Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider 27 May 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
Tonight we introduce our theme for the month of Ramadaan, namely, a Commentary on the outstanding Supplication of Noble Moral Traits by the name of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq.
The introductory section of this beautiful supplication reads as follows:
أَللَّهمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ
O God, bless Muhammad and his Household,
وَبَلِّغْ بِإيْمَانِي أكْمَلَ الإِيْمَانِ،
cause my faith to reach the most perfect faith,
وَاجْعَلْ يَقِينِي أَفْضَلَ الْيَقِينِ،
make my certainty the most excellent certainty,
و انتَهِ بِنِيَّتِي إلَى أَحْسَنِ النِّيَّـاتِ،
and take my intention to the best of intentions
وَبِعَمَلِي إلى أَحْسَنِ الأعْمَالِ.
and my deeds to the best of deeds!
أللَّهُمَّ وَفِّرْ بِلُطْفِكَ نِيَّتِي،
O God, complete my intention through Your gentleness,
وَصَحِّحْ بِمَـا عِنْدَكَ يَقِينِي،
rectify my certainty through what is with You,
وَاسْتَصْلِحْ بِقُدْرَتِكَ مَا فَسَدَ مِنِّي.
and set right what is corrupt in me through Your power!
أللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ
O God, bless Muhammad and his Household
Some important points to cover in this discussion are:
1. The position of Dua (supplication) in Quran and Islam
2. Dua in the school of Ahlul Bait (AS)
3. Status of Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya according to the Grand Mufti of Egypt
4. Introducing Dua Makarimul Akhlaq
1. THE POSITION OF DUA (SUPPLICATION) IN QURAN AND ISLAM
There is absolutely no doubt that Dua (supplication) is one of the institutions in the religion of Islam commanded by Almighty Allah (SWT) and practiced by all His Holy Prophets (AS) and righteous servants.
Almighty Allah (SWT) very clearly commands us in the Holy Quran, in Surah Ghaafir (chapter 40, verse 60):
ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
Call upon Me, I will answer you
In fact, Almighty Allah (SWT) goes further in this verse to reprimand those who do not make Dua (supplicate) or communicate with Him. He calls them “yastakbirun” ie. Arrogant! In other words, arrogance, which is tantamount to disbelief, is the exact opposite of supplication. Those who make Dua (supplicate) humble themselves before Almighty Allah (SWT).
Almighty Allah (SWT) does not only speak about the importance of Dua in the Holy Quran. He goes further in the Holy Quran to teach us Dua, and narrates Duas (supplications) of the Holy Prophets (a.s). There are certain verses of the Holy Quran which starts with the word “Rabbana” i.e “Our Lord”. These are all verses which refer to supplication to our Lord Almighty (SWT).
So, in summary, we are commanded in the Holy Quran to make Dua (supplicate) and those who do not are referred to as the arrogant ones.
Secondly, we are taught in the Holy Quran how to supplicate, through narrations of how the Holy Prophets (AS) supplicated.
In Islam, Dua (supplication) has a very high importance, and is regarded as the channel of communication between the Creator (SWT) and creation. If you do not have this channel of communication open, then you are completely lost. Therefore it is always of utmost importance to have dua (supplication) in one’s practical life.
2. DUA IN THE SCHOOL OF AHLUL BAIT (AS) – AN INSTITUTION!
Now Dua takes a completely different dimension! Dua in the school of Ahlul Bait (AS) is an education and journey of the soul toward Almighty Allah (SWT). Therefore, great emphasis has been placed on Dua in the school of Ahlul Bait (AS). In the narrations of Ahlul Bait (AS), Dua is referred to as the weapon of a Mu’min (believing servant of Allah), and the extent of dependency on this weapon of Dua is the same as a soldier depending on his weapon!
The 5th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS), Imam Muhammad Baqir (AS) says there is nothing more beloved to Almighty Allah (SWT) than Dua!
There is one particular narration from the 6th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS), Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) which explains the beauty of Dua according to the understanding of Ahlul Bait (AS). Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) says that when a Mu’min (believing servant of Allah) supplicates, Almighty Allah (SWT) says to the angels that this Dua by My servant is accepted but I would like to delay the acceptance thereof, because I love communicating with this person!
Ahlul Bait (AS) really transformed Dua from simply being a request for something, to an institution of training and development. Especially when their opponents/enemies closed doors on them and did not allow them to communicate with the masses and educate them what they were supposed to. They opened the doors of Dua (supplication) and they taught Tauheed (true belief in God) and Ma’rifah (true spirituality). They taught about Prophethood and Imamat and everything through this avenue of supplication.
Through Dua (supplication) they established the greatest levels and stations of spirituality. The Dua known as the Munajat of Shabaniyah is a whispered invocation for the month of Shabaan, which was taught to us by the Imams of Ahlul Bait (AS), and takes one on a supreme spiritual journey. Also, what about the weekly supplication that Imam Ali ibni abi Talib (AS) taught us, called Dua Kumayl?! The great lessons of Tauheed taught in this Dua too!
3. STATUS OF SAHIFAT AL-SAJJADIYYA ACCORDING TO THE GRAND MUFTI OF EGYPT
Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya is the book of supplications of Aale-Muhammad dictated by the 4th Imam of Ahlul Bait (AS), Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS), to his 2 sons Muhammad and Zayd. This book is one of the greatest treasures of Ahlul Bait (AS)!
In the 1960’s, the Grand Marja by the name of Ayatullah Marashi Najafi sent this book Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya as a gift to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Tantawi. Sheikh Tantawi wrote a letter of appreciation to Ayatullah Marashi Najafi for this beautiful gift. Here is a small excerpt from this letter by Sheikh Tantawi, the Grand Mufti of Egypt:
“I received your gift to me of Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya from the pious Imam of Islam, being the son of Imam Hussain (AS), the martyr and flower of Rasulullah (SAWAS). I accepted this book with the utmost respect, kissed it and placed it on my eyes. I found this book unique when I opened it, apparently a book of Duas, but it includes all different sciences and wisdom, which can never be found anywhere in the Islamic library.
This is our bad luck, that until now, we were not privileged to benefit from this extremely rich legacy of Ahlul Bait (AS) of our Rasul (SAWAS). Whatever I study from this book makes me conclude that it is the product of someone who is not a normal human being, but below Allah (SWT)!!”
This is the great treasure of Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya, which explains any aspect of Islam in a sublime form. The greatness of this book is that it is purely inspired from Quranic teachings and verses.
Our great leader, Imam Khomeini (RA) used to say that we have a Quran which was revealed from Almighty Allah (SWT) to us, and we have a Quran which ascended up to Him!
The Quran which came down is the one we are all familiar with, being the Divine revelation from Almighty Allah (SWT). The Quran which which is considered to ascended up are these Duas from Ahlul Bait (AS), who absorbed and digested the revealed Holy Quran to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWAS), and then expressed themselves travelling toward Allah (SWT). This is the ascending Quran! So we have a descending from Almighty Allah and the Duas of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) which is considered the ascending Quran!
4. INTRODUCING DUA MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ
After understanding the importance of Dua as established in the Holy Quran and its supreme status in the school of Ahlul Bait (AS), and the great treasure of Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya, we now move to the focus of our discussions for this month of Ramadaan, namely Dua Makarimul Akhlaq!
Dua Makarimul Akhlaq is Dua number 20 of Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya, known as the Supplication of Noble Character. In other words Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) is asking from Almighty Allah (SWT) for great character and morals. The beauty of Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) is that he is teaching us what is great character and morals while imploring this from Almighty Allah (SWT).
Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) uses this Dua to explain his main principles and philosophy of Akhlaq, through 22 portions, and in every portion he starts with:
أَللَّهمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ
O God, bless Muhammad and his Household
In this great Dua Makarimul Akhlaq we can discuss different philosophies of Akhlaq (morals). We have Western Akhlaq, which is based on profits, namely material Akhlaq! Then we have Divine Akhlaq which has a very different foundation!
In the next discussion we will focus on where exemplary moral character starts. Imam Zaynul Abidin (AS) builds on this from a very grassroots level, starting with the individual. One needs to start with sorting out ourselves before we can interact with anybody else properly. There is individualistic Akhlaq, like faith and belief, intention and good deeds, self-reform, etc.
Then there is Akhlaq on a social level where he discusses the issues of love, jealousy, arrogance, manners and etiquettes, interactive and serving society, attention toward honor and dignity of humanity, denial of oppression and injustice, and the list goes on!
To be continued……………