Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Ya Ali Madad. We would like to wish you a happy new year! Let us pray to Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam for inner and outer peace, prosperity, security, material success, spiritual success and higher enlightenment for the Global Jamat and humanity at large! May all of us be inspired to practise the faith with greater conviction and be on the Siratal Mustaqeem in order to continue our journey to the House of Eternal Peace (Daras Salaam)! Ameen.
Note: You can download the PDF version of this posting from the links section below.
Part 1: Motivation from Nasir Khusraw, The Ruby of Badakhshan
Here are a couple of excerpts from a book titled, 'Nasir Khusraw, The Ruby of Badakhshan' authored by Alice C. Hunsberger which, I hope, will keep us motivated in 2013. The new edition of this book was published by I. B. Tauris in association with IIS in 2003 (ISBN 85043 926 5).
Here is an excerpt from p. 170:
"O brother, do not count too heavily as knowledge
the arts of writing and poetry,
Which are professions well placed
for acquiring worldly wealth and fame.
But it is something else entirely, another road, another science,
to acquire the comfort of the other world.
Here is a creed which he advises others to adopt (p. 243):
"Your true abode is the bright and everlasting world,
not for you the lowest world.
Light the candle of reason in your heart
and go quickly with shining heart on to the shining world.
During his visit to Canada in 2005, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam gave the following dua, "I hope you will have sunshine in your hearts". Let us analyze this in the context of the verse from the Divan of Nasir Khusraw. Nasir Khusraw is appealing to us to first create a light in our hearts, and then with this light, go quickly on to the shining world, i.e., the Ocean of Noor and the House of Eternal Peace. From this, we can see that the light of the enlightened soul merges with the Noor is in higher world. Light merges into Light in Dares Salaam!
Part 2: My Discovery of a Precious Qur'anic Treasure
A few months ago, I read commentaries on Sura Ikhlas and started to implement what I had learnt. This has significantly changed my inner being. Therefore, I sincerely request you to please read this post carefully and try to implement the practice of reciting Sura Ikhlas in multiples of three, as many times as you can, during the 24-hour cycle.
Instead of coming up with a prescription of several dhikr tabis, I would like to empower my readers with the method of developing their own set of tasbis. Here are the steps that I took, based on my scientific background, to develop a dhikr tasbi package for my personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment.
- Conceptualize a broad framework. In this case, we are looking at the theme of 'Interpretation of the Holy Quran' (Part 3);
- Focus on a topic. In this case, we are looking at the topic of 'Interpretation of Sura Ikhlas' (Part 4);
- Create a knowledge component on the topic. In this case, I found twenty titles or Names of Sura Ikhlas with explanations (Part 5);
- Assess the benefits. In this case, I discovered many great virtues of Sura Ikhlas (Part 6);
- Develop a project or a package. In this case, in addition to Sura Ikhlas, I also complied a list of tasbis (Part 7);
- Determine the length and duration of the project and practise with conviction. The length was 25 minutes per day and the duration of the project was 49 days. Spread the barakat of the prayers every day. In this case, I identified several target groups in my circle of my concern (Part 8);
- Synthesize the above with a unifying theme. In this case, I first developed lyrics of a luminous dhikr and then its soothing tune on the theme of Noor (Part 9); and
- Provide links for further enhancement (Part 10).
Part 3: Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's Vision of Tafsir Across the Ummah and Across Time
In his Golden Jubilee Irshad on July 11, 2007, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam informed the global Jamat that the Institute of Ismaili Studies is conducting a careful enquiry into a wide body of Tafsir across the Ummah and across time in order to develop a thorough understanding of the multiple schools of interpretation of the Holy Qur'an. I came across a book entitled, 'An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries. Volume 1: On the Nature of the Divine', edited by Feras Hamza and Sajjad Rizvi with Farhana Mayer. Oxford University Press in association with IIS, London (ISBN 978-0-19-960059-5) and purchased it from the Literature Desk.
The 670 page book covers tafsir on six topics. The sixth topic is titled 'Oneness (Q.112)'. This chapter is 85 pages long and runs across pages 491-576. It covers commentaries across time and represents views of Muqatil; Hud; Qummi; Furat; Tabari; Abu Hatim al-Razi; Maybudi; Zamakhshari; Tabrisi; Fakhr al-Din al-Razi; Kashani; Abu Hayyan; Sharafi; Burusawi; Alusi; and Fadl Allah. It is a meticulous piece of work and sheds light on the multiple dimensions of Sura Ikhlas which we recite in the sixth part of our Holy Dua three times a day.
In this post, I am not going to make a detailed presentation of the tafsir because it is complex and needs a lot of space. If you are truly interested, I encourage you to buy the book. However, I am going to present the twenty lofty titles given to Sura Ikhlas which show its importance and then present a set of hadith which demonstrate the benefits of reciting Sura Ikhlas continually with conviction. If Sura Ikhlas is recited with sincerity, purity, understanding, humility and conviction, then the benefit is equivalent to reciting one-third of the Holy Qur'an. Thus when we recite Al-Fatiha during funeral ceremonies, we say Sura Ikhlas three times to reap the benefit equivalent to reading the whole Holy Qur'an. Therefore, we should make a diligent effort of reciting Sura Ikhlas, in multiples of three, several times during day and night. This is extremely important to note that no Islamic prayer is complete without reciting Sura Ikhlas and this is another reason to include Sura Ikhlas in our dhikrs.
Part 4: Arabic Text, Transliteration and Pickthall's Translation of Sura Ikhlas
1. Qul Hu-waallahu 'Ahad;
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only!
Allah is eternally Besought of all;
3. Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad;
He begetteth not nor was begotten;
4. Walam yakul-la-Huu kufuwan 'ahad.
And there is none comparable unto Him.
Sura Ikhlas is a very important Sura from the Holy Qur'an because it proclaims the Oneness (Tawhid) and absolutely unique nature of Divine Essence. This concept is presented in the first ayat. The second ayat declares that Allah is Eternal, i.e., He is beyond the bounds of time and space. The second verse is also translated as 'Allah is so unique that He is eternally Besought of all'. These are the two meanings of As-Samad. The third ayat describes that Allah does not give birth nor is He is given birth and the last ayat declares that Allah is beyond comparison, i.e., Allah is Unique. Sura Ikhlas directly supports the first declaration (shahada) of Islam: "There is no god but Allah". In this context, Islam is based on belief in one God (monotheism).
In his memoirs, Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, also known as Aga Khan III, has defined the principle of Islam as follows (p. 175):
|"Once man has thus comprehended the essence of existence there remains for him the duty, since he knows the value of his own soul, of making for himself a direct path which will constantly lead his individual soul to and bind it with the universal Soul of which the Universe, as much of it we perceive with our limited vision, is one of the infinite manifestations. Thus Islam's basic principle can only be defined as monorealism and not as monotheism."
From the above teaching of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah (a.s.), we learn that there is an absolute reality which we cannot described but it can be experienced with our soul. So, if one is conducting a personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment, then it is absolutely necessary to understand and experience the mystical dimension of Sura Ikhlas. I urge you to read about the twenty names of Sura Ikhlas and pay special attention to the nineteenth and twentieth name of this Sura from the Razi's list presented below.
Part 5: The Names of Sura Ikhlas According to Razi
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d.606/1209) was one of the most influential and perhaps the most significant Sunni theologians of the medieval period. In the latter period of his life he became known as the 'elder of Islam' (Shaykh al-Islam). In the Anthology of Commentaries, he has listed twenty titles for Sura Ikhlas on pages 535-538.
Here is the list from the book:
"Know that the greater the number of titles [a thing has]' the greater the merit [associated with it], and convention bears witness to what we have [just] said.
- One of these [names] is: The sura of showing [God] to be unique (tafrid).
- A second [name] is: The sura of divestment (tajrid).
- A third is: The sura of [belief in God's] Oneness (tawhid)
- Fourth: The sura of sincere devotion (ikhlas), because in this sura only the negative attributes, which are the attributes of the [divine] majesty, are mentioned, and because whoever believes in it is sincerely devoted to God's religion, and because whoever dies in [affirmation of] this [chapter] will be saved (kh-l-s) from the Fire, and because what came before [this sura] is devoted (kh-l-s) to the censure of Abu Labab; the recompense due to whoever recites it is that he will not share the predicament of Abu Lahab.
- Fifth: The sura of salvation (najat), because it saves you from ascribing human characteristics to God (tashbih) and from unbelief in this world, and from the Fire in the hereafter.
- Sixth: The sura of friendship (walaya), because whoever recites it becomes a friend of God (waliyy), and because whoever comes to know God in this manner [as One] has befriended Him; for every trial there becomes a mercy, just as after every reward comes a blessing.
- Seventh: The sura of attribution (nisba), because as we have related, it came in response to those who asked, 'attribute (n-s-b) for us your Lord [to something], and because the Prophet said to a man from the Banu Sulaym, 'O brother of the Banu Sulaym, have the best intention when you think about God's attribution (nisba)',which is a subtly-constructed statement, for [...] the careful preservation of genealogies (ansab) is a speciality of Arabs, who are very strict with anyone who augments or deducts from a genealogy (nasab), and [for that very reason] the attribution (nisba) of God in this sura is more deserving of their careful preservation.
- Eighth: The sura of knowledge (ma'rifa), because knowledge of God is not complete without knowledge of this sura. Jabir [b. Abd Allah] related that a man supplicated, reciting 'Say: He is God, One, and the Prophet said [of him], 'This servant [of God] knows his Lord'. For this reason it is called the sura of knowledge.
- Ninth: The sura of beauty (jamal), because the Prophet said: 'God is beautiful and loves beauty'. They questioned him about this and he said: 'One, Besought of all, He neither begot nor was begotten', since if He were not One with no equal, it would be possible for someone who resembled Him to act on His behalf.
- Tenth: The sura of 'cure' (maqashqasha), as in their expression taqashqasha al-marid [from marad] mimmi bihi (the sick person has been cured from what he was suffering); and whoever knows this [sura] is cured from idolatry and hypocrisy, because hypocrisy is a sickness (marad), just as He [God] said In their hearts there is sickness (marad) [Q.2:10].
- Eleventh: [The sura of] seeking protection (mu'awwidha). It is related that the Prophet entered the presence of 'Uthman b. Maz'un. and he [the Prophet] sought protection [from God] for him ['Uthman] with this [sura] and with the two [suras that come] after it. Then he [the Prophet] said, 'Seek protection [with God] through these [suras], since you will never find better protection than through these'.
- Twelfth: The sura of the Besought of all (samad), because it is solely concerned with His mention, exalted be He.
- Thirteenth: The sura of foundation (asas). The Prophet said: 'The seven heavens and the seven earths were founded on Say: He is God, One, and the proof of this [being true] is that the [counter] profession of [belief in] the Three [sc. Trinity] is a [potential] cause for destruction of the heavens and the earth, as evidenced by God's statement, The heavens are almost rent because of it, and the earth [is almost] split asunder, and the mountains almost fall down crashing ...(Q.10:90). The oneness of God (tawhid), therefore, must necessarily constitute the cause by which these things are sustained [harmoniously]. But it is also said that the reason [why it is called 'the foundation' sura] is the significance of His words: Had there been in [either of] the two [heavens and the earth] gods other than God, they would both surely been in ruins [Q.21:22].
- Fourteenth: The sura of protection (mani'a). Ibn 'Abbas related that God said to the Prophet at time he ascended [the heavens] ('araja), I have given you Surat-al-Ikhlas. It is from the treasure stores of My throne ('arsh) and it is the preventer (mani'a) that prevents the torment of the grave and flames of the fires [of hell from afflicting a soul]'.
- Fifteenth: The sura of attendance (mahdar), because angels attend in order to listen to it whenever it is recited.
- Sixteenth: The repeller [sura] (munaffira), because Satan is repelled when it is recited.
- Seventeenth: [The sura of] absolution (bara'a), because it is related that the Prophet saw a man reciting this sura and he said 'As for this [man], he is absolved of associating anything with God'. The Prophet said, 'Absolution from the [punishment of the] Fire will be granted for whoever recites the sura: Say, He is God, One, a hundred times either during the [canonical] prayer or outside it [at any other time]'.
- Eighteenth: [It is also called] 'the reminder' (mudhakkira), because it reminds the servant [of God] of the pure profession of the oneness [of God]. Reciting this sura is like a mark that [stamps you and] reminds you of that which you neglect but which you need.
- Nineteenth: The sura of light (nur). God said: God is the Light of the heaven and the earth (Q. 23:35]. He is the illuminator of the heavens and the earth, and this sura illuminates the heart. The Prophet said, 'Everything has a light, and the light of the Qur'an is Say: He is God, One'. This is analogous to the light of the human being which lies in his smallest organ, and that is the pupil of the eye. This sura is to the Qur'an what the pupil of the eye is to the human being.
- Twentieth: The sura of security (aman). The Prophet said [that God said], 'when a servant [of Mine] says There is no God but God (Q.47.19] he enters My fortress, and whoever enters My fortress is secure from My punishment'.
Part 6: The Virtues of Sura Ikhlas According to Tabrisi
Abu 'Ali al-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi (d. 548/1154) was an important Twelver Imami traditionalist and scholar. Through his work, he became a successful and influential commentator both in Sunni and Shi'i circles. In the Anthology of Commentaries, he has listed ahadith on the virtues of Sura Ikhlas on pages 519-520. Here is the text from the book:
"Its virtues (fada'il)
In the hadith of Ubayy [it is said that]: 'whoever recites it, it is as though he has recited a third of the Qur'an, and will be given in reward ten good deeds for every person who believes in God, His angels, scriptures, messengers and the Last Day'.
According to [the hadith by] Abu'l-Darda, the Prophet said: 'would any of you find [that you would] not be able to recite a third of the Qur'an in a single night? To which I said, 'And who is able to do that?' He said, 'Recite qul huwa'llahu ahad'.
According to [the hadith by] Anas [b. Malik]: the Prophet said: 'When one [of you] recites qul huwa'llahu ahad once, he will be blessed; if he recites it twice, he will be blessed together with his family; if he recites it three times, he, his family and all his neighbours will be blessed; if he recites it twelve times, twelve palaces will be built for him in Paradise, such that the guardian [angels] (hafaza) say [one to another], "Let us go and have a look at the palace of this brother of ours"; if he recites it one hundred times, he will expunge the sins of twenty-five years, with the exception if [sins involving] blood or money; if he recites it four hundred times, he will expunge [the equivalent of ] the sins of four hundred years; yet if he recites it a thousand times, he will not die until he has seen his place in Paradise or it is seen for him [by someone else].
According to Sahl b. Sa'd al-Saidi, a man came to the Prophet and complained to him of his impoverishment and straitened means. The Messenger of God said to him, 'whenever you enter your home, offer the peace greeting (salaam) whether there is somebody there or not, the recite [the sura] qul huwa'llahu once.' The man did this and God showered him with such provisions (rizq) that this eventually spilled over into his neighbours' [homes]. Al-Sukuni [reported] from Abu 'Abd Allah [Ja'far al-Sadiq] that the Prophet performed the funeral prayer over Sa'd b. Mu'adh, and when he had finished, he said, 'He [Sa'd] has met with 70,000 angels, among them Gabriel, saying prayers for him. I [the Prophet] said 'O Gabriel, why has he deserved your prayers for him?", to which he [Gabriel] replied. 'Because of his reciting qul huwa'llahu ahad whenever he sat, stood up, was riding, on foot, walking, coming and going."
[In a report by] Mansur b. Hazim, Abu 'Abd Allah [Ja'far al-Sadiq] said, 'If a single day passes for someone who has performed his five prayers but has not recited qul huwa'llahu ahad in [any of them], it is said to him, 'O servant of God, you are not of those who perform prayers [correctly]'. [In a report by] Ishaq b. 'Ammar. Abu 'Abd Allah [Ja'far al-Sadiq] said, 'if a week passes for a person without [once] reciting qul huwa'llahu ahad, and then that person dies, he will have died in [the manner of a follower of] the religion of Abu Lahab. [In a report by Harun b. Kharija, the Prophet said, 'If a sickness or hardship befalls a person and that person does not recite qul huwa'llahu ahad during this sickness or hardship, and then ends up dying because of sickness or hardship that befell him, he will be among the inhabitants of the Fire'. [In a report by] Abu Bakr al-Hadrami, the Prophet said, 'Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him not neglect to recite after every obligatory [prayer] qul huwa'llahu ahad, for whoever recites it [as mentioned], he will have amassed for him the good (khayr) of this world and that of the Hereafter, and God will forgive him and his parents and all their children'.
'Abd Allah b. Hajar said, I heard the Commander of Believers ['Ali b. Abi Talib] say, "Whoever recites qul huwa'llahu ahad eleven times after [every] dawn [prayer] will not be pursued by any sin on that day and Satan will be spited". [It is reported by] Ibrahim b. Muhzim from one who heard Abul-Hasan ['Ali b. Abi Talib] say: 'Whoever offers qul huwa'llahu ahad [reciting it] when confronted by a tyrant, God will protect him form him: [let him] recite it in front of him, behind him and to his right and left. If he does so, God will provide for him the good [side] of that [tyrant] and will protect him from his evil'. He ['Ali b. Abi Talib] also said, 'If you fear a matter, recite any hundred verses of the Qur'an, then say "O God, remove from me [this] tribulation" three times'. Isa b. 'Abd Allah [reported] from his father from his [Isa's] grandfather from Ali [b. Abi Talib] that the prophet said, 'Whoever recites qul huwa'llahu ahad a hundred times when retiring to his bed, God will forgive him sins of fifty years."
Part 7: A Project to Recite Sura Ikhlas With Conviction
After reading and internalizing the above knowledge, I first developed a package consisting of Sura Ikhlas and several tasbis. Then I identified a relatively quiet location in the Jamat Khana and recited these silently after the completion of two duas for a period of 49 days. It was not feasible for me to go to Jamat Khana for 49 days straight, thus this project was completed over a 89-day time period between September 30,2012 to December 28, 2012. There were some gaps but I kept track by marking the days on my calendar. However, with Mowla's immense grace, I did reach my target of forty-nine days on December 28, 2012.
Here is my tasbi and Sura Ikhlas package:
- 'Astaghafirullahi Rabbi wa Atubu Ilayhi' (101 times)
'I seek forgiveness from my Lord and Sustainer and I seek to return to Him in repentance'. This is very important because we all have to return to our origin.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Qul Hu-walaahu 'Ahad
Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad;
Walam yakul-la-Huu kufuwan 'ahad. (101 times)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only!
Allah is eternally Besought of all;
He begetteth not nor was begotten;
And there is none comparable unto Him.
The following tasbis from the 99 Divine Names
- Ya Samad: The Supreme Provider, The Independent One from the Divine Name No. 68 (101 times)
- Ya Ghani: The Self-sufficient One from the Divine Name No.88
- Ya Wahaab: The Supreme Bestower from the Divine Name No. 16
- Ya Razzaaq: The Total Provider from Divine Name No. 17
- Ya Mughni: The Bestower of Sufficiency from Divine Name No. 89
- Ya Raafi: The Elevating One from Divine Name No. 23 (101 times)
- Sukhran Lillah wal Hamdulillah:
(All thanks are due to Allah, and all praises are due to Allah) (101 times)
The following link will take to the Quran Explorer website:
Select 'Sura Ikhlas' from the Sura/Chapter pull down menu, click on options button and in the verse repetition box, change the 'selected range' to any number from 2 to 99, and if you do not want to hear the translation, select 'hide' for the translation pull down menu.
In our Tariqah, we have a large number of tasbis. However, we are now blessed with new literature from IIS which in English and other languages. The purpose of publishing the above list is to augment our choices to perform dhikr. So, for example, if you are reciting 'Ya Ali, Ya Allah, Ya Muhammad', salwat and other tasbis, please continue to do so. The above list is not a replacement for whatever you are doing. Instead, it is an addition to the treasury of tools that we can use in our personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment.
The above package takes about 25-30 minutes. You could do a dry run by doing 33 times which would take around 10 minutes. It is better to do 101 beads because it takes a little bit more time for these tasbis to sink into our being. However, you can start with any number such as 3, 5, 7, 11, 33, 40, 49, 70 or 101 times. The key point is to add something which is new, rich and powerful to our personal searches for higher spiritual enlightenment, if you wish.
Part 8: How to Spread the Benefit of Prayers?
During my 49-day prayers and a couple of other intense sessions, I always ended my prayers in prostration in which I supplicated that these duas were being sent for the following:
- Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam and the Noorani Family for peace, happiness, excellent health and security;
- The Global Ismaili Jamat for peace, security, mushkil asaan, material progress and higher spiritual enlightenment;
- The Ummah so that they understand the real, spiritual Islam and live in equality, peace, harmony and security;
- The humanity so that we may all accept one another, respect all people and also be in harmony with nature;
- For all the departed souls (kul ruhani) so that they may attain the Abode of Eternal Peace (Daras Salaam)
- For the whole creation because it is full of Allah's signs demonstrating its submission to the Will of Allah. Let us pray that this understanding creates energy within ourselves so that we may also submit of the Will of Allah; and
- Finally, I prayed to Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam to multiple the benefit of these prayers and send these to whosoever he wishes wherever they may be living because only he knows what is best.
May Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's Light (Noor) protect all of us in all the six directions (right, left, front, behind, above and below). We are controlled by our circumstances and the different social, economic and local settings so we are supplicating to Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam to ease the burden of all our difficulties.
Part 9: Luminous Dhikr of Noore Muhammad, Noore Qur'an, Noore Ali, Noore Karim and Hazar Imam
Let us perform the luminous dhikr of Noore_Karim Hazar_Imam with utmost humility and tenderness of the heart (length 4 min 41 sec; 6.5 MB).
Download Noore_Karim Hazar_Imam sound track in mp3 format; or
Download Noore_Karim Hazar_Imam sound track in wma format.
The lyrics are given below:
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
|Noore Muhammad, Noore Quran; (1)
[The Light of Muhammad and the Light of Qur'an (are one)]
|Noore Muhammad, Noore Ali; (2)
[The Light of Muhammad and Light of Ali (are one)]
|Noore Ali, Noore Karim; (3)
[The Light of Ali is the Light of Karim Shah (through the Chain of Imamat)]
|Noore Karim, Hazar Imam (4)
[All the above Lights are One Light which is in Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam]
|Noore Muhammad, Hazar Imam (5)
[Therefore, the Light of Muhammad is in Hazar Imam]
|Noore Qur'an, Hazar Imam (6)
[Also, the Light of the Holy Qur'an is in Hazar Imam]
|Noore Ali, Hazar Imam (7)
[Also, the Light of Ali is in Hazar Imam]
|Noore Karim, Hazar Imam (8)
[All the above Lights are One Light which is in Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam]
Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds!
Part 10: Links
- Dhikr Sound Tracks
- More Dhikr Sound Tracks
- Click here to download the PDF version of Candle Posting 115
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, create Sunshine in our hearts, light in our foreheads, and bless us all with the inner vision of the Truth!
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, grant the global Jamat luminous (noorani) and spiritual (ruhani) tayid (help) to advance materially, spiritually and intellectually. Ameen.
Haizinda — Qayampaya
(Our Present Imam is Living and His NOOR is Eternal)
Rakh Mowla je Noor te Yaqeen (Certainly, we trust in Mowla's Light only),
Noorallah Juma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The lit candle represents the Light of Imamat. Let us actualize this Light into our spiritual hearts, heads, & consciences so that we may also be able to submit spiritual & luminous nazranas in the Diamond Jubilee.