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  • 6/22/2011

Traits of Nobility (part 2)

part 2

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Praying for others

It was Thursday night. The mother was facing the Kaaba, praying to her Lord, while her little son sat beside her, listening carefully. In spite of his age he watched every movement of his mother, standing, bending, prostrating. He heard her pray for every Muslim man and woman he knew and did not, by name. She prayed that they be blessed with honour, contentment, goodness and piety. Now he wanted to hear what she would ask for herself.

He kept awake for as long as she prayed, only to learn what she would ask for herself. The night passed and the new day dawned. Hasan (‘a) asked his mother, Lady Fatima Zahra (‘a) why she did not pray for herself at all, and kept praying for others all night. His mother answered, ‘My dear Son! First come your neighbours and friends, then your home, then yourself.’

 

Courtesy

Imam Hasan (‘a) and Imam Husain (‘a) were still children, when, one day, while on their way to the mosque, to offer the congregational prayers, they spied an aged person performing ablution ( wuzu) for the prayer. It struck them both that he was not performing it correctly. They stopped, realizing it was their duty to correct him.

They also realized that if they told him that his wuzu was not correct it could make him feel humiliated, and he might either refuse to admit it and stubbornly persist in doing it his way, i.e. the wrong way; or feel unhappy whenever he performed wuzu correctly, by recalling the humiliating moment when he was corrected by two children. They knew that criticism causes resistance and stubbornness, and seldom mends, thus fails to achieve the desired result. On the contrary, courtesy and humility can overpower the most ignorant, most resistant and most arrogant.

Imam Hasan (‘a) whispered something in his brother’s ear and they both took a tumbler full of water and stood within hearing distance of the old man.

‘I can perform ablution better than you,’ said Hasan (‘a).

‘No. I can perform it in the best way possible,’ said Husain (‘a).

‘Let us find somebody to judge who is better,’ said Hasan (‘a).

They walked towards the old man and greeted him, ‘Assalam o alaikum, worthy Muslim! Can you do us a favor? My brother and I want you to judge which of us performs ablution as ordained? Will you watch us very carefully and point out any discrepancy that you notice?’

‘Certainly,’ replied the old man, overjoyed to judge the Holy Prophet’s (s) grandchildren.

First Imam Husain (‘a) performed ablution very slowly, intentionally. The old man, immediately, realized how wrong he was, and decided to correct his own mistakes after observing the elder child and being sure. Then Imam Hasan (‘a) performed ablution in exactly the same way with the same speed.

The old man tearfully embraced them and said, ‘Noble children of the noblest family! Who could have pointed out my mistakes to me more affectionately and convincingly? May Allah bless you and reward you for guiding me aright.’

 

True Humility

A caravan was proceeding towards Mecca via Medina. They stopped in Medina for a few days and proceeded on their journey again.

On the way, a friend joined them. While individually greeting them, his eye fell on one person who was generously helping everyone with their chores. He recognized him instantly and asked the travellers if they knew who he was. They replied in the negative. ‘He joined us in Medina, but after these last few days of travelling together we can easily say that he is extremely pious, virtuous and God-fearing. We did not ask him, but he is always busy helping anyone who needs assistance in some way or the other.’

The friend of the travellers said, ‘I am sure you do not recognize him, for if you did, you would never allow him to do your petty chores.’

The travellers, stupefied, asked, ‘After all, who is he?’

‘He is Ali ibn al Husain, Zain ul Abedin (‘a)’, he replied.

The entire caravan was overwhelmed with shame and regret for not enquiring who he was when he joined them. They rushed towards him to kiss the hands that had performed all those menial tasks for them.

They complained, crying, ‘Why did you hide your identity? We could have committed an act of disrespect and never forgiven ourselves for it.’

The Imam (‘a) replied, ‘I intentionally joined your caravan because you did not know me. Whenever I travel with acquaintances, they treat me with great respect and affection because of my grandfather, the Holy Prophet (s), and do not permit me to do anything at all. I, therefore try to accompany people who do not recognize me, so that I can look after myself, do my own work, and without introducing myself, earn the pleasure of serving others.’

 

My Duty is My Duty

The journey had been long and tiresome. Finally, they had reached an oasis, and every rider eagerly got off his animal to refresh himself, perform ablution and prepare to offer his prayers. The Holy Prophet (s) was also accompanying them on this journey. After alighting from his camel, he moved towards the water. Suddenly, on second thought, he returned towards his camel. Everyone thought he was going to resume the journey, and sighed with fatigue. They were all ears for the call to remount, when, to their utter surprise, they saw the Holy Prophet (s) tying his camel.

After doing the needful, he returned to his companions, but was accosted by cries from all sides, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s)! Why did you not let one of us perform that task for you instead of going all the way back to do it yourself? We are always on the lookout to do something for you and feel honoured, but you never give us a chance.’

‘It is unwise to depend on others, or ask for their help in anything you can do yourself, be it as small as getting a green branch to brush your teeth. You must consider your work to be your duty, and not become a burden on others.’

 

Bearing ones own Burden

One day Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (‘a) with a few companions, was walking towards the house of a friend who was unwell. On the way, his shoe string broke and the shoe kept slipping off, making him slow down. He took the shoe off and continued to walk, barefooted. His companion, Abdullah ibn e Abi Yafoor noticed, and quickly took off his own shoe string and offered it to the Imam (‘a), so that he could put his shoe on while ibn e Yafoor walked barefooted.

The Imam (‘a) did not respond to this act of respectfulness. He (‘a) turned his face away and continued walking without listening to ibne Yafoor’s pleas. When he went on insisting, Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (‘a) stopped, turned towards him and said, ‘If a person is faced with a problem, it is his duty to deal with it. It is unfair to shift the burden onto someone else.’

Weightlifting Champion

A weight lifting championship was in progress and muscularly strong young men were participating in it. It so happened that the Holy Prophet (s) was passing by. He stopped and saw some youths trying to lift a heavy rock, one by one. He walked towards them and asked, ‘What are you doing?’

‘We are having a weightlifting contest to decide who is the strongest amongst us,’ they responded.

‘Well,’ he said, if you wish, I can tell you which man is the strongest.’

‘That would be perfect. It will give us great pleasure to accept the verdict of someone as wise as you.’

All the young men waited eagerly for the Holy Prophet (s) to hold the strongest man by the arm and take him to the centre of the arena, raise his hand and present him to the crowd as the victor of the tournament.

However, he (s) stood where he was, and defined ‘true strength’.

‘First, he, among you, is the strongest, who gets infatuated with something and is then enamoured by it, but he does not allow it to tempt him away from the path of truth and humanity, or contaminate him with vice. His love for goodness controls his love for all else.

Secondly, a person who is annoyed and enraged but controls his anger, speaks only the truth, and does not let a volley of abusive language defile his tongue; he, among you, is the strongest.

Such a person, in a position of power and authority, never buckles down before threats or obstacles blocking his path, but acts prudently by always observing the limits of truth and justice. He, among you, is the strongest.’

Source: alhassanain.com


The Battle of Islam at Siffin: part 1

The Battle of Islam at Siffin (part 2)

Womans Role in the Islamic Civilization (part 1)

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