DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider delivered at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town.
After concluding part five in the previous lecture, the Holy Imam (as) then continues:
اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِهِ
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family,
وَاجْعَلْ لِي يَداً عَلى مَنْ ظَلَمَنِي
Give me a hand (power) over one wrongs me,
وَلِساناً عَلى مَنْ خاصَمَنِي
a tongue over one who disputes with me,
وَظَفَراً بِمَنْ عانَدَنِي
and a victory over one who stubbornly resists me.
SILENCE TOWARDS OPPRESSION
In part six of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) now changes his attention towards establishing justice in his relationships with the public. Although various religions insist on “turning the other cheek” when the rights of an individual have been violated, the Imam (as) teaches us that we should not remain passive towards the injustice that may be prevalent within society.
Maintaining a high degree of Akhlaq includes being tolerant and showing forbearance towards creation but does not mean one should show negligence towards the moral corruption that may run rampant in a community.
These three requests of Imam (as) are therefore specifically aligned to the maintenance of justice within his own personal interactions with the public.
The underlying reality of Imam Sajjad (as) words is that being silent towards oppression is as much as a sin as committing the injustice itself! Resistance is therefore a wajib obligation upon every Muslim.
In the Quran and Ahadith of the Ahlulbait (as), the element of resistance has been greatly described, but verses 39-40 of Surah Shura makes the issue clear:
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنْتَصِرُونَ
“And those who when an oppressive wrong is done to them [do not surrender but] seek succour.
وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَی اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ
The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah. Indeed, He likes not the wrong doers.”
In this instance – when Allah (swt) describes the believers – it is made categorically clear that they should respond “evil with evil”, but only in its appropriate measure.
What is of utmost importance is that although the forgiver is rewarded by Allah, the one who practiced justice is seen as having fulfilled both his right and responsibility towards society. It for this reason that Imam Sajjad (as) prays for the ability to fulfil this obligation upon him.
OPPRESSION INFLICTED UPON OTHERS
The Ahlulbait (as) taught us that when oppression is faced by others other than ourselves, Muslims still have a responsibility to raise their voices in support of justice. In Surah Nisa verse 75, Allah (swt) says:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرً
“And what has happened to you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and for the weak among men, women and children who say: ‘Our Lord! Take us out of this town whose people are oppressors, and appoint for us from You guardian, and appoint for us from you helper!”
The Quran challenges the mentality of those individuals who are only concerned about their own wellbeing, while their fellow Muslims suffer in different parts of the world. In the context that we find ourselves in today, we have an obligation to stand up for those who are suffering in Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, and so and so forth. It is for this reason that in his final moments, Imam Ali (as) advised his two sons by saying: “Always be a helper to the oppressed, and always be in the opposition of the oppressor.”
In the context that we find ourselves in today, we have an obligation to stand up for those who are suffering in Bahrain, Nigeria, Iraq, and so and so forth. It is for this reason that in his final moments, Imam Ali (as) advised his two sons by saying: “Always be a helper to the oppressed, and always be in the opposition of the oppressor.”
MEANS OF RESISTANCE
When one pays closer attention to the requests of the Imam (as) in this part of the dua, it becomes clear that there are different levels of resistance that he asks Almighty Allah (swt) to assist him in.
The first level is an intellectual attack on the immorality of the oppressor, and through this method the masses are educated about the flaws of the regime they are suffering under.
The second level is that of speaking the truth in front of the power. Once one has built an intellectual foundation against the injustices that are found within society, only then is there a capacity to openly criticise and challenge the wrongdoings of others.
The third and final level that the Imam (as) prays for is the ability to physically take action. In this manner, the Imam (as) teaches us an effective manner of combatting tyranny. While many usually criticise and appeal for physical action to be taken against oppressors, the majority at the same time fail to critically develop a sound, logical basis against the very same individuals they are fighting against.