Despite certain strengths and capabilities, man is still extremely weak. No matter how powerful he may be in comparison with others or may not consider any one greater than himself, yet for his own self he is a weakling. He can neither word off any disease nor can he avoid difficulties. Even after his numerous achievements, he finds himself utterly helpless before earthly and heavenly calamities.
A person may have negated religion but when he is surrounded by difficulties, his supports lost and the boat of his life caught in the whirlpool of circumstances; at this moment, he feels a truly irrefutable flicker of hope that tells him that even at this juncture there is SOMEONE Who will save him. It is this very realization that makes him so strong that he can withstand the waves of adver sities.
Another advantage of sup plication is that one never despairs. Even in the most adverse of circumstances, one does not become a victim of hopelessness. It enables the most degraded man to achieve the honor of presenting himself before the Most Honored Almighty Allah. It makes man nearer to His Creator. But this proximity is neither physical nor material. It is a spiritual and devotional nearness. The soul traverses vast distances. Man departs from the valleys of disbelief and polytheism to reach the destination of belief in Divine unity. From disobe dience, he is guided towards obedience and from transgression; he moves towards repentance and seeks forgiveness of his sins.
As the Almighty Allah has bestowed numerous other bounties. He has also gifted the supreme bounty of the love and recognition of the pure Ahle Bait (a.s.).
The Almighty Allah has safeguarded us from degradations for the sake of Ahle Bait (a.s.). For their sake, He has saved humanity from many trials and
tribulations. On the basis of their love, Allah has promulgated the teachings of Islam and rectified our foul earthly lives.
The understanding of religion has been imparted to us through the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). They have lighted the lamps of guidance in every field; particularly in the area of supplication (Dua) they have really shown the way.
The objective style that touches the heart and accompanied with it, the
comparisons, the philoso phy, logic and other sciences; intertwined with phrases and expressions that leave an indelible imprint upon the nature of man.
One of the famous supplications is the Dua-e-Arafat of Imam Husain (a.s.). The plains of Arafat and the day of Arafat (9th of Zilhaj) is a conglomera tion of blessings, the rain ing of forgiveness, the at mosphere of the nearness to Allah, the begging slaves in the palace of the Needless, the turning away from the worldly matters to earn the pleasure of the Lord, the beseeching from the Creator. Confession of innumerable sins, hoping upon the limitless pardon of Allah. The reporters of traditions state that, “we were present in the company of Imam Husain (a.s.) on the plains of Arafat on the day of Arafat (9th Zilhaj).
After the time of noon , Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) emerged from his tent accompanied by his Ahle Bait (a.s.), his sons and his followers. He was in a state of humility and sincerity to Allah. He stood to the left side of Jabal-ur-Rahmat (the mountain of mercy) facing the Holy Kaaba. He raised his hands towards the sky and recited the following invocation like a beggar imploring ardently. The tears flowed to the extent of wetting his beard.
This is a very lengthy invocation and it’s complete exegesis is not possible. However we shall endeavor to explain as much as possible within the limits of this essay, keeping brevity in consideration.
Praise is for Allah whose decree cannot be chal lenged by anyone. Whose salvation cannot be refrained by anyone. His creation is unlike all other creations. Only He is the master of generosity and charity.
[Qaza =decree and one who decrees is known as the Qazi (Judge)] Even a little deficiency in the hearing of the case will lead to an incorrect verdict. Or if the verdict is accompanied with partiality it will be a wrong verdict, or if the Judge is not capable of giving a verdict, his decision is again inaccurate. If the judge ac cepts a bribe, his verdict will not be based on truth. All such types of possibilities can be imagined but impossible to be found in the Almighty.
The decrees and judgments of the Almighty Allah cannot be opposed by anyone. But they can definitely hinder one’s inten tions. Hazrat Ali (a.s.) says, “I have recognized Allah by seeing the defeat of intentions, the untying of knots and the failing of prowess.”
(Nahjul Balagha Pg. 511 Subh Saleh).
This means that acquisition of material causes and determination does not guarantee the fulfillment of one’s aims – rather if Allah wishes to the contrary, He can obstruct the final realization of one’s intentions.
To be satisfied with the divine decree is a sign of belief Even after possessing the requisite means, if one is unable to accomplish something he must not become aggrieved. He should submit meekly to the divine order. And on the day of Aashoora the same was expressed by Imam Husain (a.s.), “I concede to His judgment and submit to His command.”
No one can obstruct His bounty and felicity. He declares in the Holy Quran, “Say: O Allah, Master of the kingdom! You give the kingdom to whom soever You please and take away the kingdom from whomsoever You please, and You exalt whom You please and abase whom You please; in Your hand (Power) is the good; surely, You have Power over all things.”
(Surah Ale Imran)
This is mentioned in the 17th verse of Surah Anam in the following way: “And if Allah touches you with affliction, there is none to take it off but He; and if
He visits you with good, then He has power over all things.” There is no created object to match His creations. Every architect or maker develops his skills with the passage of time. Gradually, his shortcomings and mistakes reduce but still there remains some scope for improvement. But Allah is the “Best of the creators” “Who created the seven heavens one above another; you see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God; then look again, can you see any disorder?”
He is the Lord of limitless generosity and charity. He bestows upon those who be seech Him and also upon those who do not. And even those who do not even acknowledge Him. His endowment is not because He is under compulsion. Rather it is due to his vast charitability. Anyone else gives or donates expect ing some benefit in return. Even if not the worldly benefits, then at least he seeks the pleasure of the Almighty. It is only the Beneficent Allah Who bestows the innumerable bounties only because of His Own generosity.
“Trusts that He possesses are never lost.”
Allah the Almighty mentions in the Holy Quran:”And be patient, for surely Allah does not waste the reward of the good doers. “
(Sura Hud : 115)
and “…. and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless; must surely Allah is Affection ate, Merciful to be people. “
(Surah Baqarah : 143)
and also “And (as for) those who holdfast by the Book and keep up prayers, surely we do not waste the reward of the right doers.”
(Surah Aaraf :170)
Hence it is established that everything is safe with Him, nothing is wasted. Fakhrul Muhaqqeqeen, the son of the celebrated Allama Hilli, writes, “One who wishes to depart from this world with correct belief and desires to be protected from the false ones, must obtain the knowledge of the Principles (Usool-e-deen) accom panied with comprehensive arguments. He must understand and remember them by heart and then he must entrust it to Allah Who will bestow him with the same at the time of his death. It is incumbent to present it in the following way to the Almighty,
“O Allah, O the Most Merciful of the Merciful Ones. I entrust to You this belief, faith and religion. And You are the Best of the protectors. You have commanded us to protect the trusts. Then restore to me this trust at the time of my death.”
(Mafatihul Jinan, by Shaikh Abbass Qutnmi, p. 86, after Dua-e-Adlya).
The type of belief one pos sesses at the time of the death is of utmost importance be cause it is upon this that one’s salvation depends. In this Dua Imam Husain (a.s.) remembers the bounties of the Almighty. From a minute sperm, He created a complete man in stages. What arrange ments He provided for his physical and spiritual training. He provided a diet of pure milk and gave an affectionate mother to rear him….. after describ ing the numerous bounties he mentions the greatest of the gifts, “when I learnt to speak, my under standing complete and my body strong enough, You gifted me with Your recognition (Marefat). You astonished me with the marvel of Your creation and Wisdom.”
Marefat (recognition) of Allah is the most precious of the divine bounties for the lowly human. Hazrat Imam Reza (a.s.) said, “If people knew the value of the recognition of Allah, they would not have even looked towards the world. – The enjoyment of the Marefat of Allah are the bounties of Para dise .”
(Furu-e-Kafi vol. 8, pg. 248).
Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) re marked, “Allah’s recognition is the highest recogniton.”
Hazrat Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) says, “None of the deeds will be accepted without Allah’s recognition and without deeds, there is no recog nition. One who receives recognition, will go to wards good deeds. One who has no recognition, has no good deeds.”
(Tohoful Uqool by Ibn Shob Harrani, p. 215 ).
After this Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) invites the attention towards the fact that man cannot thank Allah for all the bounties that has been bestowed upon he him. He expresses it in a way, that the acknowledgment of the bounties is also expressed along with the sentiment that one is not capable enough to offer complete thanksgiving.
In the words of Imam Husain (a.s.) himself: O Almighty! I will not be able to offer complete thankfulness even if I live to the end of the world and try to thank for only one of the various boun ties, viz, my belief, my firm faith, pure and clear monothe ism, the hidden insistence of Consciousness, the clear vision, the wrinkles of the forehead, the passage of respiration, the sense of smell, the intells that enable the sounds to reach the sense of hearing, the hints of the pursed lips, the words that emerge by the movement of the tongue, the movement of the jaws, the gums, the organs of eating and drinking, the bones of the skull, the parts of the neck, the expanse of the chest, the nerves controlling the throat, the nerves that support the heart, the veins that bind the pieces of liver, the sides of the waist, the joints, ligaments that control the fingers, flesh, blood, hair, skin, muscles, arteries, bones, brain, nerves, limbs, the nipples, the earth that carries my load, my sleep and my awakening, my genuflections and prostrations, I witness through all these things that even if I intend and try till the end of my life to thank you for one of these things, I will not be able to do so.
All the organs that could be employed for thanking Allah have been endowed by Allah Himself. The presence of the myriad bounties all around us and the feeling of one’s incapacity to fully thank Allah compel us to prostrate before Him. It also causes the eradication of pride and arrogance and makes one the most obedient and pious creature.
Let us read the lines of the invocation repeatedly to see how Imam Husain (a.s.) has hinted towards these important points. The world is paying atten tion to these things only after scientific develop ments. But Imam Husain (a.s.) has informed us of these facts fourteen centuries ago. All this proves that had the Ahle Bait (a.s.) been free to preach unobstructed, the spiritual and material condition of the world would have been completely different.
“O Allah let me be fearful of You as if I am actually seeing You.”
If one has the feeling that he is being watched by someone, he will refrain from committing a sin. Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.) says in Dua Abu Hamza Sumali,
“If anyone other than You had been aware of my sins, I would not have commit ted them. Had 1 feared imme diate retribution, I would have avoided the sins.”
The Holy Quran says, “Don’t you know that Allah sees (you)?”
(Surah Alaq : 14)
One who perceives that Allah is watching him, will not go near the sins. Although everyone knows that Allah sees him yet firm conviction is missing. Allah – Who is nearer than the jugular vein – is aware of the movement of the eyes. He is between man and his heart. He is cognizant of the doubts that haunt the mind. One has knowledge of these facts but even then he tends to commit wrongs. This could only be because his knowledge of these realities is confined to his mind, it has not pervaded his complete existence.
A Jew approached Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) and enquired, “Have you seen your Lord’?” (such a question is to be expected from the Jews because these same people had once insisted upon Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) to show them the Lord). Imam Ali (a.s.) replied, “I have never worshipped the Lord Whom I have not seen. However, He cannot be seen with these eyes. He can only be seen by the eyes of the heart and faith.”
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol.3, pg.53 ).
Imam Husain (a.s.) has used the word ‘Khashyah’. The English word nearest in meaning to this Arabic term is fear. But it is not an exact equivalent. The Arabic word for fear is ‘Khauf, which implies the dread that a person has due to the imminent punishment that he has earned by committing the sin. The sinner thinks of the punishment and becomes fearful. Whereas ‘Khashyah’ is a condition that results from the realization of the Might and Greatness of the Almighty Allah. Fear is the actual feeling but due to the awareness of Allah’s Might, one shudders and shivers.
The heavenly book Quran has associated this ‘awe’ (Khashyah) with the learned (Ulama) :
“…Only the learned among His servants fear Allah. “
(Surah Faatir : 28)
Now these people are not in awe or fear because of the punishments of Hell. Rather, they feel extremely lowly and degraded before the Almighty Allah. The more these two truths are realized, the more one’s body quivers and trembles. One con fesses his deficiencies more and accepts the Great ness of Allah even more.
Traditions speak of three kinds of worship : (1) The worship of a trader (2) The worship of a slave (3) The worship of a free man.
The worship of a trader is a worship that is performed in expectation of the rewards of Heaven. The worship of a slave is the worship in fear of the punishment of Hell. The worship of a free man is neither due to the anticipation of heavenly rewards nor because of the fear of the hellish punishments. But one worships Allah because he finds Worthy. And this is the highest form of worship.
This worship emanates from the recognition of Allah. It is this recognition which is the cause his awe and fear. Imam Ali (a.s.) says, “Even if a single drop of tear flows because of the awe of the Almighty, it silences a whole sea of fire. One who weeps due to the awe of the Lord, holds a very high and lofty position near Allah. He makes friends for the sake of Allah and makes enemies only for the sake of Allah.”
(Safinatul Behar, vol. 1, pg. 95)
“O Allah! Bestow good fortune due to my fear for You and do not make me evil due to Your disobe dience. “
“Righteousness” and ‘Evil’ are two words that everyone is aware of to some extent. But their level of intensity is different for different people. Ev eryone tries to achieve righteousness and avoid evil according to his own level.
Islam has a special criteria for these two terms. Here the criteria to measure righteousness is piety, ab stinence and the obedience of the Lord. And the criteria of evil is sinning, disobedience and the defiance of Allah. On the basis of this, the opportunity to perform good deeds that is achieved is called righteousness and when this opportunity is lost, and one is involved in the sinful actions it is called wretch edness. The more one remains aloof from the sins, the more he shall move towards righteousness and success. Imam Husain (a.s.) himself told him, “You are free (Hurr) in this world as well as in the hereafter.”
In the holy religion of Islam, piety, greatness and honor are the criteria for distinction. “Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty) [i.e. pious].”
(Surah Hujuraat : 13)
“Due to piety, deeds become acceptable.”
(Surah Maida: 27).
Also, bounties rain from the sky. “And if the people of the towns had
believed and guarded (against evil) We would certainly have opened up for them blessing from the heaven and the earth…”
(Surah Aaraf : 96).
Sins are forgiven due to piety, “…and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will remove from him, his evil and give him a big reward.”
Piety is a channel to enter heaven. “Surely those who guard (against evil) shall be in gardens and rivers.”
(Surah Qamar : 54)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says, “O Ali! Love for you is piety (Taqwa).” Hence all the success and achievements are only due to piety and all the failures and degradations are because of sins and disobedience. In the lines mentioned Imam Husain (a.s.) prays, “O Allah! Bestow righteousness upon me through piety. Give me the opportunity to be away from the sins so that I may remain safe from wretchedness and evil. ” This article will be concluded with that portion of the Dua where Imam Husain (a.s.) says, “Promul gate a favourable decree for me and bless whatever You have ordained for me.”
The result of submitting willfully to the divine decree is explained. “So that whatever is kept in abeyance for a later time is not wished by me immediately. And whatever is given priority by You may not be wished by me to be kept in abeyance.”
When one has realised that Allah is the Most Merciful and Most Wise, then we must agree that whatever He has decreed for us, is for our well-being. Hence, nothing better could be imagined than what has been allocated to us. If we imagine anything else, it is the fault of our belief and reason.
“O Allah! bestow upon me needlessness and inde pendence (so that I may not look towards anyone for satisfying my wants except You). Enrich my heart with conviction. Impart sincerity to my ac tions. Give light to my eyes and gift me the capability of discrimination in religion. “
Let us end our discussion upon this prayer. May Allah give us the sense of needlessness and a firm conviction. May we acquire sincerity in our deeds and gain the power of discernment in religion.
Amen! O Lord of the Worlds.