By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 16 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town


أللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد،
O God, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household,

وَأَبْدِلْنِي مِنْ بِغْضَةِ أَهْلِ الشَّنَئانِ الْمَحَبَّةَ
and replace for me the animosity of the people of hatred with love,

وَمِنْ حَسَدِ أَهْلِ الْبَغْيِ الْمَوَدَّةَ،
the envy of the people of insolence with affection”

There are 2 very important real-life requests that Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is making from Almighty Allah (SWT) in these verses:

1. Transformation of hate to love

2. Transformation of jealousy to compassion

Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is saying to us that we should ask from Almighty Allah (SWT) to grant people to love us instead of hate us, and affection instead of envy.


The primary and basic message of Islam, and especially from the approach of Ahlul Bait (a.s), is love for all! It is reported from Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) that religion is nothing but love. This message is clearly evident from this dua.

Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is asking Almighty Allah (SWT) to change the position of those who hate him, to one of love.

Love is referred to in various themes in the Holy Quran. Example, the Holy Quran refers to the love of Almighty Allah (SWT) and also love for the people. In addition, the Holy Quran also makes reference to the dislikes of Almighty Allah (SWT).

The following 2 verses serve as examples to illustrate the likes and dislikes of Almighty Allah (SWT).

In verse 4 of Surah as-Saff (chapter 61) of the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُمْ بُنْيَانٌ مَرْصُوصٌ

“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall”.

In verse 276 of Surah Baqarah (chapter 2) of the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ

“Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner”.

So love and hate from Almighty Allah (SWT) is clearly mentioned in the Holy Quran.

But if you look deeply and analyze it, you will note that the hate or dislike of Almighty Allah (SWT) is not that inner emotional feeling of animosity towards someone. It is purely based upon His Divine Justice because the Holy Quran explains that those who are righteous and obedient to the commands of Almighty Allah (SWT) can never be equal to those who are not obedient to Almighty Allah (SWT). Therefore, it is only fair that the love of Almighty Allah (SWT) should only come to those who obey His commands.


Honestly talking, this is also nothing more than a warning, because the kindness and mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT) is limitless. In the beautiful Dua Iftitah that we read every night during the month of Ramadaan, there is a very touching portion:

فَلَمْ أَرَ مَوْلَىً كَرِيماً أَصْبَرَ عَلَى عَبْدٍ لَئِيمٍ مِنْكَ عَلَيَّ،

“I do not know a generous Master who is more accommodating to the dissatisfied servants than You are to me.

يَارَبِّ، إنَّكَ تَدْعُونِي فَأُوَلِّي عَنْكَ،

O Lord! You give an invitation but I turn down,

وَتَتَحَبَّبُ إلَيَّ فأَتَبَغَّضُ إلَيْكَ،

And You become familiar with me but I do not care for You,

وَتَتَوَدَّدُ إلَيَّ فَلا أَقْبَلُ مِنْكَ

And You show affection to me but I do not correspond to You”.

Look at where Imam Mahdi (atfs) is taking us in this journey of understanding Almighty Allah (SWT)!

Then the next verse is:

كَأَنَّ لِيَ التَّطَوُّلَ عَلَيْكَ،
“as if You are overreaching me!”

O Allah, your love is amazing! We are all dependent on You, but the way You deal with me appears as if I am above You and You are obliged to me! And despite this arrogant attitude from me, Your love never stops!

فَلَمْ يَمْنَعْكَ ذلِكَ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ لِي وَالإحْسَانِ إلَيَّ،

“Yet You do not abstain from having mercy upon me and doing favors to me”.

Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is seeking help from this love of Allah (SWT), saying that Allah (SWT) is the source of love and this animosity which exists between others towards me should be replaced with love. LOVE is the indicator of the inner nature of a person.


There is a beautiful Hadith (narration) from the fifth Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) where he beautifully says that the most beautiful and reliable rope that you can depend on is to love for the sake of Almighty Allah (SWT) and to hate for the sake of Almighty Allah (SWT).

In other words, don’t love and hate anybody out of your personal reasons, but rather, you should love and hate for the sake of Almighty Allah (SWT). This is really the great status of spirituality when you reach this level.

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) says further that if you really want to know if you are a good person, you should inspect your heart and determine if you love people who are obedient to Almighty Allah (SWT) and dislike people who disobedient to Almighty Allah (SWT). Therein lie the criteria of whether you are good or not! If this condition exists then you should know that there is good in you.

This is a reality check for us all to determine what type of people we actually love.

This love which Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is asking is a very important lesson, as he is explaining that the source of love is Almighty Allah (SWT). So, that love which Almighty Allah (SWT) grants us becomes the basis of UNITY for Muslims and humanity as a whole.

Verse 103 of Surah aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran) serves as reference:

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

“And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way.”

This is where Almighty Allah (SWT) is explaining the foundation of this Unity, where He created us with compassion of soft-nature in our hearts and it is by His favour that we are united. And it is only He who saves us from the Hellfire when we are on a slippery slope.


Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) continues to the second verse cited above, where the key theme is jealousy. This is a serious disease of the soul which destroys a society.

There are 3 behavioral reactions to consider:

a. You are genuinely happy for someone’s progress

b. DESIRE – you are genuinely happy for someone’s progress, and really wish you could also have the same. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this behavior.

c. JEALOUSY – where you see progress in someone and react negatively to it because you do not want that person to have good in their life, thereby wishing bad on that person’s good fortune!

Surah Falaq (chapter 113), which is the penultimate Surah of the Holy Quran addresses this sickness of jealousy:

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ {1}
Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn,

مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ {2}
From the evil of what He has created,

وَمِنْ شَرِّ غَاسِقٍ إِذَا وَقَبَ {3}
And from the evil of the utterly dark night when it comes,

وَمِنْ شَرِّ النَّفَّاثَاتِ فِي الْعُقَدِ {4}
And from the evil of those who blow on knots,

وَمِنْ شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ {5}
And from the evil of the envious when he envies.

This is a psychological dysfunction originating from an inferiority complex, where you are selfish and not ready to see progress and happiness in others.

In fact, the Holy Quran references this issue of jealousy in different scenarios. Starting at the beginning of the human creation, we remember the story of Haabil and Qaabil. This is the story of jealousy, where one brother’s sacrifice was accepted and the other brother’s sacrifice was not. As a result, jealousy starts, which concluded in the first murder recorded in human history, which stemmed from jealousy! Again, this explains this terrible disease!

Another well-known scenario of jealousy presented in the Holy Quran is in the story of Nabi Yusuf (a.s). The story of Nabi Yusuf (a.s) is presented in the Holy Quran (Surah Yusuf – chapter 12, verse 3) as the best of stories (ahsanal qassas)!

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ
“We narrate to you the best of narratives…”

And then in verse 7, Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِلسَّائِلِينَ

“Certainly in Yusuf and his brothers there are signs for the inquirers”.

This is such a beautiful Surah with countless messages of relevance. The main theme of this story of of Surah Yusuf is JEALOUSY.


In Surah Nisa (chapter 4 of the Holy Quran), Almighty Allah (SWT) speaks about the Jews in verse 54. He says that they knew very well, based upon what was written in the Old Testament, about the Prophethood of the children of Nabi Ibrahim (a.s) and Nabi Isma-eel (a.s). However, out of JEALOUSY they questioned how the children of Nabi Isma-eel (a.s) can be granted the esteemed status of Prophethood instead of the children of Nabi Yaqub (a.s).

This jealousy is a continuous phenomenon, and further down within the lineage of Nabi Isma-eel (a.s) we see this jealousy break out prominently in 2 families in Mecca, one representing all that is good, and the other representing all that is evil! Again, the source of the problem is jealousy!

Who are these 2 families? None other than Bani Hashim (good) and Bani Umayyah (evil)! The one represents a “pure tree” and the other represents a “cursed tree”.

The Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) have explained that the above mentioned verse of Surah Nisa refers to Bani Umayya due to their jealousy for the fact that Bani Hashim have been given so much virtue and prominence and they felt left aside in the process.

To be continued…..