Desire is a driving force in life, what we desire is what we work towards or are attracted to. What we are attracted to will determine what we become, where we are destined.
In his waʿaz mubārak on Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’s RA 108th Milad Mubarak, the occasion on which we also celebrated Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s TUS 75th milād mubārak, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS described the ‘desire’ of Mumineen as being towards Ahle Bayt AS, Aimma Tāherīn AS and Duʿāt Mutlaqeen RA. They are attracted towards these ‘Maghnātīs -e- Ilāhī’ – a divine magnet; their desire is to do that which pleases Allah’s Awliyāʾ.
In keeping with the Ashara Mubaraka theme of Yemen, Lahāb was chosen for this waʿaz mubārak – the burial place for Syedna Lamak RA and Syedna Yahya RA to which Syedna Burhanuddin RA sent his son and successor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin during his first visit to Yemen as al-Dai al-Mutlaq in 1388 H. Syedna TUS narrated his journey to Lahāb and back in 30 hours, and the delight Syedna Burhanuddin RA expressed upon his return to al-Zahrāʾ. Syedna Burhanuddin RA did ziyāra in Lahāb in 1411 H.
Lahāb can also be pronounced ‘Luhāb’ and in this pronunciation, its meaning becomes ‘thirst’ or ‘flames’. When one is thirsty, the liver senses an inflamed feeling provoking thirst and requirement of the body for water. For the soul, the lack of knowledge can cause a ‘thirst’ for knowledge and a desire to attain meaning and comprehension. However, this material world sometimes desensitizes the soul to this thirst, and therein lies Awliyāʾ Allah’s constant endeavours.
As the soul seeks meaning it finds itself seeking that which it desires and yearns for. Once a man realizes his true purpose in this world, he begins to long for the hereafter. The ultimate manifestation of this desire harboured by the faithful was that those who had love for Syedna Burhanuddin RA were drawn towards his janaza whilst those who were void of any love for him turned away and fled.
As is written in verse – ‘And each by his own kind is enamoured, some by white, and some by black.’ An example was given of the bat, an animal that seeks its sustenance by night but once dawn arises its feeble sight renders it no longer able to fly, and so it hangs upside down and rests during the daylight hours. Likewise, a medical treatise of the highest calibre will have no attraction to a young child, its attraction will be to those who have the required qualifications and thus the desire to study such a tome.
This desire works in both directions – that of the Wali Allah who desires for them all to become as he is whilst they desire to become one with the Wali. It is this very desire which leads Mumineen world over to beseech Maula to grace their towns and cities; their homes and workplaces. M Ahmedali Munhi implored the 47th Dai Mutlaq, Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin RA to grace his hometown of Sironj with an araz four cubits in length consisting of 13 verses of madeh.
It is in accordance with out niyyat, intentions and desires, that the Almighty rewards us. Even though our actions in this world are for a limited and relatively short period of time we are rewarded with an eternal existence in jannat. The very reason being that our intention and desire to carry out good deeds was timeless. Likewise, those harbouring enmity are eternally condemned to hellfire since it is their intention and desire to continue upon this path perpetually.
Noble desires and intention should inform our conduct and interaction with out fellow brethren. Each mumin when helping his fellow mumin and each teacher when nurturing his student should possess a desire that not only may that mumin or student become his equal but that may he reach far greater heights in his services to the Dai Mutlaq and the community.
In our body and our soul there is an inherent desire – a desire to return from whence we first came. In that context we were directed to the verse of the 5th Dai Mutlaq, Syedna Ali bin Mohammed Ibn al-Waleed RA in which he writes:
‘The departure of the caravan of the beloved, stoked sadness in the bereft lover, bringing his tears cascading.’
This verse harkens to our very existence and the desire to return to the ‘Paradise Lost’ from which we have fallen. The tears that we shed are for that lost bliss and the yearning to return there. It is a yearning for which our souls shed tears especially at the mention of Imam Husain AS and his sacrifice for our salvation in Karbala.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS brought our tears cascading with the heart-rending narration of the shahāda of Moulana Ali Asghar AS. Moulatena Zainab AS had called for him to provide water for the thirsting infant but Imam Husain AS knew that the child’s thirst was not for water, he was the son of ‘Sābir’ – the one of forbearance. No, the thirst, was for shahāhda. Imam Husain AS took him in his arms and out into the battlefield, shielding his infant son from the harsh heat of the sun with his vestment. He kept him so as he petitioned the enemy to provide his innocent son a sip of water until they asked where the child was and then he moved the vestment aside and held the child up for them to see. It was not a sip of water that they gave, but an arrow that scythed through the delicate neck and into Imam Husain’s arm as the baby’s head listed to the side.
Our own desire is to always remain with our Moula TUS and, whether we be near or far, his radiant visage shines in our hearts and before our eyes at all times. It leads us from the darkness of this material darkness to the spiritual light of the next. May his radiance glow upon every generation of Mumineen that comes to traverse this world towards the next, until qiyāma.