In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
7 Muharram1444( 5 August 2022)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Jihad An-Nafs – Part 93
Purification of the heart-Part 35
Further to last week’s discussion, I would like to reiterate that in order to find peace in our heart we should remind ourselves that Allah (s.w.t) created this world as a test for us and this is not our real home. Death is an integral part of life and the return of our soul to our Creator as the Quranic saying goes: “Verily we belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return”. Performing good deeds is the best way to make our journey to the afterlife an easy one as our deeds determine our final destiny in the hereafter. The inevitability of death and the hereafter should never be far from our consciousness for it serves to keep our deeds in perspective as we live in preparedness for what is to come. I quote below extracts from Imam Ali (a.s)’ sermons from the Nahjul Balagha on this subject matter:
“In what way shall I describe this world whose beginning is grief and whose end is destruction? The lawful actions performed here have to be accounted for, while for the disobedient there is punishment. Whoever is rich here faces mischief and whoever is poor gets grief. One who hankers after it does not get it. If one keeps away from it then it advances towards him. If one sees through it, it would bestow him sight, but if one has his eye on it, then it would blind him.”(Sermon 82)
“Then, this world is a place of destruction, tribulations, changes and lessons. As for destruction, the time has its bow pressed (to readiness), its dart does not go amiss and its wound does not heal. It afflicts the living with death, the healthy with ailment and the secure with distress. It is an eater who is not satisfied and a drinker whose thirst is never quenched. As for tribulation, a man collects what he does not eat and builds where he does not live. Then he goes out to Allah without carrying the wealth or shifting the building.
As for its changes, you see a pitiable man becoming enviable and an enviable man becoming pitiable. This is because the wealth has gone and misfortune has come to him. As for its lessons, a man reaches near (realization of) his desires when (suddenly) the approach of death strikes him; then neither the desire is achieved nor the desirer spared. Glory to Allah, how deceitful is its pleasures, how thirst-rousing is its quenching and how sunny is its shade. That which approaches (death) cannot be sent back and he who goes away does not return. Glory to Allah, how near is the living to the dead because he will meet him soon and how far is the dead from the living because he has gone away from him. (Sermon 114)
Divine movement of Imam Husain (a.s) – Part 2
It has always been in our minds as to why the divine movement of Karbala continues to live in the hearts of people after almost fourteen centuries, and why do we reflect on Imam Hussain (a.s)’s aims and thoughts especially during this month. In order to understand this it is highly imperative for us to study the following:
- The divine element of Karbala.
- Aspects of human and social life which seek to create peace and harmony.
- The personality of a leader
With regards to the first element, I would like to emphasize that the movement of Karbala was based on the principles of Islam; the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s.a). In many of Imam Hussain (a.s)’s talks, sermons and letters he asserted the importance of fulfilling the divine duties of Islam. He addressed a large group of scholars in a long and powerful speech and reminded them of their duty to inculcate Islamic conscience and not to mislead the masses who trusted them. He criticized them for not addressing the issues of oppression and prevention of vile and corrupt acts by ignoring the principles of amr bil ma’ruf and nahya anil munkar.. He said: “O people, take lesson from the counsel Allah gave to His friends when He rebuked the rabbis by saying: “Why do the scholars and rabbis not forbid them from uttering what is sinful and their eating of what is forbidden? Evil is indeed what they do.” (Surah Ma’ida, Ayah 63) And Allah says: “Cursed were those among the children of Israel who did not believe in David and Jesus, son of Mary, for they persisted in their excesses. They did not forbid each other from committing vile and corrupt acts; indeed how evil was that which they were doing.” (Surah Ma’ida, Ayahs 78-79).
Allah mentions the duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil before all other duties, because He knows that if it is performed and established in the society all other duties, the easy and the difficult, will also become established. The reason for this is that amr bil ma’ruf and nahya anil munkar summons people to Islam, and it resists against injustice, opposes and struggles against oppressors, and it endeavors to ensure that public wealth and income derived from war are distributed in accordance with the just laws of Islam, and that taxes are collected, levied and expended in due and proper form.”
The Imam also exhorted the scholars not to pander to the rulers who paid them to keep away from the truth. O Scholars! You are therefore required to assist us to win back our rights from those powers who have considered it appropriate to wrong us and who have attempted to put out the light kindled by our Holy Prophet. God suffices for us – upon Him we rely; to Him we turn for help and to Him we shall all return. “To be continued
In continuation on the subject matter under reference, I would like to add that the mission of Imam Hussain (a.s) was not to fight Yazid or take control of his empire but it was to reawaken the spirit of Islam that was nearing extinction and from the day he left Medina he made this absolutely clear. In fact, the sole cause for which he set out from Medina was to perform his duty of amr bil ma’ruf and nahya anil munkar as the people had not only accepted the evil that had been flowing from the court in Damascus but, sadly, they begun to emulate it. The inevitable consequence of this would lead to a total destruction of Islamic values.
The philosophy and reason for his revolution was therefore clearly set out by the Imam in a testament, which he handed to his brother, Muhammad Hanifiya, before he left Medina for Mecca along with members of his family. His brother, however, did not accompany him, but he continued to reside in Medina to look after the affairs of the Muslims. He was the son of Ali (a.s), and his mother belonged to a tribe named Bani Hanafiya, and that is why he was called Muhammad ibne Hanafiya. Although the Kaisaniya sect considered him to be an Imam, he believed in the Imamate of his brother, Hassan (a.s), after his father, Ali (a.s), and thereafter in the Imamate of his second brother, Hussain (a.s), and after that in the Imamate of his nephew, Ali ibne Hussain (a.s). He was very virtuous principled and brave and displayed great valour in the battles fought by Ali (a.s). The letter and/or testament which was handed to Muhammad ibne Hanafiya has been narrated by Ibne Tawus wherein the Imam pointed out the motive for his rising and clarified the policy which he intended to pursue in all circumstances. The testament reads as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
This is the testament of Hussain ibne Ali ibne Abi Talib written by him to his brother Muhammad, known as ibne Hanafiya. Indeed Hussain testifies that there is no god except Allah and no one other than Him is worthy to be worshipped and He has no partner. He also testifies that Muhammad is Allah’s servant and messenger, who has brought the truth from Him, and that heaven and hell do exist and the Day of Judgment will inevitably come and there is no doubt about it, and on that Day, Allah will bring the dead to life and resurrect everyone from their graves.
Indeed this movement of mine is not instigated by arrogance or pride, rebellion, worldly passions, corruption or injustice. It is also not my intention to create trouble or to oppress anyone. I have risen to reform the Ummah of my grandfather, as Yazid will massacre the innocent. I would like to promote good and forbid evil (amr bil ma’ruf and nahya anil munkar) and follow the traditions of my grandfather, the Holy Prophet, and my father, Ali ibne Abi Talib.
Whoever accepts the truth, Allah will be their protector and whoever refuses to accept it, I will be patient until Allah will decide between me and them. He is the best of judges. This is my will to my brother and all success depends on Allah, and only on Him do I rely.”
The testament clearly shows that in 60 Hijri, the Muslim ummah was faced with a dreadful social and religious crisis, which could not be overcome by a bloody revolution, but on the contrary by the guidance of a leader like Imam Hussain (a.s), whose infallibility has been testified by the Holy Quran in the Verse of Purification of Surah Al-Ahzab (Ayah 33), which reads. “Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of abomination, O members of the Prophet’s household and to purify you with a perfect purification.”