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A Commentary on the Hamd Surah

(from the Book Disciplines of the Prayer)

part 15

scipt

A faithful awakening

Do know, dear, that as long as we are in this heavy veil of the world of nature, spending our life on colonizing the world and its pleasures, and being negligent of Allah, the Exalted, of remembering  Him  and  of  thinking  about  Him,  all  our worshipping, invocations and recitations will contain no truth” neither in al-hamdu llilah (praise is for Allah) we can confine praises to Allah, nor in iyyaka na‘budu wa iyyaka nasta‘in can we find a way to the truth. With these empty claims in the presence of Allah, the Exalted, the favorite angels, the messenger prophets and the infallible guardians, we aill be disgraced and humiliated. The one whose tongue of state and speech never stops praising the people of this world, how can he say, “All praise is for Allah?”‌ The one whose heart is inclined to nature, and is empty of any divine scent, and whose dependence is on the people, with which tongue can he utter: “You do we worship and You do we seek help from.”‌ So, if you are the man for this field, then tuck up the skirt of determination, and, with intense remembrance and contemplation of Allah’s Greatness, and of the creatures’ humiliation, inability and poverty, try first to convey the facts and the delicate matters mentioned in this thesis, to your heart, and enliven your heart by remembering Allah, the Exalted, so as to bring to your heart’s sense of smell a scent of monotheism, and, with the help of the Unseen, to find a passage to the salat of the people of knowledge. If you are not the man for this field, at least you are to continually remember your faults, pay attention to your humility and inability, perform your duties out of shame and disgrace, and avoid claiming servitude. And  these  noble  ayahs,  with  whose  graces  you  are  not acquainted, recite them either through the tongues of the perfect ones, or consider yourself merely reciting the form of the Qur’an, so that, at least, you many not claim a false allegation.

 

A juristic branch

Some jurisprudents see that it is not allowed to intend composition  in  sentences  like  iyyaka  na‘budu  wa  iyyaka nasta‘in, thinking that it would be a contradiction to the Qur’an and reciting it, since recitation is relating the words of someone else. This talk has no justification, because as one can praise someone with his own words, he can use somebody else’s words for the purpose. For example, if we praised somebody using Hafiz’s poetry, it would be true that we have praised the intended person, and it would also be true that we have recited Hafiz’s poetry. So, if we, by saying “All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds,”‌ actually compose all the praises for Allah, and by saying “You do we worship”‌ we compose the confinement of worship to Allah, it will come true that with Allah’s words we have praised Him, and with Allah’s words we have confined worship to Him. But if somebody emptied the words from their compositional  meaning,  he  would  be  acting  contrary  to precaution, if not to say his reciting would be batil. However, if someone did not know it, it would not be necessary for him to learn it, as the formal reciting with its own meaning would do. Some of the noble narratives refer to the fact that the reciter composes, as is in the Hadith Qudsi: “When he [the servant] says in  his  salat: “In  the  Name  of  Allah,  the  Beneficent,  the Merciful,”‌ Allah says: “My servant remembered Me”‌, and when he says: “All praise is for Allah,”‌ Allah says: “My servant praised Me”‌, etc. If the “bismillah”‌ and “praising”‌ were not composed by the servant, “remembered Me”‌ and “praised Me”‌ would have no meaning. In the hadiths of mi‘raj it is said: “Now that you have arrived, recite My Name [i.e. say the bismillah]. From the moods of the Imams of guidance (A.S) on reciting “The Owner of the Day of Judgment”‌ and “You do we worship,”‌ and from their repeating these verses, it is clear that they were composing, not merely reciting, like: Ismail testifies that there is no god but Allah.

One of the important differences of the ranks of the salat of godly people is due to this very difference in their recitation, as we have already referred to some of it. This, however, would not come about unless the reciter was intending the composition in his recitations and remembrances. Evidences proving this are much more than this. In short, composing these concepts by the divine words is not objectionable.

An advantage

The linguists say that “worship”‌ means utmost submission and humbleness. They also say that since worshipping is the highest degree of submission, it does not befit except the one who is at the highest degree of existence and perfection, and the greatest of the degrees of grace and benevolence, and as such, worshipping   other   than   Allah   is   polytheism.   Probably, “worshipping”‌ which   in   the   Persian   language   means “adoration”‌ and “servitude”‌ actually implies more than that which has been said, i.e. it is submission to the Creator and the Lord. It follows that such a submission is inseparable from taking the worshipped to be the Deity and Lord, or for example, His semblance and manifestation. Consequently, worshipping other than Allah is polytheism and disbelief. However, absolute submission, without this belief or deciding this meaning, even reluctantly, and even if it reached the utmost submission, would not be a reason for disbelief and polytheism, although some kinds of it are regarded to be haram such as placing the forehead on  the  dust  by  way  of  submission;  though  this  is  not worshipping, but it is apparently prohibited. Therefore, the homage paid by the followers of a religion to their religious leaders, believing that they, too, are servants in need of Allah, the Exalted, for everything””for the existence itself and for its perfection””and that they are good servants who, although can have no advantage, harm, life and death for themselves, are, through their servitude, in the proximity of the Court of Allah, the Exalted, and subject to His care, and a means of His grants, cannot be mixed with any blemish of polytheism and disbelief. To respect the favorites of Allah is to respect Him, and “To love Allah’s elects is to love Allah.”‌

Among the groups of “I call Allah to witness, and Allah is sufficient as a witness,”‌ the group that is””by the blessing of Ahl al-Bayt  of  revelation  and  infallibility,  the  resources  of knowledge and wisdom””more excellent in unifying, glorifying and exalting Allah, the Most High, than all other groups of humanity, is the group of the Twelve-Imam Shi‘ahs. Their books of the principles of belief””such as the honorable book of al-Kafi, and the honorable book of at-Tawhid by al-Shaykh al-Saduq (may Allah be pleased with him)””and speeches and invocations of their infallible Imams, which, in unifying and glorifying Allah, the Most High, are the issues of the said resources of revelation and inspiration, testify that such sciences were unprecedented among humanity, and that no one has glorified and exalted Allah, the Most High, like them, after the holy revelation of the Divine Sacred Book, the Glorious Qur’an, which is written by the hand of the Omnipotent. Despite the fact that the Shi’ahs, in all countries and times have been following those infallible, pure and monotheist Imams of guidance, and through their explicit reasoning and proofs they have known Allah, and glorified and unified Him, yet, some groups, whose heresy is quite clear in their beliefs and books, opened the door of contestation and abuse against them, and, owing  to  the  inner  hostility  which  they  had,  accused  the followers  of  the  infallible  Ahl  al-Bayt  of  polytheism  and disbelief. Although, in the market of knowledge and philosophy, this is worthless, yet its corrupting effect is that the incomplete people and the ignorant and the common, may be driven away from   the   sources   of   knowledge   towards   ignorance   and wretchedness. This is a grave crime against humanity, which is never retrievable. Concerning this subject, and according to rational and religious criteria, the responsibility of the crime and the sin of this defective, ignorant and helpless group is to be upon the conscience of the unfair who, for their imagined transitory interests prevented the spread of the divine knowledge and precepts, and were the cause of the wretchedness and the adversity of the human species, and rendered all the painful efforts of “the best of men”‌ lost and nil, closing the door of the House of Revelation and the Qur’an in the face of the people. “O Allah, curse then an intense cursing and torture them a painful torment.”‌

“Guide us to the straight path,”‌ etc.

Do know, dear, that there is a reference in the noble verse of al-Hamd (the  Opening)  to  the  conduct  of  the  people  of knowledge and austerity, and up to “You do we worship”‌ it covers the complete journey from creation up to Allah. When the proceeds from the Manifestations of Acts to the Manifestations of Attributes, and thence to the Manifestations of Essence, and comes out from the luminous and dark veils, and attains the state of presence and witnessing, there happens complete annihilation and full consumption. When the journey to Allah ends by the setting of the horizon of servitude and the rise of the sovereignty of ownership in the “Owner of the Day of Judgment,”‌ at the end of this suluk there takes place a state of establishment and stability, and the salik comes to himself, and becomes sober and attentive to his own state, but as a result of being attentive to Allah. This is contrary to the state of returning to Allah, for attending to Allah was a result of attending to the creatures. In other words, during the journey to Allah he used to see Allah in the veil of creation, and after returning from the state of complete annihilation, which takes place in the “Owner of the Day of Judgment,”‌ he sees the creation in the light of Allah, and thus, he says: “You do we worship”‌ giving priority to the object, the addressee, over himself and his worship. And, as in this position, there may be no stability, and slipping can be imagined, he demands his stability and firmness from Allah, the Exalted, and says: “Guide us”‌ which means: make us firm, as was explained.

It must be noted that the said position and the said explanation are for the perfect ones of the people of knowledge. Their first state is that in the state of returning from the journey to Allah, He, the Exalted, becomes their veil against the creation. And their state of perfection is the state of great isthmus, in which neither the creation becomes the veil against Allah, such as we, the veiled, nor Allah becomes the veil against creation, such as the eager united, and the attracted annihilated. So, their “Straight

path”‌ is this isthmus situation, in the middle between the two creations (worlds), and it is the path of Allah. Therefore, “those upon whom You have bestowed favors”‌ are the ones whose aptitude has been established by Allah, the Exalted, through the manifestation of the “Holiest Emanation”‌ in His knowledge, and, after complete annihilation, He has returned them to their kingdom. “Those inflicted by wrath,”‌ according to this exegesis, are those who are veiled before the union, and “Those who have gone astray”‌ are those who have vanished in the Presence.

As regards the imperfect ones, if they have not yet started their conduct, these matters will not come true in their respect, and their “path”‌ is the apparent religious form. For this reason, “the straight path”‌ is interpreted to mean “religion,”‌ “Islam”‌ and the like. If they are of the people of conduct, by “guidance”‌ they mean “showing the way,”‌ and by “the straight path”‌ they mean the shortest way of reaching Allah, which is the way of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and Ahl al-Bayt (A.S), as the exegetes say that it means the Messenger of Allah, the Imams of guidance and Amir al-Mu’minin [‘Ali] (A.S) In a hadith it is said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) once drew a straight line in the middle and other lines at its sides and said: “This middle straight line is from me.”‌ The expression “a middle nation”‌ in the noble ayah “We have made you a middle nation,”‌2 probably means an absolute middle covering all meanings, including the middle in knowledge and spiritual perfections, which is an isthmus big position and a great middle. For this reason, this station belongs to the perfect ones of Allah’s friends. That is why it is in the narrative that by this the Imams of guidance (A.S) are intended, as Imam Baqir (A.S) says to Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah al-‘Ijli: “We are the middle nation and we are the witnesses of Allah over mankind.”‌ In another narrative, he also says: “To us returns the extravagant [ghali] and to us refers the negligent [muqassir],”‌ in which hadith there is a reference to what has been said.


Source:

A Commentary on the Chapter of ‘Praise’ 

Witten by: Imam Khomeini(R.A)

Translator: Bahram Afrasiabi


Other Links:

A Commentary on the Hamd Surah: part 11 

A Commentary on the Hamd Surah: part 12 

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