Delivered on 3 July 2016 by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
Tonight we reflect on the three more attributes of the Servants of Rahman.
REFRAIN FROM FALSE TESTIMONY – NINTH HALLMARK OF SERVANTS OF RAHMAN
Verse 72 says:
وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا
“And those who witness no falsehood, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.”
On the first level they never appear in a court to give false testimony against someone.
The word “shahada” which is used in this verse has 2 meanings.
The Servants of Rahman never give false testimony because it is a major sin and is basically tuhma which means accusation. In a court of law you take an oath before the judge that you telling the truth and thus cannot lie. That is because if you do so then you are actually usurping the rights of other people.
In Surah Haj Verse 30 it says:
فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الاَوْثَانِ وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّو
“therefore avoid the filth of the idols and avoid false speech”
In this verse, false testimony is shown to be next to shirk.
Just like idols are najis (impure/filth), so too is false testimony considered to be filth.
False testimony is considered to be worse that backbiting. Do note that backbiting is considered to be equivalent to eating the dead flesh of your brother but in backbiting you actually speak about the defect of someone behind their back which is actually true.
But an accusation is saying something false about him and is thus an even greater sin than backbiting.
Imam Saadiq (a.s) says that when believer accuses another believer falsely, that their Iman dissolves from their heart like salt dissolves in water.
Imam Saadiq (a.s) had a companion who socialised with him always. One day he shouted at a servant of Imam Saadiq (a.s) who happened to be from India called a place called Sind and called him “son of zinaa”. Imam Saadiq heard this and his face turned red and said how dare you call a Muslim something like that? I thought you had taqwa but you don’t.
The companion then tried to justify his actions by saying that they are idol worshipers and his parents could not really have gotten married and thus he must be a son of zinaa!
Imam Saadiq (a.s) then said that he cannot speak like that! Yes they were not Muslim, but for every community there is a system and contract of husband and wife and this contract is respected by that society and we must respect it according to that nations traditions.
See how Ahlul Bait (a.s) respect the faith and marriage contract of idol worshipers and show us we have no right to accuse them falsely.
REFRAIN FROM GATHERINGS OF HARAAM
The second meaning of shahaada in this verse is that they do not witness gatherings of haraam. They are not present in the gatherings of haraam and sin. They don’t just stay away from haraam themselves but also stay away from gatherings of haraam .
In the time of Imam Kaathim (a.s), the Abbsasid ruler organised a huge party for his son and forced the Imam to join this party and Imam saw that they brought wine there. At this point he stood up and said “Allah’s curse is on those who sit at a table where wine is served” and then walked out.
From a Shariah perspective, it is forbidden to sit at a table where wine is served even if you do not drink it. If there are other tables in a restaurant and it is not served at your table, then it is fine.
“Qawlazzur” in above verse means haraam music, haraam entertainment, gatherings of sin, etc.
By not attending these gatherings, it is a level of “nahi anil munkar” (forbidding evil) as it amounts to a form of protest.
But on another level “al-Zur” means they don’t waste their time in purposeless gatherings. Therefore in Dua Abu Hamza Thumali, when Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) analyses why he sometimes loses his passion or interest in making Dua and communicating with Allah, he concludes it’s possibly due to spending his time in the gatherings which are a nuisance and has no purpose. This causes one’s heart to become hard.
And at the same time he says it is also due to staying away from the gatherings of ulama that causes this!
PASSING BY VAIN THINGS NOBLY – TENTH HALLMARK OF SERVANTS OF RAHMAN
The remainder of Verse 72 says:
وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا
“and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.”
This is close to what we just discussed. They don’t drag themselves into dirt like backbiting and so on and they escape these situations respectfully and protect their gracefulness. They do come across dirt, but they bypass it.
“Lahw” means everything that is a waste of time – they gracefully remove themselves from such situations.
VERSES OF QURAN PENETRATES THEIR HEARTS – ELEVENTH HALLMARK OF SERVANTS OF RAHMAN
Verse 73 says:
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا
“And those who, when admonished with the Signs of their Lord, do not fall down thereat deaf and blind.”
This verse indicates to us that they don’t just listen to verses of Quran with their listening having no effect on them. It penetrates the core of their existence.
Imam Baqir (a.s) says: There are 3 types of reciters of Quran:
- Someone who recites to make others happy. And they want to show off about it.
- Someone who memorises the words and understands the rules of tajweed. They are stuck in the rules of wordings of Quran.
- Someone who use Quran as a medicine to place it like an ointment on the wounds of their heart. As a result this, Quran keeps him awake the whole night and hungry all day. By Allah this type of person is so rare.
Purpose of the Quran is tadabbur – contemplation. You will absorb the Quran if you are a real Qari. In today’s time, a Qari is associated with someone who is an entertaining reciter of the Quran. But in its original meaning, it was someone who had a deep understanding of the Quran.
The following verses serve to demonstrate the impact that the Quran is meant to have on us:
Surah al-Qamar Verse 17 says:
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
“And We have verily made the Qur’an easy to understand and receive admonition. Then, is there anyone who will receive admonition?”
And Surah al-Anfal Verse 2 says:
نَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا
“Verily believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts quake, and when His Signs are recited to them, it increases them in faith”
And Surah Yunus Verse 57 says:
يَآ أيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُم مَوْعِظَةٌ مِن رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَآءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًي وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“O mankind! There hath come to you an admonition from your Lord and a healing for what is in your hearts”
Abu Thar Ghaffari says one night he saw the Prophet (sawa) stand for Ibadat whole night and repeating the following verse 118 of Surah Ma-ida and contemplating about it:
إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
” If You punish them, then surely they are Your servants; and if You forgive them, then You are indeed the Mighty, the Wise.”
And then there is the lovely story of the mystic Fuzail ibn Ayaz who used to be a gangster and rob people. But one day while climbing the wall of a house of someone that he was about to rob at night, he heard him recite Verse 16 of Surah Hadid as follows:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be softened and humbled by Allah’s Reminder”
Upon hearing this he exclaimed, yes the time has come!
He then ran away and slept at a place where caravans would stop to freshen up. He heard the leader of the caravan saying that they must be quick as they were in Fuzail’s territory and might get robbed. Upon hearing this he cried out to them that Fuzail is not that person any more and has changed.
And after this Fuzail became a famous aarif.
This is the impact on the Servants of Rahman when they are reminded of the signs of Allah – their hearts melt and they are not deaf and dumb.