In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
10th Rabial-Awwal 1444 (7 th October 2022)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Jihad An-Nafs – Part 100
Purification of the heart-Part 42
Further to last week’s discussion I quote below extracts from Imam Ali (a.s.)’s letter 27 from the Nahjul Balagha wherein he advised Mohammad ibne Abi Bakr about the importance of remembering death, when he appointed him as the Governor of Egypt:
“O’ creature of Allah! Fear the inevitable and unavoidable death which is so near to everybody. Be prepared to meet it. Verily, it will come as the most important and the greatest event of your life; it will either carry unmixed blessings and rewards for you or it will bring in its wake punishments, sufferings and eternal damnation. There will be no chance of its lessening or redemption or any change for the better. It is for you to decide whether to proceed towards perpetual peace and blessings; paradise or towards eternal damnation in hell.
You are being chased by death. If you stop, it will catch you, and if you run away from it, it will grip you. It is more attached to you than your shadow. Death is tied to your fore-locks while the world is being wrapped up from behind you. Therefore be afraid of the fire whose depth is fathomless whose intensity is enormous and where new kinds of punishments are constantly being introduced. Hell is an abode where there is no place for Allah’s mercy and blessings. Prayers of those who are thrown there will neither be heard nor accepted and there will not be any lessening in their sufferings and sorrows.
If it is possible for you to strictly fear Allah as well as have sincere faith in His justice, mercy and love of His creatures, then try to hold on to these two beliefs firmly because a man entertains and cherishes the love, reverence and veneration of Allah in proportion to His fear and awe that develops in his mind. Certainly, the most hopeful person with Allah is he who fears Him most.”
Valuable points on death
- Multitudes of men have walked on the surface of this earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures, but they had two things in common, they were all delivered from their mother’s womb and they all tasted death. According to Ayah 78 of Surah An-Nisa,“Wherever you are death will claim you, even if you are in lofty towers.”
- Man aims at establishing his own glory on earth, but death comes and demolishes all the delusions of grandeur which he had nurtured, teaching him how powerless he is before death.
- Death is more attached to us than our shadow and it shows us that our stay on earth is only temporary and not a place for realization of our dreams. Hence we must remind ourselves constantly that death is inevitable and we should make necessary preparations.
- We must learn from death, as it teaches us how to live and shows us the way to real success. Happy is one who always keeps the afterlife in his view, who remembers the Day of Reckoning through his deeds, leads a contented life and is happy with what that Allah (s.w.t.) has destined for him.
- According to the Holy Quran, at the time of leaving this world, a person will be in one of two states; either he will be of the Companions of the Right, or the Companions of the Left. If he is amongst the Companions of the Right, he will be in a good final state, but if he is one of the Companions of the Left, he will suffer a great loss.
- We fear death because of our lack of preparedness and we have not made sufficient provisions for our final journey and instead have been giving more than necessary importance to our present li
Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.)
According to a tradition, the 8th of Rabial-Awwal was the martyrdom anniversary of our eleventh Imam, Hasan Askari (a.s.). I express our condolences to his son, Imam Mahdi (as), and to the followers of the Ahlul Bait.
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was born in Medina, on the 8th of Rabial-Thani, 232 Hijri. However, according to some tradition he was born in Samara. He was martyred by poisoning on the 8th of Rabial-Awwal, 260 Hijri when he was 28/29 years. He lived for almost 23 years with his father, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.). After his father’s martyrdom, he took over the reins of Imamate for 6 years which coincided with the regimes of the Abbasid Caliphs including Motaz, Mohtadi, and Motamed and he endured great sufferings in their hands. He was martyred during the reign of Motamed and was buried in Samara next to his father’s grave, which has been transformed into a great mausoleum and pilgrims from all over world come to pay their homage to them.
Most of his life he spent in the house in Samara where his father, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) remained under house arrest. From time to time he was taken to Baghdad, questioned and put in prison there. But despite strict surveillance, sufferings and confinements he conducted his duties as Imam from within the house and many students of Islam benefited from his gifted knowledge and later became scholars in their fields. He taught people the Holy Quran and instructed his followers the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and his Ahlul Bait. He also dictated many traditions of the Holy Prophet and completed the explanatory notes on the Holy Quran which has been mentioned by many scholars and exegetes.
It has been reported that while he was a prisoner in Baghdad there was a severe draught. Rain had not fallen for some time and the crops were drying up. People were facing a famine and they did not know what to do. A Christian priest came to the rescue. He lifted his hands, towards the sky, in prayer and immediately there was a heavy rainfall. The Caliph became concerned lest the people would forsake Islam in favour of Christianity. When the Imam was consulted, he said that he would soon remove skepticism from the minds of people.
He was allowed to leave the prison to witness the miracle of the priest. He stood there with the crowd and watched the priest raise his hands towards the sky in prayer and there was sudden downpour. The Imam asked one of his companions to remove what was in the priest’s hand. He then asked the priest to pray for rain. The priest was embarrassed as he tried his utmost and yet there was no rain. The Imam then showed everyone that the priest was holding in his hand, a small piece of bone of a Prophet of God. It was the effect of the holy bone, when lifted in prayer, brought rain to the land by Allah (s.w.t.)’s mercy. Thereafter the Imam prayed for rain and it rained heavily until the drought was over. The Imam was thus able to remove doubts from the minds of people and they realized that the priest had tried to trick them.