In the name of Allah
The All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful
24th Jamadial-Awwal 1445 (8th December 2023)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Imam Ali (a.s.)’s advice in the Nahjal-Balagha – Part 4
I quote below an extract from Imam Ali (a.s.)’s Sermon 161 from the Nahjul Balagha, which I will explain during my forthcoming session. This sermon has the same theme as Sermon 20 which I had discussed last week, wherein the Imam is advising us to fear Allah (s.w.t.) and to be vigilant about our Islamic duties and obligations and to take lessons from past generations who have faced death:
“…. I advise you, O’ creatures of Allah, to exercise fear of Allah and to obey Him for it is salvation tomorrow and deliverance forever. He warned you of chastisement and did so rigorously. He persuaded you towards virtues and did so comprehensively. He described this world, which is fading away from you, with its decay and unpredictability. Therefore, keep aloof from its attractions, because very little of it will accompany you. This house is the closest to the displeasure of Allah and the remotest from His pleasure.
So close your eyes, O creatures of Allah, from its worries and engagements, for you should be aware of its separation and changing conditions. Fear it with an overwhelming sense of fear and one who struggles hard and takes lesson from what has befallen those who have departed from here; their bones have decomposed, their ability to see and hear are lost, their honor and prestige have disappeared, their pleasure and wealth have come to an end, their nearness to their children have changed into remoteness and the company of their spouses have changed into separation. They cannot boast over each other nor beget children, nor meet each other, nor live as neighbors. Therefore, fear O’ creatures of Allah, like the fear of one who has control over himself and who can check his passions and perceive with wisdom. Surely, the matter is quite clear, the sign is manifest, the course is level and the way is straight.” To be continued
Life of Fatima (a.s) – Part 2
Her birth and the period until the death of her mother, Khadija (a.s.).
The birth of Fatima (a.s) brought special happiness and exhilaration to the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and his wife, Khadija. She was born five years before Besat when the Holy Prophet was about 35 years old and her mother, Khadija was about 50. She was nurtured in the heart of the Islamic campaign and witnessed as a child, how the Holy Prophet (s.a) tirelessly sought to awaken and enlighten the people. She observed painfully how early Muslim converts were harassed and tortured for their beliefs, but in her mother, she found a great deal of solace and comfort. She received a holistic spiritual and material education and training according to the best standards.
The excellent and noble characteristics of Khadija were exemplary for she brought up Fatima (a.s.) with devoutness and virtues. She was the first wife of the Holy Prophet (s.a) and the best and most pious of Arab women in the pre-Islamic times. She was also the first lady to embrace Islam and one of the best and most loyal patrons of Islam and the Holy Prophet (s.a). She sacrificed all her wealth and comfort for the cause of the religion of Allah (s.w.t). The Holy Prophet (s.a) held her in very high esteem and even years after her death, he always referred to her with great love and respect for she was, amongst others, the mother of Fatima (a.s.).
It has been reported by Mofazzal Ibn Omaer, one of Imam Sadeq (a.s.)’s student, in Behjat Qalb Al-Mustafa on page 138, that when he asked Imam Sadeq (a.s.) about the birth of Fatima (a.s.), he narrated as follows:
“When Khadija married the Prophet, the women of Mecca ostracised her. She was very troubled at their attitude until she conceived Fatima. The foetus would speak and comfort her. Khadija would hide this from the Holy Prophet until one day when he entered the house, he heard her speaking to someone. The Holy Prophet asked her with whom she was speaking. She replied:“The one in my womb speaks to me and comforts me.” Then the Holy Prophet said: “Rejoice Khadija! Gabriel is giving me the good news that she will be our pure and blessed daughter. Truly, Allah will appoint my progeny through her and she will be the mother of eleven of my successors who will come after me and after their fathers.” Khadija was pleased to hear this.
Later when she came into labour, she asked someone to fetch the women of Quraish and Bani Hashem to assist her in delivering the baby. The women refused to come to her aid, for she had disregarded their advice and had married the impoverished orphan of Abu Taleb. Khadija was disappointed and entreated Allah to help her. Suddenly, four stately women arrived; their beauty and brilliance were beyond description. One of them said:“Do not worry, Allah has sent us to help you.” They introduced themselves as Sarah, wife of Abraham; Asiya, Mozahem’s daughter and Khadija’s heavenly companion; Maryam, the daughter of Imran; and Safra, the daughter of Shoaib. They sat around her and helped her deliver the purest of infants, whose radiance illuminated the entire city of Mecca. The residents of paradise rejoiced at her birth and the sky was lit as never before and that is why she is called Zahra.
The lady sitting in front of Fatima rinsed her with the water from Kawthar and wrapped her with two pieces of white cloth which were heavily fragranced and urged her to speak. The child testified to the unity of Allah; His messenger, that is, her father and the leader of Allah’s apostles; the guardianship of her husband, the chief successor of the Holy Prophet; and the guardianship of her descendants, the eleven Imams. Then she greeted the ladies and called them by their names. They laughed cheerfully and gave her to Khatija indicating her purity, both physical and spiritual, and that of her progeny.“O Khadija! Embrace her for the Imams and the leaders of all the believers will be from her generation.” Khadija embraced and fed her.”