In the name of Allah
The All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful
3rd Jamadial-Awwal 1445 (17th November 2023)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Imam Ali (a.s.)’s advice in the Nahjal-Balagha -Part 1
Having concluded the topic on purification of the heart, which I had discussed at a great length, I would like to discuss the advice of Imam Ali (a.s.) in the Nahjal-Balagha which is highly beneficial for Muslims. Prior to my discussion on this topic, I would like to enlighten you as to the meanings and connotations of the words, maw’idha and naseeha.
There are 20 Ayahs in the Holy Quran wherein the word maw’idha has been used and 13 Ayahs that contain the word naseeha. Maw’idha means to try to change someone’s course for the better and it is based on good advice, counsel or precept. The Holy Quran gives us excellent guidelines, and by reading it, we are reading the words of Allah (s.w.t.), who out of love wants us to change for the better. On the other hand naseeha is a kind exhortation as well as a cure for every kind of spiritual sickness that plagues the heart, such as ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy, and hatred. In this context, I quote below the following Ayahs of the Holy Quran:
- Ayah 57 of Surah Younus: “O mankind! Indeed an exhortation has come to you from your Lord (the Quran, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a cure for the diseases that are in your heart, a guidance and a mercy for the believers.”
- Ayah 125 of Surah An-Nahl: “Call to the Way of your Lord (Islam) with wisdom and kind exhortation, and dispute in the manner which is the best; verily your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He knows best those who are rightly guided.”
- According to Majma Al-Bayan, Ayah 57 of Surah Younus highlights four characteristics of the Holy Quran: “The Holy Quran is an advisor; it is a cure for spiritual diseases; it is a mercy; and guidance for believers.”
- Guidance is the light which steers us in a better direction and heals us. Moreover, it makes us appreciate that the Holy Quran is a mercy (rahma) for mankind.
- Ayah 125 of Surah An-Nahl urges people to propagate Islam through wisdom and excellent admonition. Wisdom demands that one should keep in view the intelligence, capability and circumstances of the addressees and convey Allah (s.w.t.)’s Message in accordance with the requirement of the occasion.
- Admonition should be administered in such a manner as to show sincere concern for the reform and welfare of the addressee.
- Similarly those who engage in the propagation of Islam should dispute in the best possible manner with sound and logical arguments without harassment, rudeness, or harshness. To be continued
Birth anniversary of Hazrat Zainab (a.s.)
On the auspicious birth anniversary of Hazrat Zainab (a.s.), I offer my congratulations to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the followers of the Ahlul Bait. I will commemorate this marked occasion, by summarily discussing her great personality.
According to a tradition, Zainab was born on the 5th of Jamadial Awwal, 5 Hijri in Medina to the two most pious and spiritual personalities in the history of Islam, Imam Ali and Fatima (a.s.). Her name is a combination of two words, Zain (adornment) and Ab (father), which means father’s adornment.
The environment that she was brought up was the best of its kind, and that is why she received the best possible training and developed invaluable virtues. Her father, Imam Ali (a.s.) was the perfect human being after the Holy Prophet (s.a.), which no one can truly deny. He was the first to accept Islam. His entire life was a role model for us to look at and emulate. Her mother, Fatima (a.s.), was the grand lady of Islam, whose exemplary life is a lesson for us all and the Holy Quran has portrayed her purity and righteousness. Her grandfather was the Holy Prophet (s.a.), the most outstanding figure in history. His wife, Khadijah a devoted woman, was her maternal grandmother and her paternal grandmother was Fatima, daughter of Asad, who mothered and nursed the Holy Prophet (s.a.). Her two brothers Imam Hasan and Hussain (a.s.) were excellent role models. She was raised in a house where Gabriel used to bring revelations from Allah (s.w.t.) and on his visits he would convey Allah (s.w.t)’s greetings to the residents.
It was indeed through her holy origins, upbringing and pious education that she performed her divine duties to the best of her ability. In her character she reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In sobriety and serenity, she was like her grandmother, Khadijah, in chastity and modesty she was an image of her mother, Fatima Zahra (a.s.), in forbearance and patience she was a replica of her brother Imam Hasan (a.s) and in bravery and tranquility she had the heart of Imam Hussain (a.s.). Her face reflected her grandfather’s reverence and her father’s awe and like him, she was unparalleled in literary eloquence and courage. The speech she delivered in the assembly of Yazid was the pinnacle of eloquence and impressiveness. She was an exemplary woman of great ability, intelligence, knowledge, insight, courage and perseverance. She was the perfect symbol for women and those who wish to attain high spiritual status. In fact, her life has given us all a great lesson as to how to submit to Allah (s.w.t.) and to be in total obedience to His command.
Her life was always laden with hardship, but she never feared coping with difficulties which enhanced her endurance and elevated her soul. After the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.), there came the period of distress and hardship in her life. She stood by her mother as far as the question of supreme mandate of her father was concerned. When her mother delivered the Fadak sermon, she was merely a child, but she narrated the sermon so lucidly and expressively and that is why she is called Zainab the narrator of traditions. She was a pillar of strength in Karbala to Imam Hussain (a.s.) and the protector and guardian to the surviving members of their family after his martyrdom.