بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Monday, 21st August 2017

Articles

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

The 12th Imam [as]

He was born on the night of 15th of Sha’ban in the year 255 AH. At the time of the death of his father, he was five years old.

God endowed him with wisdom and the distinction of speech. He made him a sign to the worlds. He endowed him with wisdom as He had endowed John the Baptist while still a boy. He made him an Imam while still in the state of apparent childhood just as He made Jesus, son of Mary, a prophet in the cradle.

The nomination of him had been given earlier to the community of Islam by the Holy Prophet, then by the Commander of the faithful, Ali bin Abu Talib, and the Imams, consecutively one after another, down to his own father, al-Hasan (al-Askari), had nominated him.

His father had nominated him in front of the trusted and close members of his Shi’a. Information about his occultation (ghayba) was established before his existence. Information about his state was widespread before his occultation . He is the leader with the sword (sahib al-sayf) from the Imams of guidance, the one who will undertake the achievement of truth (al-qa’im bi-al-haqq), the one who is awaited (al-muntazar) to (bring about) the state of faith.

Before his appearance (qiyam), he will have two occultations. One of them will be longer than the other as is reported in the traditions. The shortest of them was from the time of his birth to the end of the period of direct representation (sifara) between him and his Shi’a, and the end of the representatives (sufara’) through death. As for the longer (occultation), it will be after the first and at the end of it he will arise with the sword (yaqum bi-al-sayf). God, the Mighty and High, has said:

We want to favour those who were weak on earth. We give them Imams and We give them heirs. We give them power on earth. We show Pharoah and Haman and their soldiers but they will not be warned.” (Surah 28:5-6).

He, exalted be His name, said:

We have written in the Psalms after the message (to Moses): My righteous worshippers will inherit the earth (Surah 21:105).

The Holy Prophet said: “The days and nights will never end until God sends a man from my House, whose name will be the same as mine. He will fill (the earth) with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.” He, may God bless him and his family, said: “If only a single day remained for the world, God would lengthen that day so that He could send on it a man from my descendants, whose name is the same as mine. He will fill the world with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.

His birth

At dawn, on the 15th Sha’ban 255 AH, the rays of the illuminating world shone with a powerful shaft of light into a human form which became the source of existence for the universe. Yes, finally, the Divine Promise was fulfilled and Imam al-Mahdi, peace be on him, was born in spite of the efforts of those who denied him. It is one of history’s miracles that the Umayyids, ‘Abbasides and other opponents of this Holy Imam attempted to extinguish this divine light but met with complete failure.

The cruel and tyrannical caliphs of the Bani ‘Abbas had heard that the Twelfth Imam of the Shi’ites would establish a just Government and would rule over the east and west of the world, and would destroy the foundations of injustice. Therefore, to counter this event, they tortured and shed the blood of the Shi’ites as much as they could. The conditions of the martyred Shi’ites can be referred in the books on this subject.

In the year 235 AH, Mutawakkil, the ‘Abbasid caliph, ordered the Tenth Imam Muhammad al-Hadi (A), and his family to be shifted from Medina to Samarra’, his seat of government, so that he could keep a close watch on the Imam of the Shi’ites. Similarly, Mu’tamid, the ‘Abbasid caliph, the Pharaoh of the time, was afraid of the son of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A). He formed a group of detectives and midwives who had the mission of frequently searching through the houses of the ‘Alawiyyin, and especially the house of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A) so that if a newly-born child were found, he could be killed immediately.

The search to find and kill Imam al-Mahdi (A) was intensified when Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A) left this world for the eternal one. This is because everyone knew that on that day the command of Divine Leadership (Imamate) was to be entrusted to the Twelth Imam, and the universe would come under his authority.

Shaykh Saduq writes in Kamalu’d din: “When the holy body of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A), was buried and the people went away, the caliph and his comrades started their efforts to search for his growing son and inspected the houses carefully.

Shaykh Mufid also wrote in Irshad: “When Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A) passed away, the caliph of that time, pursued his son because the Shi’ite Imamiyyah’s belief was famous and was spread about that the Shi’ites were awaiting His Eminence.

Mu’tadid, one of the tyrant ‘Abbasid caliphs who ruled from 279 to 289 AH, decided all at once to destroy the entire family of al ‘Askari when he heard that more than twenty years had passed since the birth of the son of Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A) and that he was still living in spite of the attempts of the preceding caliph to kill him. One of Mu’tadid’s officers said: “Mu’tadid has ordered me and two other persons, each of us to mount a horse and to proceed to Samarra’ in full speed without even stopping for prayer. He gave us the address of (Imam) al-‘Askari and instructed us to enter his house without his permission and to bring him the head of whoever we find there.” As a matter of fact, they were unaware that the same power which had protected the Imam from the former caliphs would give him protection from his evil, because:

Allah disdains (nothing) save that He shall perfect His light, however much the disbelievers are averse (Surah 9:32).

Indeed what an immature thought and foolish act it was! If the Divine Will bears on some matter, can a person revolt against it and combat it? Is it possible that definite Divine Promises may not be compiled with? Or is it possible that the reins of oppressive imposters who fight against the Divine decree will not cut? Is it not more amazing that Peerless, Almighty Allah has shown His power many times before, so that after that all men should know that if He wishes to give His chosen servant government and sovereignty and to destroy infidelity and irreligiousness through him, then there is no one who can disrupt His rule? Fortunately, this sensational story is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.

Pharaoh, the great emperor of Egypt, who had great power and pride, claimed the divinity for himself. He determined to kill all the youths and boy children of Bani Isra’il as a result of what he had heard about a son being born who would destroy his empire and divinity. He shed the blood of innocents, and banished many persons to unknown regions; but see how Almighty Allah restored His Prophet and how the Divine Will worked to protect the life of Musa, peace be on him, and destroy Pharaoh:

And We revealed to the mother of Musa, saying, “Give him suck; and if you fear for him, launch him on the river; and fear not, nor grieve; for We will return him to you and make him one of the Messengers.” And took him up Pharaoh’s people, that he might be to them an enemy and a (cause of their) grief, (for) verily Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were sinners … So We did restore him to his mother that her age might be refreshed and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is (always) true, but most of them know not.(Surah 28:7-13)

Yes, Allah will protect His Proof (Hujjah) and will fulfil His promises and glad tidings because His decision is based on its execution, although most people do not know it. Would Allah wish to save the life of Prophet Musa who was only a messenger to a certain nation and tribe, and yield the Imam of the Age (Imam e Zaman) into the hands of Mu’tamid and Mu’tadid ?

Would Allah protect the life of Musa while he was in the middle of the roaring waves of a river, and give no security to the Imam of the Age who was in the house of his father, Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (A)? Would the Sustaining Allah of the Prophet Ibrahim, peace be on him, protect Ibrahim, peace be on him, in the middle of the flaming fire, but allow the Last Pearl of the Prophet’s progeny to be a victim of the lust and anger of the ‘Abbasid caliphs?

At dawn, on the middle day of Sha’ban in the year 255 AH, Imam Hasan al Askari (A) beheld the heavenly, shinning face of his son who was to fulfil all Divine promises and glad tidings. Not more than three days had passed after his birth when the Eleventh Imam took the holy child to his companions and told them: “After me this will be your master of authority and my successor, and he is the ‘Support ‘ (al-Qa’im) for whose appearance all people will wait; when the earth is full of injustice and tyranny, he will fill it with peace and justice.”

Our role as Shi’as:

So now, what is a duty of a Shi’a? What responsibilities does he have? Truly, are we reckoned among the real followers of His Eminence (Imam al Mahdi)? If we study the lives of the devout Shi’as (followers) of the Holy Imams before the Twelfth Imam, and consider their sacrifices without the slightest hesitation, we shall at once awake from our neglectful slumber and realize our weakness and guilt.

Were not Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir and Malik al Ashtar, the followers of the contemporary Imam ‘Ali, Amir al-muminin  (A), and are we too the followers of the Imam of our Age? Was not Maytham at-Tammar, who did not cease to praise ‘Ali, a follower of ‘Ali, and are we too, who are passing with the Imam of our Age through a strange period, the followers of him? Were not the martyrs of Karbala’, who with love strived in the way of defending the Imam of their time, Husayn (A), and were martyred, the followers of His Eminence, and are we too, who refuse to give our wealth, lives and other means in the way of the Imam of our time, His Eminence’s followers ? Is a person like Hisham ibn Hakam, who in his extraordinary and valuable debates erushed and defamed the opponents of the Divine Leadership (Imamate) in such a way that he was called the “assistant of the Imam” by Imam as Sadiq (A) a Shi’ia? And are we too, who are sluggish in fulfilling our foremost duty to recognize the Imam of our time, Shi’ias?

From what we read of the glad tidings in the Qur’an and the traditions of the Holy Prophet and the infallible Imams, the Imam of the Age (Imam e Zaman) has special responsibilities which other Imams did not have. Imam e Zaman will establish a Universal Government. He will fill the earth with righteousness and justiee. He will exploit the earth’s treasures and natural resources. He will improve and develop the land, and in this way people’s awareness and understanding will improve.

Therefore, do not the followers of His Eminence have a very particular duty? Should not the Shi’as endeavour to obtain the competence and merit of being His Eminence’s special Companions when he reappears by Divine Command? Therefore, let us see what our duties are and how we should observe them. Undoubtedly, our first duty is to become aquainted with him. Recognizing Imam e Zaman is so important and essential that in the Holy Prophet’s traditions we read:

He who dies without reeognizing the Imam of his age is like one who had died during the jahiliyyah (the pagan era before the advent of Islam).

To die during the jahiliyyah means a death devoid of Islam and faith. And it is obvious that one who dies without recognizing the Imam of his age is counted in the group of the faithless. In another tradition, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A) is quoted as having said on the same subject:

One who dies without having (accepted) the Imam, it is as if he died in the jahiliyyah, and people are not exempted from recognizing their Imam.

Therefore, we must endeavour to recognize His Eminence (Imam e Zaman) for the sake of Islam and our faith, and so that we may be reckoned among those who have gained salvation and among the faithful. Another duty of the Shi’as during the major occultation, which the Holy Imam have alluded to, is the question of being ready for the Saviour. Hence, the first step for salvation is to recognize the Imam of the age; and the second step is to be prepared for the establishment of just Government by His Eminence.

One who is waiting (muntazir) and preparing himself for the appearance of the Imam must have the characters and merits of the companions of Imam al-Mahdi (A), and should sacrifice his life and wealth in his way. For this reason Imam as-Sadiq (A), said:

One who waits for our commands is like a person who sacrifices his own blood in the way of Allah.

One who dies while expecting the Government of al-Qa’im is like one who is in the presence of al – Qa’im (Imam al-Mahdi).

After a pause he added:

But he is like one who has been struck with a sword while accompanying him. Then he insisted further by adding:

Nay, by Allah! He is like one who has been martyred in the presence of the Messenger of Allah.

Are we reckoned among those who are expecting His Eminence? Are we at least waiting for the Divine Promise of the Authority of Allah (Waliyyu’llah) in the same manner as we wait for the return of our loved ones from a journey? In another tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (A) narrated the virtues of the companions of Imam al-Mahdi (A) saying:

If one takes pleasure in being among the companions of al-Qa’im, then he must wait for him and must act with good behaviour and modestly. If he dies before the appearance of al- Qa’im, then he will be rewarded like one who has followed him. Then act diligently, and await, that this effort and awaiting will give you delight, O’ you who have found salvation. Shi’as must have a devout link with His Eminence during the occultation. Their hearts and souls should be filled with love and affection for him. Their thoughts should be devoted to his service and their desire should be to meet him. Their prayers should be to ask for the blessing of Allah to be showered on His Eminence, and their supplication should be for salvation. Their existence should be one welded and fused unit, and their life should blaze with love for him.

Dua for Imam al Mahdi (atf)

O Allah! We ask of You to favor us with the gift of being obedient to You, and Detach us from being disobedient to You. Bestow on us being sincere in intentions; and Provide us with the knowledge of what is sacred.

O Allah! Honor us with guidance and honesty, and Direct our tongues to what is right and wise; Fill our hearts with comprehension and knowledge, and Cleanse us from the forbidden and doubtful.

O Allah! Prevent [our hands] from committing oppression and theft, Lower our gaze [out of modesty] from the immoral and disloyal, and Block our ears from hearing the vain talk and slander. Endorse our scholars with the gift of piety and fitting advice, and the learning ones with hard work and desire to learn.

Bless the listeners [to Your scholars] with wisdom and compliance, and Impart recovery and comfort to the sick ones from illness and disease, and bless the dead among them with kindness and mercy.

O Allah! To our old people, award dignity and peace of mind, To our young people, confer repentance and turning away from sin, and To our women, bestow modesty and chastity.

O Allah! Supply the rich with humility and abundance; and the poor with patience and contentment. Let those fighting in Your way be victorious, and the imprisoned be freed and unfettered.

Let the rulers be just and kind and the ruled be fair and with good conduct; Bless the ones on pilgrimage with abundance and support, and help them complete what is obligatory on them.

With Your Grace and Kindness, O Most Kind, Full of Grace!

Reference:

The 12th Imam, Article listed on www.islamicentre.org

Source: www.hujjat.org

Me'raj / Mab'ath

Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing. [Shakir 17:1]

 

According to historians, the first Me'raj of our Prophet (SAW) occurred on the 27th night of the month of Rajab in the year before Hijra.  While the Holy Prophet finished his night prayers in the house of Umme Hani, the sister of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the angel Jibrail came to him with the invitation of the Lord of the worlds to have a journey to the highest heaven. Hadhrat Jibrail first took him to the Ka'bah (the Masjid al Haram) and from there he was taken to the farthest Masjid in the heavens.

Although aqsa generally means "the farthest", some of the translators and commentators have taken this word to mean Masjid al Aqsa in Jerusalem. Farthest is an adjective used to refer to the Masjid in the most distant heaven. The distance between the Masjid al Haram and the Masjid al Aqsa in Jerusalem is just a few hundred miles which cannot be described as farthest. Moreover, logically the journey to Jerusalem was meaningless when the divine purpose was to show the Holy Prophet the wonders and the glory of the kingdom of Allah.

According to the Ahl ul Bayt (A), the Me'raj was a physical ascension, not a vision or dream in sleep or slumber, because even ordinary men see such things in their dreams. It was no doubt a spiritual realisation but attained by an actual journey. To bring the position of the Holy Prophet (SAW) to the level of ordinary mortals, many have reported that the Me'raj was only a vision. However, almost all the Shia historians and a large number of Sunni authorities have rejected this point of view and have accepted the fact that it was a physical ascension.

Those who doubt the great miracle of the physical ascension of the Holy Prophet (SAW), should also doubt as to how Allah could create the universe out of nothing, or how He could make virgin Maryam give birth to Prophet Isa, or how could Isa preach the message of Allah from his cradle as a just born infant, or how could Allah split the sea to save Musa; and how could the several other miracles mentioned in the Quran take place if the doubters insist upon empirical justifications. The physical journey of the Holy Prophet to the arsh in the highest heaven known as Me'raj, is one of the greatest miracle of our Prophet (SAW) bestowed by the Almighty Lord of the worlds.

It is found in history that among the celestial lights, where he received from Allah (swt) the order for five daily prayers, he saw his own name together with that of Ali a.s. inscribed on the arsh.  Then all the secrets of creation and what happened in the world since its creation and what will take place till the end of time were disclosed to the Holy Prophet (SAW).  Experiencing this breathtaking event, The Holy Prophet (SAW) said:  "Peace from the Lord be on all the righteous servants of Allah, and peace be on all of you (O angels), and His grace and His bounties."

Allamah Majlisi in Bihar-al-Anwar, vol.77, pp. 21-30 mentions a long conversation which took place between Allah (swt) and our Prophet (SAW).  Among several questions our Prophet asked Allah (swt), two of the questions were:

1). "O Lord, which is the best action that your servant can perform in Your service?"
Allah (swt) replied: "No act is better than trusting in Me and being content with whatever I have destined. O Muhammad, those who love others for My sake, receive My love. And those who show kindness for My sake and develop friendships for My sake are dear to Me. I have made it incumbent upon Me to love those who have trust in Me. And there are no bounds and limits to My Love."

2). "O Lord, guide me to an action that will draw me closer to You!"
Allah (swt) replied: "Convert your days into nights and your nights into days."  The Prophet (SAW) asked: "How?"

Allah said: "Strive in a way that your sleep becomes an act of worship - and never stuff your stomach to its full! He added: "My love is linked with the love for the poor and the deprived - so get close to them and participate in their gatherings such that I get closer to you.  Keep the rich and the worshippers of the transient world away from you and stay away from their gatherings."

When the Holy Prophet returned to Makka from his journey, before he related his experiences, Imam Ali (A) began to give every detail of his journey.  The Holy Prophet said: "I and Ali are of one and the same light."

Article contribution by Marhum Muallim Mustafa Mawjee

Source: www.hujjat.org

The Month of Sha'ban

WELCOMING THE MONTH OF SHA’BAN

Imam Ali (A) once saw some Muslims arguing among themselves on the topic of fate and destiny, on the first day of Sha’ban.   He discouraged them from their preoccupation and instead drew their attention to the merits of this month. He said that the Lord had called it Sha’ban because His favours and bounties were scattered (sha’aba) all over during it. Allah presents His great bounties in this month which are easy to achieve, and inexpensive, said Imam Ali (A).  This could mean that the doing of ‘ibadah (acts of worship), performing other good deeds and abstaining from evils will carry manifold benefits. 

The Imam (A) then enumerated some of the good actions which should not be overlooked in this month. These include salat (prayer), zakat (charity), amr bil ma’roof (enjoining of good), nahyi anil munkar(forbidding of evil), goodness to parents, Relatives, neighbours, mutual reconciliation and giving charity to the poor and the destitute.

Sha’ban is the second month of ‘Ibadah in order to make preparations for the grand and majestic month of Holy Ramadhan – the month of Allah (SWT). The Holy Prophet (saw) has said, “Sha’ban is my month”. This is the month of asking for forgiveness of sins, giving alms & charity and fasting.  The Holy Prophet (saw) used to observe fast during the whole month of Sha’ban. Imam Zaynul-Aabideen (A) has said, “Whosoever, in love of the Prophet, wishes to seek nearness to Allah and receive His bounties, favours and rewards in this world and in the hereafter, must connect Sha’ban with Ramadhan in the matter of fasting and special  prayers”.

It is also reported from the Holy Prophet (saw) that, "Whosoever observes nine fasts in the whole month of Sha’ban should not fear the interrogation of Munkar & Nakeer. Whosoever observes twelve fasts in the month of Sha’ban, 70,000 angels will descend over his/her grave on the first night of his burial, the night of wahshah to remove his/her fear & loneliness."

Therefore, one must observe at least twelve fasts to gain both the favours. 

RECOMMENDED FASTS 

1st, 2nd and 3rd  of Sha’ban.

1st Thursday, Mid-Wednesday of the month and last Thursday.

13th, 14th and 15th of Sha’ban.

Any Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Sha’ban.

The last three days of Sha’ban to join with Ramadhan.

This being the second month of Maghfirah (seeking forgiveness), one should do the following:

Recite everyday 70 times ASTAGHFIRULLAHA WA AS-ALUHUT TAWBAH

Recite everyday 70 times ASTAGHFIRULLAHAL-LADHEE LAA ILAAHA ILLA HUWAR-RAHMAANUR RAHEEMUL HAYYUL QAYYOOMU WA ATOOBU ILAIHI

Give as much Sadaqah (alms) as possible

Recite Swalawaat as many times as possible on the Holy prophet (saw) 

Recite 1000 times the foolowing dhikr within the month i.e. divide it throughout the month of Sha’ban; LAA ILAAHA ILLALLAHU WALAA NA’BUDU ILLA IYYAAHU MUKHLISEENA LAHUD-DEEN WALAU KARIHAL MUSHRIKOON

Please note that 1st Sha’ban (night & day) has almost equal importance as Shabe Barat i.e. 15th Sha’ban.

Translation of above arabic texts can be obtained from Almanac.

Many other A’maal are also recommended. Please refer to Almanac, Mafaatihul-Jinaan and  A’maal of Rajab & Sha’ban by Tayyiba Publications.

Article by Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff 

Source: www.hujjat.org

Shahadat of Hazrat Abu Talib [as]

The Greatest Guardian of Islam

Hadhrat Abu Talib (A) supported the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) in all difficult situations. He left this world on 26th Rajab, three years before the Hijrah of the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW)

The Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) was deeply grieved and named this year as "The Year of Sadness."

In 570 AD the Abyssinian Armies under the leadership of Abraha attacked the Holy Mecca to demolish the Kaaba. Hadhrat Abdul-Muttalib (A), the grandfather of our Prophet (saw), who was known as the Master of Makkah, went round the Kaaba praying to Allah the Almighty, to prevent the invaders from demolishing the House which Hadhrat Ibraheem al-Khaleel (A) and his son Hadhrat Ismaeel (A) built for people to worship Allah only.  Allah, the Almighty, accepted Hadhrat Abdul-Muttallib's prayers.

So, when the elephants and the soldiers advanced to demolish the Kaaba, Ababil birds carrying stones in their beaks appeared in the horizon. They began dropping the stones which destroyed the army of Abraha.  The invaders around the Kaaba were defeated.  That year was named the Year of the Elephant.  H. Abu-Talib a.s. was thirty years of age at the time.

Allah the Almighty, has mentioned this event in the Holy Koran: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 'Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the possessors of the elephant?  Did He not cause their war to end in confusion and send down (to prey) upon them birds in flocks, casting them against stones of backed clay.  So, he rendered them like straw eaten up?'

From our Prophet's young age, Hadhrat Abu Talib provided him the shelter and protected him from all the oncoming dangers.  Our Prophet (saw) never felt the loss of his parents and obtained all the love and affection from Hadhrat Abu Talib.  He stood like an iron wall between the enemies and our Prophet and gave him time and freedom to convey the Message of Allah (swt).

When Hadrhat Abu-Talib (A) was over eighty years of age, he became very ill and was confined to bed. He thought about nothing but our Master Muhammad (SAW).  He knew that after his death, the Quraish would fear no one and they would try their best to kill his nephew.  The Quraishi leaders even came to visit Shaikh al-Batha (title given to Hadhrat Abu Talib (A).  They said: Abu-Talib, you're our Shaikh and Master.  Put an end to the enmity between your nephew and us. Tell him to stop hurting us.  We'll stop hurting him. Tell him to leave us with our religion. We'll leave him with his religion.

Hadhrat Abu-Talib (A) looked at Abu-Jahl, Abu-Sufyan, and other Quraishi leaders and said to them faintly: If you listen to Muhammad's words and obey his orders, you'll be happy. So, obey him and get happiness in here and hereafter.  The atheists and infidels stood up.  Abu-Jahl said with spite: Do you want us to change all our gods into one god of Muhammad?  This will never happen.

Hadhrat Abu-Talib (A) was sad at the Quraishi stand.  He was very anxious about our Master Muhammad's safety. So, he invited Bani-Hashim and asked them to support our Master Muhammad (SAW) at any cost. They all agreed.  Then Hadhrat Abu-Talib closed his eyes and left this world.  Shaikh al-Batha became silent, he became motionless.  His son Ali (A) wept bitter tears. Sad cries spread all over Makkah.

The atheists rejoiced at his death. Abu-Jahl angrily said: It's now time to get our revenge on Muhammad. Our Master Muhammad (SAW) came to say his final farewell to his uncle. He kissed Abu-Talib's bright forehead and murmured sadly: "Uncle, may Allah have mercy on you. You guided me when I was young, looked after me when I became an orphan, and supported me when I was growing-up. May Allah reward you a lot." Then he burst into tears. He began recalling the days of his childhood with his kind uncle. He embraced his cousin Ali (A). They began weeping together

References:

From Imamreza.net

Article contribution by Marhum Muallim Mustafa Mawjee

Source: www.hujjat.org

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