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Sayyid and Non-Sayyid Marriages from a Qur’anic Perspective

‘When they are told, ‘Come to what Allāh has sent down and [come] to the Apostle,’ they say, ‘Sufficient for us is what we have found our fathers following.’ What, even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided?’ (5:104)

The era that predates the illumination of the Arabian Peninsula with the light of Tawhīd is referred to as ‘the Age of Jāhiliyyah’. The mission of the beloved of Allāh had always been to take humanity out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of truth. Regarding the purpose of the revelation of the Qur’ān, Allāh states: ‘[This is] a Book We have sent down to you that you may bring mankind out from darkness into light, by the command of their Lord, to the path of the All-Mighty, the All-Laudable’ (14:1)

It is important to understand that the Lord who revealed the Qur’ān is the same Lord Who gave man reason. Thus the Scripture addresses man as a being that possesses reason and severely rebukes him for not applying it.

‘Indeed the worst of beasts in Allāh’s sight are the deaf and dumb who do not exercise their reason’ (8:22)

It is the ability to reason that distinguishes man from other forms of creation. When it comes to discerning truth from falsehood, man is expected to exercise his reason. Clinging on to ancestral beliefs, traditions, and practices blindly demotes man to a sub-animal level. Because, while possessing the crown of humanity that is Al-`Aql [1] he disregards it and refuses to wear it.

Today, we are faced with what the Leader terms ‘Modern Jāhiliyyah’. While the illuminating Qur’ān has called man to exercise his reason for a thousand years, much of humanity still fails to do so. One of the greatest woes of today’s world is the presence of ignorance in an Ummah that claims belief in God, His prophets and the Revealed Scriptures… while many of it’s beliefs and practices stand in utter defiance to Divine teachings. Indeed, one of the greatest causes of pain to the beloved of Allāh was – and remains to be – the abandonment of Divine guidance on the part of those attributed to him:

‘And the Messenger has said, ‘O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’ān as [a thing] abandoned’‘ (25:30)

One clear example of an instance that undoubtedly wounds the heart of the beloved of Allāh is the innovated taboo of Sayyid/Non-Sayyid marriages that plagues some Muslim Shī`ah communities. This is in reality part of a wider problem that exists in the Ummah at large: racial prejudice. This sense of superiority based on race, colour and lineage is a plague that existed amongst the Bedouin Arabs one thousand four hundred years ago. The Messenger of Allāh made his utmost effort to eradicate this ignorant trend of thought from the minds and hearts of humanity. But the reality is that this disease continues to thrive in the Ummah fourteen centuries later. For ‘Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]?’ (3:144)

Man is a being destined for greatness. Honoured by the Lord of the worlds at the very onset of his creation – ‘Certainly We have honoured the Children of Ādam…’ (17:70) – he has been made to be exclusively His. Love for the Divine names is embedded in the fabric of his being. Thus as greatness, magnificence and majesty are from His names, man subconsciously seeks these qualities in his journey through life. This quest is in no way evil or condemnable. What is condemnable, however, is man’s failure to recognize the Exclusive Owner of All Greatness and Majesty; and for him to ignore the reality that it is only servitude to Him that makes man truly great.

‘…Yet all might belongs to Allah and His Apostle and the faithful…’ (63:8)

True superiority is achieved through man’s free will. The beliefs man chooses to have, the decisions he chooses to make, and the character he chooses to form. It is these that raise or demote man in the eyes of Truth. Yet blind hearts choose to ignore the balance of truth, replacing it instead with the scales of ignorance. For when one finds himself devoid of human virtues acquired through immense struggle and patience, he is forced to change the very measure of greatness, in a desperate attempt to fake superiority and authority. How similar this is to the story of the peacock, which flaunts its colourful wings to sway the onlooker’s attention from its inadequate, skinny legs!

If it were not enough for the true scale of superiority to be a matter accepted by human reason, the Qur’ān too confirms this. When Ibrāhīm – the symbol of Tawhīd – was granted the sublime station of Leadership and Authority, he asked whether this blessing would be conferred upon his progeny. The Qur’ānic narrative brings our attention to the reality that it is through man’s effort, not ancestry, that he is granted superiority.

When his Lord tested Abraham with certain words and he fulfilled them, He said, ‘I am making you the Imām of mankind.’ Said he, ‘And from among my descendants?’ He said, ‘My pledge does not extend to the unjust.’ (2:124)

The Sayyids of today’s era have tens of generations between themselves and the purified progeny of the prophet. However, what does the Qur’ān mention regarding a direct descendent of one of the greatest prophets of all time?

‘And it [the ark] sailed along with them amid waves [rising] like mountains. Noah called out to his son, who stood aloof, ‘O my son! ‘Board with us, and do not be with the faithless!’

 He said, ‘I shall take refuge on a mountain; it will protect me from the flood.’ He said, ‘There is none today who can protect from Allāh’s edict, except someone upon whom He has mercy.’ Then the waves came between them, and he was among those who were drowned’ (11:42-43)

God had promised Noah that he would save his family from the flood. Yet Noah witnessed his very own son perish in the waves. Had Allāh failed to keep His word? Or is there a secret in this story that much of mankind still fails to understand?

Noah called out to his Lord, and said, ‘My Lord! My son is indeed from my family. Your promise is indeed true, and You are the fairest of all judges.’

 Said He, ‘O Noah! Indeed, He is not of your family. Indeed, he is [personification of] unrighteous conduct. So do not ask Me [something] of which you have no knowledge. I advise you lest you should be among the ignorant.’ (11:45-46)

The story of the son of Noah is a lesson for all mankind. From a true perspective, it is man’s actions that connect and relate him to another and not his blood. This point is also alluded to in the verse that, in no uncertain terms, states: ‘The faithful are indeed brothers…’ (49:10)

Yes, it is the bonds of faith acquired through righteous actions that truly relate one to the believers… and at their head, their leader: the blessed messenger. If these examples were not enough, the Qur’ān provides more. The most intimate relationship man enjoys is not that with his offspring, but that with his spouse. This is also the very first human relationship that God has created, preceding man’s presence on the earth as we know it.

If being descended from the beloved of Allāh, with thirty generations in between, is an antecedent of superiority, then surely those who enjoyed the most intimate of relationships with him directly – his wives – are the most superior of all people. Yet the Qur’ān once more severs this ignorant trend of thought. Rebuking two of the wives of the prophet, after one of them betrayed his trust, it states: ‘It may be that if he [the prophet] divorces you his Lord will give him, in [your] stead, wives better than you…’ (66:4)

The Arabs of the Age of pre-Islāmic Ignorance – like many Muslims of today’s Age of Modern Ignorance – would boast and take great pride in their ancestry and blood relations. Being married to the prophet – who was also the absolute ruling authority of Muslim society – was indeed a cause for pride and honour. However, Allāh harshly reminds the occupiers of that position that they are not to be deceived and self-conceited for this favour that has been conferred upon them. For indeed, just as the bond between the son of Noah and his immaculate father was cut by his impious actions, this union can also be severed due to theirs.

The Qur’ān also brings forth another striking parable in this regard. It places two examples of individuals whose blood ties related them to a purified prophet in opposition to another whose circumstances were extremely different. Yet which of these were destined for greatness?

‘Allāh cites an example of the faithless: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of our righteous servants, yet they betrayed them. So they did not avail them in any way against Allāh, and it was said [to them], ‘Enter the Fire, along with those who enter [it].’

 Allāh cites an example of the faithful: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, ‘My Lord! Build me a home near You in paradise, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his conduct, and deliver me from the wrongdoing lot’ (66:10-11)

Allāh as an example specifically singles out the wife of the Pharaoh –the personification of arrogance and defiance in the face of God – for all believing men and women. What honour is possibly greater? For it is man who determines his own destiny with the decisions that he makes. And his blood ties and relations do not raise or demote him. Neither do they determine his reality.

Regarding the wives of the Prophet, Allāh says: ‘O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits a gross indecency, her punishment shall be doubled, and that is easy for Allāh.

Being a descendent of the beloved of Allāh brings about greater responsibility. A Sayyid or Sayyidah must realize that, by the honour received on account of that title, he or she is eating off the prophet’s tablecloth. If Muslims of all denominations, persuasions, and walks of life have shown great reverence to the beloved’s descendants throughout the centuries – and indeed continue to do so – this reverence is in reality a show of their love and devotion to the beloved himself. If the Markab [1] of a king is honoured, it is on account of it’s owner, and not on account of it’s being a Markab.

How ugly it is, then, that a Sayyid or Sayyidah dishonours the Owner of the Tablecloth at which he is or she is seated. As the Qur’ānic examples vividly clarify, one’s impious actions invalidate even the strongest of blood relations to the men of God. The headache that some Muslim families – who value their ignorant cultural norms and traditions more than the Qur’ān and Prophetic tradition – cause when it comes to choosing a spouse is undoubtedly a dishonour to the one whom they claim to follow. How can knowing that Allāh has revealed a criterion for choosing a spouse – piety and good character – only to throw it aside to replace it instead with that which one’s ignorant forefathers and traditions dictate… be an honour to Allāh’s beloved? How can selling the guidance of the Qur’ān for misguidance be a cause for the prophet’s pleasure – something that is not even taken into consideration in many Muslim marriages, while the pleasure of every impious relative and acquaintance is considered sacred?

Many a time when a young believing Muslim or Muslimah intends to follow the prophetic example and marry a pious believer, the issue of being a Sayyid or Sayyidah is considered the criterion instead of the person’s piety and character. This is ironic because the very meaning of being a Sayyid or Sayyidah is being a descendent of the very prophet who abolished this ignorant trend of thought (making the sole distinction between men to be by virtue of piety, character and conduct). How unmannerly for some of his proud descendants to revive it… in his name! Truly it is not those who claim enmity to the beloved and his household who wounded their hearts… but rather those who claimed their love and friendship.

If anything, the blessing conferred upon him or her aught to increase a Sayyid or Sayyidah in gratitude and humility. A believer is clever and as such always uses that which is at his disposal to his advantage. A believing descendent of the prophet must use his ancestry as a motivation to become a perfect reflection of the Chosen One. He or she must aspire to embody the values that he endeavoured to enshrine in human conscience, while simultaneously striving to eradicate the ideals of ignorance, firstly from his own being, then from humanity at large.

[1] Al-‘Aql: reason, intellect [2] Markab: that which is ridden upon; in the case of an ancient king or ruler, it would probably be a horse

By Sayyid Haidar Hasanain

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Islam and Racial Superiority – Ayatollah Jafar Subhani

يٌا أَيُّهٌا النٌّاسُ إِنٌّا خَلَقْنٌاكُم مِّنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنـثَى وَجَعَلْنٌاكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبٌائِلَ لِتَعٌارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ أَتْقٌـكُمْ إِنَّ اللٌّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O’ Humanity! Without doubt We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into various nations and tribes, so that you may come to know and understand one another. Definitely the most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most Allah-Consciousness. Surely Allah has full Knowledge and is All-Aware.

The issue of equality between all human beings, opposition to any type of racial, ancestral and class discrimination, fairness between all the children of Adam in relation to human rights and that no person is better than another due to his skin colour, language, lineage or race – is one of the most important societal issues in the Qur’an which has been mentioned in various Ayat of this Heavenly Book.

The Qur’an has denounced any sort of superiority – whether it be of race, language or skin colour and even today, this subject is one of the most complicated issues within the society which even in the most important industrial centres of the world (such as America) is still a source of confusion and since the (the industrialized centres of the world) feel that this is an issue that can never be solved, they have brought this discussion to a close. The Qur’an explains this issue with simple logic and by explaining the origin and creation of man, clearly demonstrates that such an imaginary belief that one’s race or colour is what makes him superior to others is false.

We see that from the beginning of this Surah to the present verse under discussion, Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) has addressed the people five times with the phrase:

يٌا أَيُّهٌا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا…

“O’ you who have true faith…”

However in this verse, the sphere of those being addressed has been widened from “those who have true faith” to “humanity” in general – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Thus, in this verse, we read:

“O’ Mankind! If you look through the files of creation of the entire humanity, you will definitely see that the origin of all of these people is one and all of them have come from one male and one female (Adam and Hawa, peace be upon them both) and all descendants return back to these two people and thus, there is no criteria that can be used to make one group of people better than another.

If We have brought you forth as different groups and nations then it is not because you should have pride or conceit over the nation or family that you have come from. Rather, it is through the different groups that you are to know one another and recognize each other (لِتَعٌارَفُوا). The secret behind this branching out (of humanity) is simply for attaining knowledge and recognition of one another and merely being attached to one family, but this should never be the basis and criteria for claiming superiority over another.”

In order to condemn this fable of racial superiority and to negate this imaginary belief of preference of national supremacy and nationalism and to quiet any slogans of the ignorant people, the concept that all of us have been brought forth from one source has been mentioned in various chapters of the Qur’an as those mentioned below 1:

إِتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وٌاحِدَةٍ…

“Have taqwa (Allah-Consciousness) of your Lord (O’ People) who created all of you from a single soul…” 2

Just as the Qur’an has referred to the issue of superiority of one tribe over another as being a myth, even the difference in languages or the colour of skin are also not grounds for pride or vanity over one another.

It is both of these things (language and skin colour) which have been referred to as the signs (ayat) of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and a symbol of the power of the Creator so that we may recognize that we have come from one element and one source. It is through this chain of natural and inherent characteristics that there is a difference in the colour of the skin of various people and that they speak various languages, just as has been said:

وَ مِنْ آيٌاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمٌوٌاتِ وَ الأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاٌفُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَ أَلْوٌانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذٌلِكَ لَآيٌاتٍ لِلْعٌالَمِـينَ

And of His signs is the creation of the Heavens and the Earth and the difference in your languages and your skin colours. Certainly there are signs in this for the people of the worlds.”3

The Question of Race and Language in the World Today

Even though the world today has passed through many stages of industrialization, however they still have not been able to reach to even partial completion in the issues mentioned (in regards to the eradication of racism).

Every year in the advanced centres of the world, the experts sit down to discuss this issue, while the flames of disagreement burn and in which people are pulled (into these flames of hatred). Today, in some of the largest and “most advanced” parts of the world, students, who due to a series of natural and ontological events that have taken place which lead to their skin being black, are not permitted to go to the same schools as those whose skin happens to be white, even if they are of the same religion and country of origin.

Today, if by accident a white person was to walk through the door of a movie theatre that is specifically for black people only, they would be forced to pay a fine.

In the present day in these industrialized countries, the surgical and medical treatment wards of the hospital are different for black people and white people and the instruments and medicines that are used in the section reserved for whites would never be seen or used in the medical ward or surgical area for the blacks! In addition, those young doctors who come from overseas – who the Hospital Staff feel are still ‘doctors in training’ – do not have the right to treat white patients, however the doors to the black patients are wide open!

With the unjust distinctions and privileges which know no limit or boundary that exist within these nations, how is it possible for them to put out the call for freedom and refer to themselves as the pillars of liberty?!

In regards to the issue of the Declaration of Human Rights which was ratified after the French Revolution, or the Charter of Freedoms and Equality of Humanity which was penned after World War II and was signed by all of the major and influential world powers –we see that they still have not been able to bring this conflict to an end.

However on that day, in the sand filled country of Arabia and the gloomy and unenlightened world that existed at that time, a divine man and heavenly leader lifted up the call of true freedom and equality of all human beings and said, “In the presence of Allah and in His Court of Justice, a Leader from the tribe of Quraish is equal to a black Ethiopian.”

In order to reject and eliminate all of the (previous) incorrect traditions, the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) sent a comprehensive message to the societies that blood, nationality and one’s language are no reasons to show pride or conceit.

The noble Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) was a progeny of this same environment (of `Arabia) and was fully aware of both the ailments and the cures of the `Arab society. He knew the reasons for the decline of the people of Makkah and thus was able to place his finger on the societal ailments of the `Arab society and to completely cure their sicknesses. At this point, we present some of the words of the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) in which there is a cure for specific ailments with society.

1. Having Pride of One’s Relations, Family or Tribe

Of the many illnesses that existed in the `Arab society which was also one of the biggest things for a person to boast about was being from a branch of one of the well-known tribes, such as that of the Quraish. In order to remove this fictitious element of greatness, the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) stated the following:

أَيُّهٌا النٌّاسُ! إِنَّ اللٌّهَ قَدْ أَذْهَبَ عَنْكُمْ نَخْوَةَ الْجٌاهِلِيَّةَ وَ تَفٌاخُرَهٌا بِآبٌائِهٌا أَلاَ إِنَّكُمْ مِنْ آدَمَ و آدَمُ مِنْ طِيْنٍ. أَلاٌ إِنَّ خَيْرَ عِبٌادِ اللٌّهِ عَبْدٌ اتِّقٌاهُ

“O’ Mankind! Surely Allah has removed the pride and conceit that existed within you during the days of Ignorance in relation to your fore-fathers. Surely all of you are from (Prophet) Adam and Adam was (created) from mud. Surely the best servant of Allah is that servant who has consciousness of Him.”4

In order for the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) to announce to the world that the true criteria in judging a person is his level of taqwa (consciousness of Allah) and keeping away from sins, in a part of his speech, he divided all of mankind into two categories and said that their only greatness is the taqwa or consciousness of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) that people have. By dividing them in this method and grouping them in this way, he removed all of the imaginary criteria that existed when he stated:

إِنَّمٌا النٌّاسُ رَجُلاٌنِ: مُؤْمِنٌ تَقِيٌّ كَرِيـمٌّ عَلى اللٌّهِ وَ فٌاجِرٌ شَقِيٌّ هَيِّنٌ عَلى اللٌّهِ

“Certainly mankind is of two types: the true believer who has piety and nobility to Allah; and the sinner, who is lost and despicable in the sight of Allah.”

2. The “Virtue” of Being an `Arab

The Prophet of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) knew that the `Arab nation considered their nationality and their descent from this race to be a major source of honour and pride. The vanity and conceit that the `Arabs possessed resembled a contagious disease that was deeply rooted in their hearts. In order to cure this sickness and to remove this imaginary greatness that they claimed to possess, the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) once again turned towards the people and said to them:

أَلاٌ إِنَّ الْعَرَبِيَّةَ لَيْسَتْ بٌابٌ وٌالِدٌ وَ لٌكِنَّهٌا لِسٌانٌ نٌاطِقٌ فَمَنْ قَصُرَ عَمَلُهُ لَمْ يَـبْلُغْهُ حَسَبُهُ

“Now then, surely your being `Arab is not the basis for your personality nor a part of your essence, rather, it is the language which you speak. So then whosoever is negligent in his actions, then the pride that he has from his father (being an `Arab) will not help him in the least and will not make up for the defects in his (religious) actions).”5

Is it possible to find a more eloquent and expressive statement than this? Truly the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) was the genuine caller to freedom. However he did not stop at this. Rather, in order to strengthen the equality of humanity and the society he said:

إِنٌّ النٌّاسَ مِنْ عَهْدِ آدَمَ إِلـى يَوْمِنٌا هٌذَا مَثَلُ أَسْنٌانِ الْمُشْطِ لاٌ فَضْلَ لِلْعَرَبِيِّ عَلى الْعَجَمِيِّ وَ لاٌ الأَحْمَرَ عَلى الأَسْوَدِ إِلاٌّ بِالتَّقْوى.

“Surely all of mankind – from the time of Adam until our time – are like the teeth of a comb (all equal to one another) and there is no greatness for an `Arab over a non-`Arab and no greatness for a red-skinned person over a black-skinned person, except due to one’s consciousness of Allah (taqwa).”6

Through these words, the Noble Messenger (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) removed all sorts of distinctions and merits that knew no ends or boundaries, among the nations of the world. All of these areas which the Declaration of Human Rights or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have not even mentioned were addressed and put to rest in the Islamic sources.

Not only did the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) accomplish this task through conveying the verses of the Qur’an and his speech (ahadith), rather, he was also able to stir up tension in the hearts of the defeated people of those days. In many instances within his practical life, he was able to make null and void the nationalism and racism that was surrounding him.

In order for him to reach to his aim of equality between all human beings, he married the daughter of his uncle to the slave he owned named Zaid. In addition, he give Bilal, who was both a non-`Arab and a black-skinned African slave (at one point in his life), the important religious post of being the Muaddhin or the one who made the call to prayer. He also commanded Ziyad ibn Labid who was one of the richest and noblest men from amongst the Ansar to marry his daughter to a black slave named Jubair.

Keeping in mind the outcome of the marriage of this man’s daughter to the man she married and how these two people had come from completely opposite lifestyles, we see that this is one of the amazing stories of Islam and in reality shows the true equality between people of all levels of society who have sincere faith.

It is appropriate at this point that we properly analyse, investigate and relate this event in brief, especially since this event has been mentioned in the most trustworthy books of the Shi`a. 7

The Most Amazing Marriage in History

Not even a few days has passed since the migration of the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) to the city of Madinah when a very enthusiastic man from the city of Yamamah came to the presence of the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and accepted the teachings of the faith. This man had a pure heart and was a true believer with genuine sincerity.

As for his physical form, he was a short man who was not that handsome with a very dark, African complexion. In any case, he had needs, but did not have the means to supply for them, and he did not even possess suitable clothing on his body! The abject state of poverty of this man from Yamamah – whose name was Jubair – caught the attention of the blessed Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and it was his state which drew the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) closer to this poor man.

The Prophet of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) felt compassion for him due to his lack of proper clothing and since he was away from his home land, gave him two pieces of clothing to cover himself up properly and also ordered the Muslims to give him one Sa`8 of wheat every day. His accommodation was also looked after as the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) gave him permission to live inside the Masjid with the other indigent and helpless Muslims.

Time passed by and this man from Yamamah continued his life in this manner. The more the teachings of Islam spread and extended outward into other regions, the more people who were far from their own home and had no possessions made their way to Madinah. Other than the Masjid, there was no other place of residence for these people and it was out of necessity that they were housed there. The Masjid was a place where Muslims gathered, a place of worship for the people of Madinah and the centre from where the true teachings of Islam were being spread.

It is clear that the state of these people was not something that could be tolerated and was not in agreement with the higher aims and goals of the Noble Messenger (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and his leadership and guidance (that they stay in a Masjid in the state that they were in). In any event, these men who had no family or possessions were taking up space for others and in addition, the Masjid in Madinah did not even have the capacity to house so many people.

At this time, the Revelation came to the Prophet and he was commanded to purify the Masjid of all forms of pollution and dirt and was told that all of the people who were given the chance to stay in the Masjid and sleep there were now to be removed from this sacred site at that very time (which was night-time).

Even more than all of this, the command came that all of the doors of the Masjid that opened up into the houses of those who lived around this place of worship were to be sealed, with the exception of the Prophet’s (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) door and the door of the house of `Ali and Fatimah (peace be upon them both). They were exempt from this ruling and this in itself was one of the distinctions for these two noble personalities.

The Noble Messenger (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) then went on to introduce new conditions to the community in stages and thus from this day forward, no one had the right to live inside the Masjid. However in this present state, the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) did not forget these refugees and thus he ordered that a place be built for them which had a roof so that all could live in there together. The place that was built was known as Suffah and an uncountable number of companions of the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) would later go on to be known as the Ashab-e-Suffah or those companions of the Prophet who lived under this sheltered housing.

After all of this transpired, the normal habit of the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) was that he would pass on whatever food and clothing that was given to him to the people. Following the example of the Prophet, the Muslims too did not forget these people and whatever they had and were able to give was handed over to them. In this way, the Islamic society which at that time was quite small and did not have a large budget at their disposal, took care of those people who had no help or security.

As he usually did, one day the Prophet went to see the Ashab-e-Suffah. Amongst these companions, he noticed the man from Yamamah and said to the man, whose name was Jubair, “How good it would be for you to find a wife and get married and through this act, you would be able to get rid of the demonic temptations and also protect your own chastity, since your wife would help you in matters of this world and the next world.”

With complete politeness Jubair replied to the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny), “Is it possible that someone would develop a liking for me? I do not have any personal merit, nor do I have any great lineage. I have no wealth nor do I possess beauty. Thus, what kind of woman would be willing to marry me?”

The Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) replied, “O’ man! Through the religion of Islam, Allah brought those people who during the days of Ignorance felt that they were superior and excellent, to a level of humbleness and inferiority and those who during the days of Ignorance were abject and considered as insignificant (in the society) were given esteem and honour. By sending the religion of Islam, Allah the Most High has removed all sorts of pride, vanity, self-centeredness and the imaginary nobility that people felt for themselves during the days of Ignorance.

From today, one’s tribe or clan, descent or lineage and any other prejudice that stem from ignorance have no value or worth. Today all men – black and white, Quraish and non-Quraish, `Arab and non-`Arab are all equal. Everyone that exists – no matter what nationality they are and in whatever state, are all the children of Adam and Adam was created from dirt.

In the Last Days, only those people who are more conscious of Allah (have taqwa) than others, those who are the foremost in their servitude and obeying the orders of Allah will be the ones who will be blessed with the kindness, grace and mercy of Allah.”

The heavenly words of the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) took such a place in the heart of the man from Yamamah that the spiritual rays of the Prophet’s words opened the doors of cognizance and true belief in him. By hearing these words, the true meaning of justice and the actual interpretation of fair dealings was made incarnate for him.

Upon hearing these words of the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) which he listened to with great attentiveness, such that it could be said that every word of the divine words brought up an image of the reality and pure truth (of Islam) and in the presence of this strong logic, Jubair had no other choice but to remain quiet and it is possible that may have he felt remorseful and guilty for that short sentence which he said to the Prophet.

At this time, the Prophet told the man from Yamamah to get up and go to Ziyad ibn Labid who happened to be one of the most noble people of the tribe of Bani Bayadhha and tell him, “I have brought a message from the Messenger of Allah to you. The Prophet has told me that I am to convey to you that the Messenger of Allah commands you to marry your daughter whose name is Dhulayfa, to the man named Jubair – which is me.”

The man from Yamamah got up and made his way to convey the message of the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) to Ziyad ibn Labid. When he reached the house, he saw Ziyad and a group of his family and close relatives in the house sitting together. He asked permission to enter which he was given and then proceeded to enter and greet the people present.

At this time, Ziyad and those present with him took notice of Jubair and wanted to know why this poor man from Yamamah wanted – who was always known to them as one of the companions of the Suffah and whom people such as these (rich, affluent `Arabs) would naturally look at as being a contemptible and low person who possessed the frame and physical features that he did.

Jubair said, “O’ Ziyad! I have brought a message to you from the Messenger of Allah! This message is in relation to myself – should I proclaim it in the open or in private (to you)?”

Ziyad, who could not even think that this man from Yamamah had any needs said, ”Why should you say it in private? Speak it out! I am honoured to hear the message of the Prophet of Allah!”

Jubair said, “The Prophet has commanded that you are to marry your daughter Dhulayfa to Jubair.”

Ziyad, who was not anticipating to hear such a message, with complete shock and surprise said, “Are you truthful that the Noble Prophet has sent you here for this reason?”

Jubair said, “Yes! I have never attributed a lie to the Messenger of Allah!” Ziyad said, “I (only) marry my daughters to those people who are equal and at their same status that we are at and that too from the people of the Ansar. Jubair! You may go back and let me go see the Prophet and convey my apologies to him.”

Jubair returned back in a state of confusion and said to himself that, “I swear by Allah! The Qur’an does not condone or sanction the actions of this man, nor was the intention of the apostleship of Muhammad (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) for this.”

Dhulayfa, the daughter of Ziyad was behind the curtain (in the room) and was witness to all that had transpired and heard the final words that her father said to this man from Yamama. These words of her father weighed heavily upon her and it could be said that the faith and belief that she had in the Prophet deep in her heart had been rebuked.

Therefore, she immediately sent a person to go to her father and from behind the curtains (in her room) she summoned her father and reproached him saying, “My dear father! What is this that I heard you saying? Why did you speak to this person that was sent by the Prophet as you did?”

Ziyad replied, “Did you not hear what that man said? With the state that he is in, he claimed that the Prophet had sent him to me and was commanding me to marry my daughter Dhulayfa – you – to himself.”

Dhulayfa said, “I heard what he said, however I swear by Allah that Jubair is not the type of person who would openly lie against the Prophet. In any case, he was sent by the Prophet and he definitely tells the truth. You must immediately send someone to catch up to Jubair before he reaches the Prophet and conveys your reply to him and ask him to return here.”

Up until this point, it was as if Ziyad was in a deep slumber which his daughter had to wake him up from and without any questions, he immediately sent a person to go after the man from Yamamah and requested him to return. Jubair returned to the house, though Ziyad did not pay attention to the change in the mental state and confusion that Jubair was in, with open arms, he welcomed him and said, “Jubair! Thank you for coming! I request you to stay here for a little while until I return.”

Ziyad left him in the house and went to the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and told him, “O’ Messenger of Allah! May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! Jubair brought your message to me and told me that you had commanded me to marry my daughter Dhulayfa to him, however I did not show my pleasure or happiness to him and thought that I should come and speak to you that which I feel is necessary.

Our custom is that we give our daughters in marriage to a person who, from the point of view of his nobility, honour and other aspects, is at the same status of us. Therefore, in the future, a person from the Ansar who possesses these traits will be the husband of my daughter.”

The Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) replied, “Jubair is a Muslim man and a believer and in the teachings of Islam a Muslim man is the equal to a Muslim woman and any believing man is at the same status as a believing woman. Therefore, Jubair is the equal (in societal status) to your daughter and therefore, you must get them married as soon as possible and there is nothing that can excuse you from this order.”

Seeing as how Ziyad was not able to have his way (with the Prophet), he returned to his house and went directly to his daughter and told her what the Prophet said to him. His daughter replied, “Therefore, there is no choice but to comply with the order. If I go against the Prophet, then I will become a disbeliever.”

Ziyad came out of his house, took the hand of Jubair and took him to the elders and seniors of his tribe, and in their presence, married his daughter to him. The Mahr (dowry) which had been specified by the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and was agreed upon was the traditional Mahr of 500 dirham. After this, the preparations for the wedding celebration were made and the gifts that were to be given to his daughter were purchased.

The message was then passed on to Jubair that his wife was now ready for him and at this point, he was asked if he had a house. Jubair replied, “No, by Allah! I do not have my own house.” The order was then given that a house should be given to the bride and her husband and all the necessities of the house – whatever they needed – were gathered together. Two new pieces of clothing were also given to Jubair and the bride was brought to her new home in a special manner.

Jubair entered into the bridal chamber, however contrary to his expectations, he was not happy at what he saw. He looked towards his wife and then glanced around the bedroom. Looking around, he saw the gold, ornaments, rug, curtains which had all been perfumed with musk and amber which really astonished him. Without saying a word or paying any attention to his wife, he took a place in the room and until the rising of the sun, was busy in the recitation of the Qur’an and Salat. He heard the sound of the Adhan from the Masjid of the Prophet at the time of Fajr and thus made his way to the Masjid, while his wife made her Wudhu and performed her Salat at home.

In the morning, the ladies of the city all made their way to her house and being impatient as they were, wanted to hear about the night that she spent with her new husband. They proclaimed, “Dhulayfa! Did your husband come to you last night?” In a state of embarrassment, Dhulayfa said to them, “No. From the beginning of the night until morning, he was busy in the recitation of the Qur’an and in the performance of the Salat and at the breaking of dawn when he heard the Adhan, he went to the Masjid.”

The same event that happened on the first night transpired on the second night as well and during these two days, there was no physical contact between the husband and wife; however the ladies and close family members of the bride did not mention any of this to the bride’s father.

The third night ended in the same way as the first two nights and at this point, the women broke their seal of silence and told Dhulayfa’s father of what had happened. Ziyad proceeded to the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and said to him: “O’ Messenger of Allah! May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! You commanded me to marry my daughter to Jubair even though he was in no way compatible with us and was not equal to us and we still obeyed your commands and in whatever way possible, we sent the bride on her way and brought the bride to the home of our son-in-law.”

The Prophet said, “Congratulations! But have you seen something bad from him?”

Ziyad said, “This man had absolutely nothing to his name, I gave all the necessities for his house to him and gave my daughter in submission to him, however I did not expect him to act in the way that he has!”

The Prophet replied, “What has he done?”

Ziyad said, “Nothing. On the night of the wedding, Jubair entered into the room and without even paying any attention to my daughter, with a sad face, he sat in a corner of the room until the morning busy in the recitation of the Qur’an and in the performance of Salat and at the time of Fajr, he left the house. The second night was just the same as the first, however his actions were kept hidden from me. The third night passed the same as the first two nights and it was at this time that the news was given to me and now, I am coming to you so that you can intervene in this matter. This present state of affairs cannot be tolerated! I think that this man does not possess any sexual desire and has no liking for women.” Ziyad finished his talk and left.

The Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) called Jubair and asked him, “Do you not have any liking for women?” Jubair replied, “Of course I do – am I not a man? Incidentally, I have a strong inclination for women.”

The Prophet replied, “However I have been given reports that run contrary to this. I have been informed that you have been given a magnificent house will all the things that you would need including a beautiful daughter who dresses up for you and just like the branch of a flower, she is perfumed and sweet smelling, however you entered the bedroom with a grim look on your face and did not even say one word to her! Has an unexpected event come upon you?”

Jubair replied, “O’ Messenger of Allah! For many years I was alone in the Suffah. All of a sudden after my marriage, my eyes were opened to a wide, spacious house with all types of items and necessities of life and a beautiful, sweet smelling wife has been given to me. In this state, that condition that I had passed many years through came to my mind. The thoughts of poverty and misery and nakedness, being alone without anyone, living amongst the poor, destitute – all of these things came back to me one after the other. I saw it far from being just that before I make use of all these blessings that I have been given, without first thanking Allah.

It is because of this in order to thank Him and get closer to Allah, I took a corner of the room to myself and from night until morning, was busy in the recitation of the Qur’an, Ruku and Sujud; and while in the state of Sujud I would thank Allah as much as possible until I heard the sound of the Adhan and at this time, I would leave the house. I would spend the whole day in fasting until the breaking of the fast and I continued this act for the past three days.

Through all of this, I have humbled and put myself to shame in the presence of Allah and have considered these acts of mine as being trivial. However today I will put these acts to an end and tonight, with the permission of Allah, I will make my wife pleased with me.”

After hearing the words of Jubair, the Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) called Ziyad to come to him and what he had heard from Jubair was related to Ziyad. When Ziyad and his entire family heard this, they became extremely happy and these words (of Jubair from the Prophet) relieved all of the discomfort and distress that they felt.

That day passed on and the night of the fourth started, however in reality, this was the first night of their marriage. Jubair was faithful to the promise that he had made and the new groom and his bride started their happy, pleasant life together.

By acting in this manner, the Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) was trying to make it known to the unruly people of his time and even of today, that not only have we been commanded to destroy the stone and mud idols, rather even all of the irrational idols of distinction and class supremacy must be removed.

Yes! This unequalled marriage was the centre of attention for all of the people of Madinah – in fact for all of the Muslims – which formulated and made strong the spiritual power and influence of the Prophet and also brought some of the programs and plans of the religion of Islam to the practical level.

The popularity and talk that came about from this marriage had not even stopped, when the Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) dispatched a group of companions towards the battle front. Jubair who had been recently married was sent and it was during this battle that he was killed and was blessed to drink from the cup of martyrdom. His beautiful wife Dhulayfa, was thrown into mourning for the death of her husband. However, after this, Dhulayfa, like the other women did not stay a widow, rather, she received proposals from Muslims everywhere and more than any other woman, people wanted to marry her.

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Has the world forgotten?

It seems as if the world has already forgotten the 17-year-old boy who was sentenced to crucifixion in 2015. Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr, a fearless, peaceful protester that courageously demanded basic human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and now faces death by execution. Let us not forget Ali Al-Nimr is from the prominent Nimr family that has always been targeted by Saudi forces despite being peaceful citizens in Saudi Arabia. On 2nd January 2016, the world reacted to the unlawful execution of Shaykh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr, a scholar and a human rights defender from the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, from a region called Qatif. The world became aware of the brutality that takes place in Saudi Arabia. The world witnessed how the Saudi regime maintains no value for humans. The world saw the Saudi kingdom disregards minorities – but why is the world silent now?  Where are the cries for other citizens that are facing execution at a deadly rate in Saudi Arabia? Where are the voices for youth like Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr, Dawoud Al-Marhoon and Abdullah Al-Zaher, who are being executed and crucified for simply partaking in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations. Where are the protests?  What will it take for people like you and me to do whatever we can to ensure innocent lives are protected?

Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr was denied a fair trial, and later he was denied legal representation at his hearings. Ali Al-Nimr, just like others were tortured into signing a false confession – this is the justice system of Saudi Arabia. To not have your suffering recognised is an unbearable form of violence.

The Saudi kingdom has proven time and time again that human beings are worthless to them. There are millions of civilians displaced and dying of starvation in Yemen, there are hundreds of Shi’a citizens being butchered by Saudi-backed militia in Bahrain, there were thousands killed during the Hajj pilgrimage in 2015 – but our governments refuse to cut ties with this monstrous regime. It has been made crystal clear that our governments value oil and other advancements more than humans – this is the disgusting state of the world we live in. But despite this, we must remember our responsibilities, especially as the followers of Imam Ali (as) – a man known for his justice. As we are aware, justice is an essential pillar of Islam, and thus we must call for justice and freedom at every given opportunity.

Today, we are distracted by social media, celebrities, television, and other issues, but it is about time we prioritise what is important. The struggle of Aba Abdillah (as) on the plains of Karbala should make us remember our goals in this life. While we sit with our loved ones and enjoy spending quality time with our families – while there are others sitting in prison cells not knowing if they will be alive the next day. Ali Al-Nimr, the nephew of Shaykh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr, will be killed, and it is our duty to do everything in our power to stop this. Let us remember that prisoners such as Ali Al-nimr, and other youth are made to feel psychologically invalidated; and for those who have studied psychology in depth would understand how lethal psychological invalidation is; for it kills confidence, creativity, and individuality.

What can one do?

  • Raise awareness. It may seem daft, but discussing the issue on a social media platform can do wonders. Many of us feel embarrassed at times from discussing certain issues that others may be uncomfortable with – but the truth is, we shouldn’t worry because there are tonnes of others who share our sentiments. If we share the facts and educate others, we will be one step closer to achieving our goals. Let’s not forget, encouraging others to take a stand only strengths a cause further, and right now we need all the support we can get, especially when the Saudi regime is spreading propaganda at a new level!
  • Act. How many of us can agree that we have taken part in activities to support the oppressed? How many of us can raise our hands to say we attended events/demonstrations calling for an end to oppression? This is something to ponder upon. Taking the initiative is extremely important, especially at a time when various entities are working to either distract us or to eliminate our voices. When there is a demonstration – go to it! Don’t stay at home when you can be involved in such an important cause. If you see a petition that is very important, don’t scroll past it – sign it, then share it so others can sign it too! If you know who your government representative is, write to them! As constituents, we have the right to communicate with our local representative and make sure you demand a written response from them too. If you live in the UK, you can find you local MP here
  • Encourage others to support a cause. Dialogue is a key factor in activism. There is no harm in discussing key political issues with your friends and family, especially if you’re used to discussing the same topics – just change it up a bit! Ask your friends if they’re aware of a certain issue, share opinions, think of strategies to tackle issues, share content that you find beneficial, there are so many ways to encourage each other to work in the right direction – but it starts with you! We have to remember the bigger picture in everything that we do.
  • Pray. Praying for the oppressed is paramount. When we pray for our friends and family, we should pray for those who need our help too. There are specific supplications we can recite for the oppressed

By Afreen Rizvi

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Ayatollah Shaheed Mutahhari: Two Types of Responsibilities

Of course, that particular action has been ordered to be performed (by Allah (s.w.t.)) and there is a reason for it, however we are not responsible for the outcome or the result of the action.  These sorts of actions are referred to as Taʿabudiyat (issues that have been legislated which we must follow as acts of worship).  It is these sorts of actions which we can also refer to as those which are the “Responsibility of the Form and Shape of the Actions”.

For example, the Salat is an act which has a specified introductory act related to it (Wudhu, Tayammum, Ghusl) and conditions (relating to it); it has certain particular provisions and parts to it; there are also specified things which must not be performed and certain things which invalidate the prayers.  We have been commanded to perform the Salat regardless of the circumstances, and in its particular shape and form it is the purest form of obeying the orders of Allah (s.w.t.).  Of course though, this act of the Salat in its’ particular form has been ordered for a result or outcome – there is a direct corollary in the performance of this act:

 إِنَّ  الصَّلاَةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ  الْفَحْشَاءِ وَ  الْمُنكَرِ

“Surely the Salat keeps a person away from evil and wickedness.” [1]

We are simply accountable for carrying out this act and are not responsible for the outcome that this act will produce.  If we perform the act in the correct and complete way as it has been shown to us and how we have been ordered to perform it, then naturally the outcome (distancing ourselves from evil and wickedness) will follow.

The second type of responsibility which we have within the faith of Islam is referred to as the “Responsibility of the Outcome.”  By this we mean that the outcome or end result of the act is also the responsibility of the person.  Just like a person sometimes says, ‘I want such and such of an outcome for this act of mine.’

However as for how that outcome will come about – through what channels and preliminary steps, by what conditions and how these will all be carried out – we must state that they should be carried out in the best possible way, however there is not one single, firm and describable way that it must be done.  Rather, the ways, methods and through what channels this outcome can come about changes with time and place.

Let me give you an example.  Let us suppose that you have a difficulty – for example, one of your friends is in prison.  There is a time where you expect a specific task to be completed from a specific person in relation to this trouble that you and your friend are in.  For example, your friend gives another person a letter and tells him to make sure that he gives this letter to a particular person – and that too at a certain time.  Obviously we can say that this letter was written for a purpose and goal, however the other party is only responsible to deliver the letter to the person whom you specified.

Another time, you want to reach the outcome by yourself directly and thus, have no need for the preliminary steps.  You tell your friend that you want him to help you get out of prison – however through what ways and means should be used – these are not specified by you.  The person himself must go and see what the best way is to carry out this task.

Usually, these sorts of responsibilities take form where the means to carry out the task is not of one type – meaning that the mode varies.  In one instance, the person must make use of a particular way and method, and at another time, he must make use of another method – the specialties of the time and place that he is in and in addition, the other particulars, may differ.  In these sorts of instances, the person must sit down, ponder, think and come up with the best possible means to reach an outcome.

Within the religion of Islam, we have both types of responsibilities.  The Salat (prayers) and Sawm (fasting) and all other acts of worship make up the first form of responsibility; and things such as Jihad (the sacred defense of Muslims and the Muslim territory) form the second type of responsibility.  In relation to Jihad, the Muslims have an obligation to defend the nucleus of Islam and to protect the freedom of the Muslims – however through what means?  Do they defend the cause with a sword, gun or something else?  These things have not been specified and in principle, these sorts of things are not able to be specified and generalized!  In each and every age, the Muslims are obligated to choose the best ways and methods to carry out this task (of defence):

) وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَّا  اسْتَطَعْـتُمْ مِّنْ قُوَّةٍ وَ مِنْ رِّبَاطِ  الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ  اللٌّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ  اللٌّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ  اللٌّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَ أَنْـتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ (

“Make ready your strength against them to the utmost of your power including steeds of war to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides whom you may not know but whom Allah does know.  Whatever you shall spend in the cause of Allah will be repaid back to you and you shall not be treated unjustly” [2]

Thus we must see – what is the best form or method of guidance in each and every time and era?
The issue of guidance and leadership is related to the second form of responsibility mentioned.  The Muslims are responsible for the guidance of one another.  Each generation is responsible for the guidance of the next generation – especially those people who are officially recognized as the leaders of the society – they have a much greater duty.

In any case, this outcome – meaning that of finding the mode and way of guidance – must be realized.  However as for the ways and methods which should be used to reach to this goal, these have not been specified or earmarked for specific times and or for eternity.
The noble verse of the Qurʾan states:

) يَا أَيُّهَا  الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَاراً وَقُودُهَا  النَّاسُ وَ  الْحِجَارَةُ (

“O’ you who possess true faith!  Save yourselves and your families from the fire of hell whose fuel is that of mankind and stones!” [3]

This verse means that we must protect ourselves and our families from the fire of hell whose fuel is men and stones.  Thus, we see that there is an outcome that we must reach which is to save ourselves and our families, however the way to reach this outcome has not been specified.
In Islam, there is no complete, 100% correct method of guidance and leadership that has been specified in which all of the parts – including the introductory steps, forms, conditions and things which must be performed have been mentioned.  In principle these things cannot be specified and brought forth since they differ (according to the time and place that one is living in).

The (general) leadership of the people is not like the Salat which is a matter of obedience to Allah (s.w.t.) or for example the recitation of incantations and spells in which the person would simply memorize that which he wishes to recite to charm and control scorpions or snakes where any time a scorpion or snake would come around the person, he would recite the things which he has memorized to keep away or to tame the predator – meaning that there is no specific method which can be employed in these regards.

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Ayatollah Shaheed Mutahhari: The abandonment of the Qur’an

Today, we have a complaint that we must address to this new generation which is: Why are they not acquainted with the Qurʾan?  Why are they not being taught the Qurʾan in their schools?  Even if we go to the Universities, we see that the (Muslim) university students cannot even recite the Qurʾan!  Of course it is unfortunate that this has occurred however we must ask ourselves, “What steps have we taken to help them in this path?”

Do we assume that with the lessons of Fiqh, Shariʿah and Qurʾan which are being taught in the Islamic schools (Madaris) that this is enough for the new generation to become completely acquainted with the Qurʾan?

What is more amazing is that the previous generations were also distanced from and had abandoned the Qurʾan – and then we wish to complain to the new generation why they have not developed a relationship with the Qurʾan!?  Without doubt, the Qurʾan has truly been alienated from ourselves and then we still expect the new generation to hol[7]d onto the Qurʾan!?

At this point, we will prove to the readers how we have alienated ourselves from this Sacred Book.
If a person’s knowledge is that of the science of the Qurʾan – meaning that he does a lot of contemplation upon the contents of the Qurʾan and if he knows the complete interpretation of the Qurʾan, how much respect would such a person have amongst us?  None.  However, if a person was to know “Kifayah” [1] of Akhund Mullah Kadhim Khurasani, then he would be respected and would be considered as one with integrity.

Thus, the Qurʾan is truly unknown and has become distanced from us and this is the same complaint that the Qurʾan itself will proclaim!
We are all included in the protests and objections of the Messenger of Allah (S) when he complains to Allah (s.w.t.):

) يٌا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي  اتَّخَذُوا هٌذَا  الْقُرٌآنَ مَهْجُوراً (

“O’ my Lord!  Surely MY nation took this Qurʾan as something trivial.” [2]

Approximately one month ago [3] one of our own great scholars had gone to the holy cities (in ʿIraq) and narrates that he visited Ayatullah Khuʾi (q.d.s.).  He said to the Ayatullah, “Why have you stopped the lessons in Tafsir which you were previously giving?” [4]   The Ayatullah replied to him that there were many obstacles and difficulties in offering classes on Tafsir of the Qurʾan.  This scholar then told Ayatullah Khuʿi (q.d.s.), “ʿAllamah Taba’taba’i (q.d.s.) has continued his classes on Tafsir of the Qurʾan in Qum and thus, most of his time is  spent in this area of study and research.”  Ayatullah Khuʿi replied, “Ayatullah Taba’taba’i has sacrificed himself – he has withdrawn himself from the society” – and he is right.

It is amazing that in the most sensitive issues of the religion, if we see a person who sacrifices his entire life to study the Qurʾan, then he will fall into thousands of difficulties and problems from the point of view of his food, overall life, his character (within the society), his respect and he will be removed from and deprived of many things.  However, if he was to spend his entire life in the study of books such as “Kifayah”, then he would be worthy of receiving everything!

Thus, in summary, we can find thousands of people who know “Kifayah” very well.  They also know the replies to the points brought up in “Kifayah” and they even know the replies to the replies that have been given – and they even know the replies to the replies of the replies of “Kifayah” however we cannot find even two people who know the Qurʾan properly!  If you ask any scholar about a verse of the Qurʾan, they will say that they must go back and refer to the Tafsir of the Qurʾan.

What is even more amazing than this is that the older generation has acted in this regards to the Qurʾan, however we had higher hopes that the new generation of the youth would be able to read the Qurʾan, understand it and act upon it!

If the previous generations had not strayed away from the Qurʾan, then without doubt, this new generation too would not have been led astray from the path of the Qurʾan.  Thus, it is ourselves who have acted in this way to earn the wrath and curse of the Prophet (S) and the Qurʾan.

In relation to the Qurʾan, the Noble Messenger (S) has stated:

إِنَّهُ شٌافِعٌ مُشَفَّعٌ وَ مٌاحِلُ مُصَدَّقٌ

By this we mean that in the presence of Allah (s.w.t.), the Qurʾan is an intercessor and its intercession will be accepted and in relation to those people who ignore the Qurʾan, it will complain (to Allah (s.w.t.)) and its complaints will be accepted as well. [5]

It is both the older generation and even the newer generation who have done an injustice to the Qurʾan and continue to do so.  It is the previous generation who had initiated this act of ignoring the Qurʾan, and it is the newer generation who are continuing in their footsteps.
This in conclusion, in the issue of the leadership of the youth, more than anything else, there are two things which we must do:

1) We must first recognize that which is troubling this generation.  Once we have done this, then we can sit and think of the cure and remedy for their problems, since without knowing what is troubling them, it is not possible to go forth and cure the illness.

2) The second thing is that the older generation must first correct themselves.  The older generation must ask forgiveness for the greatest sin which they have committed and that is that they have left and ignored the Qurʾan.  We must all return back to this Qurʾan and place the Qurʾan in front of us and then march forward under the shadow of the guidance of the Qurʾan so that we will be able to reach to happiness and perfection. !

Selection of Ahadith

1) قال رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: ألشباب شعبة من الجنون.

1. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The period of the youth is from the stages of obsession.” [6]

2) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: جهل الشاب معذور وعلمه محقور.

2. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib  (a.s.) has said: “The ignorance of the young person is excusable and his knowledge is limited.” [7]

3) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: شيئان لا يعرف فضلهما إلاّ من فقدهما: ألشّباب والعافية.

3. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib  (a.s.) has said: “There are two things which people do not recognize the greatness of until they lose them: their youth and good health.” [8]

[1]  This is one of the major books in the field of Usulul Fiqh that students of the Theological Seminary need to study as they progress in their studies to reach the highest level of learning – Ba`thul Kharij. (Tr.) [2] Surah al-Furqan (25), Verse 30 [3] From when this lecture was originally given in 1963. (Tr.) [4] It has been narrated that Ayatullah Khu`i was offering classes in Tafsir of the Qurʾan some 8 or  9 years ago in Najaf, some of which were also printed in book form. [5] Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Page 599 [6] Al-Ikhtisas, Page 343 [7] Ghururul Hikm, Hadith 4768 [8] Ibid., Hadith 5764

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