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Manifestations of the All Merciful

Manifestations of the All Merciful

The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:

Whosoever supplicates with this prayer in the Holy month of Ramadan after the prescribed prayer, his sins (dhunub) would be forgiven till the Day of Judgment.1

Du'a is not a mere verbal utterance, but "a state of real want," which mostly is manifested by the verbal supplication. So long as there is no harmony between "the inner state of want" and "the verbal utterance," the supplication would lack its spirit.

Realizing this, we say that "the state of yearning for the betterment of every human species" is an 'innate want' of every human being who enjoys an untainted soul. This is because every human being has been fashioned with the Attributes of Almighty Allah. And one such attribute is "mercy" which is all-embracing. Therefore the human being innately wants the betterment of every other human being. The reason why many of us do not experience Ithis quality is our separation from the neighborhood of our All- Loving Creator. Therefore we need to undergo self-purification to realize this quality that has been veiled due to the accumulation of sins and attachment to the world of matter. And when we experience the state of "yearning for the bettennent of others" and translate the same in the form of words, our supplication would carry meaning, and we would benefit from its great merit.

Those however who have not attained this station of proximity

should never despair but recite this prayer regularly with reflection ... If such supplications of light were intended for perfect human I beings only, the Holy Prophet (s) would not teach it to all and, sundry. Therefore, we should always try to recite the supplication with reflection and change. If one were to inculcate the sublime thoughts contained in this prayer, he/she can really wake up from his/her deep slumber and change his/her life.

In this Graceful Month when the over-flowing Grace of the All- Gracious is continuous, let us humbly ask Almighty Allah to enable us to be among those wh utter this wonderful supplication as a translation of our inner spirits.

Supplication and the Law of Cause & Effect

Du'a' is an excellent means of achieving one's legitimate ends.

The universal law of 'cause and effect' itself encourages us to seek help from the Principal Cause- who is Almighty Allah. Thus even in circumstances when things can be acquired through natural means, one should not think that he/she is needless of supplication.

Some, on the other hand, may think that supplication is sufficient and there is no need of achieving our goals through the means that are at our disposal. Clearly, this path also is that of ignorance, for Almighty Allah has established the system of cause and effect and encouraged the human being to employ the same for his exalted ends. The following word of wisdom from Imam al-Sadiq ('a) endorses this:

Allah does not permit things to take place except by their causes; thus He made a cause for every thing. 3

Seeking the Cause of Instilling Happiness

Having known the aforesaid, every understanding supplicant, would seek the causes that "instil happiness in spirits of the inhabitants of the grave" apart from praying for the same. Our holy traditions (which indeed are extensions of 1I1ight") have informed us how to make the deceased happy. Following are traditions worthy of contemplation:

The Supplicant's All-Embracing Spirit [Allahumma aghni kulla...]: One preposition employed in nearly every verse of this supplication is "kull" which means "every". The supplicant always tries to seek the betterment of every human being.

He assumes a Divine spirit throughout the invocation. Egoism no more exists. He frees himself from the shackles of yearning only for the betterment and repose of the self. The Holy Prophet (s) and his infallible progeny were of such character. They yearned for the betterment and emancipation of all. In order to understand this exalted spirit better, study the following quotations of the Holy Qur'an and traditions:

1. Almighty Allah says in the Qur'an [Chapter al-A'raf- 7: 156]:

And My Mercy encompasses all things [i.e. every dependent being].

2. And in [Chapter al-Anbiya'- 21:107] addressing His Noble Messenger, He says:

And we have not sent you but as a mercy for the worlds

3. And in [Chapter al-Kahf- 18:6] addressing His Beloved He says:

Then it is near that you will kill yourself in grief, for their outcomes, if they do not believe in this announcement. [MK. Trans.]

One of the philosophies behind fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is to experience hunger and thereby understand the situation of those who are hungry and cannot afford to satisfy themselves properly. The following tradition quoted by Mawla Fayd Kashani from Man La Yahduruhu'I Faqih, speaks of the same: Imam al-Sadiq ('a) in an authentic narration whilst explaining the philosophy of fasting says:

Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, desired to maintain equality between His creatures and make the rich experience hunger and pain so that he may have pity on the weak and mercy on the hungry one. 4

Causes of Hunger

Hunger is a widespread problem in today's world and has several causes, which may be classified into two kinds: self-related and external. The source of the self-related causes is the sufferer himself, whereas external causes stem from the society and other natural phenomena. To discuss both these kinds of causes is beyond the scope of this limited commentary . It is important however to study the limitations of these causes so that we may be able to struggle to avoid or eradicate them easily. The subject under discussion, as can be observed clearly, is also closely related to poverty . We had earlier mentioned the fact that every dependent thing stands by Allah's permission. Hence, if Allah (swt) does not want.

Aim of Human Creation

One of the great calamities of human life is the lack of insight about the purpose of human creation. So long as man has not come to know 'the goal of life' he would always have to face difficulties. This universal law applies to the affluent too. Ask every wealthy person whether his money always keeps him happy, and his answer would be in the negative. The Holy Qur'an as well the Ahlu'l Bayt ('a) have informed us that the aim behind human creation is to attain Allah's proximity and nearness. And the path that leads one to realize this aspiration is none other than 'ibada. The following verse explains it:

In chapter 51, verse 56, Almighty Allah says:

"And I have not created the jinn and men except that they should worship Me."

Here the aim is indicated as Allah's Worship. But is it the 'final aim of creation?' To answer this we should look at chapter 15, verse 99 of the Qur'an, which says:

"And worship your Lord until Conviction comes to you."

Therefore it is ma'rifatullah that is the end. And the closer one gets to his Lord the better his knowledge of his Creator.

Beautiful allusions are made in the following verses too about the ultimate end of the human being:

The Comprehensive Meaning of 'dayn'

Many would conjecture that 'dayn' (debt) is the same as 'qard' (loan). In the terminology of Islamic jurisprudence, however, the word dayn has a broader connotation then the word' qard . Dayn

also covers qard in its conceptual umbrella. Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi in his Tafsir-e Namune alludes to this subtlety and says that qard is only applied when one gets obliged to return the equivalent of the thing taken; for example, if he takes money as a loan, he would have to return the same amount of money; and if he takes a certain kind of food, he would be obliged to return the same. However, 'dayn .has a broader framework, for it includes any kind of transaction such as 'settlement of claim' (sulh) leasing (ijara), buying and selling, and the like 5.

Debt Sometimes Hampers One From Spiritual Progress

Debt at times becomes a very great impediment on the path towards God. The reason for this is that it preoccupies one's mind and heart, and that is a decisive factor that hampers progress. Look at the following traditions:

I. Imam Zaynu'l' Abidin ('a) in his beautiful supplication 6 for relief

from debt informs his followers the difficult situation that a debtor I normally experiences. Look at the following:

O God,

bless Muhammad and his Household

and release me from a debt

Meaning of 'Makrub'

'Makrub' is an object noun whose origin is the verbal noun 'karb' meaning 'deep anguish'. ' Allama Tabataba'i in his al-Mizan quotes Raghib Isfahani, the famous lexicographer of Qur'anic words, as saying 7:

Karb means deep anguish

The word Karbala, for example, is a composition of 'intense grief (karb) and 'trial' (bala')

Therefore, in short, 'makrub' is one who suffers deep sorrow and anguish.

The Source of Anguish

In this verse we are humbly asking Allah (swt) to lift the state of deep anguish from all 'the deeply anguished and sorrowful'. And whosoever seeks the relief of the anguished also seeks the elimination of the causes that create anguish too. We should, however, realize that the sources of anguish vary according to different people and different circumstances. Those who enjoy the proximity of Allah, despite having no grief for loss of the world and its pleasures:

Surely the Friends of Allah neither fear nor grieve [Holy Qur'an, 10:62]

experience deep anguish for the disbelievers due to the outcomes they would have to face in future:

Meaning of 'Gharib

Due to an acquaintance with different cultures and languages some of us conjecture that the word 'gharib' means 'poor'. In the Urdu language, however, this word when used in the absolute sense denotes the poverty of a person. But when it is particularized like, 'gharibu'l watan' the meaning changes.

In the Arabic, which appears also to be the source language of the word, 'gharib'l means 'a remote entity'. Its origin is the word 'ghurba' which means 'remoteness'. Any thing therefore which is gharib is far.

In his Commentary of Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya 8, Sayyid ' Ali Khan al- Husayni, says:

Ghurba (with the vowel dhamma over ghayn) stands for remoteness and distance

Hence gharib is anything that is far [in relation to something else].

In the Arabic language, unknown words are also known as gharib.

The pain of being a stranger can be well appreciated by only those who have experienced, or are experiencing the state of being far from their hometowns. Whosoever travels abroad, has hope of returning back to his hometown safe and sound. Obviously he would not like to separate himself from his near ones or abandon his material assets of life. Those who have left their hometowns and encountered calamities on their way or were stranded in a foreign country can understand how agonizing it is to be far from home.

Meaning of Asir

The word Asir originates from al-asr, which means:

Fastening with a bond

Raghib, the famous lexicographer, in his Qur'anic dictionary al- Mufradat 9 says:

"One who was tied by fetters was known to be asir; thereafter the word was intended for every entity that is seized and bound, even if it was not fettered by anything. ..for example:

I am bound to your favor

From the abovementioned definition, the comprehensiveness of the concept of the word 'asir' becomes clear. The traditions of the Holy Prophet (s) and his immaculate progeny also reveal this truth. Following are some examples for your perusal:

a. Imam Abu'l I:lasan al- Thalith 10 (' Ali al-Naqi ('a)) is reported to have said:

The ignorant one is a captive of his tongue

b. In a supplication88 from Yusha' bin Nun ('a) we find the following expression:

Surat al-Hamd- Chapter 1

1:6: p.67

Guide us on the Straight Path

Surat al-Baqarar- Chapter 2

2:45: p.25

And take recourse in patience and prayer, and that is indeed hard except for the fearful ones

2:155: p.29-30

And We would certainly try You with somewhat of fear and hunger.

2: 165: p.94

And those who believe have more intense love for Allah

2:282: p.32

And be God-wary, and Allah will teach you

2:286: p.57

Holy Qur'an, translations from Arberry, A Yusuf Ali, Sayyid Ali

Quli Qara'i, etc.

Nahju'l Balagha, compilation of Imam ' Ali's words.

Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya, supplications of Imam Sajjad ('a)

Anware Malakut [ vol.l ], Ayatullah Muhammad Husayn Tehrani

Armaghane Asman, Sayyid Yusuf Ibrahimiyan Amuli

al-Isharat wa' I-Tanbihat, Shaykh al-Ra'is Ibn Sina

al-Arba'una Hadithan, Shaykh Baha'i

Bihar al-Anwar, 'Allama Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi,

al-Burhan Fi Tafsiri'l Qur'an, Al-Sayyid Hashim Bahrani

Chehl Hadith, Imam Ruhullah Khumayni

Diwane Khwajah Hafiz Shirazi, Hafiz Shirazi

Ghuraru'l Hikam Wa Duraru'l Kalim, Marhum Amadi

Hayat al-Nabi wa Siratuhu

Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn ('a), Baqir Sharifal-Qarashi, v.3, p.222

Hilyatu'l Muttaqin, 'Allama Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi

Iqbal al-A'mal, Sayyid Radi al-din bin Tawus

Jelwehaye Rahmani, Imam Ruhullah Khumayni

Tanbihu'l Khawatir

Man La Yahduruhu'l Faqih, Shaykh Saduq

Mawsu'at al-Imam ' Ali bin Abi Talib, Muhammadi al-Rayy Shahri

Misbah al-Kafami, Karami

Mizan al-Hikma, Muhammadi al-Rayy Shahri

Mawarid al-Sijn, Shaykh Najm al-Din Tabasi

al- Mahajjat al-Bayda, Mawla Muhsin Fayd Kashan

al-Mazar al-Kabir, al-Shaykh Muhammad bin Ja'far al-Mashhadi

al-Muraqibat, Ayatullah Maliki Tabrizi al-Mufradat, Raghib Isfahani

Minasha'r al-Mansub ila'l Imam al-Wasiyy , Ali bin Abi Talib

Mir'atu'l Kamal, Ayatullah Mamaqani

Mu'jamu Alfazi Ghurari'l Hikam, Marhum Amadi

Mustadrak Safinat al-Bihar Mustadrak Safinat al-Bihar

Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, Haji Nuri

Rawdat al-Kafi, Thiqatu'l Islam al-Kulayni

Risaleye Liqa 'ullah, Ayatullah Mirza Jawad Maliki Tabrizi
1 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.95, p.120, ch.6

2. Imam al-Sadiq ('a) was asked: 'Is it possible to recite prayers for the dead?' He said, 'Yes, and added:

3. 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.2, p.90

4 Mawla Fayd Kishani, al-Mahajjat al-Bayda', v.2, p. 124.

5. Astane Qudse Radawi, Sharho Tafslre Lughate Qur'an Bar Asase Tafslre Namune, p.70

6. Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya, Supp. no.30 ]:

7. 'Allama Tabataba'i, AI-Mizan fi Tafsiri'l Qur'an, v. 7, p. 134

8. Sayyid ' Ali Khan, Riyadi al-Salikin, v.l, p.473

9. Raghib Isfahani, al-Mufradat, p. 76, new ed.

10. Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p. 368, tr. 3

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