The Symbols of Allah (SWT)
“That (is the command). Whoever respects the signs of Allah; that is from the Godwariness of the hearts”. (22:32)
Sha-‘a-ir in Arabic has its origin from Sha-‘eerah, which means direction that leads to and also gives understanding of something or someone. The interpretation of Sha-‘a-ir in English is: Symbols, Signs or Marks.
Every religion and every community has its own symbols through which its followers are recognized and the people accord highest degree of respect to their symbols. For example: Christians are recognized through the symbol of Cross. You ask any practicing Christian about the Cross and he/she will talk highly about it. The same goes for all the other denominations: Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs.
SYMBOLS OF ALLAH
Al-Safaa and Al-Marwaa are two clusters of rocks between which the pilgrims run back and forth during Hajj. They are the scene of Haajirah’s running to and fro in search of water for her son Ismail (as) in the blistering heat and wilderness of Makkah. Therefore they remind us of the sacrifice, which a woman gave for the sake of protecting the life of a prophet of Allah.
Another symbol, which Allah (SWT) has stated as an example in the Holy Quran is of the animal of sacrifice. It reminds us of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) at the command of Allah (SWT). “And the (sacrificial) camels! We have made for you among the signs of Allah”. (22:36)
Although Allah (SWT) has given us only few examples of His symbols, our ‘Ulama tell us that anything or anyone that leads us and gives us the true understanding of Allah (SWT) is included among the Sha-‘a-irallah. There are certain things and certain people included in the Sha-‘a-irallah. If they are mentioned, one knows that they are linked to Allah (SWT). For instance: Baytullah, which means ‘The House of Allah (SWT)’. This takes us to the Holy Ka’bah. Shahrullah, which means the ‘The month of Allah’. This takes us to the Holy month of Ramadhan. Nabiyullah, Which means ‘The Prophet of Allah’. This takes us to the Divine Guides – the prophets who were sent for our guidance. Waliyyullah, which means ‘The friend of Allah’. This takes us to the Godly people. And so on and so forth. All these are Sha-‘a-irallah. They lead us of Allah (SWT) and therefore, we have been commanded NOT to violate their sanctity in any way and to accord them with highest degree of respect. “O you who believe! Do not violate the sanctity of the symbols of Allah…” (5:2)
GRAVES & SHRINES
We are commemorating the 20th of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as) and the Shuhada of Karbala. Together, we are also remembering the destruction of Samarrah. Last week, the enemies of Allah (SWT) once again targeted the graves and Shrines of Imam al-Hadi (as) and Imam al-‘Askary (as). The shrine contained two other graves. One is of Bibi Narjis Khatoon (as) – the mother of our 12th Imam (AJ) and the other is of Bibi Hakimah Khatoon – the Sister of Imam al-Hadi (as) who has given the detailed account of the birth of our 12th Imam (AJ). In addition, the Shrine also contains the place from where our 12th Imam (AJ) had disappeared into occultation. This is NOT the first time the graves of the Ahlul-Bayt (as) and that of the other noble and pious people of Islam have been targeted. Jannatul-Baqee and Jannatul-Mu’alla in Makkah are the living testimonies of the atrocities, which the Wahhabis have committed. They claim that: Visiting a grave (or a shrine); or praying by any grave; or remembering the dead is Haram in Islam and whoever does so is a Mushrik and Kafir.
It is reported that the Holy Prophet (saww) used to go to Jannatul-Baqee’ and greet those who were buried there saying: “Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O Allah! Forgive the fellows of al-Baqee”. He (saww) also used to go to Jannatul-Mu’alla – a graveyard in which his wife Sayyida Khadeeja (as) is burried and historians have recorded that he (saww) had said: “This is the most blessed graveyard”. It is also reported that he (saww) used to visit the grave of his beloved mother Bibi Aamina (as) between Makkah and Madina; and he (saww) used to cry there such that all those who had accompanied him also cried. In addition to this:
Al-Bayhaqi – a prominent Sunni Scholar has narrated that: “The Holy Prophet (saww) used to visit the graveyard of the martyrs of ‘Uhud annually”. (Shu’ab al-Imaan) So not only visiting the graves and praying for the dead is permitted, but visiting the graves of the pious people annually – who laid down their lives for the sake of Islam is also a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saww).
The graves and Shrines of the Prophets (as), the Aimma (as), those who laid down their lives for Islam and that of the Godly people are also considered as Sha-‘a-irallah. They lead us and give us the true understanding of Allah (SWT). Respecting them and NOT violating their sanctity brings about TAQWA in our hearts. Whoever respects the signs of Allah; that is from the Godwariness of the hearts”. (22:32)
PEOPLE WHO DESTROY GRAVES
People who destroy the graves of great and honourable people in the name of Islam are infact the enemies of Islam who desire to destroy the symbols of Allah (SWT). They are jealous of the righteous people! This is not the first time the grave of any Imam (as) has been targeted and destroyed. History tells us that Mutawakkil; the Abbasid ruler had set this trend. Mutawakkil was the ruler in the days of our 10th Imam (as). It is said about him that:
Whenever he heard or saw crowds of people visiting the grave of Imam Abu Abdillahil-Husayn (as), he was enraged. The reason behind his rage was nothing but jealousy of Ahlul-Bayt (as). At one hand, he witnessed flock of people paying tributes to Imam Husayn (as) and on the other hand, he saw that the graves of his fathers and forefathers; and that of Umayyad cousins turned into dunghills in dark, dreary places, which were resorts for the beasts. He therefore eagerly waited for an opportunity to destroy the grave of Imam Husayn (as) once and for all. At last, an opportunity arose.