By Yusuf Abdullahi
"Sacred months is the topic for this week. These are Rajab, Zulqaada, Zulhajj and Muharram which are very eventful. Ameerul mu’mineen, Imam Ali (AS) was born in Rajab considered month of Allah"
In the name of Allah who states “Ramadan is the month In which was sent down The Qur’an, as a guide To mankind, also clear Signs For guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong), So everyone of You Who is present (at his home) During that month should spend it in fasting …” Q2: 185
May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
Sacred months is the topic for this week. These are Rajab, Zulqaada, Zulhajj and Muharram which are very eventful. Ameerul mu’mineen, Imam Ali (AS) was born in Rajab considered month of Allah. In Zulqaadah, we have ten days of honor, referring to birthdays of Imam Ali al-Ridha, the eighth Imam and his sister Sayyidah Fatima Maasuuma (AS), who were born on 1st and 11th respectively. In Zulhajj, the first ten days are popularly referred to as the stated days. It is believed that these days are those referred by Chapter 89, verses 1-2 "By the Dawn. Ant the Ten Nights" Believers are encouraged to put in more effort to acquire the pleasure of Allah through extra prayers, fasting, meditation, Qur’anic recitation and asking blessings on the noble Prophet (S). Added to that are significant historic events like the Ghadeer and Mubahala coming on the 18th and 24th of Zulhuajj respectively. While preparing to reflect the events in due course, details could be traced in books of traditions, history and supplication.
Hajj is the major activity of the month which the believers mainly engage from eighth to tenth day, in addition to three subsequent days humbly dressed in simple unsown white cloth in a state of worship. They circulate the Kaaba, hasten between Safa and Marwa, make the sacrifice and stone with the most remarkable aspect, standing on the mount of Arafat on the ninth day of Zulhajj reading Imam Husain’s prominent Arafat prayer. The sacrifice is also recommended for all capable Muslims whether they take on the journey or not. And they are expected to share their sacrifices to the needy whether as individuals or orphanages. The wisdom behind this is to create a sort of balance to the uneven in the society. The famous prophetic sermon in the farewell pilgrimage was delivered at the Arafat plain. Muslims are encouraged to observe fear of Allah, brotherhood, friendliness and forgiveness. They should also protect the rights of women and above all strictly follow the noble Qur’an and the prophetic progeny. They should bear the fact that whoever embarks on hajj accordingly returns as the day he or she was born.
No specific forms of worship are slated for the stated days. However all activities done to seek the pleasure of Allah are encouraged to be practiced;
The Qur’anic recitation could be the most important function. Therefore, we should do our utmost best in this direction. Imperatively, I encourage brothers and sisters on the need to master the noble book as the level of ignorance is very disheartening. Our attention is more on the secular direction. How many of us acquired their first, second degrees and PhD but are lagging behind regarding the noble Qur’an? We must wake up to do the right thing for our goodness. We should try to recite the holy book as many times as possible and sacrifice such rewards to parents and loved ones, dead or alive. Group studies are important and very encouraging in this regard. Schools are available at various capacity that we can simply register or make an independent arrangement with scholars for the sake of our hereafter. Things are very easy, flexible and friendly for all brothers and sisters interested in this field.
Fasting is also very important in the first nine days of this mosque to those that haven’t embark on the Hajj rite. On general note, the benefit of this worship does not differ with the stated objective behind the Ramadan fast which is to achieve self-restraint, in other words, abstention from Allah’s prohibitions and adhering to His commands with the aim of gaining His pleasure. If this worship is done accordingly, the much needed taqwa could be attained and will positively impact our bedeviled nation with multiplier effects in the socio-economic life. With sincere commitment to fasting, the messenger of Allah, has highlighted the achievable mercies and blessings of Ramadan warning on the dangers of negligence regarding the same. Then, it is good to ask ourselves on individual and collective levels; what impact did last fasting make in our lives? Does it make any difference in our individual and societal life? By this, we can assess the validity of fasting vise a vise the objective so as to check ourselves and society socially, morally and spiritually.
The noncompulsory prayers is another significant aspect our attention is drawn to. They could be done at the right time on one’s capacity during the days and nights. Supplication is also very important. Allah states “When My servants Ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I respond To the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me; Let them also, with a will listen to My call, And believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way” Q2: 186. So we should keep up the night prayers seeking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy for our humble selves, parents and beloved to achieve salvation. In addition to that, other forms of Allah’s remembrance such as Salatun Nabiy, Istigfar etc should be practiced. We should befriend books of supplication like Mafaateehul Jinaan, Dhiyaa’us Saaliheen and the like. Our endless prayers for the oppressed Sheikh (H), disciples and the Ummah as whole. In the same way, this shall cover prayers for Allah’s retribution against the killers of innocent, armless and peace loving citizens. Another vital aspect is generosity. This must not be neglected; the prophet (S) has encouraged the Ummah especially the rich to do their best in this direction. The reward of kind gestures are generally encouraged at individual and collective bases. Alms giving in Islam is generally built on this to reduce the imbalance between the rich and the poor. The nature of our rich’s relation to the poor is really disheartening. The rich ought to know that they are tested by Allah who created both rich and poor. The rich should try to be philanthropists by unbounded kind gesture to acquire the pleasure of Allah. This is what all the messengers of Allah and Imam of the Ahlul-bait (AS) taught. As the scholars highlighted, two sides of man are spiritual and animal, the human. The mission of the messengers was to save the spiritual side maintaining his dignity, morals and clear conscience freeing him from passion, anger and eagerness to stick to Allah’s commands and avoid His prohibitions. Hence, the need to grow the taqwa. Therefore, all significant aspects of worship such as prayers, Qur’anic recitation, different forms of remembrance and supplications should not be neglected in these days and beyond. This helps a Muslim to keep a continuous relation with his creator for a prosperous life here and attainment of salvation hereafter. Living embodiment of taqwa results in self-control and conscience of Allah at all times.
The Mahdy reform project refers to deliverance of humanity and destruction of tyrants by his advent. The philosophy is not to shed blood, but protect lives, promote the religion and work towards global reform and establishment of an upright, just and giant authority for the good of mankind. So enjoining right and forbidding wrong at all ramifications – political, social and economic – are very much in line. In fact, the Imam will not reappear until he got enough helpers for the execution of his mission. It is obviously clear that the significance of struggle against injustice is very paramount. And whoever wishes to be part of Imam’s army must be morally sound and compliant with the teachings of Ahlul-bait (AS). Imam Khomeini led the Islamic revolution and established the Islamic republic of Iran that can be a good base for the Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance). Resistance movements like the Hezbollah is also on the track. We are at the era of his reappearance, looking at the level of tyranny and oppression across the world. This is what all traditions about his advent foretold. Hence, the utmost need for the followers of Ahlul-bait to get themselves well prepared before he reappears for the divine assignment. No doubt, only the obedient followers will follow and help him in the divine assignment that will see to destruction of tyrants, establishment of justice and actualization of global rise of Islam.
We should therefore work sincerely and devotedly with the nation and country in mind. We should stand with the oppressed irrespective of racial, geographical and religious differences, challenging the oppressors bullying the world. To the disciples of Sheikh el-Zakzaky (H), who is on this track, the point is very important for his freedom and that of our bedeviled nation at large. At this juncture, I wish to reiterate the urgent need for his unconditional release as the world cries.