Milad Mubarak Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA 1441 H, Surat

Reflections

Tijārat rābeha – the profitable commerce – is that in which we have traded our selves, our souls and our worldly possessions in exchange for salvation in the hereafter. This commerce is one that supersedes the collective rewards reaped in umrah, hajj and jihad. So we witness that Maulana Ali AS, in between battles; is freeing bondsmen, and preparing and serving food from the proceeds and crops tended to in his own fields by his own hands. He cultivated a 1000 beegahs, provided food for a 1000 and set free a 1000. Similarly, Maulatona Fatema AS, even in the throes of her final illness prepared roti for Imam Hasan AS and Imam Husain AS, bathed and clothed them while also collecting her precious tears in a vessel signifying the great blessing of her intercession. The Imams AS themselves physically bore unparalleled hardships – all in the cause of bolstering the provisions of the faithful for their journey from this realm to the next.

This legacy of barakat was handed down through the Imams and onto the Duat Mutlaqeen RA of Yemen and Hind ultimately reaching the 51st of them who would tell those who came to ask for the honour of his ‘qadam’ in their homes and workplaces, “take bhai Burhanuddin, for beneath his qadam lies wealth.”

Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS told us that in his many travels, oftentimes whilst speaking in the car with the host on the way to his home, he would ask them, among other things, about their business, or of the janaza mubaraka of Syedna Burhanuddin RA. Time and time again they would state, “We had nothing, Burhanuddin Maula gave us everything”.

The Arabic word ‘qadam’ – generally meaning foot or step, has other connotations. It means to progress and to remain patient. Keeping Syedna Burhanuddin RA at the fore in all matters would allow one to go far and beyond. In treading with humility one will progress in both this world and the next. ‘Qadam’ also refers to a brave warrior, or a dauntless woman or a valiant people – courage and risk-taking both being necessary to succeed in business. Going further into the semantics of the word ‘qadam’ we find it is used to mean forgiveness, when one says they have put something under it – and it is forgiveness that further leads to the opening of the doors of earning and livelihood.

The year’s theme of counsels given by Amirul Mumineen AS to Imam Hasan AS continued in this waaz mubarak. In regards to commerce, expenditure and the accumulation of provision, Maulana Ali AS states:

And know that pride is the enemy of correctness and the bane of the intelligent. Persevere in all your undertakings but do not become a gatherer for others. When you are on course to realize your aims be at your humblest to your Lord. Know that ahead of you is a long and arduous road, and that you have no alternative but to go down it. Plan only on taking enough provision that suffices you in reaching your destination, so as to lighten your load. Do not carry upon your back a load that is beyond your strength, making the weight of your provision a burden upon you. If you come across – from amongst those in need – someone who can carry some of this load and then convene with you with it on the Day of Judgment, when you will be in need of it, then benefit from them and their carrying of it. And make the most of placing your load upon them while you are still able to do so for [later on] when you seek them you may not find them.

Syedna Saifuddin TUS specifically counseled the community, well known as a trading community, to expend their efforts in expanding and furthering their businesses. He stated that reaching a stage at which one feels that he no longer has the need to exert efforts to expand their business is a form of vanity. Perseverance in one’s work, one’s trade, is an ongoing, lifelong endeavour. It is one where physical effort is a requisite. To illustrate; it is one thing to hand over money to host a community meal, but of greater virtue is to personally attend to the serving of food and other aspects of hospitality. Both in terms of one’s business as well as when it comes to the carrying out of good deeds, expending one’s self fosters humility and keeps a person grounded especially when fortune has favoured them.

The lessons from these priceless counsels are manifold. One should not carry the burden of excess wealth but rather distribute it to those in need for these acts of charity and good deeds will effectively carry that wealth – provision – forward to rejoin with him as spiritual reward in the hereafter. To do otherwise is to lumber oneself with excess that cannot be otherwise used, to carry it to the detriment of one’s own back, and ultimately be held to account for it.

Aali Qadr Maula TUS further explained that in the context of one’s journey to the hereafter excessive provisions can be understood by the example of someone who spends the entire night in ʿibādat, yet forgoes the fajr namaz. One may spend a handsome amount in numerous good causes, however if he does not give wājebāt as required then the benefits of his other deeds are in question. Rasul Allah SA has stated, ‘There can be no closeness [to Allah Ta′ala] in doing good deeds that are not obligated if they harm those that are obligated’.

If one has provision surplus to his requirements, then he should offer it to those in need. It is here that we are given to understand what is meant when we are told that if someone accepts your bequest then one should be grateful to them for having done so. It is their ehsān upon us; for otherwise how would we have lifted and carried it?

Amirul Mumineen AS heard a bedouin praying near the Kaaba over 3 nights. The first night he asked for forgiveness, the second for ‘that which only the Almighty could give’ and the third for a bequest of 4000 dirhams. When he questioned him as to why this specific amount, the bedouin explained that he needed a thousand each for his wife, his debts, to purchase a house and for his living expenses. Amirul Mumineen AS told him to come to his house in Medina. When he came, Amirul Mumineen AS put out a notice for the sale of a field of his in which Rasul Allah SA had himself planted some of the trees. He accepted an offer of 12000 dirhams for the field from which he gave the bedouin the 4000 he had asked for in prayer. In addition he gave him his travel expenses. Meanwhile, the news of this largesse spread to the other poor of the city and they flocked to him. Maulana Ali AS took the dirhams in handfuls and handed them out until not a single dirham was left.

Maulatona Fatema AS came to him and reminded him that the household was hungry, “You are hungry too.” So Maulana Ali AS set out to borrow some money and was given seven dirhams by Rasul Allah SA to purchase foodstuffs. As he and Imam Hasan AS made their way to the bazaar, a person in need approached them. Maulana Ali AS  asked Imam Hasan AS whether we should assist him, to which he replied, ‘as you wish’. Maulana Ali AS gave him the 7 dirhams – all of them, saying the same Allah who had given them a small amount was more than able to give them a larger amount, and so they carried on.

Duly they met a bedouin who asked them to purchase his camels and a credit deal was agreed for 100 dirhams. Within a short time Maulana Ali AS met with another bedouin who asked to purchase the camels. He stated to him that he had purchased the camels for 100 dirhams and he may offer as much as he sees for them. The bedouin offered 170 dirhams cash to purchase the camels to which he agreed. From this he paid the 100 owed to the original seller and now had 70 dirhams as his profit. Upon returning and recounting the whole episode, Rasul Allah SA told him that the camels were heaven sent and the dirhams were from Allah. In exerting efforts to trade and spending in good causes Maulana Ali AS was living the life of true freedom: that of kashf. These are the trading practices of those leading such emancipated lives that at the time of making a sale they are upfront over how much the commodity cost them, and what their profit margin is.

Further expounding upon the importance of each individual to expend his own self, Syedna Saifuddin TUS narrated that Rasul Allah SA took raw meat in his bare hands in order to gift a piece of it to someone. When one of those present asked why the need to make his hands unclean when we would have sufficed you, his reply revealed his intention to personally partake in good deeds.

Likewise, in the honourable conduct of Imam Zain al-Abidin AS  is seen the same personal commitment. He would carry the food for the 100 houses he provided for each night upon his own shoulders rather than instructing a servant to do so. As he saw the hunger of those households, he must have surely remembered that for three days there was not a single drop of water nor morsel of food in Karbala.

The shoulders of the Duat Mutlaqin AS continue to bear the load – of our sins. In order to grant relief from these burdens they place their blessed hands upon a Mumin’s shoulders. The duat are such that, ‘between their shoulders lies the salvation of a vast populace’, as was quoted to Syedna Yusuf Najmuddin RA of Syedna Dawood bin Ajabshah RA  as the latter was returning to Hind from Yemen. One of the most striking examples of their benevolence is the refuge given by Syedna Abdeali Saifuddin RA in Surat to over 12000 Mumineen from the Nagar when drought struck their homelands. He stated that they are my special guests and that he was prepared to sell all he owned to provide for them. He added that his doors were open to all, even in the middle of the night.

A century later Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA  and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA  expended the same round the clock efforts in safeguarding the faithful, how remarkably they have fostered hifz al-Quran, disseminated knowledge, encouraged us to feed each other, counseled us to take care of our elders, enjoined upon us to honour our family members, ensured the construction of masjids, blessed our homes and workplaces and most importantly made us realize the importance of Imam Husain’s AS shahādat and attendance in Ashara Mubaraka. In the context of attending majālis, Syedna TUS recollected the counsels of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, ‘the seeking of knowledge is compulsory, attending majālis is obligatory, so to is listening to the sermons delivered. Try to remember as much as you can from it. The thought that I will not retain anything from the majlis so why should I attend is misconstrued.

Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS in continuing his efforts to uplift the community in all aspects focused on the trait of backbiting by narrating a morality tale from a risāla in the possession of Syedi Luqmanji QR. A trader set out on a trip and instructed his wife to remain within her home until his return. During the course of this time she peeked out of the slits of her windows and noticed that her next door neighbour was receiving multiple male visitors and must be engaged in immoral activity. She went down and spoke of this to her housemaid. Her husband returned after being away for a year and she prepared herself for him. That night, however, he witnessed a chilling sight. At night as she slept, the bed became covered with insects many of them winged, and as he looked closer he saw that they were streaming from her mouth, and then after a while going back in. The same occurred the next night and the next, for seven nights until the wife, realising that something was amiss, departed to her parental home and told her mother that her husband did not love her any longer. The mother told the father and the father asked the husband who told him what he had seen. The father then went back and saw the same with his own eyes. When he asked his daughter about it she told him she was not aware of anything happening. They sought out the Scholar of the Time who asked if she had slandered anyone. It was then that she recalled what she had told her housemaid about the woman next door. He told them that forgiveness was necessary and if the woman herself was unaware of what had been said about her, then the wife should only tell her housemaid that what she had surmised about her neighbour was without substantiation. She did as directed and the abhorrence ended. When backbiting a woman of ill-repute results in such consequences, then what of a Mumin?

When Imam Husain AS was seated against the date palm, the wretched Shimr came. He had a sharp spear in his hand yet nevertheless searched among the fallen bodies for a blunt dagger until he found one. As he sat across the Imam’s chest, Imam Husain AS mentioned over eleven directives for him to carry out, stating at the onset whether he complies with them or not is solely his discretion. Yet, to not one of these directives did Shimr acquiesce. Instead, and far to the contrary – he caused as much distress to the haram, to Maulatona Sakina AS than could ever be imagined.

Today, as we celebrated the 109th Milad Mubarak of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and the 76th Milad Mubarak of Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, we celebrated the personages who exemplify the values which define humanity and to which we all espouse to. May Allah grant Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA the greatest of divine rewards and grace his son and successor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS with a long, healthy and prosperous life.

– www.jameasaifiyah.edu