In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
8 Dhul-Hajja 1443(8 July 2022)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Jihad An-Nafs – Part 87
Purification of the heart-Part 28
Imam Ali (a.s)’s letter 31, which I had quoted last week, contains ten valuable advices on purification of the heart; they are:
- Follow words of wisdom and religious advice. I have already dealt with this in my earlier sessions and will therefore not elaborate on this today.
- Refrain from vain desires and practice zuhd as it illuminates the heart and that is why the Ahlul Bait considered zuhd or asceticism as an attribute of leaders and the cause for people’s happiness. Imam Ali (a.s) in his book explained that zuhd is a moral virtue and a spiritual state which draws one towards the hereafter by not relying on anyone other than Allah (s.w.t) and turning to Him. It is the opposite of greed. He further advised that asceticism keeps one away from vain desires and leads to the right path. In this context, he referred to Ayah 23 of Surah Al-Hadid and advised that in order to acquire zuhd one should not grieve over what is lost and not to be ecstatic over what is gained. Zuhd can thus be defined as lack of attachment to the world by refraining from extravagance and arrogance, showing appreciation for Allah (s.w.t)’s blessings and avoiding forbidden things. His relevant sayings are provided in the Nahjul Balagha; some of which are as follows:
- “Incapability is a catastrophe; endurance is bravery; abstinence is riches; self-restraint is a shield (against sin); and the best companion is submission to Allah’s will.” (Short Saying 4)
- “The best asceticism is to conceal it.” (Short Saying 28)
- “Asceticism is confined between two expressions of the Quran. Allah, the Glorified says: “Lest you distress yourselves for what escapes you, and be over-joyous for what He has granted you; God does not love an arrogant boaster.”(Quran, 57:23). Whoever does not grieve over what he misses and does not revel over what comes to him acquire asceticism from both sides.” (Short Saying 448)
- “O’ People! Abstinence is to curtail desires, to thank Allah for His bounties and to keep away from what is prohibited. (Sermon 81)
- “Make your ears hear the call of death before you are called by death. Surely the hearts of the abstemious weep in this world even though they may apparently laugh, and their grief increases even though they may appear to be happy. Their hatred for themselves is much, even though they may be envied for the subsistence they are allowed.” (Sermon 113)
To be continues
The day of Eid Al-Adha is known as ‘Eid Al-Kabir’ (Major Feast), or ‘the Feast of Sacrifice’ The word Eid means a recurring festival and Eid Al-Adha is a completely different Eid, coinciding with the rituals of Hajj. It falls on the 10th of Dhul-Hajja, and it is observed in remembrance of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael, as an act of submission to Allah (s.w.t), but at the last minute Allah (s.w.t) intervened and replaced Ismael with a lamb. Almost every single ritual of Hajj, such as the stoning of Satan, the tawaf of Safa and Marwa, and the sacrificial lamb originated from Abraham as well as from Hajar and their son, Ismael, who settled in a desolate place, near the Kaaba and faced severe trials and tribulations. This stands as an example for Muslims around the world to lead a good life by way of obeying Allah (s.w.t) and putting personal differences aside and trusting in His will. It is also a time when we celebrate Allah (s.w.t)’s mercy.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that constitute the most demanding but rewarding form of worship performed in the sacred city of Mecca. Muslims are obligated to perform Hajj once in a lifetime if they are physically and financially capable of performing it. The primary objective of Hajj is to strengthen ones devotion to Allah (s.w.t) and learn the lesson of humbleness and equality, and that is the reason why pilgrims wear Ihram and discard their usual attire, irrespective of ranks, status, race, caste or creed, and stand before Allah (s.w.t) to worship Him and seek His blessings. Moreover, the act of qurbani consists of slaughtering an animal (sheep, lamb, goat, cow etc), as a sacrifice to mark this occasion in remembrance of Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice for Allah (s.w.t). A successful completion of Hajj obliterates all sins and one’s slate is wiped clean, like that of a new born baby. There are many Ayahs in the Holy Quran relating to it; I quote below Ayahs 27-30 of Surah Al-Hajj:
“And proclaim the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the people. They will then come to you from every remote place, on foot and on lean camels.
That they may witness advantages for them, and mention the name of God during the appointed days over what He has provided them of livestock quadruped, and eat them and feed the poor.
Then let them complete the prescribed duties, and fulfil their vows, and let them circumambulate the Ancient House.
Let the pilgrimage be so, and whoever honours the inviolability of God, it is best for him with his Lord. The livestock is made lawful to you, save that which has been recited unto you. Then shun the abomination of the idols, and shun vain talks.”
- In accordance with the aforesaid Ayahs, Hajj has much benefit for Muslims in this world and in the hereafter.
- The pilgrims are required to remember Allah (s.w.t) especially on certain days (10th 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hajja), which are called the Days of Tashriq, because Allah (s.w.t) blesses them specifically on those days.
- They are provided with the meat of lamb (Qurbani) to eat and enjoy and to feed the poor.
- Circumambulation of the Kaaba and other prescribed deeds has to be performed.