Imam Hussain bin Ali, the martyr of Karbala, forever demarcated the truth from falsehood.  Before heading to Karbala for a decisive battle against Omayyid tyrant Yazid bin Muawiya, Imam Hussain said, “Surely the aim of my stand is not inspired by vain exultation and it is also not for the quest of kingdom, neither is it to cause dissension and corruption nor is it  to wrong anybody unjustly.” These words of Imam are enough in themselves to prove that his stand was neither for the lust of power nor for any personal gain. It was to safeguard the religion of his grandfather from the clutches of Yazid, who was hell-bent on distorting the real picture of the religion.

As far as the real motive behind his uprising against Yazid is concerned, it can never be defined in a better way than the words of Imam himself when he said, “The purpose of my stand is the reformation of my grandfather’s nation. I intend to enjoin goodness and forbid evil. I want to emulate my grandfather, the Holy Prophet and my father Ali bin Abi Talib.”

Before heading for Karbala, Imam Hussain said, “A person of my type can never accept the allegiance of a person like Yazid.” These words of Imam Hussain also present the real purpose of his stand against the tyranny of Yazid. He presented before us a lesson to differentiate between a just and an unjust system. Imam Hussain’s message is a message of peace and justice. His stand was to safeguard the real Islam, the Islam of the Prophet, the Islam which teaches us to remain peaceful in our approach to the problems of life, but he also gave us a lesson regarding how not to remain just mute spectators the face of tyranny. His message “I prefer death with dignity to a life full of humiliation’’ also teaches us how to speak out against the mighty and powerful despite our material powerlessness.

When we talk about Imam Hussain’s commitment to justice, equality and liberation, we must think of ending all forms of oppression, tyranny and injustice,  be it racism, classism or regionalism, because there can never be a just society unless such ills are rooted out forever. The duty of Imam Hussain’s followers is not only mourning and talking about him but also to follow him and his path to seek justice.

What Imam Hussain did is something that is unmatchable as far as the fight for upholding justice and equality is concerned. It was his way of delivering justice when despite knowing that Hur, the brave commander of Yazid’s army, was there to round him up to Karbala, he offered his platoon with water by going thirsty himself. It was his way of delivering justice when he gave a slave named Juan an equal place with his other companions,  along with himself, before the battle of Karbala. The real meaning of justice is to give a person or a thing a place it deserves most and Imam did exactly the same. If seen seriously, each and every event of Karbala teaches us how to seek and stand for justice in extremely unfavourable and life-threatening circumstances.

Those who will forget Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussain will cause compromises in their mission. The so-called custodians of Islam or the radicals who are killing innocents in the name of Islam have forgotten Imam Hussain and the basic tenets of Islam.

Imam fought the battle with Yazid on the spiritual plane; he opposed Yazid’s might with his nobility of character, confronted power with powerlessness, met multitudes with want of material support and defied oppression with suffering and martyrdom.

In India, Imam Hussain is revered not only by Shias or for that matter by Muslims, but rather the followers of each and every religion, especially the Hindus, remember and mourn over his sufferings. They remember and mourn Hussain for his uprightness, they remember him because of the lesson which he gave to the whole of humanity how to stand to seek justice and how to make rulers accountable for their actions. The famous poet Firaq Gorakhpuri, who was a Hindu, said, “Kaam aa gayi Firaq Mohabbat Hussain ki/ Kalma padhe baghair Musalman ho gaya”. (Firaq it’s the love of Imam Hussain which is enough in itself to take me to heaven as I have become a Muslim without offering the Kalma).

While I was at my home in eastern India during Aashura, I met a security officer who was offering flowers at the Karbala there. On being asked the reason behind his attachment with Imam Hussain’s cause, he replied, “Please do not think that remembering the sacrifice of Imam Hussain is a copyright of Muslims. Imam Hussain’s martyrdom has given voices to the voiceless. His sacrifice was the ultimate level of tolerance and non-violence in which after losing every one of his companions and his family members he stood firm on the path of righteousness. We remember him because he is worth remembering. We remember him because it’s the way of Imam Husain only through which long lasting justice can be achieved. It’s the path of Hussain only which can be a harbinger of a just society.”

It’s most important today to tell the people about the sacrifice of Imam Hussain and his mission which will let them realize that the people who every now and then commit barbaric acts of terrorism and call themselves Muslims are just terrorists and the majority of world’s Muslims think these acts as going against all the ideals and principles of Islam.

While addressing the enemy in Karbala, the Imam said, “If you do not have religion, at least be a free man in your life of this world.” It’s a wonderful saying because a free man can differentiate between  good and evil more easily than a biased one.

About 1200 years later, Abraham Lincoln echoed Imam Hussain when he said: “To suffer in solace while they should protest makes cowards of men.” Nearly each and every revolution of the world got inspiration from the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

Imam Hussain’s life was an inspiration for Indian greats like Gandhi and Tagore. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed”. Rabindranath Tagore wrote: “In order to keep alive justice and truth, instead of an army or weapons, success can be achieved by sacrificing lives, exactly what Imam Hussain did.”

For a world engulfed with continuous violence and bloodshed, the message of Imam Hussain acts as a beacon of hope.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own

MAJLIS – A Muharram Gatherings

(MAJLIS-E-HUSSAIN (a.s))

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

We do not greet the first night of Moharram – with merry-making, nor celebrate it by holding parties. Our hearts are filled with sadness and grief because we remember those martyrs who were killed in Kerbala.

For the next twelve days and nights, we hold Majaalis-e-Hussain (a.s) to mourn the death of Imam Hussain (a.s), his family and companions.

The word ‘majaalis’ means,  seatings where people gather and sit.

In Majaalis of Moharram, we recall the events of the martydom of Imam Hussain (a.s), his family and companions, and the hardship and suffering of those in his family who survived the tragedy of Kerbala.

The first Majlis-e-Hussain (a.s) was started by his sister, Bibi Zainab(s.a), as soon as they were set free by Yazid. Since then all the Imams and Shi’as have continued the Majaalis-e-Hussain (a.s) regularly.

Why do we hold these Majaalis?

To thank Imam Hussain (a.s), his family and companions for the great sacrifice in Karbala for saving us and Islam. We hold these Majaalis because we love our Imam and feel sad to hear about his hardship and suffering in Karbala, and also to comfort and please Bibi Fatima (s.a) – Imam Hussain (a.s)’s mother.
Bib Fatima (s.a) comes to Majaalis-e-Hussain (a.s). Though we cannot see her, she prays for us and our families’ safety. She collects our tears when we cry for Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family. On the Day of Judgement she will return all those tears we have shed for her family. These tears will protect us from the Fire of Hell.

On the 1st of Moharram, Imam Hussain (a.s)’s caravan had reached just outside Karbala. They pitched their tents for the night.

Hussain (a.s) and his sister, Zainab (s.a), were standing talking outside Hussain (a.s) tent.

Together they both sighted the moon of 1st of Moharram.
Tears flowed from Hussain (a.s) eyes.

Zainab (s.a) grew worried and asked her brother:
“My dearest brother Hussain (a.s), why are there tears in your eyes?”

“Zainab! My sister Zainab! Please pray for me that I keep my promise to Allah (S.W.T.). Pray, my sister, that I succeed in completing my mission to save Islam. Zainab! Pray for me that I do not hesitate in giving up my life for Islam.”

Hussain (a.s) was not crying because he was worried about dying. Hussain (a.s) did not ask his sister to pray to Allah (S.W.T.) to save his life. All he was concerned about was saving us and Islam.

Bibi Zainab (s.a) eyes were filled with tears when she heard what Hussain (a.s) asked her to do.
“My beloved sister Zainab! Don’t cry! You will have to perform a greater duty after my death. Be brave and patient!”

Bibi Zainab went to her tent. Ali Akber joined his father, Hussain (a.s).
“My son, Ali Akber! I saw a dream last night. I saw a group of people heading for a place where death was waiting for them. I saw them all killed, one-by-one.”

“Father! I know these people. Those people are us. But, tell me father, are we on the right path?”

“Yes, my son Akber, yes We are on the right path.”

“Then let us not worry? Father, if we are on the right path, then let us die happily. We should continue our journey and greet our death with a smile.”
“I am proud of you, my son Akber!”
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         (ARRIVAL IN KARBALA )

On the 2nd day of Moharram, Hussain(a.s)’s caravan reached Karbala. Thousands of Yazid’s soldiers were already there, having arrived long before the Imam.
The small tribe living in Karbala gathered around Hussain(a.s)’s caravan. Imam Hussain(a.s) enquired about the price of the land in Karbala. He then bought the entire land.
Then, he first spoke to the menfolk of the tribe.
“O, menfolk of Karbala! We have not come here to fight. Yazid’s soldiers will fight with us and we will be killed. They will not bury our bodies and our bodies will be left to the wild animals of the desert. I request a favour from you. Please, bury our bodies.
Imam Hussain(a.s) then turned to the womenfolk of the tribe.
“Ladies of Karbala! Your menfolk, out of fear of Yazid’s soldiers might not bury our bodies. Ladies! When your men are working in the fields, please come out of your houses and bury our bodies.
Somehow Imam Hussain(a.s) did not feel the men nor the women would carry out his request.
Sadly, he turned to the children who had gathered and spoke gently to them.
Children! If your father or your mother are unable to bury us, I beg you to throw a fistful of sand over our bodies while you are playing in the fields. That way, children, our bodies will slowly get buried.”
Then, he turned to everyone who had gathered around and spoke again.
“My second request to you all is to look after the people who will come to visit our graves after our death. They will be my guests so please look after them and feed them for three days.”
Imam then ordered the tents to be pitched by the river. It was very hot in Karbala and the supply of water was absolutely essential for survival.
Abbas(a.s), commander of Hussain(a.s)’s army, with his men, started to pitch the tents by the river. The commanders of Yazid’s army ordered their men to pull out Hussain(a.s)’s tents. They stopped Hussain(a.s)’s tents from being pitched by the river.
Abbas(a.s) became very angry. He pulled out his sword and wanted to kill the enemies.
Abbas(a.s), the lion son of Ali(AS), was like his father. He was very brave and strong. The enemies feared him. If he wanted the tents to be pitched by the river, then Yazid’s men even though in thousands, would not be able to stop him.
Hussain(a.s) saw what was happening and quickly intervened. He knew his brother’s temper and strength.
“Abbas(AS), My brother Abbas(AS), Put your sword back. Abbas(AS), we have not come here to fight. Later on, people will say that we started the battle for water. Abbas(AS)! My brother Abbas(AS)! Calm down and put your sword back! Let us move away from here. We will pitch our tents elsewhere.”
Abbas (AS)considered his brother to be his master and always obeyed his commands. He(AS) put his sword back and ordered his men to pitch their tents away from the river.
This was the 2nd of Moharram. As nights and days passed by, the scene in Karbala changed.
Day by day Yazid’s army increased in number. Nearly 20,000 of Yazid’s soldiers surrounded Hussain(a.s)’s tents.
Why so many to fight no more than 72 men in Hussain(a.s)’s army?
Despite having so many men in Yazid’s army, his commanders were still worried because the 72 men in Hussain(a.s)’s army were no ordinary men. They were brave, faithful and did not fear death.

Yazid’s soldiers knew this and therefore thought of a way to weaken Hussain(a.s)’s army.

On 7th Moharram, Yazid’s commanders ordered their men to stop water from reaching Hussain(a.s)’s tents.
There were many ladies and children with Hussain(a.s) and they suffered a lot without water and food.
For three days, one could hear children crying for water.

“AL-ATASH! AL-ATASH! AL-ATASH! WATER! WATER! WATER! THIRST! THIRST! THIRST!”

Abbas (AS)could hear this. He could hear his beloved Sakina (SA)crying for water. Abbas(AS) loved Sakina (SA)dearly and always got her anything she wanted.

Everytime Abbas(AS) heard Sakina(SA) crying for water, he shook with grief.

Abbas(AS)! Poor Abbas(AS), could not bear to hear Sakina(SA) crying.
“AL-ATASH! AL-ATASH! AL-ATASH!” echoed through the land of Karbala for three days and nights. Many little children died from thirst and hunger.

A kindness a day keeps the devil away

It was a normal week day and her husband was at work. After finishing her duties at home, Salma was busy as usual helping her neighbors, today washing their clothes. Her friends were surprised at her selfless kindness but she always told her friends: “A kindness a day keeps the devil away. I try to do one act of kindness everyday in hopes that it will eradicate a sin I may have unconsciously committed in the Book of Life”.

One Sunday Salma’s husband said, “May I ride with you today when you go to do the grocery shopping?”

Salma was obviously surprised, but she didn’t question his request and said, “Sure why not, then we can spend some time together as you are always busy.”

So Salma and her husband left and spent the whole day together. When they got home and put away the groceries, Salma thanked her husband for being so kind as to come with her.

He answered, “Salma, the real reason that I went with you is because you always tell people to do just one act of kindness, like eating an apple a day, keeps the Devil away, so I asked to ride with you to see just how kindly you act with people every day.”

Salma asked with astonishment: “Why?”. He replied, “Because I wanted to see how do you practice kindness, and I wanted to see if you practiced what you preach. And trust me, I will never doubt anything you say again.”

He continued and said to Salma:

(1) “When we got in the van, you let the car across from us go first while watching that no car was coming from behind and you signaled him to go.

(2) “When we reached the stop, you signaled for people to cross the street saying that this way you protect them at least when you are at the stop sign because most drivers don’t care about people, they just want to be on their way.

(3) “On the freeway you signaled the trailer trucks when you were letting them take the lane and slowed down to give them space to change lanes, saying that they had a delivery to make on time and that you had all the time in the world.

(4) “When we arrived in the store parking lot as you went to take a spot, someone else just swiped in front of you and we had to go all the way to the back. You never got angry. You said, “Well, maybe he has sore legs and needs to be closer,” and you laughed.

(5) “As we arrived at the entrance door, you opened the door and let an elderly couple in saying, “Beauty before age.”

“Well when I counted up 25 acts of kindness I stopped counting because your one act of kindness just rolls into many more. I couldn’t believe it; you are so kind that I am sure that in the Good Book it will outweigh whatever you do wrong. From now on I will also do one act of kindness a day, and I will never doubt anything you say you do ever again”.
Salma laughed and said, “Kindness is like a box of chocolates, when I open the box, I can never eat just one. I finish the box! And this is true, that is why I don’t buy a whole box; it doesn’t last the day. But I am so used to being kind that I don’t even notice I am doing it. It is just lovingmy fellow human beings. It is just following Bibi Fatima (as) who said: “(Help) the neighbor first, before your own self.”

Subhanallah, Salma was indeed a true follower of Bibi Fatima (as) who was so kind that:

(1) Bibi Fatima gave her new marriage dress to a poor person and wore her old dress instead, in the wedding. The next day when the Prophet (saww) asked why she was wearing an old dress, she replied that she gave the new dress to a poor person. Can we get such example of kindness anywhere?

The Prophet (saww) asked: “Why didn’t you give your old dress instead?”.

She replied: Because the Holy Quran says: “You will not achieve piety until you give out what you love the most.” (3:92)

(2) Bibi Fatima and her whole family remained hungry for three days but offered the evening meals after three long days’ fasting to the beggar, the orphan and the prisoner.

Holy Quran, praising this kind act, says: “And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive.” (76:8)

(3) Bibi Fatima was so kind to her servant Fizza, that Fizza worked one day and the other day Fatima (as) would work so that Fizza could rest. Such example of kindness can only be found in the family of the Prophet (saw).

Alas, such a kind and benevolent lady was so much terrorized after the death of her father that she had to say addressing her father, the Holy Prophet, standing before his grave: “Oh! Father dear! After you, fell on me such miseries that had they fallen on bright days, the bright days would have turned into darkest nights.”

Is it not a myth that there is Allah.?

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq  (a.s) (702- 765 CE) was born in Medina on the 17 of Rabi ul-Awwal in the year of 82 Hijra. His father was the 5th Imam Mohammed Baqar (a) and his mother was Umme Farwa. It is said that Jafar as-Sadiq was born circumcised.

The foremost Islamic alchemist, Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, known in Europe as Geber, was Ja’far Al-Sadiq’s most prominent student. Ja’far Al-Sadiq was known for his liberal views on learning, and was keen to have discourse with Scholars of other views.

  • Scholars believed to have learned extensively from Ja’far Al-Sadiq:
  1. Jābir ibn Hayyān – known in Europe as Geber, a great alchemist.
  2. Isma’il ibn Jafar – his son, the seventh Shi’ah Imam according to the Ismailis.
  3. Musa al-Kadhim – his son, the seventh Shi’ah Imam according to the Twelvers
  4. Ali al-Uraidhi ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq- his youngest son.
  5. Mufadhal ibn Amr- his Gate keeper and a prominent student.
  • Scholars who either attended Ja’far Al-Sadiq’s lectures or learnt from him:
  1. Abū Ḥanīfa – founder of the Hanafi school of thought.
  2. Malik ibn Anas – founder of the Maliki school of thoughts
  3. Wasil ibn Ata – founder of the Mu’tazili school of thought.

Contrary to the Western belief, the Shias firmly believe that Imam Jafar as-Sadiq had Ilm-e-Ladunni or ‘God given Knowledge’. The Shias believe that a man’s subconscious mind is quite different from his conscious mind. It is the treasure house of knowledge of mankind and of the world. Modern science lends support to this theory. Biological studies have gradually proved that every group of cells in the human body knows whatever is knowable from the beginning of the world till today. The Shias contend that when someone is chosen as a Prophet or as an Imam, the curtain which hangs between the conscious and subconscious mind, is lifted and he can make use of the knowledge which is stored in his subconscious mind.

Reader’s are just humbly requested to ponder on the scientific replies given by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) and that too almost 1400 years back which now many of them we are able to understand as science has just proved those things within 1 or 2 centuries back …..

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a. s.) and Abu Shakir’s debate.

Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) was one of the most patient and tolerant teachers of his time. He used to take his classes every day. After his lectures he would listen and reply to the objections of his critics. He had asked his critics, who attended his classes, not to interrupt him during his lectures. They were quite free to ask him any question or raise any objection after the classes were over.

Once Abu Shakir, one of his opponents, said to him: “Would you allow me to say something and ask some questions?”

“Yes, you can”, replied Imam Jafar as-Sadiq.

Said Abu Shakir: “Is it not a myth that there is Allah? You want people to believe in a thing which does not exist. If there was Allah, we could have felt his existence through our senses. You may say that we can feel His presence by the help of our inner senses, but our inner senses also depend upon our five outer senses. We cannot conjure up an image of anything in which some of our senses were not involved. We cannot conjure up the picture of a person whom we have not met; recall to our memory his voice if we have not heard him and feel the touch of his hand by our inner senses if we have never taken his hand in our hand.”

“You may say that we can perceive the presence of Allah by our intelligence and not through our inner or outer senses. But our intelligence also needs the assistance of our five outer senses, without which it cannot function. We cannot make any reasoning or come to any conclusion without the help of our senses.

By your imagination you have created a being, which is of your own image. Since you see, talk, hear, work and rest, He also does exactly what you do.”

“You do not show Him to anyone. To maintain your hold on the people you say that He cannot be seen. You also say that He was not born from the womb of a woman. He does not procreate and that He would not die. I have heard that there is an idol in India, which is hidden behind a curtain and is not allowed to be seen by the Hindu devotees. The custodians of the idol say that it is out of mercy that their god does not appear before them, because whoever casts his eyes on it, would instantly die.”

“Your Allah is also like the veiled god of the Hindus. It is out of His mercy that He does not appear before us. If he does, we shall surely die. You say that the universe was created by Allah, who did not talk to anyone, except to the Prophet of Islam. As a matter of fact the universe came by itself. Does anyone create the grass, which grows in the field? Does it not grow and get green by itself? Does anyone create the ants and the mosquitoes? Do they not come out by themselves?”

“I must tell you, who claims to be a scholar and the successor of the Prophet, that among all the stories, which circulate among the people, none is more absurd and baseless than the story of Allah, who cannot be seen. There are many baseless stories, but they, at least, depict real life and present before us the people and personalities, who may themselves be fictitious, but their acts and deeds are like those of real human beings. We can see them. They eat, they drink, they talk, they sleep and they love. When we read these fictitious stories, we enjoy them. We know that they are false, but we see in them the faces of men and women, who are like us. The people mentioned in the stories might not have existed, but our common sense accepts existence of such people in the world. However, when we cannot see, feel or touch your Allah, our logic and reasoning, which depend upon our senses, do not accept his existence.”

“l know that some people, who have been deceived by you, believe in your invisible Allah, but you cannot deceive me and make me believe in Him. I worship God, who is made of wood and stone. Although my God does not talk, but I can see him with my eyes and touch him with my hands.”

“You say that the God whom I have made from my own hands is not worthy of being worshipped, while you ask the people to worship Allah, you have created by your imagination. You deceive innocent people by saying that your imaginary Allah has created the universe, but I do not deceive anyone. No one created the universe. There was no need of any god to create it. It came by itself. God cannot create anything. He is himself our creation. I created him by my hand and you by your imagination.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) did not say a word during the long tirade of Abu Shakir. Sometimes his students, who were present, wanted to intervene but he asked them to remain quiet. When Abu Shakir stopped his lengthy discourse, the Imam asked him, if he had anything more to say.

Retorted Abu Shakir: “By introducing your invisible Allah to the people, you want to acquire wealth and position and have a respectable, comfortable and luxurious life. These are my last words. I do not want to say anything more.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) said: “l would like to start with the last part of your speech. Your accusations that I want money, position and a comfortable life would have been justified if I was living like a caliph. You have seen today that I have eaten a few morsels of bread only and nothing else. I invite you to my house to see for yourself what I will have for dinner and how I live.”

“Abu Shakir, if I wanted to acquire wealth and have a good life, as you say, I was not obliged to teach and preach to get rich. I would have earned money and got rich by my knowledge of chemistry. Another way to get rich was to do business. I have more knowledge’ about foreign markets than any merchant in Medina. I know what goods are produced in different countries and where to sell them for profit. I also know how to bring them here to reduce the cost of transport. Our merchants import goods only from Syria, Iraq, Egypt and some other Arab countries. They do not know what goods are available in Isphahan, Rasht and Rome, otherwise they would have imported them and sold them with profit.”

“Abu Shakir, you have said that I ask the people to worship Allah to deceive them and to get rich. I must tell you that I have never taken anything from anyone, except some fruits as presents. One of my friends sends to me every year fresh dates from his garden and another some pomegranates from Taif. I accept these presents so that they may not get offended.”

“I have heard, O Abu Shakir, that your father was a pearl merchant. Perhaps you may have some knowledge about pearls. But I know all about pearls and precious stones. I can also appraise their market value. If I wanted to get rich I would have worked as a jeweller. Can you test and recognise a precious stone? Do you know how many kinds of rubies and emeralds there are in the world?”

“I know nothing about them”, replied Abu Shakir.

“Do you know how many kinds of diamonds there are and what colours they have?” asked Imam Jafar as-Sadiq.

“I do not know”, replied Abu Shakir.

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq said: “I am not a jeweller, but I know all about the pearls and precious stones. I also know where they come from. All jewellers must know about gems, what I know, but few of them know their sources.”

“Do you know what makes a diamond shine?”

“I never was a diamond merchant, nor was my father. How can I know why diamonds shine?; replied Abu Shakir.

Said the Imam: “Diamonds are obtained from the beds of rivers and streams. Rough diamonds are cut by experts. This is the cut of a diamond, which gives it its brilliance. Those who are experts in cutting diamonds are trained from the childhood in the profession of their fathers and forefathers. Cutting a diamond is a very delicate and difficult art. A diamond is cut only by a diamond.”

“Abu Shakir, I have said all this simply to show to you that if I wanted to accumulate wealth, I could have done so by making use of my knowledge about jewels. I have replied to your accusations and now I shall deal with your objections.”

“Abu Shakir, you have said that I have fabricated stories and ask the people to worship Allah, who cannot be seen. You refuse to acknowledge existence of Allah, because He cannot be seen. Can you see inside your own body?”

Replied Abu Shakir: “No, I cannot.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq said: “If you could have seen what is inside you, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah, who cannot be seen.”

Abu Shakir asked: “What is the relationship between seeing within one’s own body and the existence of your unseen Allah?”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) replied: “You have said just now that a thing, which cannot be seen, touched, tasted or heard, does not exist.”

Abu Shakir said: “Yes, I have said that and I believe it is true.”

Jafar as-Sadiq asked: “Do you hear the sound of the movement of blood in your body?”

Said Abu Shakir: “No, I do not. But does blood move in the body?

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) said: “Yes, it does. It makes a full circuit of your body. If the circulation of blood stops for a few minutes you will die.”

Abu Shakir said: “I cannot believe that blood circulates in the body.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq said: “It is your ignorance, which does not let you believe that your blood circulates in your body, and the same ignorance does not let you believe in the existence of Allah, Who cannot be seen.”

Then the Imam asked Abu Shakir whether he has seen the tiny living beings, which Allah has created in his body.

Jafar as-Sadiq continued: “It is because of these small creatures and their wonderful work that you are kept alive. They are so small that you cannot see them. Since you are a slave of your senses, you do not know about their existence. If you increase your knowledge and decrease your ignorance, you will come to know that these small beings in your body are as large in number as the particles of sand in the desert. These small creatures are born in your body, multiply in your body, work in your body and die in your body. But you never see them, touch them, taste them or hear them in your life time.”

“It is true that one who knows himself knows his Allah. If you had known yourself and had the knowledge of what is going on inside your body, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah, without seeing Him.”

Pointing his finger to a huge stone he said: “Abu Shakir, do you see the stone, which is in the foot of that portico? To you it seems lifeless and motionless, because you do not see the brisk motion, which is inside the stone. Again it is lack of knowledge or your ignorance, which would not let you believe that there is motion inside the stone. The time will come when the learned people would see the motion which is in the stone.”

Continued the Imam: “Abu Shakir, you have said that everything in the universe came by itself and has no Creator. You think that the grass in the field grows and gets green by itself. You must know that the grass cannot grow without seeds and seeds would not germinate without moisture in the soil and there would be no moisture if no rain falls. The rain does not fall by itself. First the water vapours rise and gather above in the atmosphere in the form of clouds. The winds bring the clouds. Then the water vapours condense and fall down as rain drops. The rain must also fall at the right time, otherwise no grass will grow and become green. Take the seeds of ten kinds of herbs and put them in a closed jar, which has sufficient water, but no air. Would they germinate? No, in addition to water, seeds need air also. It is possible to grow grass, herbs and fruits in hot houses, when it is very cold, provided there is sufficient air. Without the presence of air no grass will gr! ow in the fields and get green. If there is no air, all plants and animals, including human beings, would die.”

“Abu Shakir, do you see the air, on which your very existence depends. You only feel it when it moves. Can you refuse to believe in the existence of air? Can you deny that to grow and get green the grass needs many things like seeds, soil, water, air, a suitable climate and above all a strong managing power, which may co-ordinate the action of these different elements. That Managing and Co-ordinating Power is Allah.”

“You say that everything comes by itself because you are not a scientist. No scientist would ever say that. All scientists and all scholars believe in the existence of a creator, albeit, they may call Him by different names. Even those, who do not believe in Allah, believe in a Creative Force.”

“Abu Shakir, it is not because of one’s knowledge, but it is due to his ignorance that he does not believe in Allah. When a wise man thinks of himself, he finds that his own body needs a controller so that all its organs and systems may function properly. He then realises that this vast universe also needs a controller or supervisor so that it may run smoothly.”

“You said just now that both of us create our own gods – you by your hands and I by my imagination. But there is a big difference between your god and my Allah. Your god did not exist before you made him out of wood or stone, but my Allah was there before I could think about Him. I do not create my Allah by my hands or by my brain. What I do is to know Him better and think of His Greatness. When you see a mountain you try to know more about it. It is not creating the mountain by imagination. That mountain was there before you saw it and it would be there when you are gone.”

‘You cannot know much about the mountain because of your limited knowledge. The more your knowledge grows, the more you will learn about it. It is impossible for you to find out when and how that mountain came into being and when it would disappear. You cannot find out what minerals are there inside or underneath the mountain and what is their benefit to mankind.”

“Do you know that the stones, out of which you make your idols came into being thousands of years ago and shall exist for thousands of years more. These stones have come here from a distant place. They could travel that long journey because different parts of the earth are always moving, but this movement is so slow that you do not feel it. There is nothing in the universe, which is not in motion. Rest or motionlessness is meaningless. We are not at rest even when we are sleeping. We are in motion because the earth is in motion. Besides, we have a motion inside our own bodies.”

“Abu Shakir, if you had any knowledge about the piece of stone, out of which you carve an idol, you would not have denied the existence of Allah and said that I have created Him by my imagination. You do not know what a stone is and how it came into being. Today you can handle it as you like and cut it into any shape or form, but there was a time when it was in liquid state. Gradually it cooled down and Allah solidified it. In the beginning it was quite brittle and would have broken into pieces in your hand like a piece of glass.”

Asked Abu Shakir: “Was it in a liquid condition before?”

“Yes, it was”, replied Jafar asSadiq (A. S.)

Abu Shakir burst into a peal of laughter. One of the students of Jafar as-Sadiq got angry and was about to say something when he was stopped by his teacher.

Abu Shakir said: “I am laughing because you say that the stones are made of water.”

Jafar as-Sadiq (A. S.) replied: “I did not say that the stones are made of water. What I had said was that in the beginning they were in a liquid state.”

Abu Shakir said: “What difference does it make. The liquid and water are the same things.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq replied: “There are many liquids which are not water. Milk and vinegar are liquids, but they are not water, although they have a water content in them. In the beginning the stones were liquid like water and they flowed like water. Gradually they cooled down and became hard so that you could cut them and make them into idols. The same hard stones will turn into liquid, if they are heated.”

Said Abu Shakir: “When I go home I will check the truth of your statement. I will put the stone in the fireplace and see if it turns into liquid or not.”

Said the Imam: “You cannot liquefy stone in your fireplace. Can you liquefy a piece of iron at home? A very high temperature is required to turn solid stone into liquid.”

“Do you realise how you could make the idols out of stones? It was Allah, who made the stones. It was He Who created you and gave you the hands with the unique fingers, which enabled you to handle tools and chisel out the idols from the stones. Again it was He who gave you power and intelligence, which you used in making the idols.”

“Abu Shakir, do you think that the mountains are only heaps of stones? The Great Allah has created them to serve some very useful purpose. They were not created so that you may take stones and turn them into idols. Wherever there is a mountain there is flowing water. Rain and snow which fall on the mountain tops produce streams of fresh water. These streams combine together to form big rivers, which irrigate farms and fields. The people who live in the valleys, through which the rivers flow, are assured of constant supply of water. People who can afford it, go to the mountains during the summer season to escape the heat of the plains.”

“The mountains work as a great bulwark and protect towns and villages, which are in their valleys from the devastation and destruction of hurricanes. Green mountains provide good grazing grounds for sheep. When scorching heat burns the pastures down in the plains and no fodder is left, the shepherds take their flocks of sheep to the mountains and stay there till the end of summer. Mountains are also habitats of birds and animals, some of which are a good source of food for those, who live there. Even the mountains, which are not green, are not without some use. If the people try, they may discover in them mines of metals and minerals which are useful for mankind.”

“Abu Shakir, I am too small and too weak to create Allah with my brain. It is He, who has created my brain, so that I may think of Him and know Him – my Creator. He was there before I came into being and He would be there when I am no more. I do not mean that I would be totally destroyed. Nothing in the universe is totally destroyed. Everything is subject to change. It is only Allah, Who does not change.”

“Abu Shakir, please tell me sincerely to whom will you turn for help when you are in trouble? Do you hope that the idol you carve out of stone can come to your succour? Can it cure you when you are sick; save you from mishaps and calamities; save you from starvation and help you pay your debts?”

Abu Shakir replied: “I have no such expectations from the stone, but, I think there is something inside the stone, which will help me. Moreover, I cannot help worshipping it.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq enquired: “What is inside the stone? Is it also stone?”

“I do not know what it is. But it cannot help me if it is also stone,” replied Abu Shakir.

Said Imam Jafar as-Sadiq: “Abu Shakir, what is inside the stone and is not stone and can help when you are in trouble is, Allah.”

Abu Shakir pondered over the subject for a while and then said: “Is Allah, who cannot be seen, inside the stone?”

The Imam replied: “He is everywhere.”

Abu Shakir said: “I cannot believe that a thing may be everywhere but remain unseen.”

The Imam said: “Do you know that the air is everywhere but cannot be seen?”

Said Abu Shakir: “Although I cannot see the air, I can, at least, feel it when it moves. But I can neither see your Allah nor feel his presence.”

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq said: “You do not feel the presence of air when it is not moving. The air is only a creation of Allah. He is everywhere, but you cannot see Him or feel His presence by your senses. You have admitted just now that although you do not see it, but your instinct or your soul tells you that there is something inside the stone, and is not the stone, which can help you. That something is Allah. Your instinct also tells you that you cannot live without Allah and without worshipping Him.”

Abu Shakir said: “It is true. I cannot live without worshipping idols.”

Said Imam Jafar as-Sadiq: “Do not say idols. Say Allah. It is He, Who is worthy of worship. just like you everyone is obliged to worship Him. One, who does not worship Allah has no guide and no guardian. He is just like one, who cannot see, cannot hear, cannot feel and cannot think. He does not know where to go and on whom to depend when in trouble. Worshipping Allah is a part of living. Every living being worships Him instinctively. Even the animals cannot live without worshipping Him. We cannot ask them and they cannot tell us that they worship Allah, but their well regulated and orderly life is sufficient proof that they worship Him.

“I do not say that the animals believe in Allah and worship Him just as we do. But there is no doubt that they obey the laws made by their Creator faithfully, which means they worship Him. If they were not obedient to their Creator, they could not have such an orderly and regulated life.”

“We see that just before the advent of spring the titmouse (a kind of small bird) always comes at the same time and sings, as if to give us the tiding of the new season. The itinerary of these migratory birds is so regulated and their schedule so fixed that even if the last days of winter are still cold, their arrival is not delayed for more than a few days. When Chilchila (a migratory bird) returns after covering a distance of thousands of miles, it builds its nest at the same place, where it had built it last spring. Was it possible for these small birds to have such a well organised life if they did not obey the laws of Allah and worship Him?”

“Abu Shakir, even the plants obey the laws made by Allah faithfully and worship Him. Out of 150 species of plants, which are further divided into hundreds of sub-species you will not find even one plant, which has a disorganised and disorderly life.”

“Abu Shakir, just like us the plants also do not see their Creator, but they worship Him by obeying His laws instinctively.”

“I know that you will not accept, or perhaps you do not understand, what I say. A man must have sufficient knowledge to understand complicated problems.”

“Abu Shakir, not only animals by their animal instinct and plants by their plant instinct obey Allah and worship Him, the lifeless and inanimate objects also, with whatever instinct they have, obey Allah and worship Him. If they did not worship Him, they would not have followed the laws made by Him. As a result, their atoms would have broken apart and they would have been destroyed.”

“The light which comes from the sun also worships Allah by obeying his laws, which are very stringent and exact. It comes into being by the combination of two opposite forces. These forces also obey the laws of Allah and worship Him, otherwise they cannot produce light.”

“Abu Shakir, if there was no Allah there would have been no universe and no you and me. The sentence, “There is no Allah’, is meaningless. The existence of Allah is a must. If attention of Allah is diverted, even for a moment from the affairs of the universe to something else, it would break up. Everything in the universe obeys His laws, which are permanent and eternal. Because of His absolute wisdom and knowledge, He could make such wonderful laws, which will last for ever. Each and every law, made by Him serves some special and useful purpose.”

When the Imam concluded his discourse, Abu Shakir fell into a deep reverie as if he was greatly inspired.

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq asked: “Do you now believe that Allah, who cannot be seen, does exist and what you worship is the unseen Allah?”

Abu Shakir replied: “I am not yet convinced. I am in a quandary. I am full of doubts and misgivings about my faith and my convictions.”

Jafar as-Sadiq remarked: “The doubt about idol worship is the beginning of the worship of Allah.”

Problem may not be with the others, as we always think

A man feared his wife wasn’t hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here’s what you do,” said the Doctor,

“stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and s o on until you get a response.”

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.”

Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?” No response.

So the husband moves to closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again he gets no response,

So He walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

.

.

.

“James, for the FIFTH time I’ve said,

CHICKEN!”

Moral of the story: The problem may not be with the other one as we always think, could be very much within us..!

Facebook Addiction

The 76-year-old woman walked down the hallway of Clearview Addictions Clinic, searching for the right department. She passed signs for the “Heroin Addiction Department (HAD),”
the “Smoking Addiction Department (SAD)” and the “Bingo Addiction Department (BAD).” 

Then she spotted the department she was looking for: “Facebook Addiction Department (FAD).”

It was the busiest department in the clinic, with about three dozen people filling the waiting room, most of them staring blankly into their Blackberries and iPhones. A middle-aged man with unkempt hair was pacing the room, muttering,”I need to milk my cows. I need to milk my cows.”

A twenty-something man was prone on the floor, his face buried in his hands, while a curly-haired woman comforted him.

“Don’t worry. It’ll be all right.”

“I just don’t understand it. I thought my update was LOL-worthy, but none of my friends even clicked the ‘like’ button.”

“How long has it been?”

“Almost five minutes. That’s like five months in the real world.”

The 76-year-old woman waited until her name was called, then followed the receptionist into the office of Alfred Zulu, Facebook Addiction Counselor.

“Please have a seat, Edna,” he said with a warm smile. “And tell me how it all started.”

“Well, it’s all my grandson’s fault. He sent me an invitation to join Facebook. I had never heard of Facebook before, but I thought it was something for me, because I usually have my face in a book.”

“How soon were you hooked?”

“Faster than you can say ‘create a profile.’ I found myself on Facebook at least eight times each day — and more times at night. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night to check it, just in case there was an update from one of my new friends in India . My husband didn’t like that. He said that friendship is a precious thing and should never be outsourced.”

“What do you like most about Facebook?”

“It makes me feel like I have a life. In the real world, I have only five or six friends, but on Facebook, I have 674. I’m even friends with Juan Carlos Montoya.”

“Who’s he?”

“I don’t know, but he’s got 4,000 friends, so he must be famous.”

“Facebook has helped you make some connections, I see.”

“Oh yes. I’ve even connected with some of the gals from high school — I still call them ‘gals.’ I hadn’t heard from some of them in ages, so it was exciting to look at their profiles and figure out who’s retired, who’s still working, and who’s had some work done. I love browsing their photos and reading their updates. I know where they’ve been on vacation, which movies they’ve watched, and whether they hang their toilet paper over or under. I’ve also been playing a game with some of them.”

“Let me guess. Farmville?”

“No, Mafia Wars. I’m a Hitman. No one messes with Edna.”

“Wouldn’t you rather meet some of your friends in person?”

“No, not really. It’s so much easier on Facebook. We don’t need to gussy ourselves up. We don’t need to take baths or wear perfume or use mouthwash. That’s the best thing about Facebook — you can’t smell anyone. Everyone is attractive, because everyone has picked a good profile pic. One of the gals is using a profile pic that was taken, I’m pretty certain, during the Eisenhower Administration. “

“What pic are you using?”

“Well, I spent five hours searching for a profile pic, but couldn’t find one I really liked. So I decided to visit the local beauty salon.”

“To make yourself look prettier?”

“No, to take a pic of one of the young ladies there. That’s what I’m using.”

“Didn’t your friends notice that you look different?”

“Some of them did, but I just told them I’ve been doing lots of yoga.”

“When did you realize that your Facebooking might be a problem?”

“I realized it last Sunday night, when I was on Facebook and saw a message on my wall from my husband: ‘I moved out of the house five days ago. Just thought you should know.’”

“What did you do?”

“What else? I unfriended him of course!” 

Buhlul and the Thief

Whenever Buhlul happened to have money in excess of his expenses, he used to save it by concealing it in one corner of a ruined and broken down house; this continued till the amount eventually reached a figure of three hundred dirhams.

The next occasion when he had saved another ten dirhams and had gone to the place to add it to his concealed savings, a trader who lived in the neighbourhood, found out about the hideout. As soon as Buhlul had left the hiding place, the neighbour dug up the money that was concealed beneath the ground.

The next time when Bulool came to the place, he found his money missing and immediately realized that it was the work of the trader.

He decided to approach the trader.

“I wish to trouble you by telling you about my secret,” Buhlul said to the trader. “I have placed my money in different places.” Then he began enumerating the places till the entire figure reached three thousand dirhams. “The place where I have placed three hundred and ten dirhams is the safest of them all. I now wish to transfer all my money to this place in the ruined house.” Saying this, he bid the trader goodbye and left.

The trader decided to return the three hundred and ten dirhams to the place from where he had stolen the money with the intention that when Buhlul placed all his money there, he would steal the increased amount. Some days later, Buhlul returned to the ruins and found the three hundred and ten dirhams in its original location. Taking out the money, he defecated there and covered it with earth.

Immediately after Buhlul had left, the trader rushed towards the spot and, removing the earth, sought to collect the entire money, only to find his hand dirtied by the excrement. He thus comprehended

Buhlul’s deception. A few days later Buhlul visited him.

“I want you to compute some figures associated with my money,” said

Buhlul. “How much does eighty dirhams added to fifty dirhams added to one hundred dirhams, and this sum added to the dirty odour that emanates from your hands, sum up to?”

Saying this, he took to his heels. The trader rushed after him in hot pursuit, but failed to catch him.

Anecdotes for Reflection Part II Pg. 171

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