Discover the Power of Fitrah

Journey of Karbala

 بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Salāmun ʿalaykum, may Allah bless you, your families, and all the communities around the world.

I extend my sincerest condolences to the Imām of our time, Imām al-Mahdī (ʿaj), our great marājiʿ and scholars, and the Muslim Ummah on the commemoration of Imām Ḥusayn’s (ʿa) martyrdom and shahādah. Allah (swt) says in the Noble Qurʾān:

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ
Indeed Allah does not change a people’s lot, unless they change what is in their souls. 
Noble Qurʾān, Sūrah Ar-Raʿd (13), Verse 11

The tragedy of Karbala happened a short time after the Noble Prophet (ṣ) had completed his prophetic mission. Shockingly, the Muslim Ummah had degenerated so quickly to actually allow the massacre of the direct grandson of the Prophet (ṣ), Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa), and his family. 

How did this happen? And more importantly, how was this addressed by the next living Imām, Imām Sajjād (ʿa)? He took on the responsibility and knowledge of Imāmah from Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa) in a way that only a maʿsūm could.

When Imām Sajjād (ʿa) returned to Medina, the Ummayed regime was still in power and threatened anyone who helped or supported the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa). Imām Sajjād (ʿa) was actually banned from entering the mosque of his own great-grandfather and used to sit outside by the shoe area. Conditions were so dire that, similar to the time of Rasūlullāh (ṣ), children would throw rocks at Imām Bāqir (ʿa), calling him a disbeliever!

At this time, what could Imām Sajjād (ʿa) do? He did many things to guide the ummah, including these two main things:

  1. Recite duʿāʾ anywhere he could—outside of the masjid, in different areas, etc. There are many salawāts in his duʿāʾ meant to revive the fiṭrah of the people and to connect them to the connectors to Allah (swt), the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).
  2. He taught the children of Medina by offering to watch them while their parents were busy with daily tasks. There were no schools in Medina, and families had many children, hence parents would be relieved to have the help with their children. Imām would then teach and guide these children, connecting them to their fiṭrah, and in this way, the generation after became great students of Imām Bāqir (ʿa) and Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa).

Imām Sajjād (ʿa) approached the situation in the same way as the divinely appointed guides before him. Our fiṭrah is like a light that is strengthened and weakened by our actions and what we are exposed to. The Prophets of Allah (swt), and the Imāms (ʿa) after them, always focused on helping us connect with the fiṭrah. Truly, the power within our fiṭrah is stronger than any other power if we just connect to it.

Instead of retaliating against the actions of the ummah, Imām Sajjād (ʿa) had to awaken this fiṭrah in people and tackle the root cause of the issues that led to Karbala. He did this by inspiring the Muslims from an akhlāqi lens through duʿās, such as the supplications in aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah as-Sajjādīyyah, to awaken their innate nature, or fiṭrah, through reconnecting them with Allah (swt) and the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa).

We too need to look at the issues and problems we have at a root level and tackle them in a more meaningful way. Duʿāʾ No.47 of aṣ-Ṣaḥīfah as-Sajjādīyyah talks about 50 types of diseases that cause problems from a root level, which need to be removed and changed in order to have healthy individuals, families, and communities. Some of the diseases mentioned in this duʿāʾ by Imam as-Sajjād (ʿa) are:

  • Greed, or ḥirṣ. Greed can have a positive connotation, but an extreme form is detrimental to society. If someone lacks greed for knowledge or success, they would never be able to progress, so in this case, it is positive. But if greed takes over, no matter the means or the consequence, this is negative.
  • Anger. The true character of a person shows when they are angry. Control this emotion by buying time, changing the circumstance, etc.
  • Impatience. Being patient doesn’t mean being inactive, or doing nothing. Rather the pillars of patience are dedication, devotion, standing for one’s rights, staying within the boundaries of humanity, enhancing one’s ability, accepting the final outcome, and reaching justice.
  • Lack of contentment. This can be overcome by being mindful of each step that one takes and doing them to the best of their ability, without major errors.
  • Tendency to be over-emotional. When emotions are not aligned with Islam, one can get carried away. This is especially the case when one holds a certain attachment to values that are cultural, even if those values directly oppose our faith and our logic, or ʿaql.
  • Heedlessness, or ghaflah. We need to be able to see through the heedlessness with insight, or baṣīrah. We need to have confidence in our ability and our willpower to overcome heedlessness. One act that helps tremendously in this area is the recitation of the night prayer, Ṣalāt al-Layl.
This duʿāʾ was one way the Imām (ʿa) tried to reconnect the ummah and awaken a nation so deep in slumber, that they killed the grandson of their own Prophet (ṣ).

    We too are waiting for the Imām of our time (ʿaj), and need to be connected with our fiṭrah. We need to ponder over the root cause that keeps us from the obedience of Allah (swt). Will we too rise against the Imām (ʿaj) when he calls on us, or be amongst his helpers?

    As we enter the month of Muḥarram, and the beginning of the new Islamic year, we should focus on making a connection with Allah (swt) and the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa) through duʿāʾ, tawassul, dhikr, and salawāt, and make it our goal to tackle the root cause of the issues we are going through in order to have long-lasting results.

    Let us all sincerely pray, speak out, do whatever we can, for all those who are being oppressed around the world, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters who are being oppressed in Kashmir, Yemen, Burma, Syria, Palestine, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, here, and everywhere else in the world.

    We pray that Allah (swt) gives us the tawfīq to actualize our duties and responsibilities. O Allah, for the sake of Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa), hasten the appearance of our beloved Imām al-Mahdī (ʿaj) and give us the tawfīq to be of his loyal companions.

    Nabi Raza Mir (Abidi) SABA Islamic Center and Al-Kisa Foundation Resident ʿĀlim