Preface

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Preface

Sheikh Hassan al Hussaini al Shafi’i

 

All praises are due to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala the Lord of the worlds. All praises are due to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala creator of the skies and earths. Peace and salutations be upon our prophet Muhammad—master of the Messengers—his family, and great Companions.

Brothers in faith across the world. I greet you with the Islamic greeting:

 

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.

 

I send my warmest greetings with the expressions of the blood of a yearning heart, of the deepest recesses of a throbbing heart, of the petals of a rose each time it blooms, of the narcissus each time it opens its layers, of a meet when it speaks of longing, of the vast universe, and of the stars moving in their orbit. My brothers, with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala as my witness I express my love for you. I ask him to benefit through the words that follow.

I have chosen the theme of this book to be August Personalities of the Ahlul Bayt as those whose lives we will delve into were truly magnificent, men and women. Not just any great individuals, rather ones who have an unbreakable tie to the house of prophethood. A tie to the greatest of Messengers; the household of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It behoves us to flaunt their glory and raise high the banner of their greatness.

Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad rahimahu Llah would say:

 

اذا نظرت الى رجل من اصحاب اهل البيت فكأني انظر الى رجل من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم

When I see someone from the Ahlul Bayt, it is as though I am seeing a man from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, look at the cultures of the east and the west. They take pride in their great men with pomp and splendour. Even though some of these so called great men shed blood, killed many a man, and raised cities to the ground. Some built their greatness upon skulls and corpses, upon killing women and children. Some spent their lives opposing nobility and morality whilst embracing mischief and depravity. Despite this we find people who hold ties to them taking pride in them, hanging their portraits, commissioning their statues, and raising tokens of appreciation for them. These will be the worst of the creation in the eyes of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala on the Day of Qiyamah.

 

The eminent personalities of our tradition, however, were something else. They were in a class of their own, unique examples of men.

إذا جمعتنا يا جرير المجامع

أولئك آبائي فجئني بمثلهم

Those are my forefathers so bring forth similar in stature;

when the gatherings congregate us, O Jarir.

 

And why wouldn’t they be? They are the followers of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who was truly the greatest of men. He was the Prophet who attained his knowledge from his Lord subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. When you hear the praises of great men you will find their lustre to be severely lacking. When you, however, hear the praises of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then know he is far greater then the praises that are showered upon him. The great men of Islam, through its centuries, attained greatness only through following their beloved salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They reached out and took from his divine light, saturated their hunger from the knowledge he disseminated, treaded his path, and came unto true greatness. Greatness in the true meaning of the word. If we, today, desire rectification and success then we should take it upon ourselves to study the pages of our majestic past for radiant examples of our august personalities and see what greatness they possessed, making them the axis upon which our lives revolve and the centre of gravity that grounds us.

The one who puts his mind to studying our legacy and reads our history will be amazed at the multitudes of great men and women. In the pages to follow, however, we will concentrate on the sublime personalities that hail specifically from the house of prophethood. This is due to their added nobility together with a high lineage they enjoy. Wathila ibn al Asqa’ narrates the following:

 

ان الله اصطفى كنانة من ولد اسماعيل . واصطفى قريشا من كنانة. واصطفى من قريش بنى هاشم . واصطفانى من بنى هاشم

I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “Verily, Allah has chosen Kinanah from the sons of Isma’il, and he has chosen the Quraysh from Kinanah, and he has chosen the tribe of Hashim from the Quraysh, and he has chosen me from the tribe of Hashim.”[1]

 

The following couplet sums it up beautifully:

شرفت له الاخوال والآباء

نسب شريف من خيار كله

The noblest of lineages gave;

honour to uncles and fathers alike.

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala placed Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the noblest of tribes and highest of lineages. He was born into a sub-tribe of Mudar which is the most famous of the Arab tribes who trace themselves back to Nizar ibn Ma’ad ibn ‘Adnan.

This has been the wisdom of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala amongst all the Messengers, they were of noble descent from respectable families. As we read in the above-mentioned narration, “He has chosen the tribe of Hashim from the Quraysh, and he has chosen me from the tribe of Hashim,” in it there is an indication toward the divine selection of the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from amongst other tribes and families. They are the premier lineage of the Arabs, most esteemed in rank, highest in honour, noblest in origin, and purest in its many branches.

What should be noted however is, encapsulating all the great luminaries of the Ahlul Bayt is not intended in the ensuing chapters. This would prove extensive as time has recorded many a great personality born into the blessed family. Our aim is to concentrate on a few select personalities of the Banu Hashim and Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib, starting with those who enjoyed the honor of being both companion and family; starting with the likes of ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain, Fatimah, Aisha, Hafsah, Khadijah, ‘Abbas, and Hamzah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. We will then move on to the some of the erudite scholars of the Ahlul Bayt such as; Zayn al ‘Abidin, his son Baqir, Jafar al Sadiq, his son Kazim, Umm Kulthum, Sukaynah, and the famed descendant of the Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib Muhammad ibn Idris al Shafi’i. Furthermore, we will endeavour to mention those whom history has testified to their nobility and have distinctions that would be improbable to innumerate. Muhammad ibn Hussain al Ajurri rahimahu Llah has mentioned in his book al Shari’ah[2]:

 

It is incumbent upon every believer, male and female to love the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Banu Hashim and those that fall under its legion; ‘Ali, his children and progeny. Fatimah, her children and progeny. Hassan and Hussain, their children and progeny. Jafar al Tayyar, his children and progeny. Hamzah and his children. ‘Abbas, his children and progeny radiya Llahu ‘anhum. These are the Ahlul Bayt of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is compulsory upon every Muslim to love, revere, behave in an amicable fashion toward them, be patient with them, and pray for them. Whomsoever is good towards them and their progeny has imbued in himself the character of the noble, pious predecessors. Whoever is found to posses other than good qualities, we will pray for their rectification and protection.

 

I have not intended this book to be a mere historical recollection of their lives, I have rather hoped to relay some of the greatness from within their lives and pause at the junctions of evolution they endured. Perhaps we may follow them and find solace within them.

ان التشبه بالكرام فلاح

فتشبهوا ان لم تكونوا مثلهم

Imitate them if you cannot be like them;

success is imitating nobility.

 

In the pages to follow we will, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala willing, delve into the Ahlul Bayt and mention some of their virtues. Thereafter, we will discuss the individuals of the Ahlul Bayt beginning with Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as he is the head of the house of prophethood. He is the best of creation and the pride of every Muslim. A man by whose life Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has taken an oath. An honor unparalleled. A nobility unmatched. Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu mentions under the commentary of the following verse:

 

لَعَمْرُكَ إِنَّهُمْ لَفِيْ سَكْرَتِهِمْ يَعْمَهُوْنَ

By your life, [O Muhammad], indeed they were, in their intoxication, wandering blindly.[3]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has not created any soul more sacred to him then Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And I have not heard Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala take an oath by the life of anyone besides his.[4]

Is there any nobility, greatness, and honor superior to this?

بمحمد خير البرية دينا

خلق الاله العالمين و زانهم
شرفا و مكن دينه تمكينا

يكفيه ان حلف الاله بعمره

The Lord created the world and weighed it;

against Muhammad the best of creation.

Suffice to say the Lord swore by his life;

a token of nobility and established his religion.

 

Your brother,

Sayed Hassan al Hussaini al Shaf i’i.

 

NEXT⇒ Who are the Ahlul Bayt


[1] Sahih Muslim: 2276

[2] Al Shari’ah: 2276/5.

[3] Surah al Hijr: 72.

[4] Narrated by Ibn Jarir al Tabari: 526/7, Harith ibn Abi Usamah as is in the Zawa’id of al Haythami: 934/2, al Suyuti in al Durr al Manthur: 89/5 and has referenced Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Ya’la, Ibn al Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, Abu Nuaim, and Bayhaqi in his Dalail.