May 16

‘Lailatul Raghaib’ (Night of Desires)

First Thursday in Rajab called ‘Laylat al-Ragha’ib (Night of Desires).



This rite is a special prayer to be offered on this night. As is mentioned by Sayyid Ibn Tawus in his book of ‘Iqbal al-Amal’ andAllamah al-Majlisiy in ‘Ijazat Bani-Zuhrah,’ the reward of him who offers this prayer is that a great number of his sins are forgiven and that on the first night in the grave, Almighty Allah sends him the reward of this prayer in the form of a life form with happy mien and fluency to say to him, “Good tidings, You have escaped all hardships.” The offerer of this prayer will then ask him about his character, saying, “Who are you? Indeed, I have never seen such good looking face, and I have never heard such fluent words, and I have never smelled such nice scent.” He will be answered, “I am the reward of the prayer that you offered at so-and-so night in so-and-so month in so-and-so year at the town of so-and-so. I am here now so as to settle your right, to entertain you in your loneliness, and to save you from this cheerless situation. When the Trumpet shall be blown (declaring the Resurrection Day), I will cast a shadow over your head in the Resurrection Court. So, be happy, for you shall never be deprived of goodness.”



The Holy Prophet (s.a) has said, that these prayers are Means of forgiveness and On the first night in our grave,, the Almighty will send the reward off this prayer in the best,, enlightened and eloquent form.. When inquired,, will reply,, ‘‘My Beloved,, glad tidings to you that you have found salvation from every hardship and horror..’’When asked,, ‘‘Who are you?’’ ‘‘By God I haven’t seen any one more beautiful than you,, I haven’t heard a word sweeter than yours,, or a fragrance better than you?’’ In reply,, ‘‘I am,, that prayer which you offered on the eve off the first Friday of the month of Rajab. I have come to you,, to be your companion in this loneliness,, to remove from you your fright and horror.. Be lest assured that my shelter will be with you until the blowing off the Horn off the Day off Judgment..’’



One should observe fast on the first Thursday in Rajab.



Between the Maghrib (sunset) and Isha' (evening) Prayers, one should offer a twelve Rakah prayer each couple of which is separated by Taslim (i.e. the concluding part of a prayer). In each Rak`ah, one should recite the Surah of al-Fatihah once, the Surah of al-Qadr three times, and the Surah of al-Taweed twelve times.

After accomplishing the prayer, one should recite the following invocation seventy times:



Recite 70 times:


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First Line:



“Allahumma s’ale a’laa muh’ammadin nabiyyil ummi wa a’laa aaleh.”

O Allah send blessings on Muhammad, the Ummi Prophet, and on his descendants.



Second Line:

Then go into sajdah & recite 70 times:



“subbuh’un quddoos rabbul malaaaekate war-rooh’”

Holy and most Holy is the Lord of the Angels and spirits.



Then sit erect & say 70 times:



Third Line:



“rabbighfir war-ham watajaawaz a’mma ta’lamo innaka antal a’liyyul a’zam.”

O Lord! Forgive, have mercy and be indulgent about that which Thou knows well, verily Thou art Sublime, Mighty.



Fourth Line:



Then go into sajdah & recite 70 times:



“subbuh’un quddoos rabbul malaaaekate war-rooh’”

Holy and most Holy is the Lord of the Angels and spirits.

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 25

Reflections:

He sends down water from the clouds, then valleys flow (with water) according to their measure, and the torrent bears along the swelling foam, and from what they melt in the fire for making ornaments or apparatus arises a similar scum; thus does Allah compare truth and falsehood; then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing, and as for that which profits people, it stays on the earth, thus does Allah set forth parables. (13:17)

This fascinating verse of the Holy Qur’an is full of meaning and depth. The example that Allah gives in this verse is that of the rain which falls on the earth. Different parts of the earth accept it according to their capacity. The water then flows along, with foam forming on top. This foam is similar to the scum produced when metal is melted. Allah likens the foam and the scum to falsehood, while the water that remains and is beneficial to human beings is likened to truth.

Pondering over this verse reveals many hidden meanings. Through this parable Almighty Allah wants us to realise the difference between truth and falsehood. Using an example that everyone can see, the Almighty points out simple facts that we often overlook and ignore. How many of us have seen the foam forming over water, and dismissed it as just worthless dirt! To us nature is to be seen and enjoyed, and perhaps seen as a proof of the existence of a Creator. But in this verse Allah asks us to go beyond that. He wants us to derive insights from observing the foam and scum produced in nature.

One teacher of the Holy Qur’an described his fascination with this verse in a lesson saying that he actually went out once when it was raining, and observed as the water fell on the earth. He followed the path of the water as it flowed, and watched as the foam began to swell. He had never observed the phenomena with such thoughtful eyes before. He saw the foam rise and gush forward, but saw it settle down as the water flowed to flatter surfaces. Eventually the foam disappeared and the water calmed down. Such, he realised, was the transient nature of falsehood.

Commentators of the Holy Qur’an have given many points when talking about this verse. Some of these points are summarised below:

  1. The rain falls equally on the surfaces of the earth, but the acceptance and absorption by the ground depends on the ground quality. Some soil will absorb enough water for growth, and the water turns it into a fertile place. Other types of soil will not have the capacity to absorb much, and will remain barren. Such is the example of Divine revelation and the human heart. The wisdom and guidance from the Almighty comes for everyone, but each human being accepts and derives benefit from it according to his capacity.

  2. Truth and falsehood are sometimes difficult to distinguish. Often, falsehood is disguised as a form of truth, and has many advocates who will vouch for it. This point is especially true in today’s modern world, where truth and falsehood in moral and ethical issues are often indistinguishable. In the verse above, the Almighty gives us the following signs to identify truth and falsehood:

a) Truth is always useful and beneficial. Like the flowing water that is a source of life, truth gives life and spirit to everything it comes into contact with. Falsehood on the other hand, is useless and superfluous. The foam on top of the water does not quench any thirst, nor cause any greenery to grow. It has no benefit for the human being.

b) Falsehood is always on top, making a lot of noise and movement. It invites attention and seems large, but like the foam is empty inside. Truth is humble, quiet, and content to stay at the bottom. It has weight and value, and does not need to attract attention to be worthy. Imam Ali (a) says: Truth is heavy and wholesome, while falsehood is light and bitter.

c) Truth is strong and always depends on itself. It is often used as a support. Imam Ali (a) says: Truth is the strongest support. Falsehood depends on others to exist. It tries to disguise itself in the dress of truth, and use it to support itself.

  1. Truth will always overcome falsehood, even if it takes some time. Those who have neither patience nor wisdom to know that this will eventually be the outcome are deceived by falsehood. Wise people however, are content to wait. They know that truth will ultimately emerge the winner. Almighty Allah says in Surat al-Anbiya: Nay! We cast the truth against the falsehood, so that it breaks its head, and lo! It vanishes. (21:18). The foam may be strong for a while, but will eventually disappear.

  2. When the water calms down and enters a flat area, the foam subsides and soon disappears. Clear and pure water then becomes visible. When human beings become tranquil and are ready to see the truth, the falsehood on top of the truth subsides and disappears. Truth, in all its purity, is then recognised and accepted.

The above verse of the Holy Qur’an is a beautiful example of how human beings can learn much from nature. It is an eye-opener, reminding us to walk on earth with eyes and ears open for understanding. It is a great loss if we pass by such wonderful lessons of nature, seeing them but not really understanding them. That is why the Almighty reminds us often in the Holy Qur’an to ponder over creation; Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of the night and the day, there are signs for a people who understand. (3:190)

Sources

Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi (ed.), Tafsire Namune

Agha Muhsin Qara’ati Kashani, Tafsire Noor

Muhammad al-Ray Shahree, Mizanul Hikmah

The Academy for learning Islam

Reflections: Issue # 16 April 2012

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]

January 27

Your Tongue Is The Translator Of Your Intellect

YOU CAN WIN THE KINGDOM IF YOU USE THE WISDOM.

The Clever Fisherman

As King Parveez and Queen Shireen were sitting in their palace one day, a fisherman who was selling fresh fish was brought in front of them. King Parveez decided to buy a fish and gave the fisherman 4000 dirham for it.
The fisherman was overjoyed. He thanked King Parveez and left.

Queen Shireen turned to her husband in anger and scolded him for paying so much for a fish. King Parveez let her have her say but said that the fish was purchased and that there was nothing that could be done about it.
However, the Queen was adamant and insisted that the fisherman be brought back.

"We will ask the fisherman about the gender of the fish," she said. "If he answers that it is female, we will say that we wanted a male fish and if his response is that it is male, we will say that we wanted a female fish! Either way, we will be able to return the fish and have our money back."

So the poor fisherman was called back and was asked the question. Fortunately, he was clever enough not to be caught out. He replied, "The fish is neither male or female. It is neutral."

King Parveez was so impressed by the ingenuity of the man that he ordered a further 4000 dirham to be paid to him. The fisherman thanked the King again but as he was about to leave with the heavy bag of money, one of the coins fell onto the floor. The fisherman immediately bent down to look for the coin. Queen Shireen was already upset that the fisherman had been given 8000 dirham.

"Look how miserly this man is!" the Queen exclaimed. "One coin has fallen out of his bag full of money and he searches for it instead of leaving it for some other poor servant to find."

The man heard this remark and said, "O Queen, it is not out of miserliness that I search for the coin but rather because it had the picture of generous King Parveez on it. I would not tolerate anyone to cause dishonour to the King by treading on the coin."

The King was so happy with this response that he immediately called for another 4000 dirham to be given to the fisherman. When Queen Shireen saw all this, she thought it was better to hold her tongue and let the man go with the 12000 dirham before the King decided to increase the amount again. (Lessons from Life)

Speech is an Art. If one knows what, when and how to talk then such a person will be successful in life. The Holy Prophet(S) has said,

"The beauty of man is in the clarity of his tongue". (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib(A) has said, "Your tongue is the translator of your intellect". (Bihar al-Anwaar)

In other words, a person’s intellect and wisdom is recognized through his speech.