Archive for May, 2012

True Worship

True Worship

By: Meysam Rajani

“Verily, some people worshipped Allah being desirous (Of His reward) – so this is the worship of traders; and some people worshipped Allah fearing (His punishment) – so it is the worship of slaves, and a group worshipped Allah in gratitude (to Him) so this is the worship of the free.”- Imam Ali (AS)

From a young age, we develop an understanding of the word worship. Respect, reverence, obedience to a deity is the foundation, and actions are the manifestation of one’s worship. As I grew up, my opinion of worshipping Allah(SWT) involved making the five prayers of the day, completing my obligatory fasts, having good manners, respecting my elders and parents, refraining from sins, everything the Qur’an advises us to do. Yet as I entered college and was beginning to adopt an independent life, my worship was threatened, drastically. I knew several people were on the same boat as I, and I asked myself the question why? Despite being brought up with the right morals, the right etiquette, and the teachings of Islam, why did my obedience to Allah(SWT) waiver when it mattered the most?

These challenges brought me down to question the purpose of my worship. Why do I pray to Allah(SWT) five times a day, why did I fast for thirty days, why do I endure the trials of Hajj? Every time I tried to answer a question, I ended up on either of the first two categories the Imam described. I either committed these acts because I had a desire for paradise, or because I was too afraid of entering Hell. And that’s where I realized the problem was. Too often, we tend to worship Allah(SWT) because we fear his punishment, or hope for his reward. While this is acceptable, it is not the strongest form of worship, and definitely not the best. If we obey Allah(SWT) because we want His reward, we are confining our faith, if the Almighty tests us with more trials rather than rewards, will our obedience stay firm? If we worship Allah(SWT) because we dread his punishment, when we are free of tribulations in this world, will our worship not waiver? Both these categories involve confining our faith to the parameters of reward and punishment. And at some point, this kind of worship will stutter.

The words of the Imam are truly amazing. The third type of worship is described as the worship of the free. If we obeyed the Lord out of gratitude, what could ever limit our worship? Look around you: if you are healthy, you can be thankful for not being sick, if you are wealthy, you can be thankful for not being poor, if you are at peace, you can be thankful for not being distressed. Whatever your state, if you look around you well enough, you will have something to be thankful for. And if that sense of gratitude expresses itself in the form of worship to the almighty, then Subhan’Allah there is no limit to this worship, and this is indeed the worship of the free as the Imam describes. Why would this kind of worship stay firm? Because no matter how many good acts we perform, the mercy and blessings of Allah will always surpass that. We will always have something to be thankful for. And if we truly worshipped Allah(SWT) out of gratitude, we would constantly be thanking him for the infinite blessings he’s bestowed upon us.

Mother’s Day Quiz Competition Winner!

Congratulations To

Fatema A Haji and Aaliyah Haji

For

emerging as winners of The Mother’s Day Quiz Competition!

Click On The Link Below To View Their Entry:

Discussion Between Mother and Daughter

Man As the Best of Creation

Man As the Best of Creation

By: Muzafar Alidina

We have indeed created man in the best of moulds “ (Holy Qur’an, 95:4).

Man is granted that special status in the creations of Allah (S.W.T) of being the best of creations. Naturally, being granted with a higher position brings with its responsibilities. Being able to fulfill these responsibilities is a task that one can only accomplish after listening to the same Creator that bestowed upon us this mammoth role.

In his book The Collector of Felicities, Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi[1] tries to break down the very essence of human needs and desires. He begins by trying to define the very nature of the soul (or nafs). He begins by examining a quote (or Hadith) from Imam Ali (a.s), which says:

“Surely God has characterized the angels by intellect without sexual desire and anger, and the animals with anger and desire without reason. He exalted man by bestowing upon him all of these qualities. Accordingly, if man’s reason dominates his desire and ferocity, he rises to a station above that of the angels; because the station is attained by man in spite of the existence of hurdles which do not vex the angels”.

Using this as the basis of discussion, the soul is then determined to have four faculties, or major functions/roles, namely:

  • The faculty of intelligence
  • The faculty of desire
  • The faculty of anger and
  • The faculty of imagination.

The first faculty is the faculty of intelligence, which as Imam Ali (a.s) explains is the angelic faculty. In humankind, the intellect functions by helping to distinguish between a subjective good and evil, something that we do on a day-to-day basis when making decisions. Unlike humans however, angels only have this faculty and hence their judgment is not clouded by anything else. Oftentimes we as humans are confused and worried that things are too complicated. This is because our judgment is clouded by the other factors.  If man were to truly make a purely rational judgment based on facts, then the answer would be much more clearer. Doing this required untying the web of knots built in our own minds.

The second faculty is that of desire, without which mankind would cease to exist. Sometimes known as the animalistic force, this faculty helps maintain sexual attraction in man. Although this faculty is a necessity (this goes without saying), it does hinder the functioning of the intellect at some instances. Through pondering and reflection (via the power of the mighty intellect), it becomes clear what the role of the intellect is with regards to ones desires. By its very definition, desires are unlimited. However, humankind is restricted by time and space. So one can conclude that the faculty of desire will never be fully satiated, no matter how hard you try. This does not imply that desires should be completely kept away from, as the very common discussion of abstinence versus sexual relations goes to show.

The third faculty is that of anger, or the ferocious power. If man did not possess the power of anger, he would not be able to defend himself against aggression. Again, this faculty is necessary and has to be used in some cases. And once again, the inability of the intellect to reign in on the faculty of anger can lead to utter chaos.

The very last faculty, which isn’t given much importance or thought, is the faculty of imagination. This faculty, or force allows man to theorize and develop models in various different fields. One can imagine the negative consequences of the faculty of imagination if it is allowed to run wild. It provides the initial material required for plots, schemes and so on, and can be very detrimental to society as a whole.

The author provides the following allegory in trying to explain the interdependence of these faculties on one another:

“Imagine a traveller on horseback accompanied by a dog and a man who is a spy for the bandits. The mounted traveller represents reason. The mount represents desire and passion. The dog represents the power of anger and fierceness. And the spy represents the imaginative power. If the traveller just mentioned is successful in controlling his mount, the dog, and the spy, and in maintaining authority over them, he shall arrive at his destination safely; otherwise, he will be destroyed. “[2]

Yes, the soul is a battleground. It’s a warzone. We are blessed to be the ashraful makhluqat (the best of creations), but with great power, also comes great responsibility.

 


[1] Muhammad Mahdi ibn Abi Dharr al-Naraqi. Jami’ al-Sa’adat – The Collector of Felicities. Abridged edition. Ansariyan Publications, Qum, Iran.

[2] Ibid, page 15.

The Periodic Table Of Islam

The Periodic Table of Islam [Via: Iqra Online: Muslim Blogger & The Shia Encyclopedia]

Daily Dua For The Month Of Rajab

The following du`a is recommended after the daily obligatory prayers in the month of Rajab. The du`a, according to Shaykh `Abbas Qummi in Mafateehul Jinaan has been taught by Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (a). 
Sayyid Ibn Tawus has narrated that Muhammad ibn Dhakwan—known as ‘al-Sajjad’ due to his remarkable, long prostration during which he used to weep so heavily that he lost his sight—asked Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq (a.s), saying, “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! We are now in Rajab;  please  teach me a supplication due to which Almighty Allah may help me.” Hence, the Imam (a.s) asked him to write down the following dua: 
 

Mother’s Day Quiz Competition Entry- Fatema A Haji and Aaliyah Haji

Name: Fatema A Haji and Aaliyah Haji

From: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

This is a conversation between a Mother and her Daughter regarding The Holy Lady Fatimah (as).

Please click on their name below to listen to the conversation.

PS: It is safe! No Virus!

Fatema A Haji and Aaliyah Haji

Mother’s Day Quiz Competition Entry- Fatema Vakil

Name: Fatema Merchant

From: UAE

Ummul Ai’mmah
If what befell me befell the daylight,
It would turn itself to the the darkness of night.
I have been named Ummul A’immah, not in vain.
In total I have suffered all of their pain.

My husband Ali had his Khilafat snatched
In the same way that Fadak was taken.
It is the matter of a right, not land or a seat.
Our pleas were unheard, their hearts unshaken.

My darling Hassan faced love’s betrayal
Poisoned to death by his trusted wife
I too was killed by those who I loved.
My Baba’s Ummat took away my life!

In the land of Karbala, a request was answered,
By an arrow that sliced through the sky
At one time, my Mohsin, died under a door.
Hussain too, has had a child die.

Faced by the shameless usurpers of Khilafat
I stood and spoke for my right.
My son Ali, shares that with me.
He has suffered many a plight.

My Baqir and Sadiq endured a lot,
And came to rest in my protection
But what an Ummat, that won’t leave us in peace,
Our graves and shrines faced destruction.

Moosa, the seventh, lived in isolation
He was locked up and kept hidden away.
I too was deserted by the so called Ummat,
I spent alone every night and day.

Ali, his son, saw his Mayyit untended
Until someone could spare some time.
My father’s body lay while elections were held ;
Me alone on my doorstep crying…

My Taqi and Naqi have been done an injustice
By even their follower and friends
They are unrecognised, their glory ignored,
No one shall know me either, till the world ends.

When Hassan Askari lay on his deathbed
His concern was for his small son.
I too left the world heavy of heart
Worried about my little ones.

The doors of Madina, at one time did I knock,
It was Wilayat that I was trying to save.
My Mahdi does the same at your door every Friday
Your support it is that he does crave,

To come out and help him stop the injustice.
To help him with what he must do,
Till now, like for me,the doors remain closed,
To open them is up to you…

If what befell me befell the daylight,
It would turn itself to the the darkness of night.
I have been named Ummul A’immah, not in vain.
In total I have suffered all of their pain.

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