RECITATION OF THE HOLY QURAN AFTER BIRTH:
Ibn Shahr Aashoob in his book ‘Manaqib Aali Abi Talib’ has written that Hasan bin Mahboob has reported from Imam Ja’ffar ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.):
[Three days after his birth, when ‘Ali, as an infant, was brought out by his beloved mother Fatimah bint Asad from the Holy Ka’bah where he was born, he (a.s.) first saluted his father saying:
“Peace be on you O’ father! And may the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you”.
Thereafter, he recited:
“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Certainly the faithful have attained salvation”. (23:1)
The Holy Prophet (saww) thereupon said, holding the infant in his arms, “Indeed people will attain salvation through you. By Allah! You are their Ameer (leader)…..They will learn through your knowledge….By Allah! You are their Guide…..And by Allah! Through you only the people shall be guided”.]
‘ALI (A.S.) – INSEPARABLE FROM THE HOLY QURAN:
Abu Sa’eed Tamimi has reported that he heard the Holy Prophet (saww) say on his deathbed in presence of his companions:
“O People! Soon my spirit shall depart from my body…and it will become free. I wish to inform you about something….Know that I leave among you the Book of Allah and my progeny –the Ahlul-Bayt…”.
Then He (saww) held the hand of ‘Ali (a.s.) and said,
“’Ali is with Quran and Quran is with ‘Ali. These two are successors after me who will not be separated from each other till they meet up with me by the fountain. Thus I will ask them both about how you dealt with them in life”. (Quran-o-‘Itrat / Aamaali of Shaykh Toosi)
‘ALI (A.S.) – ENCOURAGING RECITATION OF THE HOLY QURAN:
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) used to encourage his companions to recite and give importance to the knowledge of the Holy Quran.
Ghalib bin Sa’sa’a’ once came to visit Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) along with his son. Imam (a.s.) asked him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am Ghalib son of Sa’sa’a”. Imam (a.s.) then inquired, “Are you the same person who owns many camels?” Ghalib replied, “Yes”. “What have you done with your camels?” asked the Imam (a.s.). Ghalib notified the Imam (a.s.) that he had slaughtered the camels and fed their meat to the people. Imam (a.s.) was happy and said, “This was the best way to make use of them”.
The Imam (a.s.) then inquired as to who the young man with him was, to which, Ghalib proudly replied, “He is my son and he is a (great) poet”.
Thereupon, the Imam (a.s.) said, “Teach him Quran for this will be better from him then reciting composing and reciting poems”.
The young man was Farazdaq and the words of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) had such an impact on his heart that he took an oath not to come out of the house until he had memorised the Holy Quran. And indeed he honoured his oath.
(Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah of Ibn Abil-Hadeed)
GIVING QUOTATIONS FROM THE HOLY QURAN:
As Muslims, we must feel proud to have the Book of Allah (SWT) – the Holy Quran among us. We must recite it regularly with proper understanding and form the habit of quoting from it time and again. This way, we shall be able to remind ourselves about our religious obligations and admonish others too.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) once passed through a city that had turned into ruins. One of his companions recited a poem, which described how everything in this world would perish. Imam (a.s.) instantly recited the following verse from the Holy Quran, “How many gardens and springs did they leave behind! Fields and splendid places, and the bounties wherein they rejoiced! So it was, and We bequeathed them to another people. So neither the sky wept for them, nor the earth; nor were they granted any respite”. (44:25-29)
Imam (a.s.) then said, “These people (inhabitants of the ruins) had inherited all these from others and later, they too were inherited because they never expressed their gratitude to Allah (SWT) for all His bounties. On account of their disobedience, their bounties were taken away from them…you too should safeguard from ingratitude and protect yourselves from such calamities”. (Kanzul-Fawaid)
KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY QURAN:
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) has said, “Ask me anything you wish about the Book of Allah. By Allah! There is not a single verse revealed, during night or day, during travel or at home except that the Holy Prophet (saww) informed me about it and taught me its meanings”. Ibn Kuwa asked, “O Commander of the faithful! Has it ever been that a verse was revealed and you were absent?” Imam (a.s.) replied, “Whenever a verse was revealed in my absence, the Holy Prophet (saww) would memorise it and read it over to me when we met. He (saww) would say: ‘O ‘Ali! When you were away, Allah (SWT) revealed such and such verse upon me’, and then he (saww) would teach me the knowledge of that verse”.
(Aamaali of Shaykh Toosi)
TEACHING THE HOLY QURAN TO OTHERS:
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) used to teach the Tafseer of the Holy Quran to the Muslims. Among the people who extensively benefited from such sessions was Ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.).
Ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) has reported that, “He (‘Ali) explained to me the Tafseer of the letter BAA of Bismillah from the beginning of the night till its end”. (Quran-o-‘Itrat)
Once Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) heard a person reciting the verse, “Verily we belong to Allah and verily unto Him shall be our return”. Imam (a.s.) said, “Our saying: ‘Verily we belong to Allah’, is an admission of His Majesty over us; and our saying: ‘And verily unto Him shall be our return’, is an admission of our being mortal”. (Nahjul-Balaghah)
Zar bin Jaysh has reported that,
[One day I recited the whole of the Holy Quran in presence of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) in the main mosque of Kufa. When I reached the chapters beginning with HA MEEM Imam (a.s.) said, “You have reached the brides of the Holy Quran” (implying the chapters that adorns the Holy Quran).
When I reached the verse in the chapter of HA MEEM ‘AIN SEEN QAAF, which reads, “But those who have faith and do righteous deeds will be in the gardens of paradise: they will have whatever they wish near their Lord. That is the greatest grace”. (42:22) Imam (a.s.) began to weep loudly and then turning towards the sky said, “O Zar! I am invoking to Allah and you say: Ameen”.
Imam (a.s.) then invoked in the following words:
“O Lord! Make me most submissive to You; Give me the sincerity of those who have hope in You; Bless me with friendship of the virtuous; Give me the understanding of faith as it deserves the understanding; Enrich me with goodness; Protect me from every evil; Make me a deservant of Your Mercy; Make me attain Your great forgiveness; Grant me with a place in paradise and save me from the hellfire”.
Then the Imam (a.s.) said, “O Zar! On completion of Quran, recite this supplication for this is what my beloved Prophet (saww) has taught me to do”.] (Riyadh al-Saliheen)
HIS ADVISES TO HIS SON FROM THE HOLY QURAN
The following are advices of Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) to his son Muhammad al-Hanafiyya. Imam (a.s.) has beautifully admonished us all about the bodily organs and their functions in connection to the obedience of Allah (SWT) and His worship. It is important to note that how the Imam (a.s.) has based his advises on the verses from the Holy Quran.
CAUTION ABOUT BODILY ORGANS:
O Son! Do not speak that of which you have no knowledge; rather speak not everything that you know of because Allah (SWT) has put certain obligations on all your bodily parts and organs that will protest against you on the day of Judgement and you shall be held accountable for them…Allah (SWT) says: ‘Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed the hearing, the eyesight and the heart – all of these are accountable’. (17:36)
In another place, Allah (SWT) says: ‘When you were receiving it on your tongues, and were mouthing something of which you had no knowledge, supposing it to be a light matter, while it was a grave (matter) with Allah’. (24:15)
This advice lays emphasis on control of the tongue. One must not speak anything of which he has no knowledge. Infact, one must also avoid speaking everything that he knows. There is an in-depth meaning to this but simply put – a path of moderation should be adhered to during speech.
You will then be questioned regarding the worship of your bodily parts in obedience to Allah (SWT): ‘O you who have faith! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good, so that you may be felicitous’. (22:77)
These are those duties that have been made obligatory upon the bodily parts and organs. And Allah (SWT) says: ‘The places of worship belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone along with Allah’. (72:18)
According to Imam (a.s.), the ‘places of worship’ is in reference to bodily parts that are placed on the ground during prostration: The forehead; the two palms, the two knees and the two toes. In other words, the faithful should make use of these organs solely in the obedience of Allah (SWT) and perform acts of worship with them. Doing good in life is also considered as worship of Allah (SWT).
And Allah (SWT) says: ‘You did not use to conceal yourselves lest your hearing should witness against you, or (for that matter) your sight, or your skin, but you thought that Allah did not know most of what you did’. (41:22)
Explaining the meaning of ‘skin’ that will testify against man, Imam (a.s.) said that it refers to private parts. It is therefore essential that man should guard his private part from Haraam (forbidden pleasures).
Every part of your body has been charged with responsibilities. For instance the ears, you should shun listening with it to any evil. Allah (SWT) says: ‘Certainly he has sent down to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s signs being disbelieved and derided, do not sit with them until they engage in some other discourse, or else you (too) will be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and the faithless in hell all together”. (4:140)
And Allah (SWT) says: ‘When you see those who gossip impiously about Our signs, avoid them until they engage in some other discourse; but if Satan makes you forget, then after remembering, do not sit with the wrongdoing lot’. (6:68)
And Allah (SWT) says: ‘Who listen to the word (of Allah) and follow the best (sense) of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect’. (39:18)
And He (SWT) says: ‘And when they come upon vain talk, (they) pass by nobly’. (25:72)
And He (SWT) says: ‘And when they hear vain talk, they avoid it…’
In a nutshell, the functions of ears are:
- To lend ears to the words of Allah (SWT) in order to follow them.
- To listen to only good things.
- To refrain from listening to discourses that deviate us from the path of Allah (SWT).
- To shun listening to anything that is evil and leads us to disobedience of Allah (SWT)
HIS ADVISES TO HIS SON FROM THE HOLY QURAN –con’t
And the responsibility of the eyes is to refrain from looking at things that have been forbidden by Allah (SWT), because Allah, the Almighty says: ‘Tell the faithful men to cast down their looks and to guard their private parts”. (24:30)
According to Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), this verse refers to prohibition of looking at the private parts of other people (men & women). Our ‘Ulama (Scholars) have clearly stated that it is Haraam (forbidden by the Shari’ah) to look at the private parts of other people regardless of whether they are of the same sex or opposite gender. Infact, looking at the other parts of one’s body with the intention of lust and sexual pleasure is also Haraam. However, a husband and wife can look at each other and there is no problem in this.
ABOUT THE HEART & THE TONGUE:
And the responsibility of the heart is to remain steadfast in faith. Allah (SWT) says: ‘Say: We have faith in Allah, and that which has been sent down to us…’ (2:136)
After believing in One God, the heart of a faithful must remain steadfast in belief and faith, and submit itself totally to the will of Allah (SWT). In other words, one must strive to abstain from ideologies and practices that pollutes and creates adverse effects on one’s Imaan.
At another place Allah (SWT) says: ‘And speak kindly to people’. (2:83) The tongue is considered as the spokesman of one’s heart. It therefore must represent the true nature of what is hidden in the heart. Belief and faith in Allah (SWT) dictates the tongue to be polite and offer kind words. Simply put, all the vices of the tongue such as rudeness, abusiveness, false accusations, slanders etc denotes weak faith in Allah (SWT) and such people have been condemned. Allah (SWT) says: ‘He who disbelieves in Allah after he has believed – save he who has been forced (to do so), while his heart remains firm in faith – and opens (his) breast for disbelief, upon such shall be Allah’s wrath and there is a great punishment for them’. (16:106)
When it became apparent that some people had declared ‘Imaan’ (faith) by their tongues yet their hearts were void of same, Allah (SWT) said, “…such as those who say, ‘We believe’ with their mouths, but whose hearts have no faith…” (5:41) At another place, He (SWT) says, “…and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah”. (13:28) Yet at another place, He (SWT) says, “…and whether you disclose what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah will bring you to account for it. Then He will forgive whomever He wishes and punish whomever He wishes.” (2:284) It is important that the tongue translates the true feelings of the heart. Any contradiction between them denotes existence of ‘Nifaaq’ i.e. Hypocrisy. Therefore, if we verbally claim belief in Allah (SWT) and in His message, our hearts should be at conformity with the same and through actions of other organs, we must prove that we believe in Allah (SWT) with all sincerity.
ABOUT THE HANDS & LEGS
The duty of the hands is to restrain from extending to unlawful things. However, if the hands are used in accordance to the commandments of Allah (SWT) then there is no problem in it. Allah (SWT) says, “O you who believe! When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet upto the ankles…” (5:6)…The duty of the legs is that they should be used to walk in the obedience of Allah (SWT) and they should NOT be used to walk on paths of His disobedience. This is because He (SWT) says, “Do not walk exultantly on the earth. Indeed you will neither pierce the earth, nor reach the mountains in height. The evil of all these is detestable to your Lord.” (17:37-38) Allah (SWT) says, “Today We shall seal their mouths and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bare witness concerning what they used to earn”. (36:65) From all these it becomes known that on the Day of Judgement, the bodily parts and organs will testify against its owner.
These are the duties that Allah (SWT) has made incumbent upon all your bodily parts and organs. O my son! Fear Allah (SWT) and use your bodily parts in His obedience and to acquire His pleasure. Beware! Lest Allah (SWT) sees you disobeying Him and absent from His obedience. If you do this then most certainly you will be among the losers!
Keep reciting the Holy Quran and act upon its teachings. Whatever has been made obligatory therein, fulfil them and follow its laws. Be particular about lawful and unlawful stated therein; its enjoinment to good and forbiddance to evil; Perform the ‘Tahajjud’ (night prayer) and keep reciting from it (Quran).
All these are acts that Allah (SWT) has commissioned His servants with. It is therefore obligatory upon all Muslims to glance at their commission (Quran) and if possible, recite atleast fifty verses from it every day. Know that the stages of Paradise are in accordance to the verses of the Holy Quran. On the Day of Judgement, people shall be told to recite the verses and progress through its different stages until they attain the highest stage of the prophets afterwhich there shall be none”. (Man Laa Yahdhuruhul-Faqeeh / Quran-o-‘Itrat)
GUIDING THE MUSLIMS FROM QURAN
Imam Ali (as) had the habit of walking into markets and admonishing the Muslims from the Holy Quran against fraud, deceit and cheat. He (as) also recited verses from the Holy Quran to awaken the people who were engrossed in worldly transactions.
Hasan al-Basri reports that:
[Imam Ali (as) once came to Basra in ‘Iraq and entered into its market place. Suddenly his eyes fell upon a person who was deeply engrossed in a transaction. Imam (as) addressed him and said,
“O servant of Allah! Know for certain that one who toils in this world for the sake of the Hereafter, he shall definitely receive the fruits of his labour in the Hereafter; as for him who toils in this world only for its sake (to accumulate material gains) then the end result of such a person shall be hellfire”.
Thereafter, the Imam (as) recited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
“As for him who was rebellious and preferred the life of this world, his refuge will indeed be hell”. (79:37-39)] (Aamaali of Shaykh Mufeed)
RECITATION OF AAYATUL-KURSI
Imam Ali (as) has said,
“If the people knew the merits of AAYATUL-KURSI they would have most certainly not slacked in its recitation. The Messenger of Allah had told me that: ‘AAYATUL-KURSI has been gifted to me from the treasures of the Divine Throne – which no prophet before me was given to bring in this world’. Since I have heard about AAYATUL-KURSI from the Holy Prophet (saww), not a single night passes without me reciting it”. (Quran-o-‘Itrat)
RECITATION OF A VERSE AFTER WUDHOO
Imam Ali (as) had the habit of reciting certain verses of the Holy Quran in certain situations. Imam Hasan ibn Ali al-‘Askary (as) has reported that:
[Qanbar, the slave of Imam Ali (as) was arrested and presented before Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi.
Hajjaj asked him: “Why are you still following Ali?”
Qanbar replied, “Because I am still performing my wudhoo according to Imam Ali (as)’s wudhoo”.
What Qanbar was implying is that not only was his wudhoo in accordance to the wudhoo of his Imam (as), he was also reciting the same verse which the Imam (as) used to recite after every wudhoo that has a serious admonition which kept Qanbar steadfast on the path of his master.
Hajjaj asked, “What was Ali saying whenever he completed his wudhoo?”
Qanbar said, “He (as) used to recite the following verse: “So when they forgot what they had been admonished of, We opened for them the gates of all (good) things. When they rejoiced in what they were given, We seized them suddenly, whereat, behold, they were despondent. Thus the wrongdoing lot were rooted out, and all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds”. (6:44-45)
Hajjaj said, “It was his (Ali’s) imagination that this verse refers to us”.
Qanbar said, “The truth is that it does (refer to people like you)”.
Hajjaj said, “If I severe your head, what will happen?”
Qanbar replied, “I will become among the joyful ones and you among the wretched”.
Hearing this, Hajjaj became so furious that he ordered the head of Qanbar to be severed.] (Ikhtiyaar Ma’rifah al-Rijaal)
TALKING FROM QURAN
Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) has narrated that:
[After the death of the Holy Prophet (saww), when Muslims appointed Abu Bakr as their Caliph and after they had sworn the oath of allegiance to him, a man came to Imam Ali (as) at a time when Imam (as) was rectifying the grave of the Holy Prophet (saww) with a shovel in his hand.
The man said, “(O Ali!) People have given their oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr and the Ansaar have been secluded because of their disputes”.
Imam (as) kept his shovel on the ground and recited:
“Do the people suppose that they will be let off because they say, ‘We have faith’, and they will not be tested? Certainly We tested those who were before them. So Allah shall surely ascertain those who are truthful, and He shall surely ascertain the liars. Do those who commit misdeeds suppose that they can outmaneuver Us? Evil is the judgement that they make”. (29:2-4)] (Al-Irshaad)
It is also reported that:
[Once two men from the Khawarij (Rebellious Muslims) came to Imam Ali (as) and said, “We do not wish to fight against you but we do not have any choice since we seek the pleasure of Allah and our wellbeing”.
Imam (as) said to them, “Do you wish me to inform you who will suffer most in deeds?” The Imam (as) then recited the following verse:
“Those whose endeavours go awry in the life of the world, while they suppose they are doing good”. (18:104)
By this, the Imam (as) made it clear to the Khawarij that this verse referred to people like them who oppose the divine Imam and fight against him thinking that they will earn the pleasure of Allah (SWT).] (Quran-o-‘Itrat)
Imam Ali (as) used to be in constant service of the poor and those who were weak like widowed women and orphaned children. He (as) would personally attend to their needs and ensure their comfort in every way. Imam (as) also patched up the differences between people and showed particular concern
for women who were ill-treated by their husbands. After doing so, he (as) would recite:
“There is no good in much of their secret talks, excepting him who enjoins charity or what is right or reconciliation between people, and whoever does that, seeking Allah’s pleasure, soon We shall give him great reward”. (4:114)
RECITING QURAN WHEN STRUCK WITH SWORD
When Ibn Muljim struck his sword on the head of Imam Ali (as), Imam (as) fell down reciting: BISMILLAHI WA BILLAHI WA ‘ALAA MILLATI RASOOLILLAHI…
He (as) then took soil (dust) on putting over his wound, recited:
“From it did We create you, into it We shall return you and from it shall We bring you forth another time”. (20:55)
Then the Imam (as) said, “The command of Allah has come and the Prophet (saww) had spoken the truth”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
By Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff