Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 31 May 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
So in the past 2 nights we discussed the importance of Imaan as a foundation of Noble Moral Character and elaborated on the levels that one can reach in one’s spiritual journey.
It should be noted that there’s much more to discuss on the issue of Imaan which we did not have time to delve into.
And even though that was a fascinating discussion, tonight you will see that one can journey even further.
We now thus move to the next request of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) in Dua Makarimul Akhlaq when he speaks about the issue of Yaqeen.
So the Imam asks Almighty Allah:
وَاجْعَلْ يَقِينِي أَفْضَلَ الْيَقِينِ،
“make my certainty the most excellent certainty.”
WHAT IS YAQEEN?
The term “Yaqeen” has different understandings and applications.
Literally when speaking about Yaqeen, as defined by Khwaja Nasirudin Tusi (r.a), it is a compound of two things:
– being certain about something; and
-being certain that something contrary to that is impossible
So in the case of Allah you have knowledge about Allah and are absolutely sure with no doubt that Allah exists and are sure that contrary to that is not possible.
Sometimes Yaqeen is used for the same term “knowledge” – where you know something and then have Imaan in it. In other words this knowledge comes before Imaan. But in the case of Yaqeen, it is a knowledge that is much higher than Imaan.
There’s a narration from the 6th Imam Saadiq (a.s) wherein he says that “Imaan is higher than Islam and Taqwa is higher than Imaan and Yaqeen is higher than Taqwa”.
Yaqeen is thus something else and we need to try to unravel what Yaqeen really is.
TWO CATEGORIES OF YAQEEN
Yaqeen is divided into 2 categories:
– Theoretical Yaqeen; and
– Practical Yaqeen
Theoretical certainty is when, through concrete argument and proof, you get to a conclusion about something like the process one follows in Mathematics.
Mathematics is a good example as a mathematical argument gives one a concrete result. When we say 2 plus 2 = 4, there is not even the smallest possibility that it can be 5 or something else. This is a conclusion with Yaqeen – it is 4 and we simultaneously believe it cannot be something else.
Then you have Practical Yaqeen which is also known as Spiritual Yaqeen or Yaqeen by heart. That is when this theoretical argument which is concrete is absorbed into your existence in a manner that your body surrenders to this certainty.
Thus lots of people can have concrete arguments about the existence of God but practically you don’t see any sign of belief in them. That’s because the Theoretical Yaqeen did not translate into Practical Yaqeen.
Practical Yaqeen is Imaan and is considered the most basic and primary level of Yaqeen. Thus in narrations we find that when the Imams were asked “what is Yaqeen”, that they would answer that “Yaqeen is Imaan and Imaan is Yaqeen.”
But the Yaqeen we speaking about is something more higher than that.
YAQEEN OF PROPHET IBRAHIM (A.S)
There is a very beautiful story about Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) in Surah Baqarah Verse 2:260 which says:
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِـي الْمَوْتَى قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قَالَ بَلَى وَلَـكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي
“And when Abraham said: ‘ My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead ‘, He said: ‘Do you not believe?’ ‘Yes’, said Abraham, ‘but to make my heart at ease.'”
So even though Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) undoubtedly believed, he wanted his heart to be satisfied. In other words he had intellectual Yaqeen and Imaan, but he was not satisfied with his status of “itminaan” and thus was asking Allah to show him how Almighty Allah gives life to the dead.
Thus Yaqeen is something that brings “itminaan” or tranquility/peace/satisfaction to the heart.
PEOPLE OF IMAAN COMPARED TO PEOPLE OF ITMINAAN
The Quran speaks about people of Imaan and people of Itminan rather differently.
We read in Surah Baqarah Verse 25:
وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِين آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ
“And (O’ Muhammad) give glad tidings to those who have Faith and do good deeds that for them are gardens…”
Thus the people of Imaan are promised gardens of paradise in a general way.
But when Quran speaks about people of Yaqeen it says something different.
We read in Verses 27 to 30 of Surah Fajr:
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ
ارْجِعِي إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً
فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي
27. “(It will be said to some) O, you serene soul!”
28. “Come back to your Lord well-pleased (with Him) and well-pleasing (Him),”
29. “So enter among My servants,”
30.”And enter into My Garden.”
This serene/tranquil/peaceful soul is one that has Yaqeen and is thus addressed as “nasfi mutma’in”.
Allah is happy with them and they are pleased with Allah and they are not just promised paradise in a general manner but are promised jannah or paradise in a special manner when Allah says “Enter into MY jannah or garden”….that is a special paradise!
DID PROPHET IBRAHIM NOT HAVE YAQEEN?
Safwan is a distinguished companion of the 8th Imam Reza (a.s). He asked the Imam about the same verse of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s): “Was there doubt in the heart of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) that caused him to ask Allah to show him how He gives life to the dead?”
Imam Reza (a.s) replied: “There was no doubt in his heart, but he wanted Allah to increase his Yaqeen”.
Again indirectly we understand from this verse that Yaqeen comes from Allah whereas Imaan is due to our free will and thus Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) asked for it.
YAQEEN IN THE HEREAFTER
We read in Surah Baqarah Verse 3 to 4:
الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
والَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ
3. “Who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend (in charity) of what We have provided them.”
4. “And who believe in what has been revealed to you (Muhammad), and what has been sent down (to other apostles) before you; and of the Hereafter they are certain.”
Notice how the best of people are said to have Imaan in Allah and the Prophet (sawa), but in the hereafter they have Yaqeen as the verse says “those who believe and in hereafter they have Yaqeen”.
Yaqeen in Hereafter is crucial as it directs your deeds in this life. If we have Yaqeen in all the levels of accountability in the Hereafter, then we will act very differently.
THE YOUNG COMPANION WHO HAD YAQEEN
In Al- Kafi there is a narration of an incident when Prophet Muhammad (sawa) came across a very young man who was very weak and shaking and his skin was touching his bones. Prophet Muhammad (sawa) found him in mosque and asked him about his condition.
The young man replied ” Oh Messenger of Allah! I reached to station of Yaqeen.” Prophet Muhammad (sawa) asked him “to explain what is Yaqeen and how you feel in this state?”
He replied that “I see in front of me jannah and people enjoying it and I see jahannam and people being punished”…and he was shaking when saying this.
Prophet (sawa) commented “Allah has enlightened the heart of this young man with Nur and Light of Yaqeen”.
Thus at the stage of Yaqeen you can see the embodiment of action taking a form in front of you with it’s very own reality.
When we see someone doing something wrong we only see the wrong act from an external perspective, but when someone with Yaqeen sees a wrong act being committed, they see the inner reality of that act manifest.
One day in Ramadaan a group of women came to the Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and he offered them food! In utter surprise they said to the Prophet (sawa) that it’s Ramadaan and they are fasting. He then responded that they had earlier just eaten meat and they said they further responded that they are poor and cannot afford meat.
The Prophet (sawa) then said bring me a bucket and then told the women to cause themselves to vomit and then they found that they vomited pieces of meat out.
He then explained to that that it was due to backbiting as the reality of backbiting is that one eats the dead flesh of someone.
This all occurred as Prophet Muhammad (sawa) could see the reality of their actions due to having Yaqeen.
DEGREES OF YAQEEN
Yaqeen, like Imaan also have levels. Urafa have given at least 3 levels of Yaqeen.
Firstly there is Ilmul Yaqeen.
This is when you know something through argument and proof. Example when you see smoke and know there is fire – the smoke gave you certainty there is fire. This is having sound/firm knowledge through a sign.
Secondly there is Haqqul Yaqeen
Here is when you don’t focus on seeing the sign but you see the thing itself. In the case of fire, you did not see the smoke and then conclude that there must have been a fire but you saw the fire itself and became sure there is a fire.
The third level of Yaqeen is called Ainul Yaqeen.
Here your level of certainty is like when you put your hand in the fire itself and your hand burns- you don’t just see it.
Our Yaqeen of Allah can be on these levels – sometimes we reach certainty of Allah’s Existence through evidence and various proofs.
Or sometimes through kashf and shuhood or the mystical way you find Allah.
And the 3rd level of having Yaqeen of Allah I leave for you to think about as expressing oneself about this can be misunderstood – but think about it as the one who touches the fire!
Achieving this is out of the reach of most people. We learn from a narration of the 6th Imam Saadiq (a.s) wherein he says that of Allah’s blessing which is least distributed is Yaqeen. This means there are very few people who have this Blessing of Yaqeen.
Thus Imam Zainul Abideen asks Allah for Yaqeen that is best of Yaqeen.
To be continued…………