21 December 2021 (16th night of Jamadil Auwal 1443)
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid,
Ottery, Cape Town
by Sheikh Dr Morteza Agha Muhammadi
Our dearest mother, Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) has duas (supplications) for every day of the week, from Saturday to Friday. Today being Tuesday, I decided to elaborate on her dua for Tuesdays. One striking feature of Lady Fatima (s.a) is that she has very short sentences but deeply profound, with a wide range of key insights ranging from the social and psychological perspectives.
Her dua for Tuesdays reads as follows:
اَللّٰہُمَّ اجْعَلْ غَفْلَۃَ النَّاسِ لَنَا ذِکْرًا، وَاجْعَلْ ذِکْرَہُمْ لَنَا شُکْرًا،
O Allah, make the negligence of people as means of remembrance for us, and make their remembrance the rank of thankfulness for us.
وَاجْعَلْ صَالِحَ مَا نَقُولُ بِاَلْسِنَتِنَا نِیَّۃً فی قُلُوبِنَا۔
Whatever good things we utter with our tongue, make them rooted in the heart
اَللّٰہُمَّ اِنَّ مَغْفِرَتَکَ اَوْسَعُ مِنْ ذُنُوبِنَا، وَرَحْمَتَکَ اَرْجٰی عِنْدَنَا مِنْ اَعْمَالِنَا،
O Allah, verily the plenteousness of your forgiveness has enough room to absorb our sins, and we rely more on your mercy than on our good deeds.
اللّٰہُمَّ صَلِّ عَلٰی مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، وَ وَفِّقْنَا لِصَالِحِ الْاَعْمَالِ وَالصَّوابِ مِنَ الْفِعَالِ۔
O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and on his family and enable us to do good deeds worthy of rewards.
NEGLIGENCE: THE SLIPPERY SLOPE TOWARDS SPIRITUAL DECLINE
In this dua, Lady Fatima (s.a) focuses on negligence, and the grave dangers it presents to the spiritual life of a human being, to the extent where Almighty Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran that negligence can sometimes even lead to Kufr (disbelief)!
Almighty Allah (SWT) talks about those who do not ponder and reflect, as the worst of the worst in verse 179 of Surah A’araaf (chapter 7 of the Holy Quran), saying they are worse than cattle, because we human beings have the capacity to think but are negligent.
وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ ۖ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones.
NEGLIGENCE ENSLAVES US MENTALLY AS THE CANNON FODDER TO THE EVIL OPPRESSORS
We are living at a time where all the media, politics and international powers are all competing to make us human beings negligent! So, the liberal culture is mainly focused on negligence.
When Almighty Allah (SWT) speaks about Fir’oun and Nimrod in verse 54 of Surah Zukhruf (chapter 43 of the Holy Quran), and how the people accepted them as gods and worshipped them, despite how they humiliated and demoralized the people, to the point where the people lost their self-respect and identity and lose the meaning of being a human being. This is the state where you are likely to do mean things.
فَاسْتَخَفَّ قَوْمَهُ فَأَطَاعُوهُ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ
Thus did he make fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly were they a people rebellious (against Allah).
Fir’oun and Nimrod realized that they need to take away people’s self-respect, in order to provoke them to do mean things. Contrast this with the person who has self-respect and dignity. Such a person will never give up to humiliation or mean things.
This is one of the main messages of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and Imam Hussain (a.s) in particular. We constantly hear about this when we commemorate the tragedy of Karbala every year, where Imam Hussain (a.s) said that a person like him, with such dignity, cannot live a life of humiliation. We all know that famous revolutionary statement where Imam Hussain (a.s) said that death with dignity is better than life under humiliation!
THE POWERFUL MEDIA AND THEIR MIND CONTROL
Liberal culture today simply brainwashes people, by humiliating people by the definition they give to human beings! Who could believe that one day people will pay to wear torn clothes, such as ripped jeans for example? People will pay for this and wear it proudly! This is an indicator of a reality that people are deprived of their wisdom and intellect.
This is one factor explaining the human civilizational destruction, where people simply follow the fashion blindly! The same applies when people search for famous brands, and do not pay attention to whether the brand is good for them or not. They would wear it because it is the cool thing to do, and they need to display the brand with pride!
Therefore, we are living in a time of very high negligence, where people are taken away from the proper understanding of themselves. This is what the media of the liberal culture will do to people and create increased levels of negligence.
Different factors and elements may create negligence in human beings. The Holy Quran says sometimes wealth brings negligence – the mutrafin (affluent/elite) as the Holy Quran calls them. Similarly, power and arrogance bring negligence. Example, Fir’oun use to say that he does not consider any other than himself as the lord!
OUR LIMITED TIME IN THIS WORLD IS OUR CAPITAL THAT WILL BE SQUANDERED THROUGH NEGLIGENCE
The traditions of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) teach us to read the Holy Quran with a sense of sorrow, as someone who is deeply concerned for himself. Such a person would reflect and be worried about their state in this life, concerned about what are they gaining and losing with the limited time we have in this life.
There was a commentator of the Holy Quran who explained that one day he went to the market and saw people selling ice. Now, in those days, one had to go the mountain to collect ice for resale, and if you do not manage to sell all your ice, then it would naturally melt, and you are left with nothing remaining to monetize for your hard work of going to collect ice and trying to sell in the market.
This commentator of the Holy Quran said that in the market, he would hear the ice seller call out loud “Oh people show mercy to the one whose capital is melting”! It was an advertising pitch to say that he is going to lose if people do not buy his ice.
This commentator of the Holy Quran concludes that this experience is the best interpretation of verse 2 of Surah al-Asr (chapter 103 of the Holy Quran):
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
Most surely man is in loss.
Now, to bring the point home, we have a piece of ice with us every day. If we do not “sell it” to Allah (SWT), then it is melting away. It matters what “compensation” I received today for any good deeds I “sold” to Almighty Allah (SWT), or did I let my piece of ice melt away, such that I squandered an opportunity to please Almighty Allah (SWT)?!
Therefore, negligence is such a very serious problem we have today. People are not suffering as much from ignorance, compared to how much they are suffering from negligence. And it is the media which is making us like this. It is clearly evident when you see people in public, more often than not they are busy on their phones, flipping between different social media platforms, instead of communicating with those they are hanging out with.
ISLAM ENCOURAGES DAILY TIME FOR REFLECTION
In the liberal culture, you are recommended to not be alone, because amusement is not meant for one to be in isolation, as being alone is very frightening for human beings.
Alfred Adler is one of the outstanding Austrian psychologists of our modern time. He has his own school of thought in psychology and provokes people to do philanthropic actions. His point is that we should help others, as that serves to get rid of our own psychological sufferings. He says that when we help others, we are consumed in thinking about their problems, and end up forgetting about our own problems. Thus, it makes for a happy day when we do not need to think about ourselves!
He therefore encourages us to find ways to help others, in order to not think about ourselves. According to him, this is the recipe to be happy! So, you help others to be free from being alone, having to deal with your own self.
Now, contrary to this in Islam, we have been provoked to have privacy every day with ourselves, for some qualitative thinking, as that generates a true measuring scale in our lives.
Ayatollah Noori Hamadani is one of our contemporary jurists, and narrated an interesting story, saying that one night, Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a) was his guest. Since it was night-time, Ayatollah Noori Hamadani prepared the room for Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a) to perform Salaatul Layl.
Ayatollah Noori Hamadani saw him just sitting on the prayer rug, and so he went to the family room to give Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a) some privacy to pray. After a while, Ayatollah Noori Hamadani returned and expected to see Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a) performing Salaah or reading Quran or duas, but still saw him sitting on the prayer rug, doing nothing.
Afterwards, Ayatollah Noori Hamadani queried this with Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a), saying that he was confused at observing him doing nothing on the prayer rug. Shaheed Ayatollah Mutahhari (r.a) responded by saying that he dedicates time every night to think about himself and the day that passed!
ISLAM LIBERATES US TO THINK OBJECTIVELY
A true believer (mu’min) is skilled with the capability to think, and to reflect on oneself, which is the most important review one should build into the roundup of the day. Tafakkur – as referred to several times in the Holy Quran.
This is when one reflects on the different forms of creation, such as trees or material things, and it reminds us of the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah). This is where you, for example, see your resurrection in the table in front of you, etc.
The point is about not suppressing our need to think and reflect, and Islam provokes us to think and reflect upon ourselves as being the most important thing to do every day, because the worst loss to suffer from is to lose yourself!
THREE APPROACHES IN DEALING WITH NEGLIGENCE
Coming back to the Dua of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) for Tuesdays, where she appeals to Almighty Allah (SWT) for the negligence of others to be a source of reminding us. Let us dissect this further. Usually, people have three approaches towards negligence:
1. Justifying your negligence as being small compared to the widespread evil in society; or
2. Taking negligence to the next level ie. become more negligent than those before you; or
3. Negligence of others is a reminder to us of the greater purpose.
When you are in an atmosphere where people are neglectful eg. people disregard Sharia principles in the market, halaal and haraam have been mixed, corruption is widespread when following the official way of getting things done, etc.
What usually happens is that the way people judge or rationalize is that it is fine for me to do as everyone is doing it. Example, my friend obtained billions through Haraam means, so then what is the big deal if I gained a couple thousand in the process?!
This mentality is due to us being fooled into being driven by this dunya (material world). We see this with looting after an unruly public protest, and if I decide to also steal something small, then nobody is going to arrest me because everyone in the crowd is doing it.
This means that nobody is going to charge me when the crime is public, and this is how we usually justify our wrongful actions.
Let me explain this with a simple example. Sometimes, a teacher will have a class of boys and girls and the whole class is quiet. Then suddenly, a naughty boy or girl enters the class and starts making a noise. You will see that those kids who were silent all along will now suddenly be making a noise as well, following the naughty student!
The mentality is that this student who is making a noise is not being reprimanded by the teacher, and therefore, the others in the class feel that it is OK for them to make a noise as well, perhaps to a lesser extent, as they will also not be reprimanded. This mentality is the unfortunate dilemma in society.
Almighty Allah (SWT) rejects this mentality in verse 94 of Surah An’aam (chapter 6 of the Holy Quran):
وَلَقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا فُرَادَىٰ كَمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَتَرَكْتُمْ مَا خَوَّلْنَاكُمْ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِكُمْ ۖ وَمَا نَرَىٰ مَعَكُمْ شُفَعَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّهُمْ فِيكُمْ شُرَكَاءُ ۚ لَقَدْ تَقَطَّعَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْكُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ
And certainly you have come to Us alone as We created you at first, and you have left behind your backs the things which We gave you, and We do not see with you your intercessors about whom you asserted that they were (Allah’s) associates in respect to you; certainly the ties between you are now cut off and what you asserted is gone from you.
Here, Almighty Allah (SWT) is reminding us that it is only us and Him, and all other dependencies are unreliable. Hence, what Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) is saying is that people are negligent when they see others as being negligent!
The second approach to negligence is when people take negligence to the next level, meaning they become worse than the negligence they see! So, they show off in an attempt to be noticed, by acting worse. There are numerous examples we can mention in this regard.
The third approach, which Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) prefers to choose is for the negligence of others to be a reminder to her of the greater purpose. The logic can be explained that, when I do something wrong or evil, based on my conceit or self-interest, I tend to justify it.
REMINDING YOURSELF OF NEGLIGENCE TAKES ONE TOWARDS PERFECTION
An example is when I may remind you not to do the wrong act you just did, but if I do the same thing, I tend to find a great excuse to justify it. This happens when we love ourselves and try to justify our evil acts as a result. However, because I do not have the same level of love for others (compared to the love of myself), I easily see the evil nature of the action when it is committed by another person. Hence, I will try not to follow or practice it.
This is the approach of a person who is looking for perfection. The point is that this is the approach of a person who finds him/herself in a struggle, searching for something. Again, all these things go back to your definition of human being. This is the most central issue in all of humanity, including Islamic studies. In fact, more important than the Holy Quran or matters pertaining to our ideological belief system.
Unfortunately, we do not give it the prioritized attention, and that is to study the human being! If I find a proper definition of the human being, then I will know who Almighty Allah (SWT) is, after I know who I am. Only after I know who I am, will I truly appreciate and accept our ideological position.
That is why our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his holy Ahlul Bait (a.s) have recorded in more than 30 Hadiths, saying “whoever knows him/herself knows his/her Lord (SWT)”! This means that if you do not have a proper understanding of yourself, you will not have a proper understanding of anything else.
So, if you know who you are, then you will know what the Holy Quran is, which Almighty Allah (SWT) describes as our story! This means that the Nabi Ibrahim (a.s) is inside of us, and the Fir’oun is also inside of us!
When we have a proper remembrance (dhikr) of yourself, then you will have the proper dhikr of Almighty Allah (SWT) and everything else.
So, if we adopt such an approach towards ourselves, then we will have the outlook which Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) analyses things. If all people are negligent, then I want to be amongst those who are awake and mindful, and if people are awake and mindful then I want to be from those who are thankful to Allah (SWT), as Lady Fatima (s.a) explains in the first line of this most thought-provoking dua for Tuesdays.
This is when you are not only on the right path, but rather, you are approaching the climax of the journey towards Allah (SWT).
This is a taste of the profound duas by Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a) which requires deep reflection for our own spiritual empowerment and upliftment. May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant us all the opportunity to know these teachings well, from the Ahlul Bait (a.s), and implement them in our practical lives.
PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE THIS POST