Thursday, January 27, 2011


After enjoying my favourite songs and music for more than 2 years, recently I gifted the iPod to my children. Initially I was skeptical about my decision, as I felt that this technology based device may be difficult for them to handle and not easy to understand, but my doubts and skepticism proved wrong as within no time of having access to it, they uncovered many things in the iPod, which I could not do for 2 years when it was under my ownership.

While it was with me I perceived it as only a music player. When it moved in their hands it was now more than just a music player with Wi-Fi, games, social networking and chats.

Though less than half of my age and little education compared to mine; they could handle the iPod better than me as they have born in an era which is quite ahead in technology. And in that sense they have inherited the technology.

 The holy Quran is guidance, it is a cure and it is thus a complete book of knowledge. But when we recite it we fail to understand it thoroughly. Our worldly knowledge is not enough to understand the hidden meaning of the book as we are mere followers of the book and not the inheritors.

With this article let us then try to find out the true inheritors of Quran who have been bestowed upon with its complete knowledge.

Let me start with the following ayah from the holy Quran which shows us the way to be guided. It says:

•“Aur jo log uusule din main aqal se kaam nahin lete un hi logon per Khuda kufr ki gundgi daal deta hai.” – (Surah-e-Younus, ayah 100)

“(And He puts doubt in (the minds of) those who do not think.)”

The right approach is to think and contemplate on various religious issues to avoid being misguided. That is what Allah wishes and that is how Quran has informed us. And that is what we intend to do here.

If we ponder upon various ayahs, can we claim that we would always be guided? Let us again refer to the following ayah to understand this:

•“Ae Rasool (SAW) wohi wo Khuda hai jis ne tum per kitab naazil ki uss main ki ba’az aayatein to mohkam hain wahi amal karne ke liye asal buniyaad kitab hai aur kuch aayatein mutshaabe (gol gol jis ke ma’ani main se pehloo nikal sakte hai) pas jin logon ke dil main kaji hai wo unheen aayaton ke peeche pade rahte hai jo mutshaabe hai taake fasaad barpaa karein aur uss khayal se ke unhain apne matlab per dhal lein halaanke Khuda aur un logon ke siwa jo ilm main bade paye per faaiz hai un ka asli matlab koi nahin jaanta wo log yeh bhi kahte hain ke hum uss per imaan laye ye sab mohkam ho ya mutshaabe hamare Parvardigar ki taraf se hai aur aqal wale wahi samajhte hai.” – (Surah-e-Ale Imran, ayah 7)

“(He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding.)”

The above ayah says that Quran has a mix of decisive and allegorical ayahs. The decisive ayahs are easy to understand and if we ponder upon and contemplate we may be able to reach the true meaning; while the allegorical ayahs are difficult to comprehend.

Quran further says in the above ayah that these allegorical ayahs are misused by miscreants to create unrest and propagate violence and thus mislead the Ummah.

Lastly the ayah says that the true meaning of these ayahs is only known by Allah (SWT) and His chosen one who are the true custodians of Allah’s wisdom.

Thus in order to have the better understanding of Quran then, I think we need to do the following things:

•Firstly, we need to contemplate and ponder upon the decisive ayahs and try to reach the true meaning.

•Secondly, since Allah (SWT) is the Most Merciful and Forgiving, His words thus propagate mercy and humanity and hence the interpretations of all allegorical ayahs, if presented to us in a manner that they are against the tenets of mercy and humanity; should be avoided and rejected out rightly. If we do this it would help the cause of Islam and humanity.

•Thirdly, we should strive to identify these custodians of Allah’s wisdom which are being referred in the above ayah.

So who are these custodians of wisdom? Has Quran hinted upon their presence? In this connection, we would see the following ayah:

•“Khuda ne jo apne fazal se tum logon ko Quran ataa farmaya hai uske rashk per jale jaate hai to uska kya ilaaj hai, Hum ne to Ibrahim (A. S) ki aulad ko kitab aur aqal ki baatein ataa farmayee hai aur un ko bahot badi sultanate bhi di.” – (Surah-e-Nisa, ayah 54)

“(Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrahim's children the Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom)”

As per the above ayah, these custodians of the holy Quran and Allah’s wisdom are from the descendants of Ibrahim (A.S) and they have been given a grand kingdom by the Almighty Allah. They are the inheritors of Quran while rest of the Ummah is the follower of the book.

Let us see one more ayah before we reach any conclusion:

“Balke wo khuli aayatein un logon ke sinon main maujood hain jin ko ilm diya gaya hai aur siwaye zaalim logon ke Hamari aayaton ka inkaar koi bhi nahin karta.” – (Surah-e-Anqaboot, ayah 49)

“(In fact they are clear verses in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge; and none deny Our verses except the unjust.)”

When we relate the above two ayahs, we can understand that these custodians of knowledge are from the lineage of Ibrahim (A.S) having the verses of Quran in their hearts. It is their bosoms which are Allah’s safe to protect and secure the verses of Quran. Thus they are the protectors Quran and provide safety to Allah’s wisdom.

In this connection let us see few more ayahs:

“Ae Rasool (SAW)) kya Hum ne tumhara sina (ilm se) kushada nahin kardiya? Zaroor kiya – Aur Hum ne tum per se wo bojh utaar diya jis ne tumhari kamar tod rakkhi thi – Aur tumhara zikr bhi buland kar diya” – (Surah-e-Ash-Sharh, ayah 1-2-3-4)

“(Did We not widen your bosom? And relieve you of the burden – Which had broken your back? And We have exalted your remembrance for you.)”

The holy Quran was revealed in the form of ‘wahi’ to the holy prophet (SAW). And as per the ayah it first found the bosom of our beloved prophet (SAW) to get itself stored. Again as per our above discussed inference the verses of Quran then moved to other custodians of knowledge from the lineage of Ibrahim (A.S).

The Quran which is owned by the Ummah is the copy of original Quran which was revealed to our holy prophet (pbuh). Everyone one of us gives utmost respect to this copy, we kiss it and keep it at the place which is duly purified so that Quran can be kept there. The cloth which is used to wrap the copy of Quran is also purified. The copy of the Quran which we own is printed in some ordinary press on papers made by people like us. Still because of the ayahs the papers become sacred and we don’t dare to show any kind of disrespect to these papers.

Two things need to be understood here from. First of all if we take so much care to purify the place where the copy of Quran needs to be kept; Allah (SWT) must have ensured that the original Quran must be revealed on the purest of bosoms, which is devoid of any kind of sin and filth. And when did Allah (SWT) purify it? When we look back at the birth of Adam (A.S) we find that he was created as a Khalifa of Allah (SWT), he did not require any prayers to reach to that position and years of prayers of angels were no match for him and they were asked to bow down to him and accept his supremacy.

Thus it means that all the prophets and the people who are chosen by Allah (SWT) are created at a different level from normal human beings. They are purified from their birth and they don’t require worldly matters to attain supremacy. This applies to our prophet (pbuh) as well since he was the leader of all prophets.

The second point is, when the man-made paper on which the ayahs are printed becomes so pious and pure, what happens to belongings of those who had the Quran in their bosoms? Would not the association of these things to their owners make them pure and worthy of respect as the paper on which ayahs are printed?

And Quran does support our claim in the following ayah from Surah-e-Yusuf:

•“Yeh mera kurta le jaao aur usko abbajaan ke chehre per daal dena ke woh phir beena ho jaaenge (dekhne lagenge) aur tum apne sab ladke baalon ko lekar mere paas chale aao.” – (Surah-e-Yusuf, ayah 93)

“(Take this my shirt and cast it on my father's face, he will (again) be able to see, and come to me with all your families.)”

It is because of the association of the shirt with Yusuf (A.S) that it gained the power of healing. When it was casted on the face of Yaqub (A.S) he regained his lost eye-sight.

During Meraj when the Prophet (pbuh) reached Sidrat-ul-Muntaha, Jibraeel (A.S) who was accompanying him till this point showed his inability to go ahead any further. He told the Prophet (pbuh) that if he took even a step forward he would burn. An angel of the stature of Jibraeel (A.S) could not go beyond a certain point, while Rasool (SAW) then went ahead on his own. It is also a well-known fact that he was wearing his sandals during Meraj. It is because of the association of the sandals with the feet of Rasool (SAW), they went ahead in Meraj to the point where even Jibraeel could not go without getting burnt.

During Jihad-e-Karbala, after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S) while his beheaded body lay on the battlefield; the head chanted verses of the Holy Quran even as it was raised over arrows and marched across Damascus. It proves that he was amongst the chosen inheritors of the Quran with clear ayahs in his bosom and death could not separate the Quran from the Imam.

It was on the sands of Karbala that the blood of Imam Hussain (A.S) was shed; it is because of this association that the status of this sand got raised from Khak to Khak-e-Shifa.

For these reasons and many more Rasool (SAW) has said:

•"I am from Hussain and Hussain is from me" (Ref: Sahih Tirmizi, vol 6, P 307, Kanzul Ammal, vol 4, P 221, Masnad Ahmed, vol 4 P 972)

With the above mentioned inferences, It is proved that Mohammed wa Aale Mohammed are the chosen slaves of Allah (SWT) upon whom He bestowed His Knowledge and Grace. Let us now try to find out what are His instructions in understanding “Allegorical” ayahs which are difficult to understand by a common Muslim?

Thus Allah (SWT) instructs us in the following manner:

•“To agar tum log khud nahin jaante ho to ahl-e-zikr se pooch kar dekho.” – (Surah-e-Anbiya, ayah 7)

(Ask the rememberancers (ahl-e-zikr), if you do not know)”

The above ayah says that if we don’t understand certain matters we need to ask Ahl-e-Zikr.

And Imam Sa’labi reports from the authority of Jabir Ibn-e-Abdullah Ansari in his Tafseer that when this ayah was revealed, Mawla Ali (A.S) said, “We are the rememberancers (ahl-e-zikr)”.

Further Mawla Ali (A.S) in one of his sermons in Nahj-ul-balagha says:

•“They (the opposers) have entered the oceans of disturbance and have taken to innovations instead of the Sunnah (the Prophet's holy deeds, utterances and his unspoken approvals), while the believers have sunk down, and the misguided and the liars are speaking. We are the near ones, companions, treasure holders and doors (to the Sunnah). Houses are not entered save through their doors. Whoever enters them from other than the door is called a thief.

The delicacies of the Qur'an are about them (Ahlu'l-bayt, the descendants of the Prophet) and they are the treasurers of Allah. When they speak they speak the truth, but when they keep quiet no one can speak unless they speak” (Ref: Sermon 153, Nah-jul-balagha)

Our inferences till now stand vindicated by the above ayah and Mawla Ali (A.S)’sermon that Mohammed wa Aale Mohammed (SAW) (Ahl-ul-bait) are the true treasurers of Allah (SWT) and Ahl-e-Zikr upon whom Allah has bestowed His knowledge and grace. They are the doors to the Sunnah. Hence the prophet (pbuh) emphasized on following them to follow his Sunnah with perfection.

Uptill now we have applied our understanding and in the light of various ayahs we have reached the conclusion that the Ahl-ul-bait are the chosen guardian of Allah’s treasures and wisdom and they are purified ones. Let us now see the specific ayah which further confirms our conclusion.

•“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, Ayah 33)

(“Verily, Verily Allah intendeth but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanliness, O ye people of the House, and purify you with a thorough purification.”)

Most of the commentators have unanimously agreed that this ayah is revealed to showcase the ‘piety’ and purity of Ahl-ul-bait (Ref: Tafseer Dhur Mansoor, Mulla Jalaluddin Suyuti, Vol 5, P 198-199).

We may often feel that why so much to them? Why nobody else and only they who are purified? In order to understand this let us take an example. A physician advices people in matters of health and lawyers would give advice regarding legal matters. Now imagine if a physician is corrupt and his reputation is really bad, people may not like to visit him for health tips and may not consult him. They may fear that his advice may harm them. Similarly in case of a lawyer too.

When we appoint somebody for the accomplishment of an important task we appoint the most trusted of our people to execute. Ahl-ul-bait of Rasool (SAW) were custodians of Allah (SWT)’s knowledge and treasures. It is through them that Allah (SWT) has spread His knowledge. Thus it was mandatory on Allah (SWT) to make them pure and keep away from them any kind of uncleanliness.

Now let us take a slightly different approach in understanding the above-mentioned inference. For this we would see the following ayahs from Surah-e-Kahf. It is a conversation between Musa (A.S) and Khizr (A.S):

•“To jahan machhli chhodi thi dono ne Humare bandon main se ek khaas bande (Khizr) ko paya jisko Humne apni bargaah se Rehmat (Wilayat) ka hissa ataa kiya tha aur Hum ne use Ilm-e-Ladunni apne khaas ilm main se kuch sikhaya tha – Musa (A.S) ne un se (Khizr se) kaha kya aapki ijaazat hai ke main iss gharz se aap ke saath saath rahoon ke jo rahnumai ka ilm aapko Khuda ki taraf se sikhaya gaya hai uss mein se kuch mujhe bhi sikha deejye. Khizr ne kaha main sikha to doon magar aap se mere saath sabr na hoga” – (Surah-e-Kahf, ayah 65-66-67)

“(So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge (ilm-e-Ladunni) from Our own Presence. Moses said to him: "May I follow thee, on the footing that thou teach me something of the (Higher) Truth which thou hast been taught?" (The other) said: "Verily thou wilt not be able to have patience with me!")”

The above ayah talks about the incident of Musa (A.S)’s meeting with Khizr (A.S). We know that after the meeting he started following Khizr (A.S) and on 3 different occasions he could not hold himself and thus could not keep the promise made to Khizr (A.S) and had to depart ways there from.

When we reflect on the above ayah, we find that Khizr (A. S) was bestowed upon with a little part of ilm-e-Ladunni and some part of Allah’s Mercy. This guided him and gave him the vision to see what was going to happen. He could envisage the future. Musa (A.S) was not part of this knowledge and hence could not foresee what was going to happen and became impatient.

Let us now take one more ayah and reflect on it in the light of above ayahs:

•“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 waaste Khuda aur wo shakhs jis ke paas aasmani kitab ka ilm hai kaafi hai.” – (Surah-e-Ra’ad, ayah 43)

(“Yet those who are disbelievers say: "You are not the apostle sent (by God)." Tell them: "God is sufficient as witness between me and you, and he who has knowledge of the Book."”)

Two important results can be derived from the above ayah. There is a witness for Rasool (SAW)’s apostleship who is the most trusted by the Almighty Allah as Allah (SWT) has appointed him as a witness and the other result is that this witness has been bestowed upon with the entire knowledge of the holy book.

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). Thus Mawla Ali (A.S) is the trusted witness to Rasool (SAW)’s apostleship who is bestowed upon the entire knowledge of the holy book.

From the ayahs of Surah-e-Kahf we found out that Khizr (A.S) was bestowed upon a part of Allah’s mercy and part of ilm-e-Ladunni and this guided him to right decisions. And this knowledge gave him vision to foresee the future.

Our holy prophet (pbuh) is mercy to the worlds and Mawla Ali (A.S) has been given the entire knowledge then imagine what would have been their conduct? What would be the level of their vision? Can’t we say that they could foresee what was going to happen then and act accordingly? Would not each step they took be well guided and on the right path?

Getting back to the example of the physician and the lawyer, let us again try to understand the above mentioned point. A good physician has the knowledge related to health; hence he would not take a step which is unhealthy. His every move would be for the betterment of his health. A lawyer has knowledge related to legal aspects and hence he would not take a step which is illegal.

Mawla Ali (A.S) had the knowledge of Allah’s book. Hence his every step would be as per the book and Allah’s wish. This knowledge gave him the vision and guidance to follow Allah’s Will. This also explains why Allah talks about the piety of Ahl-ul-bait in Surah-e-Ahzab, ayah 33.

So if we wish to know Allah’s Will, we need to look at the lives of Ahl-ul-bait. We by ourselves may fail to understand Quran completely but we can always refer to their lives and teachings to understand it.

Quran further confirms in the below-mentioned ayah:

•“Phir Hum ne apne bandon main se khaas un ko Quran ka waris banaya jinhain (ahl samjhkar) muntakhab kiya kyonke bandon main se kuch to nafarmaani karke apni jaan par sitam dhaate hai aur kuch unmain se neki badi ke darmiyan hai aur un main se kuch log Khuda ke ikhtiyar se nekiyon main auron se goya sabqat legaye hai, yehi intikhaab-o-sabqat to Khuda ka bada fazal hai.” – (Surah-e-Fatir, ayah 32)

“(Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our Servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace)”

The prophet (pbuh) has said this for Mawla Ali:

•“The Holy Quran has outward and inward meanings and Ali Ibne Abi Talib has the knowledge of both. (Ref: Hilyatul Awaliya, Abu Nu’aym, vol 1 P 65)

And Mawla Ali (A.S) says in his sermon in Nah-jul-balagha that:

•By Allah, I have knowledge of the conveyance of messages, fulfillment of promises and of entire expressions. We the people of the house (of the Prophet - Ahlu'l-bayt) possess the doors of wisdom and light of governance. Beware that the paths of religion are one and its highways are straight. He who follows them achieves (the aim) and secures (the objective). And he who stood away from it went astray and incurred repentance. (Ref: Sermon 119, Nah jul Balagha)

Mawla Ali (A.S) and rest of the 11 Imams are the inheritors of Allah’s book. We are the followers of the book and hence when we read the book we fail to understand certain ayahs which are allegorical, while Quran in their hands is entire knowledge. It reveals itself to them.

Whenever we see the land around us we find that it is being owned by one person or the other. And if it is unclaimed it is eventually owned by the government. It means that there is always somebody to take care of the land. Allah (SWT) created this earth and it has also appointed inheritors of this earth to take care of it. So let us try to find them.

In the following ayah Allah (SWT) says:
•“Aur be-shak Zaboor main Hum ne ba’d nasihat ke yeh likh diya tha ke (aakhir main) Mere naik bande zameen ke waaris ho jaaenge” – (Surah-e-Anbiya, ayah 105)

“(Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth."

In the Holy Scriptures prior to Quran, Allah did inform the world that at the end His righteous servants shall inherit the earth. It means that the earth would be ruled by those obedient and chosen servants of Allah.

There is similar reference even in Bible. As the Bible says:

•“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” (Ref: Genesis 17:20, The Bible, New International Version, NIV)

As per the above mentioned Genesis of Bible, Allah (SWT) promises Ibrahim (A.S) that there would be 12 rulers from the lineage of Ismail (A.S) and He would make them into a great nation.

Thus even in today’s edition of Bible there is a mention of 12 Imams from the lineage of Ismail (A.S) who would be rulers. They are the inheritors of this earth. And that must be the reason that Rasool (SAW) often referred Mawla Ali (A.S) as ‘Abu Turab’.

Again Mawla Ali (A.S) says in Nahjulbalagha that:

•“Where are those who falsely and unjustly claimed that they are deeply versed in knowledge, as against us, although Allah raised us in position and kept them down, bestowed upon us knowledge but deprived them, and entered us (in the fortress of knowledge) but kept them out. With us guidance is to be sought and blindness (of misguidance) is to be changed into brightness. Surely Imams (divine leaders) will be from the Quraysh. They have been planted in this line through Hashim. It would not suit others nor would others be suitable as heads of affairs.” – (Ref: Sermon 143, Nahjul balagha)

The 12 Imams from Bani Hashim are the light of guidance and also the inheritor of this earth. The way Quran would reveal itself, even this earth would reveal its best form during the reign of 12th Imam when he comes out of occultation.

That is why during his lifetime the prophet (pbuh) on various occasions emphasized on the importance of understanding Quran through the guidance of Ahl-ul-bait. He had said in Hadith-e-Saqlain that:

•““I will soon be called away and will have to depart from you, but I leave amongst you two weighty things; the book of the High and Mighty Allah and my progeny. The Book of Allah is like a rope which extends from the heavens to the earth, and my progeny are the people of my house (Ahl-ul-bait). The Subtle and Aware (Allah) tells me that the two shall never part from each other until they come to me at the Pool. So, take care how you treat them after me.” (Ref: Musnad, Ahmed Ibn-e-Hambal, Part 3, P 26, Kanz-ul-Ummal, Part 1, P 47, Tirmizi, 5:328, Nisai 96:79, Ibn Atiyyah 1:34, Ibn-e-Hajar P 89)

The holy prophet (pbuh) has said that Quran and Ahl-ul-bait would never be separated and hence if we wish to be guided by Quran we need to follow Ahl-ul-bait.

So let me conclude with this couplet of Urdu shayri from Bedum Warsi:

“ ‘Bedum’ yahi to Paanch hai Maqsood-e-Kaenat,
Kherunnisa (A.S), Hussain o Hasan (A.S), Mustufa (SAW), Ali (A.S)”

And pray to Allah that “O our Lord! This is our humble effort in Your path to reach You. Accept it and guide us through Quran and Your chosen inheritors of the book and make us steadfast on the right path. Keep us away from things which You dislike the most and give us strength to follow whatever You wish so that we can make this world a better place. Bless us with success in this world and hereafter.” Aamin

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