Spiritual Message of Shi¶ism

By: Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba¶I

And

Inner Voice
By: Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Razavi

Compiled and Published By International Islamic Thought Forum, Lucknow.. L-III-35, Sector ± D, Aliganj, Lucknow, Ph.No.4060946

December, 2007

1

³Call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and good exhortation, and reason with them in the best way. Lo! Your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who are rightly guided. (Quran, 16:125)

CONTENTS
Page no. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 µAbout All¶ amah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai Spiritual Message of Shi¶ism ALI: The True Imam and The Pathway to God. Know Thy Soul Unity of God Love and Fear of Allah God Mindedness Trust In God Thankfulness to Allah 3 4 6 9 12 13 14 14 15 16 17 18 18 19 20

10 Be With God 11 Live and Die for Allah 12 Allaho Akbar. 13 Aim of Life 14 Purpose of Creation. 15 Secret of Success.

This book is dedicated to all the Marhoomin- Momin and Mominat, who passed away awaiting eagerly their Imam-e-Zaman (A.S.).

2

About Allamah
Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai
Allamah Tabatabai was one of the greatest masters of the traditional sciences in Iran during 20th century. He was born in 1903 into a distinguished family of scholars inTabriz and expired in 1982 in Qum. Like many Shiite scholars, he pursued more advanced studies in Najaf and then returned to Tabriz. But in 1945, following the Soviet occupation of Azerbaijan, he settled in Qum. From this centre of Shiite learning the light of his knowledge and presence began to disseminate and continued to spread among the students throughout Iran and beyond. From 1950 onward his journeys from Qum to Tehran became a weekly or biweekly event where he taught and conducted intellectual discussions with small group of students of which Sayyed Hossein Nasr, a renowned Islamic scholar of America, was one of them. His circle in Tehran not only included well-known Shiite scholars such as Murtuza Mutahhari but many Western scholars of Islam as Henry Corbin, who helped to spread the influence of the Allamah¶s teaching further and soon he became recognized as one of the major intellectual figures of Shiism. Despite eye problems which continued to hamper his activities to the very end, Allamah Tabatabai was an extremely proflic writer. In addition to teaching throughout the week and training countless students, he wrote nearly every day, and important books and articles continued to flow from his pen. His major works are ; Usul-iFalsafay, in five volumes; edited Asfar of Sadr-al-Din Shirazi with commentary; composed two masterly summaries of Islamic philosophy; the Badayi-al- Hikam and Nahayal al-Hikam; Quranic Commentary, Tafsir-al-Mizan in twenty-seven volumes in which the sciences of the Quran, theology, philosophy, gnosis (irfan),sacred history and the social teachings of Islam are all brought together, ³The Quran in Islam´(Its Impact and Influence on the Life of Muslims) which treats in a clear and direct manner the Shiite understanding of the Quran and the role of the Imams in its interpretation, its inner and outer levels of meaning is the most important book for young generation. Allamah Tabatabai was not only an outstanding scholar but also a person of great spiritual realization who lived constantly in the remembrance of God. In his presence, one could not but think of God and the world of the Spirit. In him, intelligence, scholarship, piety and the love of God met in a union which is encountered rarely in any age, and especially this period of the eclipse of the Spirit. His soul was embellished with the virtues extolled by the Quran and the prophetic µSunnah¶, while his mind explored like a soaring eagle the vast expanses of Islamic thought. To have met him was to have met the veritable Islamic Scholar (or µAlim). May Allah bestow us such scholars who lived and died in constant awareness of God, and who saw in His Word as contained in the Holy Quran at once a guide for life, the basic source of all knowledge, the sword of discernment between µTruth¶ and µFalsehood¶ and a µpresence¶ whose experience makes possible here a taste of the realities of paradise. International Islamic Thought Forum,

3

SPIRITUAL MESSAGE OF SHI¶ISM
The message of Shi¶ism to the world can be summarized in one sentence. ³To know God´. Or in other words, it is to instruct man to follow the path of Divine realization and the knowledge of God in order to gain felicity and salvation. And this message is contained in the very phrase with which the Holy Prophet commenced his prophetic mission when he said: ³Oh men! Know God in His Oneness (and acknowledge Him) so that you will gain ³salvation´. (Salvation(from the root µfalaha¶) in this sense does not mean only salvation in the current, purely exoteric sense it has acquired, but also means deliverance and spiritual realization in the highest sense of the word.) As a summary explanation of this message we will add that man is attached by nature to many goals in this worldly life and to material pleasures. He loves tasty food and drink, fashionable dress, attractive palaces and surroundings, a beautiful and pleasing wife, sincere friends and great wealth. And in another direction he is attracted to political power, position, and reputation, the extension of his rule and dominion and the destruction of any thing that is opposed to his wishes. But in his inner and primordial God- given nature man understands that all these are means created for man, but man is not created for all these things. These things should be subservient to man and follow him and not vice verse. To consider the stomach and the region below it as a final end of life is the logic of cattle and sheep. To tear up, cut and destroy other is the logic of the tiger, the wolf and other animals. The logic inherent in him an existence is the attainment of wisdom and nothing else. This logic based upon wisdom with the power which it possesses to discern between reality and the unreal, guides us toward the truth and not toward things our emotions demand or toward passions, selfishness and egoism. This logic considers man as a part of the totality of creation without any separate independence or the possibility of a rebellious selfcenteredness. In contrast to the current belief that man is the master of creation and tames rebellious nature and conquers it to force it to obey his wishes and desires, we find that in reality man himself is an instrument in the hand of Universal Nature and is ruled and commanded by it.

4

The logic based upon wisdom invites man to concentrate more closely upon the apprehension he has of the existence of this world until it becomes clear to him that the world of existence and all that is in it does not issue from itself but rather from an Infinite Source. He will then know that all this beauty and ugliness, all these creatures of the earth and the heavens, which appear outwardly as independent realities, gain reality only through another Reality and are manifested only in Its Light, not by themselves and through themselves. In the same way that the µrealities¶ as well as the power and grandeur of yesterday have no greater value than tales and legends of today, so are the ³realities´ of today no more than vaguely remembered dreams in relation what will appear as ³reality´ tomorrow. In the last analysis, everything in itself is no more than a tale and a dream. Only God is Reality in the absolute sense, the One Who does not perish. Under the protection of His Being, everything gains existence and becomes manifested through the Light of His Essence. If man becomes endowed with such vision and power of apprehension, then the tent of his separative existence will fall down before his eyes like a bubble on the surface of water. He will see with his eyes that the world and all that is in it depend upon an Infinite Being who possesses life, power, knowledge and every perfection to an infinite degree. Man and every other being in the world are like so many windows which display according to their capacity the world of eternity which transcends them and lies beyond them. It is at this moment that man takes from himself and all creatures the quality of independence and primacy and returns these qualities to their Owner. He detaches himself from all things to attach himself solely to the One God. Before His Majesty and Grandeur he does nothing but bow in humility. Only then does he become guided and directed by God so that whatever he knows he knows in God. Through Divine guidance he becomes adorned with moral and spiritual virtue and pure actions which are the same as Islam itself, the submission to God, the religion that is in the primordial nature of things. This is the highest degree of human perfection and the station of the perfect man (the Universal Man; µinsan-i-kamil), namely the Imam who has reached this rank through Divine grace. Furthermore, those who have reached this station through the practice of spiritual methods, with the different ranks and stations that they possess, are the true followers of the

5

Imam. It becomes thus clear that the knowledge of God and of the Imam is inseparable in the same way that the knowledge of God is inextricably connected to the knowledge of oneself. For he who knows his own symbolic existence has already come to know the true existence which belongs solely to God who is independent and without need of anything whatsoever.

ALI : The True Imam And The Pathway to God
What is the reason for the friendship and love for µAli¶ in people¶s heart? Nobody has yet discovered the secret of this love, that is, no-one has been able to formulate it, and say that if it were like this then that would follow, or if it were like that then this would happen. However it does of course have a secret. There is something in the love which dazzles the one who loves and draws him towards it. This attraction and love are the highest degrees of love; Ali is the one whom people¶s hearts adore, whom humanity loves. Why ? In what does Ali¶s extraordinariness lie, that it incites love and draws hearts towards itself, that it plays the tune of eternal life and lives for every ? Why do all hearts find out about themselves through him, and do not feel him to be dead but find him living? Certainly the basis for love for him is not his body, because his body is not now among us and we have not perceived it with our senses. Love for Ali is also not hero-worship, which exists in every nation. It is a mistake, too, to say the love for Ali is by way of love for moral and human excellence, and that love for Ali is a humanistic love. It is true that Ali was the manifestation of the perfect man, and it is true that man loves great figures of humanity; but if Ali had had all those human excellences that he had that wisdom and knowledge, that self-sacrifice and altruism, that humility and modesty, that courtesy, that kindness and mercy, that protection of the weak, that justness, that liberality and love of freedom, that respect for humanity, that generosity, that bravery, that magnanimity and mercy towards his enemies, and, in the words of Rumi : In bravery you are the Lion of the Lord, In generosity who indeed knows who you are?

6

That munificence, benevolence and beneficence ± if µAli¶ had had all these, which he did have, but had not had the µdivine touch in him¶, it is quite certain that there would not have been the feeling of sympathy and awakening of love that there is today. Ali is love in the sense that he had the divine link; our hearts are unconsciously completely involved with, and connected to the Truth and Reality right in their depths, and since they find µAli¶ to be a great sign of the ³ Truth and Reality´ and a manifestation of the attributes of the Truth they are in love with him. In reality the basis for the love for Ali is the connection of our souls with the Truth which has been laid in our primordial natures, and since our primordial natures are eternal, love for µAli¶ is also eternal. There are many outstanding features in Ali¶s being, but that which has assigned him a resplendent and shining place for ever is his faith and morality, and it is that which has given him his divine charisma. Sawdah al-Hamdaniyah, a self-sacrificing and devoted follower and lover of µAli¶, who was one of those who took part on that night with a few others in the burial of Ali. After they had buried µAli¶ and covered his corpse with soil, he put one of his hands over his heart, threw earth over his head and said: ³May death be agreeable to you, whose birth was pure, whose patience was firm, whose holy struggle was great! You attained your aim and your commerce was fruitful. ³You fell down before your Creator, and He gladly accepted you and His angels appeared around you. You were placed near the Prophet, and God gave you a place near him. You reached the degree of your brother, Mustafa (s.a.w.), and you drank from his overflowing cup. ³I beseech God that I may follow you and that I may act according to your ways; that I may love those who love you, and be the enemy of those who are your enemy, that I may be gathered in the pavilion of your friends. ³You saw what others did not see, and reached what others did not reach; you pursued the holy struggle beside your brother, the Prophet, and you rose up for the religion of God as was worthy of it, till age-old habits were done away with, confusion curbed and Islam and the faith put in order. May the best of blessings be upon you!

7

³Through you the backs of the believers were made firm, the ways made clear and habits broken. No-one could amass your virtues and excellences in himself. You answered the call of the Prophet; you jumped ahead of others in accepting him (the Prophet); you hurried to help him, and protected him with your life. You struck with your sword, Dhu¶lfiqar, in places of fear and savagery, and you broke the back of oppression. You caste down the structures of polytheism and vileness, and you pulled down those who were astray into dust and blood. So may you be well pleased, O Amir-al-Muminin! ³You were the closest of men to the Prophet; you were the first person to follow Islam. You were overflowing with certainty, strong of heart and more self-sacrificing than any; your share in good was greater. May God not deprive us of retribution for your suffering, and may He not despise us after you have gone! ³By God, I swear that your life was the key to good, the lock against evil; and your death is the key to every evil and lock against every good. If the people had accepted you, blessings would have showered on them from the heaven and the earth; but they preferred this world to the next.´ Truly they preferred this world, and as a consequence they could not endure the justice and unwaveringness of µAli¶. In the end the hand of stiffness and stagnation came out of the sleeve of the people and martyred µAli¶.and thus Ali is the µtrue Imam and the pathway to God¶. Note: The above portion has been extracted from the Book ³Polarization Around the Character of Ali (a.s.) Ibn-Abitalib´, by Shaheed Murtuza Motahari of Iran, who was the most trusted man of Allamah Khomeini.

8

INNER VOICE
By Late Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Razavi, Tanzania.

Know Thy Soul
³«.soon will we show them our signs in the (furthest) regions and in their own souls«.´ (Quran; 41: 53) There is one tested method of knowing Allah; and that is ³through His creation´ ± the Worlds and the Man. Let us begin with ourself. We do not know the nature of soul. Still we have to admit that there is something which is the source of µlife¶. In the same way, though we cannot know the Creator, we have to admit that there is a God who has created the universe. We know that the soul is the ruler of our body. If any limb of ours refuses to obey the commands of the soul, it is not a reflection on the strength of the soul. It is considered the defect of the limb itself. Likewise, the God is the master and ruler of the universe; and if anybody refuses to obey the commandments of Allah, the authority of Allah can never be doubted. It will be a sign that the disobedient person is sick spiritually. We know that soul is connected with our body; but we do not know where it is. The life is every where in our body; but if a limb of a man is amputated, we cannot say that so much portion of the soul also has been cut off. Thus, we see, the life is everywhere and still we cannot say that it is here or is there. In the same manner, we know that Allah is everywhere; but we cannot say ³He is here´ or ³He is there´. We cannot point towards Him; we cannot co-relate Him with any place. Whenever we want to do any work, our limbs simply obey the unspoken command of the soul, without any need to tell them in so many words. In the same way whenever God wants anything to happen it just happens, without any need on the part of God to say ³Be this´ or ³Be that´. Therefore, we understand that the words used in scriptures that ³God says and the thing happens´ is just a way of expressing the idea that as soon as Allah wished something, it happens immediately. We do not see the soul; still we believe in it. Man believes in such creations which are beyond his senses. Strangely enough, there are some people who do not believe in the Creator, just because He is beyond their

9

senses! God has shown His signs in ourself, perhaps these points were in mind of Amir-al-Muminin Ali (A.S) when he said; ³Whoever knows his soul, knows his Lord´. ³We shall show them our signs in the furthest regions and in themselves so that it may become manifest to them that it is the µtruth¶. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness over all things?´ (Qur¶an, 41: 53) ³ To understand the existence of God, our wise Creator, an aspect can be presented in brief. We notice a constant concord between a vast number of individual phenomena and man¶s needs as a living being and the continuation of life for him. We find that any change or substitution of any of these phenomena could mean the extinction of human life on this earth, or at least its paralysis. Here are some examples; the earth receives from the sun a quantity of heat sufficient for the development of life and the fulfillment of the needs of living beings for heat, no more and no less. It has been observed that the distance separating the earth from the sun is in complete harmony with the amount of heat required for the existence of life on this earth. Had this distance been double its present measure, there would have not been enough heat to support life on earth. Conversely, if it were half its present measure, the heat would have been too intense for life to endure. The air contains twenty-one percent oxygen; had this ratio been greater, the environment would have been constantly threatened with outbreaks of fire. Had this ratio, on the other hand, been smaller, life would have been difficult, if not impossible. Nor would fire have been available in sufficient quantity to fulfill its proper functions. Even beauty, fragrance and splendour as natural phenomena are found to exist in environments suited for their role of promoting life. Thus flowers which are usually pollinated by insects are especially attractive, possessing bright, beautiful colours and enticing fragrances in order to attract the insect and therefore facilitate the process of pollination. Flowers, which are pollinated by air, on the other hand do not posses these characteristics. The phenomenon of sexual pairs or mates in its general similarity between the physical structure of male and female in man, animals and plants, and in sexual interaction for the perpetuity of life, is yet another manifestation of the harmony of nature with the

10

function of promoting life and the signs to prove the existence of Allah´.(Allama Baqar-al-Sadr- ³The Revealer, The Messenger, The Message´) All Existing Things Are a Sign of Allah:- this much can be easily understood by all that all existing things are a sign and a name of Allah. We can say that the whole world is Allah¶s name. but the case of this name is different from that of the names given to the ordinary things. For example, if we want to indicate a lamp or a motor car or to someone, we mention its name, the same thing we do in the case of a man. But evidently that is not possible in the came of the µBeing¶ (i.e. God) possessing infinite sublime qualities. The Whole World is a Name of Allah:- the whole world is a name of Allah because the name of a thing is its sign or symbol and as all things existing are the signs of Allah, it may be said that the whole world is His name. At the most it can be said that very few people fully understand how the existing things are the signs of Allah. Most people know µonly this much that nothing can come into existence automatically. Nothing, the existence of which is only possible, can come into existence automatically. It is intellectually clear and everybody knows it intuitively that anything the existence and non-existence of which is equally possible, cannot come into existence automatically and that there must be an external force to bring it into existence. The first cause of bringing into existence all possibly existing things must be an eternal and self-existing being. If it is supposed that the imaginary upper space, and it must be imaginary because it is a non-entity, has always existed, then it possibly can neither automatically turn into anything nor anything can come into existence in it automatically. The assertion of some people that in the beginning the whole world/universe was an infinite vacuum(anything being infinite is questionable in itself) in which subsequently appeared a sort of steam from which everything has originated, does not stand to reason, for without an external cause no new thing can appear nor can one thing change into another thing. For example, water does not freeze nor does it boil without an external cause. If its temperature remains constant and does not go below 0 degree nor above 100 degrees it will always remain water. In short, the existence of an external cause is essential for every change. Similarly nothing, the existence of which is

11

only possible, can come into existence without an external cause. These facts are self-evident truths. (By Allamah Roohulla Khomeini ± ³Light Within Me ± Tafseer Sura Al-Hamd´).

Unity of God
³Say: He is Allah, the One and only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begtteth not, nor He is begotten, and there is none like unto Him,´ (Quran: 112) Allamah Abd¶llah Yusuf Ali comments in his translation of the Holy Book: Here we are specially taught to avoid the pitfalls into which man and nations have fallen at various times in trying to understand God. ³The first thing we have to note is that His nature is so sublime, so far beyond our limited conceptions, that the best way in which we can realize Him is to feel that He is a personality. µHe¶ and not a mere abstract conception of philosophy. ³Secondly, He is the One and Only God, the only one to Whom worship is due, all other things or beings that we can think of are His creatures and in no way comparable to Him. Thirdly, He is Eternal without beginning or end; Absolute, not limited by time or place or circumstances, the reality before which falls other things or places are mere shadows or reflections. ³Fourthly, we must not think of Him as having son or a father, for that would be to import qualities into our conception of Him. ³Fifthly, He is not like any other person or thing that we know or can imagine; His qualities and nature are unique. In fact this short µsurah¶ is a declaration of war against all ideas of paganism and anthropomorphism. Men from the beginning have had a tendency to imagine God in their own image. Some thought of Him as having body, like animals or human-beings. Others thought that He was incarnated in the forces of nature like rain, lightning, mountain and river. Still others thought that He was a father and had child or children. But this µsurah¶ warns us against this tendency to conceive God after our own pattern.

12

Love and Fear of Allah
³All praise is only for God, the Lord of Universe, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment.´ (Quran ± 1: 2-4) These are the very first verses of the Qur¶an. They present in clear terms the concept of God in Islam: God is Merciful and Just. According to Islam, the Divine justice is not separate from His Mercy. The Divine Justice cannot be compared with the justice meted out by the judges in the courts. These judges are only the executors of the law, given to them by others, with little or no authority to condone the culprits. They are bound by the law. They are helpless against the strict implications of law when it demands punishment. They cannot dispense mercy even if the culprit is repenting, even if the circumstances demand mercy. Petitions for mercy are addressed to the head of state, who is the supreme promulgator of law. But God is not a mere judge. He is the law-giver and the supreme Authority. Hence an offender can be sure of His merciful pardon if his repentance be genuine. Islam puts the Mercy of God before His Justice. The very first verse of the Qur¶an is ³In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, and the Merciful´. Islam believes that ³His Mercy is before His wrath.´ Thus the Muslims have a finely balanced faith, which is inclined neither to this side nor to that. It does not teach us that God is a highhanded avenger who does not forgive a single sin or mistake; but it does not present God in the shape of a feeble person who will not punish even the tyrannies and brutalities of head-hunters. The essence of Islamic faith is in the abovementioned verses, where the Mercy of God has been mentioned side by side with His Justice. Here we find a real divine religion which encourages man to go nearer to Allah, attracted by His Mercy and Grace; and warns him against trespassing the limits of moral and religious laws, by reminding him that God is Just, the Master of the Day of Judgment. Thus, the two most important instincts of man, i.e. love and fear, are simultaneously utilized to make a man a perfect being, a whole being, not wanting in any respect.

13

God ± Mindedness
³In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful´ - Quran. This phrase occurs at the beginning of every µsurah¶ of the Quran except one. It is used by Muslims before starting every work-before reading, before eating, before starting their work, before sleeping. Islam teaches man to start every good effort with the holy name of God Who is beneficent and merciful, invoking His mercy to bless his efforts with success. The goal of Islam is to make a man ³God-minded´; it wants him to realize that he, by himself, is nothing, that all his efforts are fruitless unless rewarded by God with success. And that realization is combined with the satisfaction that God is beneficent and merciful, who will not disappoint him in his hope and belief. It is very amusing to note that the common image of Islam, on the eyes of non-Muslims, is that of a religion whose god is wrathful one, like the god of the Old Testament, inflicting punishment on the spur of the moment. Do a mistake and you get a jolly good bang on your head! They fail to realize that the very first sentence of the Quran describes God as beneficent and merciful. And that formula is used by every Muslim hundreds of times every day. And the Muslims believe that by invoking the mercy of God they get limitless blessings of God in this world as in the world hereafter. Let us turn towards God every time we begin a work. The word ³Bismillah´ (in the name of God) may mean also ³For the sake of God´ and ³To the service of God´. Thus this formula, if comprehended fully, will serve also to save us from wrong action and misdeed. Certainly, it will be illogical to commit a mischief µfor the sake of God¶ and µto His service¶. Let us remember God; and we will become free of sins and errors.

Trust in God
³And out they trust in God; and enough is God as a disposer of affairs´.-Quran 4:18). The word used in Quran is ³Tawakkal´ which is derived from ³Tawakkul´. This is not an excuse for idleness. ³Tawakkul´ means that

14

you should bind the camel with its rope, and then say that you have trust in God that He will protect your camel. You should not have the confidence in the rope only, because many a camel has been stolen together with its rope; and, likewise, you should not neglect the rope, because binding with the rope is a part of ³Tawakkul´. So this is the spirit of µTawakkul¶. We are to try our best; and then we should have trust in the God that He will make our work succeed. It is a sheer nonsense to sit idle and say that Allah will do all our work for us. He says in Quran: ³And that man can have nothing but what he strives for´. (53:39) A high standard of µTawakkul¶ was set when Amir-al-Mu¶minin Ali (A.S.) asked some idle persons who said: ³We are those who have confidence in Allah´. Ali asked; ³How is your confidence in Allah?´ They said: ³We eat when we get food; and we have patience when we do not get it.´ Ali (A.S.) retorted: ³Yes! That was the very nature of a dog´. Stunned, they asked him to explain the true meaning of Tawakkul in contrast to their own belief. Ali (A.S.) said: ³When we get, we give to others; when do not get, we thank Allah.´ It means that you are to try your best to improve your condition; but you should not trust your own power and wisdom. Have confidence in Allah that he will make your efforts fruitful. Then, if you succeed, try to help your fellow brethren with the fruits of your labour; and if you fail; then also be thankful to Allah. But why should be thank Allah even when you do not succeed? Because success or failure is not your responsibility. You were expected to do your best and you did it. Be thankful to Allah that you were able to perform what was expected from you. It is your efforts which matter. Success or failure is not your province.

Thankfulness to Allah
Thankfulness of God is one of the highest virtues which a man could aspire for. It is easy to be thankful when one has got an easy life, a prospering business, a respectful job and a happy family. It is a different story when things are not going as desired. Most of us, in such situations,

15

remain obsessed with sorrow, forgetting countless bounties of God which we are bestowed with, even at the time of that tragedy. Perhaps it is this tendency which is mentioned in the Quran in these words: ³And few amongst my servants are grateful´. It is even more difficult to be grateful in such heart-breaking situations which a man of God has to face in his struggle to lead his people on right path (Like the conditions which our Holy Prophet, Muhammad (S.A.) and our Holy Imams, had to contend with). Once a man asked the Holy Prophet why did he pray whole nights and fasted almost continuously, when he had so much work to do every day, the Prophet simply asked: ³Should I not be a thankful servant of Allah?´ He faced all the difficulties with cheerfulness and thankfulness. Not only this. His closest companions also thought of these hardships as a sign of the grace of God. Had not God chosen them to bear such heavy burden in His cause? Was it not a sign of His pleasure with them? It was this thought which made them face cheerfully all kind of persecutions inflicted by the enemies of God. It was this feeling which made Imam Ali (A.S.) not only µpatient¶ but µthankful¶ when he was asked by the Holy Prophet to sleep in his (Prophet¶s) bed, so that he Prophet could leave Mecca while his would-be killers(who ringed his house) thought that he was sleeping in his bed. Ali¶s only question was: ³Will your life be saved if I sleep in this bed?´ When assured that it was the promise of God, he prostrated to God, thanking Him that He made his (Ali¶s) life a ransom for the life of the Holy Prophet.

Be With God
³And God is with you wheresoever you may be´ ± Quran: 57:4) God is µeverywhere¶. No space or time is without Him; yet He is independent of time and space. He is Omnipresent and His love protects us from harm in this world as in the life hereafter. But this relationship with God should not be one sided. No doubt, God is with us. The vital question is: ³Are we with God?´ If a grown up son misbehaves and still demands the same parental affection which is enjoyed by his courteous and obedient brother, he is just deceiving himself. Likewise some people fail to realize that there is no such thing as ³one sided companionship´.

16

And if we want to be sure that God is with us, we must be sure that we are with God. It means that we have to prove our love towards God, if we want to be worthy of the love of God. In other words we must also know our responsibilities towards God and His creatures, and try to fulfill them. As a first step to reach this goal, we must realize that we are too much entangled in our worldly affairs to spare a moment to remember God. We are not preparing ourselves to meet God at all. We may easily reach to God and be safe forever if we are with Him. Or, on the other hand, we may be destroyed by death. The choice is ours.

Live and Die for Allah.
³Say: Truly my prayers, and my actions, and my life, and my death are all for God, the Cherisher of the Universe.´ - Quran -- 6:162. This is the ideal of Islam. A true Muslim surrenders to the love of Allah, all his actions are motivated by one thought only: µGod would be pleased by this work, so it must be done.¶ Not only the external rituals and rites, but also his emotions and thoughts are submerged by love of God. He lives for Allah and dies for Allah. The great martyrdom of Imam Husain(A.S.) and his companions is the perfect example of the way a Muslim should keep the love of Allah and His(God¶s) religion above all things. Imam Husain had not refused to submit to Yazid for any worldly reason. He said: ³I am not leaving Medina for any worldly motive; I am leaving it so that I may establish the way of my grandfather (the Holy Prophet) and my father (Imam Ali (A.S.), and so that I may exhort people to become righteous; and may dissuade them from evil.´ «« ³If the religion of Muhammad cannot be saved except by the sacrifice of my head, then, O swords come and take it´. And to save the religion of Islam Imam Husain (A.S.) sacrificed not one, but 72 heads. These sacrifices were made without any remorse, without any sorrow. On the 10th of Muharram his face was radiating more and more content and pleasure. He was happy that his offerings were accepted by Allah. Thus Imam Husain showed how a man can live for Allah; how can he die for Allah. This death is not death; it is eternal life, as God has said; ³And do not think those who are martyred in the path of Allah are dead. Nay! They are alive in the presence of God´.

17

Allaho Akbar.
(Allah is great) Five times in 24 hours the call comes from the minarets of the mosques: Allaho Akbar. It is adhan (Azan), meant to announce the time of prayers. Right at the call of adhan, Muslims are expected to gather in the mosque. It is a matter of pride that we are called by God to his audience. It shows His live towards His creatures that He has provided us with an opportunity to communicate with Him. He has opened His house for us let us not be late or absent from His presence and we are reminded that Allah is beginning; Allah is the end. Adhan is not just a symbol. It is a sermon in clear words. It not only calls a man for prayers; it also explains why he should pray, and to whom should he pray. It reminds the hearers about God; and about man¶s obligation towards Him. And after these explanations, it exhorts the believers to offer their humble prayers, with full knowledge and understanding, in the presence of God. God is great! Our problems, our worries, our difficulties all will be solved in the best way, if we ask our loving Allah to solve them for us. Not only that, our joy, our achievements, our successes ± nothing actually matters. Allah only is great. Let us communicate with him. Only His benevolent love and care can bring us to prosperity in this world and in life hereafter.

Aim of Life
³And did you think that we created you aimlessly««?´ (Quran) No man likes to be accused of working aimlessly. Acting without purpose is against the accepted norms of sanity. Therefore, we are confident that God never does any work without aim and purpose. And what is the purpose of our creation, our life? A group thinks that materials well-being is the sole purpose of the human life. They say; ³Every man should work according to his ability: and he should get according to his need.´ It is the ultimate goal of their life. They see no other purpose beyond it. Alas! These people do not

18

know the difference between µmeans of life¶ and µaim of life¶. A dairy-man keeps cows and feeds them, looks-after them and protects them from harm. Ask him and he will explain that these are the means of keeping the cows alive. But is it the purpose of keeping the cows in the farm? No! The purpose is something else ± milk. So we see the difference between the means of life and purpose of life if fully recognized in this case. Is it not strange to forget it when it comes to human life? When a philosophy teaches us that bred and butter are the aim of life it ceases to be a philosophy. It becomes a fallacy. In fact, we are alive for a higher purpose and nobler aim. The Creator himself has made it clear: ³And I did not create jinn and human beings, but so that they may know and obey Me.´ (Quran ± 51:56). Forget this basic purpose of your creation and you have degraded yourself to a level far below than that of cow.

Purpose of Creation.
³And I did not create jinn and human beings but so that they may worship Me´ (Quran ± 51-56) God crated us and sent us in this world just to obtain ³spiritual perfection´ and µpiety¶, as explained in the above-mentioned µayat¶of the Holy Quran. Most of the commentators take the word µworship¶ to mean µworship with faith in Him¶. A child is sent to school to study and acquire knowledge. Likewise, we are sent here to acquire spiritual qualities which could not be obtained otherwise. Unless you are faced with such a situation which puts some strain upon your integrity, your integrity has no real strength. Unless you are facing a situation in which the majority of people lose their temper, your forbearance has no meaning. Therefore, to bring out the full qualities which are spiritual, it was necessary for the man to come into this world and prove his worth by behaving nobly in adverse atmosphere and surroundings. After spending some time here and showing the strength or weakness of his spirit he goes back ± i.e. dies ± just as a child returns to

19

his home from the school. In this background, hardships, turmoil, difficulties and disasters seem essential to complete the picture. These are the methods which help in bringing out our spiritual perfection. Fire melts gold and makes it pure; tragedy and distress soften the heart and brightens the spirit.

SECRET OF SUCCESS
³O! You who believe! Fear Allah and say that which is correct, so that He may make your deeds pure and forgive your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Prophet has surely succeeded ...´ (Quran: 33; 71) Every human being must remember and bear in mind that the human character rests upon three pivots ± 1- The µethical pivot¶, whereat the individual¶s behaviourism inside the society, and method of living can be incarnated through the ethical capabilities he has. 2- The µrational pivot¶- through which man deals with nature and thoughts, out of the rational faculties he possesses. 3- The µspiritual pivot¶, which organizes the association between man and his Lord, that identifies, in turn, the nature of connection according to the spiritual powers man owns. There are following main secrets of success: 1. Persevering Endeavour : - Wittiness alone or instinctive capabilities endowed by Allah inside the human essence, can never achieve the objectives and goals aspired for by man, as the secret behind every success lies in continuous labour and unstopped efforts, beside the traits of man can possess, like forbearance and patience for this purpose. True, the persevering endeavour, and enduring different hardships and suffering for the sake of attaining to the objectives and aims, is the most logical formula prevalent over the human life. Otherwise, resorting to the luxurious and monotonous life will mean indolence and fiasco. 2. Discipline ± with proper planning and system and investing time properly. Time, and, in general, µage¶ is the real capital in the lives of individuals and people, as µ system¶ is the essential factor behind man¶s proceeding on his way towards the aspiral

20

goal«while disorder and chaos being the essential cause for continuous failure in the life of nations and individuals. Everyman¶s success depends only on the extent of his observance of time and availing of opportunities. Says Hazrat Ali, ³I advise you (both) and all my children and members of my family and everyone whom my writing reaches, to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order ««.´. He further says, ³To make haste before the proper or to delay after the proper opportunity, is either case is folly´. View the day and hour as a great fortune not to be misused or wasted and divide time exploiting the hours of the day and night in reading, investigation, compilation, recording the conclusions and worship and beseeching Allah ± the Glorified ± with confirming (our) association with Him. Arrange and organize time so accurately that could benefit and invest each and every moment.(taken from the Biography of Al-Shahid-al-ThaniZayn al ± Din-al-Jub¶i al Amli, most famous Alim-e-Din of Lebanon)

21