Saturday, October 15, 2011

Divine Association

One day while returning from my office I saw a newly opened fast-food restaurant in an adjacent complex. I remembered visiting the restaurant in Mumbai and hence I went inside to have a look at the menu. I found everything to be similar to their Mumbai outlet right from the ambience to the prices and the quality of food. 

A gentleman came forward and provided me with all the details.  And he proudly announced that he was the owner of the shop and it was the franchise of the fast-food company, which he had started. Had he not told me, it would have been difficult to make out that it was not a company owned outlet but a franchisee

A franchise is a right granted to an individual or a group by the company to market its product and services in the specified territory. Thus within this territory the franchise owner is the ultimate authority appointed by the company. 

**This franchisee-franchisor association has helped various companies promote and trade their products and services across the world successfully. Let us try to find out through this article that Divine Association which has benefitted Islam and made it a successful religion the world over. 

We start with Almighty Allah’s following instruction to the holy Prophet (SAW) in Surah-e-Jinn:

  • “(Ye bhi) kehdo ki main tumhare haq main na burayee ka hi ikhtiyar rakhta hoon aur na bhalayee ka – (Surah-e-Jinn, ayah 21) 
  • “(Say, "It is not in my power to cause you either harm or good")
It is only Allah (SWT) – the Most Powerful, the Most Beneficent who can help the mankind and even harm them if needed. Does it mean that the presence of holy Prophet (SAW) in our lives has not done any good to us? 

  • “Khuda ne to imaandaron per bada ehsaan kiya ke unn ke waaste unheen ki qawm ka ek Rasool (SAW) bheja jo unhain Khuda ki aayatein padh padh ke sunata hai aur unn ki tabiyat ko pakizah karta hai aur unhain Kitab (Kitab-e-Khuda) aur aqal ki baatein sikhaata hai agarche wo pehle khuli hui gumrahi main pade the.” - (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 164) 
  • “(Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error.)” 
When we observe the above ayah we find that there are so many benefits Allah (SWT) has made us count while referring to the holy Prophet (SAW). In fact in the above ayah He says that the holy Prophet’s presence amongst us is His Great Favour. So if there are multiple benefits because of the holy Prophet (SAW) why did the first ayah say that it is not in his power to do any good to us? This needs to be further pondered upon. 

  • “Qasam hai sitare ki jis waqt ke woh utra. Tumhara rafeeq na bhatak gaya hai aur na bahka hai. Aur woh khwahishe nafsaani se kuch nahin kehta. Jo kuch woh kehta hai woh nahin hai magar Wahi hai jo uski taraf bheji jaati hai. Usko badi quwwaton waale aur badi aqal waale ne taalim kiya.”  - (Surah-e-Najam, ayah,1-5) 
  • “(I swear by the star when it goes down. Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed, The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him)”
The above ayahs give us various results and provide us clarity on the above point which we were contemplating. The holy Prophet (SAW) never errs; hence he is without any flaw. He never goes astray hence he is always steadfast on the straight path. He does not speak anything out of his will and desire. He only speaks whatever has been revealed to him. It means whatever he has said in his life is a revelation of Allah. These revelations are called ayahs in Quran and outside Quran they are called ahadith of the holy Prophet (SAW). This is the Divine Association our holy Prophet (SAW) has with the Almighty Allah. And this association provides him all the power to benefit us. 

And with the following ayah Allah (SWT) has further informed us on the importance of the presence of holy Prophet (SAW) in our lives:
  •   "Aur Ae Rasool (SAW) Hum ne tum ko tamam alamon ke liye rehmat hi karke bheja hai". – (Surah-e-Ambiya, ayah 107)
  • (“And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.”)
Allah (SWT) has created the Sun to provide us with light & warmth in day time. If we avoid Sunlight we will have to live in darkness and forego many other benefits of it. Hence it is required to be under the comfort of Sunlight whenever need arises. Our holy Prophet (SAW)’s presence is similar to this. He is mercy to the worlds; hence the seekers of Allah’s Mercy need to approach the holy Prophet (SAW). Without his intercession Allah’s Mercy will never reach us. 

**Allah’s Mercy: In the light of various ayahs we saw divine association our holy Prophet (SAW) has with Allah (SWT) and hence the right to bestow Allah’s Mercy over the mankind has been granted to the holy Prophet (SAW). 

Holy Prophet (SAW) got all his instructions from Allah (SWT) and he obeyed every instruction given to him. His mission was just to convey these instructions to the Ummah and he was not made accountable to ensure whether they were being followed or not, which Quran has clarified on various occasions. Let us see one of such instructions on Jihad in the following ayah:

  • “Pus (Ae Rasool (SAW)) tum Khuda ki raah mein jihad karo aur tum apne nafs ke siwa aur kisi ke zimmedar nahin ho aur imaandaron ko jihad ki targhib do.” – (Surah-e-Nisa, ayah 84)
  • “(Then fight in Allah's cause - Thou art held responsible only for thyself - and rouse the believers.)”
Allah (SWT) orders holy Prophet (SAW) to perform Jihad. And also requires from him to motivate the believers to do the same, but holds him responsible only for himself (his ‘nafs’) and nobody else; as in Arabic the ayah says ‘Illa Nafsaka’ meaning ‘except your nafs’. What does his nafs include let us try to understand.

Conduct of Mawla Ali (A.S) in various holy wars fought during the time of holy Prophet (SAW) and the time after that is well documented by Islamic scholars and historians and they have vouched for his steadfastness and bravery. He followed the instructions given by holy Prophet (SAW) to perfection.

Also, on different occasions the holy Prophet (SAW) referred to his relation with Mawla Ali (A.S) as similar to the relationship of Musa (A.S) with Haroon (A.S), so let us first see an ayah related to Musa (A.S) and Haroon (A.S)’s relationship and then we will further contemplate on the above point.
  • “Tub Musa (A.S) ne arz ki Khuda wanda Tu khuub waqif hai ke apni zaat khaas aur apne bhai ke siwa kisi per mera qaboo nahin buss ab hamare aur nafarman logon ke darmiyan judai daal de. “ – (Surah-e-Maida, ayah 25)
  •  “(He (Moses) said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother: so separate us from this rebellious people!")” 
The ayah says that Musa (A.S) prayed to Allah (SWT) to protect him and his brother (Haroon (A.S)) from the rebellious people as he acknowledged that he only had the authority over himself and his brother and nobody else. In the light of this ayah and the holy Prophet (SAW)’s  comparison of his relationship with Mawla Ali (A.S) to Musa (A.S)’s relationship with Haroon (A.S) when we observe the ayah of Surah-e-Nisa mentioned above where Allah (SWT) has instructed the holy Prophet (SAW) for ‘Jihad’ and made him responsible only for himself; it seems that the ‘nafs’ or the ‘self’ of holy Prophet (SAW) included Mawla Ali (A.S) as well.

In the battlefield of Ohad, when the holy Prophet (SAW) was deserted by his companions and left alone it was Mawla Ali (A.S) who remained with him and helped him. The holy Prophet (SAW) asked him why he not fled with others to which Ali (A.S) replied that he belonged to the Prophet (SAW). He being a believer would not like to turn a disbeliever or an infidel by resorting to flight.  (Ref: Tabari; Ibn Athir; Madarij-al-Nabowat, Habib-ql-Siyar; Rawdzat-al-Ahbab.)

In the light of ayahs, hadith and Mawla Ali (A.S)’s conduct in ‘Jihad’ we could infer that Mawla Ali (A.S) was ‘nafs’ of the holy Prophet (SAW) to which Allah (SWT) has referred to in the ayah pertaining to Jihad  (ayah no. 84) of Surah-e-Nisa . Let us now see an event mentioned in Quran which will endorse our inference.

When the Christians of Najran contested the Prophethood of holy Prophet (SAW), Allah (SWT) instructed the holy Prophet (SAW) to call both the parties to the event for a ‘Mubahela’. The ayah is also called ayah-e-Mubahela for this reason:
  • “Phir jab tumhare paas ilm (Quran) aa chuuka us ke baad bhi agar tum se koi (Nasrani) Isa (a.s) ke baare main hujjat kare to kaho ki achha maindaan main aao Hum apne beton ko bulaae tum apne beton ko, Hum apni aurton ko bulaae tum apni aurton ko, Hum apni jaanon ko bulaae tum apni jaanon ko, uske baad Hum sab milkar Khuda ki baargaah main  gid gidaae aur jhooton per Khuda ki la’anat kare...” – (Surah-e-Aale-Imran, ayah 61) 
  •  “(…If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee say:“Come! Let us gather together, - our sons and your sons, our women and your women,    ourselves and yourselves. Then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of God on those who lie.)”
As instructed in the verse, each party was to bring their women, their sons and Anfosana. While the Christians brought a great delegation of learned scholars, the holy Prophet (SAW) summoned Hazrat Fatima (S.A) in place of women of his house. Hassan (A.S) and Hussain (A.S) in place of his sons and Hazrat Ali (A.S) asAnfosana’ meaning part of his ‘nafs’ or self. Both the parties then were needed to pray and invoke curse of Allah on the liars. 

The Christian delegation looking at these five purified souls and their holy spirits quickly conferred amongst them and called off the Mubahela. They agreed not to question the nobility of the holy Prophet (SAW) and his mission. (Ref: Imam Fakhruddin Razi in Tafseer-e-Kabeer, Vol II, P 73, Allama Zamakhshari in Tafseer-e-Kashshaf)

**The holy Prophet (SAW) neither errs nor he goes astray and he does not speak anything but whatever is revealed to him by the Almighty Allah. While Mawla Ali (A.S) is the part of his ‘nafs’ or ‘soul’, thus even he does not err, neither he goes astray and his conduct during his entire life is the example of how the instructions of the holy Prophet (SAW) needs to be followed. And hence his conduct is Allah’s ‘Wahi’ (revelation) in human form. 

Our above inference shows a strong association Mawla Ali (A.S) has with Almighty Allah. In the light of an ayah that showcases status of Mawla Ali (A.S) with respect to Allah (SWT) and degree of his nearness to the Almighty let us further substantiate this fact:
  • “Aur logon mein se Khuda ke bande kuch aise hein jo Khuda ki (khushnudi) haasil karne ki gharaz se apne nafs tak bech daalte hain aur Khuda aise bandon per bada hi shafkat wala hai.” – (Surah-e- Baqra, ayah 207)
  •  “(And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants.)”
Imam Ghizali in his Tareekh-e-Khamees writes that the above ayah of Surah-e-Baqra was revealed mentioning the sacrifice of Mawla Ali (A.S) when he slept on the bed of the holy Prophet (SAW) during the night of Hijrat risking his own life to save the holy Prophet (SAW) and thus helped the cause of Islam. Various prominent Islamic historians, on the authority of Ibn-e-Abbas, have also documented a similar tradition in their work referring to the above ayah with Mawla Ali’s sleep on the bed of the holy Prophet (SAW) at the night of ‘Hijrat’. (Ref: In Mustadrak by Imam Hakim, Volume 3 Page 4)

The ayah highlights the sacrifice of Mawla Ali (A.S) by saying that he sold himself to seek the pleasure of Allah. The ‘nafs’ of Mawla Ali (A.S) was purchased by Allah (SWT) on this night of Hijrat. Imagine if someone helps your cause risking his own life what would you do? Would not you want to help him or reward him to the best of your capacity? I would definitely try to do my best to reward such a helper who is ready to risk his life to help me.

Allah (SWT) is Most Beneficent and Merciful, and the Most Powerful. He is ‘Ala Kulle Shayeen Kadeer’. So what would be the level of His reward? As the ayah says that in return of ‘nafs’ of Mawla Ali (A.S), Allah (SWT) granted him with His Pleasure. So whatever pleases Ali (A.S) pleases Allah (SWT) and whatever displeases Ali (A.S) displeases Allah – The Almighty.

And in one of the sermons which he addressed to Hazrat Salman Farsi (R.A) and Hazrat Abu Zarr Ghaffari (R.A), Hazrat Ali (A.S) has narrated the rewards he got from Allah – The Most High:  
  • O Salmán! O Jandáb! Verily, Allah has made me His Trustee over His creations and His Vicegerent on His earth, in His territories, and over His servants. Allah has given me what no artist can depict and no man of understanding can truly comprehend. One, who knows me in this manner, becomes a momin.”  
Then  he further continued in the same sermon:

  • “When my name was written on the throne of sky, it attained its calmness. When it was inscribed on the mountains, they were upraised. When written on the earth, it became stable. When it was inscribed on the wind, it started flowing….” (Ref: Excerpts from Sermon of Marefat-e-Nooraniyat of Imam Ali (A.S), Nah jul Israr,
**Allah’s Pleasure: Allah (SWT) has granted Mawla Ali (A.S) with His Pleasure, hence the seeker of Allah’s pleasure now should approach Mawla Ali (A.S) without his intercession it would not be possible to please Almighty Allah. 

Mosques are built so that we worship our Lord. Hence Allah (SWT) gives strict instructions on our conduct in Mosques:  
  • “Aur ye ki masjidein khaas Khuda ki hain to logo Khuda ke saath kisi ki ibadat na karna.”  - (Surah-e-Jinn, ayah 18) 
  •  "(And the places of worship” are for Allah (alone): So invoke not any one along with Allah)”
Only Allah (SWT) is to be worshipped and nobody else is worth worshipping along with Him otherwise it would lead to ‘Shirk’. ‘Namaz’ is the highest form of worship and hence Muslims everywhere in the world throng to Mosques to perform ‘Namaz’. Let us try to understand ‘Namaz’ then. 

‘Namaz’ starts with Surah-e-Hamd. It is mandatory to recite this Surah in the beginning of every ‘Namaz’ otherwise Namaz does not start. The ayahs (6 & 7) of this Surah are the prayer to tread the straight path of those who have been bestowed by Allah’s Grace. Sa’labi in his tafseer has mentioned a tradition from Abu Hureira that the ‘straight path’ means the path taken by Mohammed (SAW) and the children of Mohammed (SAW). (Ref: Sa’labi in his Tafseer, Waki ibn-e-Jarrah in his commentary). 

Again, at the end of every ‘Namaz’ it is mandatory to send ‘durood’ and salutations on the holy Prophet (SAW) and his holy Progeny, without which ‘Namaz’ remains incomplete. Thus ‘Namaz’ starts with a prayer to follow the path taken by the holy Prophet (SAW) and his progeny and it ends with ‘durood’ on them.

**It means that sending ‘durood’ and salutations on the holy Prophet (SAW) and his holy Progeny and discussing their virtues amongst ourselves and praying to Allah (SWT) to make us capable enough to follow their path is an integral part of our prayers. Thus Zikr-e-Ahl-ul-bait should not be mistaken as ‘Shirk’ but it is an integral part of Zikr-e-Khuda.

Almighty Allah reveals His Glory through His creations. These creations are His Signs to understand His Greatness. As He says in the following ayah:
  • “Kya tumne nahin dekha ke kashtiyan samandar mein Khuda ki ne’mat se chalti hein ke wo apni nishaniyon main se ba’az tum ko dikhlade be-shak har sabr karne wale aur shukr karne wale ke liye uss main bahot si nishaniyan maujood hain.” – (Surah-e-Luqman, ayah 31) 
  • ” (Do you not see that the ships sail in the ocean by the grace of God, that He may show you some of His glories. Verily there are signs in this for those who constantly persevere and give thanks.)”
Whatever happens in this world is because of the Grace of Allah (SWT), as the above ayah indicates that ships sail in the ocean by His Grace. So invoking Allah’s Grace is to get all our desires fulfilled. 

Keeping this in mind, let us see following excerpts from Hadeeth-e-Kisa, this hadeeth is a tafseer of ayah-e-tatheer (Surah-e-Ahzab, ayah 33). Jabir Ibn-e-Abdullah Ansari (R.A) narrates from the authority of Lady Fatema (S.A), the beloved daughter of the holy Prophet (SAW) that:
  •  “Then the Lord, Almighty Allah said: ‘O My Angels! O inmates of the Heavens! I created this solid firmament, well-stretched earth, well-lighted moon, shinning sun, rotating planets, rippling oceans, floating boats, and all other things for the sake and love of these five persons who are inside the cloak.’
    At this, the Archangel Jibraeel (A.S) said: ‘O Lord! Who are they inside the cloak?’

    The Lord said: ‘They are Ahl-ul-Bait of the Prophet and the assets of the Prophethood. They are Fatima (S.A), her father, her husband and her two sons.’ 
The ayah from Surah-e-Luqman says that whatever happens is due to the Grace of Almighty Allah, while in the hadeeth-e-Kisa, Almighty Allah says that He created everything for the sake and love of Fatima (S.A), her father (The holy Prophet (SAW)), her husband (Mawla Ali (A.S)) and her two sons (Hassan and Hussein (A.S)) i.e. family of Fatima (S.A) – The Panjetan Paak (A.S). 

Again if we go back to ayah of Surah-e-Hamd (ayah 6 & 7) which is a prayer for us to tread the straight path taken by Mohammed (SAW) and his children; who were bestowed by Allah’s Grace it seems logical that Allah’s Grace is nothing but in loving them and following them. 

**Allah’s Grace: Thus in the light of ayahs of Surah-e-Hamd and Surah-e-Luqman and Hadeeth-e-Kisa, Allah’s Grace is the love for family of Fatima (S.A). If she and her family is happy with us Allah’s Grace will always be with us. Without the intercession of family of Fatima (S.A), it is not possible to invoke Allah’s Grace.

Allah (SWT) has created this world with a purpose. In one of the ahadeeth-e-Qudsi Allah (SWT) informs the purpose of this world to his first creation Adam (A.S):
  •  “O Adam! Suppose if they (Mohammed (SAW) wa Aale Mohammed (SAW)) had not been there, I would neither have created you, nor would I have given the attire of creation to the Heavens, Hell, Skies and Earth.”  (Ref: Ma’ani Al Akhbar, P 124)
The Purpose of Allah creating this world is His love for Mohammed (SAW) and his children. And in this love He has concealed His Grace. He wanted the ‘Ummah’ to understand His Purpose and in return He wished to shower us with His Grace and hence Allah (SWT) instructed the holy Prophet (SAW) to ask his ‘Ummah’ to reward him for his messengership by loving his Ahl-ul-bait in the following manner:
  • "Ae Rasool (SAW) tum kehdo ke main apni tableegh-e-risalat ka apne karabatdaron ki mohabbat ke siwa tumse koi sila nahin maangta” – (Surah-e-Shura, aayat – 23)
  •  “(‘Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives’)”
 Here the love of relatives of the holy Prophet (SAW) is love for Fatima (S.A), Ali (A.S) and their children Hassan (A.S) and Hussain (A.S). (Ref: Sa’labi, Suyuti, Baidhavi, Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed ibn Hambal, Allama Zamkhashri Vol 3, P 68).

**Allah’s Purpose: Thus family of Fatima (S.A) is not only Allah’s Grace but they are the Purpose of Allah. And if we remain dedicated to them we ensure that Allah would be pleased with us. This would keep us steadfast on the straight path. Allah’s Mercy would be bestowed upon us and we would always be under His limitless Grace.

So let us along with Almighty Allah send ‘durood’ and salutations to the holy Prophet (SAW) and his holy Progeny, the way Quran says:

  • “Ae Ahl-ul-bait (Nabuwwat) tum per Khuda ki rehmat wa Usski barkatein (naazil ho).” – (Surah-e-Hud, ayah 73)
  •  “(The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings are on you, O Ahl-ul-bait)”