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  • 1/29/2012

Love and Affection for Imam-e-Zamana A.S

part 1

imam zaman

  Every living being is overwhelmed with emotions of love and attachment. These are emotions that man is very familiar with, and everyone has experienced these strong emotions at some stage in his life. However, those who reflect on these emotions are few. Even fewer are those who comprehend the reality and foundation of the emotions. We all understand that love can increase and decrease as well. An intense feeling of love and attachment can melt the most hardened of hearts. It can make a person weep and it can also make a person smile. Love can be witnessed in the battlefield, over there it can be heard from the resonance of swords and spears striking each other. It can also be witnessed in more peaceful and secure times. Indeed love can have a powerful influence on an individual.

An incident in this regard from the highly acclaimed compilation - Najmus Saqib (by Muhaddiss-e-Noori) is worth mentioning over here. Once a group of people belonging to a nomadic Qazaak tribe had lost its way in the desert. They were totally exhausted from trying to find a way out of the desert. Suddenly they saw some smoke emanating from a hillock at a distance. Out of curiosity they went towards the hillock and saw a caravan on the other side. The leader of the caravan was very benevolent and generous and seeing their worn out condition invited them for a meal. When the Qazaaki group had their fill they left. But seeing the wealth of the caravan, they were tempted and they turned back in order to plunder the caravan. The leader of the caravan was quick to discern their intentions and he drew his sword from its sheath. He drew a line on the ground and announced in an awesome tone, 'If anyone tries to cross this line, I will behead him.' His voice was so terrifying, that the group of Qazaakis fell down from their mounts. May the lives of our parents be sacrificed upon the benevolent and generous leader of the caravan. O the avenger of Imam Husain's (a.s.) blood!

Love can be an overwhelmingly powerful emotion. Love has in it the ability to drown the person with its intensity and force. However, love has several levels and grades. It has ways and it has gateways; each gateway has its own peculiarities and a different approach should be adopted for every gateway. Likewise, the gateway of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love has its own peculiarities and requires a completely different approach. We must try to discern the path towards Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love and attachment. We must try to gauge the different levels of his love and the difficulties involved in the path of his love. We must try to assess the requirements and prerequisites of the love and whether we find those criteria in ourselves. Only after understanding all the prerequisites and conditions involved in Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love, we might claim - We love Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). But if negligence overpowers us, then it can expel us from the domain of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love and attachment. That is why it is crucial that we understand this love and its criteria.

The love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) resides in the heart. For this love to grow and be nurtured, the heart must be clean and pure from all corruption. We have to see how Allah, the Benevolent and the Merciful, has guided us towards his love. Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the last successor and vicegerent of the Chief of the Apostles (a.s.) and the Seal of the Prophets (a.s.). He is Allah's Proof upon His creatures. Therefore we should also assess the relationship between love and the raising of Prophets (a.s.). We should see how Imam (a.t.f.s.) reminds men of Allah's signs, how he purifies the souls, how he illumines man's existence with the radiance of love. We should see how our teachers and guides have prepared us for purification with love and how they have awakened us for this love. Only then will we understand that we can never adequately return Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love for us and fall woefully short in this regard.

However, history does throw up instances of several personalities who were from an immaculate and cultured background, who possessed amazing prowesses and had remarkable accomplishments to their credit and were supported by an unseen force in their efforts. These personalities tread the path of love and affection for Imam (a.t.f.s.). It is not easy to tread on the path which they strode, however it is not impossible either. That's why we say - we can never 'adequately' return Imam's (a.t.f.s.) love.

However, even the inadequate love and attachment that we have for Imam (a.t.f.s.) is very powerful and carries tremendous impact. To reach that position requires a Herculean effort. Let us take a look at what the scholars have had to say in this regard.

Scholars assert that love is an emotion that can only be experienced. It is inherent in man's nature. It is an emotion that cannot be defined by mere phrases. Love is too profound for that. However for the sake of litterateurs and writers we can state the definition of love in dictionary is described as, 'Love is an emotion that introduces gentleness and harmony in man's nature’. That emotion which inculcates harshness and severity in man's nature is called hatred, Love flows from recognition and comprehension. Therefore as recognition increases, love also increases.

The above definition outlines the meaning of love and hatred. Both these emotions are closely linked to man's conscience and heart. It is a widely accepted fact that Allah has introduced love to the human heart. Here we are discussing two emotions - love and hatred. To sustain love it is important that man refrains from certain actions and performs others. So every despicable act must be condemned and one must not think of performing such actions, since it will have a destructive effect on man's ability to love. On the other hand, every praiseworthy act must be lauded and man must try his best to rush towards that action, as this will give a fillip to love in his heart. The illustrious scholar and prolific writer Allamah Murtuza Mutahhari (a.r.) has dealt with this topic in detail in his renowned book, "Polarization around the character of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)". However, to discuss details of the book over here is beyond the scope of this short treatise. In brief, it is imperative for us to act on the obligations and necessary conditions of love, to identify the pre-requisites of love and to discharge them in the best possible manner. Indeed these are the necessary qualifications of love and we must abide by them if we want love to blossom in our hearts. At the same time, we must not ignore the other prerequisite of love - avoiding all such actions that support and give a fillip to hatred. These actions not only further hatred in a person, but also inhibit the emotion of love.

Mankind, Allah's most noble creation has derived its Arabic term - Insaaniyat from Uns. Allah, Who has created man, has outlined adequate means for his survival and progress. Let us glance at the Holy Quran and see what it has indicated in this regard.

 

Allah, the Almighty, has announced in the Quran

"Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam"

(Surah Aale Imran, Verse18)

 

In order to proclaim His path and religion, Allah, the Almighty, raised a number of prophets (a.s.), who guided man towards the divine command. Finally, Allah raised His greatest Apostle, Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) and announced in the Quran

"He it is Who raised among the illiterates an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error."

(Surah Jumah, Verse 2)

 

In Islam, it is important to purify the self by reciting the Quranic verses. If the self is not purified, then wisdom and Quranic teachings will be of no benefit. Indeed only if the self is purified, will the brilliance of wisdom and the Quran will permeate in the self and illumine the dark recesses of the heart. With this, man's faith and certainty in Allah increases manifold. With the increase in certainty and faith in Allah, man testifies to Allah's Word and his nature is overwhelmed with love for Allah. Allah declares,

"...Those who believe are stronger in love for Allah."

(Surah Baqarah, Verse 165)

 

This is the reason why Imam Husain (a.s.) most willingly sacrificed his life in the way of his Lord out of sheer love and devotion. His face bore a striking radiance with the love of his Lord. Since our discussion is veering from Islam to faith (eemaan) and from faith to love, it is imperative to see how often Allah has discussed love in the Holy Quran. Love (Mohabbat) and attachment (Mawaddat) are two words very closely linked to each other. Both these terms have been used in the Quran extensively. We see the word love appearing in the Quran 115 times, while attachment is repeated 28 times. And these words are always used in relation to and as an interpretation of faith and love. Another version of the love Ishq has not been used in the Quran at all. However, we see this word appearing in the traditions of the infallibles (a.s.). For instance, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declares

'The best of men is the one who loves worship.'

Source: imamalmahdi.com


Other Links:

Responding to Some Points Raised By Ibn Khaldun (Part 2)  

The Existence of the Mahdi is certain 

Other Opinions from Ibn Khaldun  

People Awaited the Appearance of the Mahdi  

The Jurists of Medina and the Mahdi Traditions  

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