Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Khairul Amal

Iblees used to dwell among the angels before he became Satan. He was a believer of Allah (SWT) and worshipped Him. But all his previous prayers became null and void when he refused to bow down in prostration to Aadam (as).
How many times prior to this incident as a believer must he have prostrated to the Greatness of Allah (SWT), hence one is forced to wonder why just one refusal to prostrate to Aadam (as) should have him pay so highly that all his previous prayers and prostrations became null and he was rejected as a disbeliever. .
The only reasoning that can explain this is that the above mentioned prostration was of such extreme importance to Allah (SWT) that Iblees was stripped of all the reward of his labor of worship by Him(SWT) when he refused to do so.
è Here, under the light of various ayahs of Quran, let us try to find out the reason behind the importance & significance of the prostration to Aadam (as), the incident which has been repeatedly mentioned in Quran at various occasions.  
Firstly, let us start by trying to understand ‘namaz’ – the highest form of prayer to the Almighty Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) in Surah Adh Dhariyat, ayah 56 says that jinn and the men were created to worship Him. But then, in Surah-e-Ma’un, ayah 4-7, Allah (SWT) loathes those who pray only to show-off. Thus it is essential for us to find the right form of namaz such that it is accepted and appreciated by Allah (SWT).
The namaz begins with recitation of Surah-e-Fateha. The 6th & 7th ayahs of this Surah says:

·       “Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Favour...” – (Surah-e-Fateha Ayah 6-7)

Namaz starts with the supplication to Allah (SWT) through Surah-e-Fateha where we ask Him to show us the straight path taken by His servants on whom He (SWT) had bestowed His limitless favours. These Chosen people of Allah (SWT) are the best examples for us to follow to remain guided.

The following ayah from Surah-e-Maida was revealed at Ghadir-e-Khum:

·      This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Surah-e-Maida, ayah 3)

Hazrat Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri has narrated that this ayah descended upon the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) on the day of Ghadir-e-Khum when he (pbuh&hp) declared that Ali (as) too was the leader of whomever he (pbuh&hp) was leader. Abu Hurairah has also narrated it and further said that it was revealed on 18th of the month of Dhul Hajj when the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) returned from Hajj al Widah (the last pilgrimage). (Ref: Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Vol 2, P 14, Egypt, Tafseer Durr e Mansoor, Vol 2, P 259, Egypt).
Allah (SWT) completed His Favour upon us with the announcement of the leadership of Imam Ali (as). Thus the guardianship or Wilaya of Imam Ali (as) and rest of the Imams completes Allah’s (SWT) Favour upon us. In Surah-e-Fateha we supplicate to Allah (SWT) to show us the straight path taken by His chosen people on whom He has bestowed His favours and the above ayah of Surah-e-Maida shows us that the Imams from the household of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) are those who complete Allah’s (SWT) Favour. Hence the Imams (as) are our guides, who are to be followed, to remain on the straight path.
We end our namaz by invoking durood and salutations upon the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) and his progeny. This is to acknowledge their guardianship above us and their nearness to the Almighty Allah (SWT).
è Thus we can infer from the above that the namaz is all the action between the supplication to remain guided on the straight path taken by the Ahlulbait (as) at the beginning and invoking durood and salutations on the Ahlulbait (as) at the end. Understanding their rightful position vis-à-vis Allah (SWT) is what takes our namaz to a level where it becomes worthy of getting accepted and appreciated by Him (SWT). Imam Shafi (ra) has endorsed this inference in the following manner :

“O Ahlulbait (as) of the Prophet of Allah (SWT)! Love for you has been made obligatory for us by Allah (SWT), as revealed in the Holy Qur’an. It is sufficient for your dignity that if one does not send salutations to you in the ritual prayers, his prayers will not be accepted.”
è Quran is a book of guidance and Ahlulbait (as) are our guides and leaders. Hence Quran has documented their deeds and efforts to inspire and guide us so let us try to contemplate on them. We will see the following verses of Surah-e-Dahr:

·               They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide. And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.” - (Surah-e-Dahr (Insaan), ayah 7-8-9)

The above mentioned selfless act of charity is an example of how to conduct ourselves while we offer charity to the needy people.

Zamakhshari has quoted Ibn-e-Abbas in his book Al-Kashaf that these verses were revealed highlighting the charity given by Maula Ali (as), Bibi Fatema (as), Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Husain (as). Once when Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Husain (as) were ill, the Prophet (pbuh&hp) along-with his companions visited them and suggested to Maula Ali (as) to make a vow to Allah (SWT). Therefore, Imam Ali (as) together with Bibi Fatima (as) and their servant Fedhdhah vowed to Allah (SWT) that they would fast for three days if He (SWT) would relieve Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Husain (as).

So when Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Husain (as) got cured they all fasted. On the first day a needy man approached during the time of breaking the fast. The holy family gave away whatever they had to him and spent the night with nothing to eat except water. They fasted the second day, and at sunset, as they laid their food, an orphan asked for help and they again preferred him over themselves. On the third evening a captive (prisoner of war) asked for help and they repeated their preference for the needy above themselves.

è Ahlulbait (as) have shown us the correct way of offering a charity. It is one thing to donate something which you have in abundance but altogether another when you give away something which you need to others, by giving them preference above yourself. This act has so much been appreciated by Allah (SWT) that He (SWT) has documented it in the form of His verses in the holy Quran.

Let us move to the following verse from Surah-e-Baqra now. It says:

·               “And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants.” - (Surah-e- Baqra, ayah 207)

Imam Ghizali in his Tareekhe Khamees writes that the above ayah of Surah-e-Baqra was revealed mentioning the sacrifice of Maula Ali (as) who slept in place of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) on his bed to save the Prophet’s (pbuh&hp) life from the enemies on the dreadful night of Hijrat.

In Mustadrak by Imam Hakim, Volume 3 Page 4, it is related from Ibn-e-Abbas, “Lo!” Ali (as) was the man who sold his soul; the incident of his wrapping himself in the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh&hp) cloak on the fateful night of the flight to Medina is not unknown.”

On the same page of the same book, Imam Hakim related from Imam Zain-ul-Abedeen (as), “The first man in Islam who sold his soul to attain the pleasure of Allah was Ali (as), when he slept on Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp)’s bed on the night of his escape from Mecca.”

è As an appreciation and acknowledgement to Imam Ali’s (as) commitment to save the life of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) by offering his own life, Allah (SWT) rewarded Imam Ali (as) with His Pleasure.  And He (SWT) documented it in the form of ayah in Quran for us to get inspired.

In Surah-e-Maeda, ayah 55, Allah (SWT) says:

·               “(Verily your leader is only Allah and His messenger and those who believe; those who establish worship and pay the poor-rate while they bow down in prayer.)” -  (Surah-e-Maeda, Ayah 55)
There are various references available of prominent Islamic commentators who are unanimous in their opinion that the above ayah refers to Maula Ali (as) when he gave his ring to a beggar while bowing down in the ‘ruku’. (Ref: Imam Nasai in Saheeh-e-Nasai, Aljam’a Bain-ul-Sihah-ul-Sittah, Sa’labi)

Tradition from Hazrat Abu Dharr al Ghaffari says that one day as he was praying with the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) a beggar approached them in the mosque. No one responded to his pleas. The beggar then raised his hands towards the heavens and said, “Allah! Be a witness that I came to Thy Prophet's mosque and no one gave me anything". At that time Maula Ali (as) was bent in Ruku, he pointed his little finger, which had a ring on it, towards the beggar who came forward and took the ring. The holy Prophet (pbuh) raised his hands towards heaven and prayed then in following words:

"O Lord! my brother Moses had begged of Thee to open his breast and to make his work easy for him, to loose the knot of his tongue so that people might understand him, and to appoint from among his relations his brother, as his successor, and to strengthen his back with Aaron and to make Aaron his partner in his work. O Allah! Thou said to Moses, 'We will strengthen thy arm with thy brother. No one will now have an access to either of you!' O Allah! I am Muhammad and Thou hast given me distinction. Open my breast for me, make my work easy for me, and from my family appoint my brother Ali as my vizier. Strengthen my back with him".

It is mentioned in the tradition that even before the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) could finish his prayers the above mentioned ayah was revealed by Gabriel (as).

This act of paying the poor-rate while in ‘ruku’ became an important part of the ayah of the holy Quran and it inspires us to remember the poor in whichever condition we are.

è Thus we might infer that in namaz when we pray by reciting Surah-e-Fateha to remain guided on the straight path taken by the Ahlulbait (as)  we actually pray to Allah (SWT):
·               To guide us to move on the selfless and charitable path of immaculate Panjetan (as) as mentioned in the ayah from Surah-e-Dahr.

·               To guide us so that we may be ready to offer ourselves in sacrifice for the cause of Allah (SWT) and the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) as shown by Maula Ali (as) on the night of Hijrat.

·               To guide us that we may always be ready to help the poor and the needy in whichever condition we may be, the way Maula Ali (as) paid the poor-rate while he was in ‘ruku’.

Thus namaz starts with a supplication wherein we ask Allah (SWT) to make us compassionate, kind, generous, charitable and overall a good human being as shown by the Ahlulbait (as). If someone offers his ritual of namaz regularly but does not care to imbibe the above values and instead becomes arrogant of his prayers he is liable to lose everything and he is likely to face a fate similar to that of Satan’s.
è The virtuous Ahlulbait (as) led a life as per Allah’s (SWT) Will. Becoming their follower leads us to the path of guidance laid down by Allah (SWT). Hence their Wilaya is an important aspect of our faith; and without accepting them as our guardians and leaders our prayers aren’t accepted by Allah (SWT). In order to further contemplate on this point let us once again look at the incident of Satan refusing to bow down to Aadam (as).
·               Remember, when We asked the angels to bow in homage to Adam, they all bowed but Iblees, who disdained and turned insolent, and so became a disbeliever.” – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 34)
When Allah (SWT) created Aadam (as) – the first human being, He (SWT) placed spirits of Panjetan Paak (as) in him. This event has been narrated by Imam Hasan Askari (as) in his Tafseer in the following way:

"When Allah Almighty created Aadam, he taught him the names of everything and presented them to the angels. He placed the five spirits (Panjetan Pak) of Mohammad, Ali, Fatima, Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein (pbut) in Aadam. Their lights brightened the horizons of the skies, Al-Hojob, the heavens, the Chair and the Throne.

Allah Almighty ordered the angels to prostrate to Aadam in order to glorify him because he has been chosen to be the holder of these spirits whose lights had spread throughout the horizons. Thus, they all prostrated except Iblees (the Devil) who refused to be humbled to the glory of Allah's Greatness and to our (Ahl-ul-bait)’s lights. All the angels were humbled to them (the lights), yet he stood with arrogance and refused to do so and because of his rejection and arrogance, he was one of the disbelievers.”

– (Ref: Tafsir Al-Imam Al-Askari p.219, Bihar Al-Anwar vol.26 p.326, Ta'weel Al-Ayat al-Zahira vol.1 p.44, Qasas Al-Anbiaa p.43 Lisan al-Mizan v. 3, p. 346 )

From the above excerpt of the Tafseer of Imam Hasan Askari (as) it is evident that Iblees became Satan because he disobeyed Allah’s (SWT) Command of accepting the superiority of Panjetan Paak (as) above him. All his previous prayers and efforts became null and void because he didn’t accept the ‘Wilaya’ of Ahlulbait (as) and considered himself equal to or better than them. It is also clear from the above incident that Satan never doubted Allah’s (SWT) Supreme Power and Authority and remained a believer of Allah’s (SWT) Rabbuwiyat as even after his rejection he prayed to Allah (SWT) to empower him to misguide the human race.

è Thus we can infer from the above contemplation that the faith in the ‘Wilaya’ of the Ahlulbait (as) along-with the faith in the Lordship of the Almighty Allah (SWT) are the two essentials for us to be a true believer. Ignoring either of them can lead us astray from the right path.

Up till now in the light of Quranic verses and authentic references, we have established the importance of ‘Wilaya’ of the Ahlulbait (as) with respect to our faith and prayers. Now let us see those ayahs which directly assert the above point. In the following ayahs of Surah-e-Naml, Quran says:

·               Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on the day. And whoever brings evil, these shall be thrown down on their faces into the fire; shall you be rewarded (for) aught except what you did? – (Surah-e-Naml, ayah 89-90)

It is narrated from the authority of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) that Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) said that Imam Ali (as) in the tafseer of this ayah has mentioned that the good deed is marefat (recognition) of the wilayah of Ahlulbait (as) and love for them. He further said that the evil deed is denying the wilayah of Ahlulbait (as) and hatred and envy towards them. He then recited the above mentioned ayah. (Ref: Tafseer e Safi, page no. 35, Tafseer e Qummi)

A similar hadith of Imam Ali (as) is mentioned in Yanabe-ul-Mawaddah according to that Imam Ali (as) said “I will inform you regarding a good deed. If one does this, Allah (SWT) will make him enter Jannah. I will inform you regarding an evil deed. If one does this, Allah (SWT) will throw him into the fires of Hell and no good deed will be accepted if one performs this evil deed.” Then the Imam (as) said “That good deed is Our Love. That evil deed is being envious of Us.”(Ref: Yanabe-ul-Mawaddah, P 161)
There is a hadith of our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp) from the authority of Maula Ali (as), as per this hadith, the Prophet (pbuh&hp) has said:
 “Beware – my brother, my friend my vizier, my Safi (the chosen one), my caliph after me and after me the guardian of every Momin and Momina is Ali ibn Abi Talib (as). When Ali (as) will pass away then my son Hasan (as) will be after him, and when he passes away, after him will be my son Hussain (as). After that there will be nine Imams who will be descendants of Hussain (as). These will all be guides and will be guided. These all will be with the truth and truth will be with them. They all will not separate from it and till the Day of Judgement it will not separate from them. 

These all are those through whom the earth is established, these all are the ones through whom earth is at peace. These are the ones who are Allah's (SWT) strong rope, Allah's (SWT) strong cord, which is not breakable and these are all Allah's (SWT) Hujjat (authority) on His earth and are His Witnesses on His creatures and are the Treasures of His Knowledge and are the mines of His Wisdom. And they are like the boat of Noah (as). Whoever sails in the boat will be saved and whoever leaves the boat will be drowned and these are all like the door of Hitta of Bani Israel. Whoever entered it is the one with Imaan and whoever stayed out is Kafir. Allah(SWT) in His Book has made their obedience compulsory and has commanded their Wilayat. Whoever obeys them has obeyed Allah (SWT) and whoever disobeys them has disobeyed Allah  (SWT)

(Ref: Kitaab-e-Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilaali, Hadees 21)
In the beginning of this article we had mentioned the ayah 56 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat: 
·               “And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should worship Me”.
We all have been created only to worship Allah (SWT). But our worship is incomplete or futile if we don’t worship Allah (SWT) the way He (SWT) wants. On this Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) has said that:    
  • “Only those who know Allah (SWT) worship Him. Those who do not know Allah (SWT) they worship Him just like those in misguidance.” One of his companions asked may Allah (SWT) take my soul in service for your cause, what does “know Allah (SWT) mean?” The Imam (as) said : “To know Allah (SWT) means to acknowledge the existence of Allah, the      Most Holy,  the Most High, to acknowledge His Messenger (pbuh&hp) and to love Imam Ali (as). Of such knowledge is to follow him and the Imams of guidance and to condemn their enemies. This is what it means to “know Allah”. “ – (Ref: Al Kafi, Chapter 7, hadith 446)

Imam Zaibul Abedeen (as) in the tafseer for the above ayah of Surah Adh Dhariyat, says: 
“In this ayah, the meaning of worship is gaining the Marefat (Recognition) of Imam(Ref: Tafseer e Furat). 
In his famous Sermon – Marefate Nooraniyat, Imam Ali (as) mentioned about the importance of his Wilayah vis-à-vis Allah (SWT) and His (SWT) Tauheed:
 O’Salman! O’Jondab! Verily Recognizing Me as Noor is the recognition of Allah. My Recognition is Allah’s Recognition. Recognition of Allah is Recognition of Me. This is the true religion. Allah did not place upon mankind any order other than to accept Tauheed of Allah (98:5) (Oneness of Allah). Testifying to the prophet hood of Holy Prophet is the true religion. Whenever Allah orders to “establish prayer” it refers to the belief in My Wilayat. One who pledges his allegiance and submits himself completely unto Me has truly established “salat” (prayer).” - (Ref: Sermon : Marefate Nooraniyat Ref: Bihar ul Anwar, Vol 26, Pg. 1) 
è Iblees became Satan, as he failed to recognize ‘Wilayah’ of Ahlulbait (as). His past prayers were rendered futile since he did not acknowledge the importance of ‘Wilayah’ of Ahlulbait (as) along with ‘Tauheed’ of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) gave him along with others a chance to understand this by placing the spirits of Panjetan Paak (as) in Aadam (as) and asking him to bow down in ‘sajda’ to Aadam (as) but unfortunately for him, he refused in arrogance and thus fell from the grace and lost everything. 
Let us then pray to Allah (SWT) that may we all remain guided on the straight path shown to us by the Ahlulbait (as) and offer our prayers to Allah (SWT) regularly by acknowledging the importance of Wilayah of Ahlulbait (as) so that our prayers become worthy of His (SWT) acceptance and appreciation. Aamin