In the name of Allah
The All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful
21st Rajab 1445 (2nd February 2024)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG

Imam Ali (a.s.)’s advice in the Nahjal-Balagha – Part 14
With reference to last week’s discussion on Imam Ali (a.s.)’s Sermon 28, I quote below its final part:

“Beware, and act during a period of attraction just as you would act when you are fearful. Beware; surely I have not seen one who is desirous of paradise asleep nor one who is fearful of hell in a state of slumber. Beware, for whom right does not benefit will suffer the torment of the wrong and he whom guidance does not keep firm will be led away by misguidance towards destruction.
Beware, you have been ordered invariably to march and you have been given guidance how to provide for the journey. Surely the most frightening thing which I am afraid of about you is to follow desires and to extend hopes. Provide for yourself today in this world which will save you tomorrow on the Day of Judgement).

Valuable points
• The world is a place to make choices. We are doing this every moment of our lives consciously or unconsciously, and we are responsible for the choices we make. But the most important choice is between paradise and hellfire, between the pleasure and displeasure of Allah (s.w.t). However, those who desire paradise need to make a conscious choice to act in accordance with the commands of Allah (s.w.t) and to abstain from what He has forbidden.

• Allah (s.w.t) refers to the path of paradise as a steep ascent in Surah Al-Balad. Scaling the steep ascent is an uphill task and it needs toil and struggle, which is part of our creation. According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.) “Paradise is surrounded by hardship, whereas the hellfire is surrounded by temptations.”
• Earning paradise requires patience and sacrifice of allurements, comforts and advantages, all things our base impulse goads us to seek. We have also to be wary of obstacles, be it the splendor of this world, the passion of our lower self (nafs), such as, vain desires and extended hope, as well as the whispers of Satan.
• It is the successful preparation for this journey that will ultimately lead us to paradise. This preparation is based on comprehending the divine Message and incorporating its teachings in our lives. To be continued

Second Sermon
Martyrdom anniversary of Imam Musa ibne Jafar (a.s.)
We are approaching the martyrdom anniversary of our seventh Imam, Musa ibne Jafar (a.s.), and I offer my sincere condolences to Imam Zamana (a.s.) and my brethren in faith. I take this opportunity to discuss the life of our dear Imam.
Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) was born in Abwa, located between Mecca and Medina, on the 7th of Safar, 128 Hijri. His mother was Hamidah and his father was Imam Sadeq (a.s.). He lived 20 years of his life under the patronage of his father. The Imam’s inherent genius and gifted virtues combined with the enlightened guidance and education from his father carved his personality. His father was martyred under the orders of Mansur, the Abbasid ruler, and he took over the reins of Imamate for 35 years.

Time and circumstances did not permit him to establish an institution to impart religious knowledge to his followers as his father and his grandfather had done for he lived in an era when the rulers were the cruelest and their hatred for the Ahlul Bait and their followers was intense. However, in the first decade of his Imamate he executed the responsibilities of his sacred office and carried on with the propagation of the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.). He witnessed the reigns of the Abbasid rulers, namely, Mansur, Mahdi, Hadi and Haroon Ar-Rashid. Both Mansur and Haroon were despotic kings who killed many innocent descendants of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and their followers were constantly harassed and tortured.

The Imam was saved from the tyranny of Mansur because he was occupied with his project of constructing the new city of Baghdad. After Mansur, his son, Mahdi ascended the throne; for a few years he remained indifferent towards the Imam. However, when he came to Medina and heard about the great reputation of the Imam, he could not subdue his jealousy and his ancestral malice against the Ahlul Bait was rekindled. He somehow managed to take the Imam with him to Baghdad and got him imprisoned there. But after a year he realized his mistake and released him. Mahdi was succeeded by Hadi who lived only for a year.

Later the most cruel and tyrannical king, Haroon Ar-Rashid, appeared at the realm of the Abbasid Empire. It was during his reign that the Imam passed many years in a miserable prison until he was poisoned by the prison warden, Sandi ibne Shaheck, under his instruction. He was martyred on the 25th of Rajab, 183 Hijri and was buried in Kazamain. Despite all these hardships, the Imam was always patient and would spend his nights in the worship of Allah (s.w.t). His piety had an impact on prison wardens who converted and became his ardent followers. It has been reported that he would perform the optional prayers of the night until the Morning Prayer and thereafter recite supplications until sunrise. He would then go down in prostration during which he praised, thanked and glorified Allah (s.w.t) until noon. He would beseech Allah (s.w.t.) for forgiveness and recite supplications whilst in prostration along the following lines:
“O Lord! The sins of your servant are repugnant. Let your forgiveness and pardon be bountiful.” After prostration, he would pray:
“O Lord! You know that I have been imploring you to give me the opportunity to dévote myself to Your service and You have accepted my prayer. Praise be to You. O my Lord! I beseech You that my soul be removed from my body with ease at the time of my death and I seek your forgiveness and leniency after my death.”

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