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22 Rajab the Concept of Nazr in Islam (Koonday)

22 Rajab the Concept of Nazr in Islam (Koonday)

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Published by Syed Iktishaf

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Published by: Syed Iktishaf on Jul 26, 2008
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22 Rajab: The concept of Nazr in Islam (Koonday
In the name of Allah, the beneficent the merciful.
The word NAZR is an Arabic word which means "an offering," in itsverbal form it will mean "to offer" or "to make a spiritual vow."Note that NAZR is used in Arabic in a totally different meaning also -"to warn," that is not in this context. Therefore, we leave that for thetime.The Glorious Qur'an has used the word "NAZR" in both meanings. Wewill only discuss here the first usage, i.e., which is relevant to ourdiscussion here.Sometimes the word NIAZ is also used in this context. This is a word from Farsi which means"need," and it is its metaphorical use in the sense of an offering.The basic concept of NAZR is to offer something less valuable in the hope and expectation of receiving something of higher value. The "value" does not have to be material; it could just behonor and dignity. The examples below will explain this notion further.1. In 5:27-31 the Glorious Qur'an tells the story of the two sons of the prophet Adam (peacebe upon him). The two sons of Adam (Habeel and Qabeel, Anglicized names: Able and Cain)made an offering to their Lord, one was accepted and the other was rejected. The brother,whose offering was rejected, became jealous of his brother and in a rage of jealousy andfrustration he killed his brother. For that Qabeel's face was darkened, he went crazy and hewill bear the burden of every unlawful murder to the Day of Judgement. Note that the word foroffering used in the Glorious Qur'an in this instance is Q-R-B instead of NAZR.2. In 3:35 the Glorious Qur'an tells the story of Maryam's (Mary of the Christian scriptures)mother. When a woman of Imran said: My Lord, surely I vow to Thee (rabbi inni nazartu)what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Thy service); accept therefore from me, surely Thouart the Hearing, the Knowing. However, when the child was born, it was a girl (Maryam) andthe families were puzzled as to how to send a girl to the Temple. But they fulfilled the vow asthey had promised their Lord. And, Maryam was dedicated to serving in the Temple under theguardianship of prophet Zakariyya (peace be upon him). Later she gave birth to Prophet Jesus(peace be upon him).3. In 19:26 the Glorious Qur'an tells the story when Prophet Jesus is born without a father andthe Jews are asking of Maryam about such an implausible situation. So eat and drink andrefresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the BeneficentGod (inni nazartu lir-Rahmaani sawman). So I shall not speak to any man today.4. In the first twelve verses of Sura Dahr (chapter 76) the Glorious Qur'an tells the story of NAZR by the Ahlul Bayt (may our salams and Allah's peace be unto them). The GloriousQur'an describes the beginning of man and the attributes of a grateful man in this chapter.One of the many attributes of a grateful and faithful person is described in verses 7 and 8:
"Because they perform the vow (yufoona bin-nazri) and fear a day whereof the evil is wide-spreading, And feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him." 
There is no religiosity inKoonday. It is only socialand cultural gathering.
The Hadeeth literature indicates that the Ahlul Bayt (mayour salams and Allah peace be unto them all) showed theimportance of Nazr by their acts more than once. Thefollowing story is recorded in many tafseer books about therevelation of these verses of sura Dahr.Once the Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn, who were at that time 5 and 4 years old, fell ill.When the Prophet of Islam, missed them in the mosque, he came to Fatima Zahra's house toinquire about them. When he was told that they were sick, he suggested that both parentsshould take a spiritual vow (Nazr) for the children's recovery. So both Imam Ali and FatimaZahra prayed to Allah for the recovery of Hasan and Husayn (peace be unto them all) andtook a vow to fast for three consecutive days when the children became well again. Thechildren did recover from the illness soon after. Both parents set about fulfilling their spiritualvow and fasted. When the children saw that, they also decided to fast with their parents andso did the house-maid, Fiddha. But that day there was no food in Fatima's house even forbreaking the fast. So Imam Ali went out looking for work. He could not find any. But he wasable to get three kg's of wool to be spun in exchange of three kg's of barley. Fatima Zahraspun the wool all day. She was only able to dispense with one kilo of it. So she took only onekilo of barley ground it into flour and prepared five loaves of bread. While they were all readyto break their fast, someone knocked at the door saying: "O people of the house of theProphet, I am a poor man and I have nothing to eat, is there anything you could do to feedme." At this Imam Ali stood up, went to the door and gave his loaf to the man. Fatima Zahradid the same. Watching this, both children also gave their loaves and so did the maid. Theybroke their fast by water and retired. The next day Fatima Zahra spun another kilo of wool. Soshe separated one kilo of barley, ground it into flour and prepared five loaves once again. Asthey were ready to break their fast, once again, a voice called out from the door: "O people of the house of The Prophet, I am an orphan, I am hungry, could you feed me?" Hearing this,Imam Ali stood up and gave his loaf to the man, so did Fatima Zahra, the children and themaid. They all, once again, broke their fast by water and retired. Came the third day, FatimaZahra spun the rest of the wool, took the remaining barley, ground it into flour and preparedfive loaves. As they were ready to break the fast, a voice called from the door saying: "Opeople of the house of the Prophet, I am a prisoner, I am hungry, could you feed me?"Hearing this, once again, Imam Ali stood up and went to the door and gave his loaf away tothe prisoner. Fatima Zahra, the children and the maid did likewise. Every time the person atthe door would want to express his gratitude for the kindness, Imam Ali would say: "No, no,we are not looking for any reward from you for this act, we are doing it out of Allah's love."Now the children had just been quite ill. And they had not eaten anything in three days. TheProphet of Islam, once again entered the house asking about the children. When he looked atthem they were shaking like autumn leaves (those are the exact words in the report). FatimaZahra told him what had been going on in the family. At that time the archangel Gabriel camedown with a gift of Allah to the Prophet. That gift was the verses of Sura Insan or Dahr(chapter 76), which we quote below.They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide. And theygive food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. We only feed you for
Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks: Surely we fear from our Lord astern, distressful day. Therefore Allah will guard them from the evil of that day and causethem to meet with ease and happiness. And reward them, because they were patient, withgarden and silk. (Glorious Qur'an, 76:7-12)This story tells us that the Prophet of Islam, recommended to any family that if and when youare facing a difficult situation or you are distressed, you should do Nazr. In other words, takea spiritual vow that when the problem is over you would offer special prayers or invite friendsand relatives for food that has been dedicated to the Ahlul Bayt in Allah's name.The story is the guiding light for us in our lives. The family of Fatima Zahra (peace be untoher)fulfilled their Nazr, but when a more needy person came they gave away their food tohim without any regard to their own needs. Glorious Qur'an has made it incumbent upon us tolove the Prophet of Islam and his holy family and fashion our lives according to how they lived.Say, (O Prophet), I do not ask you any recompense for this (the mission of Islam), except thatyou would love my near ones. (Glorious Qur'an, 42:23)The NAZR of the22nd day of the glorious month of Rajabis done as a result of this love forthe holyAhlul Bayt (may our salams and Allah peace be unto them all).There is a Hadeeth attributed to our sixth Imam,Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Once the Imam waswalking in the streets of Madinah with some of his companions. He suddenly stopped andlooked to his companions and inquired about the date. They all said that that was the 22ndday of Rajab. The Imam then said: "If anyone of you is facing a difficulty of any kind in thisworld, you should prepare some sweets and set them up in a clay pot (Koonday in Urdu) anddedicate that in a Nazr to my person. You should then pray to your Lord using my WASEELA.Allah will, if He wills, remove your difficulty. However, if your problem is not resolved then youwould come to me on the Day of Judgement and complain to me."One other story of NAZR must be told here which will explain another point. It is notmentioned in the Glorious Qur'an but it is well attested by almost all the historians. TheProphet's grandfather, Abdul Muttalib lay asleep once in the proximity of the Holy Kaaba. Hehad a vision that someone was calling on him to dig up the well of Zamzam which had beenburied by a previous tribe of Mekkah in the sand. He woke up and called his friends andrelatives to come and help him. People just laughed at his "foolish" plan and refused to help.At that time Abdul Muttalib had only one son named Harith. So he and his son set uponsearching for the well of Zamzam. A point came when they were totally exhausted of thirstand fatigue and was on the verge of dying. Abdul Muttalib thought to himself that if he hadmore sons to help him, the situation would not have come to that. He then took a spiritualvow (NAZR) that if he had ten sons, he would offer one of them for sacrifice in the Holy Houseof Allah (Kaaba).Abdul Muttalib eventually did have ten sons (actually he had four more after the completion of this story, as follows). He remembered his vow. He discussed it with his sons. The youngest atthat time named Abdullah, was only sixteen years old. They all agreed with their father thathe must fulfill his vow. Lots were drawn on the sons' names. Abdullah's name came out in the

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