tradition in his ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: Mufaddhal bin Shadhaan narrates: I heard al-Ridha (peace be upon him) saying: When Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) ordered Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to slaughter the ram that He sent down, instead of his son Isma’il (peace be upon him), Ibrahim (peace be upon him) wished that he would have slaughtered his own son Isma’il (peace be upon him) with his hand and was not ordered to slaughter the ram instead, so that he experiences in his heart that which a father who sacrifices the dearest of his sons with his hand experiences, and as a result, deserves the highest of the stations of the people of reward due to calamities. So Allah, the Invincible and Majestic, revealed unto him: O Ibrahim, who is the most beloved of my creation to you? Ibrahim (peace be upon him) replied: O Lord, you did not create a creation which is more beloved to me than your beloved Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny). Thereupon Allah, the Invincible and Majestic, revealed unto him: O Ibrahim, is he then more beloved to you, or yourself? Ibrahim (peace be upon him) replied: Rather, he is more lovable to me than myself. Allah (the Invincible and Majestic) said: Is then his son more lovable to you, or your son? He said: Rather his son is more lovable. Allah said: Does the slaughter of his son in oppression by his enemies agitate your heart more, or slaughtering your son with your hand in my obedience? He said: Rather, the slaughter of his son in the hands of his enemies agitates my heart more. Allah said: O Ibrahim, indeed a people who conjecture that they are from the umma of Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) would soon kill al-Husayn (peace be upon him), his son, after him, in oppression and enmity, in the way a ram is slaughtered, and as a result, they would earn my wrath. This agitated and hurt the heart of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and he started weeping. Thereupon Allah, the Invincible and Majestic, revealed unto him: O Ibrahim, I have ransomed “your agitation for your son Isma’il (peace be upon him) if you were to slaughter him”, with “your agitation for al-Husayn (peace be upon him) and his martyrdom”, and have made incumbent for you the highest of the stations of the rewarded ones due to calamities. And that is the word of Allah, the Invincible and Majestic: “And we ransomed him with a Great Sacrifice”. (37:107). And there is no power nor strength except through Allah, the Exalted, and Great.

Imam al-Husayn (peace be upon him) not only sacrificed himself, but sacrificed, his sons and family as well as his possessions in the way of Allah. This is the lesson of Eid al-Adh-ha. It is a celebration that should rejuvenate in us the spirit of self-sacrifice. We should carefully examine ourselves in order to decipher whether we have actually returned (Eid is from the word ‘awd which means “to return”) to the sacrificing spirit that Allah has naturally endowed us with. If not, then we are indeed distant from the real Eid of Sacrifice. This is the message of Eid al-Adh-ha.

Friday, November 13, 2009


In one of my visits to al-Madina al-Munawwara, when I was honored to visit the graves of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) in the well-known cemetery of Jannat al-Baqi, an old woman happen to meet me and asked in the Urdu language: Qubure Fatima kaha hai? (Where are the graves of Fatima?) I immediately thought that her sentence was wrong, and what she meant was qabre Fatima kaha hai (Where is the grave of Fatima?).

Obviously there is a difference of opinion on where she actually has been buried. Is it near the Prophet’s house in the Rawdha (the Aromatic and Paradisal Garden) as some traditions allude, or is it in Jannat al-Baqi’? Until now most of us are oblivious of the actual place. Perhaps, as some scholars opine, Fatima (peace be upon her) intentionally wanted her grave to be unknown, so that the future Muslims are led to question whether it is possible for the grave of the daughter of the noblest Messenger of Allah to be hidden. What do the books of history say? Why did Fatima (peace be upon her) not allow some of the contemporaries of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) to participate in her burial ceremony? Why did she prefer to be buried in secret? These are questions history has already answered. Those curious search for the truth.

Today the situation is worse than before. The graves of the four immaculate leaders of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) among other esteemed members of the Prophet’s family are blocked in such a way that the lovers of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) cannot even go near them or sometimes even utter any salutational prayer, just because a group of misinformed watchmen have been ordered by the Wahhabi leadership to discourage and even disturb anyone who does so.

Why all this disturbance? Is it really because of their concern for the people not to get astray or is it because of a kind of vacuum and jealousy they have been taught to harbor against the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them)? Or is ziyara a catalyst to ignite sparks of revolution and unity of the Umma? These are questions we must try to ponder upon and try to answer.

However, coming back to the question of the old woman, I must say that what she said was not grammatically improper. Yes Fatima does not have one grave. She has several graves: the heart of every lover of Fatima encapsulates Fatima (‘A). However much the kuffar try to spoil, destroy, and insult the edifices of the graves of the Ahl al-Bayt, as long as they reside in the hearts of their lovers, they would remain eternal.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quality is the Criterion

One of the most remarkable events of Islamic history where the peak of sincerity is revealed is the incident of Bibi Shutayta, a spiritually effulgent woman, who lived during the time of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) and Imam al-Kazim (‘A) in the Nishapur area of Iran.

A group of people led by Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Naishapuri left Naishapur for Medina to deliver people’s money to Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a). He was entrusted with 30,000 dinars, 50,000 dirhams, and 3,000 pieces of clothes to take to the Imam of the time. An old woman called Shutayta gives a dirham and a piece of raw cotton material spun by herself for the Imam (‘A). Muhammad bin Ibrahim tells the woman: O woman, I feel ashamed to give one dirham and a piece of cloth to Abu ‘Abdillah [al-Sadiq (‘a)]. She said: Wouldn’t you deliver [it to the Imam]? Inna Allaha la yastahyi min al-haqq (Indeed Allah is not ashamed of the truth). Muhammad bin Ibrahim takes the dirham from her, bends it, and places it in a bag which had lots of money [to be taken to the Imam (‘a)].

On the way, he learns that Imam al-Sadiq (‘A) had left this world, and Imam Musa al-Kazim (‘A) had become his successor. So he goes to Imam al-Kazim (‘A). When he arrives in the Imam’s presence, the Imam (‘a) asks for the bag of money that he had brought. Then he tells him to turn the bag, and drop the money, and he only picks up the bent coin of Shutayta. Then he (‘A) asks for the bag of clothes to be opened, and only takes the raw cotton material of Shutayta, and addressing Muhammad bin Ibrahim says “Surely Allah is not ashamed of the truth” (the same words that Shutayta had told Muhammad bin Ibrahim when the latter felt ashamed to take her coin).

Then he tells Muhammad bin Ibrahim to convey his salams to Shutayta and gives him a bag of 40 dirhams for her as well as a piece of cloth among the pieces of clothes of his kafan which his noble sister Halima bint Imam al-Sadiq (‘A) had spun.

The Imam (‘a) also tells him to tell her that she will live for 19 days after Muhammad bin Ibrahim’s arrival; she can spend 16 dirhams from the money for herself and give the rest as sadaqa…and informs his that he in person will come to bury her.

Then he told Muhammad bin Ibrahim to return back the wealth that he had brought to their owners…[Later on his return he realizes that except for Shutayta the rest had not accepted Imam al-Kazim (peace be upon him) as the next Imam of the time.]

On her demise, Imam Musa al-Kazim (peace be upon him) travels through tayy al-ardh (traversing of the earth) to Naishapur and prays for her funeral, and also places the earth of shifa (the earth of al-Husayn bin ‘Ali (‘A)) in her grave. When the Imam (‘A) finishes the burial ceremonies he mounts on his camel and facing the people says:

Make your companions know and greet them on my behalf and say to them: Indeed I, and whosoever is in my position among the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) must attend your funerals wherever you may be. Therefore be God-wary in yourselves and make your actions qualitatively beautiful so that you may assist us in your emancipation and your freedom from the Hell Fire. [Ref: ‘Allama al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 48, pp. 73-75]

Dear readers, this is the story of reality. The quality of one’s action is the mizan and balance to sift between the valuable and the valueless. The Holy Qur’an says: “…Who created death and life that He may try you- which of you is best in deeds (ahsanu ‘amalan)”. Hence let us struggle to establish ourselves in this level of sincerity (ikhlas) so that we are gradually overtaken by Divine attraction (al-jadhba al-ilahiyya) and instead of merely being from the mukhLISun (in the sense of the active participle), we are transported to the level of the mukhLASin (in the sense of the passive participle), a level in which Satan can never lay any kind of influence. Satan swears in the Qur’an: “…and I will certainly cause them all to deviate except Thy servants from among them, who are mukhLASin ( purified (by Yourself)) [15:39-40].

Friday, October 16, 2009


The Sacred Effusion is a commentary on Ziyarat ‘Ashura, one of the well-known ziyaaraat (recitals of salutation) that many of us frequently recite with great zeal and devotion. Most of the Shi’a Muslims express their veneration and sorrow when they recite this sublime ziyara on the day of Ashura. The Infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), however, have taught us to recite it very often. Besides its ample merits, it is a program of revolution for the sleeping masses. The crux of the ziyara is al-tabarri and al-tawalli, which can correctly be translated as ‘fleeing from imperfection’ and ‘seeking perfection’, or in the beautiful words of every Muslim La ilaha illa Allah-Besides Allah- the Only Beloved, there is no ilah (beloved). If one inculcates its teachings in himself, he can unite with the thoughts, deeds and endeavors of a perfect human being.

Those interested can purchase their copy from the World Federation of KSIMC-UK

Sunday, August 30, 2009


One of the beautiful Names of Allah is Sattar al-‘Uyub (One who frequently covers defects). This Name is revealed so brilliantly when our actions are hidden even from the two angels who record our deeds. In the supplication of Kumayl we speak of sins which Almighty Allah hides even from the Kiraaman Kaatibin (the Noble Writers). The exalted saint, Mawla Faydh al-Kashani in his ethical masterpiece al-Mahajjat al-Baydhaa' narrates the following thought provoking sacred tradition: The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have asked his Lord about the sins of his nation saying: O Lord, place the [responsibility of] accounting [of their deeds] on me, so that none other than myself knows their evil deeds. Thereupon Almighty Allah revealed unto him: They are your nation, whereas they are My servants, and I am more merciful to them then you are. I will not place the [responsibility of] accounting [of their deeds] on other than Myself, so that neither you nor others see their evil deeds. [Mawla Faydh al-Kashani, Al-Mahhajat al-Baydhaa', v.7, p. 260]. In one of his sermons on Laylat al-Qadr, Grand Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli, after mentioning the aforesaid tradition said that Allah would take such accounting in his hands so that the people are not ashamed of their sins near the Prophet. How can they solve the problem of shame near Allah? In response, he mentioned another sacred tradition where Almighty Allah says that in order for them not be ashamed near Him, He would make them forget their sins

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sinners are Most Welcome

Six days of the Holy Month of Ramadhan have elapsed like a flash of light. Have we begun our self-purification or has the habit of procrastination overwhelmed us? Twelve days are left to embrace or be embraced by the mercy of the nights of Qadr. Have we thought of transformation, change, and emancipation? Or has despair overcome us, and we have no hope to turn to the All-Forgiving? Some traditions serve as sparks that penetrate into the heart so deep, that they shake the human being and transform him completely. Perhaps the following sacred tradition (hadith qudsi) can serve as such a spark and enlighten our beings forever: Once Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) called upon His Lord in Mount Sinai, “O God of the worlds!” And Allah responded, “Labbayk (Here I am)”. Musa continued and called, “O God of the obedient ones!” And Allah responded, “Labbayk (Here I am)”. Then Musa said, “O God of the sinners!” Upon this Allah said: “Labbayk, Labbayk, Labbayk!” So Musa asked Allah, “O God, what is the wisdom behind responding to me only once when I called You with the best of Your names, and thrice when I said “O God of the sinners?” Allah said: “O Musa, surely the knowing ones rely on their recognition, the virtuous upon their virtue, and the obedient upon their obedience. But the sinful have none save Me. So if they despair from Me, with whom can they take refuge?”

Saturday, May 23, 2009


He was known as Bahjat al-‘Aarifin (the splendor of the Gnostics) and profusely emanated the light of devotion, such that lovers throughout the world were fascinated by his noble spirit. He was well-known for his absorption in prayer, where the true munajat (mutual whispering) between the lover and the Beloved is clearly revealed. In most cases, the awe and veneration of the Infinite would apparently overcome him and he would weep from the depths of his heart in prayer. Although the world came to know him after a long period of his life of splendor, this elevated spirit was known to enjoy great stations of spiritual perfection since his youth. He personified religion in both its exoteric as well as esoteric dimensions. Exoterically he revealed his brilliance as a faqih (referral authority in Divine laws), and esoterically he exhibited the splendor of an absorbed mystic in the alley of the beloved. One of the significant things which powerfully emanated from that great ‘aarif was his steadfastness on the path of the only Beloved. The Holy Qur’an says: “Indeed those who say our Lord is Allah, and then are steadfast, angels descend on them saying: Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the garden which you were promised…” (41:30)
Some of his spiritual teachings to those thirsty in pursuing the path of spiritual development are as follows [see:]:

1- There is no litany [ dhikr - word of remembering God] more exalted then the litany of action; and there is no litany of action higher than abandoning sin in [one’s] beliefs and acts of devotion. And apparently, abandoning sin in the absolute sense without continual self-vigilance cannot take place.

2- Among the dictums of ‘Ali (‘A) is: “Know that every action of yours is according to your prayer (sala).” You must protect your five times daily prayer in the beginning of their times and with total inclination to Him (Almighty is He), and God-willing you will not lose felicity.

3- We must deal with [the holy] traditions and read them, for [the] cure is in them.

4- If a person realizes the purpose of creation, he would find it extremely sweet to [die as a martyr and] be restored back to life seventy times.

5- The prayer of night (salat al-layl) is the key to occasions of Divine succor (tawfiqaat)

6- It is these very supererogatory (mustahabb) acts that make the human being attain a great station.

7- The reason why we are left behind is our consumption of doubtful wealth; and doubtful wealth brings about doubts and ambiguity.

8- God knows when a human being send greetings to Muhammad and his progeny (i.e. recites salawat) one time and gifts that to the deceased soul, what kind of meaning, form and reality it has!

When a scholar of the caliber of Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Bahjat (may Allah elevate his noble spirit) tears the curtains of this material world and releases the bird of his spirit from the cage of the corporeal body, the moths of love residing in this terrestrial realm suffer a loss which cannot be recuperated. Bahjat al-‘Arifeen not only served as a lamp for expounding the Shari’a (the Islamic laws), but also as a master for guiding towards the tariqa (the path) which leads to the haqiqa (the Ultimate Reality). The human being fundamentally has been brought in this transient world for this very purpose. The word shari’a which we commonly translate as the Islamic law literally signifies mawrid al-maa’ al-jaari (‘the entrance of flowing water’). When we say shari’at al-Furat, for example, we mean “the entrance of the flowing waters of Euphrates”. But Religion only serves as the shari‘a for those of us who would really like to “enter the flowing spiritual waters” and benefit from the same so that we may attain the haqiqa (Absolute Reality).

Although Bahjat al-‘Arifin is not among us, the brilliance of his splendor can still be felt. Rather, when does the splendor of such a lamp ever fade? Which lamp was lit by the teachings of Muhammad and His infallible progeny (peace be upon them), and did not turn immortal and eternal?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A sister is Islam wrote to me reminding me that calling Allah for other worldly matters is not abhorred, and hence we cannot take the verse Ud’uni Astajib lakum (call "ME" and I shall respond to your call) [40:60] to signify that we should always call Allah for Allah. I would like to thank her, and remind the readers that although the literal connotation of the verse is what we had discussed previously, the reality is that there is nothing wrong is seeking other than Allah for Allah. Many of us have the tendency to seek our selfish needs when it comes to supplication. Very few think about the fundamental aim behind creation which is to attain the proximity of Allah. And a substantial number of us do not consider whether the need is “a means” for the fundamental goal behind their creation, or a satisfaction of a material attachment that is firmly rooted in themselves even if it is be spiritually dangerous. Hence we must try to make our supplications meaningful. Whether we directly ask for other needs or Allah, the goal should always be “Him”. If we seek a long life, wealth, position, etc. it must be “for Allah’s obedience, worship, and proximity”. Therefore the crux of the issue is to fundamentally seek Allah. And this is realized either by seeking the MEANS such as health, wealth, marriage, etc. so that one can attain Divine proximity, or directly ALLAH Himself. In some supplications, we are taught to seek “THE MEANS of THE GOAL” while in others we are taught to seek “THE GOAL” directly. An example of the former is: “Waj’al yaa Rabbi Rizqaka li waasi’an…” (So provide me, O my Lord, with an extensive provision….” [‘Isha Du’a: Mafatih al-Jinan]. An example of the latter is: ‘O Allah I ask you for that beauty of Yours which is the most beautiful, and every beauty of Yours is the most beautiful, O Allah I ask you by Your entire beauty” [Supplication of Sahar: Mafatih al-Jinaan]. Hence we should not misconceive and surmise that it is improper to seek other than Allah from Allah, even if it be the means that assist us in approaching His neighborhood. May the Almighty enable all of us to journey to and achieve perfection.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The Holy Prophet (s) was once asked, “Ayna Allah?” (Where is Allah?), and he said “ ‘Inda al-munkasirati qulubuhum” (He is with those who hearts are broken) [Al-Rawandi, Al-Da‘awaat, pp. 119-120]. This brilliant statement unfortunately has sometimes been misconceived and misinterpreted. A common understanding is to focus mainly on the state of the broken heart, regardless of its cause and level of excellence. If this was the case, many hearts break due to the petty issues of material world. Does this dictum also refer to them? A better and more profound understanding of this hadith is gotten when we consider another similar tradition, which specifies the nature of the heart and the cause of its breaking: Amir al-mu’minin ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said: “Tuba lil munkasirati qulubuhum min ajli Allah” (A pleasant final state be to those whose hearts are broken for Allah) [Al-Aamadi, Ghurar al-Hikam, tr.5937]. The phrase ‘min ajli Allah’ (for the sake of Allah) here clearly depicts that the principal cause of the brokenness of hearts must be related to Allah. For example, because one has not yet achieved one’s principal goal in life which is Divine proximity, one’s heart is broken!

One of the subtlest meanings of the verse “Ud‘uni astajib lakum” (Call Me and I shall respond to you) [Qur’an, 40:60] is that we are told to seek Allah only. Ud‘uni (Call “ME”). How selfish and degenerate of us to call the only Beloved for our material and selfish motives. Ask one who is engaged to someone for marriage, the reason why he tends to call her constantly? Is it because of her wealth? Is it because of her position and fame? Is it because of the physical enjoyment he anticipates from her? If these are the reasons, then in reality he is engaged with them and not with her. Let us call the Beloved for the Beloved, and nothing else. Let us stop approaching Him as an intermediary for our mundane goals. Let us understand that He is THE GOAL. If we tangibly observe that our hearts are broken “min ajli Allah” (Because of missing Allah), then we should most surely guarantee His Presence! “I am in the presence of the broken HEARTS”