Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reform Lessons from Ashura

One of the primary objectives of commemorating the tragedy of Karbala and mourning the martyrs and victims has been to educate and inspire movements of self-reform and societal reform. This is noted in many works. For example, according to Shaykh Muhammed Mehdi Shams al-Din in his work The Rising of Al-Husayn: Its Impact on the Consciousness of Muslim Society, the Imams (as) promoted visitation (ziyara) and lamentation of the tragedy of Karbala for the purpose of putting man into “living and direct contact with the sources of Islam in thought and ideology, in application and practice,” and further, that when a Shia undertakes these tasks, he or she makes a commitment to “remain faithful to their [Ahlulbayt’s (as)] covenant, their faith and their practice.” It is not enough for the Shia to honor, venerate, and mourn and neglect the educational and reformational objectives of Muharram commemoration.

In light of this, we have generally achieved high awareness and consistent education within our communities and selves about the pure, upright aims of Imam Husain (as) and those with him, juxtaposed against the horrific cruelty and debauchery of the Umayyad Regime. The message to reform ourselves and our communities to be aligned against the likes of Yazid is heard loud and clear so that this message is even somewhat in the consciousness of the larger world population aside from the Ithna-Asharis. Further, we see efforts increasing to make that consciousness spread as our communities expand into traditionally non-Muslim lands. And this is not an unnecessary task. The danger of falling into the path of utter misguidance or even obstinate opposition to the path put forward by the Prophet Muhammad (saw) at the command of Allah swt is an ever present threat and reality.

However, in the interest of reform, this is not sufficient. If we look at the tragedy of Karbala, there were not just two sides of the event, but more. It was not merely the likes of Yazid versus the likes of Imam Husain (as) and his camp. There is another body of people I feel we should think about very deeply, for their actions and their fates carry potentially urgent and directly applicable lessons for us if we are to improve ourselves. There were many people who claimed to be the lovers of Ahlulbayt (as) and the followers of their Imam (as), with their allegiance to him fully. But after the tragedy took place, they were left with a great burden of their own action or inaction. Consider the Kufans who invited Imam Husain (as) and were eager for him and claimed to be ready to support him, follow him, and have him as their guide and leader. In truth, many of them were not prepared for their Imam (as), and when threatened they responded in a way to seek their safety, essentially abandoning their invited leader (as) and his close followers to the tragedy. Many of these lived the rest of their lives in intense regret.

One example is the poet ‘Ubayd Allah ibn al-Hurr al-Ju’fi. He was a leader in Kufa who had refused to help Imam Husain (as). When the tragedy occurred, he realized the gravity of his mistake, but then it was too late. He spent the rest of his life trying to recover from his error; he proclaimed rebellion against the Umayyads, he went to Karbala and mourned the victims, and he wrote poetry blaming himself for his failure to support Husain (as), and he struggled with life-long regret for his failure.

Another example is ‘Awf ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Ahmar al-Azdi, who revolted against the Umayyads under the leadership of Sulayman ibn Surad al-Khuiza’i. Records are said to indicate he reviled himself and others like him who sent for Husain (as) with false promises but were not with him (as) at the battle to defend him. He spent the rest of his life wishing he had been there, and all his actions after tried to make amends for his not being there with his Imam (as).

These are just two examples of a large number of people. The lessons we must take from the tragedy of Karbala should include careful reflection about these people, what led them to make the decisions they made before Karbala, and how they struggled with it after. For, if the danger of Yazid-like traits existing in ourselves and our communities is real, then the danger of being like this regretful number is less a danger than a common unfortunate reality. In the modern era, instead of calling for Imam Husain (as), we are calling for his pure descendant, Imam Mahdi (as). But to await for him properly, we have to reform ourselves not just to the extent of removing all Yazid-like traits, but to go further, God willing, and achieve a state as individuals and as a community that were we to be the modern counterparts of the Kufans and other Shia in the time of Imam Husain (as), that we would behave and make decisions in such a way that we would not end up being regretful for not doing more to stand with our Imam (as). Were our Imam (as) to return today, once again we would be likely to see not a pure juxtaposition of good versus evil, but also a number of people who claim to love the Imam (as) and to be ready to serve him, but when put to the test they may fail to stand on either side, preferring to wait things out and to let others sacrifice. If we do not want ourselves counted among their number, then we should take steps now to learn from the Kufans in the events surrounding the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as).

True progress and reform requires not only desire and hope, but commitment and sacrifice. If we want to move forward we have to make deliberate and continual steps, starting from the very basics of our deen, and couple this with regular, intense self-examination and passion for the goal. Reform is an exercise in which you get out what you put in. If we expend little of ourselves and reflect little, then we can expect little in return. We should not be content with that outcome. We should not be satisfied to say we are not like Yazid, but we should continue to push ourselves so that, God willing, we will never face the heart-breaking remorse and regret like ‘Ubayd Allah ibn al-Hurr al-Ju’fi.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Meaning of As-Salam Alaikum

The following is from a commentary of Ziyarat e Ashura in translation process by Shaykh Saleem Bhimji:

The commentary is over the part that says
Peace be upon you Ya Aba Abdillah, Peace be upon you O son of the Messenger of Allah, Peace be upon you O son of the Commander of the FAithful and the son of the leader of the inheritors (of the Prophet); Peace be upon you O son of Fatimah, the leader of the women of the entire Universe.

The true meaning of "As-Salam Alaikum" is not a mere "Hi", "Hello", "How are you" as we are accustomed to using today - it has a much deeper meaning than just a standard greeting. In actuality, there are three meanings for this greeting:

1. As-Salam, as we know, is one of the names of Allah. Thus, when we say "As-Salam Alaikum" we are actually saying that may the trait of Allah (as-Salam or peace and tranquility_ be upon you and may He protect you;
2. As-Salam is also in the meaning of submission or surrender. Thus, when we say "As-Salam Alaikum" we are actually saying that we submit to what you would like for us to do (obviously within the limits of the Shariah);
3. As-Salam is also in the meaning of protection or safety. Thus in this meaning, when we greet another believer with "As-Salam Alaikum" we are actually guaanteeing our believing brother or sister protection from any evil from ourselves and that we will not do a single thing to harm them - either physically or even spiritually. Not only would we not harm them with our hands, but we will also not cause them grief with our tongue...

Thus when we address Abi Abdillah and say "As-Salamu Alaika Yaa Aba Abdillah" we are saying that: 'May the peace and tranquility which Allah bestows upon His creations also be showered upon you. Truly, we submit to your mission and commandments and whatever you ask us to do. In addition, we shall not do a single thing to hurt you - either your physical presence or more importantly, your feelings.'

In actuality, we are promising the Imam that we shall not break the laws of Allah (since our Imam grieves when he sees us doing this) nor will we do anything to trample on the sacred goals and objectives which he laid down his life to protect.

Waking and Remembering God

How often are you awakened by your dreams? And at what time of night? If you pay attention, how often are they disturbing, but you forget them by dawn or within a few fleeting moments of being awakened? I'd like to hear your answers, and on a relate note:

I was reading something about the history of sleep, and it seems our patterns may be distinctly different from those of the past. Some people believe that before the modern era of electricity, etc., that people used to sleep in 2 or more shifts over a longer night, and would often wake for an hour or two between shifts and during these interludes they were very productive in thought. The Prophet (saw) used to get up in interludes of the night for prayer, such that his sleep apparently was half the night and his prayer the other half, according to some traditions.

People are trained now to try to sleep again if they awake at night because of missing other opportunities for sleep and rest. But the lost solitude, the lost time of reflection, the lost meditation, the lost prayer, maybe too great a loss. What if being awakened is the call of God for you to remember Him while others are playing or heedless?

Your souls are in God's care always and when you sleep it is like a minor death and it is Allah swt's will to return you to wakefulness or to keep your soul from this realm of consciousness and existence. Where is your soul when you sleep? Does it move from your body? Or is it in your body but elsewhere as well?

Pay attention for a week of every time you wake in the night, and ponder your waking and remember God who made you. Let me know what happens, I'd be curious to hear!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bose-Einstein Condensates and Absolute Zero

I remember this being a big deal when I was working on my Physics degree - it is interesting to see how things have progressed even since I graduated.

about Bose Einstein Condensates and Absolute Zero, a few things were said in it by the scientists that struck me as having very interesting philosophical connotations.
For one, when the atoms are cooled very close to absolute zero, they are no longer solid, liquid, or gas, but a whole other state of matter in which the particles are no longer atoms, but become like stretched out waves and their quantum states start to meld with each other so that in a sense, they all lose their identities and become one mixed state.

So when their energy is removed, their identity is removed, and what remains is unity.

Every thing has its unique energy or vibration that identifies it. Is the loss of that vibration the 'death' of that material, so that its identity leaves it? Or is it a birth of a new stage of existence, or a return to a more profound, fundamental existence?

Another interesting thing said was that although scientists have gotten within a few picoKelvin of absolute zero, to achieve truly absolute zero is an asymptote or limit. To achieve it, you would need infinite time and apparatus infinitely large.

So it is impossible to completely remove all energy, or all "being" or all "information".

The vibrations of things at least seem to continue to the extent of remembering their existence, or their Creation, impossible to be removed by other Created things. In the end when almost no energy or identity is left, there is still the sign of Origin. Every Created Being contains the sign of its Origin, even when every other "information" is taken away.

Matter itself has a relation to the presence of energy. As Einstein wrote, matter can be converted to energy and vice versa. The payout of energy converted from matter is very large (by the factor of the speed of light squared, apparently) - indicating that the form of matter contains great potential energy. Heat is a register of energy and making something colder is achieved by removing energy. Would Absolute Zero then require the loss even of that great energy contained in the form of matter itself - the loss of the matter itself?

Incidentally, the speed of light is a constant from what we know, but really it is like an index - it has different speeds in different mediums. Some scientists have passed light through Bose-Einstein condensates and slowed light almost to a stop. They are pursuing this as a potential means of storing information. The information contained in the light is "frozen" yet undamaged for later retrieval.

I found those two ideas to have a lot of implications. I saw connections or implications about the very nature of ourselves and all matter that we know, and our origins (which if you can't tell yet, means it makes me think about God). What do you think?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ya Hussein! and Amaal of Ashura

Read more at this great blog by the author of Soaring to the Beloved, Manifestations of the All-Merciful, and more!

Anyone looking for Amaal of Ashura - please visit this location at

May Allah reward us greatly for our grief for Hussain (as), and may He include us among those who avenge him with His representative the Imam Mahdi from the Household of the Prophet (as).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Abbas Bandali - very good - Muharram around the world

A few lines from a book I'm reading:
"When the Imams of the Holy Family made the ziyara into an intellectual, political and social institution, they intended to put Shi'ite man in living and direct contact with the sources of his Islam in thought and ideology, in application and practice.... Each of the approved pilgrimages includes a commitment before God which the Shi'ite man makes, particularly, with the person to whom the pilgrimage is made and, generally, with the Apostle and the Imams of the Holy Family, that he will remain faithful to their covenant, their faith and their practice....It also makes clear the extent of the burden of error into which Shi'ite man has fallen, as well as some of his spiritual leaders, when he conceives of the pilgrimage as being only a form of honor and veneration of a certain person and neglects the numerous aspects of the educational objectives which it aims at." -The Rising of Al Husayn (as): Its Impact on the Consciousness of the Muslim Society by Shaykh Muhammmed Mehdi Shams Al-Din

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Muharram articles

The Khoei Center's publication Al-Huda has some good, not too long, articles related to Ashura.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Great Debaters

This is a good and important film. I recommend it! One thing we see here is how the ideas of civil disobedience used in the civil rights movement drew in part from Gandhi, but they don't know that Gandhi learned from Imam Husain (as).

Karbala When Skies Wept Blood

I posted the video back in September.

So you can view it back there, or here it is again:

This is the full version.

40 hadith Azadari; Ya Imam Zaman (as), Ya Imam (as) - last two are Ali Safdar I think.

The following is the commentary posted with the 2nd video at YouTube. I haven't reproduced all the links - click the YouTube or title link to see the original if you wish to follow the links.

A Nauha (Elegy -- which means a poem of mourning, a reflection on the death of someone or on a sorrow generally) about the tragedies which befell Imam Hussain, his Family and His Companions, in what is known as the Battle of Kerbala, which took place on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura.

Recitation of Elegies to remind oneself of a certain tragedy was the practice of the Prophets and the Sahaba:

On one side of the battlefield of Karbala, stood Imam Hussain (AS), who was raised in the house of the Prophet (SAWS) along with his family members and companions. On the other side stood the forces of Yazid, a tyrant claiming to be the representative of the Prophet (SAWS), the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, and furthermore, claiming to be the "Khalifat Allah," or the Vicegerent of God on Earth. On whose side would YOU stand on?

Articles on the Revolution, and the Everlasting Stand of Imam Hussain:

Imam Hussain, the Sacrifice for Mankind:

Sunni View of the Tyrant Yazid:


The Followers and the Lovers of the Ahlulbait cry in the memory of Imam Hussain, for:

1- The Imams of Ahlul-Bayt cried for him;
2- We love him more than we love our fathers and our dear ones;
3- He is a Symbol of resistance against tyranny and the leader of the Martyrs for us;
4- We want to swear allegiance to him and his path and keep aloof from their enemies;
5- His aims have not been fully achieved and his blood has not been revenged yet. As such, we keep this event with all its emotion alive until such time that Imam Mahdi (AS) appears who will cleanse the surface of the Earth form all such tyrants;
6- Condolence to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) and the members of Ahlul- Bayt;
7- Abiding the instruction of Ahlul-Bayt in remembering this event and seeking the reward associated with it

The emotion of Crying can be found in the Quran, and was done by Many of the Messengers and Sahaba


The act of Chest Beating (Maatam) as a sign of grief can be found in the Holy Quran, Hadith and the Injil

[The Quran] In the Holy Quran, Chapter 51 we read that Lady Sara [Wife of Prophet Ibrahim] struck her face when she was told that she would conceive a baby:

"Then came forward his wife in grief, she smote her face and said (what! I) An old barren woman?" Quran 51:29
[Smote means to deliver or deal (a blow, hit, etc.) by striking hard]

The slapping of Prophet Ibraheem's wife Sara is proven from the Qur'an. The Qur'an does not condemn her actions, but tells us to adhere to the ways of the people of Ibraheem (as) When the Shia, or Lovers of Ahlulbait here the calamities and tragedies which befell them, theycannot help but get the same emotions which Lady Sara had.

[The Sahaba] The most explicit proof of self-inflicted injury comes from Owais al-Qarni the great Muslim Sahabi, praised by both Shi'a and Sunni erudite. He had an immense love for the Holy Prophet (s). When the news reached him in Yemen that two teeth of the Holy Prophet (s) were broken in the battle of Ohad, he extracted all his teeth. When the Holy Prophet (s) got the news in Medina that Owais had struck down all his teeth, he (s) exclaimed, "Indeed Owais is our devoted friend"

For more Hadith and Historical Narrations of Messengers and Sahaba lamenting, visit:

[The Bible/"Injil"] Isaiah 22:12 - shows that this type of mourning was ordained by God
"On that Day the Lord called for weeping and beating the breast, shaving the head and putting on sack cloth"

"You are now at ease, be anxious; tremble, you who have no cares. Strip yourselves bare; put a cloth round your waists and beat yourselves" [The Bible, Isaiah 32:11]

"Howl, Heshbon, for Ai is despoiled. Cry aloud you villages round Rabbath Ammon, put on sack cloth and beat your breast and score your body with gashes" [The Bible, Jeremiah 49:3]

"The crowd that had assembled for the spectacle, when they saw what had happened went home beating their breasts" [The Bible, Luke 23:48]

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Online Majalis

These are last year's lectures. I decided to listen to these this year, insha'allah.

They are having live streaming lectures each night starting tonight posted here. The sound and video both appear good, alhumdooleluh.

Here are's resources for Muharram, including lectures from last year.

Update: Here is a link to a whole bunch of online majlis from this year.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Eid Mubahila Mubarak

I have linked above a decent article about the event of Mubahila, and quoted below.

The Eid is marked here tomorrow, insha'allah with ritual ablution, fasting, and prayer.

The event of Mubahila is rather a strange event to me, and worthy of pondering.

"In the early days of Islam, Najran was a large centre of people who had changed from idol worship to Christianity. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had sent letters to the heads of different countries inviting them to Islam. One such letter was addressed to the Christians of Najran. It read as follows:

'In the Name of the God of Ibrahim, Ishaaq and Ya’qub. This letter is from Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of Allah to the Asqaf (Bishop) of Najran.

Praise be to the God of Ibrahim, Ishaaq and Ya’qub. I invite you to worship Allah instead of (His) servants. I invite you to come out of the rule of the servants of Allah and into the rule of Allah Himself. If you do not accept my invitation, then you should (at least) pay Jizya (tax) to the Islamic State (so that your lives and properties may be protected), otherwise you are warned of a danger.'

By using the names of the ancient Prophets (a.s), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) wanted to let the Christians of Najran know that the belief in One God he was teaching was the same as that preached by the previous Prophets Ibrahim, Ishaaq and Ya’qub (a.s), in whom they also believed. It is also mentioned that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) included the following verse of the Holy Qur’an in the letter:

“Say, (O Muhammad), “O people of the Book (Bible), come to an agreement between us and you; that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall claim no partner to Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords besides Allah.” And if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah)”. (Quran 3:6)

The letter invokes what is common between them - belief in the same God at some level. It appeals to reason and is truly an invitation for coming together, without compromise of the deen.

"When this message was delivered to Abu Haris, who was the Asqaf and leader of the Church, he read it carefully and then appointed a committee of some religious and wise people to decide on the matter.

One of them, who was an experienced and intelligent person, advised that a group representing the people of Najran should go to Madina to study the claim of Prophethood by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w).

60 people, considered to be the most wise and knowledgeable from the people of Najran, were elected. They were led by three of their religious men. The group arrived in Madina and entered the mosque wearing silken clothes, golden rings and crosses around their necks. On seeing them dressed in this fashion, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was disturbed and he ignored them. They realised that something was wrong but were unsure as to what to do.

On the advice of Imam Ali (a.s) the delegation of Najran changed their style of dress to simple clothes and removed their ornaments. They then returned to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who received them with a warm welcome. Before they entered into a discussion, they requested for permission to say their prayers and this was granted. They were put in one part of the mosque where the could pray with ease and comfort. Then the following conversation took place:

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w):
I invite you towards the belief of Tawhid and the worship of One God and submission to His will. (Then he recited verse 64 of Surah Aali Imran.)

Christians Fathers:
If Islam means faith in the One God of the Universe, we already believe in Him and follow His Commands.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w):
Islam has a few signs and some of your actions show that you have not accepted true Islam. How do you claim worship of One God when you worship the cross and do not abstain from eating pork and believe that God has a son?"

We see the Christian ruler was not a hasty person and sought advice of wise people. When the wise people went, they dressed ostentatiously, perhaps to show their status in their religion. I am reminded of the robes of the Catholic clergy I see when I watch mass on cable TV. The Prophet (saw) didn't rebuke them or behave harshly, but in the end they understood his issue and came as themselves without show. Then they had a genuine discussion about tawhid. I think it is interesting that Prophet (saw) said they worship the cross. What does that mean? Is it that they took the symbol as a totem and attributed improper importance to it? Or is it that they took what the cross represents - the crucifixion and the beliefs associated with it - as their deen, separating the God into parts? Or both?

"A Christian Father:
Certainly he [Isa (a.s)] was the son of God because his mother Mary [Maryam (a.s)] had given birth to him without marrying anyone in this world. Therefore obviously his father is the God of this Universe. We also believe in Jesus [Isa (a.s)] as God because he used to bring the dead back to life, cure the sick and create birds from clay and make them fly. All this points to the fact that he is God.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w):
No, he was the servant and creature of God, and placed in the womb of his mother Maryam (a.s). All his power and strength was granted to him by God.

At this time, angel Jibraeel (a.s) brought the following verse of the Holy Qur’an from Allah :

“Surely the example of Isa to Allah is like that of Adam; He created him from dust, and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was”. (Quran 3:59)"

To me, this was one of the most significant ayahs in Qur'an when I was reading it, trying to find my way, to understand the message God has delivered to us and how we should believe and how we should act. I was doubting the divinity of Isa (as), but I was rather afraid to hastily leave that belief aside, since the doctrine of Christianity tied my fate in the Hereafter - between heaven and hell - to my acceptance of him as God in flesh or son of God - and his sacrifice the only opportunity for being saved. For Christianity said we could not merit salvation on our own, so we had to accept the blood sacrifice as the only alternative. I know not all Christians believe alike, but this is the overriding teaching of the Christian denominations today.

When I read this ayah, I had sudden, beautiful clarity. I understood the nature of Jesus (as) and was able to vanquish my fear and embrace what my reason told me.

"This meant that if Isa (a.s) could be called the son of God because of the fact he was born without a father, then Adam (a.s) deserved this title more, because he was born without a father or mother. The Christian Fathers could not reply to this argument but they continued to argue out of obstinacy. Then the following verse of the Holy Qur’an was revealed:

“And whoever argues with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say,
(Quran 3:61)"

So it seems that when the discussion changed to no longer be fruitful, the Prophet (saw) ceased, not allowing the matter to be dragged into arguing, wrangling, or egoistic debate.

Instead, he essentially invited them to ask God to show them who was truthful in a means they all might understand and accept as definitive. The method causes people to take caution about what they say to evaluate do they really mean it and know it or are they just arguing and wanting to be right, deceiving themselves - because now a real consequence is attached.

"The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) produced this verse before the Christians and declared the challenge of “Mubahila”, which means to [invoke] curse on one another. The Christians consulted each other and announced their acceptance of the challenge. Then they returned to their camp."

Again the challenge was an invitation that the other party was free to turn away from. But they must have believed they had truth on their side or that the Prophet (saw) was likely a fraud, so that the curse would have no real effect.

"It was agreed between the two parties that the contest would take place the next day in the open desert outside the city of Madina. On the 24th of Zilhaj 9 A.H, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) came out for Mubahila. He held Imam Husain (a.s) in his arms and he held Imam Hasan (A) by his hand. Bibi Fatima (s.a) came behind him, while behind her came Imam Ali (a.s). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) said to them, “when I pray you should say Ameen.”

In obedience to the verse of Mubahila sent by Allah , the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had brought Imam Hasan (a.s) and Imam Husain (a.s) as his “SONS”, Bibi Fatima (a.s) as his “WOMEN” and Imam Ali (a.s) as his “SELF”.

I think the Christians most likely were not expecting that the Prophet (saw) would show up with very few people, and among them a woman and children. They learned that it was his own family, and they became quite concerned, because they then realized that the Prophet (saw) was very sincere, willing to bring curse on his own family. So it caused them to think even harder about what they claimed or believed and about who the Prophet (saw) was.

So then one of them said,

"'Oh you people of Najran, if you contest with Muhammad in this prayer of invoking curses on the liars, then I warn you that all of you will be destroyed and not a single soul will remain on this earth. I feel that it would be better to surrender to them and obey them.'"

They saw the Ahlulbayt (as) and recognized their sincerity and believed in the power of their prayers. Thus, they changed their minds about participating in the challenge and instead decided to enter a peace treaty with the Muslims - an annual offering of specified goods (garments) in exchange for protection from enemies of the Christians, and an agreement to send a specified military supply aid should the Muslims ask for it. The Christians agreed not to deal in usury and were free to follow their own beliefs. A few of the Christians came back from Najran to join the Muslim religion and Muslim people, but most kept the Christian faith.

This event is notable for many reasons. It provides an example for emulation of dealing in disagreements and treaties and treating people of differing faiths with respect and fairness, as well as in inviting people to the deen. Further, it served as a demonstration of how people could witness the piety of the Prophet (saw) and Ahlulbayt (as) visibly and understand their proximity to the Creator in their following the Right Path. Why do we mark this day in celebration? Maybe there is a great deal to learn from it and adopt into our own selves. And surely it is a happy occasion when the rights and status of all were duly recognized.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a), while explaining the utterance of God Almighty, "That He might try you (to see) which of you is fairest in works." (67:2) said: "It does not mean one of you whose deeds are more numerous but one who is more rightful in his conduct, and this rightness is nothing but fear of God and sincerity of intention (niyyah) and fear." Then he (a) added: "To persevere in an action until it becomes sincere is more difficult than (performing) the action itself, and sincerity of action lies in this that you should not desire anyone to praise you for it except God Almighty, and intention supersedes action. Lo, verily, intention is action itself." Then he recited the Qur'anic verse, "Say, everyone acts in accordance with his character (shakilatihi)", (17:84) adding, "That shakilah means niyyah."
[Al Kulayni, al Kafi, vol. 2, kitab al iman wa al kufr, bab al 'ikhlas, hadith # 4]

Imam al Baqir (a) said: "Perseverance in an action is more difficult than the act itself." He was asked, "What is meant by perseverance in action?" He (a) replied, "A man does some kindness to a relative or expends something for the sake of God, Who is One and has no partner. Thereupon the reward of a good deed performed secretly is written for him. Later, he mentions it to someone and that which was written earlier is wiped out and instead the reward of a good deed performed openly is written for him. Later, when he makes a mention of it again, the vice of riya' (showing off) is written for him (instead of the reward written earlier)." [Al Kulayni al Kafi, kitab al 'iman wa al kufr, bab al riya', hadith # 16]