18 JulRespecting and honouring Sadaat

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The love of Ahlulbayt (as) and respect for their progeny, the Sadaat, is an obligation upon all Muslims. Allah states in the Quran:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ ۗ

In this waqf, Imam Ali (as) mentions three categories of Sadaat: Quraysh, Bani Abdul Muttalib and Bani Fatimah, and he has allocated a share for people in each of these categories.

This shows us:

By mentioning Bani Fatimah separately, Imam Ali has shown that even though, Quraysh and Bani Abdul Muttalib are amongst the Sadaat, the Bani Fatimah have a distinction even amongst the rest of the Sadaat.
As for the importance of Quraysh, there are many narrations on this topic and many books have also been written. In order to demonstrate their importance, we have selected one narration.

Imam Hakim Nayshapuri, in his famous “Mustadrak ‘ala Sahihayn” mentions a narration from well-known companion of the Prophet, Fakhitah bint Abi Talib, the sister of Imam Ali (as) famously known as Umm Hani.
Other notable scholars, such Ibn Katheer, have also mentioned this narration in their books.

The narration is as follows:
Quraysh have been given seven favours which make them distinct over everything else in creation because nobody else has been given these distinctions:
1. I am from them
2. Prophecy is from them
3. The upkeep of the house of Allah is within them
4. Feeding the pilgrims of the house of Allah is their responsibility.
5. Allah made them victorious over Ashaab ul Feel (the people of the elephant)
6. They worshipped Allah ten years before anybody else worshipped
7. Allah revealed a surah in their praise (Surah Quraysh)

Then the Prophet (saw) recited the surah.
According to historical evidence, linguistic sources and narrations of the Prophet (saw), the translation of the surah is as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful
It is an obligation on (the four brothers from the tribe) of Quraysh, who have been blessed in the summer and the winter to obey the God of the house (Ka’ba).
It is the God of the house of who has blessed you and kept you away from hunger by blessing you with enough sustenance, and he kept you away from fighting by blessing you with peace.”

It is apparent from the aforementioned narration that:
All the ancestors of the Prophet (saw) all the way up to Ismail (as) were all believers in one God and they did not serve or worship anyone other than Him.

Tarikh al-Khamis states that Qusayy and Mughirah (who was famous by his epithet Abdul Munaf) were both such leaders of Quraysh who were successful in bringing all the different factions together and making them united.

It is also mentioned that their statements had been written on stone and placed in different places in the city. One of those artefacts was seen by the author of Tarikh al-Khamis himself who notes that it stated:
“This is Mughirah the son of Qusayy. I advise you to be conscious of your duty to Allah”.
This shows that the tribe of Quraysh were well known for their guidance, care for other humans and excellent conduct. Therefore, Allah chose this tribe for the most exemplary guide in the form of Muhammad Mustafa (saw) and his holy progeny.
In addition, displaying respect and honour to the Prophet (saw) and his holy progeny (as) is a way of seeking reward and great status for the people.
It is apparent from the narration quoted above that:
The importance of “Mawaddat fil-qurba” (ref Quran 42:23) in the religion of Islam and the words of the Holy Prophet (saw) regarding respecting his holy progeny is an important obligation upon all Muslims.

This is because the Sadaat who are the progeny of the Holy Prophet (saw) have in every time and place made huge sacrifices in order to safeguard and protect the sanctity of the religion of Islam. These cannot be repaid even if all humans were to come together and try to do so.

It is due to these services that Allah ordained the Holy Prophet (saw) and his holy progeny (as) within this tribe. There is a special place for Quraysh and in particular, Bani Hashim, amongst all the humans.

The way of the Quraysh and Bani Hashim which made them unique and people respecting them is due to their living according to the following adage:
“The leader of the community is their servant”
For this reason, the leadership of the Quraysh was not passed down through hereditary order but rather the person who used to serve the people the most was chosen as the leader.

Therefore, Imam Ali (as) has stated in this waqf that all the income must be spent:
– In the way of Allah
– Solely for the pleasure of Allah
And must be spent on:
– Bani Hashim
– Bani Abdul Muttalib
– Progeny of my children (i.e. Muhammad Hanafiyyah etc)
– Progeny of Fatima (as)

By mentioning the sons of Fatima (as) separately from his own sons, Imam Ali (as) has confirmed their superiority over everyone else, and there are numerous narrations on this particular topic which confirm this.

Therefore, the ulama as well as the believers of the past have always respected the Sadaat and considered this respect to be an honour for them as well from their own selves.

In this short tract, we only want to focus on the fact that Imam Ali’s (as) words in this waqf are legal and jurisprudential evidence for the respect of Sadaat. We would also like to take this opportunity to rectify a common mistake regarding Hazrat Aqeel (as), the elder brother of Imam Ali (as).

It is commonly stated that on one occasion, Hazrat Aqeel (as) approached Imam Ali (as) and asked for an increase in his monthly stipend which he received from the public treasury. It is further stated that Imam Ali (as) placed an iron bar in the fire and then brought it close to Hazrat Aqeel (as) to remind him of the punishment that awaits, and as a result, Hazrat Aqeel (as) withdrew his request.
In our studies and analysis of the waqf and in light of that, we consider such behaviour to be beyond Imam Ali (as) and the family of the Prophet (saw). It is important to note that Hazrat Aqeel (as) was:
– The elder brother of Imam Ali (as)
– An elder statesman of the Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib
– One of the scholars of Makkah
– An expert in jurisprudence
– A poet and literary expert
– First rate orator and quick witted
– A respected companion of the Holy Prophet (saw) and one of his earliest supporters
– A brave warrior in defence of Islam
– Beloved of the Holy Prophet (saw)
– Respectable member of the Muslim community
He was an active member of the community who always rose for its defence wherever necessary.
His Kunyah was Abu Yazeed. His father was Abu Talib (as) and mother Fatima bint Asad (as). He was twenty years senior to Imam Ali (as). Therefore he was a thorn in the eye of the enemy.
He made public his commitment to Islam prior to Hudabiyya and then migrated from Makkah to Madinah to join the Holy Prophet (saw). He became injured in the battle of Moo’tah and therefore was unable to participate in any of the subsequent battles.
The Holy Prophet (saw) had allocated 40 wasaq of grain annually from Khaybar for him and his family. This was due to his closeness to the Holy Prophet (saw) as well as his service for the religion of Islam.
The Holy Prophet (saw) said about him:
I love you for two reasons: firstly because of our close relationship and secondly because Abu Talib (as) used to love you.
This is because Abu Talib (as) used to say,
“Take everything and everyone away from me but not Aqeel”
This hadith of the Prophet (saw) emphasises not only the status of Aqeel (as) but also of all Sadaat generally. This is because Imam Ali (as) never allowed anyone from the community or outside to ask for help but would rather proactively go and help all those in need. Bearing this in mind how is it possible that Hazrat Aqeel (as) – who was Imam Ali’s (as) own brother – would be in need and Imam Ali (as) did not help him? Then when he does ask for help to receive such a harsh response?
On the other hand,  the alleged incident is from the time when Imam Ali (as) was in control of the apparent caliphate in Kufa, and Hazrat Aqeel (as) was from amongst those injured in the battle of Hunayn and therefore was receiving full help from the public treasury already due to the severity of his injuries and incapability to work.
How is it then possible that Imam Ali (as) could treat someone in this way, bearing in mind a handicapped person, elder statesman, beloved to the Holy Prophet (saw) who also happens to be his elder brother?
Thirdly, Imam Ali (as) had already allocated vast tracts of land to Hazrat Aqeel (as) which originally belonged to him in order that he may be able to take care of his family’s expenses.
On top of all of that, it is out of character of Hazrat Aqeel (as) to ask such a question to Imam Ali (as), bearing in mind their family background, training and general character.
Similarly, the justice of Imam Ali (as) was well known and there is no historical record of any person from Bani Hashim or otherwise who made such a request to Imam Ali (as) during his time in office. Therefore it is inconceivable that a friend of justice like Imam Ali (as) could forget about Hazrat Aqeel (as) and be unaware of his troubles, and it is also inconceivable that a great man like Hazrat Aqeel (as) would put his own brother Imam Ali (as) in a difficult situation by making an unreasonable demand.
Therefore we mention the incident that has caused the confusion in order to provide clarity on this matter from the famous Ahlus Sunnah scholar, Ibn Athir, in his book Usud ul Ghabah:

It is mentioned that on one occasion, Hazrat Aqeel (as) was in debt (probably due to some business transaction) and therefore he came to visit Imam Ali (as) in Kufa.
When he arrived in Kufa, Imam Ali (as) instructed Imam Hasan (as) to welcome and provide Hazrat Aqeel (as) with the necessary hospitality. In the evening, Imam Ali (as) invited Hazrat Aqeel (as) for a meal, where the food was very plain. When he saw this, Hazrat Aqeel (as) was very surprised. He asked,
“O my brother, do you usually eat in this way or is it just because I came (and in my respect)?”
Imam Ali (as) replied that this was his daily habit.
As the conversation continued, Imam Ali (as) asked the reason for his visit to which Hazrat Aqeel (as) replied that he was in debt and needed help.
Imam Ali (as) asked how much help he needed. Hazrat Aqeel (as) replied that he needed 40,000 dirhams.
Imam Ali (as) replied that currently he was empty handed but if he were to be patient there is a transaction which is close to being completed and the profit from it is exactly 40,000 dirhams. Imam Ali (as) said, “As soon as I receive the funds, I will pay off your debt.”
Hazrat Aqeel (as) inquired as to whether his loan could be paid off using funds from the public treasury, saying that he did not wish to be a burden on his brother.
Imam Ali (as) replied saying that he was merely a trustee of the funds in the public treasury and that all Muslims had a right over it. Hazrat Aqeel (as) understood the indication from Imam Ali (as) then asked whether he could go to Muawiya and ask him to pay off the loan. (It is apparent from the nature of the conversation that paying off the debt was a matter of urgency).
Imam Ali (as) knew that the brilliance of Hazrat Aqeel (as) would allow him to get the funds from Muawiya, therefore he gave him permission to go.
When Hazrat Aqeel (as) arrived in Damascus, the following conversation ensued:
Muawiya: O Aba Yazeed! How did you find Ali (as) and his followers?
Aqeel: I found them the best of followers and believers in Muhammad Mustafa (saw), the only difference being that Muhammad (saw) was not amongst them. As for you and your followers, you are exactly like the followers of Abu Sufyan except that Abu Sufyan is not amongst you.
(Since Muawiya knew of Aqeel’s (as) brilliance, when he heard this he was fuming, but he remained silent because he knew that any reply would lead to further disgrace).
The next day, Muawiya organised a throne next to his own and invited a famous jester, Dhahak ibn Qays, to be seated next to him. The purpose of this was twofold, to try and disgrace Hazrat Aqeel (as) and also because Dhahak was considered equal to Hazrat Aqeel (as) to show him up in court.
Now Hazrat Aqeel (as) was called into the court and Muawiya acted as though he did not recognise him. So he turned to Dhahak and asked who this man is. Dhahak himself acutely aware of the brilliance of Aqeel (as), responded,
All praise is to Allah who elevated those who are the foremost in performing good deeds and removed the evil from them.
This is Aqeel, whose father had a great contribution to Bat’ha (Arabian Peninsula). He had a great character and treated us all with great love and respect.
Everyone knows that I, Dhahak, sing the praises of the rulers and kings however Aqeel is a plain-speaking, brave individual. He does not shy away from mentioning the faults, oppression and bad characteristics of the rulers even on their face.
(When Muawiya saw this behaviour of Dhahak, he realised that his plan of disgracing Hazrat Aqeel (as) in court had failed. Therefore he considered it a way out to offer rewards and gifts to Hazrat Aqeel (as) so that he would swiftly leave the court, otherwise if Hazrat Aqeel (as) was to mention the oppression of Muawiya in the court, the people of Damascus might turn against Muawiya).
Muawiya gave an order to give Aqeel (as) 50,000 dirhams and then bid him farewell.
In short, the enemies of Islam left no stone unturned in order to reduce the importance and respect of the Holy Prophet (saw), his holy progeny and amongst them the Sadaat. These efforts are not restricted just to the past but also continue up to the modern day.

Therefore it is the responsibility of the Muslims to make sure they emphasise the importance of the Sadaat and their respect. They should do this by mentioning the favours of Sadaat on the Muslim community in general. This would require a deep study of the historical sources and then to present them to the people so that they realise the extent of the favours of the Sadaat and the respect they rightly deserve.
In doing so, Muslims and human beings at large will be able to:
• Easily recognise the Holy Prophet (saw) and his Ahlulbayt (as)
• The greatness of these personalities will be realised
• The value of these personalities will be etched into their minds
• Love and affection of these personalities will reach their hearts

By way of a gift, we leave our readers with two narrations to reflect over, which show the greatness of Sadaat and the extent of oppression done against them:
Narrated by Al-Hakim Aba Ahmad Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Anmati an-Nishaboori:

“When Mansour was constructing buildings in Baghdad, he diligently searched for the Alawids.

Whenever Mansour caught one of them, he would place that person inside the empty pillars and cover them with bricks and plaster.

Once he captured a handsome young fellow with black hair from the descendants of God’s Prophet (ﷺ).

He handed him over to the builder, and ordered that he should be placed inside the pillar and covered with bricks and plaster.

Mansour appointed one he trusted to oversee this.The builder put that young man inside the pillar.

However, he felt sorry for him and left a hole for him to breathe from.

He told him, “Do not worry. Wait and I will come to save you tonight.”

When the night fell, the builder freed that young man from the pillar and said, “Be careful not to risk my life and the lives of my workers. Hide yourself. The reason that I saved you in this dark night is that I was afraid that if I leave you in that pillar, your grandfather, God’s Prophet (ﷺ) might become my enemy at the threshold of God on the Resurrection Day.”

He then used one of his tools to cut some of that young man’s hair and said, “Hide yourself. Do not go back to see your mother.”

The young man said, “Fine. Inform my mother about my being saved and my escape so that she gets less upset and cries less. Tell her that I cannot return to her.”

The young man escaped and it never became clear where he went.

The builder said, “The young man gave me the address of his mother and something as a sign of him. I went there. I heard someone cry like the sound of bees. I realized that it was his mother who was crying. I went to see her, told her what had happened and gave her the hair. Then I returned home.”

Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, Volume 1, Page 101, Hadith 2

Narrated by Abdullah al-Gharawi:

“I visited Al-Fadhl ibn al-Rabee’ while he was sitting on the roof of his house. He told me, ’Come closer to me.’

I went closer to him to the extent that I stood beside him.”

Then he told me, ‘Overlook into the house.’

Then he asked, ‘What can you see in the house?’

I replied ‘I see a garment (thrown on the ground).’

He said, ‘Take a better look!’

Then I took a better look and said, ‘I see a man prostrating in prayer.’

He asked, ‘Can you recognize the man?’

I said, ‘No, I can’t.’

He said, ‘That is your master.’

I said, ’Which master?’

He said, ‘Are you pretending you don’t know?’

I said, ‘I am not pretending, but I do not know that I have a master.’

He said, ‘That is Abul Hassan Musa ibn Ja’far. I watch him day and night. I never found him in any state other than what I will tell you. He says the morning prayers. Then he says the supplications after the prayer for sometime until sunrise. Then he falls to prostration and remains prostrating until the sun comes near to descending (from its midday zenith). He has ordered someone to inform him about the sun’s coming near to descending. I do not know when they tell him that the sun has come near to descending. However, he suddenly stands up and begins to say his prayers without renewing his ritual ablutions.

So I can tell that he does not go to sleep during the period of his prostration nor does he slumber. He continues to pray until he finishes saying the afternoon prayers. When he finishes saying his afternoon prayer, he falls into prostration.

Then he stays in the state of prostration until sunset.

When the sun sets, he raises his head and says the evening prayers without renewing his ablutions. He continues to pray and says the supplications after the prayer until he finishes saying his night prayers. When he finishes saying his night prayers, he breaks his fast by eating some roasted meat which they bring for him.

Then he renews the ritual ablution and falls into prostration. Then he raises his head and sleeps for a short time.
Then he gets up and renews his ritual ablutions and stands up to pray in the middle of the night until dawn. I do not know when they inform him that the dawn has come, but I see that he suddenly stands up and says the morning prayers.

This has been his behavior since he has been handed over to me.’

I said, ‘Fear God! Do not do what would result in the termination of blessings. You know well that the blessings given to anyone who does any evil deeds to any member of this Household will be taken away from him.’

The guard replied, ‘They sent for me several times and ordered me to kill him, but I did not accept this and informed them that I would not do that. I would not do that even if they kill me.

After some time, the Imam was turned over to Al-Fadhl ibn Yahya Al-Barmaki who imprisoned him for a few days. For three days and nights Al-Fadhl ibn al-Rabee’ brought him food.

But on the fourth night they brought him food from Al-Fadhl ibn Yahya.

Then he (the Imam) raised his hands towards the sky and said, ‘O Lord! You know best that if I had eaten this before the day, I would have assisted my murderer myself.’

Then he, Abul Hassan Musa ibn Ja’far, ate it and fell ill. They brought a doctor for him the following morning. He showed the doctor the bruise that had developed on his hand which was the effect of the poison that had gathered in that location which they had fed him.

The doctor faced them and said, ‘By God! He knows best what you have done to him.’ Then the Imam passed away.”

Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, Volume 1, Page 97-98, Hadith 10

Syed Zafar Abbas Naquvi

1st Shahr Ramadhan 1438

27th June 2017

This article is part of a booklet on the Awqaaf of Imam Ali (as) written by Talat Syeda Jafri and translated by the author which is soon to be published.


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