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No day is like your day O Aba Abdillah!

No day is like your day O Aba Abdillah!

On the day Imam Hasan (AS) was poisoned Imam Husayn ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) visited his brother. When his [i.e., Imam Husayn’s] eyes fell on him he started crying. Imam Hasan (AS) asked, “Why are you crying?”

Imam Husayn replied, “I am crying because of what is going to happen to you [my dear brother].”

Imam Hasan stated:

اِنَّ الّذی یُؤتی اِلی سَمٌّ یُدَسُّ اِلی فَأُقتَلُ بِهِ وَ لکِن لا یَومَ کَیَومَک یا اَبا عَبدِالله! یَزدَلِفُ اِلَیکَ ثَلاثُونَ اَلفَ رَجُلٍ، یَدَّعونَ اَنَّهُم مِن اُمَّةِ جَدِّنا مُحَمَّد صلی الله علیه و آله و سلم وَ یَنتَحِلونَ الاِسلامَ فَیَجتَمِعُونَ عَلی قَتلِکَ وسَفکِ دَمِکَ وَ اِنتِهاکِ حُرمَتِکَ وَ سَبی ذُراریکَ وَ نِسائِکَ وَ انتِهابِ ثِقلِکَ، فَعِندَها یُحِّلُ اللهُ بِبَنی امَیَّة اللَّعنَةُ وَ تَمطُرُ السَّماءُ دَمَاً وَ رَماداً و یَبکی عَلَیکَ کُلَّ شَیئٍ حَتَّی الوُحُوشُ وَ الحَتیانِ فِی البِحارِ.

“What is in my destiny is that I have been poisoned with trickery and the will kill me. However, no day is like your day O Aba Abdillah! On that day thirty thousand individuals from those who claim to be the ummah (people and follower) of our grandfather Muhammad (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny) and Muslims will collaborate to spill your blood and kill you and to violate your honour and take your women and children as prisoners and to plunder your assets. It is in that time that God will allow the cursing of the Bani Umayyah and it will rain blood and ashes from the sky and all creatures, even the wild animals and fishes in the sea will cry for you.”

Reference: Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūs. Al-Luhūf. Tehran: Inteshārāt Jahān, 1348 H.S., pp.25-26.

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A Drop from Nahjul-Balagha’s Sea: Ants

A Drop from Nahjul-Balagha’s Sea: Ants

By: Zoya Alemi

The Nahjul Balagha is a book from Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A.S).  He is not only the Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) cousin; he was also brought up by the Prophet Muhammad.  Imam Ali (A.S) is the successor of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).

     The Nahjul-Balagha contains Imam Ali’s sayings and writings. The whole book has been divided into Khutbahs, letters and advice. In his book Imam Ali (A.S) has talked about many issues and has drawn our attention to many points that we can learn from.

     Below is part of the Sermon 185 from the Nahjul Balagha that is about ants.  If we notice this part of the Khutbah, we can see how Imam Ali (A.S), over a thousand years ago asked people to notice everything in their environment.  He asked us to notice the differences and similarities between different species that has been created by the Almighty and Merciful Allah. 

 

 ……انْظُرُوا إِلَى الَّنمْلَةِ فِي صِغَرِ جُثَّتِهَا، وَلَطَافَةِ هَيْئَتِهَا، لاَ تَكَادُ تُنَالُ بِلَحْظِ الْبَصَرِ، وَلاَ بِمُسْتَدْرَكِ الْفِكَرِ، كَيْفَ دَبَّتْ عَلَى أَرْضِهَا، وَصَبَتْ عَلَى رِزْقِهَا، تَنْقُلُ الْحَبَّةَ إِلَى جُحْرِهَا، وَتُعِدُّهَا فِي مُسْتَقَرِّهَا. تَجْمَعُ فِي حَرِّهَا لِبَرْدِهَا، وَفِي وُرُودِهَا لِصَدَرِهَا مَكْفُولٌ بِرِزْقِهَا، مَرْزُوقَةٌ بِوِفْقِهَا لاَ يُغْفِلُهَا الْمَنَّانُ، وَلاَ يَحْرِمُهَا الدَّيَّانُ، وَلَوْ فِي الصَّفَاالْيَابِسِ، وَالْحَجَرِ الْجَامِسِ! وَلَوْ فَكَّرْتَ فِي مَجَارِي أُكْلِهَا، وَفِي عُلْوهَا وَسُفْلِهَا، وَمَا فِي الجَوْفِ مِنْ شَرَاسِيفِبط بَطْنِهَا، وَمَا فِي الرَّأسِ مِنْ عَيْنِهَا وَأُذُنِهَا، لَقَضَيْتَ مِنْ خَلْقِهَا عَجَباً، وَلَقِيتَ مِنْ وَصْفِهَا تَعَباً! فَتَعَالَى الَّذِي أَقَامَهَا عَلَى قَوَائِمِهَا، وَبَنَاهَا عَلَى دَعَائِمِهَا! لَمْ يَشْرَكْهُ فِي فِطْرَتِهَا فَاطِرٌ، وَلَمْ يُعِنْهُ عَلَى خَلْقِهَا قَادِرٌ. وَلَوْ ضَرَبْتَ فِي مَذَاهِبِ فِكْرِكَ لِتَبْلُغَ غَايَاتِهِ، مَا دَلَّتْكَ الدَّلاَلَةُ إِلاَّ عَلَى أَنَّ فَاطِرَ الَّنمْلَةِ هُوَ فَاطِرُ النَّخْلَةِ لِدَقِيقِ تَفْصِيلِ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، وَغَامِضِ اخْتِلاَفِ كُلِّ حَيٍّ، وَمَا الْجَلِيلُ وَاللَّطِيفُ، وَالثَّقِيلُ والخَفِيفُ، وَالْقَوِيُّ وَالضَّعِيفُ، فِي خَلْقِهِ إِلاَّ سَوَاءٌ. {خلقة السماء والكون}…

 

“Look at the ant with its small body and delicate form. It can hardly be seen in the corner of the eye, nor by the perception of the imagination – how it moves on the earth and leaps at its livelihood.  It carries the grain to its hole and deposits it in its place of stay.  It collects during the summer for its winter and during strength for the period of its weakness.  Its livelihood is guaranteed, and it is fed according to fitness.  Allah, the Kind, does not forget it and (Allah the Giver) does not deprive it, even though it may be in dry stone or fixed rocks.

     If you have thought about its digestive tracts in it’s high and low parts, the carapace of its belly, and its eyes and its ears in its head you would be amazed at its creation and you would feel difficulty in describing it. Exalted is He who made it stand on its legs and erected it on its pillars (of limbs). No other originator took part with Him in its origination and no one having power assisted Him in its creation. If you tread on the paths of your imagination and reach its extremity it will not lead you anywhere except that the Originator of the ant is the same as He who is the Originator of the date-palm, because everything has (the same) delicacy and detail, and every living being has little difference.”

Here are some facts about ants for your information:

 

     We see ants everywhere in our houses, in the roads, even sometimes in our kitchens. It seems they like sweet things, especially sugar. Usually when we see one ant in our kitchen or close to our food, we know that soon is going to be many of them in that area.

     Today ants live almost everywhere in the world. But you won’t find ants living where it is very cold. 

     Ants are amazing because they work together so well. They all work and help one another. An ant’s body is hard on the outside.  The hard part is exoskeleton.  It protects the ant’s body.  Ants have three body parts- the head, the thorax and the abdomen. An ant’s head has two compound eyes and a mouth. Its antennae (feelers) are on the top of its head.

     Ants cannot speak but they can give one another message.

     Ants have no ears.  They hear by feeling vibration through their ‘feelers’ and other body parts.[1]

     Ants communicate with each other by releasing a kind of chemical substance known as ‘pheromones’.  There are differences in the smell of such chemicals depending on the message the ant wants to communicate.  Ants also use their sense of smell to identify objects around them.[2]

     Many species of ants make their homes called ‘nests’ by digging underground holes.  When they want to make their nest bigger they tunnel between the rooms.  Some species pf ants live on pieces of dead wood or old leaves.  Colony is the term given to a large group of ants living together in one nest.[3]



     [1]Ann Heinrichs.  Ants.  Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2002, p.9.

 

     [2]Kristin Petrie.  Bugs! Ants.  Minnesota: ABDO Publishing Company, 2009, p.10.

 

     [3]Suzanne Slade.  Ants.  New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2008, p.6.

 

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Hadith: Intellect and Virtue

Hadith: Intellect and Virtue

Amīr al-Mu’minīn (pbuh) said: ‘The intellect is a chaste covering, and virtue is a manifest beauty, so cover the flaws of your character with your virtue, and kill your (wrong) desires with your intellect – compassion will submit to you, and love will manifest itself to you.’

Al-Ḥurr al-‘Amilī.  Combat with the Self.  Translated by Nazmina A. Virjee.  London: ICAS, 2003, p.50.

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Khadijeh: Mother of the Orphans

Khadijeh: Mother of the Orphans

Though she was even wealthier than other rich people, unlike them, she always thought about helping the poor and sharing their sorrow and difficulties, and solving their problems.

     For this reason, Khadijeh (A.S.) ordered her servants to never close the doors of her house to any poor person and to always have ready at hand the things the poor needed.  She commanded her servants to inform her whenever a poor person wanted to talk to her or wanted something from her during the day or night.  She could not bear the thought that a poor leaves her house in sorrow, not having received something from her.

     So the deprived and poor knew the way to Khadijeh’s house and called that house, “The house of hope and security.”  More than any other, the orphans sought refuge in her house, because Khadijeh sympathized with them a lot and she would care for them in a motherly way.  So they called her “Ummul Yatama”, meaning, “Mother of the Orphans”.

     Having talked about Khadijeh’s (A.S.) house, the following lines will help you gain a conception of her house.

     The house where lived Khadijeh (A.S.) and from where she performed all the benevolent tasks for the poor, was one of the nicest in Mecca.  It had two floors, each one of which was decorated by a small balcony.  The northern section of the house so faced the Holy Ka’aba (House of Allah) that the latter could be seen from its small windows.  In addition to this, the visitors to Allah’s house could be seen too. The windows of the other three sides faced three of Mecca’s roads and every passenger entering Mecca could be seen from those windows.  There was a green dome at the top of the building, which made it look a hundred times more beautiful. The interior of the house was divided into two sections, one of which Khadijeh kept for private usage and where no one was allowed without her permission.

     She chose the northern section of the house, which faced the Holy Kaaba as her living quarters, and from there she stood in front of the house of Allah and prayed to Him every day.

     The other section of Khadijeh’s (A.S.) house was for the guests. Special servants entertained the guests, looking after their needs.  Everybody was satisfied when they left Khadijeh’s house.  This is why all the people living in the region would call Khadijeh’s house, “the house of generosity and kindness”.  In hard times, people would go and come back, hands full and happy.  We can say that the section of Khadijeh’s house open to the public was home to many homeless, the poor, refugees, orphans and the oppressed.  If anyone was looking for shelter, people would send him to Khadijeh’s house.

     A famous writer described Khadijeh’s house as follows:

“Every orphan who didn’t have anyone to depend on,

“Every father who couldn’t get food for his children,

“Every woman who was homeless,

“Everybody who suffered and became shelter less,

“All of them knew the way to Khadijeh’s (A.S.) house and went there.

“They took refuge in her kindness and wealth.

“The sore hearts of those people were treated with her favour and grace.”

     This was why Khadijeh’s house was always full of people. Whole day and night, there were coming and going activities there.  Khadijeh would come to that section accessible to the public a few hours every day.  She would sit with her poor and homeless guests, talk and listen to their distress and difficulties.  She would caress the children and wipe the tears of the mothers. Then she would call her private servant and he would bring some bags of money.  Khadijeh (A.S.) would then distribute the money amongst the people.

     Kind Khadijeh would always sit with the orphans at dinner and eat with them.  She would herself feed the delicious food to them.  She would place her hands around their faces, caress and kiss them, saying: “My dear children! Don’t feel like orphans. (I am your mother). I will support and love you like my own child.”

     Khadijeh’s (A.S.) support and protection was not only for the orphans who didn’t have any parents, but also for those who had parents. During those days, known as Al-Jahiliya (The age of Ignorance), some fathers who were narrow-minded and foolish would bury their own daughters alive, for different foolish reasons.  They were proud of this ugly and indecent act.  On every opportunity, they would boast about what they had done.  However, they never thought about the day of Judgement and that Allah will judge them:

     “When the female (infant) who was buried alive will be asked for what sin was she killed.”

(Al-Qur’an, 81:8-9)

     During those days, this ugly and indecent act was common amongst some Arab tribes.  They would kill their innocent daughters because of poverty and believed that having a daughter is something to be ashamed of.  They would cowardly bury their daughters alive.

     Then glowed the light of Islam forbidding such a practice. Allah says in Al-Qur’an:

 

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great sin.”

(Al-Qur’an, 17:31) 

As a result, when some mothers gave birth to a girl, their husbands would get angry at them.  They either had to give their daughter to their cruel husband, who was free to do whatever he wanted to do to the innocent baby, or send the baby to Khadijeh’s (A.S.) house from where it could be supported and saved from being buried alive. Now we are going to tell you one of those stories.

     One night, when darkness covered the region of the Hejaz (Arabian Peninsula), the wealthy, who had no conscience, were sleeping in their comfortable beds, putting their arrogant heads on their comfortable pillows. They were sleeping comfortably and never bothered about anyone or anything else as they had everything in the world. Also money was always at their disposal and they could do whatever they wished, even irrational. They thought that as long as the earth exists, they would have power.

     On the same night, the poor and helpless people were sleeping in their dirty houses or beside the walls of some rich person’s house in the city or in Khadijeh’s (A.S.) house and they would try to forget all about their sorrow and misery, at least for that night.

     During this dark night, the stars and moon were hiding behind the dark clouds. Not willing to see the prejudice and inequality amongst the human beings, they had stopped shining.

     On that night, everybody was asleep except Khadijeh and her special servant and…

     Khadijeh was thinking in her private room. She was swimming in the sea of dreams and had surrounded herself with the turbulent waves of her thoughts.

     Then suddenly someone knocked at her door. Khadijeh, still dreaming, lifted her head and asked: “Who is it?”

     Someone answered: “It is me, my lady, Maysareh.”  Khadijeh (A.S.) replied: “Come in!  I am awake. I can’t sleep tonight.”

     The door opened and Khadijeh’s special servant, Maysareh, rushed into the room, all confused.

     Maysareh said: “As Salaamu Alaikum, my lady, I am sorry if I am bothering you.”

     Khadijeh replied: “Wa Alaikum Salaam. What is wrong, Maysara? I see that you are worried. Has something happened or…?”

     Maysareh answered: “No, no!  Don’t worry.  You yourself said that we should tell you whenever an indigent, helpless or an oppressed person wanted to see you.”

     Khadijeh said: “Yes, yes. I myself said that. Now what has happened and who wants to see me and why?”

     Maysareh answered: “My lady, a young woman carrying a heavy sack has come to the house. She was shaking and crying and her hair was untidy. She begged me to bring her to you. It seems that she came here because she is afraid and depressed.”

     Khadijeh answered; “Very well.  There is no problem. Tell her to come in.  I myself told you to call me anytime, day or night if any helpless or homeless person wanted to see me.  Don’t let that person leave this house in sadness or with empty hands.”

     Maysareh went to call the young woman to take her to Khadijeh’s room.

     Khadijeh started thinking about that young woman and she told herself: “Oh Allah!  What has happened to this poor woman in the middle of the night?  What kind of problem has she faced that has caused her to leave her house alone at this time and to come to my house?  Who is this helpless woman?  Where does she come from?  And why did she come here?  Maybe she is a mother who came here with her sick child so that we can provide food and medicine for it.

     “Maybe she is a slave who has come here because of her unjust master. Or maybe she is a chaste woman whose house the street ruffians entered by force to kill her husband or take her innocent child. Maybe none of these, but maybe her cruel husband wanted to take her innocent daughter away from her and bury the girl alive under the cold dust of the desert. Maybe for this reason, she took the baby and brought her here seeking refuge in my house.”

     Many thoughts occupied the chaste mind of Khadijeh (A.S.) when suddenly the door opened.

     A young woman, whose head and face were covered with a veil, entered, crying.  Tears had completely wet her red and dusty cheeks.  Her arms and legs were shaking out of sorrow and she could only say: “As Salaamu Alaikum.”  She then sat down on the floor and tried to kiss Khadijeh’s feet, but the latter stopped her and hugged her and kissed her face like a kind mother.  Khadijeh asked her: ‘my daughter!  What has happened? Why are you so upset?  Be sure that whatever I can do I will do for you.  Tell me, my daughter.  Tell me what has happened.”

     The young woman moved away from Khadijeh’s embrace and opened the heavy sack and placed it in front of Khadijeh.  She removed a beautiful baby from it, which was like the blossom of spring and hugged it.

     After the young woman gave the baby many long and warm kisses while still in tears, she placed the baby in front of Khadijeh and said:

     “Oh Lady of Quraish!  Oh kind Khadijeh (A.S.)!  I beg you, please have mercy upon my baby and me.  Look how beautiful it is and what beautiful black eyebrows it has.  For the sake of Allah look how it looks at me with its sweet eyes.  See what a beautiful smile it has.  It seems that the baby understands what I say because it looks at me this way.  The baby knows that I want to take it away from myself and give it to somebody else.”

     Then the young woman looked at the sky and said: “Oh Almighty Allah!  Save us from this insecure and ignorant situation and from dirty deeds.  Send us a savior who can stop this savage situation and the cruel killings.  What did this innocent baby do that makes its father want to bury it alive with no fear?  What did I do wrong that I must give up my baby?”

     The woman prayed to Allah and then started crying even more.  The baby, afraid of her mother’s cries started crying also.

     Khadijeh (A.S.), who was quiet until this time, took the woman’s lovely baby and hugged it and sympathetically said to the young woman: “My daughter! Don’t worry.  I will keep and protect your baby like my own daughter.  I know how you feel now and why you are so upset.  I am a mother and I know the heartache of mothers. I will raise her and whenever you want, you can come here and see your baby.”

     The young woman said: “What if my husband comes and wants to take her from you?  He is an obstinate person.  When I was pregnant, he told me: ‘If it is a boy, he is mine.  If it is a girl, it belongs to the grave.’  He repeated this sentence everyday to bother me.

     “Today when I felt the pains of delivery, I took refuge in the desert so I could deliver the baby.  There, this beautiful girl was born.  I didn’t return to the house because I knew if I took it to the house, it would have meant the grave for it; as a result, I came to your house because I knew that my daughter would be protected here.

     “Oh kind Khadijeh!  We, the women of this region, know you very well.  We know that you protect the orphans better than their parents, but I am still afraid that my angry husband may come here and get the baby from you.

     “He may even hurt me and kill me for having given the baby to you. But it doesn’t matter. Let him kill me but my daughter will be alive.”

     The young woman uttered these words and fell down at Khadijeh’s feet and started crying very hard.  Khadijeh picked her up and placed her hand on the dusty hair of the young woman and very kindly said: “My daughter! I told you not to worry about your baby.  I will raise her like my own baby and I will never give her to your husband.  He can’t do anything here.  If he comes here, I will hide her.  Be sure that your baby is in a secure place. Now get up and rest a little bit.  You don’t feel well.  You have come a long way.  Leave everything to Allah because Allah is closer and kinder to a person than anyone else.”

     After the young woman heard the kind words of Khadijeh (A.S.), she went to a corner of the room and fell into a deep sleep.  The great Khadijeh, whose pure spirit was shaken by the recent incidents, thought very hard about the things that the young woman had told her.  Then she asked herself: What is this misfortune that is overcoming the Arab fathers, that causes them to become so cruel and conscienceless as to bury their innocent babies alive with their own hands under tons of black soil? Do they fear poverty or feel ashamed?

     The Lady of Quraish kept thinking about this unfortunate situation and deliberated as to how long this practice would continue.  Having pondered deeply, she started to pray and commune with Allah. She said: “Oh Allah!  I swear by your Prophets and the people who are close to You.  I beg You to send the Saviour that Jesus and the other Messengers have promised for these unfortunate and ignorant people so that this ugly, and unfortunate situation comes to an end.  Only then would innocent mothers be able to hold their unprotected and innocent babies in their arms.”

     After prayer, she went to sleep.  She dreamt that the sun was rising from the sky and turned several times around the house of Allah.  It then moved towards her house, where its huge brightness dazzled her eyes.

     She woke up and realized that the day of Islam was near.

Reference: Dastani, A.  Khadijeh: Mother of the Orphans.  Tehran: International Publishing Co., 1996.

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Word Find 1

Word Find 1

Find the words in the box below.

Click on the first letter of the word.

Drag your mouse to the last letter and then click on the last letter.

 

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