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Exegesis of Dua Ahad

(Continued from previous issue)

And the Lord of the Elevated Throne

The word ‘Lord’ has been discussed earlier. Now we shall have a brief discussion on the word ‘Kursi (Throne)’. In Arabic literature, ‘Kursi’ is something which a person takes support of or sits on. In the Holy Quran, the word ‘Kursi’ has been mentioned twice. Once in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 255:

And His throne encompasses the heavens and the earth.

Let us now understand the meaning of ‘Throne’ in the light of traditions of the progeny of Muhammad (peace be on them).

Throne refers to the Knowledge of Allah

Hafs Ibn Ghiyaas narrates that I asked Imam Sadiq (peace be on him) about the verse,

And His throne encompasses the heavens and the earth”.

Imam (peace be on him) replied, “It refers to the Knowledge of Allah.

[Al-Tauheed of al-Shaikh al-Sadooq (a.r.), p. 327]

In another tradition when Fuzail Ibn Yasaar (a.r.) {about whom Imam (peace be on him) said that Fuzail is from us Ahle Bait (peace be on him)}, asked Imam (peace be on him) about the word ‘Throne’, Imam (peace be on him) replied,

O Fuzail, all things are within the Throne, the heavens and the earth and everything else is in the Throne.


In the third tradition, Zurarah (a.r.) who is enumerated among the special disciples of Imam Sadiq (peace be on him), asked Imam (peace be on him) whether the heavens and earth have encompassed the Throne or the Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth?

Imam (peace be on him) replied,

Nay! Rather the throne encompasses the heavens and the earth and the Arsh. The Throne encompasses all things.


In reply to the question of the Jaasaleeq, the Arch-Bishop, Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) replied,

“The Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth and everything that is between them and whatever is beneath the earth. Allah is aware of all your secrets and hidden things no matter how vocal your discussions may be. The verse, “His Throne encompasses the heavens and the earth” points to this fact.

[Al-Kaafi by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yaqoob al-Kulayni, vol. 1, p. 129, H. 1]

The above mentioned traditions clarify that the Throne attributed towards Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, refers to the Knowledge of Allah. When the word Throne or Arsh is used for Allah, it doesn’t imply that this Throne or Arsh is like our seats or thrones and that Allah sits on them, unlike what some people believe that Allah has a body and shall be seen on the Day of Judgment. Allah is purified from such characteristics.

The word ‘elevated’ is a characteristic of the Throne. As per Arabic literature, “Rafee’ (elevated)” is a nominal predicate which means an elevated thing. It refers to the Knowledge of Allah. Nobody has the means to scale its heights except those whom Allah has selected. In other words, Allah has granted such heights to the knowledge that He has created which none can ascend except for that personality who proclaimed from the pulpit:

Ask me before you lose me!

Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) said in the Sermon of Shiqshiqiyyah:

My relation to the Caliphate was akin to the axle to the grinding mill. A flood of knowledge was flowing through me and no flying bird had the ability to reach me (no intellect could comprehend the profundity of my knowledge or the reality of my existence).

Woe upon the love of this world and the love of fame due to which people deprived Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) of the apparent Caliphate and left the entire Muslim nation in the darkness of misguidance and ignorance.

And the Lord of the swollen ocean

The word ‘Bahr’ means an ocean or a sea, its plural is ‘Abhur’ or ‘Buhoor’ or ‘Behaar’.

‘Bahrun Masjoor’ refers to that heavenly ocean which is below the Divine Empyrean. Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) says,

(It is) an ocean in the heavens beneath the Divine Empyrean.

[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 55, p. 107, H. 54]

Zaid Ibn Wahab narrates that Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) prayed as follows:

And the Lord of the swollen ocean… that which encompasses the worlds…

[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 97, p. 37, H 36]

And it shall be filled on the Day of Judgment.

[Tafseer of Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi (r.a.)]

And the One who sent down the Torah and the Bible and the Psalms

The word ‘Munzil’ is the nominal subject of Baab If’aal which means the One who sends down. Allah the Most High, sent down Divine Books for the guidance of people. He sent down 104 divine books. Of which four are very famous, Torah, Bible, Psalms and the Holy Quran. In this supplication, the Holy Quran is mentioned in the next line, probably due to its importance and its position.

And the Lord of Shade and Heat

Both words are related to sun, illumination or light. A place where, the presence of sun, illumination or any light have no direct impact or shelter is sought due to its blazing heat is known as ‘Zill’ or shade.

The word ‘Zill’ is derived from the root z-l-l and in Arabic grammar it is termed as Muzaa’af i.e. those verbs which contain a repeated root alphabet. This root and its derivatives appear in the Holy Quran 35 times.

‘Haroor’ (heat) indicates towards an exaggeration which means something which contains a lot of warmth or is very hot.

Both terms have been used in a verse of the Holy Quran, Surah al-Faatir verses 19-21:

And the blind and the seeing are not the same. And neither darkness nor light. And neither shade nor heat.

Here Allah, the High asks a question, ‘Are shade and heat similar to each other?’ In Arabic grammar this is called rhetorical question (Istefhaame Inkaari) which means a question which has a very clear and evident answer in itself. Here the answer is ‘No’ and it is a very evident and logical conclusion that these two are not the same but contrary to each other. This will be further explained as follows:

And neither shade nor heat

Ibn Abbas says that shade refers to the shade of Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him) in Paradise and heat refers to the Fire of Hell for Abu Jahl (may Allah curse him).

What is interesting is that this narration is present in the Books of Ahle Tasannun and it is narrated from Ibn Abbas.

In this regard, it would not be inappropriate to mention the name of one of the chapters of Behaar al-Anwaar. Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) in his august book from volumes 23 to 27 has discussed the topic of general outlook on Imamate. The 37th chapter of the 24th volume is as follows:

Surely the Imams (peace be on him) are (as per Quran) “Sweet Water”, “the Abandoned Well”, “the Strong Fortress”, “Sky”, “Rains”, “Shade”, “Fruits” and all things which are beneficial for mankind due to their knowledge and their blessings.

And (the One who) sent down the Great Quran and the Lord of the Proximate Angels and the Prophets and the Messengers

The mention of the Holy Quran separately as compared to other Divine Books points to its greatness.

Just like Allah the Almighty has chosen a few of His creation for Himself like the House of Allah (Baitullah) i.e. all mosques are the houses of Allah especially the Holy Kaaba, the Soul of Allah (Ruhullah) is the title of Prophet Isa (peace be on him), the Self of Allah (Nafsullah) is Ameerul Momineen (peace be on him), etc. Similarly, among the angels, Allah has chosen four angels and has called them the proximate angels. Who are these proximate angels?

Imam Kazim (peace be on him) narrates on the authority of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) that he said:

Surely Allah, blessed and high be He, has chosen four from everything and from among the angels, He has chosen Jibraeel (peace be on him), Mikaeel (peace be on him), Israfeel (peace be on him) and the angel of Death.

[Al-Khisaal by al-Shaikh al-Saduq (a.r.), vol. 1, p. 225 H. 58; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 6, p. 144, H. 14]

Before we move on to the next statement of this supplication, we would like to remind the readers of the following:

There are some discussions and traditions regarding the creation of proximate angels which are beyond the scope of human intellect. But it doesn’t mean that we reject these discussions just because we are unable to comprehend them. One who makes such a claim is actually claiming that he is aware of the lineages, positions and matters of all creations of Allah the High whereas such a claim is not possible for anyone except those whom Allah the Omniscient has granted knowledge. There is a famous saying in Arabic literature which means that “Not knowing something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.” Now let us look at a tradition which relates to the creation of the proximate angels.

Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) says:

“When I ascended to the heavens during Me’raaj, we reached a river where Jibraeel (peace be on him) said to me:

O Muhammad! Cross this river by the blessings of Allah. Surely Allah has illuminated your eyes and has assisted you in what is before you. For surely, this river is such that no proximate angel can ever cross it neither any appointed Prophet. It is such that I dive into this river daily and when I come out of it and shake my wings to dry them – Allah creates a proximate angel from each drop which falls from my wings.”

[Al-Amaali of al-Shaikh al-Saduq (a.r.), p. 354, Majlis no. 58]

The last two words of this statement “Prophets and Messengers” – Anbiyaa (Prophets) is the plural of Nabi and Mursaleen (Messengers) is plural of Mursal. Nabi is that divine emissary who has been given news. Nabi is either been derived from the Arabic word ‘na-ba-a’ which means news and refers to that person who has received Divine News or it is derived from the Arabic word ‘na-ba-wa’ which means excellence or loftiness.

As per traditions there were 313 Messengers (Rasool) and 124000 Prophets (Nabi). Among the Prophets there are five great (‘Ulul Azm’) Prophets and they are: Prophets Nuh (peace be on him), Ibrahim (peace be on him), Moosa (peace be on him), Isa (peace be on him) and Holy Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (peace be on him and his family). A question arises here that Prophet Adam (peace be on him) was the first Messenger and the father of all mankind then why is he not included among the ‘Ulul Azm’ or the Greatest Prophets? The reply to this is found in the teachings of Ahle Bait (peace be on them):

Jabir narrates that I asked Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be on him) regarding the verse,

Certainly We took the covenant from Adam in the beginning but he forgot and We did not find certitude (Azm) in him.

[Surah Ta Ha: Verse 115]

Imam (peace be on him) replied:

(Allah implies) that We took the covenant from him regarding Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his family) and the Imams (peace be on him) after him (peace be on him and his family) but he overlooked and forgot it because he was not certain that such a thing would occur. It is not possible for everyone to understand the position of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and his progeny (peace be on him), such a thing requires a special bestowal from the side of Allah and the bestowals of Allah too are not similar for everyone. Just as there are differences in the positions of the Messengers (peace be on them), similarly there are differences in the grades of the bestowals from Allah as well.”

In the light of other traditions, this certitude was regarding the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and due to this lack of conviction he was deprived of this great position of ‘Ulul Azm’ Prophethood. We should beseech Allah the Almighty that we do not get separated from the path of Ahle Bait (peace be on them) even for a moment or else we will be completely destroyed. May Allah hasten the reappearance of our Imam and include us among his companions and helpers.

Aameen! O Lord of the worlds!

(to be continued in the next issue Inshallah)

August 31, 2020