In response to the fast changing world we live in and concerns about our chidrens’ spiritual and emotional development, we have organised a series of seminars and talks on ‘Resilience in children in challenging times’.
The first in this series is a talk on the new RSE (relationships and sex education) curriculum being introduced into schools.
All adults are welcome to attend, but this talk will be specifically relevant for parents of younger children. It will be led by Dr. Kate Godfrey-Fausett, Shaykh Jaffer Ladak and Dr. Masuma Jaffer.
Please see the attached poster for more information.
“Generosity has a limit, which when crossed becomes extravagance; caution has a limit which when crossed becomes cowardice; thriftiness has a limit, which when crossed becomes miserliness; courage has a limit, which when crossed becomes fool-hardiness. Let this moral lesson suffice: refrain from doing anything which you would disapprove of if done by someone else.” (as quoted in A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles p. 155-157)
Samarra is a garrison town about 60 miles north of Baghdad. River Euphrates flows in the middle of the town, and because of the surrounding hills a cool breeze keeps the area cooler in comparison to Baghdad. The word ‘Asker’ in arabic is used for army. Our 11th Imam’s title became known as Askari, the one who lived all his life in a garrison town
There is another story related with this name by many historians. Once the Caliph called him in his palace and ordered his army to march past before him. The Caliph wanted to boast or to impress the Imam of his power or to dissuade the Imam from any thoughts of revolution against the Abbasid Caliphate. When the march past was over, Imam asked the Caliph to gaze between two of his fingers. What the Caliph saw was a huge army of lancers and swords men marching past, a much bigger crowd than the Caliphs army. He was astonished at this miracle and named him Askari, i.e. the man with a big army.
Imam Hasan al-Askari’s (AS) life from childhood to adulthood was spent in this house where his father Imam Ali an-Naqi (AS) was to remain under house arrest. But despite this close guard on the Imam, he conducted his duties as Imam from inside the house. He taught people Qur’an and instructed his followers the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet of Islam and his Ahlulbayt. In fact Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) wrote a complete Tafseer of the Qur’an which was mentioned by many scholars, historians and exegetes, including Kulaini and Saduq.
Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) lived a short life, only 28 years and in this short life he had to endure great sufferings by the hands of the Abbasid caliphs. But in spite of all that suffering and confinement under house arrest in Samarrah, many students of Islam benefited from his God-gifted knowledge and later became scholars in their fields. He discussed with agnostics of that age many times about the existence of God and the reasons for the necessity of the Prophets and Imams and many atheists changed their minds and converted to Islam. One of those was Ishaq al-kindi who was writing a book about contradictions in Qur’an. Imam invited some of his students and taught them lessons from the Qur’an.
These students of Al-kindi confronted their teacher and rejected his arguments about the contradictions in the Holy Book. Al-Kindi realised that these arguments could not have come from the brains of these young students. He asked them about the secret of their extensive knowledge of the Qur’an. In the end they confessed that Imam Hasan al-Askari taught them. Kindi himself became the disciple of our Imam, burnt his own writings on atheism and later wrote many treatises on Islam.
In spite of the fact that the Imam had never given any cause for concern to the Caliphs of his time, their guilt in this matter was so great that they did not leave these pious personalities in peace. If they had no fear of their throne they were afraid of the excellence and knowledge of the Imams. In the case of Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), the same type of jealousy led to the poisoning of the Imam to end this life of a saint whose only activity was to teach Qur’an as the Prophet and his Ahlulbayt taught before him. During the rule of Al-Mu’tamid poison was given to the Imam mixed in some fruit and he died on 8th Rabi-al-Awwal 260AH. He left only one son, whose name was Muhammad who was only five years old when his father died.
References: Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People; By S.M.R. Shabbar; published by Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain
Last Friday, we introduced our methodology of discussion and looked at verses on how the Prophet (s) reacted to being rejected, and felt when great trials befell his community. Today’s discussion on the Prophetic personality and mission will be to reflect on how the Prophet (s) treated his own community and expected his followers to treat each other. This is because one of the greatest challlenges of community unity and direction is our attitudes towards each other and the way in which we respond when difficulties arrive; how we see and treat fellow Muslims has a particular place in the Qur’an, as seen in the verses above. To read the full sermon, click here, and to watch it on Youtube, click here [pending]. For last week’s Friday reflections, click here.
These two verses discuss one aspect of the Prophet’s personality and the methodology of his mission: his undying concern for the community, regardless of how harshly they rejected him. How the Prophet (S) was from ‘amongst yourselves’ – how he understands your conditions and your life; how he experiences what you experience. ‘…It is grievous to him what you suffer’ – he suffers when you do, in the same way a parent does.
The reason why Islam spread so fast and wide in its earliest days were because the early companions like Salman and Zurarah were Prophet-like in their behaviour. Today we have many challenges, where people have great ignorance toward Islam and Muslims. We too must become prophet-like in our care and efforts toward them; and when attacks happen on the Muslim community we too must feel that suffering of others upon our own selves like the Prophet Muhammad (s) did for his community. This would better help us to understand his own character and the way in which he (s) articulated his mission.Â
To read the full Khutbah, click here. To see the video, click here.
Al-Baqir Baqir means to split open. He is known as Al-Baqir for two reasons.
1. Baqir ul Ulum – One who split open knowledge. The Prophet had said “God sends a person in every century with the responsibility of revitalising and spreading the religion” (Mujaddid).
In the 1st century it was Imam Mohammed Al-Baqir (A) His Imamate was during a time when several threats faced Islam. (i)With the conquest of Iran and Rome, philosophy and new ideas came to Arabia. The simple minded Arabs got deviated and started ‘Innovations’-Kiyaas [this means they tried to use their own reasoning when they faced questions or problems (masail). (ii)The Khalifa’s were occupied in achieving more power, ‘looting’ of new countries but were reluctant at having new converts to Islam as this would stop jizya (tax paid by non-Muslims) to come to the treasuries. Islamic rule extended from Marrakesh to Mongolia. iii) Imam lived in a time of rulers who claimed to be the representatives of the Prophet (SAW) but their behaviour was as follows:
WALEED IBN ABDUL MALIK (86 AH) He poisoned the 4th Imam. Was drunk most of the time. Once sent a slave girl dressed in his clothes to lead fajr prayers.
SULAYMAN BIN ABDUL MALIK (96 AH) Was very fond of eating. Died of overeating.
UMAR BIN ABDUL AZIZ (99 AH) Mentioned later on
YAZID BIN ABDUL MALIK (101 AH) Allowed slave girl Hubaba to judge. When she died lived with her corpse as normal. Wouldn’t allow her to be buried.
HISHAM BIN ABDUL-MALIK (105 AH) Who poisoned 5th Imam.
2. For his worship (ibadat) Imam used to worship Allah with such devotion that from prostrations his forehead had split. This is another reason for his title Baqir.
HIS LIFE AND WORKS
Imam Mohammed Baqir’s (A) main mission and message was knowledge. He encouraged his followers to acquire a Muslim character and to have excellent morals-akhlaq, and disperse in the world for this was the best form of tableegh. He once told his companion Jabir bin Yazid Al-Jufi : “There is no Shia who has no taqwa and no obedience to Allah” ie. One cannot call oneself a Shia without these two qualities.
He also talked of 12 signs of a Shia : Humility, fear of Allah, trustworthiness, remembrance of Allah, fasts, prays salaa, is good to parents, good to neighbours, is responsible towards widows, orphans & children, fulfils his/her vows, pays back his/her debts, & recites the Qur’an.
When Umar bin Abdul Aziz became Khalifa in 99 A.H. he called Imam and asked him for some advice. Imam gave him 3 pieces of advice:- 1. Do not ever celebrate any occasion with excessive happiness which makes you forget ‘halal’ & ‘haraam’. 2. Never lose yourself in anger so that you forget ‘halal’ & ‘haraam’. 3 Never take away (usurp) anyone’s property.
On hearing the third piece of advice Umar bin Abdul Aziz returned to Imam Mohammed Al-Baqir (A) the garden of Fadak (it was this garden which Abu Bakr had snatched from Sayyida Fatima Zehra (A). His advisors tried to stop him but he did not listen to them [it was Umar bin Abdul Aziz who stopped the cursing of Imam Ali (A) in the mosques]
SUMMARY OF HIS LIFE WORKS (Imamat)
In an environment where conversion to Islam was discouraged and where the Khalifas were engrossed in the world and had no morals and were unjust; it was the light and character of Imam Mohammed Al-Baqir (A.S.) which kept the message of the true Islam alive. It was he who collected the saying of the Prophet and ‘Aimma in the form of books establishing the laws of Fiqh as we know them today.
In 114 AH Hisham bin Abdul Malik arranged with Zaid bin Hasan (an uncle of Imam) to deliver a poisoned saddle to Imam as a gift. Imam was thus poisoned and died after 3 days of illness. His son Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A) buried him in Jannatul Baqee near Imam Hasan (A)
Once a Christian asked the Imam about the Muslim belief that the fruits of Paradise are not reduced by eating and asked if such an example was available in the world. Imam replied that it was like a lamp. One may have a hundred thousand lamps lit from one lamp, but it would still not reduce the light of the original lamp. Before his death he called the people of Madina saying that it would be Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (A) who would give him ‘ghusl’ and ‘kafan’, thus informing them of the next Imam.
He had seven children: Ja’fer (6th Imam) (A); Abdullah; Ibrahim; Ubaydulla; Ali; Zaynab and Salma
The Imam gave much importance in having majlis for Imam Husayn (A); encouraging them as much as possible.
Mohammed bin Munkadir; a great ‘Shaykh’ of the time once saw Imam working in the fields under the hot sun. He went up to the Imam and told him if death came to him then (whilst working in the fields) what would he do as he was seeking worldly benefit. Imam answered that if death came to him then it was whilst be was obeying God; he would only fear if death came whilst he was disobeying Allah.
Hujjat Workshop, Course Notes, Imam Muhammad Baqir (A)
Imam Ali (as) said: “Instruct me to do anything you wish, daughter of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).” Imam Ali (as) then asked everyone to leave the house and he sat next to her.
Fatima Zehra (sa) started: “Cousin, my dear husband, you know very well why I did all that. Please excuse my fussiness; they have suffered so much with me and during my illness that I want to see them happy on the last day of my life. I am happy and also I am sad. Happy I am that my troubles will shortly be over and I shall meet my father and sorry I have to part with you.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) continued: “Cousin, my dear husband, you are not accustomed to me being a False teller, not devoted, or have I disobeyed you since I have become your companion?”
Imam Ali (as) said: “Allah (SWT) forbids! You are more knowing of Allah (SWT), more devoted, more pious, more honorable and more fearing of Allah (SWT) than (to give me a reason) to reprimand you for disobeying me. Surely it is very painful for me to be separated from you and to lose you; but it is an inevitable destination. By Allah (SWT), you have renewed the sorrow I have just encountered with the death of Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saw); surely your death and departure will be a great calamity, but to Allah we belong, and to Him is our return. (Noble Qur’an, 2:156)
What a painful, bitter and sad calamity. Surely this is a calamity for which there is no console and a disaster for which there is no compensation.”
Then they both cried and Imam Ali (as) embraced her head and said: “Instruct me to do anything you wish; you certainly will find me devoted and I will execute everything that you command me to do. I shall also put your matters over mine.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) said: “May Allah (SWT) reward you with the best of goodness. Cousin, firstly I ask you to marry anybody you like after my death, but you must marry my niece Umamah; surely she will be to my children as I was. Besides, men cannot do without women. She loves my children and Hussain is very much attached to her. Let Fizza remain with you even after her marriage, if she so desires, she was more than a mere servant to me. I loved her like my daughter.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) then added: “I ask you not to let anyone who did injustice to me to witness my funeral, for they certainly are enemies of mine, and the enemy of Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saw). Also don’t give them the chance to pray over me, nor to any of their followers. I want you to wash me at night, put the shroud on me, perform the prayer upon my body, and bury me at night when eyes are rested and sight is put to sleep. And after my burial, sit beside my grave and recite Noble Qur’an for me.”
Let my death do not dishearten you, you have to serve Islam and humanity for a long time to come. Let not my sufferings embitter your life, promise me cousin, my dear husband.” Imam Ali (as) said, “yes Fatima, I promise” “Cousin, my dear husband”, she continued, “I know how you love my children but be careful of Hussain. He loves me dearly and will miss me sadly, be a mother unto him. Till my recent illness he used to sleep on my chest, he is already missing it.” Imam Ali (as) was caressing the broken hand, his hot and big tears dropped on her hand. She looked up and said, “Do not weep cousin, my dear husband; I know with a rough outward appearance what a tender heart you possess. You already have borne too much and will have to bear more.
Fatimah Zehra (sa) was ready to meet her Lord. She bathed, than lay down in her garment. She then instructed Asma bint Umays to wait awhile and then to call her name; if there was no answer, this would mean that Fatimah Zehra (sa) had departed towards her Lord.
Asma bint Umays waited awhile, then called Fatima’s name, but there was no answer; Asma bint Umays repeated the call: “O daughter of the chosen Muhammad! O daughter of the most honorable of them whom women bore! O daughter of the best of those who have walked on gravel! O daughter of him who ‘was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer.'” (Noble Qur’an, 53:9)
There is no answer, silence overwhelms the house, Asma bint Umays then proceeds towards Fatima Zehra (sa) and finds her dead, the soul had departed to join her Father, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the realm of Grace, Mercy and Might.
At that point, Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussain (as) entered and asked Asma bint Umays: “Where is our mother?” “Our Mother did not used to sleep at this time of the day!”
Asma bint Umays replied: “O sons of the Messenger of Allah! Your mother is not sleeping, she has passed away!”
While Imam Hassan (as) heard such words, he fell on the body of his mother and kissed her face and addressed her: “Dear mother! Please talk to me before I pass away.”
Imam Hussain (as) came near and kissed her mother’s feet and said: “Dear mother! I am your son Hussain, talk to me before I pass away.”
Then, Imam Hussain (as) turned towards Imam Hassan (as) and said: “May Allah console you for our Mother!”
On the beautiful and blessed occasion of the birth of the Holy Prophet, Darul Qur’an would like to share a reflective poem that explores our responsibility to exemplify and emanate the light and message of Muhammad (S). You can access the link by clicking here
In Sura Alaq from verses 6-7, Allah says mankind has exceeded all limits, thinking they are self sufficient.
The problem with insan today is that we have never been so genius and ignorant at the same time. We are darker and deeper into the fire of hell. People cross paths but they aren’t parallel e.g. people commit indecent acts then give charity. But, in the Akhir zaman, hak and batil are mixed. God should be at the centre of your life and you should intend to follow him.
The Prophet (saw) converted the intention of rich and poor and brought all their hearts together. He brought the black, the white, ansar and muhajir under the banner of Allah. He showed that in Islam, there is no class warfare, Islam doesn’t differentiate between people. We are all equal and united under obedience to Allah, his Messenger(saw) and the Ahlulbayt(as). Having a PhD doesn’t mean you can’t still be jahil.
There are two possible ways to look at the world. We can rip a piece of paper and throw into pieces and let it be scattered. We can think of that as our history. Or we can think of all those pieces and but believe that where they land is determined by God and there is a meaning in each and every piece of paper and what spot it falls in.
Our Kids are raised in this way. They are taught to think that the paper scattered on the ground is meaningless.
We should raise kids in Islamic way so then they can’t say that they were misguided. Why do we blame our righteous maraja?
We should be self critical. Why blame others when we only have to look into our heart.
The intellect is a spiritual organ referring to the cognition of spiritual reality. In hadis e kudsi, Allah says by intellect he will punish and reward.
In Renaissance times, the human form became the centre of attention, not the soul. The people’s connection to the kingdom of God was lost. A new form existed which was to be fully free, be free of religion. Therefore intellect disobeyed from the one who created and inspired it. They reduced the world to random selection, no more recourse to the divine. They had No meaning in the universe or cosmos and tried to remove the divine centre of world and replace Him with promethian humans. What happened to such a world? It was hit with modernity and postmodernism. In Sura Anam, Allah says if you obey most if the people in this earth you will be led astray from the path of God, to those who follow nothing but their suspicions, and all they are doing is guessing.
At the Night of Ashura, Imam Hussain (as) says, I praise Allah in both difficulty and ease, and for giving us the prophet and teaching us the Qur’an and placing us in Islam, and giving us ears, eyes and hearts, so make us from those who are thankful to our Lord.
Islam has an ecosystem. We should be careful what we let in. Our soul and family also have an ecosystems. We should know what we let in and inject into it and protect it from what is wrong. When the intellect and soul is exposed to the Aimmah (as), it shines brightly.
How do we arrive at happiness? Allah says in sura Hud, a day will come where no one shall speak except by Allah’s permission. And there will be the miserable one and the one who will be happy. Our happiness and sadness will be a manifestation of our selves on the day of judgement. Our reality and truest nature is unveiled.
In our secular lives, happiness relies on our ability to choose what we want, even if it is of no benefit to us. Islam has determined this differently. The awliyah of Allah have told us that we have a human nature to choose the right path, to be able serve the purpose of our existence. We have to make the right choice, and submit to the one who created our nature. We should understand which choices are best to nourish and develop our nature.
The Qur’an says that on the day of judgement, everyone will come with their deeds hanging around their necks, and their book of deeds will be open for them to read out, with their souls as a witness. You may be happy in this world, but it is just an illusion if you didn’t take the divine guidance.
If success is determined through material things, it will come at a cost in the hereafter. What is Tawfeeq? Actions which are in line with the irada of Allah. Who are the losers in the Qur’an? In sura Kahf, Allah says, Shall we now inform you about the worst losers? All their hard work in this dunya is completely misguided and misplaced. And They think they are doing something good in this world. These are those who reject the signs of God.
This describes those who rejected the risala of the Prophet (saw). All their actions are null and void as they didn’t have the prophet with them.
They didn’t reject the prophet because they didn’t believe him but because they didn’t want to change themselves and their lives. On the day of judgement they will have nothing to present to Allah. The prophet says there will be a man who in this world was large, but on the day of judgement, he will come weighing less than the wing of a fly.
In sura Ale Imran Allah says, and God’s promise has come true. You were winning in the battle of Uhud, until you failed. Stay on the mountain, and don’t shake. But some of you chased after dunya, and amongst you some wanted the akhira.
Why did these people fail? They showed disobedience towards Allah, were causing disputes about things which they have no knowledge about in regards to Allah and aimmah, and were chasing after this world. We have to think about the akhira in all decisions we make.
A hadith from Imam Sajjad (as) says, the one who holds steadfast to our path in the times of ghaibat is given the reward of a thousand shaheed who fought in Badr and Uhud.
The Youth should be in state of tawba and seeking knowledge. Education is truly meant to fill is with the wonder of our existence, to nourish us. A sinner who begins to show concern for his soul and repents is like a dirty surface which when scrubbed it shines. Imam Ali ibn abi Talib says in a dua, my Lord it’s as if I’m standing in fornt of you, if you forgive me, who is the one to forgive but you, but if the end of my life is approaching and what I have done is not enough, I have decided to take everything in my heart and confess it to you. My Lord you never stopped showing me goodness in my life. Please do not cut this goodness off from me when I die. How can I be despondent of your beautiful glance when I die, because you only showed me the beauty in my life. Subhanallah. If you love Allah repent to him, no matter what you have done, his door of repentance is always open.