Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Straight Path: Quran and Ahl-ul-Bait

“When I walk ahead in the journey of life, I want to enjoy the true meaning of life and understand it well. I want to lead a life which is successful. Which is meaningful. But do I have enough understanding? Can I claim that I know how should I conduct well?

Allah (SWT) has given me the answer, He has given me the Holy Quran, which if follow I will live life the way He wants. But again the question may arise whether I have enough of intelligence and knowledge to understand whatever is being instructed? How do I know whatever interpretation I do is right or not? Who is going to certify my understanding?”

With these thoughts in my mind, I went everywhere. I met many a learned people. They had their own explanation but they failed to convince me.

This summer vacation in order to have some fun-time, we all had decided to go to a wildlife sanctuary. Little did I know that this trip would be a real eye opener for me. The idea was to spend some quality time amidst nature and it would be a recreation trip for the children as well. During the visit, we hired a guide who could take us around the sanctuary and help us with our trip. This guide had been with the sanctuary for many years and he knew the place inside-out.

His experience and knowledge helped us in seeing the rarest of rare species and wild animals. And the best part was that he could sense their presence even when the animals were almost half a mile away in a bush. I was amazed, as it was difficult for me to see them even through the binoculars and he was guiding me through his naked eyes. I was impressed by his knowledge and understanding. This he could do because of his thorough understanding of the area. He was the ultimate authority of the sanctuary. I realized the importance of a true guide.

I would also like to share my college days experience. I was a physics student and understanding ‘quantum physics’ was really tough for me. The reference books were in English language and my command over the language is fairly good, yet I could not understand the subject well. Understanding of the English language was not enough to understand the book and the book alone was not enough for me to understand the subject. The need was then to have ‘an expert’, who can be my guide. I found a professor who was willing to help me with the subject and following his guidance I could clear my graduation. I thanked the college authorities for appointing him to help me.

The important lesson I learnt from the above examples is that not necessarily a person who has fairly good command over Arabic language can understand Quran well. He can be well versed with Arabic language but he may not have the understanding of “philosophy of Islamic teachings”.

Now I wanted to have a right guide who is an expert on the ‘Islamic teachings”, duly appointed by Almighty Allah (SWT); the Supreme Authority. I desperately started seeking a true guide and Allah (SWT) answered my prayers in the following aayat.

“Yeh wo Kitab hai jis ka Kitab-e-Khuda hone main kuch bhi shak nahin. Yeh Muttaqi ke liye hidayat hai.”

- (Surah-e-Baqra, Aayat 2)

Allah says that Quran will guide you only if you are “Muttaqi” momin. We may think then there has to be some parameter, some measure to be one. I always wanted to be guided and hence I will claim I am a Muttaqi Momin but then there has to be some proof of my claim.

Mawla Ali (AS) has given an answer to this:
“Hum Ahl-ul-bait ke saath “Muttaqi” momin ke alaava koi dosti nahin rakhta aur badbakht munafiq ke alaawa hamse koi dushmani nahin rakhta. – (Ref, Zakhair ul-ukba).

So if we have love for Ahl-ul-bait, we are Muttaqi Momin and when we become Muttaqi Momin, the Quran is our guide and “Rehnuma”. Their love is the measure and a proof of being a Muttaqi Momin.Allah (SWT) has further said to Rasool (SAW):

“Aur Ae Rasool (SAW) kafir log kehte hai ke tum paighambar nahin ho to tum un se kehdo ke mere aur tumhare darmiyan meri risalat ki gawahi ke waste Khuda aur wo shakhs jis ko aasmani kitab ka ilm hai kafi hai.” – (Surah-e-Raad, aayat 43)

The person who has been given “Knowledge” of holy book is definitely Mawla Ali (Ref: Tafseer-e-Suyuti, Vol 4, P 69, Ahteyaj-e-Tabresi, Tafseer-e-Ayashi).

Also we know that Rasool (SAW) has said “Main ilm ka shaher hoon aur Ali uska dawaza hai” (Ref: Tarikh-ul-Khulafa by Jalaluddin Suyuti, Mustadrak by Al-Hakim, Durr-e-Mansur, Ibn-e-Hajar’s Sawaiq-e-Mohriqa, P 122, P 73 older edition)

 Allah (SWT) has made them ‘The experts’ on His religion and given them ‘entire knowledge’ that is why when we love them we get access to their knowledge and we understand Quran and we are rightly guided.

Now let us see what place “Ahl-ul-bait” hold with reference to Almighty Allah (SWT).

The following aayat will help us understand this better:
“Ae Paighambar ki Ahl-ul-bait Khuda to buss yeh chahta hai ke tum ko har tarah ki burai se door rakkhe aur itna paak rakkhe jitna paak rakhne ka haq hai” - (Surah-e-Ahzab, Aayat 33)Most of the commentators have unanimously agreed that this aayat is revealed to showcase the ‘piety’ and purity of Ahl-ul-bait (Ref: Tafseer Dhur Mansoor, Mulla Jalaluddin Suyuti, Vol 5, P 198-199).

It is also referred as “Aayat-e-Tatheer”. And Hadees-e-Kisa is the tafseer of this aayat given by Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari which mentions that it is revealed in honour of Panjetan (A.S).

Allah (SWT) has showcased their piety in many occasions.

• It was ordered by Allah (SWT) to Rasool (SAW) that all the doors of houses which were opening in the courtyard of Masjid-e-Nabwi should be closed except the house of Ali (A.S) & Fatema (A.S). They were allowed to enter the masjid at any time in any given situation. They were always pious to get the entry. (Ref: Major Jarret’s Suyuti’s His., P 175)

We have understood the importance of their love in understanding Quran now let us see their standing vis-à-vis Namaz. Namaz for a muslim is meraj. It is the highest form of prayer which every muslim should offer 5 times a day. It is mandatory to recite Surah-e-Fateha (Surah-e-Hamd) in the beginning of the namaz. If we don’t, we cannot offer the namaz.

In this light let us see the following aayat from the above mentioned Surah:

“Humain siddha raasta dikha, un logo ka raasta jin per tune inaam farmaya…” – (Surah-e-Fateha aayat 4-5)

It has been quoted by famous commentators that the above aayat mentions the path chosen by Ahl-ul-bait. (Ref: Sa’labi writes in his tafseer e tradition from Abu Hureira that “straight path” means the path of Mohammed (SAW) and the children of Mohammed and also confirmed by Waki Ibn-e-Jarrah in his commentary).
Again the namaz is incomplete without offering “durood” on Mohammed wa Aale Mohammed. Let me quote here the famous words of Imam Shafe’i:

“O Ahl-ul-Bait of Allah’s Messenger, your love is a duty imposed upon us in the Holy Quran. It is enough among your great privileges that whoever does not bless you, his prayer is void.” - (Ref: Ibn-e-Hajar’s Sawaiq-e-Mohriqa, P 88, Nabahani’s Sharaf-ul-Mo’abbad; Imam Abu Bakr Shahabuddeen’s Rishfat-us-Saadi)

Namaz the highest form of prayer is incomplete without Surah-e-Fateha and “durood” on Mohammed wa aale Mohammed. Such is their nearness to Allah (SWT) that Zikr-e-Khuda (Namaz) is incomplete without Zikr-e-Ahl-ul-bait (Durood).

Love for Ahl-ul-bait makes us Muttaqi, we understand Quran and our prayers are accepted by Almighty Allah.

Allah (SWT) has made their love mandatory for every muslim in the following aayat:
“Ae Rasool (SAW) tum kehdo ke main apni tableegh-e-risalat ka apne karabatdaron ki mohabbat ke siwa tumse koi sila nahin maangta” – (Surah-e-Shura, aayat – 23)

By consensus of opinions of various writers, commentators, compilers the above-mentioned aayat refers to the Prophet’s own kith and kin and not of the mass of the Prophet’s followers. Here “al qurba” refers to Ali (A.S) & Fatema (A.S) and their children. (Ref: Sa’labi, Suyuti, Baidhavi, Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed ibn Hambal, Allama Zamkhashri Vol 3, P 68).

In the Muslim world there is some difference of opinion, as many of the scholars believe that here karabatdaron (al qurba) means relatives of muslims, but above references and few of the christain scholars who translated Quran say that it is love of relatives of Prophet (pbuh) which Allah (SWT) has indicated in the above aayat. I am mentioning few of the translations:

• George Sale: “Say, ‘I ask not of you, for this my preaching, any reward, except the love of my relations.”
• J.M.Rodwell: “Say, ‘For this I ask no wage of you save the love of my kin”.
• E.H.Palmer: “Say, ‘I do not ask for it a hire-only the love of my kinsfolk.”

With the above reasoning we understand that without the love for Ahl-ul-bait, neither can we understand Quran nor will our namaz be complete. That is why Allah (SWT) has made their love compulsory on us.

Allah (SWT) has definitely bestowed His limitless grace on Ahl-ul-bait. And such is the greatness of Ahl-ul-bait that Allah (SWT) has made them His authority over the Muslim world.

We will understand this in the light of the following aayat : (Surah-e-Nisa, aayat 59)
“O ye who believe! Obey God and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority from among you”

The above aayat was revealed to establish the authority of Mohammed wa aale Mohammed as per the tradition of Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari (Ref: Rowzatul Ahbab page 134-135, Vol II).

Further Rasool (SAW) has said that: “Main tumhare darmiyan do giranqadra cheezein chhode ja raha hun in dono main har ek dusre se barhkar hai: Allah ki kitab aur meri itrat, dekho tum mere baad in ke saath kya sulooq karte ho. Ye dono ek dusre se juda nahin honge yahan tak ke Hauz-e-Kausar per mujhse mulaqat karenge.”
(Ref: Sahih Muslim, part 7, Kitab fada'il al¬ Sahabah [Maktabat wa Matba`at Muhammad `Ali Subayh wa Awladuhu: Cairo] pp. 122-123, Mustadrak, 3:109, al-Muslim, 15:180, Masnad, 4:367)

This is also called ‘Hadees-e-Saqlain’, where saqlain means weighty or heavy things. This tradition was spoken by Rasool (SAW) on four major occasions, such as at Arafat (Tirmizi, 5:328), at Ghadir Khum (Nisai, 96:79), at Prophet's Mosque in Medina (Ibn Atiyyah, 1:34) and in Prophet's chamber during his last illness (Ibn Hajar, p. 89). This showcases the importance of this message in the eyes of Rasool (SAW).

This also establishes “Mohammed wa aale Mohammed” as an authority on the religion. So if Quran is Noor, Mohammed wa aale Mohammed are also Noor. If Quran is ‘flawless’ Mohammed wa aale Mohammed are ‘infallible’. If Quran is ‘ILM” Mohammed wa aale Mohammed are ‘Aalim’ If Quran is holy, Mohammed wa aale Mohammed are ‘pious’ and ‘purest of all’. No other creation of Allah (SWT) is as pious and as great as them.

Quran ‘mentions’, Ahl-ul-bait ‘ delivers’. Quran mentions Jihad and namaz, Imam Husain (A.S) in karbala displayed how should we conduct in Jihad and what is the importance of namaz. Quran mentions “tawakkal” and Mawla Ali displayed that on ‘Shab-e-Hijrat’ by sleeping amidst the enemies on Rasool (SAW)’ bed. Quran ‘instructs’ and orders while Ahl-ul-bait are ‘example’ we need to follow to understand Quran.

So if we read Quran in isolation, we are not “Muttaqi” and hence we fail to understand Quran. Also without love of Ahl-ul-bait our prayers are not accepted. The result is we don’t reach the true-path and we may risk getting astray. But if we follow them we understand Quran, our prayers are accepted and we are always on the straight path which leads to salvation.

Is this the only reward we expect from them? No, not at all. Allah (SWT) has made them our leader and He has placed limitless bounties on us if we love them and do whatever Rasool (SAW) has told us. As per the words of Rasool (SAW) :

“Whoever dies for the love of Aal-e-Mohammed shall be a martyr; and behold, whoever dies for the love of Aal-e-Mohammed shall die as one whose sins have been forgiven.” He has further added that “And behold that whoever die for the love of Aal-e-Mohammed, Allah shall make his grave the visiting place of the Angels of mercy”. (Ref: Zamakhshari in his Tafseer, Imam Sa’labi in Tafseer-e-Kabeer)

Finally I got all the answers to my initial thoughts. I have found the true-path now. I know now how to understand Quran and whom to follow. I pray to my Lord that keep me steadfast on the straight path so that I understand Quran, my prayers are accepted by Thee and I get the certificate of salvation and under the able guidance of Aal-e-Mohammed I am successful. And my life is meaningful. Aamin.


HasanAbbas Seliya said...

Thanks for sharing your experience.
I would like to share something in context to what you have written (maybe it may not be much co-related)
Since last 3-4 years, my way of looking at life has changed completely. I mostly look the purpose and/or intention behind what I mostly do or the entire life. I have understood that the real purpose of life is the life of purpose. I have tried to find the reasons behind what i use to do religiously. Mostly, I have got my answers and that have always strengthened my faith in the Almighty. I believe that every ritual have some logic behind it which is proving to be true to me.

I am a believer in - "Change in the only constant thing." Nowadays, it is been proved almost everywhere. But since last 2 years one event is constantly striking my mind which contradicts the above said. The rituals we perform in Muharram are repetitive since years and years but each year our faith in the sacrifice of Ahl-ul-Bait strengthens. I am not trying to relate these two things or bringing in any contradictions but just sharing that we being human never feel it to be changed and hope to never change it.
I just wanted to share this. I expect your remarks as well as criticism (if any).

Consciousness Explorer said...

Good to have your comments. Thanks. Let me explain you this way. Every morning Sun rises, and every evening Sun sets. There is no change. Why it does not change because it is there to give you light in the day and respite in the night. All these things which Allah has created for human beings for their well being may not change.

Love for Ahl-ul-bait is the path of salvation for momins. So as the Sun never forgets to rise so the momin will never forget to cry and mourn during Moharram. It is universal and would not change. Hope I was clear enough in my explanation. God bless!

HasanAbbas Seliya said...

Thanks for your example for the explanation. I am happy that I shared my views with you. The eg of Sun indicates how there can be more than one beautiful dimensions for a single point.
Thanks again for your explanation.
GOD bless us.

manzurali said...

Thanx Nadeem Sir, I agreed with u, ur explaination is pure & very easy 4 any human mankind.
Allah said in quran, Recite namaz, Put roza, give zakat...etc. I will ask question 2 Allah what is the best prosidure for this Fure-Din, as u not provide any infrmation in quran... ALLAH said I had alreay gave u prophet s.w. And His Ahlebayat. We all learnt hw 2 recite namaz frm prophet s.w., but i never seen that we can learnt prosidure of namaz frm quran, we must reffer ahadis and his sunnat. And Ahlebayat can better explain all ahadis and sunnat. So w got ordered to recite namaz frm Quran but prosidure learnt frm prophet s.w and his ahelebayat.. If any mistake in my thoght pls told me... Thanxs