Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lion Like Syeds, Sons of Ali

Sons of Ali
Sons of Ali, star like. When one leaves
Another rises to guide. And when
Religion demanded sacrifice;
Once again a son of Abraham
Walked towards death, content with
God's Will. He who rode on the Prophet's back,
Now rode to battle with dashing bravery.

Witnessing this the earth trembled and shook. 

Skies were in uproar; for this was no war! 
Manifestation of Love is Husayn. 
Substitue for Ishamel's life is Husayn.*1

At the place of pain and affliction the*2

Lion like Syeds gave their lives. One by
one the petals of Husayn were plucked;
Abbas, Ali Akbar and many others *3
Bled to death. Lambs of Fatima gave their
Lives for faith's sake. The neck that so often
The Messenger kissed, became the place
Where the dagger fell. His pure blood, life-
giving, watered Islam's evergreen Tree.

- Khaadim

"For, behold all this was indeed a trial, clear in itself. And we ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice."
-37:106-107 Quran
2 Pain and affliction in arabic is Karb o Bala, which is also the place of this battle: Karbala
3 Abbas r.a. was the brother of Imam Husayn r.a. (son of Imam Ali r.a. from another lady, he married after Lady Fatima r.a. passed away), and Ali Akbar was the eldest son of Imam Husayn. The youngest son is known as Ali Asghar, he was six months old when he was martyred by an arrow from the Ummayad forces.

Note: "Sons of Ali, star like" The companions and the ahl-e-bayt have been compared to stars - guiding stars.

Minor update. 

O Mullah what have you earned?

By rote memorization and book knowledge you claimed to be a Qaazi (Qadhi/Judge)
By equipping thy self with a sword you claimed to be a Ghaazi (War hero)
By visiting Makkah and Madinah you claimed to be a Hajji
O Mullah what have you really earned when your Beloved with you is not Raazi (Radhi/satisfied)?        

(Qaazi = Arabic Qadhi = Judge)
(Ghazi = War hero)
(Raazi = satisfied/accepting)

Verses by Bulleh Shah

This is a my amateur attempt at translating the verses of Bulleh Shah.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some sayings on Love by Jami

"Ordinary human love is capable of raising man to the experience of real love"

"Go and love first, then come to me and I will show you the way."

"Say: if you love God, follow me (Muhammad) and God will love you."(Quran. 3:31)

Nur ud Din Abdur Rahman Jami

"Abdul Rahman Jami was a great Sufi and also a great poet of Farsi and he assuaged his spiritual desire for Allah’s Habib by constantly reciting poems in his praise, to give some comfort to his ailing heart! These Farsi encomiums have become legendary and are recited to this day amongst the gatherings of the pious, it so happened that once this ‘ishq [noun (Arabic): ardent love] was at its peak and poor Jami became restless. He composed a wonderful poem [naat] in the praise of Allah’s Habib and in the agony of love made a vow to recite that very poem in front of the Prophet’ Mausoleum in Madina. So, gathering some of his many disciples with him, he set off on the long and arduous journey to fulfil his vow.  

After many a month of travel the caravan led by the Imam of Love, Abdul Rahman Jami, reached the outskirts of the City of the Prophet and Madina was only a few miles journey away. As they camped for the day, what do they see but a rider on a horse coming towards them at a galloping pace. The strange rider stopped in their midst and asked the group, “Which of you is Jami?” The disciples pointed out Jami and said, “That is our leader, Shaykh Imam Abdul Rahman Jami!” So the rider guided his horse towards Jami and, alighting, greeted Jami with the words, “Assalamu alaykum!”
  “Wa alaykum as-salam! Who are you? Where are you from and why are you here?” asked the venerable Sufi.   “Jami, I have come here from Madina!”

At the mention of these words the lover of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), Jami, took off his turban and placed it the feet of the stranger saying, “May I be sacrificed for these feet!  They have come from the city of my Prophet!”

Jami continued, “Good sir! Tell me, why have you come?”

The man went silent for a while and then answered, “Jami what I am going to tell you, you must promise to hear it with a stout heart.”
 “Okay”, said a slightly bemused Jami, “but tell me!”   “Jami”, continued the rider, “I have been sent to you by the Prophet (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) himself – “Tell me! What does my Master say?” interjected Jami. “Jami, the Prophet (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) has sent me to tell you that he has forbidden you to enter Madina and visit him!”    At these words Jami was thunderstruck, his head swam and his legs gave way beneath him andwith an agonised shriek the Shaykh fell to the ground in a swoon. The disciples were terrified that their Shaykh had passed away but after many hours Jami came back to a state of consciousness and he wept copiously.    The messenger was still there and Jami asked him, “Tell me O’ bringer of such tidings! Why does my Master prevent me from entering Madina? What sin have I committed? Why is my Medinan Lord angry with me?” The messenger replied,”the Master is not upset with you. Indeed, he is very happy with you!”.”Then why does my liege-lord prevent me from visiting him?” “Jami! The Prophet(Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) said to me that tell Jami that if he comes to Madina with such love in his heart I will have no course but to come out of my tomb and greet him in person – such would be the recompense for his love! – so tell him not to enter Madina. I will visit him myself! Tell Jami not to come and visit me – I will visit him!”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Abu Talib r.a.

A fair skinned one by whose face rainclouds are sought,
A caretaker of the orphans and protector for the widows

With him the clan of Hashim seek refuge from calamities,
For they possess in him immense favor and grace 

-  by Abu Talib 

It is said that Abu Talib, uncle of Prophet peace be upon him, recited the above verses at a time of  severe drought in Makkah when he stood in front of the Kab'a making Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his intercessor. The Prophet peace be upon him was only two years old at that point in time. 

Shaykh Tahir ul Qadri mentions that it is narrated in hadith that after the Prophet peace be upon him had migrated to Madinah, a time came when the people approached him to pray for rain, which he did.  
It is said, that once the Prophet's (peace be upon him) prayers were answered, he smiled and said that if Abu Talib were alive today he would have been pleased.  Then he asked for someone to repeat the above verses by Abu Talib, at which point Imam Ali r.a. stood up and recited the  verses. 

Such was the Messenger's love for Abu Talib. But, Abu Talib loved the Messenger of Allah no less. 

Shaykh Tahir ul Qadri states that it is narrated in hadith that after the announcement of Prophethood, Abu Talib would ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) to sleep before darkness so that enemy spies would know where he slept, but then Abu Talib would ask Imam Ali, Abu Talib's son,  to change beds with the Prophet after darkness had fell. So if the enemies ever attacked they would attack Imam Ali and not the Prophet peace be upon him!
Thus, for three years of Qureshi enmity, Abu Talib never let the Prophet, peace be upon him, sleep in his bed, instead Imam Ali and his brothers took turns to sleep in the Prophet's bed.

A Muslim's duty is to protect the Messenger with his life and property, and Abu Talib's life was defined by the Messenger's protection. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

wasimun qasimun jasimun nasim

From Annemarie Schimmel's book And Muhammad is His Messenger:

"In the report of Umm Ma'bad, whose barren sheep the Prophet (peace be upon him) had milked, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is described as nasim wasim, "graceful and elegant."

"These words are used by Saadi in his famous poem at the beginning of his Bustan, and further expanded:

wasimun qasimun jasimun nasim

Elegant, well shaped, noble, and graceful."

So much more poetic these words are in Persian!

As Siddiq

It is written in the Conversations of Shams Tabriz that the hadith: "Visit me now and then" was intended for certain companions and their continuous presence, which made the Prophet (peace be upon him) weary. He did not intend this saying for everyone, especially not Abu Bakr r.a.

Shams Tabriz says that in one battle a warrior dashed onto the field, and the Muslims wouldn't fight him.
People asked, "Where are the volunteers, those who renounce their lives, those who seek death? (2:94). The companions answered, "the warrior who jumped into the field is Abu Bakr's son, the light of his eye. The Muslim warriors are ashamed to fight against him; this is the reason." Thus, Abu Bakr ra went onto the field. When his son saw his father's face, he immediately retreated. Abu Bakr r.a. retreated and returned to the Prophet (peace be upon him).

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) put his hands onto Abu Bakr's hands and said, "O Siddiq! Keep your nafs for us!" That is, "According to you, your nafs has no value, but for us it has great worth. Protect it for us. Don't go into battle, don't go into the fighting; don't separate from our companionship."

"How could the Prophet (peace be upon him) say to Abu Bakr, "Visit me from time to time?" For other believers, combat was an obligation; for Abu Bakr r.a. it would have been separation. The good deeds of the devout are sins for those who have attained closeness to God."

Conversation of Shams Tabriz

Childhood of Shams al Tabriz

"During my childhood days years I experienced a strange state. Nobody could understand this state of mine. Even my father didn't know what was happening. He used to say, "You aren't crazy but I don't understand the way your life is - you haven't had the training of spiritual exercises, or fasting, or anything like that."

I said to my father, "Listen, the situation you and I are in - it's as if someone had placed a duck's egg underneath a hen. When the egg is hatched, the little duck heads for the water. Of course the mother hen panics with a flutter of wings around him, but she is made for the farmyard; it's impossible for her to enter the water. This is how we are, father. I see a sea where I can swim; it is my home. And my state is like the state of the seabirds. If you are of me or if I am of you, come in to the sea! Otherwise, go and mingle with the birds of the farmyard. Let these words be a touchstone for you"

If this is how you act with friends,
how will you behave towards an enemy? "

Sultan Walad mentions:
"Shamsuddin told my father (Rumi): When I was a child, I saw God and angels and contemplated the mysteries of this and the world beyond. I thought that everyone could see these things, but later I realized that they could not. Shaikh Abu Bakr forbid me to speak about it."

"On whom We have bestowed grace from Ourselves and unto whom We had imparted knowledge issuing from Ourselves" (Surat al Kahf, 18:65)
Verse regarding Al Khidr

From the Conversations of Shams of Tabriz

Shams appears to have been full of Jalal whereas Mawlana Rumi has expressed Jamal. And God knows best.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My musings ... differentiate yourself.

It has been a tradition of the Muslims to differentiate ourselves from other communities. One early example of this tradition was the choice of calling the faithful to prayers; companions recommended bells etc, but the human voice was favored over all recommendations. One of the reasons for favoring the human voice was that it distinguished the Muslims from the Christians, Jews, etc. This tradition was carried forward in distinguishing the Ahl-e-sunnah from other schools of thought in Islam.

But, this activity has its limits. It has never meant abandoning that which is dear to us. And so we cannot abandon our love for the Ahl-e-Bayt to distinguish ourselves from the Shia, and neither can we abandon our love for the Companions to distinguish ourselves from the Khwarij. Nor can we limit our expression of love in fear of what people might think of us, for is it truly love then? Manjun (mad) was called majnun for a reason.
Such love cannot and will not erode with the temporary winds of confusion.

Alas! I am but an illiterate. Thus, I cannot provide references and quote ulema. This is just my understanding, my inspiration, and the culture of awliya where I have sensed the aroma of  love for the Ahl-e-Bayt. A love that was explicit, clearly expressed with nothing implied. Imam Nasai was labelled a Shia for his love, but it deterred him not. Such love lead to his death, but isn't it said that the love of the Prophet and Ahl-e-Bayt will be tested by afflictions?

Love is friends with Courage. Fear and Public Opinion know nothing of Love. From the days of Karbala to this day it is Courage that has said: Ya Ali! And how befitting Love and Courage are of Imam Ali!

Habib Ali ... 3:20 (distinguishing from the Christians etc) and 5:13 onwards.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our Lady Fatima r.a.

When the Prophet peace be upon him came back from the mi'raj, each person asked him whatever question came to his mind. One wanted him to tell him about seeing God, and another about the attributes of Paradise. Lady Fatima r.a. said: "I am fearful - tell us about Hell." The intention of our Mother Fatima r.a. was to show herself as faulty.

She had learned about courtesy (adab) from Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) who had said: "I can't see the Hoopoe, what's happened?" (Surah an Naml, The Ants 27:00). Rather than finding fault with the animals, Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) found fault with his own self. In the same way "Whatever harm comes to you is due to your own self" Surah an Nisa, Women 4:79. Lady Fatima's faith was also like Prophet Solomons.

From The Conversations of Shams of Tabriz

Imam Nasai -shaheed for the Ahl-e-Bayt

Imam Nasai lived in the times of Abbasid empire and wrote the first book on the high rank of Imam Ali and the Ahl-e-Bayt. The Ahl-e-sunnah considers Imam Nasai to belong to the category of the highest ranking Hadith scholars, such as Imam Muslim and Imam Tirmidhi.

The reason Imam Nasai wrote such a book was becuase it was during his time that Imam Ali (may God enoble is face) was cursed in the mosques of the 'Islamic empire' every Friday by the ruling authorities and the Khwarij. Even though the Ummayads had been overthrown by the Abbasids, things had not changed in Damascus as the Khwarij held considerable influence.

Imam Nasai being a lover of the Ahl-e-bayt decided to give a public sermon in Damascus on the high status of the Ahl-e-Bayt. He narrated over a hundred hadiths pertaining to the the noble Ahl-e-Bayt.
However, the Khwarij being the instigators of fitna in the ummah asked Imam Nasai to narrate hadiths in favor of Amir Muwaiya r.a.
Opinion: This I believe is a sign of those who lack the love of Ahl-e-Bayt. Whenever the Ahl-e-Bayt are praised, these individuals will divert the discussion towards other sahaba's/companions, or declare the one praising them a Shia, or one who imitates the Shia!

Imam Nasai in response to the Khwarij question said that there are no narrations for Amir Muawiyah like the ones that exist for the Ahl-e-Bayt. Upon this the Khwarij attacked Imam Nasai, which eventually resulted in Imam Nasai's martyrdom. However, before Imam Nasai's death, he was transported to Safa al Marwah, Makkah where it was his will to be buried. An interesting observation by Shaykh Tahir ul Qadri is that this area around Safa al Marwah was where the houses of Banu Hashim (Ahl-e-Bayt) existed, including Imam Ali's house. Perhaps it was this reason why Imam Nasai chose the spot.

Interesting point to note: After this event, Hasan Basri r.a. did not mention Imam Nasai's name when narrating a hadith from him, out of fear that certain individuals will not accept the hadith.

Shams of Tabriz

We have a tether that nobody has the power and courage to pull it.
Only Muhammad, the representative of God, pulls it.

Shams Tabrizi
From The Conversations of Shams of Tabriz

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pleader of the folk who fall

Most noble of Messengers! To whom but 
you shall I turn, when the General 
Calamity befalls? 

Verse 152 of Qasida Burda translated by Abdul Hakim Murad. 

Porthole of his tomb

At the golden porthole of his tomb
Pilgrims glimpse and whisper greetings,
Wait for his promised reply,
Then depart with hearts love-brimmed.
- Abd Al-Hayy Moore
From The Mantle Adorned, translated by Abdul Hakim Murad

Monday, October 4, 2010

My wish is this ...

My wish is this, that when I die
  I still may smile,
And while I go, Muhammad's name
 be on my tongue.

- Shakil Badayuni (Indian poet)
From Annemarie Schimmel's book mentioned previously.

Breath of the Merciful

"Verily I feel nafas ar rehman (the breath of the Merciful) coming to me from Yemen"

-Saying of the Prophet peace be upon him in regards to Uwais al qarani r.a. 

The dearest friend of the Beloved of God:
In the lands of Yemen - Uwais al-Qarani.
He does not lie; he does not eat forbidden food,
In the lands of Yemen - Uwais al Qarani.
In the morning he gets up and takes his way,
He recites in dhikr God's thousand and one names;
With the word Allahu Akbar he drives the camels
In the lands of Yemen-Uwais al Qarani.

- By Yunus Emre

From "And Muhammad is His Messenger" by Annemarie Schimmel