Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunset and the Rise of....!!

Salaams to all
(Originally written on the eve of 29th Zilhujj, 1431 h.)

انّا لله و انّا الیه راجعون

The sun of this lunar year sets, breaking millions of hearts, falling into deep sorrows, streams of tears gushing out of their eyes.... O Husains (AS)!! What was it that you did in those few months, that is still influencing lives and societies... !!? The beauty with which this event and its pieces were weaved together, and the details that You took care of all along your journey .... cry out loud that this was the task performed for Someone Else, under His supervision, the All Wise and Knowing... Will I be able to benefit from this noor of ma'refat, this ocean of love and these mountains of taqwa, ikhlas and sabr...? O Lord! Please......!!

This year again we are at the doorstep of Ahl-e-Bait AS. Though each of them is special, but the gate of this Grandson of the Prophet (PBUH & P) is something special. Don't know about you, but along with the sorrow, i am always a little anxious. I have heard from teachers continuously, and i am sure you have also, that such days and periods that come each year, are special opportunities to get the best and as much as u can. I am anxious, because i wonder if this year, will I be able to prove my love and submission for this family or not? Will i be able to get to the spot where special gifts are being distributed or not? May this year these days just change my life. Not for the material and worldly gains only, but more importantly the gift of their special glance, saying: "You make us happy! You are an honor for us....!!" Will this year make me a real devotee of this family, 'cause that is the only way i can become a good servant of my Lord and a good human being.

One more point that i learned, and want to share, is that Muharram, Ashura, Karbala and Imam Husain AS and his family's and friend's struggle...., all these have two aspects, two wings with which they fly in the skies of our lives: the emotional aspect and the intellectual aspect. To derive the best out of this event, we must concentrate on both adequately, and not leave out any one of them or we have not done justice with what Imam Husain AS created in the desert of Karbala....
Same goes for all other activities we perform for this family (AS); like marsiya khwani, nauha, matam, and going for their ziarats... Going to Ziarats, for example, is a way to show that "we are your servants and will always be with you, on your path. We have your ma'refat, and know that we must follow you." But again this is half the task done. We must think and ask them to please tell us "What must we do? What would you like us to do to prove our submission for you" And then putting those requirements into actions will complete the message of ziarat that we obtained. .....

Sorry for taking your time, but i just wanted to say salaams after a long time, and thought this might be a good excuse to share...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reaching Out...2-Delicate Breeze!

With your Name!
I live in the towns, the cities, the countries. I travel the highways, the roads, the streets. I visit the markets, the hospitals, the graveyards. And in this hustle bustle, feel tired of the deceptions of Your enemies, knitted to trap Your friends. Though I can not claim to be one of Your friends, to be a devotee, but still...want to be with them! Want to protect the flickering candle-flame inside, which lights up my heart with Your love; love of everything which is good, love of justice and truth. I am looking for a shelter; a safe haven. Some way of getting to You and helping others make this world a better place to live in.

If one really looks around, out of his gloominess and despair, he is bound to find many signs that his Creator is really Reaching Out to him. Wants to save him, and others, from disaster. Wants to pull him towards the high heavens, peaceful life.
But for that to happen, man and the society will have to make an effort, will have to take the first step, will have to reach that intention, the resolution.....will have to raise their hand to grab the help and....the rest will follow. Certainly! It does need FAITH that, the rest will follow. That's what all our being-sent-down and being tested, is all about...!
These helps are of different types, natures, significance and uses...
In a Hadith-e-Qudsee (a Divine Tradition) it has been narrated that Prophet Dawood (David) (AS) was told in a revelation:
إنّ لله فی أیّام دهرِکُم نفحات ألا! أن ترصّدوا بها" 
"Surely! Certain breezes blow in your lives, which belong to Allah. Beware of them, and attain them!! (be in their way and utilize them well)." (Bihar-ul-Anwar, V. 77)
These breezes of blessings and help, DO blow! But they take different forms.Some are particular physical locations in the world, which have a Divine and Holy mark and environment. Some are special points in time, all around the year, or a few times every year, or some once a year. And some other forms too. What is important, is that, if we want to make the most of it, want to find a safe haven, want to make this world a better place for all, we will have to feel these delicate winds that blow and are all around us. Lets be attentive and realize! Seize the opportunities!
We will be discussing some of them (with the Help of Almighty-Insha Allah) in the coming posts. So please keep reading, following and contribute with your feed backs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Al Hamdo Li LLAH!-2

As Muslims we recite this chapter (or sura) (Al-Hamd) at least 10 times a day. And we know that unless one gets a deep understanding of his Creator, to the extent that he can, he won’t be able to recite a single sura al-Hamd properly. This is because, reciting it, as an expression of these feelings, depends upon the realization of these attributes and blessings, in the first place. And this realization will depend on knowing the Creator and understanding HIS attributes. Al-Hamdo LiLLAH- (All praise -with all other components- is for Allah, or whatever praise there is it’s for HIM) Here we see that “all praise-gratitude-worship” have been related to “ALLAH” (SWT). This name ‘Allah’ is different from Rehmaan, Raheem, Malik etc in that, it is the sum-up of all the attributes. Not meaning any one of them in particular, it means the One, the Being, who holds all these attributes (and all the others which reflect perfection). In fact, is the source of all of them. So the one who understands HIM with ‘this’ name, does “hamd” naturally, just like a fan speaking about his hero wherever he is talked about… Another point: The ‘hamd’ (thanks-praise-worship) has been related to this name (“ALLAH”) not other names or, other attributes. One of the secrets of this could be that; the ‘Being’ or the Existence, Himself, without regards to His 'blessings', 'bounties' or 'help' etc, deserves our ‘hamd’.., He Himself deserves to be thanked-praised-worshiped, even without looking at His blessings. This really makes the “hamd” rise high, in proportion to the height of the worshipers understanding of that Being who is named Allah. (Of course the writer himself is far away, that’s why can’t really express what it would be really like…). But of course; not any Zaid, Khalid, Majid.. can claim such a status. Only those who have really experienced it and were under special guidance of Allah Himself, and His Prophet can reach such heights. And whom better than the great Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him & his progeny). Hazrat Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib (salaams of Allah be on him) says:
الهی ما عبدتك طمعا فی جنّتك و لا خوفا من نارك بل وجدتك أهلا للعبادة فعبدتك" " (بحار الأنوار ج ۴۱
O Lord! I worship You, not in desire of Your paradise, and not in fear of Your hell, but because, I find that You deserve to be worshiped, I worship You. (Even if You hadn’t created paradise and hell I would have worshiped You, and my worship for You is not because you gave me life, and all its bounties and more, and even not for the paradise, in the hereafter, but because of You being Yourself…). Great Persian poet Sa’di says:
گر از دوست چخمت به احسان اوست
تو در بند خویشی، نه در بند دوست
خلاف طریقت بود کأولیاء
تمنا کنند از خدا جز خدا (بوستان سعدی
If you adore your beloved, for his favors (to you), The love of your own desires has trapped you, not his, It would have been against the rules (of the game), If “awliya” *, would ask God, for something other than ‘Him’. *(who have sacrificed everything in His way, and reached a particular level of purification) A rough translation for Urdu speaking friends:
نظر میں اُس کی عطا، نہ خود محبوب
تُو تو عاشق ہے اپنا، نہ اُس کا مجذوب
راہ عرفاں نہ تھی گر ولی کو
ہوتا خدا سے، جز خدا مطلوب
(The idea taken from the Commentary of Shaheed Murtaza Muatahhari-(may Allah's blessings be upon him), with small variations)

Al-Hamdo Li LLAH-1

Natural human feelings:
-To "thank" someone who has helped me, given me something, specially if it were for free, or has done me any favor...
-To "praise" someone who has any of the good attributes. Be it a self-achieved attribute or action, with self choice and intention e.g. a nice painting, good writing or any noble action; or natural, out of his control one e.g. beauty or nice complexion or height etc.
-To "appreciate" & "honor" someone’s nobleness and 'bow' in front of his greatness because of the extraordinary attributes he/she has, like a selfless charity worker, a sports hero, a huge mountain, or...
Now! The Arabic word 'hamd' (حمد) has all the three components combined with in its meaning (although still not to the full extent). It means:
-To "thank"; but not all 'hamd' is thanks, (because it has the other two components too) but, all thanks is 'hamd'.
-To "praise"; but on the intentional and willfull attributes and actions only.
-To "appreciate" or bow and worship, because of the greatness.
And what do we say in the first ayah of Chapter Al-Hamd?...Al Hamdo LiLLAH-e-Rabbil Aalameen.. which means All 'hamd' is for ALLAH (not only "all praise for...' ; this will leave out the two other components). Hamd with all the three feelings and concepts in mind is Only for Allah... And the reason for this exclusivity is clear; There is no one greater than HIM who:
-Has given us more bounties than HIM. 'cause HE brought us to existence, gave us life.... Need anything greater than that?
-Is the source of all beauties and perfections...anybody else who has it is because HE granted it to him.
-Is the greatest and no body greater than who understands HIS greatness naturally bows in worship and humiliation..
Rabbana! Eyyaka Na'bod Wa Eyyaka Nastaeen.

Wanna Love You So Much...!

We, as humans experience in ourselves a strong feeling of love. Every now and then we keep falling in love with this or that. Be it a member of the opposite sex, a game, a sport, a television program or....many many more things. And with so much 'love' around us, we must never feel the longing for another one, or at least not for a big time. But that's not the case. Besides this, our love has another property! We want to love with all our hearts and selves. We want to love that person or thing, with everything we have...But, what do we see? After sometime, we don't find him or it deserving all that we thought.... So! We are back to square one. Our feelings remain unanswered, and... Do you think that way? Have you ever felt that way and have you been through this? In your view, is this true? If yes, what do you think is the reason behind it...??

Right to comment !!

During a few decades that I have lived my life, I have seen a few topics only about which nearly anyone allows himself to pass a comment or seemingly an expert opinion. Right! Politics could be one of them. But then what harm does it make if someone says eg. "China is not a sincere freind of Pakistan....", and he is wrong. Nothing big goes wrong....  But I know of one example the best for this case. Best in the sense that it seems at the top of our list of such oppressed subjects. I am sure many of my freinds will agree with me. And they are right! Its Islam... In my view the most oppressed subject, in the sense that every other person you see, is trying to explain what it really is and most of them without any expertise too. "So what?" one might argue; "after all, its a religion and its for all..."
The thing that really makes the issue sensitive is not only the fact that it is a religion, but the fact that it is a 'Holy Religion'; the one sent down by The Creator. And when one says "Islam is ...." he is actually saying "Allah says....." or "HE meant this..." and this is the place where feet must tremble stepping into the arena, fingers must stop writing the words, and tongues must pause to get the mind and heart together with it.... Specially for one who fears the One and Only.... Because he is attributing something to The Exalted, and this needs surity or something dependable......
Must we think about the Right to Comment...?!!

The Importance of Religious Insight!

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
وَ مَا كاَنَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ كَافَّةً  فَلَوْ لَا نَفَرَ مِن كلُ‏ِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنهُْمْ طَائفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فىِ الدِّينِ وَ لِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحذَرُونَ(التوبه - ۱۲۲

Yet it is not for the faithful to go forth en masse. But why should not there go forth a group from each of their sections to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them, so that they beware? (Transltn: Qara’ei)

صاحبان ایمان کا یہ فرض نہیں ہے کہ وہ سب کے سب جہاد کے لئے نکل پڑیں تو ہر گروہ میں سے ایک جماعت اس کام کے لئے کیوں نہیں نکلتی ہے کہ دین کا علم حاصل کرے اور پھر جب اپنی قوم کی طرف پلٹ کر آئے تو اسے عذاب الٰہی سے ڈرائے کہ شاید وہ اسی طرح ڈرنے لگیں  (ترجمه مولانا مرحوم ذیشان حیدر جوادی صاحب)

This ayah, among many of its messages, reflects upon the importance of seeking knowledge of religion and spreading it so that the Muslim society could make regular progress in their knowledge and practice

۱. الكافي ج : 2 ص : 130
عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الْقَاسَانِيِّ عَمَّنْ ذَكَرَهُ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الْقَاسِمِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ
إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدٍ خَيْراً زَهَّدَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَ فَقَّهَهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَ بَصَّرَهُ عُيُوبَهَا وَ مَنْ أُوتِيَهُنَّ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرَ الدُّنْيَا وَ الْآخِرَةِ وَ قَالَ لَمْ يَطْلُبْ أَحَد....
The idea of this saying from Imam Sاdeq AS in Al Kafi is that:“Whenever Allah wants to benefit one of His servants He; makes him uninterested in this world, gives him deep knowledge and knowhow of the religion , and gives him insight of the weaknesses of this world (dunya); and whoever is blessed with these qualities has been granted the benefits of both; this world and the hereafter….”
أمالي الصدوق 60  المجلس الرابع عشر
َدَّثَنَا الْحُسَيْنُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ هَاشِمٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَيْمُونٍ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ آبَائِهِ ع قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص
مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقاً يَطْلُبُ فِيهِ عِلْماً سَلَكَ اللَّهُ بِهِ طَرِيقاً إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ فَإِنَّ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَتَضَعُ أَجْنِحَتَهَا لِطَالِبِ الْعِلْمِ رِضًى بِهِ وَ إِنَّهُ لَيَسْتَغْفِرُ لِطَالِبِ الْعِلْمِ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ حَتَّى الْحُوتُ فِي الْبَحْرِ وَ فَضْلُ الْعَالِمِ عَلَى الْعَابِدِ كَفَضْلِ الْقَمَرِ عَلَى سَائِرِ النُّجُومِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ وَ إِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ إِنَّ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ لَمْ يُوَرِّثُوا دِينَاراً وَ لَا دِرْهَماً وَ لَكِنْ وَرَّثُوا الْعِلْمَ فَمَنْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ أَخَذَ بِحَظٍّ وَافِر.
The idea of this saying from Imam Sadeq AS narrating a hadith of Rasool Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him and his progeny), in Amali of Sheikh Sadooq, is that:
“One who goes on a path, seeking knowledge in that, Allah takes him to a path towards paradise, surely the angels spread their wings for the seeker of knowledge out of likeness for him. And it’s (a fact) that surely everyone who is in the skies and on the earth, even the fishes of the sea, seek forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge. And the distinction of a knowledgeable person (an ‘alim’) over an ‘abed’ (a worshiper) is like the superiority of the full moon (of the fourteenth night) over rest of the stars. And the knowledgeable persons (the scholars) (ulema) are the heirs of the Prophets (pbut) because the Prophets (pbut) do not leave behind gold and silver coins; they leave behind knowledge; so whoever takes from it, has taken a large share”   

Life....A Bed of Roses!?


"Life is not a bed of roses”

Whoever says, is not true
What I found, was all roses,
When I thought: ‘it’ belongs to You.

Your thought in mind, and love in heart,
I walk miles of thorny ways
With every wound, fall more in love
Feel more your tender ways.

Few thorns, do see in my life
But they too remind of you,
With sharp and piercing heads of theirs,
They precisely point to you

As I walked passed by a few,
On the next turn I found more,  
But know not why this time around,
I felt your presence more.

But I think I know the answer
The ‘roses’ were prettier here
Scented with smiles and eagerness
As they saw the autumn winds near….

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reaching Out...1

بسم الله 
Looking around us and asking: Why do we live in the first place? What ‘are’ we doing here? One gets to some very obvious answers, found all around him… We live to enjoy ourselves; to eat, drink, travel, watch, talk, play… Yeah! We live for this!! But do we achieve enjoyment; the contentment inside?

This is the point where materialistic solutions end, and a Momen looks up to find the answers. “But how will I get to You? I live in a jungle of impurities, and sins. It’s darkness all around me? How will I find the way to You? And even if I do Your enemies, Satan and the most dangerous one, my ‘self’; they won’t let me break these chains and fly to You….”
In today’s world of materialistic labyrinths, it is no doubt difficult to find fresh air of spirituality and holiness to inhale into our souls. And as the days pass by, it becomes more and more difficult ‘cause distractions get closer and closer and a Momen would utter these words. It’s a sign that he is looking for something and is not satisfied with the current state; the current formulae of life, fed by the materialistic cultures do not answer the thirst of his soul…
On the other hand, he is continuously informed about how a real Momen, a believer, should be. And he feels lost! What can he do? How can he fight the urge and attraction, and keep to the right path? “So where are You? Where is Your help?” He asks with tears in his eyes and his palms spread as he begs for a few drops of rain, a new ray of light…
“I am never away!! It’s me who is looking for his creation who is lost in the world. I am close to you, but you have run away from me. If you want help I will. I have already sent down my help, my troops, my signs, my shelters which are available for all those who want to travel towards me…”
وَ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُواْ فِينَا لَنهَدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا (سوره العنکبوت آیه ۶۹)
“And those who strive hard for us, We will most certainly guide them to Our ways”
Therefore, though difficult, but a seeker should never feel disappointed as he has not been ignored and the help is available and one can find it all around himself.
In this series of posts, Insha Allah we will try to discuss some of the things readily and easily available, for those who want to get closer to the only Owner and Manager of this universe… Unlike others, we will try to focus on those subjects that we find in the basic religious sources, and not personal ideas and conceptions… Needless to stress I would certainly welcome any comments, feedback or discussions regarding these topics.

Reaching Out...3-Masjid (Mosque)

باسمه تعالی
It has been narrated that Ali ‘bn Abi Talib (may Allah send Blessings on them) used to say:
“The one, who frequently goes to the Mosque, achieves one of the eight (things):
1.     A brother in [the way of] Allah [i.e. the brotherhood between them is for Holy purposes and aims, and not for futile ones];
2.     Knowledge which is new and fruitful [or one which he did not have before but gets to it…];
3.     A strong and obvious sign [Ayah];
4.     Will listen to a word which will guide him towards the right direction;
5.     An awaited [or an awaiting] blessing [or graciousness];
6.     A word which will keep him from going astray, or;
7.     Will leave a sin due to, either fear;
8.      Or shame.”
(Wasael-ush-Shiah Vol. 5, P. 197; Also narrated, with slight variations, in: Amali-e-Sheikh Sudooq; Amali-e-Sheikh Toosi; Behar-ul-Anwar)

Arabic text:

عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ع قَالَ كَانَ يَقُولُ مَنِ اخْتَلَفَ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ أَصَابَ إِحْدَى الثَّمَانِ أَخاً مُسْتَفَاداً فِي اللَّهِ أَوْ عِلْماً مُسْتَطْرَفاً أَوْ آيَةً مُحْكَمَةً أَوْ يَسْمَعَ كَلِمَةً تَدُلُّهُ عَلَى هُدًى أَوْ رَحْمَةً مُنْتَظَرَةً أَوْ كَلِمَةً تَرُدُّهُ عَنْ رَدًى أَوْ يَتْرُكَ ذَنْباً خَشْيَةً أَوْ حَيَاء
(وسائل الشیعة ج ۵ ص ۱۹۷)