Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Intercession: A Divine Favour

A birth of a child can explain to us many things. A child is born through his mother and for the initial 2 to 3 years of his life remains in her protective care. A child cries if he is taken away from her, thus his mother is the constant source of security for him. She protects him and feeds him when he is unable to even speak or express himself. Thus a mother provides security to her child and she is the means for her child to reach Allah’s Mercy and Care. 

Once the child is around 4 to 5 years of age, his parents send him to school so that he acquires education and knowledge. Here, the parents decide which school is best for their child as they are the best caretakers appointed by Allah for him on this earth; while the school is the means for a child to acquire education and knowledge

Once he grows up he earns his livelihood by using the knowledge and education which he has acquired. His occupation becomes the means for him to earn his livelihood.

**Thus it can be said that a child without his mother remains deprived of Allah’s Mercy in his childhood. If he is unable to attend school he remains deprived of knowledge and education. Without knowledge and education he is unable to earn and hence remains deprived of a healthy livelihood which Allah has promised. Thus to have access to Allah’s Mercy or to gain knowledge or to earn livelihood there are separate means which should be approached otherwise a person remains deprived of them. 

Without approaching the right means nothing can be gained; this is a universal truth which is applicable in every aspect of life. That is why Quran instructs us to strive in this direction and says: 

  • “Ae Imaandaro Khuda se darte raho aur Uss ke (takarrub (kareeb hone) ke) zariye ki joostaju main raho aur Uss ki raah main jihad karo taake tum kamiyab ho jao.” – (Surah-e-Maida, ayah 35)
“(O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him, and strive with might and main in his cause: that ye may prosper.)”

The above ayah instructs us to constantly strive to seek the means of approaching Him. It means that though Allah (SWT) is Omnipresent He is not accessible without approaching the right means. And if we don’t do this we might never be able to please Him and would remain unsuccessful in this world and hereafter. 

In order to further understand the importance of this let us see one more ayah:

  • “Ae Rasool (SAW) un logon se tum kehdo ke main iss tabligh-e-risaalat per tum se kuch mazdoori to maangta nahin hoon magar tamanna ye hai ke jo chaahe apne Parvardigar tak pahonch ne ki raah pakad le.” – (Surah-e-Furqaan, ayah 57)
“(Say: "No reward do I ask of you for it but this: that each one who will may take a (straight) Path to his Lord.")”

As per the above ayah the best reward the Muslim Ummah can give to our beloved Prophet (pbuh&p) for his hard work of 23 years is to take the path that reaches Allah (SWT).  

**The ayah of Surah-e-Maida instructs us to seek the means of approaching Allah (SWT) while in the ayah of Surah-e-Furqaan Allah (SWT) instructs our holy Prophet (SAW) to ask us to take the path that reaches Allah (SWT) as a reward of his Prophethood. Both the ayahs convey similar messages. This explains that Allah (SWT) must have created a right path that reaches Him. And if we wish to be successful in a true sense we need to find it.

The pious presence of our beloved Prophet (SAW) has guided us to the light of ‘tawheed’ and has given us the holy Quran. And thus the holy Prophet (SAW) is the right means that has enlightened us by Allah (SWT)’s message and made us true believers. So let us understand his importance in our lives. As the Quran says:

  •  "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 our holy Prophet (SAW) as a mercy to the worlds. A person who wishes to seek Allah (SWT)’s Mercy should come to the holy Prophet (SAW), ignoring he would remain deprived of the Divine Mercy. Thus the holy Prophet (SAW) is the means that needs to be approached to seek Allah (SWT)’s Mercy.

The above result can be explained further in the light of the following ayah from Surah-e-Nisa:

  •  “Aur (Rasool (SAW)) jab unn logon ne (nafarmani karke) apni jaanon per zulm kiya tha agar tumhare paas chale aate aur Khuda se maafi maangte aur Rasool (SAW) (tum) bhi unnki maghferat chahte to beshak wo log Khuda ko badaa tauba qubool karne wala Meharbaan paate.” – (Surah-e-Nisa, ayah 64)
  •  “(If they had come to you after wronging themselves and asked forgiveness of God, and you  had also asked forgiveness for them, they would surely have found God forgiving and merciful.)”

 Here the above ayah has shown us the method of invoking Allah (SWT)’s Mercy and Forgiveness. As per the ayah the Muslims who wronged themselves if they wished to seek Allah (SWT)’s Forgiveness and Mercy needed to approach the holy Prophet (SAW) and pray to Allah (SWT) for His forgiveness. But Allah (SWT) still did not guarantee His Forgiveness to them unless the holy Prophet (SAW) also wished so.

This clarifies that in order to reach Mercy of Allah (SWT) intercession of the holy Prophet (SAW) is required without which Allah’s Mercy can never be invoked. Does this mean that the holy Prophet (SAW)’s intercession would work for Muslims in every situation? Let us see the following ayah:

  • “(Ae Rasool) khwah tum unn (munafiqon) ke liye maghferat ki dua maango ya unnke liye maghferat ki dua na maango (unnke liye barabar hai) tum unnke liye sattar bar bhi bakhshish ki dua maango ge to bhi Khuda unko hargiz na bakhshega ye (sazaa) iss sabab se hai ki unn logon ne Khuda aur usske Rasool ke saath kufr kiya aur Khuda badkaar logon ko manzil e maqsud tak nahin pahonchaya karta.” – (Surah-e-Tawba, ayah 80)

 “(Ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; even if you ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them; this is because they disbelieve in Allah and His Apostle, and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.)”

The above ayah refers to the hypocrites who accepted Islam in public but remained infidel in their hearts. Allah has denied them with His Mercy since they disbelieved in Allah and the holy Prophet (SAW). And the ayah further says that even if the holy Prophet (SAW) interceded on their behalf for 70 times Allah would not forgive them. This shows the amount of dislike Allah has for the hypocrites (Munafiq).

During the time of the holy Prophet (SAW) the Munafiq led a life of a normal Muslim in public and followed Islamic rituals, in such a situation it became difficult to identify him and separate him from a true believer. But it was important to recognize him and hence the holy Prophet (SAW) has given us a parameter to recognize and identify him which can be implemented even today:

  •   He has said: “Ya Ali your love is Imaan and your hatred is Nifaaq.”

Mawla Ali (A.S) has further explained the above hadith to separate a Munafiq from a Momin. He has said  that:

  •  “By the Lord who created! no doubt Prophet made an oath that none will love me except  a Momin; and none will have grudge for me except a Munafiq.” (Ref: Sahih Muslim narration 240, Sunan tirmidhi; 849/3736, Sunan Nisai; 8/116/5033, Masnad Ahmed; 1/83/642 and 95/731 and 128/1062; and 6/292/27040, Mishkaat; 2/503/6088 and many more)

 Jabir and Abu Dharr, the well known companions of the holy Prophet (pbuh), used to say:

  •    "During the lifetime of the Prophet we used to distinguish a Munafiq by his enmity to Ali."

 (Ref: Ibn Abd Al Bir: "al Istiab Part 2, pp 474, 477. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: Al-Musnad Vol 1, pp 54, 77, 138 Vol 5 , pp 350, 366. Sawaiq Al Mohriqa, Chapter 9, Fasl 2. Yanabi al Mawadda Chapter 6 P 74. Kanz Al Ummal Vol 6 P 390)

Thus the enmity towards Mawla Ali (A.S) is the parameter to identify a Munafiq from a Momin. It means that however devout a Muslim seems to be if he hates Mawla Ali (A.S) he would never be considered as a Momin and would be deprived of Allah’s Mercy forever. 

**Allah (SWT) would bestow His Mercy upon a Muslim only if the holy Prophet (SAW) also wishes so but in every situation Allah (SWT) would keep the hypocrites (Munafiq) deprived of His Mercy. The hypocrites can be identified by their hatred towards Mawla Ali (A.S), thus we can say that Allah (SWT) would never forgive those who hate Mawla Ali (A.S).  Hence love for Mawla Ali (A.S) is the path to reach Allah (SWT)’s Mercy. 

We just saw that love for Mawla Ali (A.S) is the path to reach Allah (SWT)’s Mercy. This means that Mawla Ali (A.S) can also intercede and be a means for our salvation. Let us confirm this with Quran. We would see the following two ayahs for this purpose: 

  •  “Aur Jis shakhs ke liye wo ijaazat ata farmaye uske siva kissi ki sifarish us ki bargaah main kaam na aayegi.”- (Surah-e-Saba, ayah 23)

  •  "(No intercession can avail in His Presence, except for those for whom He has granted permission)”

As per the ayah Allah (SWT) would not consider any intercession valid except of those who are granted permission to intercede by Him.  In the light of the above ayah let us contemplate on the following ayah from Surah-e-Baqra:
  • “Aur logon main se Khuda ke bande kuch aise hain jo Khuda ki (khushnudi) haasil karne ki gharaz se apni jaan tak bech daalte hain aur Khuda aise bandon per bada hi shafqat 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.)”

The ayah from Surah-e-Saba talks about those who are given permission of intercession while the above ayah from Surah-e-Baqra is referring to an individual who has sold himself to purchase Allah (SWT)’s Pleasure. There is a huge difference between permission and pleasure. When you permit someone it is a command and is always conditional; a person would have to follow the rule and regulations and would have to behave according to the permission granted. But when you are pleased with someone the pleasure is unconditional and you are happy about his actions in totality.
Imam Ghizali in his Tareekh-e-Khamees writes that the above ayah of Surah-e-Baqra was revealed appreciating the sacrifice of Mawla Ali (A.S) when he slept on the bed of the Holy Prophet (SAW) during the night of ‘Hijrat. Similar tradition is also mentioned by Imam Hakim on the authority of Ibn-e-Abbas in his Mustadrak. (Ref: Tareekh e Khamees, Imam Ghizali, Mustadrak, Vol 3 Page 4, Imam Hakim).

The selflessness of Mawla Ali (A.S) and his loyalty towards Islam and the holy Prophet (SAW) was so appreciated by Allah (SWT) that Allah gifted Mawla Ali (A.S) with His Pleasure. So whatever pleases Mawla Ali (A.S) pleases Allah (SWT). By contemplating on both the above mentioned ayahs we can infer that the power of intercession would be given to a person whom Allah (SWT) permits but Mawla Ali (A.S) owns Allah’s Pleasure hence not only Mawla Ali himself but even a person whom Mawla Ali permits would be able to intercede successfully. 

**The holy Prophet (SAW) has been created as Mercy to the Worlds and Muslim Ummah would be bestowed upon with Allah (SWT)’s Mercy because of the holy Prophet (SAW)’s intercession. Mawla Ali (A.S) has got Allah (SWT)’s Pleasure so this Mercy would be bestowed upon only those whom Mawla Ali (A.S) allows. 

The household of the holy Prophet (SAW) is purified by Allah (SWT) as per the ayah (33:33) and the holy Prophet (SAW) has said that in the love for Ahlulbait lies the foundation of Islam. So let us see an ayah which refers to this exalted household:

  • “Wo Qandeel un gharon main roshan hai jinki nisbat Khuda ne hukm diya hai ke unki taa’zim kijaae aur unmain Uska naam liya jaae jin main subah wa sham wo log Uski tasbih kiya karte hai.” – (Surah-e-Noor, ayah 36)
  •  “((The Light is lit) in houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings)”

In the above ayah Allah (SWT) says that His Light is lit in certain houses where His name is glorified mornings and evenings. He appreciates the inhabitants of these houses and has liked the way they have glorified Him so much so that He has permitted these houses to be exalted

Sala’bi has quoted Anas Ibn-e-Malik and Buraida, that when the holy Prophet (SAW) recited this verse, Abu Bakr stood up and asked pointing towards the house of Ali (A.S) and Fatema (A.S), whether that house was included in the houses referred to? The holy Prophet (SAW) replied saying “Yes, and it is better than other houses that are referred.” (Ref: Durr-e-Mansur, Vol 5, P 50)

Allah (SWT) has appreciated the selfless devotion of the family of Mawla Ali (A.S) and Janaba Fatema (S.A) in the above ayah and hence He has also permitted their house to be exalted. Their house is the best which has glorified Allah (SWT). Now let us see the following ayah and in the light of the above mentioned ayah we would then contemplate on both these ayahs:

  • “Us din kisi ki sifarish kaam na aayegi magar jis ko Khuda ne ijazat di ho aur us ka bolna pasand kare.” – (Surah-e- Taha, ayah 109)

  •  “(On that day shall no intercession avail except of him whom the Beneficent Allah allows and whose word He is pleased with.)”

The above ayah says that no intercession would work on the day of Judgment except of those who are allowed by Allah (SWT) and He is pleased by their words. Now in the previous ayah from Surah-e-Noor Allah (SWT) has acknowledged the glorification and selfless prayers of the family of Mawla Ali (A.S). Thus He has liked their prayers and hence we can say that their words of glorification are appreciated by Him. Allah (SWT) has also allowed their house to be exalted which shows His love for them. Hence we can infer that the intercession of the family of Mawla Ali (A.S) i.e. of Mawla Ali (A.S) himself, Janaba Fatema (S.A), Imam Hasan (A.S), Imam Hussain (A.S) and their other chidren and Imams from their lineage is valid and would hold true on the day of Judgement.
That is the reason our beloved Prophet (SAW) has said:

  • Acknowledgment of Aal-e-Mohammed (the children of Mohammed (SAW)) means salvation from the Fire, and love of them is a passport for crossing the Bridge of Sirat and obedience to them is a protection from Divine Wrath.” ( Ref: “Shifa” by Qazi Ayaz, Part 2, Pg 40)

**The Holy Prophet (SAW) is Mercy to the worlds. Mawla Ali (A.S) has earned Allah (SWT)’s Pleasure and Panjetan Paak (A.S) are the valid intercession on the day of Judgment. If we love them we can be assured of our salvation. 

We have seen earlier in the article that Munafiq are kept away from Allah (SWT)’s Mercy and no prayers for their forgiveness would ever be accepted by Allah. Faithful Momins are the one Allah (SWT) loves and He would definitely hear their prayers so let us see now what Allah (SWT) says about Momins:

  •  “To phir samajhlo ke Khuda ke siwa koi Ma’bud nahin aur (Hum se) apne aur Imandar mardon aur Imandar aurton ke gunah ki maafi maangte raho aur Khuda tumhare chalne phirne aur thaharne se (khub) waqif hai.” – (Surah-e-Mohammed, ayah 19)

  •  “(Know then, therefore, there is no God but He, and ask forgiveness for your sins and those of believing men and women. God knows your wanderings and your destination.)”

In the above ayah Allah (SWT) has ordered a believer to pray for his forgiveness along with the forgiveness of fellow believer men and women. This clearly means that in this world Allah (SWT) has not only accepted intercession of believers for their believer brothers and sisters but instructed them to do so regularly. So when He has considered intercession of a Momin valid for the other Momins in this world can we say that same would hold true on the Day of Judgment? 

Now Mawla Ali (A.S) is Amir-ul-Momineen (Commander of Faithfuls) and from various ahadith we have known that a Momin cannot be defined other than his love for Mawla Ali (A.S).That is the reason the holy Prophet (SAW) has said that: 

  •  “The preface of a Momin’s treatise of deeds is the ardent love for Ali (A.S).” (Ref: Sawaiqa Mohraika, P 120, Tarikh ibn-e-Asakir, vol 42, P 7, Tarikh al Baghdad, P 177)

When we relate the above hadith with the above mentioned ayah we can infer that a true believer is the lover of Mawla Ali (A.S) and his prayers seeking forgiveness for the other believers is accepted by Allah (SWT) in this world. And if that is the case then can the lover of Mawla Ali (A.S) and Imams from his lineage intercede on behalf of other Momins for their salvation on the Day of Judgment? Would this intercession be accepted by Allah (SWT)?

  • “Us din yeh (gunehgaar) log sifaarish per bhi qadir naa honge magar haan jis shakhs ne Khuda se sifaarish ka iqraar le liya ho.” – (Surah-e-Maryam, ayah 87)

  • “(They shall not control intercession, save he who has made a covenant with the Beneficent Allah.)”
The above ayah says that no one would be able to control intercession except a few who have made a covenant with Allah (SWT). This further confirms that there would be people on the Day of Judgment whose intercession would provide salvation to others. 

The prominent Islamic commentators have written that ‘Made a Covenant with Allah’ is ‘The Promise of loving and following the Imams from the household of the holy Prophet (SAW)’ which believers have made with Allah (SWT). (Ref: Tafseer Dhur Mansoor, Vol 4, Sawaiq-e-Mohriqa and many more)
èA true believer is the one who loves and follows Mawla Ali (A.S) and Imams from his lineage. This love for the Imams is the covenant he has made with Allah (SWT) and in return of this covenant Allah (SWT) has granted a believer to control intercession on the Day of Judgment. Yes, a believer can also provide salvation to other believers on that day.

In the initial section of this article we went through the ayah where Allah (SWT) has ordered us to seek the means that approaches Him. In another ayah from Surah-e-Furqaan, as a reward for the holy Prophet (SAW)’s Prophethood Allah (SWT) wants the Muslims to take the Path that leads to Him. We then also inferred that loving the holy Prophet (SAW) and his holy Progeny (pbut) is the covenant we have made to Allah (SWT) and hence they are the means of salvation and through their intercession only we can expect to get rewarded. It means that they are the means to approach Allah (SWT) and they are the path that reaches Him.

Thus the best reward a Muslim can give to the holy Prophet (SAW) is to take the path that reaches Allah (SWT) in the light of earlier discussed ayah of Surah-e-Furqaan (ayah no. 57) and this path is the love for the holy Prophet (SAW) and his Progeny (pbut). And that is why the Quran says:

  • “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, ayah 23) 
         (‘Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives’)

By consensus of opinions of prominent commentators and writers the above-mentioned ayah refers to the Prophet’s kith and kin and the word “al qurba” refers to Ali (A.S) & Fatema (A.S) and their children (Ref: Sa’labi, Suyuti,  Baidhavi, Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed ibn Hambal, Allama Zamkhashri Vol 3, P 68).

The holy Prophet (SAW) and his holy Progeny (pbut) are the Divine Favour Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us as they are the valid intercession and path for us to approach Allah (SWT) and seek salvation. In order to better understand this let us see the hadith of Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S) before we finally conclude the article:

  •  Imam Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said:

"Allah created us in beautiful forms. He created us to be His Eye on His servants, His Spoken Words to all mankind, His Giving Hand that bestows mercy and sympathy upon His servants, His Face by which He is worshiped, His Gate that leads to Him and His treasurers on earth and in the skies. By us, trees gave its fruits, crops were harvested and rivers flowed. By us, skies rain and seeds grow. By our worshiping, Allah is worshiped and if it wasn't for us, Allah would have never been worshiped." 

(Ref: Al-Kafi Vol 1 Page 144, Al-Mohatazir Page 154, Al-Tawheed Page 151, Al-Bihar-ul-Anwar Vol 24 Page 197, Al-Saqlain Noor Tafseer Vol 1 Page 650)

**Thus coming to the conclusion we can say that Allah (SWT) has created the holy Prophet (SAW) as mercy to the worlds. Hence his presence in our lives is similar to the presence of a caring mother. When a child obeys his parents and goes to a school he gains knowledge and education but if he disobeys he remains ignorant (‘Jahil’) similarly if a Muslim does not obey the holy Prophet (SAW) and does not love his Progeny (pbut) he remains ignorant and deprived of salvation. The above conclusion can be substantiated in the light of the hadith of the holy Prophet (SAW) which is recorded in the prominent books like Sahih Bukhari, Musnad Ibn Hambal and others, which says “He who dies without knowing the Imam of his time dies the death of (the days of) ignorance (Jahilya).” But we don’t have to worry as we are fortunate that Allah (SWT) has guided us to His true path. So let us thank Him and pray to Him that may He always keep us steadfast and bless us with successes of both the worlds. Aamin

Monday, October 1, 2012

Be Optimist always !!!

"To remain pessimistic of uncertain-future would not help. Suppose a pessimist is right and future is dim then why should we waste our present for something which has not arrived? And suppose pessimist is wrong and the future is really bright then what was the point to be pessimistic..... I think there is no harm in being an optimist then :)"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Identity of Allah

The sky is one and vast and it is spread over us so when two faraway friends staying in separate countries look at the sky at the same time they would see the same sky. Also it would be equidistant from both of them. For example suppose a person in India looks at the sky and at the same time his friend in Iran also looks in the same direction, they both would see the same sky and it would be equally near or far from both of them

Now if they are asked to describe the shape of the sky; whether it is circular, square or rectangular?  What would be their response? I think they would say that it is difficult to guess the shape of the sky since it is spread all over us and our vision cannot grasp its shape. 

***In the light of above example let us try to understand the Vastness and Limitlessness of Allah (SWT). Let us turn towards the Quran and try to understand this Divine Phenomenon of Allah’s Greatness:

  • “Us ko aankhein dekh nahin sakti na duniya main na aakherat mein aur Woh logon ki nazaron ko khub dekhta hai aur Woh Bada bareekbeen wakifkaar hai...”– ( Surah-e-Anam, ayah 103) 
  • “(No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things.)”
We have a limited vision and just as we cannot see the shape of the sky it is difficult for us to see Allah (SWT) with such limitations. He is spread all around us and hence it is difficult for our eyes to grasp His Vastness. He is above all comprehension but He sees His creations and He is all knowing. So where is He? The Quran explains this as follows:
  •  “(Ae Rasool) jab Mere bande Mera haal tum se poochhen to (kehdo ki) Main unn ke paas hi hoon.” – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 186)
  •  “(When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them))”
Allah (SWT) says He is very close to all of us. But how close?
  • “Aur Hum to usske shehrug se hi bhi zyada qareeb hain” – (Surah-e-Qaaf, ayah 16)
  • “(For We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.)” 
 Allah (SWT) indicates in the above ayah that He is even closer than our jugular vein.
***Hence let us understand this Divine Phenomenon now:

-          Allah (SWT) is difficult to be seen because He is limitless and cannot be confined to a specific shape and size. Thus He is beyond our vision. 

-          The way sky is equidistant from the people across the globe, Allah (SWT) is closer to the jugular vein of every person on this earth.   

So if He is Unseen but nearer than our jugular vein how do we recognize Him? Has He created His Identity which can be seen and understood by us? We would try to find out as we go further with this article, but before this let us try to focus on the following point. 

We just saw that it is difficult to limit Allah (SWT) in a specific shape and size. And if somebody does it he becomes a non-believer of Allah’s Omnipresence. With this in mind let us contemplate on the following ayahs:
  •   Jo (Makhluq) zameen per hai sab fanaa hone wali hai aur sirf tumhare Parvardigar ki zaat jo azmat aur karamat wali hai baaqi rahegi.” – (Surah-e-Rehman, ayah 26-27)
  •  “(All that is on earth will perish: But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord, - full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.)”
The above ayahs say that everything on this earth would perish except the bountiful, majestic and honourable Face of Allah (Wajaho Rabbaka). But Allah (SWT) does not have any shape and hence to think that He is having a Face is to give Him a shape and confine Him which contradicts the phenomenon of His Omnipresence and Limitlessness. Then why did the ayah has said so? Let us see one more similar ayah and then we would ponder upon this aspect.
  •  Usski zaat ke siwa har cheez fanaa hone wali hai.” – (Surah-e-Qasas, ayah 88)
  •  “(Everything (else) will perish save His Face.)”
The ayah from Surah-e-Rehman says that all that is on earth would perish except Allah’s Face which would remain forever, while the above ayah from Surah-e-Qasas says that everything else would perish except Allah’s Face (illa Wajahaho);  it does not mention the word ‘earth’ in this ayah. There are three inferences which we can draw from here. 1) Allah (SWT) cannot be confined and hence there must be someone created by Allah (SWT) who represents His Face and who is ‘Wajahullah’. 2) Along-with Allah’s other creations Face of Allah is also present on this earth. 3) Except Allah’s Face every other creations of Allah (SWT) which are on earth and otherwise would perish. Thus whoever is “Wajahullah” would remain when everything else would perish.

Now let us contemplate on the following ayah: 

  • “Aur unn logon ne Khuda ki jaisi qadradani karni chahiye thi Uss ki (kuch bhi) qadr na ki haalanke (Wo aisa Qadir hai ki) Qayamat ki din saari zameen usski muthi main hogi aur saare aasman Uss ke dahine haath main lipte hue hain jise yeh log Uss ka sharik banate hain woh usse pakizah aur bartar hai.” – (Surah-e-Az Zumr, ayah 67)
  • “(And they have not honored Allah with the honor that is due to Him; and the whole earth shall be in His grip on the day of resurrection and the heavens rolled up in His right hand; glory be to Him, and may He be exalted above what they associate (with Him))”
As per the above ayah on the day of resurrection the whole earth shall be in Allah’s Grip and the heavens would be rolled up in His Right Hand. One of the inferences which could be drawn from the above ayah is that the word ‘Grip’ and ‘Right Hand’ used by Allah (SWT) are to showcase His control on that day. But Allah (SWT) is always in total control of everything which He has created and He is not dependent on the day of resurrection for His Power and Control; Allah (SWT) holds the same Power and Control even now over His Creations. Thus it further forces us to infer that there must be an appointed authority representing “Right Hand” of Allah (SWT) which would be given powers to control the proceedings of that day. And this authority cannot be different from “Wajahullah” (Face of Allah).

***Allah (SWT) has kept Himself away from our eyes and vision. He is Unseen and He does not hold any shape and size. But He has created His Countenance (Wajahullah) as His Identity and Sign. Knowing and understanding this “Face of Allah” would help us improve our faith and understand Allah’s Greatness. And rejecting and ignoring His Countenance would definitely lead to ‘kufr’ and punishment. Hence it is important for us to take strides in this direction to find Allah’s Countenance.
In order to understand this let us take the help of the following ayah from Surah-e-Saad:
  •  Khuda ne (Iblis se) farmaya ki ae Iblis jis cheez ko Maine apni khaas kudrat se paida kiya (bhala ) uss ko sajda karne se tujhe kisi ne roka kya tune takabbur kiya ya waqayee tu Alin main se hai?” – (Surah-e-Saad, ayah 75)
  •  “(He said: O Iblis! What hindereth thee from falling prostrate before that which I have created with both My hands? Art thou too proud or art thou one of the Alin (Mighty one)”.
 The above ayah refers to the incidence where Iblis the Satan refuses to prostrate in sajda before Aadam (A.S). This act of pride and refusal makes him the rejected one and he ultimately becomes ‘Kafir’ though he still believed in Allah’s Oneness and Greatness.  

When we observe the later part of the above ayah we find that Allah (SWT) is questioning Iblis on his not prostrating to Aadam (A.S) by asking whether he has turned arrogant or does he think he is from amongst the Alin? This shows the presence of Alin - the mighty ones even before the creation of Aadam (AS). And they were made superior to Aadam (A.S) in their position by Allah (SWT). We can further infer that Allah (SWT) dislikes arrogance and pride and He equally dislikes someone who compares himself to these mighty ones since in the above ayah Allah (SWT) has specifically questioned the Satan on these two aspects. If someone still thinks that he can match them and be like them in position, he is following the footsteps of the Satan and such a person is at a risk of losing everything which he has earned in his lifetime and it would lead him to ‘Kufr’; though he still might be a believer of Allah’s Oneness and Greatness

This shows that ‘Alin’ are the Greatest Signs of Allah and to accept their superiority is key to enhance our faith. The other thing worth knowing is that the word ‘Alin’ is the plural form of ‘Ali’ in Arabic.
The following excerpts from the tafsir of our beloved Imam Hasan Askari (A.S) would help us identify them and their greatness: 

  • Imam Hasan Askari (A.S) has reported from his forefathers (pbut) that the holy Prophet (pbuh) has said: "When Allah created Adam and Eve (Allah's peace be upon them), they strutted around Heaven, then Adam told Eve:" Allah hasn't created any beings better than us." so Allah sent this revelation to Jibriel (A.S): Bring me my servant who is in the higher Paradise. Then when they entered the paradise, they saw a female servant sitting on one of Heaven's carpets. She had a crown of light on her head and on her ears, she had earrings of light. The heavens had brightened from the beauty of her face?! So he (Jibriel) said: This is Fatima (pbuh) the daughter of Mohammad (pbuh); a prophet who your descendants will begat at the end of time. So he said: What is this crown on her head? He said: Her husband Ali (pbuh) son of Abi Talib, he said: And what are those earrings on her ears? He said: Her sons Al Hasan (pbuh) and Al Hussein (pbuh). He said: My beloved Jibriel! Have they been created before me? He said: They existed in the obscure knowledge of Allah Almighty, before you were created in four thousand years.
(Ref: Tafsir Al-Imam Al-Askari p.219, Bihar Al-Anwar vol.26 p.326, Ta'weel Al-Ayat al-Zahira vol.1 p.44, Qasas Al-Anbiaa p.43)
This clarifies that the Alin’ so mentioned in ayah of Surah-e-Saad are Mohammed (SAW), Ali (A.S), Fatema (S.A), Hasan (A.S) and Hussain (A.S).   They have been created four thousand years prior to Aadam (A.S) and they are superior to all other creations. Loving and accepting their superiority is enhancement of faith and would lead to salvation. Iblis could not understand this and became Satan while Aadam (A.S)’s mistake was forgiven when he accepted their superiority. As Quran says:
  • “Phir Aadam ne apne Parvardigar se (Mazerat ke chand alfaaz sikhe), pus Khuda ne un alfaaz ki barkat se Aadam ki tauba qubool kar li beshak Wo bada maaf karne wala Maherbaan hai”.  (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 37)
  •  “(Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.)”

Allah (SWT) in order to forgive Aadam (A.S)’s mistake, taught him some words and when Aadam (A.S) recited these words Allah (SWT) turned to him mercifully and his mistake was forgiven. The commentators have agreed that these holy words mentioned in the above ayah which Aadam (A.S) recited to invoke Allah (SWT)’s Mercy are the names of Mohammed (SAW), Ali (A.S), Fatema (S.A), Hassan (A.S) and Husain (A.S). (Ref: Durr-e-Mansur, Suyuti, vol 1 P 16).

***From the above contemplation we can conclude now that Allah (SWT) created the holy Prophet (pbuh) and his holy Progeny (pbut) superior to his every other creations and termed them as Alin’- The Mighty Ones and made them His Greatest Signs as submitting to their superiority is faith and rejecting to accept them as leaders is ‘Kufr’. They are so purified that only through their intercession Allah’s Mercy can be invoked and would He listen to our prayers and forgive our sins. 

So if they are Alin’, the mighty ones and Allah’s Greatest Creation it is logical to infer that they are Wajahullah’ and His Right Hand as discussed earlier.  Let us now prove this in the light of Quran.

In the following ayah Allah (SWT) defines Himself: 
  • Khuda to saare aasman wa zameen ka Noor hai, uske Noor ki misaal aisi hai jaise ek taak (sina) hai jismain ek roshan charaagh ho aur charaagh ek shishe ki qandeel main ho aur qandeel apni goya ek jagmagata hua roshan sitara (wo charaagh) zaitun ke aise Mubarak darakht (ke tael) se roshan kiya jaae jo na purab ki taraf ho aur na paschim ki taraf balke bicho-bich maidan main uska tael aisa shafaaf  ho ke agar che aag uuse chuae bhi nahin taahum aisa ma’lum ho ke aap hi aap roshan ho jaeega gharaz ek Noor naihin balke Noor Ala Noor (Noor ki Noor per joat pad rahi hai) Khuda apne Noor ki taraf jise chahta hai hidayat karta hai aur Khuda logo ke samajhane ke waste mislain bayaan karta hai aur Khuda to har cheez se khoob waqif hai. – (Surah-e-Noor,  ayah 35)
  •  “(Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.)”

While explaining the above ayah prominent scholars like Hasan al-Basri, Abdul Hasan Maghazil and Shafei have mentioned that the Niche mentioned in the above ayah refers to Janab-e-Fatema (S.A), the Lamp means her two sons - Hasan (A.S) and Hussain (A.S). Blessed Tree is the lineage of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) through which the holy Prophet (pbuh) and his holy Progeny (pbut) descended. Light upon Light (Noor ala Noor) alludes to one Imam succeeding the another Imam and Allah doth guide who He wills to His Light means that Allah (SWT) instills love for the descendants of Mawla Ali (A.S) and Fatema (S.A) in the heart of a person whom He wishes to guide. 
In the light of the above ayah it can be inferred that Allah (SWT) defines Himself by defining the light of the holy Prophet (pbuh) and his holy Progeny (pbut).  And since Allah (SWT) has identified Himself with them; the holy Prophet (pbuh) and his holy Progeny (pbut) are therefore Allah’s Identity. 

The prominent commentators have mentioned the following sermon of the holy Prophet (pbuh) on the authority of Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S), which further endorses our above mentioned inference: 

  • Imam Ali Bin Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "My father narrated to me that his father narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuhp) said:
"O servants of Allah. When Adam saw the Light shining from his seed, for Allah had transferred our spirits from the topmost of the Throne to his seed, he saw the Light but he didn't see the spirits so he said: "O Lord! What are these Lights?!" Allah the Almighty said: "They are Lights of spirits whom I transferred from the most honorable place in My Throne to your seed and for that purpose I have ordered the angels to prostrate themselves for you because you were the holder of those spirits." Hence, Adam said: "O Lord! Would you show them to me?" Allah the Almighty said: "Adam, look at the topmost of the Throne." He looked and the Light of our spirits fell from Adam's seed to the topmost of the Throne and then the images of our spirits' Lights that are in his seed were printed and reflected on it as someone's face reflects on a clear mirror. Hence, he saw our spirits and said: "O Lord! What are these spirits?" Allah, the Most High, said: "O Adam, these are the spirits of my greatest creations and servants.-

    • This is Mohammad and I am Al-Mahmoud Al-Hamid (The Most Thanked) for My actions, I derived this name for him from My Name. 

    • This is Ali and I am Al-Ali Al-Athim (The Most High and the Greatest), I derived this name for him from My Name. 

    • This is Fatima and I am (Fater) the Originator of the skies and earth; I am the One who shall deprive my enemies from My mercy on the day of My judgment and protect my saints from what may harm them; hence, I derived this name for her from My Name and

    • These are Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein and I am Al-Mohsen Al-Mojmel (The Most Charitable and the Most Generous); I derived their names from My Name.
These are My most virtuous creations and My most dignified servants. By them, I give. By them, I punish. By them, I reward. Therefore, plead by them, O Adam, and if you face a hardship, let them be your interceders. For, I swore to Myself indeed to never disappoint anyone who hopes mercy by them and never refuse anyone who asks a request by them." Thus, when he (Adam) did a mistake, he pleaded Allah the Almighty by them; hence, He accepted his repentance and forgave him."

(Ref: Bihar-ul-Anwar, P 327, V 26, P 150, V 11, Tafseer-e-Imam Hasan Askari (as) P 219, Tafseer-e-Saafi, V 1, P 115, Yanabe-ul-Mawadda, V 1, P 288)

There is one more similar hadith by Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S) on the creation of Panjetan Paak (A.S):

  • Imam Al-Sadiq (A.S) said: “Allah, the Most High, has been before anything existed. He created five ones from the Light of His Majesty and gave a name for each of them from His revealed names; for He is Al-Hamid and He named (The Prophet) Mohammed; He is Al-Aala and He named Amir Al-Momineen Ali and the Greatest Names are for Him so He derived Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein from them and He is the Originator so He derived for Fatima a name from His names. Therefore, when He created them, He let them be in the Covenant; hence they are on the Right Side of the Throne.” – (Ref: Tafseer Forat p.56, Al-Bihar vol 37 p. 62)
In the light of the above ayah from Surah-e-Noor, the subsequent sermon of the holy Prophet (pbuh) and the hadith of Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S) we can say that Allah (SWT) created them before any other creations, made them superior to all His Creations and thus made them His Identity.  

In the earlier part of this article while contemplating on the ayahs from Surah-e-Rehman and Surah-e-Qasas, wherein they have mentioned about Face of Allah, we inferred that since Allah cannot be limited to any shape and size the Face of Allah is created by Allah (SWT) to represent Him. While in the light of above analysis of Surah-e-Noor and other reference we have concluded that the holy Prophet (SAW) and his Progeny (pbut) is Allah’s Identity. And a person is always identified by His Face therefore the holy Prophet (pbuh) and his holy Progeny (pbut) are the Face of Allah. Thus we can further infer that our 12th Imam Mohammed Mehdi (A.S) who is in occultation represents the Face of Allah on this earth which would remain when everything else would perish. 

Now let us see few more references in this regard:

  • It is narrated by Mohammed Ibn Yahya from Ahmed Ibn Mohammed Ibn Isa from Mohammed Ibn Sinan from Abu Salam al-Khannas from some of our people that Imam Mohammed Baqir (A.S) has said that:
"We (family of Prophet Muhammad) are the al-Mathani (one of two) that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.). We are the Wajahullah (face of Allah, meaning a certain aspect of Allah’s relation with people) that move among you on earth. We are the eyes of Allah (overseers or observers from the side of Allah) in His creatures. We are the hands of Allah that are open with blessings for His servants. Those who wanted to know us have known us. There are people who are ignorant about us they are ignorant of us and of the leadership of the pious people." (Ref: Kitab al-Kafi, Book # 3, Chapter 23, Hadith # 3)
  • It is narrated in Tafsir-e-Safi on page 485, quoting from Tafsir-e-Qumi that Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S) has reportedly said that:
“We are the Face of Allah by means of which Allah is recognized and by whose means every command of Allah is reached.”
  • It is mentioned in Al Manaqib with reference to Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S) that while explaining the verse: “There remaineth but the Countenance of thy Lord of Might and Glory” he said, “We are the Face of Allah.” (Ref: Kazimi Sayyid Imdad Hussain, Al-Quran-ul-Mubin, Lahore: Himayat-e-Ahl-e-Bayt (waqf), nd, P. 692)
      Imam Ali (A.S) has said that “I am the face of Allah in the heavens and on earth.” (Ref: Ibid p. 206)
And since he is the Face of Allah, the holy Prophet (pbuh) has praised Mawla Ali’s face in the following manner in the below mentioned hadith:
“Looking at the face of Ali (AS) is Ibadat.”  

(Ref: Sayyid Muhammad Sāleh Kashfī, Kaukab-i-Durrī fī fazāil-i Ali, Lahore, Imamiyya Kutub Khāna, 1963, p.161)
In the earlier section we had also pondered upon the ayah 67 from Surah-e-Az Zumr, which mentions that the on the day of the resurrection the heavens would be rolled up in Allah’s Right Hand and the entire earth would be in His Grip. We had inferred that Allah’s Right Hand refers to the appointed authority which would be given powers and control to take care of proceedings of that day. Also our conclusion was that Allah’s Hand cannot be different from the Face of Allah (Wajahullah). Now we know that Mawla Ali (A.S) and other Imams from his lineage are ‘Wajahullah’ and hence they are Allah’s Hand. 
  • Allama Ibn Hajar has mentioned a tradition according to which the holy Prophet (pbuh) has said:
O Ali you will be the distributor of Heaven and Hell- you will say to Hell: “This one is for thee and that one for me.”

Also, the holy Prophet (pbuh) has reportedly said that:

He alone will cross the bridge of Sirat whom Ali permits.”

So Mawla Ali (A.S) is not only ‘Wajahullah’ (Face of Allah) but he is the appointed authority and the distributor of Heaven and Hell and hence He is ‘Yadullah’ (Allah’s Hand).

*** Let us come to our conclusion. The Sky is invisible in absence of Sunlight, and during day time it is visible only due to Sunlight, at Sunset the Sky goes in darkness until Moon and Stars appear; similarly Allah (SWT) is Unseen from our eyes and it is because of the guidance of the holy Prophet (SAW) that we became aware of Our Creator and became His Believer. And after the holy Prophet (pbuh) the guidance from Mawla Ali (A.S) and all Imams from his lineage would make us understand Allah’s Greatness in a way it should be understood since they have been created superior to all, they are Allah’s Face, His Identity, our guide and the duly appointed authority of Allah above us.