Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 13 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
IMPORTANCE OF NIGHTS OF QADR
First of all I would like to draw your attention to the importance of these probable nights of Qadr which are nights of Ibadat, Tawbah, istigfaar and returning to Almighty Allah.
We need to be thankful to Almighty Allah who once again gave us this opportunity in our lifetime to be enjoying the blessings of this great month of Ramadaan and in this month to be enjoying the favours of Almighty Allah in these probable Nights of Qadr.
There is no secret to the importance of the Nights of Qadr. We repeatedly recite Surah Qadr in our salaah to remind us of how Almighty Allah views this month when He says in Verse 2:
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ
“And what do you know what the Night of Power is?”
This means we cannot capture the greatness of the Night of Qadr.
Insha’Allah we will reserve a more detailed discussion about Surah Qadr for the 23rd Night which is the most probable night of Qadr.
However the point that needs to be appreciated is that these probable nights should not be taken lightly as we do not know whether we will be around next year – whether we are young or old, healthy or sick, rich or poor.
AHLUL BAIT (A.S) ARE BEST MANIFESTATIONS OF GOOD AKHLAQ
For over 2 weeks now we have been discussing Dua Makarimul Akhlaq in an attempt to try to understand this great Dua of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s). Unfortunately we have not progressed very far due to this Dua being rich in content and meaning and the discomfort I feel in simply bypassing certain finer points in the Dua without highlighting them.
However we will keep going in our attempt to gather as many pearls of wisdom on spirituality as possible within our limited capacity.
We have seen how the Imam discusses issues from Imaan to Yaqeen and Intention and various other issues up to the matter of living a life of permanent obedience to Almighty Allah that we discussed last night.
The beauty of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) is that in addition to teaching us about what Excellent Moral Character is, their lives are the best manifestation of such Character.
In the lecture on the life of Imam Hassan (a.s) which we delivered on the night wherein we commemorated his birth, we tried to show how such Excellent Moral Character was manifested in his life.
And tonight we are commemorating the Assassination of his father who is the father of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and the father of the orphans of Kufa and caretaker of its widows and the oppressed, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s).
AKHLAQ OF IMAM ALI (A.S)
What can a person say about the Akhlaq of Imam Ali (a.s)?
If you remember we discussed in the first parts of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq how the Imam places great emphasis on “tawaadu” or humility.
With the magnitude of virtue that Imam Ali (a.s) enjoyed, his level of humility cannot be imagined. In front of people and the masses, he is humble whether he was confined to his home during the difficult years after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (sawa), or when he was in the position of power as Khalifa of the whole state.
These changes of his personal circumstances did change his humility.
What type of Ruler was he that allowed people to openly criticize him and attack his personality?
What type of Akhlaq did he have that when he would go to the market to buy a shirt for himself and his slave Qambar, that he buys his slave a shirt of better quality?
What type of Akhlaq did he have that when he went to the market to purchase goods of a personal nature, that he would go to some place far away so that the businessmen did not recognise him and feel obliged to give him a discount?
This is because Imam Ali (a.s) did not consider Rulership to be a right but rather that it’s a responsibility. In this world we see that when people are in power that they consider it their right and a means of enjoying the privileges that go with it.
Thus when people asked Imam Ali (a.s) why he goes to a far away place to do his personal shopping, he replies that he has no right to benefit from the title of being Khalif.
You can thus understand that some writers have calculated based on narrations that over 300 verses of the Quran were revealed relating to the virtues of Imam Ali (a.s).
MUAWIYAH WAS COMPELLED TO ADMIT TO THE VIRTUES OF IMAM ALI (A.S)
Thus even the worst enemies of Imam Ali (a.s) who hated and opposed and abused him were still compelled to admit the position and virtue of Imam Ali (a.s).
One such enemy who used to admit to the virtue of Imam Ali (a.s) was Muawiyah.
Muawiyah was known to ask people whether they love Imam Ali (a.s) and would punish them if they admit that they do. However he was always keenly interested whether they did love the Imam and also the reason for their love.
One day in Makka he found an old woman and asked her the same question whether she loved Imam Ali (a.s) to which she said yes. He then said he wanted to give her 30 camels which have red hair (these were very expensive camels). So she accepted the camels.
Thereafter he asked her the same question whether she loves Imam Ali (a.s)? She replied that she still loves him. Muawiyah then said to her that if Imam Ali (a.s) were in his position, then he would not even give her one of the red hairs of the camel for free!
She then replied “that is why you cannot snatch the love of Imam Ali (a.s) from my heart!
IMAM NASA’I VIEW OF IMAM ALI (A.S)
There is a great scholar of Ahlus Sunnah who is revered for having recording thousands of Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and whose collection of Ahadith called Sunnan an-Nisai is considered to be one of the six most authentic collections of Ahadith. He was also a student of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim.
He was born in the greater Khurasan of that time. This great scholar traveled to Hijaz, Iraq, Egypt, etc seeking knowledge and collecting Ahadith until he arrived in Damascus.
In Damascus, he found something very disturbing in that it’s people hated, abused and use to swear at Imam Ali (a.s) and had fabricated Ahadith about him which reduces his status.
He then decided to dedicate the remaining part of his life to speak about Imam Ali (a.s) and started a special class in Damascus about the Virtues of Imam Ali (a.s).
When he started this class, the people came to complain. This trend has always been there in history! However, since he was senior scholar, they could not forceful stop him.
They thus complained and asked why Imam Nisai only speaks about Ahadith on the virtues of Imam Ali (a.s). They then asked why does he not praise other people in history and why does he not narrate Ahadith about “Ameerul Mu’mineen Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan”?!
In relation to the Ahadith about others, he said I do not have Ahadith about others. And when they insisted asking whether he does not have any Ahadith about Muawiyah, he said “yes I do have one”. So he said Prophet Muhammad (sawa) one day saw Muawiyah and made a prayer for him as follows “Oh Allah never fill the stomach of Muawiyah”!
As a result the collection of all his classes in Damascus was compiled into a book called “Special attributes of Ameerul Mu’mineen Ali ibn Abi Talib.”
So what happened to Imam Nisai?
He was tortured and killed in the end, even though he was never Shia.
So let me say to you today, if in our time we are pressurized and face challenges due to loving Imam Ali (a.s), then do know it is nothing new.
ORIGIN OF SHIAISM
The Foundation of the School of Imam Ali (a.s) was based on love, not hate. There is a famous hadith of the Prophet (sawa) which serves to show the origin of Shiasm and its relationship to Imam Ali (a.s) wherein Prophet Muhammad (sawa) is reported to have said:
“O Ali, you and your Shia are the successful ones.”
What does this mean?
There was already at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) a group of people who shaped a society who had the love of Imam Ali (a.s) as their common denominator.
And this love or Ishq of Imam Ali (a.s) provided the foundation of this Ideology that we today know by the name of Shiasm which after 1400 years is the biggest challenge for everyone in the world.
History has proven itself today! I always say that even though the lovers of Imam Ali (a.s) are victims of hate and violence and injustice, they are very privileged at the same time as today the followers of Imam Ali (a.s) are living as the most serious challenge to everyone in the world.
That’s because the Akhlaq, Governance, Humility, Philosophy, Tauheed, Duas, Love, Fiq & Sharia, Irfaan & Spirituality of Ali – you name it – is flourishing in the world and thus poses as the greatest challenge.
ANIMOSITY TOWARDS IMAM ALI (A.S)
As much as we have seen the love of Imam Ali (a.s) being manifested, we have also seen the most extreme hatred of Imam Ali (a.s) also being expressed.
Imam Ali (a.s) himself said “By Allah, if I were to cut the nose of a Believer to hate me, he will not hate me. And if I reward the wealth of this world to a hypocrite to love me, he will not love me.”
And this is in line with the narration of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) who said “O Ali! No one will love you except a believer and no one will hate you except a hypocrite.”
And even the companions of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said that they used to use the love or hatred of someone towards Imam Ali (a.s) as a barometer to determine whether they are believers or hypocrites.
And there was no shortage of these hypocrites from then until now.
Imam Ali faced serious challenges of enemies whose ideology was based on hate and irrationality and rigidity.
And he was assassinated by the accursed Abudurahman Ibn Muljim who was from a group of irrational people called the Khawarij on the 19th of Ramadaan.