بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Monday, 21st August 2017

Articles

Laylatul Qadr

duaIn surah Al Qadr Allah (SWT) clearly states:

Surely We revealed it (the Holy Qur’an) on the Grand Night. And what will make you comprehend what the Grand Night is? The Grand Night is better than a thousand months. The angels descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning.” (97:1-5)

Allah (SWT) is inviting all the believers for a Divine feast; the invitation which has been brought by the messengers. Allah (SWT) is the host, his most favorite angels are the servants and the believers are the guests. The table is spread with Divine blessings containing all sorts of rewards and favors. Though the eyes cannot see them nor the ears hear them not the human hearts imagine them, yet the bounties are all kept in readiness to be awarded to the guests in accordance to her actions. 

Lailatul-Qadr is a blessed night because the Almighty brings down during it goodness, bliss, and forgiveness for His servants. It is a feast which has come with a message that shows one the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.

 

Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night. When our Prophet (SAW) was asked how man could enjoy the favors and good grace of proximity to, and mercy of Allah (SWT) he quoted Nabi Musa’s (A) supplication:

“Oh My God, I seek proximity to You; He (Allah) said: Proximity to Me is for him who stays awake on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of Your Mercy; He said: My Mercy is for him who shows mercy to the poor on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the passport to cross the bridge; He said: that is for him who give alms on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I am in need of the trees in Paradise and their fruits; He said: that is for him who seeks forgiveness on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek deliverance from fire; He said: that is for him who remembers Allah on Laylatul Qadr
“Oh My God, I seek Your good pleasure; He said: that is for him who says a two rakat prayer on Laylatul Qadr

On another occasion Nabi Musa (A) said:

“Oh My God, are You far away that I shout to You, or are You near that I whisper to You?”

He said:

“O Musa, I am sitting together with you!”

What do we therefore have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr?

That it is:

- A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life times worth of activity.
- Full of long lasting blessings
- The night of unsurpassed grandeur when the absolute Grand God revealed the Grand Qur’an through the Grand Wahy - Jibraeel into the heart of the Grand Holy Prophet (SAW)
- A once in a year occasion for influencing our future destiny - “QADR” - taqdeer.
- The Masumeen (A) have explained to us that god in his infinite wisdom had planned the system of the universe in such a way that every persons destiny will be determined on a yearly basis in the angelic spheres through the agency of the imam of the age. Who is the leader and focus of the whole spiritual world) this gives MANKIND a unique opportunity to influence his own future (loss, gains, health/sickness, richness/poverty/ etc by performing certain acts, e.g. dua salat, sadaqah, jihad, acquiring knowledge, quran recitation etc.
- The night when the whole multitude of angels and the great spirit (ruh) descend on earth, greeting and praying for the believers and conveying messages to the Imam of age.

How to Prepare oneself for The Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr)

Preparing Mentally
- Strive to keep Allah (SWT) at the fore of one’s mind the whole night long.
- All the Ibadah done should be recited in the state of being completely awake, aware, conscious, and with a live heart
- If one feels that one will not be able to concentrate then start reciting from now “We are from Allah and towards Him is our return.” - Holy Qur’an (2:156) for it is considered as a tragedy if one can not in this night receive the divine grace in supplications.

Their prayers ascend upwards and reaches Allah, their words are accepted, and Allah loves to listen to their prayers the way a mother likes her own child.

Is not it shameful that the prayers which ascend upwards should be recited from the tip of the tongue, while the heart and soul remain occupied in worldly affairs?

Many a times, one feels that one cannot ‘properly’ perform a certain ibadah and so decided to forgo it. One should not do listen to this ‘waswas’ instead, one should perform it & more, for acceptance lies in the Hand of the Mercy of Allah (SWT).

Preparing Physically
The other preparations to be done for this night are,
- For worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance (comfortable dress which does not distract us)
- Paying alms during this night - to the people who really deserve financial support
- Follow the translation of the duas in order to understand what you are reciting for lutf is only got when one knows what one is reciting.

Preparing Spiritually
- Increase ones eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings;
- Select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with ones mood
- When one stands for prayer, or any other ibadah, to briefly spare a moment to think about the wisdom of that action/its meaning etc for e.g. Why am I standing towards Mecca? To realize that when I stand on my two feet, it indicates my hope and fear about the acceptance of my worship 
- Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul-Bait (A) - With persistence, supplicating in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon us the grace of being vigilant during this night.

Crying and Shedding Tears

That during these nights ones fear, humility, tears, crying, anguish, and lamentation be increased as much as possible.

The Learned Scholar Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (R) in his book (Suluk-i Arifan) Spiritual Journey of the Mystics tell us that One of the best method is that one should tie ones hands around ones neck; should pour dirt upon ones head; should place ones head against a wall; sometimes one should stand and sometimes one should cry; should imagine oneself at the scene of Judgment Day; and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, then one should imagine and be scared least Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders:

Seize ye him, bind ye him, burn ye him in the blazing fire, and make him march in a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits.” - Holy Qur’an (69:30-32)

Then one should cry:

“O’ Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!” “Where is Your vast blessing? Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?” Ask for forgiveness of past sins in the most appealing manner with a promise to try never to return to the sins again - a TAWBA in every sense of the word Present ones requests before the Almighty with full hope that they will be answered. The Prophet (SAW) when asked what one should invoke Allah during these nights, said: “Ask for your safety (here and in the hereafter)”.

Recommended Ibadah to be performed on The Night of Qadr

We are advised that this night be divided into 3 parts -

1st part to be allocated for Gaining Knowledge - Najhul Balagha, Tadabbur etc;
2nd part to be allocated for Meditation (not when you are too sleepy) One should not forget to select a period for having a private union between oneself and ones Creator; and
3rd part to be allocated for Salatul Layl to connect with Nawaafil with Subh prayer

Suggested ways to get the maximum of this blessed opportunity

1: Imam al- Sadiq (A) quotes

On all these nights, it is recommended that you perform the ghusl twice: once at the beginning of the night, and once at its end”.

When performing the recommended ghusl, to remember that while god likes physical cleanliness, more important He loves inner cleanliness of the heart, from immoral character e.g. jealousy, greed, etc. Thus resolve to clean the soul also by TAUBAH + JIHAD of NAFS

2: When praying 2 rakat namaz of recommended prayers with 7 times Surah Tawheed, make efforts to concentrate on the message of tawheed and get the heart to believe that truly GOD ALONE is ALL -powerful/All Merciful/Independent etc. therefore we should fear none BUT HIM, hope from none BUT HIM, we should ask from none BUT HIM

3: After the salaah when repeating ISTEGHFAR 70 times try to first be really repentant for serious mistakes done, sincerely ask for forgiveness either by:

(a) recalling 70 different sins OR

(b) feeling remorseful for 10 sins of the 7 main organs: eyes, ears, tongue, hands, mouth, stomach + private parts OR

(c) some particular sins that you may have committed repeatedly OR

(d) recalling the variety of punishments of different sins and finally resolve NOT TO Repeat them in the future, then only can one realistically expect to deserve the reward the HP has promised “Whoever performs this act will surely be forgiven by the Almighty even before here rises from his place”.

When opening the Qur’an and praying for your needs with the intercession of the qur’ an, realize that while the qur’an is a cure for spiritual illness, it only benefits the pious ones and the evil doers are deprived of its illumination. Thus increase the chances for Qur’an intercession to work on your behalf by earnestly following the rulings of the Qur’an.

While placing the Qur’an on the head. Remind yourself that true salvation can only be achieved by always keeping the rules of Qur’an ahead of us to follow. The fact that we put the Qur’an on our head is a sign of respect and reverence. We beseech Allah by the thaqalayn - the speaking and the silent Qur’an.

As you seek intercession of the Al mighty (bika ya al…) and the 14 infallibles (A) realize that God is limitless Ounces of Mercy and the Ma’sumen pure agencies for the distribution of divine mercy to all creations.

While performing Ziyarah of Imam Husein (A), remind yourself that on this night, the souls of 124,000 Prophets (peace be upon them all) visit Imam, who is aware of our inner spiritual reality and is hurt and repulsed by our record of repeated evil deeds, indifference to God’s comm andments; thus, we should avoid disgracing ourselves in that great audience of Imam.

How to Farewell the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr)

One should resort (tawassul) to the M’asumin (A) - to whom that night belongs - should submit ones deeds & worship to those exalted ones, with a heart broken, with grief & shedding tears, should request them to make those deeds as righteous, and request them to intercede with Allah (SWT)

The Day of Power (Qadr)

According to Ahadeeth both the night and day are interconnected, as far as their worth, value, esteem, and splendor are concerned, i.e. if the day is esteemed and honorable, the night of that day also possesses the same distinction and vice versa. Therefore, we must appreciate the importance of the Days of Power and like the Nights of Power, should celebrate them by sincerely performing worships and righteous deeds.

On a final note, our destiny to large extent can be changed in this very night and much depends on us, how we decide to utilize both the night and the day of Qadr and for that matter each single moment of this blessed month of Ramadhan.

Let us therefore pray together that we may be granted the Tawfiq to be able to do the A’maals of Laylatul Qadr in its correct essence, that we may be granted the Maghferah and that we may earn the Pleasure of Allah (SWT) in such a manner that our lives take a positive turn in a manner that we may earn the salvation for both this world and the Hereafter. Ameen

A humble request that we remember each other in our prayers and especially those we do not forget our Marhumeen.

Reference:

Preparing for Laylatul Qadr, courtesy of islamicdigest.net

The Holy Month of Ramadhan

It has been narrated from the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali (A) that:

Don't say Ramadhan because, you don't know what Ramadhan is. Whoever says so must pay charity and must offer an atonement fast, instead of saying Ramadhan, say the way Allah has called it “the Month of Ramadhan.

The most important duty of a devoted wayfarer in this great month is to understand the right of this Holy Month in which Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), has invited the wayfarers of His path for a feast. Also he must understand the correct meanings of fasting and its relevance with Allah's invitation. Having discovered this reality he must endeavour that all his actions and deeds are accompanied with required devotion and sincerity in order to earn the pleasure of his host Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted).

Regarding special distinctions of the Holy Month of Ramadhan and spread of Allah's blessings during this month, a lot of important points have been mentioned in narrations; following is a brief description of those narrations:

1. Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), pardons seventy million people, who are being punished in the Hell, at the time of Fast-breaking (iftar) during each night of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, and at the end of the Holy Month forgives an additional number of sinners equivalent to the total sum of those pardoned during the entire month.

2. On the first night of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), pardons whoever he pleases, and during each night pardons twice the number pardoned in the previous night, and on the last night, forgives twice the number of sinners pardon during entire month.

3. In this regard, the most famous tradition is the sermon of the Holy Prophet (SAW) which has been reported by Sayyid Ibn Taoos in his book Iqbal, quoted from Imam al-Ridha (A) who heard from his father, who quoted from the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali (A) who said:

"One day the Holy Prophet (SAW) delivered the following sermon about the Holy Month of Ramadhan: O' people! The Month of Allah with blessing mercy and pardon has came to you, a month which is the best month among all months before Allah; its days are the best days; its nights are the best nights and its hours are the best hours. It is the month in which you have been invited by the Lord for a feast, and have been selected as the recipient of this special favour. Your breathing merits the reward of praise, while your sleeping in this month earns the reward of worship. In this month your deeds are accepted and prayers are granted.

Therefore, with true intention and pure hearts beseech the Lord to bestow upon you His special favour to be able to observe fasting and recite the Holy Qur'an. Because the most unfortunate and wretched one is the one who remains deprived from Allah's pardon during this great month. With your thirst and hunger remind yourself about the thirst and hunger of the Day of Judgement; pay charity to poor and destitute people, pay respect to elders; be kind towards youngsters, and observe the bonds of relationship with your kith and kin.

"Watch your tongues, cover your eyes from seeing forbidden objects and prevent your ears from hearing forbidden affairs. Be kind to the orphans of the people so that the others are kind towards your orphans. Repent for your sins and at the time of prayer raise your hands upward, because these hours are the best hours in which Allah looks towards mankind with mercy and compassion. Their hymns are granted, their cries are heard. Whatever they ask is bestowed upon them and their prayers are fulfilled.

"O' people! Your selves are mortgaged against your deeds and therefore, by means of repentance make yourself free. Your back has become much too heavy due to sins; by prolongation of your prostration make yourself light-burdened. Know that Allah has taken the oath of his Majesty and Splendour that he will not punish those who offer prayers and bow down in prostration, and on the Day of Judgement will not scare them through Hell's fire.

"O' people! Whoever in this month will make arrangements for the fast-breaking (iftar) of a believer will be bestowed upon the reward equal to freeing of a slave and all of his past sins shall be pardoned. He was asked: 'O' Prophet of Allah! But all of us are not in a position to arrange the fast-breaking of a fast observer.' The Prophet replied: 'Protect yourself from Hell-Fire and offer fast-breaking even if it happens to be a piece of date with a glass of sherbet.'

"O' people! Whoever makes his conduct better in this month on the Judgement Day will be bestowed upon the permit for crossing over the Serat. Whoever will open the knots of difficulties of people's affairs in this month, the Lord on the Judgement Day will make the accounting of his deeds easier.

"Whoever makes people immune from his mischief, Allah on the Judgement Day will make him immune from his wrath. Whoever treats an orphan with respect, on the Judgement Day Allah will treat him with honour. Whoever takes care to strengthen family bonds with relatives, Allah will extend His blessings upon him on the Judgement Day, and whoever will cut off his family ties, Allah too will deprive him from His blessings on the Judgement Day.

"Whoever offers supererogatory prayers in this month, Allah will register for him immunity from the fire. Whoever performs a compulsory deed in this month, will be bestowed the reward of seventy compulsory deeds performed in other months. Whoever offers a lot of salutations upon me in this month, on the Judgement Day, Allah will make the balance of his righteous deeds heavier. Whoever recites one single verse of the Holy Qur'an during this month will be bestowed the reward of finishing the entire Holy Qur'an in other months.

"O' people! The gates of Paradise are opened in this month, beseech Allah that it should not be closed upon you. The doors of Hell are closed, and ask Allah that they are not opened upon you. The devils are chained in this month, ask Allah not to allow them to take over your control.

Imam 'Ali (A) said: 'O' Prophet of Allah which one is the best deed during this month?' The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied: 'O' Abul Hasan! The most supreme deed in this month is piety and renunciation of divine forbidden acts', then the Holy Prophet [s] cried. 'O' Prophet of Allah! What has caused you to cry?' Asked Imam 'Ali (A). 'O' 'Ali! What would happen to you during this month. As I can see you standing in prayer whispering with your Lord, the most wretched person comes and with a heavy blow of his sword makes your beard coloured with your blood.'

'O' Prophet of Allah! Would I be steadfast upon my religion on that day?' Asked Imam 'Ali (A) 'Yes! You would be steadfast on your faith' said the Holy Prophet (SAW). Then he said: 'O' 'Ali! Whoever would kill you, would kill me; whoever would engage in ill-speaking against you would vilify me, because, you are from me; your soul is my soul; your nature is my nature; Allah has created, me and you; He has bestowed exaltedness upon me and you - prophethood (nabuwwat) for me, and vicegerency (imamat) for you; whoever has not accepted your vicegerency has not believed in my prophethood either; O' 'Ali you are my executor and successor, you are the father of my children, you are the husband of my daughter; you are the caliph of my community (ummah)during my lifetime as well as after my demise; your orders are my orders; your prohibition is my prohibition; I swear to Allah who has bestowed upon me prophethood and made me His most distinguished servant that you are Allah's proof upon His creatures; you are the trustee of His secrets; Allah's vicegerent (caliph) upon His bondsman."

4. The most important and explicit tradition about this month is prophet's displeasure for someone who did nothing for his own forgiveness while the entire Holy Month passed away. The Holy Prophet has said:
"May Allah never forgive someone who spent the entire Holy Month without being able to receive forgiveness."

5. There are plenty of narrations about chaining of devils, closing of Hell's doors, opening of Paradise gates and Allah's proclaimer announcing the open invitation for the people from the beginning till the end of month. Such special distinctions from the beginning till the end of month have not been mentioned for any other month.

6. Some narrations about this month are those which indicate the special merit of this month is the acceptance of prayers by Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), as the Holy Qur'an says:

"Beseech Me so that I may grant your wishes."  Holy Qur'an (15:60)

References:

Spiritual Journey of the Mystics - Etiquette of the Holy Month of Ramadhan (A comprehensive Commentary About the Esoteric Essence of the Holy Month of Ramadhan) Writings of  Haj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (RA) Translated from Persian by Sayyid Hussein Alamdar

SOURCE: www.hujjat.org

“Visitation and Veneration of Saints, Holy Personalities, and Shrines”

“With the grace and blessing of the Almighty, MSI Jamat of Essex was able to open its doors yet again on Saturday 23rd January for another interfaith event, which gave an opportunity for all to ask questions and offer comment and observations with the ultimate goal to learn from one another and to be able to appreciate each other through faith.

This event’s theme was “Visitation and Veneration of Saints, Holy Personalities, and Shrines”.

 

The proceedings commenced with the MC, Sister Farwa Jeddy, who began by welcoming the guests and outlining the event.

Following a beautiful recitation of the Holy Qu’ran in Arabic and English by Sayyid Abbas Hussein and Zain Mohammed Valji, there was a short introduction from Al Hajj Fayyazbhai Haji, MSI Jamaat of Essex’s President, who welcomed the guest speakers and visitors to the event and prayed for its success.

 

This led onto the speeches by the expert guests. The speakers were chosen to represent a number of local faiths: Christianity, Judaism, Brahma Kumaris, and Sunni Islam, including a speech from MSI Jamaat of Essex’s resident alim, Shaykh Abbas Ismail.

 

Each speaker was given an opportunity to talk about the topic and this was followed by questions from the floor. Alhamdulillah all speakers, speeches and discussions were lively and interactive.

 

The Jamaat laid on an exhibition of posters, books and model shrines to show the way Shia Ithna Asheri Islam venerates our Holy personalities and shrines.

 

The day ended as usual with a sumptuous buffer dinner giving all 100 plus guests an opportunity to mingle, network and discuss relevant issues around the general interfaith theme.

 

The President and Executive Committee of MSI Jamaat of Essex are grateful to all guest speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend and speak on the day, and also to the volunteers, particularly the youth volunteers who offered their services to make this event such a great success.

Al Hajj Fayyazbhai Haji, said “By the grace of Allah, we were able to hold another successful event. My thanks and appreciation to our resident alim Shaykh Abbas Ismail and all the team here at MSI Jamaat of Essex. Indeed we have a vision to make MSI Jamaat of Essex a vibrant part of the local interfaith dialogue, and to participate in faith discussions with the intellectual and rational outlook of the school of the Ahlul Bayt”.

 

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Annual Prize Distribution Day for 2015

Annual Prize Distribution Day For Year 2015

Annual Prize distribution day for academic year 2015 and enrolment for academic year 2016 were held on Saturday 9th January 2016. This was a great day to recognise the great efforts of our children in the Madressa. The ceremony was held at Madressa usual premises Chancellor Park Primary School, Chelmsford.

The programme started by the recitation of Quran by ZainMohammed Valji (Imam Ali class). The entire program was chaired by Ammar Abbas (Imam Hussain class and last year's students representative). It was followed by a beautiful speech by Sister Akila Manji (Deputy Principal) who shared her experience of receiving a letter from a colleague who had expressed her admiration for practising of Islamic faith. She stated that in this day and age, there are examples that we can still set for our peers to see and appreciate our peaceful faith. This inspirational talk was followed by Sheikh Abbas Ismail (Fiqh Lead and Resident Aalim), who delivered words of wisdom including tips to practice.

Parents Representative Syed Hussain delivered a brief speech to thank Madressa team. It was followed by a talk from Madressa Principal Dr Syed Qamar Abbas, who presented the annual report and summarised the achievements of Madressa students last year and thanked all involved in making the Madressa a successful learning institution for our children. He particularly thanked teachers for all their hard work and appreciated the Essex Jamaat for their moral and financial support. He announced new members of Madressa team. Annual Madressa magazine was distributed as well. He announced that next year classes will be named:

Imam Hussain AS Class

Abbas Class

Hur Class

Zuhair Class

Habib Ibn Mazahir Class

John Class

Muslim Ibn Aqeel Class

Last but not least, all children of the Madressa where recognised for their hard work and exam results in the award presentation ceremony which was conducted by the principal and awards were given by guest speakers and Madressa teachers to the children. The children were presented with Al-Mustafa, Al-Murtaza and Az-Zehra award as per their achievements as well as their conduct and participation throughout the year.

The ceremony was concluded by Jamaat President Fayyaz Haji's speech who thanked all Madressa volunteers, parents and students for their ongoing involvement. Salaat-e-Dhuhrain was offered to complete the ceremony.

 

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I Donate Blood for Imam Hussain [as]

ESSEX JAMAAT MEMBERS DONATE BLOOD TO PAY TRIBUTE TO IMAM HUSSAIN (AS)'s SACRIFICE

10th Muharram 61 AH will always be remembered in history as the day of greatest sacrifice a human can make to make sure that God's message of justice, freedom, truth and humanity survives. This is the day which was coloured red by Imam Hussain (AS)'s family and companions' blood but it provided a glorious way to follow for the rest of time.

Every year, Shia Muslims gather to remember that sacrifice and use different ways to pay their homage. This year, members of Essex Jamaat (like before) liaised with Blood (UK) and wore special T-shirts to donate blood in the name of Imam Hussain (AS). The day was coordinated by Essex Jamaat’s youth committee member Hamza Abbas who donated blood for the first time to pay tribute to Imam Hussain (AS).

Hamza said, 'It is a great service to donate blood to fellow human beings but it was a special and honourable feeling that I was donating blood for Imam Hussain (AS), who is a great inspiration for all of us.'

Members of Essex Jamaat donated blood on 20th December 2015 at Mildmay Junior and Infants School, Chelmsford. Members from the local community were impressed by the T-shirts and asked questions about Essex Jamaat's motivation to donate blood.

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