By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 12 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town

In the last lecture we discussed the concept of guidance in some detail, from its most basic level to having “istiqaama” or “steadfastness” to be continuously guided.

The Imam then continues:

وَنِيَّةِ رُشْد لاَ أَشُكُّ فِيْهَا
“And a well guided intention in which I have no doubt”.

We have already discussed niyyah in detail, but here the Imam is asking about intention which is well guided and is free of doubt. The important point that must be discussed here is “what is a well guided intention which is free from doubt”?

The Imam is saying intention is important but it must be based on marifat (knowledge) and basirat (insight).

Almighty Allah says in Surah Yusuf Verse 108:

قُلْ هَذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُوا إِلَي اللَّهِ عَلَي بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَاْ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي

“Say this is my way, I invite to Allah with clear insight – I and he who follows me”.

Prophet (sawa) invites with deep proper understanding as you should always know what you going to do and not just intend to do something. Thus Prophet (sawa) says in a hadith that “if someone acts without knowledge, he makes more corruption than reformation”. This is the point behind the Imam asking for a “guided intention”.

In another hadith, Prophet (sawa) says “An actor, when acting without insight is like a traveler traveling in the opposite direction – for such a person a fast speed does not help him but takes him further from his purpose”. Thus ma’rifat before intention is crucial.


The Imam is teaching us that intention must be firm and accompanied with confidence and trust.
Imam Ali (a.s) says: “upon you is to stick with surety and stay away from doubt. Nothing destroys the religion of a man more than doubt overcoming his surety”. Once you know something, then you should not hesitate to do it.

The origin of doubt and confusion is shaytaan! He does this to take you away from the favour of Yaqeen (certainty) that Almighty Allah gave you.

In the story of Prophet Adam (a.s), they were commanded to not eat from a particular tree. Prophet Adam (a.s) had certainty about this. Then shaytaan placed doubt in his mind causing him to think that if he eats from the forbidden tree, he could obtain eternal life. Thus doubt was created and what an outcome it caused!

Imam Ali (a.s) says: “He sold his certainty for doubt, and he sold his concrete will for a shaky intention”.

In history there are many examples where people in different parts of life became doubtful. The history of the followers of Ahlul Bait (a.s) is full of these examples. People started thinking maybe Muawiyya is right, and as a result of this doubt, they lost. But among them are those whose Yaqeen never changed like the family of Yasir who we referred to last night.

This Ammar ibn Yasir was so committed to Imam Ali (a.s) that when people were in significant doubt in the Battle of Jamal, Ammar stood out to be one free from doubt!

People were saying that they did not know what to do as Imam Ali (a.s) was on the one side in the Battle and on the other side were people who had great status like Ummul Mu’mineen Aisha, Talha and Zubayr – these were people with great records in history. Imam Ali (a.s) said to such doubtful people that their criteria for knowing truth was flawed as they wanted to know the truth through people whereas you should know people through truth.

Thus Imam Ali (a.s) made the famous statement: “know the truth and you will know who are truthful, know falsehood and you will know who are on falsehood.”

Now Ammar ibn Yasir comes from this family of Yasir who lost everything during the time of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and in response to their sacrifice, Prophet (sawa) said “Be patient, be patient O family of Yasir, for Paradise is the abode that has been promised for you.”

With this great historical background, Ammar showed how he would not be affected by doubt many years later during this Battle of Jamal like other leading figures were impacted. He thus exclaimed: Oh Aba Abdillah, if no one is left in this world except those who want to oppose Ali ibn Abi Talib, I will never oppose Ali and my hand will be in the hand of Ali because Ali was always with Truth from the time Allah appointed Prophet (sawa). I bear witness that there is no one who has more virtue than him or a degree over him.”

This is the intention founded on insight and free of doubt!!


The Imam then says:

وَعَمِّرْنِي مَا كَانَ عُمْرِيْ بِذْلَةً فِي طَاعَتِكَ،

“Let me live as long as my life is spent in Your obedience”
فَإذَا كَانَ عُمْرِي مَرْتَعَاً لِلشَّيْطَانِ

“but if my life should become a pasture for Satan”

فَـاقْبِضْنِي إلَيْـكَ قَبْـلَ أَنْ يَسْبِقَ مَقْتُـكَ إلَيَّ،

“seize me to Thyself before Thy hatred overtakes me”

In Islam there’s nothing wrong to ask for long life – but it should be for a good purpose. Life is like sitting in an exam room, the more time you have, the more detail you can write on your exam paper. Thus with long life we can do more Ibadat and achieve more for the purpose that we were created.

But long life is only good if it is dedicated in obedience of Allah, otherwise there is no benefit in long life.

“Bidhla” has been translated as “spent in your obedience”. However “bidhla” refers to the protective clothing and outfit which is worn in the workplace.

Why does the Imam say “let me live as long as my life is protective work clothing in your obedience”? This is because the protective clothing you wear is meant to completely protect you – from your head to your feet. The Imam thus wants his life to be completely covered in the obedience of Allah.

Furthermore, the protective work clothing is only worn at work and when you leave and get home, that particular dress is removed. But the Imam wants his whole life to be a protective work clothing and thus he wants to be 24 hours a days in obedience to Allah and he never wants his “protective work clothing” to be removed!!


After yearning for a life fully dedicated to Allah, the Imam seeks protection from being left as a free range animal. When wanting to feed animals, sometimes you put the feed in a bag and hang the bag on the neck of the animal. In this way the feeding of the animal is controlled.

Sometimes animals are fed by placing their feed in a tray – like feeding poultry.

But sometimes animals are left to be “free range” animals where they are free to feed as they please. Like cows are left in green pastures and they do as they please – they eat as much as they please and even damage trees and land in the process.

Now the Imam does not want to have a life like free range animals in the hand of shaytaan where shaytaan shows you the beauty of this world and tempts your mind and lust and places doubt in your heart about Allah – all of which he attempts to do in millions of ways.

And the Imam then says that if he is unlucky and a victim of Shaytaan, then my life has no purpose and let me have a shorter life with less sins.

To be continued….