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Tawhīd of Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq: Lecture of Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Vahid Khorasani 1429 A.H.

Tawhīd of Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq: Lecture of Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Vahid Khorasani 1429 A.H.

Tawhīd of Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq

 

Lecture of Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Vahid Khorasani Commemorating the Martyrdom of Imam al-Ṣādiq (AS) (Wednesday, 22 Shawwal 1429 A.H.)

Translated and annotated by:  Sheikh Hamed Soltanian[1]

In the name of God, the beneficent, the merciful

May the blessings of God be upon Muhammad and his pure progeny, especially the one remaining from God (i.e., Imam Mahdi) and the curse of God be upon their enemies till the day of resurrection.

Our discussion was in regards to the subject of God’s names.  God’s names are of two categories.  One category includes the verbal pronunciation (asmā` lafī) of the names and the other is the real created names (asmā` takwīnīyah).[2]  Today, due to the commemoration of the martyrdom of one of the ‘best created names’ of God, our discussion is about him whose name was chosen by the Messenger of God (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him and his pure progeny) before his coming into the world.[3]  He was named al-Ṣādiq (the truthful one).  The naming (of Imam Ja’far al-Ṣādiq) has great significance and meaning.  “O you who believe!  Be careful of your duty to God and be with the truthful ones.”[4]  That truthful one who was named by the most noble of the creatures of God (i.e., the Messenger of God) is he whom today’s (correct) creed is decorated with his name,[5] but how regrettable that neither the creed was understood nor the head of the creed.  However, this creed will be known when the realities of all the creeds are described and a comparison is made between them.  Only then will the truth of the Ja`farī creed be known.

     Mālik ibn Anas is the person about whom Shāfi`ī, the Imam of the Shāfi`īyah sect, has stated that among the scholars he is a guiding star.  This is Shāfi`ī’s opinion about Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik, the Imam of the Mālikīyah sect and the greatest of scholars of the Sunnī creed in Dār al-Hijrah.  (Now onto) Abū Hanīfah, the great scholar of the Sunni creed and his manner in front of Mālik.  (Know) that what is being said here is only in the level of (understanding of) individuals such as Fakhr al-Razī or Shams al-Dīn Dhahabī.  If sincere people who are disposed towards knowledge and wisdom contemplate on this issue, they will realize what the matter is all about.  The (truth and) soundness of what is being said here is to a degree that no one has been able to refute it for one thousand and four hundred years because it has all passed the approval of the first Imam of critics, for he is, in the history of the Sunni creed, the first critic (of narrations and jurisprudential matters).  Abū Ḥanīfah would sit in front of Mālik like a child would (in front of an adult).  This, was the condition of Abū Hanīfah with regards to Mālik.  After Shāfi`ī and the great scholar of the Sunni creed, Abū Ḥanīfah, it is the turn of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, the Imam of the Ḥanbalīyah.  The narration that I am about to read to you is on the authority of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, the Imam of the Ḥanbalīyah sect and the Ḥanbalīs of Hejaz and other than Hejaz.[6]  He narrated on the authority of Surayj ibn Nu`mān.

     Because our discussion is concerned with the dignitaries of the Sunni creed we are referring to their sources and what is accepted by them.

     This man is one of the teachers of Bukhārī, the author of Ṣaḥīḥ (Bukhārī).  That is, the narrator is he whom Bukhārī narrated from and the opinion of the Sunni biographical (rijāl) experts is that he was very trustworthy (thiqah).[7]  But trustworthy in what way?  Trustworthy among them.  This is the first narrator (in the chain) after the Ḥanbalīyah Imam.  He narrates from Abdullāh ibn Nāfi`.  Abdullāh ibn Nāfi` is he whom the opinion of Dhahabī in regards to him is that he is very truthful (adūqun).  He narrates from Mālik ibn Anas.

     The scholars should pay great attention (to what I am about to say).  Sunni scholars across the Islamic world should pay attention to these few sentences and see what the conclusion of (such sentences) will be.  Whoever believes in the Qur`ān and is a believer in Islam.  (Those) “Who hear advice and follow the best thereof.”[8]  Today is the day of comparing the Ja`farī creed with all other creeds.

     The chain of narrations (of what is being said) is with such strength.  What did Mālik say?  What Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal has narrated from the teacher of Bukhārī who has narrated it from Abdullah ibn Nāfi` who has narrated from Mālik is this: “God is in the sky and his knowledge is everywhere!”[9]  This is the text of the narration.  This is in accordance with the words of the Imam of Imams for the Sunnis that God is in the skies and his knowledge is everywhere.  This sentence has to be analyzed (to see what conclusion can be drawn from it).

     If (it is said that) God is the sky then a relation between the sky and God has been established!  The relation is of that of a dish and what is contained in the dish.[10]  Every dish is a surrounding (i.e., a space) and everything that is contained in the dish is what is surrounded (i.e., contained in space).  Hence, the sky becomes the surrounding and God becomes the surrounded!  The sky becomes the dish and God becomes that which is contained in the dish!  This is where it becomes clear what creed means.

     It is at these critical points that the World has to wake up and know that if it was not the words of Ja`far ibn Muhammad (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq) and if there was no Ja`farī creed then, there was no trace of Tawhīd (i.e., the correct belief in the oneness and uniqueness of God).  There would be no sign of (true) praise (of God).  There would be no sign of talīl (truly denying partners for God) , takbīr (true proclamation that God is great) and tamīd (the correct way of worshiping of God).[11]  After this matter becomes clear then it will be known that if he (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq) did not exist then the existence, uniqueness and oneness of God would not have been known.

     When God is in the sky, these words cannot be denied (i.e., that these words were uttered by Mālik), even if the entire world brings a thousand Fakhr Razī’s out of the ground.  This is Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s narration from the person of Mālik through two chains (deemed trustworthy).  The same Mālik that for Shāfi`ī is the guiding star of the Sunni scholars, the Mālik whom Abū Ḥanīfah was like a primary school child in front of him.  Someone like this (for the Sunnis) has such a belief about God.

     If God is in the skies then, a located being in a location (i.e., a being which is confined to a place in space) is necessarily a body.  Therefore, God would be a body.  If it becomes a body then, it is a composite.  All bodies are either comprised of substance and figure or are composed of parts.  There is a necessary relation between being a body and being a composite (i.e., comprised of several different parts or elements).  A composite (entity) is in need of its parts (in order to exist) (and) the parts of the composite are in need of the composite (for their existence).  Hence, the God of Mālik will become needy from two perspectives.  God of Mālik and the four sects (of the Sunni creed) is both in need of parts and in need of the compiler (i.e., an organizer and designer) of those parts.  The Creator is then changed to the created (i.e., described in a way that is befitting of a created being and not a creator).  The necessary (being) becomes (the) contingent.  This is the result of (claiming) that God is in the skies.  Everything which is contained in a container is confined.  If God is in the skies then, He is confined to the sky.  If he becomes confined then, he becomes limited.  Every limited (being) is needy and every needy (being) is finite.  Again, the Creator is changed to (and described as) the created.  There is much seriousness in such (an incorrect claim), but what has been said is enough.

     As for the second sentence, “His knowledge is everywhere”.  “God is in the skies and His knowledge is everywhere.”  The question is asked (but) where is the person who can give an answer (to this problem)?  Across the Islamic world, anyone who has the ability to confront these matters, but not through fabrication, then let them come here so that the matter is resolved, either (in favour of) this side (i.e., the Ja`farī creed) or (in favour of) that side (i.e., the other creeds).  Either these (narrations) exist or they don’t (and clearly they do).  If it exists then, God (according to the narration) is in the skies but His knowledge everywhere.  Therefore, (the) knowledge (of God) is separate from (His) essence.  If God is one with (His) knowledge then, God is everywhere not in the skies.  However, if God is separate (to His) knowledge then (His) essence is separate to (His) knowledge.

     (According to Mālik’s claim) on an essential level, (God) does not have knowledge.  When there is no knowledge then what is left?  (When there is no knowledge) then, there is only ignorance.[12]  The God of the Sunni Imam of the Imams became linked to ignorance.  This is the creed (that is followed by the majority) in the Islamic world.  (We) ask Mālik this question.  We ask Abū Ḥanīfah this question.  We ask Shāfi`ī this question.  We ask Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal this question.  You, who brought this narration in praise of Mālik.  (It is asked from you) Shams al-Dīn Dhahabī, who has gained such high prominence among the Sunnis for supremacy in knowledge.  What are your answers?

     If God’s knowledge is other than God then it is either not temporal (i.e., not limited by time and has always existed along with God) or originated.[13]  There is either confirmation or negation (in regards to these two alternatives).[14]  A third alternative is incomprehensible.  If it is not temporal (and has always existed with God) then, necessarily there are two Gods and this is polytheism.  If it is originated, then it is not the case that God’s knowledge is not temporal.  It would be the case that there was God and no knowledge and then (His) knowledge was created.  Where did this knowledge come from (since God did not have it)?  Did God create His own knowledge?  What one does not have, one cannot give.[15]  Did other than God create God’s knowledge?  Then (that would mean) that God is created by other than God.  This is their creed.

     But now the Ja`farī creed.  This is the reason why one must cry blood.  For the (Ja`farī) creed is in exile, the leader of the creed is in exile.  Only a few words are enough (for our purpose).  “Praise and glory…”  What was said before was Mālik’s words now for Ja`far ibn Muhammad’s words.  Pay attention because there is no need for elaboration since many of you are lecturers of sutūh `āliyah (higher learning) of Qom.  Some of you are lecturers of the khārij degree of jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence.[16]  “Glorified is He whom none knows his state except for Him.”[17]  There is no God but Allah.  “Glorified is He whom none knows His state except for Him.”  (The meaning of the aforementioned narrations is that) no messenger of God that has been sent on a mission or an Angel that is close to God has any way (of having knowledge of God’s state).  This is the greatness of this creed (i.e., the Ja’fari creed).  “Nothing is like His being and He is all-hearing and all-seeing”.[18]  Here, a point needs to be made.  But my intended audience (for this point) is not the Sheikh of al-Azhar.  My intended audience is Mālik ibn Anas himself.  My intended audience is Shāfi`ī himself.  My intended audience is Abū Ḥanīfah himself.  My intended audience is Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal himself.  I ask those individuals.  I ask, “Do you say that God is in the sky?”  If He is in the sky then, as you have admitted, just as Dhahabī with his (so called) acute insight wrote.  If God is in the sky then, the Sun is (also) in the sky, then the Sun became like God!  (Rather,) “Nothing is like His being.”  (The statement of Mālik) is both against reason and against revelation.

     Is this the creed (one should follow)?  Is this the nation (one should be part of)?  Is this (what they assume to be) knowledge of the Lord of the worlds and mankind?  (No, for verily,) “Nothing is like His being and He is all-hearing and all-seeing.  He has no limits and He cannot be sensed.  He is not embodied and He cannot be felt (by the physical senses).  He cannot be comprehended by the intellect and He is not contained in anything…”[19]

     Nothing can contain Him.  Mālik, come out of the earth (in which you are buried).  You (in your statements) made (the claim that) the sky (is) the container of God!  Come learn a lesson and see what Ja`far ibn Muhammad is saying, “…and He is not contained in anything…”  (In another narration he states,) “God, blessed and the most high, is not like anything nor is anything like Him…”[20]  With each sentence he does shaq al-qamar (the miracle of splitting the moon).  “God, blessed and the most high, is not like anything nor is anything like Him.  And every…”  The preciseness of the matter (becomes clear) at this point.  “…And everything that appears in the imagination is contrary to Him.”[21]  That which is in the imagination of any faculty of imagination, that which is in the faculty of reason of any rational being, that which is comprehended by any mind is his/her (i.e., the person who is imagining, reasoning and/or comprehending) creation not his/her Creator.  He is that essence that cannot be placed in the mind and cannot be limited by the reasoning faculty.  Only the signs of His wisdom and power can reach the level of proving His existence and that only to a limit (ta`īl) and not making any comparisons (between Him and His creation).

     Then, what is important is this: “God, the most honourable and most glorified, has always been our Lord and His knowledge is His essence…”[22] (i.e., there is no distinction between His knowledge and His essence.)  This is the meaning of having insight.  He (i.e., Mālik) says that God is in the sky and His knowledge has come to the Great Mosque, to cities, it has spread.  He (i.e., Mālik ) says such a thing but he (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq) says, “God, the most honourable and most glorified, has always been our Lord and His knowledge is His essence…”  There is no more time (in the lecture session) to be able to fully explain the depth of these words.

     Now think.  What I said (in regards to Mālik’s statement) was the summary (and a prime example) of the theological thought of the four sects (of Sunnis).  What I mentioned from the sixth Imam was only a drop from the never ending ocean of wisdom and knowledge which he has given in regards to the theological understanding of God.  This is his creed.  This is his Tawhīd.  You, the people of knowledge, the people of reason, make (scholarly) efforts in his narrations.  Shine these lights (i.e., the light of Imam Ṣādiq’s narrations) on the world.  Let what you have be compared to what others have.  Come to the arena (of debate and dialogue) bravely.  Mālik ibn Anas himself states, “In my life, my eyes has never looked upon anyone as noble as Ja`far ibn Muhammad.”

     This is his (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq’s) creed and it was only an example.  But who was he?  That intellect which has become so absorbed in having knowledge of God.  That willpower which has become so dissolved in the worship of God and that devotion to God that has repeated the sentence, “Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help,”[23] so many times until he heard it from the One who sent it.  He is such a person.

     Ṣafwān ibn Yaḥyā has narrated that `Ubaydī told me that, “My wife, my family, told me that she wishes to visit Ja`far ibn Muhammad.  I told her that I don’t have anything available (in order to cover the expenses of the travel).  She said, ‘I will give all my jewellery, (use them to) prepare the expenses of the trip and take me to the sixth Imam.’”  He said, “I used her (favourite) ornament and all her jewellery to prepare for the trip.  When we reached the surroundings of Medina she became severely ill to the point of death.  I went to the Imam with great stress and confusion.  He asked me, ‘Ubaydī, how are you?’  I said that I have come to visit you with my wife but this is what occurred (and explained the situation to him).  He said, ‘Is your sadness due to what has befallen you?’  I said to him, ‘Yes, son of the Messenger of God.’  He stated, ‘Go now and (see that) your wife is sitting (up).  That maid (mentioning the name) is putting that food (mentioning the food that was being served) in her mouth.’”

     O, heart of the World, O, soul of existence (of creation).

     He (i.e., `Ubaydī) said, “Confused, I went my way (back to the place I was staying) and saw that the lady was sitting in perfect health just as he had described it.  The maid was also giving the exact food (that he had described) to her.  I asked her what was going on.  She said, “This is what happened.  You saw how I was.  The Angel of Death (Ezra`īl) came to take my soul.  Suddenly, I saw that a gentleman entered.  When she gave me a description of him, I realized that it was the same person who I had just visited.  She told me of his clothes and manner (and gave me an exact description).  She said, “He entered.  As soon as he entered, the Angel of Death greeted him (i.e., said salām to him).  When he (i.e., the Angel of Death) greeted him, that gentleman (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq) said to him (i.e., to the Angel of Death), ‘Are you not commanded to obey us?’  He (i.e., the Angel of Death) said, ‘Yes, my Imam.’”

     This was how the Angel of Death referred to him (i.e., to Imam Ṣādiq).

     He (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq) stated, “I command you to go and not come (for this Woman’s soul) until twenty years (has passed).”

     This is him and this is the creed.

     On the day of his martyrdom, this nation has to say with one voice, “Ja`far ibn Muhammad.”  It has to accomplish the fulfilling of the rights of this creed (i.e., Shī`ah) and its leader (i.e., Imam Ṣādiq).  That woman sold her jewellery just to visit him and this was her reward!  Mourners across the Iranian nation!  If on the day of his martyrdom you bring the mourning procession, (to mourn) his exile (among those who have enmity towards him), (to mourn) his demolished grave, then beat yourselves on the chest and the head.[24]  What will his prayer then do for you?!  (The prayer that states,) “God, have mercy on those who wail severely (irkhah) for us.”[25]


     [1]That which is enclosed in the brackets is notes added by the translator except for the transliteration of the original statements.

 

     [2]Verbal pronunciation (asmā` lafī) of the names of God, as indicated by its rendering into English, means the combination of letters or each of the words that refer to the ‘real names’ (asmā` aqīqīyah) of God. These real names are also called (asmā` takwīnīyah).  According to the reports that have come down to us from the Ahlul Bayt (i.e., Prophet Muhammad, Imam `Alī, Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah Zahra and the pure Imams, peace and blessings of God be upon them all) the names of God are created.  That is, God the almighty, who is the creator of everything that exists and is himself not created, has also created the names.  For the names of God being a creation refer to: Al-Kulaynī, Abī J`afar Muhammad ibn Yaqūb ibn Ishāq.  Al-Uūl Min al-Kāfī.  Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1383 H.S., v.1, pp.112-114.  In the prayer known as ‘The Prayer of Kumayl’, which is the prayer of Khiḍr (God’s peace be upon him) taught to Kumayl ibn Zīyād by Imam `Alī (peace and blessings of God be upon him), while praying to God it is stated, “In Your names that has filled the foundation of all things.”  Also in the prayer known as ‘The Simāt Prayer’, narrated by the representative of the last Imam (may God hasten his reappearance and send his blessings on him), Muhammad ibn Uthmān `Amrī (may God be pleased with him), who narrates it from Imam Ṣādiq and Imam Bāqir (peace and blessings of God be upon them) we read: “God, I beseech you by your great and greatest name, the hallowed, glorified and honoured (name), that name which when read upon the closed doors of heaven, it will open with mercy…”  It is clear that what is being referred to in the aforementioned prayers are realities that are intermediaries for bringing about every other created being and not just some combination of letters or words that signify these realities.  Such realities are the ‘real names’ of God that are the manifestation of God’s mercy, justice, creatorship, omnipotence, lordship, omniscience, wisdom and so forth.  There is no contradiction between what has been said and the fact that God’s essence is not separate to His attributes and that the reality of God is one and not divisible into essence and attributes.  These ‘real names’ are created beings that show to us in a very limited sense that God is Just, omnipotent and omniscient and so on, while what we refer to as God’s attributes is not these ‘real names’ but our limited understanding of God’s unique and indivisible perfection.  For ‘The Prayer of Kumayl’ refer to: Shaykh Tūsī.  Miṣbāh al-Muteḥḥajid.  Beirut: Mu`assisah Fiqh Shī`ah, 1411 A.H., pp.844-850.  For ‘The Simāt Prayer’ refer to: Shaykh Tūsī.  Miṣbāh al-Muteḥḥajid.  Beirut: Mu`assisah Fiqh Shī`ah, 1411 A.H., pp.416-420; Sayyid ibn Tāwūs.  Jamāl al-Asbū`.  Qom: Inteshārāt Razī, pp.532-538 and Majlisī, Muhammad Bāqir.  Bihār al-Anwār.  Beirut: Mu`assisah al-wafā` 1404 A.H., v.87, pp.96-100.

     [3]In Uṣūl al-Kāfī there is a narration from Imam Ṣādiq (God’s peace and blessing be upon him) that states when he (God’s peace and blessing be upon him) was asked about the words of God: “And for God is the ‘best names’, call upon Him through them.”  He answered, “By God, we are His ‘best names’ since no deed is accepted from His servant except with knowledge of us.” Pp. 143-144.  Ibn Mas`ūd has narrated from Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him and his pure progeny) that he said, “God created me, `Alī, Hasan and Husayn from His light (light being a figurative term and not a similarity between God and light or that God contains some kind of light).  When He wanted to create the beings, He cleaved my light and from it He created the skies and the earth.  He cleaved `Alī’s light and created from it the Empyrean and the Throne and by God `Alī’ is more glorious than the Empyrean and the Throne.  He cleaved Hasan’s light and created from it the ūr al-`ayn and the angels and by God Hasan is more glorious than hūr al-`ayn and the angels and cleaved the light of Husayn peace be upon him and created from that the Tablet and the Pen and by God Husayn is more glorious than the Tablet and the Pen.”  In another narration, Imam Bāqir (God’s peace and blessings of God be upon him) states: the Messenger of God (God’s peace and blessings be upon him and his pure progeny) has stated, “God created fourteen lights from his greatness fourteen thousand years before the creation of Adam and these are our souls.”

     [4]Holy Qur`ān.  Chapter 9 (al-Tawbah), verse 119.

     [5]The Ithnā `Asharī (twelve) or Imāmī Shī`ah creed is also known as the Ja`farī creed named after Imām Ja’far al-Ṣādiq (God’s peace and blessings be upon him).  He was born on the 17th of Rabī` al-Awwal 83 A.H. (702 C.E.) and was martyred on the 25th of Shawwal 148 A.H. (765 C.E.).  He was the sixth Imam of the Shī`ah and the progeny of prophet Muhammad through his father Muhammad ibn `Alī (al-Bāqir) from his father `Alī ibn Husayn (the Master of Martyrs) from his mother Fatima al-Zahrā (the Mistress of the Women of Paradise), the wife of `Alī ibn Abī Tālib and daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon them).  During his time in accordance with his guidance many narrations from Prophet Muhammad and his pure progeny were recorded, many of which were narrated on Imām al-Ṣādiq’s authority.  Moreover, under his instructions many principles for analyzing narrations as well as theological and jurisprudential issues were laid down.

     [6]Hejaz refers to the area west of what is today known as Saudi Arabia and includes the city of Mecca and Medina.  Today the population of the area is predominantly Wahhābī or as they refer to themselves Salafī, although this had not always been the case historically.  The Wahhābī follow the Ḥanbalīyah school of jurisprudence and ideology.

     [7]Ilm al-rijāl is the biographical study of the individuals mentioned in the chain of narrators of a report (hadīth).  A report can only be verified as being the statement of a person if the narrator who narrates the report on behalf of that person is deemed trustworthy.

     [8]Holy Qur`ān.  Chapter 39 (al-Zumar), verse 18.

     [9]Muhammad ibn Aḥmad Dhahabī.  Al-`Uluw Lil `Alī al-Ghafār.  Riyadh: Maktab Aḍwa al-Salaf, 1995 C.E., v.1, p.138, hadith number 376.

     [10]That is to say that such a statement means that the sky ‘contains’ God as a dish contains an object!

     [11]Talīl means the proclamation of the statement, “there is no God but Allah.”  Takbīr is the proclamation of the statement, “God is great.”  Tamīd is the proclamation of the statement, “Praise is only for God.”

     [12]Existence and non-existence are contradictory to each other.  Hence, there is either existence or non-existence and there is no midway.  Knowledge is an existential perfection and its opposite is only lack of knowledge and lack of knowledge is ignorance.  One either has knowledge about something or is ignorant in regards to it.  There might be degrees of knowledge in an overall sense but no third state other than knowledge and ignorance.

     [13]What is originated is necessarily temporal.

     [14]That is either something is not temporal and therefore not originated or something is originated and temporal.

     [15]That is, that knowledge has to become one with God and be something He has.  But if God does not have it in the first place then how can he give it to Himself in order to have it.  It cannot be said that He has created it and then uses it as a tool for knowing because first, knowledge is not a tool for knowing but knowing itself and second, it would mean that he lacked the means, capability and power to achieve something and if He lacked that capability and power then He cannot bring it about.  Only on the level of created beings can something lack a capability and then using something else to gain that capability.  But when there was God and no other than God where does God gain that capability?  Clearly, God’s knowledge cannot be separate from His essence and be a separate entity.  That is, there is no distinction between God and His knowledge.

     [16]Khārij and sutūh `āliyah are stages of higher learning in the Shī`ah Islamic seminaries.

     [17]Sheikh al-Kulaynī.  Al-Usūl Min al-Kāfī.  Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1383 H.S., v.1, p.104; Sheikh Ṣadūq.  Al-Tawhīd.  Qom: Enteshārāte Jame`ah Modarresīn, 1398 A.H., p.98.  Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī.  Bihār al-Anwār.  Beirut: Mu`assisah al-wafā` 1404 A.H., v.3, p.301.

     [18]Ibid.  This sentence of the narration is also a Qur`ānic verse.  Holy Qur`ān.  Chapter 42 (al-Shūrā), verse 11.

     [19]Ibid.

     [20]Sheikh Ṣadūq.  Al-Tawhīd.  Qom: Enteshārāte Jame`ah Modarresīn, 1398 A.H., p.80; Abul Fatḥ Karājakī.  Kanz al-Fawa`id.  Qom: Enteshārāte Dar al-Dhakha`ir, 1410 A.H., v.1, p.41.  Abul Faḍl Tabarsī.  Mishkāt al-Anwar.  Najaf: Ketābkhāneye Haydarīyah, 1385 A.H., p.10; Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī.  Bihār al-Anwār.  Beirut: Mu`assisah al-wafā` 1404 A.H., v.3, p.299.

     [21]Ibid.

     [22]Sheikh al-Kulaynī.  Al-Usūl Min al-Kāfī.  Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1383 H.S., v.1, p.107; Sheikh Ṣadūq.  Al-Tawhīd.  Qom: Enteshārāte Jame`ah Modarresīn, 1398 A.H., p.139; Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī.  Bihār al-Anwār.  Beirut: Mu`assisah al-wafā` 1404 A.H., v.4, p.71.

     [23]Holy Qur`ān.  Chapter 1 (al-Fātiah), verse 5.

     [24]Imam Ṣādiq’s (peace and blessings of God be upon him) shrine is in the city of Medina in a graveyard known as Jannat al-Baqī.  At one time his shrine and those of other Shī`ah Imams and companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him and his progeny) decorated the graveyard.  In 1925, the Saudi royal family ordered the destruction of the shrines and turned the graveyard into rubbles.

     [25]This is the prayer of Imam Ṣādiq for those who mourn for the Ahlul Bayt (peace and blessings of God be upon them).  See: Sheikh al-Kulaynī.  Al-Usūl Min al-Kāfī.  Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1383 H.S., v.4, pp.582-583 and Shaykh Sadūq.  Thawāb al-`Amāl.  Enteshārāt Sharīf Razī, 1364 H.S., p.95.

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KEEPING ALIVE THE MOURNING CEREMONY OF THE MASTER OF MARTYRS AND SIDDĪQAH KUBRĀ

KEEPING ALIVE THE MOURNING CEREMONY OF THE MASTER OF MARTYRS AND SIDDĪQAH KUBRĀ

KEEPING ALIVE THE MOURNING CEREMONY OF

THE MASTER OF MARTYRS AND SIDDĪQAH KUBRĀ[1]

Lecture by Grand Ayatollah Haj Sheikh Vahīd Khorāsānī (Muharram 1429)
Translated and annotated by: Sheikh Hamed (Shahin) Soltanian

 

In the name of God, the beneficent, the merciful
May the blessings of God be upon Muhammad and his pure progeny, especially the one remaining from God (i.e., Imam Mahdi) and the curse of God be upon their enemies till the day of resurrection.
The coming of Arba`īn[2] is near and some are setting out on a journey, a journey in which the result of the effort of all those who are successful in bringing awareness and guidance (to people) is a sought understanding (of Islamic matters). The first level (of that understanding) is knowing God and knowing God is not possible except with the recognition and acknowledgement of he who is the path, the gateway and the way to God and with the text of the Qur`ān (that states): Enter the houses from their doorways.[3] There are two different aspects to recognizing the Imam. The first aspect has to do with the content-matter of what it means to recognize the Imam and that is (to acknowledge) that existence and blessings and all that exists is (created by God) because of him (i.e., the Imam).
The second, the methodological aspect, is that it is he (i.e., the Imam) who is the means for knowing the origin of existence (i.e., God) and only by knowing him (i.e., the Imam) it becomes possible to come to know the one from whom all existence is originated (i.e., God). It is only from him that one can be properly informed of that divine essence that is higher and more excellent than to be described.
In the ziyārah[4] of the Imams what has been written and emphasized is this sentence: “Recognition of his right.”[5] Great attention has to be paid to these words. “Recognition of his right.” This phrase is used for two points (regarding the Imam’s right). One is a general right which is the universal right of leadership (i.e., imāmt al-kubrā)[6] and the highest guardianship (as given to the Imam by God).[7]
The other right is a specific right termed: `ārifan bi-haqqah (literally: recognition of his right). Each Imam has a right and identifying that right is the most important basis for recognising and knowing the Imam. Furthermore, recognition has to be based on wisdom. Other than with wisdom recognition is not in principle obtainable.
Wisdom is defined as identifying reality (i.e., what is real), either through a lim demonstration or through an in demonstration.[8] These two methods are the substance of wisdom. The basis for recognition has to be hujjah (proof and justification).[9] Hujjah means knowledge and (being) scientific (in methodology). If it was established on this basis then, it is a recognition that ends with the recognition of what is luminousness and cannot be described.
In regards to the Master of Martyrs,[10] whom these commemorations ends with his fortieth, his arba`īn, knowing him can only be through himself in reality (limman) recognising him can be through the effect of his deeds (innan). This task is so great that except for some among the chosen ones (of God), no other has the competence to comprehend the matter at hand. Mīrzā Shīrāzī,[11] the distinguished among the distinguished, a scholar whose greatness can only be known by considering how much Na`īnī[12] and Ākhūnd[13] revered him and who is the founder of the school of Samarrah where the basis of today’s jurisprudence is its product, can be seen to have reached this reality by considering one sentence. The prominent and dignified scholar and founder of the Hawzah of Qom, today’s Shī`ah centre for religious learning, used to recite eulogies in his gatherings (majlis).[14] Pay attention to what kind of gathering it was where such a distinguished person recited eulogies. That great scholar on the mimbar[15] and in the presence of the Mīrzā said one sentence. Many people hear this sentence but only the one with knowledge can understand its true meaning. He began his eulogy (of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn) with this sentence: “Zaynab[16] (S) entered the gathering of ibn Marjānah.”[17]
After saying the (aforementioned) sentence, the Mīrzā shouted, “That is enough. It is sufficient.” After that from morning till noon the Mīrzā hit himself on the head and chest. This is the recognition (that was mentioned before). Where is this recognition (of the Imam) today?! Who came to know who Zaynab was?! He (i.e., Mīrzā Shīrāzī), not us, understands (the issue) when he said, “Such a person came to such a person and broke her back.” We, not us, the first and the last, are all effaced at this point.
Who is he? What is his work? These are two different subject matters. One is about the doer, the other the deed. One is the one who affects; the other is that which is affected. One is the cause, the other the effect. According to the principle of relations and categorization of the alike, each of the doer and the deed or the cause and the effect need to be discussed independently. One (subject for discussion) is: who is Husayn b. `Alī (S)? This is a discussion beyond the understanding of humanity. The other is: what was the deed of Husayn b. `Alī (S)?
The ages have seen many eras. It has seen the days of Adam (as), the days of Noah, the saved one of God (najīyellah), the days of Abraham (as), the friend of God, the days of Moses (as), the one who conversed with God, the days of Jesus son of Mary (as), the Word of God and the days of the substance of the world of existence, the heart of existence, the Seal of the Prophets. The ages has seen the era of one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets, the first being Adam (as) and the last the Seal (of the prophets), and one hundred and twenty four thousand vicegerents (of prophets), the first being Hibatullāh[18] and the last the Commander of the Believers, the Leader of the Muslims. It has seen all these eras. Despite seeing these eras and the days of all the martyrs and the truthful ones, from the first to the last, what astonishes the intellect is that the proof of God, the tongue (who speaks on behalf) of God, that is him who does not speak anything from his own desire,[19] states, “There is no day like his day!” It becomes evident that the days of one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets have fallen short in comparison to this day (of Imam Husayn’s martyrdom).
There is no day like your day! O you who are present (at his gathering), without exaggeration, some of you are lecturers of the highest level of seminary studies.[20] You have to understand these issues and make others understand that when he says, “There is no day like his day,” he is considering all the days and seeing all that occurs and only then he says, “There is no day like his day.”
What is this deed?! What has he done?! It can be summarised in one statement and that is: the principle of the oneness and uniqueness of God, the hereafter, the prophethood of prophets, the vicegerency of vicegerents and every divinely revealed book are thankful for the blood of the Master of Martyrs. This is the kind of effect that blood had.
It is necessary (to mention) one narration[21] today and although its explication demands considerable contemplation, those who are up to it should pay attention because it is based on wisdom and the roots of recognition has to be based on a cogent proof (hujjah qat`īyah).[22]
The narration (in question) has been related in three ways (i.e., chain of narrations). Two ways is from al-Kulayni[23] and one of the ways is how the Master of Traditionalists (Shaykh al-Muhaddithīn), Sadūq[24] has related it. I will read the narration in accordance with Shaykh’s reporting but with attention to the chain of transmitters and the content (of the report) because this is not an ordinary gathering and you have to be equipped with complete knowledge and also turn the views of the rest of the people (in favour of the argument presented).
Master of Traditionalists Sadūq from his father. Who is his father? `Alī b. Mūsā b. Babūya, (who is) reliable as confirmed by the Shaykh, (from) Allāmah, (from) Najāshī, from Sa`d b. Abdullāh. Who is Sa`d b. Abdullāh? (He) is reliable as confirmed by Shaikh al-Tā`ifah (i.e., Shaykh Tūsī)[25], (from) ibn Shahr Āshūb, Allāmah,[26] from Ya`qūb b. Yazīd. Who was this man (Ya`qūb b. Yazīd)? (He) is reliable as confirmed by Shaikh al-Tā`ifah and was the first master in the science of rijāl[27] and is trusted by all (mu`tamid al-kul) in the biographical dictionary of Najāshī. Who is next in the chain? From ibn abī Umayr who all of the individuals named agree on his authenticity and truthfulness. Who came before him? From Mu`āwīyah b. Abī Wahab whose reliability is confirmed by for example Najāshī and Allāmah. This distinguished chain of narrators is what we are referencing from. Only those who are experts in the field know what kind of chain of transmitters we are dealing with. Those like Shaykh Ansārī[28] who on the basis of the minor details of the Primacy of Caution (isālah al-ihtīyāt)[29] issued a verdict according to this chain of narrators.[30] This is the kind of supported chain we are dealing with.
What is the text of the report? The text states that:
Mu`āwīyah b. Abī Wahab said, “I went to Abī Abdillāh, Ja’far b. Muhammad (S). I saw that he had fallen to prostration…”
The words that were recited in this prostration amaze and astonish the intellect.
O you who have endowed us (i.e., Ahlul Bayt) with greatness.
Pay attention to how it begins. He is speaking with God. The issue is that important.
O you who have endowed us (i.e., Ahlul Bayt) with greatness and who endowed us with executorship (of religious affairs) and have promised us intercession and knowledge of what has passed and what will come to be and made the hearts of the people to be attracted toward us.
He has conversed with God about five issues, each of which needs a separate discussion of its own. There is no time (to discuss these issues). After these words he said:
Grant me salvation and also (grant salvation) to my brothers.
Then he did not pray (and ask for salvation) for anyone else (until the third prayer). What is the third prayer? We realise it from this point. The inni demonstration that we mentioned above which can only be through the effect of his deeds is this (third prayer):
Grant me salvation and (also grant salvation) to my brothers and (also grant salvation) to those who make the pilgrimage to the grave of my father Husayn.
What has happened that the pilgrims to his grave have reached such a status?! Then he continues to converse with God. The conversation of the sixth Imam (S) with the Lord of all Masters astonishes every intellect. What is amazing is this sentence: …and have mercy. Do you know what it means for him to say, “Have mercy.”? (It is the) mercy he is asking from the Most Merciful (God). It can be read in the Qur`ān: And the mercy of your Lord is better than all other things. This mercy is being sought by such a seeker from the most merciful, but for whom?
And have mercy on those eyes that tears flow from it because of compassion towards us.
I am lost for words: those eyes that tears flow from them because of compassion towards us. The phrase, “compassion towards us” is filled with meaning. Those tears that are cried out because of compassion for that broken side (of Fātima), that Mohsen who was killed in the womb, that torn head (of Imam `Alī) and that throat which was shot at.
…that tears flow from it because of compassion towards us and have mercy on those hearts.
Send mercy on those hearts. But which hearts?
Hearts which have grief and are burning for us.
The hearts which are in grief and burning. This is the tragedy. Who is stating these words? Think about the words, “burning for us” What has occurred?! What is it that has happened?! Do not think these mourning rituals and ceremonies are a small matter, “Hearts which are burning for us.” If the entire world burns (of grief) it is still not enough. Do you know what has happened?! Fie to those who alter and try to diminish these mourning rituals and ceremonies.
Awaken people of Iran! Know that the smallest thing that weakens the signs (i.e., mourning rituals and ceremonies) of Imam Husayn (S) will break the back of the Seal of the Prophets. The mourning rituals, these beatings of the chest, these beatings of one’s self with chains have to be observed and safeguarded to the highest degree. The issue at hand is not a game. Whose words are these?
Have mercy on those who wail severely (sirkhah) for us.
These uneducated individuals have no right to tell people to cry quietly. This is the sixth Imam, the leader of the (Shī`ah) creed! This is the kind of narration we are dealing with! Who is a jurisconsult (faqīh)?[31] Jurisconsults are no more. Na`īnī was a jurisconsult. Burūjerdī[32] was a jurisconsult. Hā`irī[33] was a jurisconsult. These expert jurisconsults have said: Beat your chests, whip yourselves with chains and even if blood appears it is ok. These were the experts. This is specialisation in Islamic belief and legal system (fiqāhat).
Do they say cry quietly?! How dare they? What is sayhah? Sayhah is wailing. What is sirkhah? Severe wailing is sirkhah.
The sixth Imam (S) states, “God! Be compassionate towards those who wail because of us.”
Have mercy on those who wail severely (sirkhah) for us. O God! I entrust it to you.[34]
Is there anything left to cause any doubt?!
The great research scholar Na`īnī, that distinguished person whom the pride of great scholars is to discover his “Peculiarities of Clothing”,[35] states, “Beating of one’s chest, whipping one’s self with chains (for Master of Martyrs) is allowed (in Islam) even if blood appears.” Allowing (the aforementioned acts in the late Grand Ayatollah’s verdict) is not just mere permission. You who are the jurists! This verdict is the verdict of a very distinguished jurisconsult. After he gave this verdict, great scholars of religion like Sayyid Muhsin Hakīm,[36] with that kind of qualification, wrote underneath it: The verdict of our Shaykh is more dignified than to need the signature of approval of a person like me. Scholars such as the great expert jurisconsult, Shahrūdī wrote: Verily it (i.e., the verdict) is due to complete research (of the issue at hand). (So said the same) all other great scholars until you reach those who are resting (beneath) this place. These (individuals) are the pillars of jurisprudence and knowledge of Islam. This is the verdict of the likes of Hā`irī. It is Burūjerdī who they asked, “In our city they build (miniature) shrines and put a black cloth over it and bring it out as a standard (alam) in Ashura.” The reply of this expert in Islamic law was, “In each city mourning ceremony has to be conducted according to its own tradition.”
These are the jurisconsults of our creed! These individuals have reached the highest level of moral and ethical status. They have seen all the narrations (of the Ahlul Bayt) with their chain of transmitters and proofs of their authentication. They had completed every stage of specialisation, both the standard and the higher level of learning and have exhausted all discussions (relating to the sciences of Islamic learning). After (having reached such a stage of scholarship) they state that in this path there is no problem with so and so amount of harm.
People on the day of Āshūrā have to turn their faces only towards Karbala. Where?! Towards that place who the distinguished among the distinguished, that is to say, Mīrzā Shīrāzī, the second Mīrzā, the very person who hundreds like Balāghī are proud to call themselves one of his students, on the day of Āshūrā, bare headed and bare footed would beat his chest in a procession. This is an expert in Islamic law! This is the evidence of (our) community for (how to mourn)! Look to him in Āshūrā! Take him as an example for Fātimīyah.[37]
Listen to him who the likes of the late Ayatollah Milānī[38] and Ayatollah Khu`ī[39] prided in being his student. Listen to what he is saying? What does he say?! (He says,) “Have you heard of the event of the nail? Have you heard of the event of the nail? Ask her chest which has stored (that and many other) secrets.”[40]
In the whole country, on Āshūrā (and also) on the third of Jamādī al-Thānī,[41] every association, every procession organizer, chest beaters and those who whip themselves with chains (i.e., every mourner) have to come into the streets and whip themselves with chains for that person whom `Alī b. abī Talib, that great man of the world of existence and the axis of the circle of contingent (existence), said at her graveside:
My soul is imprisoned because of these breaths If only these breaths would leave (me)[42]

[1]Siddiqah Kubra refers to the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S), Hadhrat Fatima Zahrā (S).
[2]Literally: fortieth. The 40th after the 10th of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. The 10th of Muharram (also known as Āshūrā) is when Imam Husayn b. `Alī (S) was martyred. Shī`ah mourn Imam Husayn’s (S) martyrdom from the first of Muharram to the 40th day according to the Islamic tradition.
[3]Qur`ān. Chapter al-baqarah (2), verse 189. What is meant is that one can only achieve closeness to almighty God through what he has appointed as a way and a door to Him. That way and door is the Ahlul Bayt (AS). This is clear from the statement of Prophet Muhammad (S) that, “I am the city of knowledge and `Alī is its doorway.”
[4]Literally: to visit, pilgrimage. In Islamic tradition (especially that of the Shī`ah), it is a kind of hymn that is read when visiting a mausoleum of an Imam or saints. For the Shī`ah these hymns can be read from any place even when away from the mausoleum as long as it is directed towards that Imam or saint.
5That is to say the right of the Imam.
[6]Meaning the leadership of the divinely chosen Imam over all people.
[7]Imām in the twelver Tashayyu` tradition usually refers to one of the twelve individuals from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S) who according to Shī`ah belief were appointed as the leader and guardian of mankind. These Imāms are direct descendants of Prophet Muhammad (S) and appointed their successors as instructed to them by God. Shī`ah believe that the knowledge of that appointment passed on to them from Prophet Muhammad (S). The Imams include from the first, Imam ‘Alī b. Abī Tālib, Imam Hasan b. ‘Ali, Imam Husayn b. ‘Alī, Imam ‘Alī b. Al-Husayn, Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali, Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad, Imam Mūsā b. Ja’far, Imam ‘Alī b. Musā, Imam Muhammad b. ‘Alī, Imam ‘Alī b. Muhammad, Imam Hasan b. ‘Alī, Imam Muhammad b. Hasan (al-Mahdi) (God’s peace and blessings be upon them). The last Imām is known as al-Mahdi (the guiding one), who the Shī`ah believe is hidden and awaiting a return to bring peace and justice to the entire world.
[8]Actual wording: Immā bi lim, immā bi in. Compare with demonstration propter quid and demonstration quia in scholastic terminology and demonstration of the reasoned fact and demonstration of the fact in Aristotelian logic. This is philosophical and logical terminology. Briefly, there are two different types of demonstrations. One type is known as burhān limma or the whyness demonstration. In this kind of demonstration, in addition to the middle term being used for demonstrating the connection between the major and the minor terms, it is also the cause outside of the mind (i.e., as it is in reality) of the major term being connected to the minor term. Sometimes this demonstration is defined as reasoning from the cause to the effect, though this is only the case in regards to demonstration where the middle term is the cause of the major term. The second type of demonstration known as burhān inna is of two kinds. One kind is when the middle term is the effect of the major term being connected to the minor term. In other words, it is when one reasons for the effect to the cause. This is known in Islamic logic and philosophy as dalīl (literally: reason). The second kind is when neither the middle term nor the conclusion is the effect of the other but both are the effect of a third principle.
[9]In Islamic theology and jurisprudence hujjah has several meanings. Here it means that an argument has been exhausted to the limited where the individual has no justification for not accepting its conclusion.
[10]Arabic: Sayyidu sh-Shuhadā. Referring to Imam Husayn b. `Alī (S).
[11]Grand Ayatollah Hāj Mīrzā Muhammad Hasan Shīrāzī (d.1312 A.H.).
[12]Grand Ayatollah Hāj Mīrzā Muhammad Husayn Na`īnī. He was an Islamic scholar and an expert jurisconsult of the Shī`ah and a reformists. He was a vehement backer of the constitutional revolution in the early twentieth century.
[13]Shaykh Muhammad Kādhim Khurāsānī, popularly known as Akhūnd Khurāsānī (d.1329 A.H.). An Islamic scholar in the science of jurisprudence and the principles of jurisprudence. Among his works Kifāyatul al-Usūl is still studied in Shī`ah theological centres of study today.
[14]Majlis, literally: gathering. Here it is referring to a commemoration ceremony.
[15]A traditional chair that a Islamic scholar or a speaker seats on when speaking for an audience in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (S).
[16]Zaynab bint `Alī (S) was the daughter of `Alī b. Abi Tālib and Fatima Zahrā (S) and the grand daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S). She accompanied her brother Imam Husayn (S) to the battle of Karbalā and was taken captive after the battle. Her courage and bravery on the day of Ashūrā and her subsequent sermons and counter arguments against Yazīd (curse of God be upon him) and his stooges is celebrated by the Shī`ah. She is credited with keeping alive the memory of Imam Husayn (S) at a time when speaking about the Prophet’s family was banned and severely punished.
[17]Ibn Marjānah also known as ibn Zīyād was Yazīd’s commander and was responsible for sending an army against Imam Husayn (S) and capturing the family of his followers including Imam Husayn’s (S) sister Zaynab bint `Alī (S).
[18]The son of Prophet Adam (as).
[19]Qur`ān. Chapter al-Najm (53), verse 3. The verse continues: What he says is not anything but what is revealed to him.
[20]Usūl, fiqh and Kharij, sutūh`āliyah. Subjects and stages in the Shī`ah Islamic seminaries.
[21]In Tashayyu` tradition, a narration is from Ahlul Bayt (AS), who include Prophet Muhammad and his divinely chosen members of his family and progeny.
[22]This passage is difficult to translate as it includes terminology. Briefly, the term is made up of two parts. Qat`īyah refers to an argument given for a conclusion that has been exhausted to a degree and with enough proof that it lives no room for doubt. The argument and its proofs are sufficient to convince an individual. Hujjah has several meanings. Here it means that an argument has been exhausted to the limited where the individual has no justification for not accepting its conclusion.
[23]Thiqat al-Islām Abū Ja`far Muhammad b. Ya`qūb b. Ishāq al-Kulaynī al-Razī (d.329 A.H.). He was a famous traditionalist (i.e., an expert in the science of hadīth) and a master in the field. His book al-Kāfī is among the most prominent Shī`ah books of narrations.
[24]Abu Ja`far Muhammad b. ‘Alī b. Husayn b. Babūyah al-Qummī (305-.381 A.H.), better known as Shaikh Sadūq. He was a famous traditionalist (i.e., an expert in the science of hadīth) and a master in the field. He is considered a reliable narrator of reports from the Ahlul Bayt (S).
[25]Shaykh Abu Jafar Muhammad b. Hasan Tūsī (d.460 A.H.). He was a prominent jurisconsult and a specialist in principles of jurisprudence (usūl al-fiqh). He is well-known for his progressive influence on the science of the principles of jurisprudence such that a new era in that science is marked from the time of his ideas.
[26]Allāmah Hasan b. Yusūf Hillī (648-726 A.H.), known as Allāmah Hillī, was a famous Islamic scholar of theology and jurisprudence. He authored books on a variety of different subjects including theology, logic and jurisprudence to name a few.
[27]Science of rijāl studies the reliability of people who are quoted in the chain of narrators of a narration.
[28] Shaykh Murtida Ansārī (1214-1281 A.H.) was a prominent Islamic scholar and specialist jurisconsult. His work on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence created a new era for that science. His books, such as Farā`id al-Usūl and Makāsib are still being commented on and are being studied in Shī`ah centres of learning.
[29]Primacy of Caution (isālah al-ihtīyāt) is a term used in the science of the principles of jurisprudence. It means that in case of doubt due to lack of conclusive evidence from the Sharī`ah (Islamic system of law) regarding the permissibility or non-permissibility of something one must use caution in regards to what constitutes obedience to God.
[30]I have not included a number of other words that were specialised jargons and used in this part of the lecture.
[31]The term fiqh usually refers to Islamic law. A faqih usually refers to a person who has specialised mastery over all the subjects associated with Islamic system of law, jurisprudence and belief system.
[32] Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Husayn Burūjerdī (d.1381 A.H.). Prominent Islamic scholar and specialist jurisconsult of the twentieth century.
[33]Grand Ayatollah Abdul Karīm b. Muhammad Ja`far Hā`irī (1267-1355 A.H.). Eminent scholar and specialist jurisconsult. He is well-known for establishing the Islamic seminary in the city of Qom as one of the Shī`ah centres of religious learning.
[34]Al-Kulaynī, M, Y. al-Kāfī. Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1384 H.S., v.4, pp.582-583; Bābāwayh, M. (Shaykh Sadūq). Thawāb al-`Amāl. Enteshārāt Sharīf Razī, 1364 H.S., p.95.
[35]A Book written by the said scholar in Islamic jurisprudence.
[36]Sayyid Muhsin Hakīm (1306-1390 A.H.) was a prominent Islamic scholar and a specialist jurisconsult.
[37]Fātimīyah is the term given to the days of commemorating the martyrdom of Hadhrat Fātimah Zahrā the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S).
[38]Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hādī Milānī (1313-1395 A.H.) was a prominent Islamic scholar and a specialist jurisconsult.
[39]Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abu al-Qāsim al-Mūsawī al-Khu`ī (1317-1413 A.H.). He was an eminent jurisconsult for the Shī`ah in the twentieth century. He is well-known for his pacifism.
[40]It is a poem referring to a historical event. When `Umar attacked the house of Imam `Alī ibn abī Tālib and Hadhrat Fātima Zahrā (S) he broke the door of their house. A nail from that door went into the chest of Hadhrat Fātima Zahrā (S) but she did not say anything about it to Imam `Alī (S). Imam `Alī (S) only found out about what had happened when he was washing her body and preparing her for burial.
[41]The day of the martyrdom of Hadhrat Fātima Zahrā (S) the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S) and wife of Imam `Alī.
[42]The translation of this poem is difficult. The meaning of this poem is that the grief and sorrow of Hadhrat Fātima Zahrā’s (S) martyrdom is so intense and unbearable that Imam `Alī (S) does not want to live on this world anymore. It is only his breaths that keep him alive and that have imprisoned him on this world. So if those breaths leave him, he can be with Fātima (S) in the next world.
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The Lecture of Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani for the Occasion of Mid-Sha`bān

The Lecture of Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani for the Occasion of Mid-Sha`bān

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful

 Translated by: Sheikh Hamed Soltanian

Resurrection has 28 names in the Qur’ān and one of the names [of resurrection] is the ‘Day of Regret’ (yawm al-ḥasrah).  The noble verse is this: {And warn them of the day of intense regret, when the matter shall have been decided…}[1]

     We believe this verse alone is sufficient.  If only a person is able to comprehend who it is that the verse is addressing.  It is [addressing] the Seal [of the Prophets], and [it is addressing him] as a warner.  Then what comes after the warner is the Day of Regret.  Then God states:  There is no more return [for you on this day] and the matter is finished [in regards to the deeds that decide your fate in the hereafter].

     We were heedless and did not do as much as we could have done.  If God grants [us] success maybe it can be made up for.

     When His Excellency Khizr reached the darkness with Alexander, Khizr stated, “Under the feet of these horses is something that whoever collects it will regret it and whoever does not collect it will also regret it.”

     Some people said, “If at the end we are going to be regretful [anyway] why trouble ourselves [in the first place].”

     Others dismounted [their horses] and collected [the things which were under the foot of their horses].  When the darkness past [and they could see their surroundings and what they were carrying again].  They looked [at what they had collected] and alas! What they had collected were emeralds.  Those who had collected the emeralds were regretting why they collected so little.  The regret would be there for those who could collect even one extra [emerald].  Those who did not collect anything were [completely] regretful.  The reality of [the statement] “And warn them of the day of intense regret” is this.

     In this world there is darkness.  Truly the Qur’ān is amazing: {Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light.}[2]

     In this darkness there are hidden gems.  Whoever collects them will be in regret in the hereafter as to why he or she did so little.  Those who do not take benefit from it at all will be in a state of regret which is not comprehensible, because there is no return to makeup for what they lost out on.  For example, in regards to the martyrdom of Her Excellency [Fatimah] Zahra (peace and blessing of Allah be upon her) we could have changed another town (so that they would commemorate her martyrdom in a better way), but we didn’t.  We will regret it forever because last years commemoration will not return [i.e., there is one commemoration we could have done but we did not do].  Therefore, if in that town an association or group came out and commemorated the martyrdom of Her Excellency Fatimah Zahra and her name was kept alive, the result would have been this.

     The sixth Imam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has a saying.  In order to comprehend these words and reach the depth of their meaning one has to be at the level of such jurisconsults (faqīh) as Sheikh Anṣārī.  The statement of His Excellency [Imam Ṣādiq] is this: “Allah has had mercy on (him) who will revive our commandments”.

     This statement from the Imam is the solution to the problem of the day of regret.  Firstly, the prayer is in the past tense “raḥama allah” [Allah has had mercy] not “yarḥamallah” [Allah will have] and this in itself needs a lengthy discussion.  How different is the relationship between a taḥqiqiyah aspect [for a verb that is in the past tense] with a tarqībiyah aspect [for a verb in the present and future tense] requires an in-depth discussion [in regards to this narration].  [We are talking about] the prayer of him who [is an Imam and] the first sign of Imamate is this: “Verily he knows the Imam [who has] knowledge and [who his] prayers are answered”.  Therefore, it is not possible that he [i.e., the Imam’s] prayer is not answered.  That prayer is this: God has had mercy on not God will have mercy on; God has had mercy on who will revive our commandments.

     Then what is reviving of the commandments?  What is that mercy?

     First, [in order to know about] the mercy which His Excellency [Imam Ṣādiq] asked for, we have to go back to the Qur’ān itself.  The text of the Qur’ān [we are referring to] is this: {…and the mercy of your Lord is better than what they amass.}[3]  [This means that] whatever every human being from the beginning of [their] creation to the end amass, it will not be worthy of one mercy.  This is the mercy the Imam has asked for and [the Imam has asked for this mercy] for those who revive their commandments.

     This is why until now we have lost so much.  Years past and there was no news of the martyrdom of Her Excellency [Fatimah] Zahra.  The things we could have done but it slipped away from our hands.  Now we have to be alert so that we can make the most use from any opportunity [that comes our way].  “Allah has had mercy on (him) who will revive our commandments”.  That regret will be made up for through this because whatever is [in regards to this matter] is right here [in this prayer].  The people that creation is for are those who have [reached a stage in which it is as if they have become] annihilated in God meaning that their own will is completely annihilated and they only [apply] the will of God.  {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;…}[4]  This is an example of their deeds.  It is then which all existence is annihilated in the way of the will of God.  This is the case; the God who {His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is},[5] His will has become their will.

     This Zīyārat is the one that Sheikh Ṣadūq states [regarding it]: “It is the most authentic zīyārat.  In such a zīyārat is this: The will of God in all that He has decreed and destined has descended upon you and it is from your houses that it is distributed.

  The work of those who work in their way can never be truly appreciated.  This is the reason that we are unaware and cannot comprehend because the issue is beyond our comprehension.  First, we have to know who the work is for.  For example mid-Sha`ban is coming.  What has happened [on that day]?  Who is the owner of this day?  The mind is astonished.  The Imam of Our Time cannot be described.

     When I, myself, reach this matter, I am astonished.  Sunni and Shi`ah have written… and this is what is amazing.  God willing, I will at one time explain this narration if the opportunity arises.  The narration is this: His companions are the same number as the companions of [the battle of] Badr.  Each one has one sword.

     Try to comprehend this fully.  If the servant has this rank and position, then what is the rank of the master?

     Each one has one sword. On the hilt of each sword there are one thousand words.[6]  From each word a thousand different kind of knowledge will be opened.

     This is the rank of the companions of the Imam of Our Time.  Then the sentence which astonishes the mind is this: “None from those who came before (awwalūn) can exceed them in rank nor can those who will come at the end understand them.”[7]

     What is the rank of these 313 that all those who came before…  What does it mean when it is said ‘those who came before’ (awwalūn)?  All the chosen ones (awliyā) from before and all the (awliyā) from the end, from the first to the last, none will reach the ranks of these 313 individuals.

     This is the rank of his companions but what of himself?  What is his rank?  The case of the Imam of Our Time is beyond the comprehension of [ordinary] minds.  If people understand, then the entire country should be submerged [in celebrations and admiration] on the night [preceding the day of] mid-Sha`ban.

     In the world such a thing has never happened.  When the messenger (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family) was at the point of introducing him he said, “The Mahdi is my son.”  Then what astonishes the mind are these two sentences: “His name is the [same as] my name and his kunya [epithet] is [the same as] my kunya.”  The name and kunya of the Seal [of the prophets] has not been allowed [to be used together] for anyone.  But it is allowed and exists in Ḥujjat ibn al-Ḥasan [the divine proof son of Hasan].  [His] name [is the same] name as the Seal [of the prophets], [his] kunya [is the same as] the kunya of the Seal [of the prophets].  The sentence that astonishes the likes of Sheikh Anṣārī is this: “From among all human beings, he most resembles me both in terms of his creation and his dispositions;…”

     Every person has a soul and a body.  The best body and soul in existence in the world of creation and dispositions belongs to the first in rank among all created beings and he is the Seal [of the prophets].  Then he himself states, “From among all human beings, he most resembles”; [meaning that] in the entire human race the [one who] resembles me the most, both in his bodily creation and in the perfections of the soul, there is no one that resembles me more than Mahdi.  This is why the Imam of Our Time cannot be described.

     The most that people can do on the night preceding [the day of] mid-Sha`ban is lighting up [the areas around them]…, but where is the owner of that night?

     When Sheikh Ṭūsī recites the supplication for mid-Sha`ban in Misbāḥ al-Mutihajjid, the mind of every wise person and every jurisconsult (faqīh) is astonished.  The Imam of Our Time is presented in two ways: “The bright light and brilliant shine.”

     The Imam of Our Time is the light from God but he is the bright light.  The Imam of Our Time is the ‘shine’ from God, but a brilliant shine.  This is the statement of the divine proof from God and in the Misbāḥ al-Mutihajjid of the Sheikh of our creed (Sheikh al-Ṭā’ifah), Sheikh Ṭūsī.  This is [the state and rank of] the Imam of Our Time.

     You have all read the chapter of [the Qur’ān called] wa l-Shams: {I swear by the sun and its brilliance, and the moon when it follows the sun, and the day when it shows it,…}.[8]  There are three words that come one after another.  The ‘sun’ is interpreted to mean the Seal [of the prophets], the ‘moon’ is interpreted as being the Commander of the Believers [Imam `Ali], [and] the ‘day’ is interpreted to mean Ḥujjat ibn al-Ḥasan [Imam al-Mahdi].  { and the day when it shows it}.

     All of you make a decision and propagate [what I am going to tell you]:  Every month read the Qur’ān completely at least once.  Gift that reading to the Imam of Our Time.  The effect of this deed will be known at a later time.  These are the red elixirs but we only wakeup [from our inattention] when it is too late.

     Several years ago I came across this narration.  The narration has such an authentic chain of narration that a jurisconsult [faqīh] of the highest calibre, the likes of Sheikh Anṣārī , Mīrzā Shīrāzī, the First Martyr [Muhammad ibn Jamāl al-Dīn Makkī `Āmilī], the Second Martyr [Ḥasan Najl Zayn al-Dīn `Āmilī] [have accepted it].  The narration that we come across and astonishes the intellect the result of it is this:  whoever does this deed, that is to say, read Qur’ān as much as possible [and] gifts it to him [i.e., Imam Mahdi] his definite reward – which has no comparison – is this: [he or she] will be with him.  His reward will be ‘being with him’.  Paradise no longer has any [significant] meaning or value.  Someone whose deed is this: [he or she who] reads the Qur’ān as much as possible and gifts it to the Imam of Our Time, what will be given to him or her that both in this world and the hereafter he [or she] will be with him [i.e., Imam Mahdi].  What does it mean to be with him?  The very being with Imam of Our Time…  The Imam is [he who he states about himself]: “Whoever wishes to see, I am Adam, I am Shīth.”

     When he appears [again], he will state: “Whoever wishes to see Adam and Shīth, I am Adam, I am Shīth, I am Noah, I am Sam [son of Noah], I am Abraham, I am Ishmael, I am Moses, I am Aaron, I am Jesus, I am Simon,…” until he reaches this point, “Whoever wishes to see Muhammad and `Ali, I am Muhammad and `Ali.”

     Imam of Our Time is the extraction of all prophets and vicegerents [of prophets].  Serving him, working and striving for him, propagating his virtues and merits, explaining his excellence, reviving his commandments, and all during his occultation, [do these thing since] he is that gem who on the day of resurrection [you will regret that] we could have taken one more step in his way but we didn’t.

     In either case, I hope that your name is recorded in the book [of deeds for Imam Mahdi].  Of course, [this writing of your name in the book] is not without a cause [it is due] either to the food your father has given you, or the milk of your mother, or you have virtuous deeds [that you are credited with and] God has chosen you [because of it].  Otherwise not everyone can have their name recorded in the book of Siddīqah Kubrā (Fatimah Zahra) and to revive the day and night in which the Commander of the Believers wished to leave this world.  This is the rank which cannot be described.  This is a success.  Try so that your name is not crossed out and strive and work and enrol others [in such activities] because such work is difficult and this number of people [currently doing it] is too little.

     However many caring and intelligent people who can understand the issue and are attracted to such work, and however many of these occasions are done in the best of ways, then its effect is in two places, two indescribable places: One is the moment of [dying] when the soul is being taken out [of the body and] “the intensity of death and losing [the world] has surrounded them”;[9] it is in that time that without hesitation “Oh, Ḥārith of Hamedān whoever dies will see me.”[10]  Whoever dies will see me and there is no exception.  In that moment the Commander of the Believers will come next to your bed [while you are passing away] then he will look and see you are the same [person] who struggled so vigorously for his wife, the one whose back and ribs were broken, then there would be no place for Izra’īl [i.e., the angel of death].  The second is the day of resurrection when all prophets say: “Oh sorrow.”  All of a sudden she [Fatimah Zahra] will come and will place a blood soaked shirt on her head and will say: “My God, my followers (shī`atī).  [Angel] Gabriel will come, he will say: “Oh slave of God! God sent his salutations on you and states: ‘Ask for whatever you wish for today is given to you.’”  This is the narration: “Just as a bird collects seeds [she will] collect her followers and servants.  This is your reward [if you do the things mentioned].

     Know the value of such blessings.  Do not become tired and give up [working in this path] and persevere in regards to whatever befalls you [while working in this path]…  {…this is because there afflicts them not thirst or fatigue or hunger in the way of Allah,…}[11]

     What is ‘Allah’s way’?  [The answer] is in Zīyārat al-Jāmi`ah: “You [the Ahlul Bayt] are the great way and the firm path [of Allah]”.  This is [the value of] your deeds.  {But a good work is written down for them on account of it}.[12]  This is your recompense.

     Oh Allah, for your representative, the Ḥujjat [proof], son of al­Ḥasan send your blessings on him and his forefathers in this hour and in every hour, as (our) guardian and protector and a leader, a helper, a proof, and a source of guidance until you place him on your earth (as the head of a just government) and bestow him an extended stay (i.e., extend his reign) in it.

     On exactly 11 [p.m., the night preceding the day of 15 Sha`ban] do the following: That night people should definitely read [the Qur’ānic] chapter of YāSīn (chapter 36), after reciting chapter of YāSīn, [read] Zīyārat Āli YāSīn and gift the [reading of the] chapter [YāSīn] to the Imam of Our Time.  Then, at exactly 11 p.m. start the Du`ā Faraj with the name of the eleventh Imam.


     [1]Qur’ān 19:39.

     [2]Qur’ān 2:257. 

     [3]Qur’ān 43:32.

     [4]Qur’ān 76:8-9. 

     [5]Qur’ān 36:82.

     [6]Sheikh Ṣadūq.  Kamāl al-Dīn.  Qom, Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyah, 1395 A.H., vol.2, p.671. 

     [7]Abī Abdillah al-Ḥākim.  Mustadrak `alā Ṣaḥīḥayn.  Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1978, vol.4, p.554.

     [8]Qur’ān 91:1-3. 

     [9]Imam `Ali.  Nahj al-Balāghah.  Qom: Inteshārat Dār al-Hijrah, n.d., p.160.

     [10]Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd.  Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah.  Qom: Kitābkhāneh Ayatollah Mar`ashī, 1404 A.H., vol. 1, p.299. 

     [11]Qur’ān 9:120.

     [12]Ibid.

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Copyright © Fatima Zahra Charitable Association. All rights reserved.