July 29

Maytham Al Tammar: The Orator of Ahlul Bayt

myWPEdit ImageAs usual, the lover of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) made his way to the palm tree near Amr ibn Hurayth’s house. With tender care, he watered the tree and made sure it was still healthy and strong. After praying under the sparse shade of the towering trunk and long leaves, these words escaped his lips: “May God bless you, for I have been created for you, and you have been created for me.” (Sharh of Ibn Abi Hadid)



This was the routine of Maytham al-Tammar, the freed slave of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). The humble fruit seller was one from among the circle of the Imam’s close companions, and he constantly uttered the praise of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon him). Eventually, he gained the status of being a carrier of knowledge taught to him by the Imam, and he propagated those teachings to others.



Imam Ali once predicted to his dear companion: “O Maytham, know that after my death, you will be arrested and hung from the gallows. On the second day, your beard will be reddened with the blood of your nose and your mouth, and on the third day, you will be pierced with a spear, and you will go to the presence of your Lord. The place where this will occur is near the house of Amr ibn Hurayth, and you will be the tenth person to die in that way, the only difference being that the scaffold from which you will hang will be shorter than the others. I will show you the tree from which it will be fashioned.” (Ibid.)



From the moment the Imam showed Maytham the specific tree, Maytham grew attached to it and looked forward to his martyrdom. For him, the tree symbolized the day that he would get closer to his Lord, so he yearned for that day and didn’t care for the sparkle of this materialistic world. Often, we get caught up in our everyday lives that we barely give a thought to the reality of our impermanence. If we were told the exact situation of our death, we could react in two ways: either try to live for this world in the time we have left, without a care for the teachings of Islam, or – like Maytham – we could try to live for the next world by being the best Shia of Ali that we can be.



In another account, after having been told that he will die from hanging one day, the first words that came from Maytham’s were, “O my Master! Will I die the death of a Muslim?” (Kitab al-Fazael) Maytham’s first concern was not how long he had left, where he would die, who would hang him, if it would be painful, or if there was any way out of it. All that mattered to him was whether or not his loyalty to the Almighty will still be firm when he will return to his Lord.



Like us, Maytham was a fallible human being – yet his mindset was so focused on getting closer to Allah. We need to re-adjust our focus to getting closer to Allah, so that we too can be like the strongest lovers of our Ahlul Bayt who guide us towards Him. When having to decide at a crossroads between the Right and the Wrong, we shouldn’t be intimidated by the whispers of Shaytan and his soldiers – we have to keep our focus. Death could come at any moment, and we definitely want to go as the followers of Allah’s beloved ones.



Whatever difficulties we may face, remembering Maytham’s dire situation helps to put things in perspective. When Ibn Ziyad came into power, he arrested the staunch supporter of the Ahlul Bayt, and after an exchange of words, Ibn Ziyad wanted to know about Imam Ali’s prediction about Maytham’s death. By the end of the description, an infuriated Ibn Ziyad vowed to disprove the Imam’s prediction. Yet Maytham’s supply of courage was not depleted – he said: “How can you do the opposite when, by Allah, Imam Ali had heard it from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), while he had heard it from Jibra’il, who in turn heard it from the Al­mighty. How can you oppose them? And I even know the place in Kufa where I shall be hanged, and I shall be the first in Islam to be bridled.” (Nafasul Mahmum) Ibn Ziyad imprisoned Maytham, keeping him there until approximately two weeks before Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) reached Iraq.



Truly, whatever troubles we face, they are not likely to be as dangerous as that of Maytham’s. In the court of a drunken tyrant, he stood up for what he believed in and didn’t shy away from showing the strength of his love for the Prophet’s Family – so why should we compromise our beliefs just because of what others might think of us? Why feel embarrassed at claiming to be the followers of Imam Ali? If we are his followers, then we have the responsibility to uphold his name and the reputation that goes with it.



The brilliance of Maytham’s faith doesn’t fade after having replied to Ibn Ziyad’s foolish talk; rather, Maytham went on to give us more inspiration in his love for the Ahlul Bayt. While he was hanging from the very tree that he had tended during his life, he attracted crowds of people with his words of praise for the Pure Infallibles! The soldiers of Ibn Ziyad informed him that Maytham was about to start a revolution in Kufa with his brilliant oratory in praise of the Ahlul Bayt! An alarmed Ibn Ziyad ordered Maytham’s mouth to be muzzled, and two days later, a spear was thrust into his body by the soldiers of Ibn Ziyad. On the 23rd of Dhil Hajj, in the year 60 AH, Maytham’s soul was reunited with his beloved master Ali. Thereafter, other fruit sellers took down Maytham’s body and performed the proper burial rites.



When it comes to being a true lover of the Ahlul Bayt, Maytham is a timeless example for us. Without hesitation, without apology, without embarrassment, Maytham uttered the virtues of the Pure Household wherever he was. They are the ones who take us closer to Allah, and He is the ultimate goal – so how can we shy away from loving them?



In reference to another kind of tree – a beautiful, ever-lasting tree – Prophet Muhammad once said: “The parable of Ali is like a tree, in which I am the root, Ali is the branch, Hasan and Hussain are the fruits, and the Shia are the leaves.” (Lisan al-Mizan) This tree – the tree of the guardianship of Ahlul Bayt – is what takes us closer to Allah, so we have to strive to keep it full of lush leaves. In order to be among the leaves blossoming from this flourishing tree, we need to live and die like Maytham: with the love of the Ahlul Bayt in our hearts and on our lips.





Reference: http://islamicinsights.com/religion/history/maytham-al-tammar-the-orator-of-ahlul-bayt.html

July 13

The Bees

Once the Holy Prophet (s) was sitting  with Amir al-mu’minin ‘Ali (a) in the middle of a garden, which contained  many trees, and was very fertile. A bee came towards them and started  circling above them for quite some time… The Holy Prophet (s) addressing  ‘Ali (‘a) said: Indeed this bee has made  us his guests today. It said to me: I have placed for you some honey in that  specific place. So send your brother Amir al-mu’minin to the place so that he  may bring the same. Thereupon Imam ‘Ali (‘a) stood up and brought  the honey.

 
[Then] the Prophet (s) addressing the bee said: O bee, surely your food is from the roses of flowers, and that is  bitter [in taste]; so how does it change into sweet honey? The bee  replied: O Messenger of Allah, surely the  sweetness of the honey comes from the blessing of mentioning your blessed  name and the name [s] of your pure progeny; when we draw the nectar of the  flowers we are inspired to invoke blessings upon you and your infallible  progeny three times; therefore when we eat, the mention of salawat   turns our honey sweet. [Khazinat al-Jawahir was lama’aat  al-Anwaar, p. 586]

May 8

Does God Exist???

This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain and suffering that I have seen. It’s an explanation other people will understand.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed.

Barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation.

They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don’t believe that God exists."

Why do you say that?" asked the customer

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument.

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbers shop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair & an un trimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

The customer turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to the barber:

"You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber."I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed.

"Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That’s the point!
God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the
world."

February 13

Valentines Day

And every time February 14th approaches, I think of Imam Khomeini ……

Imam’s wife would say, "I was never woken up by Imam praying Salatul Layl because he would never switch on the room light. When he would go to do wudhoo, he would place a sponge in the sink under the tap so that the sound of the falling water would not wake me."

Agha always offered me the better place in the room.  He would not start
eating until I came to the dinner table.  He would also tell the children:

‘Wait until Maa comes.’ 

He was not even willing that I should work in the house.  He would always
tell me: ‘Don’t sweep.’  If I wanted to wash the children’s clothes at the
pond, he would come and say: “Get up, you shouldn’t be washing.” 

On the whole, I have to say that Imam did not consider sweeping, washing
dishes and even washing my children’s clothes as part of my responsibilities. If out of necessity I sometimes did these, he would get
upset considering them as a type of unjust dealing towards me. Even when I entered the room, he would never say: ‘Close the door behind
you,’ but waited till I sat down and then would himself get up and shut the door.

His daughter Siddika says: My father had an extraordinary respect for my
mother.  In the period of 60 years of living together, he did not even reach
for food (on the dinner table) before his wife, nor did he have even the
smallest expectation from her.  I can even say that in the period of 60
years of living together, at no time did he even ask for a glass of water,
but would always get it himself. 

He behaved this way not only with his wife but also with all of us who were
his daughters. If he ever wanted water we would all enthusiastically run to
get it, but he never wanted us to bring and give him a glass of water in his hand.

During the difficult last days of his life, each time he would open his
eyes, if he was capable of speaking, he would ask: ‘How is Khanom?’  We
would reply: ‘She is good.  Shall we tell her to come to you?’  He would
answer: ‘No, her back is hurting.  Let her rest.’

Here is one of the letters he wrote to her:

To my beloved wife,

imam khomeiniO’ I die for you. I have always remembered you when you – the light of my eyes and strength of my soul- have been away from me. Your pretty face is shining in my heart like in a mirror…..

I really miss you her in Beirut. You can find a lot of beautiful places to visit in the city and at the sea. What a pity that my dearest is not with me……

This has been a good journey so far  trip but you are  really and truly missed. I miss our son, Seyyed Mustafa. I pray that  God will protect you both.

I love you so much.

Duas & Salaams

Ruhullah Khomeini

February 9

A Crabby Old Woman

A Crabby Old Woman

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through her meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses ?  What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?

A crabby old woman, Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice,  "I do wish you’d try!"

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,  lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?   Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse;    YOU’RE NOT LOOKING AT ME.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.

A bride soon at twenty -  My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty  my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other  with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn

At fifty once more,  Babies play ’round my knee,
Again we know children – My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, My husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own ,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman and nature is cruel;
‘Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, Grace and vigour depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass A young girl still dwells,
And now and again, My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years – All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people, Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;   Look closer….see, ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within…..we will all, one day, be there, too!

February 7

Saying Grace In A Restaurant – Priceless!

**Sometimes we forget* *the really important things in life.*

Last week, I took my grand-children to a restaurant.

My six-year-old grand-son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Nana gets us ice cream for dessert.  And liberty and justice for all!  Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my grand-son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table..
He winked at my grand-son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my grand-son asked.

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.
 
A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my grand-children ice cream at  the end of the meal.
My grand-son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you.
Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."**

**The End

I love this story!
Please keep it moving.
Sometimes, we all need some ice cream.*

**I hope God sends you some ice cream today*****

February 5

Do You React Or Respond..

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.

She started screaming out of fear.

With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behaviour of the cockroach on his shirt.

When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behaviour?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies. 

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life. 

Lessons learnt from the story:

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

I understood, I should not react in life…

I should always respond.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

And indeed this is the test – do you react or respond?

February 4

Before They Call I Will Answer…. Isaiah 65:24

THIS WILL TRULY LIFT YOU UP SPIRITUALLY. ENJOY & BELIEVE.

Isaiah 65:24

This is a story written  By a doctor who worked in Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labour ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates)..

‘And it is our last hot water bottle!’ she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

‘All right,’ I said, ‘put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.’

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough,mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. ‘Please, God’ she prayed, ‘Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.’

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, ‘And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?’

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say ‘Amen?’ I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-coloured, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be?

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried.

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, ‘If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!’

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked, ‘Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?’

‘Of course,’ I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it ‘that afternoon.’

‘Before they call, I will answer.’ (Isaiah 65:24)

When you receive this, say the prayer. That’s all I ask. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want – but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue praying for one another.

This awesome prayer takes less than a minute.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage.. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. I ask You to do these things in Jesus’ name. Amen

God bless you today and always.

February 2

The Wooden Bowl

nonameI guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-yearold grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

‘We must do something about father,’ said the son.

‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded,

‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.

‘ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table..

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:

A rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life..’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.You nee d to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you

But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,
your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.