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Special Greetings pertaining to Imam Zamana ‎‎(a.s.)‎

Allah – The One sans partner – is the Creator of all creatures. His Being is Unique and Needless. He is the ‎One before whom every particle of the universe is subservient and indigent. From eternity, He is Generous ‎upon the world of creation. He showers His bounties upon His creatures, morning and evening. He does not ‎withhold the flood of His bounties. His is the creation, His are the bounties. He is the fountainhead of all ‎endowments. He is the One Who adorns the dawn. He is the Provider of light to the day and the shade in the ‎blistering afternoon heat. He owns everything. Then why is He displeased with His servants? Why does He – ‎the Blessed and Merciful One – repeatedly warn His servants about the refutation of His bounties?‎
There is reason for this. The moot cause is that the Creator bestowed intellect and reasoning upon his ‎creation, the children of Adam (a.s.). Then He sent His apostles, prophets and their successors for the ‎propagation of knowledge and shariah. He thus illuminated the paths of guidance among mankind. ‎Subsequently, He gave them a choice – Be among the thankful ones or be among those who deny the bounties. ‎His anger is directed to the second group, to those who refute His bounties. Hence the tone of the verses ‎reflects Majesty and Dominion. The verse thunders: Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny? ‎
‎(Surah Rahman)‎
However, when He addresses His true worshippers, the manner and style changes. The tone of ‎conversation softens. He speaks to them in a cheerful tone. The listeners are of different disposition, of a ‎different nature. The sublime fragrance embedded in their nature is uplifting. Their visions and hearts are the ‎centres for a mysterious Proof. This is a unique level of submission and acceptance. Here the speaker says to ‎the audience: “We, the angels are with you believers. Verily, Allah the High sends greetings (salawaat) and His ‎angels too send greetings, and you, O believers! Also send greetings on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and submit to his ‎orders.” This is the final stage of submission and acceptance where windows of cognition and faith open ‎before a believer upon his incessant recitation and repetition of salawaat. He (the believer) is engulfed in the ‎sea of bewilderment and wonder. He then submits in thankfulness because he has been included in the rows of ‎angels who send salawaat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Allah has instructed us to submit to His Prophet ‎‎(s.a.w.a.) and enlightens our intellect so that we strive towards the recognition of His Prophet (s.a.w.a.). We ‎know that His Messengers and successors (a.s.) are not from us. They are different. Their creation is different. ‎They are unique and exclusive. They are such noble and dignified divine ambassadors that Allah – Blessed and ‎High Be He – invites His angels and the believers to send salawaat upon them. The sovereignty of these chaste ‎individuals (a.s.) is such that if a person doubts regarding them, he loses sight of the path to submission and ‎satisfaction. Thus, we have been bestowed with the gift of salawaat. It is an emblem that contains not only the ‎voice of Allah, but also His angels and the believers. So, the caravan which started its journey with Hazrat ‎Adam (a.s.) continues its voyage towards the Lord of the Day of Judgment in the footsteps of Haabil. It will ‎reach its eternal abode with the help of salawaat.‎
Now, it is incumbent on us that we constantly recite salawaat upon that representative of Allah, who is the ‎soul of the universe, the successor of all Prophets and Messengers, the Imam of the time (a.s.) and thus be ‎enumerated among the believers as mentioned by Allah. There are some methods and illuminations for this ‎salawaat. Some additional shades and hues have been illustrated about it by our scholars. Hence, we will ‎mention some of them over here and throw some light upon their meanings and contexts.‎
We will also discuss the salawaat of Abu Zarraab-e-Isfahani for Imam Zamana (a.s.) in the forthcoming ‎pages.‎
The literal meaning of salawaat is “deep concentration”. Allama Tabatabai (r.a.) explains in his exegesis ‎Al-Mizan. (Surah Ahzab: 43) that the complete and comprehensive meaning of salawaat can only be gleaned ‎from its context. Normally, it means the “attentiveness of the heart towards somebody” but the meaning ‎differs with the change of context. Some have opined that salawaat with reference to Allah means Mercy ‎while the salawaat of the angels is an intense prayer for forgiveness and the salawaat of a believer is (just) a ‎prayer. So, we can apply the meaning of salawaat as prayer in context to the angels and believers and the ‎literal meaning also corroborates this. ‎
The author of Majma’ul Bayaan has mentioned the meaning of salawaat as Zikr (remembrance). While Al-‎Mufradaat of Raaghib states that most dictionaries have called it as prayer, commendation or praise. He has ‎quoted the narration of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) under Sura Baqarah – ‘when someone calls for food then ‎accept it. And if you are fasting, then pray () for him’. The salawaat has been used in Qur’an in ‎the meaning of prayer. It is mentioned in Sura Tauba, verse 103:‎
Take alms out of their property, you would cleanse them and purify them thereby, and pray () for ‎them. Surely your prayer (salawaat) is a relief for them. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing‎
The meaning of salawaat in Sura Ahzaab, verse 43 is in the meaning of “attention” and “importance”:‎
He it is Who has His attention () on you, and (so do) His angels, that He may bring you forth out ‎of utter darkness into the light And He is Merciful to the believers
This verse clarifies the fact that attention of Allah is His mercy. ‎
Allah says in Sura Ahzaab, verse 55:‎
Surely Allah and His angels send salawaat on the Prophet. O you who believe! Call for (Divine) ‎blessings upon him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.‎
What is evident from this verse is that it is incumbent on a believer to send salutations upon the Prophet ‎‎(s.a.w.a) along with Allah and His angels. Both Shias and Sunnis consider it an important worship and send ‎salutations upon the Prophet and his progeny (s.a.w.a.).‎
Historical background of salawaat
The verses on Meesaaq (covenant) in the Holy Qur’an make it clear that Allah had ordered all his ‎messengers to introduce Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a) and his progeny (s.a.w.a.) among their respective ‎nations. On the other hand, H. Adam (a.s.) was told to make use of the intercession of the progeny of ‎Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) for the acceptance of his request and the mode of worship is best known to the ‎messengers (a.s.). Looking at the general and collective meanings of salawaat, it would be apt to say that ‎when H. Adam (a.s.) would have seen the majesty and grandeur of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his ‎progeny (a.s.), then he would not have sought Allah’s forgiveness without extolling and commending them. ‎According to a tradition (hadees) in Behaarul Anwaar, the Bani Israel were ordered to send salawaat on the ‎Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny (a.s.). This happened when H. Musa (a.s.) mentioned the difficulties ‎facing the Bani Israel to his Lord. Allah instructed him, ‘O Musa! When the Bani Israel face difficulties, ‎instruct them to pray for their needs after sending salawaat on the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Surely they will find ‎salvation’. Allama Majlisi (r.a.) has penned interesting anecdotes in this regard. For further reference, one ‎may refer to Behaarul Anwaar, vol.39, pg.61.‎
Kinds of Salawaat
In the light of traditions, salawaat can be divided into two parts – short and elaborate. The most common ‎and smallest salawaat is ‘Allahumma Salle Alaa Muhammad wa Aale Muhammad’ introduced by the Holy ‎Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Both Shias and Sunnis are unanimous about this point. As for a detailed salawaat, those ‎who consider salawaat as the foundation of worship know that there are different and elaborate salawaat for ‎each of the fourteen Infallibles (a.s.) and these have come in the traditions. We have been ordered to recite ‎these salawaat. Special salawaat related to the infallible personas (a.s.) can be perused in the last part of ‎Mafaatihul Jinaan.‎
There is one more type of salawaat which has two facets- Transmitted and non-transmitted. Transmitted ‎salawaat are those which have come from the words of the Infallible guides (a.s.) and the non-transmitted are ‎the salawaat of the scholars presented before Muhammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.) as a token of their ‎beliefs and faith. However, the scholars have been careful to use only those terms and sentences that have ‎been expressed in the various salawaat of the Infallibles (a.s.). Readers will be surprised to know that even ‎prejudiced Sunni scholars – despite their enmity with the Shias – have written books detailing the incredible ‎effects of reciting salawaat upon Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.). The book “Wasilatul Khadim ‎ilal makhdoom” by Fazl Ibn Roozbahaan Kanji can be cited as an example. He has mentioned the salawaat for ‎Imam Zamana (a.s.) on page 359 in these words:‎
O Allah! Send your blessings, mercy and peace upon the twelfth Imam. The upright, the awaited, the ‎scholar, the powerful, the successor of the choicest of the chosen, the inheritor of the might of ‎Murtuza (a.s.); the successor of the impeccable morals of Hasan (a.s.); the inheritor of the ‎determination of Husain (a.s.), the worship of Ali Ibn Husain (a.s.), the sciences of the of Baqir (a.s.)….. ‎The one who gains precedence upon mankind through nobility and excellence. The loved Imam, the ‎promised manifestation. … and the Proof, the Upright, the awaited one for the time of reappearance.”‎
I have only quoted a few lines for the sake of brevity. This is how they had penned salawaat for the ‎Infallible Imams (a.s.). ‎
Salawaat of Abu Zarraab Isfahani
Sayyed Ibn Tawoos says that salawaat of Zurrab Isfahani is that salawaat upon Muhammad and his ‎progeny (s.a.w.a.) which has been narrated from Imam Zamana (a.s.). This is an invaluable salawaat which ‎should not be abandoned on Friday even if due to some reason the other prayers cannot be recited on that ‎day, since it is a divine secret of which Allah Himself has made us aware.‎
Sayyed ibn Tawoos says that ‘My forefather Abu Ja’far Toosi (r.a.) narrating from reliable sources quotes ‎
‎“Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf Zarraab Isfahani related to me while he was returning from Isfahan.‎
‎‘I (Yaqub) left for Hajj with some Sunnis of our city in 281 A.H. When we reached Makkah, one of us ‎rented a house in the middle of the Lail market. It was the House of J. Khadijah (s.a) but was more popular as ‎the House of Imam Reza (a.s.). An old wheatish complexioned lady resided therein. When I came to know that ‎this house is famous as the “house of Imam Reza (a.s.)” I became curious. I inquired from the lady “Since ‎when are you residing in this house? How are you related to the people of this house? Why was it named the ‎house of Imam Reza (a.s.)?” She replied, “I am from the followers of Ahlul Bait (a.s.) and this is the house of ‎Imam Ali Ibn Musa Reza (a.s.). Hasan Askari (a.s.) has asked me to reside here. I was among his (a.s.) ‎servants.” Hearing this I felt a sense of attachment with her. However, I kept this (secret) from my Sunni ‎friends. When I would complete my circumambulation at night, I would sleep with them in the courtyard of ‎the house. We would lock the hallway door and place a large boulder behind the door dragging it t here. In ‎many nights, we saw that the door would open by itself and a radiant person would enter the house. He was of ‎wheatish-complexion, average height, handsome visage, and a mark of prostration (on his forehead). He ‎would be wearing two garments, a fine cloak and sandals. He would go directly to that room of the house ‎where the old woman lived. While she would always tell us that only her daughter entered her room. That ‎radiant light would climb the stairs. I saw the light on the first floor passage moving towards the room. I would ‎then witness the same light in the room while I could not see any lamp being lit. My companions saw this and ‎surmised that this was a man who had married the old lady’s daughter and had come to meet her. They then ‎said, “These are Alawis (implying Shias), and this is Mut’ah.” For them mu’tah was forbidden. We would see ‎him regularly entering and leaving the house while the boulder would always be in its place. We would lock ‎the door from inside for fear of our possessions being stolen and only we would shift the rock to open the ‎door. We saw that the person entered and left the house without moving the stone aside while we had to ‎struggle to move it all the time. There was a pounding in my heart when I saw such strange sights. I became ‎courteous and friendly with the old lady as I was keen to know the identity of that man. I told her, ‘O So-and-‎so! I would like to ask you a few questions while I’m alone. When you find me alone in the house, come down ‎so I can talk to you.’ She immediately replied’ ‘I too would like to confide in you but have been unable to do so ‎due to your companions.’ I asked, ‘What is it you want to say?’ She replied, ‘It has been said to me – she did ‎not say by whom – that you should not be bad-mannered with your friends and companions. Don’t argue with ‎them and do not fight with them because they are your enemies. Always be kind and affectionate with them. I ‎asked her, ’Who told you this?’ She replied, ‘I am saying it.’ Since I was in awe of her I couldn’t gather the ‎courage to question her again. I queried, ‘About which friends are you warning me?’ I thought she would point ‎to the friends who had accompanied me to Haj. But she said, ‘Those friends who are your partners and live ‎with you in your house.’ There had been an altercation between me and they on matters of religion and they ‎had complained about me. Hence I had run away from my city and had spent a few days in hiding. I asked that ‎lady, ‘How did you come to love Imam Reza (a.s.)? ‘I was a servant of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)’, she replied. I ‎was now convinced about her genuineness so I thought of asking her about the hidden Imam (a.s.). I said, ‘By ‎Allah! Have you seen him?’ She answered, ‘Brother, I have not seen him. I had come to the city along with my ‎pregnant sister and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) gave glad tidings to me that I will soon see him in my last days ‎and he instructed me, “Serve him as you serve me.” I was in Egypt till sometime back. I have travelled here ‎due to a man from Khurasan, not proficient in Arabic, who bore my expenses of thirty dinars and ordered me ‎to perform Hajj in this year. So, I left with the hope of seeing him (a.s.). The narrator (Yaqub) says, ‘For a ‎moment I thought in my heart ‘Is the person that I see coming and going ‘Mahdi’?”. I took out ten Razavi ‎dirhams which I had intended to be placed at Maqame Ibrahim (as) and gave it to her. I thought to myself, ‎‎“Giving it to people in the progeny of Fatima (s.a) is better than placing it at Maqame Ibrahim (a.s.) and has a ‎greater reward.” I told her, “Give these dirhams to the worthy among the progeny of Fatima (s.a). I thought ‎that the old lady would give it to the person I had seen and he would accept it. She went to her room taking ‎the money along with her and came back after a little while. She said, ‘He says, “We do not have right upon ‎the money. Spend it as you had intended earlier. But take the equivalent of the razavi coins from us and ‎donate it as you had intended. I did as I was told and thought to myself, “This has been ordered by the same ‎man (Imam (a.s.)).‎
‎‘I had a copy of the tauqee’ issued to Qasim Ibn al-Alaa in Azerbaijan. I requested her to show this to ‎someone who was familiar with the tauqee’ of Imam (a.s.). She said, “Give it to me. Surely, I can recognize it.” ‎She saw the tauqee’ and I suspected that she may be the right person to identify the tauqee’. However she ‎said, “I am unable to read it at this place.” So she took it to her room. Then she came down and said “This ‎tauqee’ is authentic and correct.” It was written in the tauqee’, “I give you a glad tiding which I have not given ‎anybody else before” Then she inquired, “He (a.s.) has asked you that when you send salawaat upon the ‎Prophet (s.a.w.a.) what do you recite?” I replied:‎
‎“O Allah! Send Your Blessings upon Muhammad & his progeny and shower Your Munificence upon ‎Muhammad & his progeny like You bestowed Your Blessings, Munificence & Mercy upon Ibrahim and ‎his progeny. Certainly You are Most commendable & praiseworthy. ‎
On hearing this she said, “Do not send salawaat like this. Rather, when you send salawaat on them then ‎take the name of each one of them individually”. I replied: “Okay”.‎
The next day, she brought a small book with her and said, “He (a.s.) has instructed you, that when you send ‎salawaat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) then send salawaat upon him and his successors according to this copy. I ‎took it from her and acted upon it. I observed on a number of nights that he (a.s.) descended from the room ‎and light of the lamp was still constant. I used to open the door and follow the light but would never find ‎anyone but would see the light bowing down in prostration. I saw groups of men from other cities come to the ‎house of this old lady and give some letters. The old lady too would give them similar letters. They would ‎converse with her but I could not understand their discussions. I saw a group from them when I met them on ‎my way back to Baghdad (after Hajj). The diary that I received from Hazrat (a.t.f.s) contained the following ‎salawaat:‎
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficient & the Most Merciful ‎
O Allah! Bless Muhammad (s.a.w.a), the chief of the messengers, the seal of the prophets (a.s.), the ‎proof of the Lord of the worlds, the chosen one in the covenant (meesaq) ……. the strong rope and the ‎straight path. And bestow Your Blessings on Your friend, the guardians of Your covenant and the Imams ‎‎(a.s.) from his descendants; prolong their lives and increase their age; make them reach their highest ‎expectations – in the religion, this world and the Hereafter. Surely You possess power over all things ‎
This salawaat has been narrated in authentic books through varied chains of authority and its recitation ‎has been greatly emphasized. ‎
Dear readers, we have related the entire incident to gauge the importance of this salawaat and get ‎proximity to Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny (a.s.) in general and Imam Zamana (a.s.) in ‎particular. Aameen. We cannot estimate the spiritual impact of the sentences of this salawaat. It would have ‎been befitting to present a brief exegesis and explanation of the same, but fearing prolongation, we will ‎discuss it in the future. ‎
The Excellence of Salawaat:‎
Salawaat is a sunnah in which Allah and His angels are associated. The angels are continually sending ‎salawaat on Mohammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.). Salawaat is a plea which is never rejected. The Holy ‎Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says in a tradition, “The one who does not send salawaat upon me, religion is not for him.”‎
‎(Sharh wa Fazaile Salalwaat; al-Kafi p. 52, reproduced from Jala’e Ifhaam)‎
Several books have been penned on the merits of salawaat. Interested readers may refer to Sharh wa ‎Fazaile Salawaat for further details.‎
The Benefits of Salawaat
It has come in traditions that when the person sends salawaat once upon the Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.), Allah ‎orders an angel to deliver the salawaat to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) faster than the blinking of an eye. This angel ‎goes to the shrine of the Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) and says, “So-and-so has send this salawaat upon you.” The ‎Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) replies, “Deliver my benediction upon him.”‎
‎(Sharh wa Fazaile Salalwaat; marhum Sayyed Ahmad Hussaini irdekan, p. 89)‎
Keeping in view the meaning of salawaat, it is worth noting the position of the person whose salawaat has ‎been accepted by the Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) and for whom he (s.a.w.a) too has recited salawaat. This cannot ‎be estimated by anyone except Allah.‎
The Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) relates in a tradition,‎
‎“The one who sends salawaat upon me every morning and evening in my love and affection, it is ‎necessary for Allah to forgive him that day.”‎
‎(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 70)‎
Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) informs:‎
‎“No prayer (dua) is answered without salawaat upon Mohammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.)”‎
‎(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 9, p. 58)‎
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) wills to Imam Ali (a.s.):‎
O Ali! Whosoever sends salawaat on me during the day, my intercession is obligatory for him even if ‎he is performing the great sins.‎
‎(Jaame’ul Akhbaar, ch. 28, p. 67, H. 5)‎
The benefits of salawaat have been mentioned in this lengthy tradition. ‎
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:‎
One day the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to Ali (a.s.), “O Ali (a.s.)! Would you like me to inform you of ‎some good news?” Imam (a.s.) replied, “Yes, May my parents be sacrificed upon you. You always ‎inform us about goodness.” The Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, “Jibraeel (a.s.) came to me and informed ‎me of an amazing thing.” “And what is it?” asked H. Ali (a.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied, “The ‎person who sends salawaat on Mohammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.), doors of heaven will be opened ‎for him and the angels will recite seventy salawaat on behalf of that person. If the man is a sinner, his ‎sins will detach from him like leaves falling from a tree. And it will be announced from Allah’s side, “O ‎My servant, I am present. And for you is success.” Then it shall be said to the angels, “O My angels! ‎Recite seventy salawaat on his behalf and I will recite seven hundred salawaat.” And the person who ‎sends salawaat on me and not on my progeny, there exist seventy veils between his salawaat and the ‎heavens and Allah addresses him, “For you there is neither any goodness nor any reward. I do not ‎accept you” Then He addresses His angels: “O My angels! Do not ascend this salawaat till he includes ‎the progeny of Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) in it.”‎
‎(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 56, H. 30)‎
Some traditions have added ‘Ajjil farajahum’ to ‘Allahumma salle alaa Muhammad wa Aale Muhammad’. ‎And reciting as such is ordered in the time of occultation. There are innumerable other benefits of salawaat ‎which we are unable to recount due to brevity.‎
I pray before the Almighty that He may bestow the tawfeeq of reciting salawaat upon us and hasten the ‎reappearance of our master Imam Zamana (a.s.). Aameen!‎

December 1, 2020