This topic was delivered by Habib Muhammad Abdur-Rahman as-Saqqaf and translated by Shaykh Haroon Hanif in Luton during his 2012 UK tour.
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.
May peace and blessings be upon the Chosen One, for whom Allah (Exalted is He) chose the best of place and the best of times; He is the Chosen One above all of the rest of Creation – may peace and prayers be upon him. We ask Allah (Exalted is He) that He makes us all from amongst those whom He chooses.
Those elect chosen slaves of Allah (Exalted is He) whom Allah (Exalted is He) selected, they are the ones who know the special nature of time and places. Allah (Exalted is He) chose Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and other places and He made these venerated and sacred places. And likewise He chose the Night of Power, He chose the month of Ramadan, He chose other days including 10th of Muharram – which will be tomorrow. But the basis of this selection whether be it times or places is the human being.
If we were to look at anything that Allah (Exalted is He) selected [something special in time] – we would see that it was connected to the people. For example the Day of Arafat is the Day that our Father Adam and Mother Hawa became acquainted with each other, and the 10th of Muharram is the Day in which Allah (Exalted is He) saved Prophet Musa, and Friday is the day in which Allah (Exalted is He) created Adam, and the Night of Power is the Night in which the Quran came down to our Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him). And, when we look at places we see Medina is the place where the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) is buried and where he lived. And Mecca is the place where the Prophets, circulated this circle around the Holy Ka’bah, and Safa and Marwa is the place in between which Lady Hajar the Mother of Prophet Ismael walked between, and Mina is the place where Prophet Ibrahim stoned the devil.
From all of this we see that any place and any time that Allah (Exalted is He) selects is [always] connected to and tied to a slave that Allah (Exalted is He) loves. And, if you understand this concept, and if you truly comprehend it, then you yourself will try to work hard to become amongst the chosen slaves of Allah (Exalted is He). So, that process of divine selection comes to you and the place that you reside in becomes blessed, and the time that you reside in also becomes blessed.
We are today in the 9th Muharram and tomorrow is the 10th Muharram; it was a day that the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) used to honour, he would fast it, and he would say that fasting on this day would wipe out away the sins of one complete year that had passed. When the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) found the Jews in Medina celebrating on this day, he asked them the reason for this and they said that this was the day that Allah (Exalted is He) saved Prophet Musa so the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said we are more worthier of him [Prophet Musa], than you, so he fasted that day. From these narrations from the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him) we learn that venerating and respecting those who are loved by Allah (Exalted is He) is part of faith itself. And likewise we find that rejoicing and celebrating the days of Righteous People is also part of faith itself. The Most Beloved of Creation of Allah (Exalted is He) is our Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him), [for this reason] it is most worthiest of us that we celebrate anything connected to him, his report, his news and his life – may peace and prayers be upon him eternally.
Likewise, it is encouraged on the day of 10th Muharram to give charity and to give gifts to family members particularly children. From amongst those whom Allah (Exalted is He) selected in a truly great manner is the Blessed Family of the Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him), they are the Household of the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him); and the greatest of them are the Ones of The Cloak [Ahl-Kiss’a] those who were cloaked by the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him); who are the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) – himself, his daughter Lady Fatima, her husband the noble companion Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) and their two sons Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. These five are known as ‘the ones of the cloak’. They are known as ‘the ones of the cloak’ because the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), on one occasion took his cloak his shawl and he covered all five of them and then addressed Allah (Exalted is He) saying “O Allah these are my family remove from them any type of dirt and purify them in the purest of manner”, and in a narration it is mentioned that Angel Gabriel put his head under the cloak so that he too would take some of the blessings.
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) would love them immensely, he never loved anybody the way he loved Lady Fatima [his daughter], and Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain were his two pleasant fragrances of this world. They were the fragrances that he (prayers and peace be upon him) would smell.
On this day 10th of Muharram, as it is known, the martyrdom of Imam Hussain happened, people differ over this incidence and there is a lot of discussion that takes place over what happened in relation to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
What is known from the way of the orthodox Muslims is that they conceal grief and expose and show happiness and rejoicement. For that reason we celebrate the birth of the Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) we don’t show or display grief for his passing, but what is required of us is that we stop and reflect on all the incidences that happened over [Islamic] history [to learn lessons from them].
The story of Imam Hussain is a painful story, no human being can listen to it without crying because it is considered as one of the greatest calamity in Islamic history. [This is for many reasons and amongst them] because he [Imam Hussain] was the most beloved of those beloved to the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), and he was the greatest of the people of his time and he was killed at the hands of people who claimed to be Muslim. This gives us an indication that tribulations will always continue in the world and as time passes tribulations will keep on going, such that even those most beloved to the Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) will not be safe from them.
Do you know what the real cause and reason of this tribulation is? The two severe diseases in the heart, and if they are in the heart of any one person that person can commit the greatest and severest of crimes. The first sickness [and cause] is the desire to have leadership and to be prominent the second cause is the love of the world. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said [the meaning of which is] ‘Love of the world is the cause of every sin’, for that reason we say that those who killed Imam Hussain, their desire was power and leadership. Just as in these times we find people who fight and kill each other in order to have position and leadership, [previously] they use to use silver and gold coins to attain this.
The basis of this story began when the Muslims in Medina gave a pledge of allegiance to Imam Hassan but Mu’awiyya who was in Syria at the time differed and went against him. He was a companion but he made a mistake in this matter. Imam Hassan was afraid that the Muslim community would become divided and would split up over this matter so he gave up his position. These are matters that the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him) informed us about. He (prayers and peace be upon him) said about his grandson Imam Hassan when he was young, pointing at him [the meaning of which is], “This son of mine he is a Master [a Sayyid] and he will be the cause of rectification and he will be a cause of good between two great parties of the Muslim’, and likewise he informed us that his grandson Imam Hussain would be killed and martyred in a land of pain and tribulation and likewise he informed us that the caliphate after him would be for 30 years after then leadership would go back to kings who will be unjust. The leadership the caliphate of Imam Hassan was six months by which the caliphate of the Rightly Guided was completed by thirty years. For this reason Imam Hassan is considered to be the fifth of the rightly guided caliphates, many people make the mistake when they list out the rightly guided leaders, they count four but in reality he [Imam Hassan] is the fifth.
After Mu’awiyya passes away his son Yazid takes his position, he was known as an open sinner he used to drink alcohol and he was an evil type of person. Imam Hussain was afraid for this community the Ummah, and that due to him [Yazid] this community the Ummah would become divided.
The people of Iraq sent a request signed by 12,000 signatories requesting that he [Imam Hussain] comes and leads an uprising a war against Yazid so Imam Hussain leaves Medina and goes to see what the matter was and what was happening in Iraq. He went out towards Iraq with 70 odd of his family members; [amongst them] his children, his nephew and nieces from his brother Imam Hassan and the womenfolk and likewise a very small number of those who loved them and who had a strong attachment to them.
But when they got there, they found that the people of Iraq due to being bribed by money had turned against them; this is the tribulation of wealth and the tribulation of the world. He [Imam Hussain] stopped at a particular place and they surrounded and encircled him so that he couldn’t get any water. The young children who were inside the tents were crying because of the severe thirst they were suffering from. One of the children of Imam Hussain was also suffering severely from thirst, so Imam Hussain carries his son outside to a place where he can give him some water. One of the enemies when they saw him [Imam Hussain with his son] fired an arrow towards Imam Hussain and it struck the son of Imam Hussain in his face and it went through his face and killed him, whilst he was being carried by his father. The siege carried on and the women folk were still inside the tents.
So they came a point where they announced that they were going to attack them.
Imam Hussain remained that night in his tent, and wept profusely. His Sister Zaynab when she sees him crying in the tent, she says “I never knew that you were afraid of death’, he says to his sister Zaynab [in the meaning] “Be Distant from me because I am not the one who fears death, but I have seen, I have seen that due to me there will be people who will enter the hell fire, and I don’t want anybody to enter the hell fire due to me, because these people if they kill me they will enter the hell fire’, he was afraid for the ones who were going to kill him due to the intense mercy he had in his heart. And when the attack began and the fighting took place they fought each other until it came to a point that those who encircled them had killed every single man, women and child.
That morning all of the men of the family of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) died, they presented their souls as a ransom and as an offering to the community [the Ummah] of their grandfather Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him) and the only one left alive was him Imam Hussain and likewise his son who was 13 years of age Ali Zain al-Abideen.
Imam Hussain would be fighting by himself 3000 men and when Ali Zain al-Abideen comes out of the tent and Imam Hussain sees him, he calls out to his sister Zaynab and tells her to “Keep him inside the tent so at least one of our family member remains”, so she takes him back into the tent and Imam Hussain continues fighting until the striking becomes so fierce and then eventually they kill him, they trampled over him with the hooves of their horses and the foulest of them and most wretched of them comes up to Imam Hussain and kills him, and then he begins to sing lines of poetry and he sends these lines of poetry to Yazid, at this point the sickness becomes apparent and he says in his lines of poetry addressing Yazid ‘fill my ride, my animal with gold and silver I have killed [the Sayyid] the Master, I have killed the best of people who had the best of father and mother, and the best of those who went, lineages that are mentioned’. This tribulation was [due to] the problem of love of wealth, love of the world and love of power and position.
This stance of Imam Hussain was a stance – a truly great stance of somebody who gave himself, his life for Allah (Exalted is He) – this is a lesson until the day of judgement. He sacrificed himself and his family in order that the truth becomes clear and in order that the truth is manifest.
So when we think about Imam Hussain, we think about how much he gave and how little we give, and how much he served this religion and how little we serve this religion. But these type of calamities should not be misused in relation to the problems that are happening in the world now.
We should learn lessons from the family of the Prophet – (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) and remain with the family of the Prophet – (prayers and peace be upon him and his family). Those people who claim this love of the Prophet ( prayers and peace be upon him) and make up that they are a part or attached to the family of the Prophet and then do things that go against the way of the family of the Prophet are considered not to be from the family of the Prophet – prayers and peace be upon them eternally.
We [Habib referring to himself] are the family of the Prophet and my grandfather is Imam Hussain. We are the ones who feel most at pain at what happened to our grandfather Imam Hussain, but we know that the trust we have towards our grandfather Imam Hussain is that we keep alive this religion.
After the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, Ali Zain al-Abideen was taken along with all the womenfolk [as prisoners of war] they had chains on their hands and the women were forcefully made to uncover their heads and they were taken from Iraq all the way to Syria. Then a while later, eventually Ali Zain al-Abideen returns to Medina and becomes a scholar of Medina and a great worshipper in Medina and becomes of the greatest people of that time, but we never hear from him any statements of insults towards the ones who killed his father. It was not their way to curse, insult or disparage those who killed, and he continued on the way of his grandfather Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him) and revived the way of his grandfather Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him).
In the present time, the offspring of Imam Hussain has filled and is all over the world. And his [Imam Hussain’s] grave in Egypt is a place that people from all over the world go and visit. Where are the ones who killed him? There is no mention of them and no place for them.
On the day of judgement, Imam Hussain will come as the master of the young people of heaven and those who stood against him and opposed him will find their repayment with Allah (Exalted is He).
We want to learn important matters [from this]…
Firstly, we [should] hold firmly on to the love of the family of the Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him and his family), and we [should] walk their path.
Secondly, we must work to cure our souls from the love of the world and the love of leadership and position.
Nowadays, we find two brothers cutting and boycotting each other due to worldly matters. And likewise you will find places where a son and daughter will rebel and disobey their Mother or Father due to some worldly matter. And all of the disputes that we see across the world are disputes over worldly matters. The world to Allah (Exalted is He) does not equal to the weight of a wing of a mosquito, the next world is greater and is more permanent.
We ask Allah (Exalted is He) to keep us all firm on the truth and that He gathers us together with his Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) on the Day of Judgement, and that he gathers us together with Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain and their father and their mother, Lady Fatima – [Ameen].
Questions & Answers
1) What does the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) look like?
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) had a round face, he had a white face with some slight reddishness in his face, he had large eyes, his eyes looked like they had kohl in them and he had a thick beard. [Habib then makes a supplication that] may Allah allow us to see him (prayers and peace be upon him) – ameen.
2) Question in relation to what the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) called Imam Hussain and Imam Hassan.
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) referred to them both as “Rayhaana” – a flower with a pleasant smell.
3) How does one rid themselves of the love of this world when they always find themselves in situations in which they are engulfed in this?
First thing is that he (prayers and peace be upon him) use to always ask [pray to] Allah (Exalted is He) to take out from his heart the love of the world and place it in his hand. Allah (Exalted is He) makes zakat and charity a means by which this [love of the world] goes out of the heart. Allah (Exalted is He) indicates that the soul has a strong greed a strong attachment to the world and this greed prevents one from journeying to Allah (Exalted is He) and that zakat and charity is what gets this greed out. Likewise, not to think too much of this world, and be content with the little that is sufficient to keep you going in your life, so if a person can do with a few items of clothing what is the point of a lot, try to lessen the amount of things that [you] own from this world.
4) Manners of Visiting Imam Hussain.
Everything that is required when visiting the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) him should be done when visiting Imam Hussain.
Have etiquette, by not raising your voice.
Feel in within the heart that he is alive and listening because Allah (Exalted is He) has said, ‘Martyrs are alive not dead’.
Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me. Please correct me when you spot any mistakes.