Karbala: The Living Tawheed


The AhlulBayt (s) have been living embodiment of tawheed (belief in the oneness of God). Their every moment of life has been in accordance to the will of Allah (swt). This fact is very much evident in the whole tragic event of Karbala. In Mecca while at Mount Arafat, Imam Husayn’s (as) love and servitude for Allah (swt) became apparent in the famed Dua of Arafat. This prayer our Imam recited on the day of Arafa and it is a lesson for all those who want to understand what tawheed is. Imam’s (as) statement in the prayer that “blind be the eye that cannot see You watching it” signifies his most elevated sense of Allah’s (swt) presence at every place and time.


One often wonders that how a man can bear so much suffering and hardships but he still does not deviate from his faith. How one can witness before his own eyes, his young son dying, small children of his household crying and dying due to thirst, yet remain steadfast? What was the power behind him which only increased as the day of tragedy was unraveling? What did Imam al-Husayn (as) have that was greater than all the sufferings he bore? The answer lies in the same prayer of the day of Arafa which he recited in Mecca: “What can one who misses You find any substitute? What can one who finds You miss anything else? Definitely, failing is he who has accepted anyone other than You as substitute. Definitely, loser is he who have desired for anyone other than You.” Here he proclaims the source of his patience and the source of his contented heart…”What can one who finds You miss anything else?” Imam al-Husayn (as) found His Lord, and so now even all is taken from him including his children, brothers and friends–that all is nothing in comparison to what he found. He found His Lord’s pleasure and that is the biggest substitute for the all loses.


In an age when the Muslim community was being ruled by a tyrant who neither believed in revelation nor in the Prophet (s), Imam’s (as) refusal to submit before the wicked usurping tyrant Yazid (la), saved the message of Islam and revived the spirit of tawheed. Because Imam al-Husayn (as) was the very embodiment of tawheed, the Khwajah Mu’in-al-Din Chishti, a great Indian Sufi of Iranian origin, said

“He gave his life but wouldn’t give his hand in the hand of Yazid (for allegiance)
Verily Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha illa Allah 9there is no God but God)”


On the morning of Ashura, the horsemen of the enemy launched an attack on the ranks of the Imam (as). The Imam raised his hands in prayer and said: “O Lord! I depend on you in every affliction and am hopeful of Your blessing in every hardship. In every difficulty with which I am faced, You are my only remedy and resort. There have been many embarrassments which weakened my heart and no remedy for it was available. The friends did not assist me and the enemies rejoiced at my misfortune. However, when I ceased to seek assistance from everyone except You and sought the remedy only from You, You provided me solace and relief and removed the difficulty. Every blessing and goodness reaches us from You and everything should be sought from You only,” further highlighting the spirit of belief in the oneness of God was alive and well amongst the Bani Hashem at Karbala. [1]


Some of the Imam’s (as) last words when he was submerged in his blood after being stricken with swords, arrows, spears, and stones, and when his whole body was badly wounded and bleeding, were: “I am pleased with Your decree, obedient to Your command. There is no one worthy of worship but You.”[2] There, Imam al-Husayn (as) in his last moments once more declared his faith in His lord, submitting before His command and will, and being pleased with His will. He became the living exegesis of the following verses of holy Qur’an:
“O soul that art at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, and enter into My garden.” (89:27-30)


After Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom, members of AhlulBayt (s) were made captives and taken to Kufa in front of Ibn Ziyad (la). There, Ibn Ziyad asked Sayyida Zainab (as), “How have you seen what Allah has done to your AhlulBayt?” She responded, “I have seen Him treating them most beautifully.” [3] This is the reply from a woman who is in captivity, whose family has been killed. Shiekh Mufid also has mentioned the conversation between Sayyida Zainab (as) and the accursed ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad (la) in his arrogance and wickedness said to Sayyida Zainab (as): “Praise be to God Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims.” She replied to the wicked tyrant in his face as a brave and honored lady: “Praise be to God Who favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad (s), and He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces the great sinner and reveals the false nature of the profligate. Such men are not among us, praise be to God.” [4]


The whole story of AhlulBayt (s) is that of valor and majesty. The source of this lofty majesty and unwavering valor lies in their unwavering faith in Allah (swt). The tyrants committed all acts of aggression and oppression towards the holy AhlulBayt (s) but they could not made them bow and submit before their unholy wishes, because the AhlulBayt(AS) had submitted before the will of Allah, and Karbala was only one example of this embodiment of belief in the Almighty and Majestic.

Peace be upon you, O Aba Abdillah
Peace be upon you, O son of Allah’s Messenger.
Peace be upon you, O choicest of Allah and son of His choicest
O Allah, make me illustrious in Your sight in the name of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, in this world and in the Hereafter

– Ziyarat Ashura


References:
1. A Probe into the History of Ashura’ by Dr. Ibrahim Ayati
2. Islam and the Contemporary Man by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabai
3. Maqtal al-Husayn by Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram
4. Kitab al Irshad by Sheikh al Mufid

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Lessons from Karbala – Raising kids with empathy


With the arrival of the month of Muharram, the month in which Imam Husayn ibn Ali was killed, along with his brothers, sons and followers on the plains of Karbala, there is no better time to touch on the topic of empathy. Especially with our children.

In the age of technology and social media, our kids are sadly getting farther and farther away from reality. You see kids, even the littlest ones, indulged in smartphones and tablets. Their brains becoming used to solely being entertained, not thinking for themselves. You don’t see children engrossed in a book, or running around outside. Or even socializing with others.

Our older, social media-savvy children are neck deep in selfies, filters and texting. Their vocabulary consists of a variety of 3-letter words. BRB, GTG, LMK, among others…some which even I dare not delve into.


Bottom line: Our children are not learning how to appropriately deal with the world and people around them. They are not being raised to focus on a goal or understand the importance of priorities. 

What better time than Muharram to help our children understand the hardships of the family and followers of Imam Husayn (as). While it not only serves as a good time to teach them lessons of our history, the story of the Battle of Karbala and the events that followed, can help our children learn values that they can cite in their lives every day.


  1. Remembering the thirst of Imam Husayn (as): Whenever your kids drink water, remind them to send peace and blessings on Imam, his family and followers. Remind them to think, if even for a bit, about the thirst of Imam, his family, and those around the world who are dying of thirst. And remind them of the Islamic virtues of giving water to others.

  2. There is no bigger sadness than that of the AhlulBayt: Sure we have bad days and experience bad situations in our lives, and we get upset and sad. But when we think about Imam Husayn’s fight and what happened to his family, our grief pales in comparison. We can help our kids understand that while it is OK to be sad, don’t dwell on it, and instead get strength from recalling the story of Imam Husayn (as).

  3. Being thankful to Allah the Almighty: Even in his final moments Imam Husayn (as) was thankful to Allah. His final act of worship before becoming martyred was doing his late afternoon (asr)prayers. Have your kids take a moment after their prayers to note down what they are thankful to Allah for.

  4. Stories of the brave youth of Karbala: Take a moment to talk about the personalities of Qasim, Ali Akbar, Ruqaiya, Aun, Mohammad, etc. Even as a young child, Qasim cried for permission to fight on the war front for his dear uncle. To him, martyrdom was “sweeter than honey.” This is especially poignant for our children to understand selflessness.

  5. Patience and perseverance in the face of oppression and injustice: Unfortunately the horrific events of Karbala didn’t just stop there. Recall the stories of what happened to the rest of Imam Husayn’s family after he was martyred. The women and children were taken to Syria and beaten, embarrassed, and emotionally tortured. Even among these trials, Lady Zainab forgot her own sadness to take care of her nephew, Imam Sajjad, the widows, and the young children. We should gain strength from the patience of this great lady. Even when facing the scorn of the tyrant oppressor Yazeed, the martyrdom of her brothers was “nothing but beauty.”

Values we learn from the holy month of Moharram can be embraced in our daily lives, all year long. We are doing a disservice to our children, and ourselves, if we only remember these values one month out of the year. All it takes is a little bit of time to make Imam Hussain and Karbala a part of our families and our lives.

Technology is a part of our lives now that we cannot ignore. But you have the option to unplug and log out. We must create a space and time for our families to reconnect and think about the bigger picture. This is where the story of Imam Hussain and Karbala can save us.

May Allah the Almighty give us the tawfeeq (divine opportunity) to honor the legacy of Imam Hussain by instilling in our children the same fervor to fight for truth and justice, while showing compassion and kindness to others.

The Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS)

The Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS)

Acts of the Month of Muharram

Life of Imam Hussein (AS)

Who is Imam Husain (AS) ?

The Merits of Imam Husayn (AS)

Sayings of Imam Hussein (AS)

About Muharram and Karbala

What is Muharram ?

The Battle of Karbala

The Tragedy of Karbala – Part I – Part II

Imam Hussein (AS) and Ashura

The Martyrs of Karbala

After Ashura

Articles about Imam Hussein (AS)

Ziyarats

Imam Hussein (AS)`s Elegies ( Latmiyat )

Live Broadcast :: Karbala – The Holy Shrine of Imam Hussein (AS)

Live Broadcast :: Karbala – The Holy Shrine of Hazrat Abbas (AS)

Pictures Gallery :: The Beginning of the Month of Muharram

Pictures Gallery :: The Holy Shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) in Karbala

Pictures Gallery :: The Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) in the day of Ashura

Pictures Gallery :: The Holy Shrine of Hadhrat Abbas (AS) in Karbala

Pictures Gallery :: The Martyrdom of Hazrat Abbas (AS) in the day of Ashura

Source : http://www.sibtayn.com

Theory of the Light of the Stars


Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said that among the clusters of stars which we see at night, some are so bright that our sun, in comparison, is quite insignificant.

Because of man’s limited knowledge, many people during the Imam’s time and centuries after him, considered this theory to be illogical, irrational and unacceptable. They could not believe that these small specks of light which are called stars, can have more light than the light of our big bright sun.

About twelve and a half centuries later, it was proved that what he said was quite correct. It has been discovered that there are stars in the universe, which are billions of times brighter than the sun. They are called quasars. The light of quasars is about quadrillion times (ten thousand billion times) the light of our sun. Some of them are at a distance of about 9000 million light years from the earth. The first such quasar was discovered in 1927.


Another important theory was that there are many worlds other than our own, that we cannot even count them. Their number is only in the knowledge of Allah (swt). Just as we have living beings on this planet, there are living beings on many other planets in the universe where conditions are suitable.

Our telescopes are even today not powerful enough to enable us to see what is beyond the quasars. Therefore we do not know how vast the universe is. It can only be surmised that in the universe there would be millions and millions of worlds, which have existed for billions of years and shall continue to do so for billions of years to come.

We must therefore accept as Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, that, no one except Allah (swt) knows the number of large and small worlds.


Intellect is the guide of the believer. – Imam Jafar (AS)


He has wise sayings and rare words. They raise the good souls to the classes of angels and lead people to the virtue and happiness when they use and consider them carefully.

* Intellect is that with which people worship the Most Gracious (Allah) and with which they obtain gardens.


 

* Verily, the reward is equal to intellect.

* The most perfect of men in intellect is the best of them in ethics.

* Intellect is the pillar of man.

* Intellect is the guide of the believer.

* The perfection of intellect is in three (things): humbleness for Allah, good certainty, and silence except for good.

* Ignorance is in three (things): Haughtiness, the intense of dispute, and the ignorance in Allah.

* The best nature of intellect is worship, the strongest speech for it is knowledge, and its most abundant luck is maxim.


* To consider knowledge very much opens intellect.

* Knowledge is a shield, truthfulness is might, ignorance is abasement, understanding is glory, generosity is success, good behavior causes friendship, he who has knowledge about his time, ambiguous things do not attack him, and determination is mistrust.

* If you want that you are honored, then be soft. And if you want that you are abused, then be rough.

* He whose origin is noble, his heart is soft, and he whose race is rough, his liver is thick.

* Whoever is extreme gets involved, and whoever is afraid of the consequence refrains from entering what he does not know.

* Whoever attacks a matter without knowledge cuts off his own nose.

* Scholars are trustees, the Allah- fearing are strongholds, and guardians are masters.

* Verily, knowledge is a lock and its key is the question.

* Whoever acts without prescience is like the walker without way, the speed of walking does not increase him but farness.


* Allah does not accept any act without knowledge, there is no knowledge without act, so whoever knows, knowledge leads him to act, and whoever does not act gets no knowledge, but belief is a little of a little.

* The favor is not perfected but with three (things): by doing it quickly, debasing it, and hiding it.

* Not everyone who sees a thing is able to do it, not everyone who is able to do a thing is successful in doing it, and not everyone who is successful in it. When intention, ability, success, and righteousness come together, happiness occurs.

* Four things of which little is much: Fire, enmity, poverty, and illness.

* Twenty- day- friendship is a relationship.


* Whoever does not feel shame during absence and does not repent during old age and does not fear Allah during loneliness, then he has no good.

* Whoever honors you, then honor him. And whoever scorns you, then honor yourself from him.

* To forbid generosity is mistrust in Allah.

* Verily, the family of a person are his prisoners, so whomever is bestowed upon him, then he should be generous toward them, and if he does not (do that), that favor is about to disappear from him.

* Three (things) with which Allah does not increase the Muslim person but glory: To forgive him who wrongs him; to give him who deprives him, to visit him who abandons him.

* Enough for the fear of Allah is knowledge and enough for self-conceit is ignorance.

* When the believer becomes angry, his anger should not take him out of the truth; and when he becomes satisfied, his satisfaction should not bring him in falsehood.


* Friendship has five conditions. Whoever has them, then attribute him to it. Whoever has not them, then do not attribute him to any of it. They are: the good of his friend should be his good, his inward thoughts for him should be like his openness, no money should change him against him, he should hold the view that he is worthy of all his friendship, and should not abandon him during misfortunes.

* The noble man should not turn up his nose at four (things): his standing from his sitting for his father, his service for his guest, taking care of his riding animal even if he has a hundred slaves, and his service for his teacher.

* (Religious) scholars are the trustees of prophets unless they come to the doors of supreme rulers.

* A man from the people of Iraq (ahl al- Sawad) went to him (al-Sadiq) frequently, then he broke away from him, So he (the Imam) asked some people about him. To detract from him, one of them said: “He is Nabati.” So, he (the Imam), peace be on him, said: “The origin of the man is his intellect, his ancestry is his religion, his generosity is his piety, and men are equal in Adam (Adam).”


* Noble deeds are ten, if you want them to be with you, then let them be, they are with the man and are not with his children; they are with the child and are not with his father; they are with the slave and are not with the master. What are they? He, peace be on him, said: the truthfulness of men, the truthfulness of the tongue, paying the trust, linking the relatives on the maternal side, entertaining the guest, giving food to the beggar, rewarding the favors, to avoid blaming the neighbor, to avoid censuring the friend, and their head is modesty.

* Some of the correctness of the belief of the Muslim person is that he should not please men through angering Allah, and do not blame them for what Allah has not given him, because the miserliness of the miserly does not drive livelihood, and the hatred of the hater does not live it away, and if one of you escaped from his livelihood as he escapes from death, his livelihood would reach him as death reaches him.


* Verily, with his justice, Allah has put comfort and ease in certainty and satisfaction, and put worry and sorrow in doubt and anger.

* The head of the obedience of Allah is patience and pleasure for what Allah likes and dislikes for the servant, and if the servant is satisfied with what Allah likes and dislikes for him, it will be good for him in what He likes and dislikes.

* Indeed, the most knowledge of all men in Allah is the most satisfied of them with death.

* Do not backbite, so you are backbited, and do not dig a judge you would be judged by.

* Be ware of joking because it loses face and the dignity of men.

* Do not dispute, so your glory goes, and do not joke, so you are dared (so men dare to say rude things about you).

* Be ware of the dispute because it brings about the hateful ugly thing and shows the defect.


* Whoever is not shy of seeking legal livelihood, his provisions is light, and his family leads a life of ease and comfort.

* I wonder at him who is miserly for life in this world and it is coming towards him or is miserly in it and it is turning away from him , so neither spending with coming harms him nor miserliness with turning away avails him.

* The prisoner is he whose life in this world imprisons him from his next life.

* Do not make your hearts busy thinking about bygone, so you divert your minds from getting ready to what has not come yet.

* Seek livelihood by giving alms, guard your wealth by Zakat, he who is moderate does not become destitute, organization is half livelihood, loving one another is half wisdom, small family is one of the ways of (securing) ease, whoever saddens his parents certainly is disobedient to them, favor is not favor but with him who has ancestry and religion, Allah, the Exalted, sends down endurance according to the affliction and livelihood according to the provisions, whoever appreciates his livelihood, Allah, the Exalted, gives him, and whoever wastes his livelihood, Allah, the Exalted, deprives him (of that).


* The richest riches is he who is not captive for greed.

* Nothing is better than silence, no enemy is more harmful than ignorance, and no illness is more dangerous than telling lies.

* Three (things) with which no thing is harmful: The prayers during distress, asking Allah’s forgiveness during the sin, and thankfulness during the blessing.

* The believer is popular, and there is no good in him who neither associates nor is associated.

* It was said (to him): What is good behavior? He, peace be on him, said: Make yourself gentle, make your words good, and receive your brother with cheerfulness.

* He whose tongue is truthful his act grows, he whose intention is good his livelihood is increased, and he whose charity is good for the members of his house his age is prolonged.


* Modesty is (a part) of belief.

* He whose face is soft his knowledge is soft.

* He who has no modesty has no belief.

* Three (things) are of the noble acts of here and hereafter: Forgive him who has wronged you, visit him who has abandoned you, and be patient when you are treated with ignorance.

* Any members of a house are given their luck of gentleness most surely Allah increases their livelihood, gentleness in appreciating livelihood is better than the increase of money, nothing lacks strength for gentleness, nothing stays with wastefulness, Indeed, Allah, the Great and Almighty, is gentle He loves gentleness.

* Whoever is gentle in (obtaining) his matter obtains what he wants from men.


* Whoever is satisfied with what Allah has given him then is the richest of men.

* A man complained to him (al- Sadiq) that he sought (his livelihood) and earned but he was not satisfied, and his soul contended with him at pulling (to earn) more, and he said: Teach me a thing to avail myself of, so Abu Abd Allah, peace be on him, said: If what suffices you makes you rich, then the smallest thing in this world makes you rich And if what suffices you does not make you rich, then all things in this world do not make you rich.

* Justice is sweeter than the water the thirsty (person) have.

* How wide justice is even if it is very little.

* Whoever treats men with justice is accepted as judge for others.

* The honor of a believer is to pray at night, and his dignity is to be in no need of men.

* To request needs from men takes dignity and removes modesty, and to despair of what is in the hands of men is glory for the believer in his religion.


* To visit blood relatives improves manners, makes the self good, increases livelihood, and delays death.

* It is enough that patience is a supporter.

* If you are not patient, then pretend to be patient.

* Whoever prevents his hand from men prevents only one hand and they prevent many hands.

* It is enough that the person depends on his brother when he requests his need from him.

* Alms Allah loves: To reconcile men after they have quarreled and bring them closer together after they have left each other.

* Whoever treats people and does not wrong them, speaks to them and does not tell them lies, and promises them and does not break his promise, his backbiting is forbidden, his manhood is perfect, his justice appears, his brotherhood is a must.

* Whoever requests leadership perishes.


* Whoever sows enmity reaps what he has sown.

* Anger is the key of every evil.

* Anger is the destruction of the wise man.

* Whoever does not control his anger does not control his intellect.

* Verily, envy eats belief as fire eats wood.

* The catastrophe of religion is envy, self- admiration, and boasting.

* No one becomes haughty but because of abasement finds in himself.

* What a bad believer is he who has a desire (that) abases him.

* Foolishness is a mean nature, has the cheek to those who are below him, and yields to those who are superior to him.


* Verily, (the things) of which Allah helps against the liars is forgetfulness.

* Be ware of the slip of elaboration because it is not forgiven.

* The best of men is he in whom five traits have come together: If he does well, he is cheerful; if he does badly, he asks forgiveness; if he is afflicted, he is patient, and if he is wronged, he forgives.

* Abu Hanifa said to him (al- Sadiq): Abu Abd Allah, how patient you are during the prayers! He, peace be on him, said: Woe unto you! Nu’man, do not you know that the prayer is the sacrifice of the God- fearing, the hajj (pilgrim) is the jihad of the weak, every thing has Zakat and the Zakat of the body is fasting, the best act is to wait the ease from Allah, the propagandist without act is like the archer without string? So, memorize these words, Nu’man.


* I swear by Allah, three (things) are most surely true: No property decreases because of alms or Zakat, not anyone is wronged and is able to repay but controls it surely Allah recompense him glory instead, nor any slave opens the door of begging for himself surely Allah opens a door of poverty for him.

* The manhood of a person in himself is a relationship to his children and his tribe.

* Seven (persons) corrupt their own acts: The meek man with a lot of knowledge (who) is not known with that nor is mentioned with; the wise man whose property is managed by a liar (who) is ungrateful for what is given to him; the man who is safe from the possessor of cunning and treason; the rude master who has no mercy, the mother who does not keep the secret of the child and spreads it; the person who blames his brothers quickly, and he who argues with his brothers to quarrel with them.


* Neither the possessor of haughtiness aims to good praise, nor does the deceiver to much truthfulness, nor does the Impolite (person) to honor, nor does the miser to linking blood relatives, nor does he who scorn men to sincere affection, nor does he who has little knowledge at jurisprudence to judgment, nor does the backbiter to safety, nor does the envier to the ease of the heart, nor does he who punishes (people) for the small mistake to correctness, nor does he who has little experience and is self- conceited to leadership.

* He whose guard is determination, whose friend is truthfulness, his splendor is great, and his manhood is perfect.

* A generous ignorant (person) is better than a miserly hermit.

* Whoever requests more than his right is worthy of deprivation.


 

Saviour of Shi’ism


When Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq was still in his infancy some people following the example of the Christians spread the belief that the Holy Prophet, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Imams had two natures – the nature of man and the nature of God. They were partly human and partly divine. This belief posed a great danger to their sect. The Imam fought against this thought and saved Shi’ism from disintegration. He realised that it would create differences, split the people into factions, weaken the Shi’a movement and finally destroy it totally.


The Imam knew the history of the Christians. He knew the origin of the Orthodox and Catholic churches and the main cause of differences among Christians and their division into so many sects. In reply to those who propagated that idea, he said that all of them were human beings and had no essence or elements of God in them. But they were God’s most favoured servants and were chosen by Him to lead and guide mankind. He announced that anyone who believed or confessed that they had an essence of God in them will be believing in many gods and would not remain a muwahid (monotheist). They would become a mushrik (polytheist).


Another great danger threatening Islam was Monasticism which the Muslims wanted to adopt from the Christians. The Imam fought against that tendency and saved Muslims from a great catastrophe.

In the first half of the 2nd century Hijra, many Muslim sects were inclined to borrow Monasticism from the Christians and introduce it in Islam. They believed that one should give up worldly life and spend his time in seclusion and prayers. The leaders of those sects had arranged some solitary places where they and their followers could go and spend their lives in prayers. Some of them said that in Islam there was nothing better than Salaat (ritual prayer), while others said that fasting was better than prayers and if someone had withdrawn from the world he should fast everyday throughout his life and think of nothing but Allah. Shi’as also, like others, were also attracted to Monasticism. This philosophy appealed to those who did not want to work and earn their own living.


At the beginning of the 2nd century Hijra Muslims were attracted not only to Monasticism, but they also wanted to follow another Christian practice which was Baptism.

The Imam opposed Baptism among Muslims just as he had opposed Monasticism. He told the Muslims : “We have customs which were practised by non-Muslims before Islam, but the Prophet of Allah approved them and thus they became part of Muslim customs and traditions. Although the Holy Quran has praised and exalted Christ and him mother Mary, it is not permissible for us to follow Christian customs and traditions.”


Another Christian practice, which was being followed by the Muslims, was celibacy. Considering it as a means of purification of the soul many Muslims did not marry. Addressing the Muslims, the Imam said : “ Do not follow the example of Christians. Celibacy is against the Commandments of Allah and tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s).

Not only it hurts a man intellectually and spiritually, it endangers the Muslim nation as a whole. It would reduce the number of Muslims. If celibacy was useful, the Holy Prophet of Allah would not have married at all. Since our Prophet himself married, it is the duty of every Muslim to follow his example and get married so that he may save himself from intellectual and spiritual degeneration and also help increase the Muslim population.”


How is your kid’s spiritual health?


We let our kids believe in the tooth fairy, Easter bunny and Santa Claus without a peep, but the moment we try to get them God-conscious, all hell breaks loose.

If we care so much about our kids’ physical health, why aren’t we worried about their spiritual health? Is it because we fall victim to the propaganda that all religion is bad and pure and simple brainwashing?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen far worse brainwashing done by cable cartoon channels. So we don’t mind if our kids treat every movie like an obsession (Let it go?), but we are considered “extremists” if we try to remove the focus on material things.


I have heard this more than once from family and close friends – “You’re being too strict,” “They’re just kids,” and my all-time favorite, “If you are this hard on them, they will rebel.” I don’t think teaching my kids not to waste their time is considered “extreme parenting.”

I consider my children a trust from God. These gifts the Almighty has bestowed on me, are truly blessings. I read stories of parents losing children right after childbirth, or after an unfortunate accident, or a disease and it breaks me inside. It is right then and there that I am reminded of the beautiful blessings I have, and that I shouldn’t waste them.


Everything I am doing with my kids right now while they are still young is helping build their foundations. If I give them foam and fluff to build their foundations, their futures will be just as flimsy. But if I focus on the important things, then they will have success every step of the way.

Naturally I am not talking about sitting with my young kids and teaching them the beliefs of Tawheed (monotheism), or the philosophy behind Islam, but I do teach them that it is important to follow that which matters. I make sure they understand that the most important thing in their life is to be God-conscious. I teach them to fight the whispers of Shaitan (Satan), and to always follow those role models that have/had a vision, not a cool haircut.


This doesn’t mean I don’t let my kids be kids. They enjoy their weekends, they go out for ice cream (more often than I would like), they have friends, they run outside and get fresh air…. they’re kids, after all. But they have a purpose.

Too often I hear the sad stories of parents who were the best of the best. They provided everything to their kids – all their physical needs were met and they were loved greatly. But they lacked in spiritual grounding. Yes, you will find success in many spheres in your life, God is Just after all. But if you lack a spiritual foundation, you will see it in your life. In relationships, in your personal growth, etc.


Here are 5 ways to help connect your kids to God:

  1. Gentle reminders: We like hanging short verses/sayings around the house that remind us about being God-conscious. The kids help me make them, and we remind each other as needed.
  2. Giving importance to religious traditions: Whether it is the daily prayers, or an evening Bible recitation, it is important to treat this worship with respect. We try to pray together as a family so that we are all connected through worship.
  3. Practice what you preach: When we as parents are conscious about our words and actions, then our kids will follow suit.
  4. Keeping like-minded company: We all need friends, but when you surround yourself with friends who also share your beliefs and values, your kids will feel encouraged. Not to mention, those relationships also provide much needed support to parents.
  5. Open communication: Whether it is through stories or conversations in the car, use those moments to talk about questions and concerns regarding God and religion. Your kids should feel free to ask questions, and you should give short, simple answers. Anything you don’t know, just say you don’t know and try to find out. Never lie to your kids. (For example: Santa Claus lives on the North Pole).

Imam Jafar Sadiq, one of the great-grandsons of the Holy Prophet of Islam, likened belief in God to this situation: It is nighttime, and you are on a boat among turbulent waters. It is pitch black, your boat is rocking back and forth, and you have no earthly idea where you are or what to do. You have nothing – no phone, no GPS, no flares. But suddenly from the depths of your heart there is a yearning, a hope, a prayer for salvation…. this is God.

I am not talking about a religion, per se, but on finding a spiritual anchor in our lives. Aren’t we facing rocky waters everyday? Look at our society. We have leaders who say they believe in God, yet they are hypocritical, arrogant, and selfish. And the bigger problem is we as a society are accepting of this. If we follow a religion, we are apologetic for our “traditions.” We treat religion like a backwards concept. We are “progressive” if we are far from religion, and “mindless twits” if we live by a religion.


I certainly do not want this for my children.

If we live by the rules of a religion we are mocked, but if we live by the rules of today’s fashion, we are OK. Without rules there is anarchy – wouldn’t you rather be tethered to something that has value? And this is what I will continue to teach to my kids. Those that lived with purpose are still living today – their values hold true today. With love and compassion, and through God’s help, I will continue to guide my kids toward God and His Love and Mercy. While doing so, I pray that I will become the best mother to them. And to me, that is the best way to honor this gift of motherhood.


 

Keeping Good Company – For the Sake of Our Kids


Once we have children, as parents we soon realize how much our actions and words affect our kids.

But what about the company we keep? Or the friends our children play with? Do we think about the positive and negative effects that has on our children?

Islam puts great emphasis on keeping friends who remind us of Allah, and in growing toward becoming better Muslims. Sure as adults we might let that fall by the wayside, after all we are more set in our ways, and it seems we might not be influenced so quickly, but not being careful in these matters could be detrimental to the spiritual health of our children.

“On the day when the unjust will bite their hands (regretfully) saying, would that we had taken a way with the Messenger. Woe to us! Would that we had not been friends with so and so. He led us away from the true guidance after it had come to us.” (Holy Qur’an 25:28)


Take, for instance, a friend who has a tendency to gossip. Now, while you might be able to ignore it or help distract your friend, a child could see that as behavior that is acceptable.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t teach our kids how to deal with different people. Naturally we cannot live as isolated beings in this world, and nor should we choose that way to live. There is a tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) that a good Muslim is one who brings others with him toward Allah and the right path. This means we are not meant to simply do good deeds for our own salvation, rather we are supposed to help others as well.


It is also very important to help our children in making good friends for themselves, especially after reaching the age of buloogh (maturity). When peer pressure starts setting in, we would rather want our children helping each other do good deeds, instead of wasting time on actions that lead nowhere.

Sometimes our kids may have friends who have a tendency to bully, lie, or take religious obligations lightly. Yes, kids are still learning, and they need to be encouraged, but this is where a parent needs to be aware of who their child associates with and how much they are influenced by him/her. Help your children understand your perspective, and encourage them to help their friends do better. Just removing your child from that relationship could cause more harm.


Children are very impressionable, and they deserve a good, strong foundation that they can count on. Even as parents we must remind ourselves to be consistent with our values and actions.

Some might argue, well, what about old friends, or even family members, who have values we don’t share? Does that mean we disassociate ourselves with them simply because we have children?

It doesn’t mean that at all. But it does mean we must be serious in how we associate with certain people. At the end of the day, if you regularly associate with someone who does not care for modesty, haram/halal, or takes part in backbiting, your child will have questions. Will you be ready for those? How will you answer them?


Living in Qom we sometimes run across women who might not care about how properly their veils are covering their hair. And my eldest daughter has asked numerous times – “Why are they not doing proper hijab if they are Muslim?”

I try to explain to her that while hijab is a rule in Islam, it is up to us to do it properly, and some might not have the knowledge on how to do it the right way, or some might take the rule differently. We, however, have to make sure we are doing it the right way.


Although very intelligent, children are also simple and naïve. Their understanding of the world around them is very pure and innocent. However, we cannot, and should not, strip them of this beautiful characteristic.

We can just guide them and surround them with goodness, while taking proper measures to make sure we focus on raising them correctly. Our little ones have a lifetime to learn and grow, but unless we make the effort to place the correct steps in front of them, they will not be able to climb higher, and instead may have more obstacles in their way.

May Allah protect our children from harm, and give us all the tawfeeq to be strong in raising them properly.


Author : Samira Rizvi


 

The Justice of Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) and Us

 


It’s said that Imam Ali (as) was killed because of his excessive emphasis on practicing of and adhering to justice. After the demise of the third Caliph, people thronged Imam Ali (as) to accept the reins of Islamic government.

In sermon 3 of Nahjul Balagha:
“At that moment, nothing took me by surprise, but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hasan and Husayn were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats,” he said.

There were overwhelming crowds who were pleading to him to accept the caliphate and become their ruler. When the people were taking oaths of allegiance to Imam Ali (as), their chant was “None except Ali is fit for the caliphate.”  The atmosphere was filled with joy and happiness. Every one was embracing the name of Imam Ali (as) with such a heavy satisfaction. 


But this overwhelming support was short lived. Why?

Because as Imam Ali (as) took reins and started ruling according to the rules dictated by the holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the holy Prophet (s). Many people who took the oath of allegiance sensed a lingering danger to their unjustly amassed wealth. Though the people did want a good and virtuous ruler, they did not want an absolute just one who will not show any leniency or favoritism in the matters of administering justice and fairness.

When Imam Ali (as) started administering justice and running the affairs of Islamic government as per the divine law, many powerful people started deserting him. In the same sermon quoted above Imam (as)mentions the breaking of oaths of people:

“When I took up the reins of government one party broke away and another turned disobedient while the rest began acting wrongfully as if they had not heard the word of Allah saying:

‘That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exult themselves in the earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones.’ (Qur’an, 28:83)”


Imam Ali (as) strictly ordered his officers, administrators, and provincial governors to abide by justice. He punished and dismissed the corrupt administrators and governors. In a letter to  Ziyad b. Abih, Imam Ali (as) reprimands Ziyad against corruption:

“I truthfully swear by Allah that if I come to know that you have misappropriated the funds of the Muslims, small or big, I shall inflict upon you such punishment which will leave you empty handed, heavy backed and humiliated…” (Nahjul Balagha, Letter 20).
He advises his governors to establish justice and eradicate corruption. In advice to Malik Ashter when the latter was appointed the governor of Egypt, the Imam (as) writes:

“Do justice for Allah and do justice towards the people, as against yourself, your near ones and those of your subjects for whom you have a liking because if you do not do so you will be oppressive, and when a person oppresses the creatures of Allah then, instead of His creatures, Allah becomes his opponent, and when Allah is the opponent of a person He tramples his plea; and he will remain in the position of being at war with Allah until he gives it up and repents. ”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).


He strictly forbade his governors and  officers against accepting bribes and gifts:

“Any ruler who hides himself from people’s needs, Allah will also hide Himself from him and his needs on the Judgment day; and if he accepts gifts, he would be a traitor; and if he accept bribes, he would be a polytheist.” [1]


In Al-Kafi, related by Abu Mikhnaf:

“A group of the Shi’ites came to Imam Ali (as) and said: ‘O Amir al-Momineen! Would that you distributed these assets among the dignitaries and chiefs and give them priority to us so that things settle down. Then you would return to the best of features that Allah has accustomed you to; that is, making equal distributions, and practicing justice among citizens.’

Amir al-Momineen (as) said, ‘Woe on you! You are commanding me to seek support by doing injustice and inequity to the Muslims over whom I have been chosen as a guardian. By Allah, I will not do that as long as the world keeps going on and as long as I see stars in the stars. By Allah, even if it were my property, I would distribute it equally among them; how would it be when the property is theirs?’”[2]

Many people who previously were with Imam Ali (as) deserted him and joined ranks with his enemies only because they could not withstand his justice. When Imam Ali (as) punished them for corruption or wrong doings, or when they felt that the unwavering rule of justice is going to snatch from them of what they have amassed unjustly and illegally, they rose against the Imam and joined the ranks in Damascus with Muawiya bin Abu Suffiyan.



We have to think that when our Imam (as) did not show any leniency towards his own blood relatives or friends in terms of administering justice, then, what good we have in ourselves that we’ll be let go away with injustice in our lives and in our acts?

The Ali of this age is alive and is waiting to receive order from His Lord to reappear. He (aj) will also do what his grandfather Imam Ali (as) did: no compromise in administering justice.

Before we shout loud slogans of Ali..Ali.., we should think seriously and ponder on the fact that how much justice we can accept against our own selves. People before us left Ali of their age because they could not bear justice against their selves. Are we really ready to welcome Ali of our age?


1. Thawab al-A’mal: 310/1. Bihar al-Anwar: 72/345/42 , as quoted in Imam Ali’s (as) Book of Government by Ayatullah Muhammadi Rayshahri
2. Ibid