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”