Ziyaarat Aali –Yaasin, A Brief Commentary
The Chain of Narrators
Numerous Shia scholars of the highest stature have documented this Ziyaarat in their compilations and have vouched for its chain of narrators. Here, we shall outline the names of a few books wherein this Ziyaarat has been mentioned. (Being followers of the five infallibles (a.s.) from the Incident of the Cloak (حديث الكساء), we have taken a similar number and have mentioned five references.
(1) Al-Ehtejaaj vol.2 p.316-318
This is the oldest reference available for the Ziyaarat. The compiler of this invaluable work is the great traditionalist – Abu Mansoor Ahmed b. Ali b. Abi Talib Tabarsi (r.a.). This traditionalist of the 6th century Hijri is considered to be one of the all-time great Shia scholars and teachers. Scholars of narrators (Ulama al-Rijaal) have spoken highly of him for his greatness and piety.
(2) Behaarul Anwaar
The compiler of this Shiite Encyclopaedia needs no introduction. He is the pride of the Shiite world and one of its greatest traditionalists- Allamah Shaikh Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (r.a.) Considering the importance of Ziyaarate Aali -Yaasin, he has mentioned it in 3 places:
i) vol. 53, p.171-73 under the Chapter of letters (توقيعات) of Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.)
ii) vol. 94, p. 5-6 under the Chapter of Allah’s remembrance and supplications
iii) vol. 102, p. 81-83 under the Chapter of Ziyaaraat.
(3) Fauze Akbar dar Tawassulate Imam al-Muntazar (a.t.f.s.) p. 68-70
Hujjatul Islam Mirza Muhammad Baqir Faqih Eemaani (r.a.) is the compiler of this book. It is noteworthy that he has mentioned this Ziyaarat right at the beginning before other Ziyaaraat.
(4) Takaaliful Anaam fi Ghaibatil Imam (a.t.f.s.) p. 135-38
Sadrul Islam Hamadani (r.a.) has recorded this Ziyaarat in the 25th duty during the major occultation (غيبة).
(5) Mafaatihul Jinaan (Urdu translation Allamah Zeeshan Haider Jawadi (r.a.) Tanzeemul Makatib Lucknow edition) p. 956-959
The compiler of this momentous work is Shaikh Abbas al- Qummi (r.a.). The main narrator of this Ziyaarat is Abdullah b. Jafar (r.a.) [240A.H.-300 A.H.].1 Shaikh Sadooq’s (r.a.) father – Ali b. Baabwaiyh (r.a.), Muhammad b. Hasan (r.a.) (Shaikh Sadooq’s (r.a.) teacher) and Muhammad b. Yaqoob Kulaini (r.a.) have reported this Ziyaarat along with numerous other traditions from Abdullah b. Jafar (r.a.).
Given this list of illustrious personalities who have narrated this tradition, there remains no doubt about the authenticity of the chain of narrators.
A Peculiar Feature of the Ziyaarat
A very exceptional trait of this Ziyaarat is that the instructor of this Ziyaarat is also its addressee, i.e. the one conveying salutation (salaam) and the one to whom the salutation is addressed is one and the same. Such ziyaaraat are indeed very few. Generally, Ziyaaraat are recorded from one infallible (a.s.) addressing another infallible (a.s.). For instance, Imam Sajjad (a.s.) has taught his Shias the Ziyaarat of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) introduced the Ziyaarat of the martyrs of Karbala (r.a.).
About the introduction of Ziyaarat al-Aali -Yaasin, it is narrated that Janabe Himyari (r.a.), the narrator of this Ziyaarat, received a letter from Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) in which, he (a.t.f.s.) first answered the queries asked. Then he wrote,
‘You (people) neither understand Allah’s affair (ولايت) nor acknowledge His friends (Imams (a.s.)). The Imamis Allah’s Perfect Wisdom but it has become futile to frighten the people with it. Salutations be upon us and upon Allah’s pious servants. So, whenever you intend to turn your attention towards Allah through our mediation or wish to turn towards us then say as Allah has ordered,
"سَلامٌ عَلى آلِ يس...."
We beseech Allah to give us the grace to convey the exegesis of this invaluable Ziyaarat to our readers (keeping brevity in mind).
١. سَلامٌ عَلى آلِ يس
Salutation upon Aali Yaasin means salutations upon the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S). This opening salutation has great significance. For, this is a Ziyaarat related to Imam al- Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and all salutations after the opening one are addressed to him. Yet, Imam (a.t.f.s.) has commenced it by sending salutations upon all his family members. It is apparent that the opening salutation on the infallible progeny of the Holy Prophet (S) is derived from two Quranic verses. The first verse is derived from Surah Yasin, verse 1
The second verse is derived from Surah Saaffaat, verse 130
سَلامٌ عَلى آلِ يس
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) was asked, ‘O son of Allah’s Prophet, what is the meaning of the divine word يس?
He (a.s.) replied,
اِسْمُ مِنْ اَسْمَاءِ النًبِيٍ وَ مَعْناهُ يَا سَامِعَ الوَحْيِ
“It is a name from the Prophet’s (S) names and implies, ‘O hearer of revelation’.2
As far as verse 130 of Surah Saaffaat is concerned, several Quranic exegeses and readers of the Holy Quran like Naafe’, Abu Aamir and Yaqoob have recited it as Aali -Yaasin (الْسِاسِيِن) is in reality Aali -Yaasin).3
In addition to this, even traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) support this explanation. For instance, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has narrated a tradition from his grandfather Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) regarding the Quranic verse
يس مُحَمًد وَ نَحْنُ آلُ يس
‘Muhammad (S) is Yasin and we (Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)) are Aali -Yaasin.4
During the reign of the Abbaside Emperor a debate was organised between Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) and the scholars of the Ahlul Sunna vis-à-vis the excellence of the infallible Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) demanded,
‘Inform me about the saying of Allah, Mighty and Glorified be He,
Yaasin – By the Noble Quran – Surely, You (O Muhammad) are from the Messengers On the Right Path.5
Who is Yaasin in this verse?’
The scholars replied: Yaasin is Muhammad (S), none doubts about it.
On this, Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) exclaimed,
“Surely Allah – Mighty and Glorified Be He – has granted Muhammad and Ale Muhammad a virtue, on account of this, the essence of which none can reach except through his intellect. That is, Allah – Mighty and Glorified be He – has not send salutations on anybody except the Prophets (a.s.). Thus He – Blessed and High be He – says, ‘Peace be on Nuh in the worlds.’6
and ‘Peace be on Ibrahim’7 and ‘Peace be on Moosa and Haroon.’8 But He did not say, ‘Peace be on the progeny of Nuh’ nor did he say, ‘Peace be on the progeny of Ibrahim’, nor did He say, ‘Peace be on the progeny of Moosa and Haaroon.’ But He – Mighty and Glorified Be He – did say: ‘Peace be on the progeny of Yaasin.’ 9 i.e. the progeny of Muhammad (S)10.
Revered commentators of the Ahlul Sunnah like Qurtubbi in his Tafseer (vol. 15 p.119) and Aaloosi in Tafseer al-Ruhul Ma’ani (vol. 23 p. 142) too have advanced similar views.
٢. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياداعِيَ الله وَرَبَّانِيَّ آياتِهِ
Salutations upon you, O the caller of Allah and the nourisher of His Creation
The opening salutation is addressed specifically to Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) holy and glorious existence. From among his innumerable attributes, we find two attributes highlighted in the first salutation.
A) Caller of Allah
B) Nourisher of His Sign
The first attribute (داعي) is a Subject (فاعل) (according to Arabic grammar) and means – the one who calls or invites. Over here it means that Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) invites the people towards Allah.
The Significant Position of Inviting towards Allah
The opening salutation of this Ziyaarat mentions inviting towards Allah. This is from among the exalted attributes of Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) that right from 260 A.H. till date and from today till the day of his reappearance, he has and will continue to Salutations upon you, O the caller of Allah and the persistently and tirelessly invite the people towards Allah.
The other attribute highlighted in the opening salutation is (ربّانيّ). Marhoom Turaihi (a.r.) writes that in Tafseer al-Kashshaaf of Zamakhshari, the word(ربّانيّ) refers to the one who is firmly attached to religion and his obedience to Allah is firm and intense. In Qamoos, (ربّانيّ) is defined as one who worships Allah with recognition. Tabarsi (a.r.) writes that the one who improves and regulates the affairs of the people is called as (ربّانيّ) This is also supported by the tradition
لاَ عِلْمَ اِلاّ مِنْ عَالِمٍ رَبًانِيِّ
“There is no knowledge except from the divine scholar.”11
In view of the above explanation, the first line of the Ziyaarat can be read as, ‘Salutation upon you who invites towards Allah’s Religion and who himself is Allah’s Religion. Your obedience is tantamount to divine obedience. Salutation upon you, the one who improves and regulates the affairs of Allah’s creatures.’ Allah, Glorified be He, has delegated the regulation of all His creatures to His cherished one – Muhammad Mustafa (S) and his infallible family – the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Today our Imam – Hazrat Wali al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is the representative of this family and has been entrusted with this all-important responsibility.
٣. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يابابَ الله وَدَيَّانَ دِينِهِ
"Salutation upon you, O Allah’s Door and the regulator and governor of His Religion".
Like the previous salutation, this salutation also embraces two attributes. The first is ‘Allah’s Door’ and this attribute is indeed very popular and finds mention in several Ziyaaraat. In traditions, the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) are referred to as ‘Allah’s Door’. For instance, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informs
الْأَوْصِيَاءُ هُمْ أَبْوَابُ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّالَّتِي يُؤْتَى مِنْهَا وَلَوْلَاهُمْ مَا عُرِفَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَبِهِمُ احْتَجَّ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى عَلَى خَلْقِهِ
‘The Holy Prophet’s (S) successors are the ‘Doors of Allah’ through which He can be accessed. If they were not there, Allah the Almighty would not have been recognized. Through them, Allah the Almighty has completed His arguments against His creatures.’12
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) declares
نَحنُ حُجَّةُ اللهِ ، ونَحنُ بابُ اللهِ
‘We are Allah’s Proofs and Allah’s Door.13’
In Duae Nudbah, which is associated with Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself, we address him:
ايْنَ بابُ اللهِ الَّذى مِنْهُ يُؤْتى
‘Where is Allah’s Door, through which He is accessed?’
What is the meaning of (باب)? (باب) means door or gate. However, this by no means, implies that Allah resides in an abode, the door of which is Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). To dispel such misleading notions, it is necessary that we first understand some peculiarities about a door. Take the door of any house or garden. What is the function and purpose of the door?
The primary and most critical function of the door is to allow access to the house or garden and to that extent it is unique. Of course, a person can still jump the wall or sneak inside through the window, but that is not in keeping with the norms of a cultured society and any rational person will disapprove of such uncivilized behaviour. The Islamic Shariat and intellect have condemned this in no uncertain terms.
The renowned commentator on the Holy Quran belonging to the Ahlul Sunnah – Hafiz Jalaluddin Suyuti narrates, ‘Once the second caliph, Umar b. Khattab, was on his famous night strolls. Suddenly he heard some strange sounds from a house, which aroused his suspicions. He went to the periphery of the house and seeing no way to enter it jumped the wall.
Inside the house, he was surprised to see a man, drinking wine and seated with a woman in a compromising position. The caliph exclaimed, ‘O Allah’s enemy! Do you really believe that your disobedience is concealed from Him?’ The man, though drunk, shot back instantly, ‘O Amirul Momineen!
Don’t act in haste. If I have committed one sin, you are guilty of perpetrating three major sins. Allah commands,
‘… and do not spy’14
And you have disobeyed him by spying (on me). Allah commands,
‘…and go into the houses by their doors’15
While you have jumped the wall. Allah commands,
‘Do not enter the houses until you are acquainted and saluted their inmates’16
While you have neither sought permission nor saluted us.’17
It is in conformity with etiquette and intellect that man enters a garden, house or a city through their doors.
The other term used in the salutation is ((وَدَيَّانَ دِينِه. What is the meaning of (دَيَّانَ) and why is Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) being referred to as (دَيَّانَ)? Tabarsi (r.a.) records, (دَيَّانَ) is among the titles of Allah. It means dominant, ruler and judge. In the Holy Prophet’s (S) praise and eulogy, he says:
يَا سَيّدَ النًاسِ وَ دَيًانَ الْعَرَبِ
‘O leader of men and the ruler (or judge or dominator) of the Arabs.’ Likewise traditions declare
كَانَ عَلِيٍ ديًانَ هَذِهِ الْأُمًةِ بَعْدَ نَبِيِهَا
‘Ali (a.s.) is the ruler (or judge or dominator) of this nation after the Prophet (S).’18
It is evident that the entire progeny of the Prophet (S) also possesses these merits and can be ascribed with them (and this fact is highlighted in several Ziyaaraat). In this era, Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is the sole representative of the Prophet’s infallible progeny (a.s.) and by virtue of this, he is the sole possessor of these merits.
٤. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياخَلِيفَةَ الله وَناصِرَ حَقِّهِ
Salutations upon you, O Caliph of Allah and the Helper (in the way) of His Right
This salutation also highlights two vital attributes – Allah’s Caliphate and the support of His Right. In Arabic terminology, a caliph has been described as:
مَنْ يِخْلُفُ غَيْرَه وَ يَقُوْمُ مَقَامَهُ وً السًلْطَانُ الأعْظَمُ وَ فيْ الشًرْعِ: اللإمَامُ الّذِيْ لَيْسَ فَوْقَهُ اَمَام (اَقْرَبُ الْمَوَارِدِ, مَادًهُ خَلَفٌ)
‘Caliph is the successor of another and the one appointed by him. That is why a king is referred to as a Caliph.’
According to the Islamic Shariat, the caliph is the Imam, and he is matchless in his superiority and supremacy.
In the current era, Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is the Imam and the sole claimant to the exalted and lofty status of Imamat. He is the dominant and supreme king, in front of whom, even Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) and Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) with all the embellishments of their monarchies, appear small and miniscule. He is the true Caliph and Guide, who is unchallenged in his caliphate and guidance.
In this regard, Hafiz Muhammad b. Yusuf Ganji Shafei’, the illustrious Sunni scholar, has recorded a pertinent tradition in his compilation ‘Al Bayaan fi Akhbaar al- Sahibiz Zaman (a.t.f.s.) (Chapter 15)’
يخرُجُ المَهْدِيُّ وعلى رأسِه عِمامةٌ فيها مُنادٍ يُنادِي: ألَا إنَّ هذا المهدِيُّ خَلِيْفَةً اللهِ فاتَّبِعُوه
‘Mahdi shall reappear while there will be a cloud hovering over him. From within it, an announcer shall announce – This is Mahdi, Allah’s Caliph, so obey him!’
This is the second important attribute underlined in this salutation. While it’s true that all prophets (a.s.) and successors (a.s.) were helpers of the divine cause, it is noteworthy that Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) has been specially preserved for this motive. In order to appreciate this point, it is necessary that we understand the word (حقّه حقّه) means His (Allah’s) Right. Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the helper of Allah’s right (i.e. His cause).
What is Allah’s right? The fourth Imam – Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) explains Allah’s right in the very beginning of his compilation ‘Risaalatul Huquq’
فَأَمّا حَقّ اللّهِ الْأَكْبَرُ عَلَيْكَ فَاَنّ تَعْبُدُوهُ لَا تُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئاً
‘The greatest right that Allah, the Almighty, enjoys upon you is that you worship only Him and do not associate partners with Him.’19
As explained by Imam (a.s.), Allah’s right upon His Creatures is the belief in monotheism. It means that we should worship only Him and not set up partners for Him. As we have mentioned earlier, this is the objective with which all prophets (a.s.) and messengers (a.s.) were raised. However, none could accomplish complete success in this regard. For instance, Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) propagated for 950 years, but despite his massive efforts, the Holy Quran says:
وَمَا آمَنَ مَعَهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ
“And none believed with him (Nuh) but a few.”20
However, while prophesizing about Imam al-Asr’s (a.t.f.s.) advent, Allah says:
يَعْبُدُونَنِي لا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا
‘…they shall serve Me, not associating aught with Me…’21
In this momentous endeavour, Allah, Himself, shall help Imam (a.t.f.s.) through His angels. In Dua al-Iftetaah, Imam (a.t.f.s.) espouses this fact,
اَللّـهُمَّ اَعِزَّهُ وَ اَعْزِزْ بِهِ ، وَ انْصُرْهُ وَ انْتَصِرْ بِهِ ، وَ انْصُرْهُ نَصْراً عَزيزاً ، وَ اْفتَحْ لَهُ فَتْحاً يَسيراً ، وَ اجْعَلْ لَهُ مِنْ لَدُنْكَ سُلْطاناً نَصيراً
‘O Allah! Honour him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)) and through him honour us. Help him and through him help us avenge our enemies. Help him with a mighty helping and grant him an easy victory. And arrange from Your side a dominating and overwhelming support for him.’22
٥. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياحُجَّةَ الله وَدَلِيلَ إِرادَتِهِ
‘Salutations upon you, O Allah’s Proof and the indicator towards His intention.’
Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) brilliant personality is Allah’s most magnificent proof and argument on the earth. Allah shall complete His argument upon His creatures through Imam (a.t.f.s.) and the creatures shall witness Allah’s argument through the persona of Imam (a.t.f.s.). This means that if a person cannot recognize His Creator through the mediation of Imam (a.t.f.s.), he will never arrive at the truth and all his attempts in this regard will prove futile.
Hakimah Khaatoon (r.a.), the daughter of Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.), informs, ‘As soon as Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) stepped into this world, he immediately fell in prostration. On his arm were engraved in a radiant light, the words:
جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ
‘Truth has come and falsehood vanished.’23
I took the infant in my arms and carried him over to his father Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) ran his fingers lovingly across the head of his beloved son and urged,
.تكلَّمْ يَا حُجَّة الله وبقيّة الأَنْبِيآء وَخَاتَمَ الأَوْصِيَاءِ وَصَاحِبَ الكَرًةِ الْبَيَضَاءِ وَالْمِصْبَاحِ مِنَ الْبَحْرِ الْعَمِيْقِ الشًدِيْدِ الضّيَاءْ، تَكلّمْ يَا خَلِيْفَةَ الأْتقِيَاِءِ وَنُوْرُ الأَوْصِيَاء
‘Speak up O Allah’s Proof and the remnant of the past prophets, O the seal of successors, O restorer of brilliance and light to the deep ocean, speak up, O Caliph of the Pious Ones and the Light of the Successors.’
Later, again we see Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) giving glad tidings to Imam (a.t.f.s.) at noon when the latter was offering water to his father for ablutions:
اَبْشِرْ يَا ُبنَيً فَأَنْتً صَاحِبُ الزًمَانِ، وَأَنْتَ الْمَهْدِيٌ وَأَنْتَ حُجًةُ الله عَلى أَرْضِهِ وَأَنْتً وُلْدِيْ وَوَصِيٍي
‘O my son, I give you glad tidings that you are the Master of the Age, you are the Mahdi, you are Allah’s Proof on the earth, you are my son and my successor…’24
Another significant fact revealed in this salutation is
This can be read as,
‘Salutations on the one who signifies Allah’s Intention.’
Indeed Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) glorious existence is a proof and indicator of Allah’s Intention. Before deliberating on the proof of intention, it is necessary first to understand the meaning of Allah’s Intention. Allah’s Intention has two aspects the World of Creation (عالم تكويني) and the World of Action (عالم تشريعي).
In (عالم تكويني), Allah’s Intention implies His Creation like earth, sky, sun, moon, etc. Regarding (عالم تكويني) Allah only has to say ‘Be’ (كُنْ) and ‘It is’ .(فَيَكُونْ)In Aalam al-Tashreei, Allah’s Intention is His Commands and Prohibitions that He has defined for his creatures.
In the light of the above explanation, when we reflect upon Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) attribute of being a pointer towards Allah’s Intention, we realise that he guides us towards both these worlds. In (عالم تكويني) every creation points towards Allah’s Intention.
However, Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) wonderful existence is the best pointer towards Allah’s Intention taking precedence over all other creation. This is because, if it weren’t for the Holy Prophet (S) and his infallible progeny (a.s.), there would not have been earth, sky, Chair, Throne, jinn, men, etc. nay rather nothing would have existed at all.
Allah Himself declares
لَوْلَاكَ لَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْأَفْلَاكَ
‘O Prophet, but for you, I would not have created the world.’
إِنّي ما خَلَقتُ سَماءً مَبنَّيةً وَلا أرضاً مَدحيَّةً وَلا قَمَراً مُنيراًوَلا شَمساً مُضيِئةً ...إِلاّ في مَحَبَّةِ هؤُلاءِ الخَمسَةِ الَّذينَ هُم تَحتَ الكِساءِ
‘Surely I (Allah) did not create the elevated sky, the expansive earth, the brilliant sun….but for the sake and for the love of these five persons, who are inside the cloak.”25
Moreover, Allah conveys His Intention to His creatures through Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.). Imam Sadiq (a.s.) while instructing the Shias about the Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) declares
إِرَادَةُ الرَّبِّ فِي مَقَادِيرِ أُمُورِهِ تَهْبِطُ إِلَيْكُمْ وَتَصْدُرُ مِنْ بُيُوتِكُمْ
“(O Ahlul Bayt!) Allah’s intention in the destinies of His affairs descends on you and emanates from your houses.”26
In another tradition, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) informs,
إِنً الله جَعَلَ قُلُوْبَ اْلأَئٍمًةِ مَوْرِدًا لِإرَادَتِهِ فإَذَا شَاءَ اللهُ شَيْئًا شَاؤُوْهُ وَهُوَ قَوْلُ اللهِ وَمَا تَشَاؤُوْنَ إِلاً أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللهُ
“Surely Allah has made the hearts of the Imams as a place for His intention’s descent. Thus, whenever Allah intends a thing, they too intend the same and this is the meaning of the verse, ‘And you intend not (a thing) but that Allah intends (it).”27
In yet another tradition, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) declares,
اِنً الإِمَامَ وَكْرٌ لإِرَادَةِ اللهِ عَزً وَ جَلً
“Surely the Imam is the nest for Allah’s (Mighty and Glorified be He) intention.”28
In another tradition, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) informs,
As for (عالم تشريعي), an Imam is the best guide towards Allah’s commands and prohibitions. In other words, there is none in the world, who can comprehend Allah’s laws better than the Imam or perform them in a manner more appropriate than him. Hence, if any one desires to see as to which type of worship includes Allah’s satisfaction, he must look at Imam and attempt to imitate him to the best of his abilities.
٦. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياتالِيَ كِتابِ الله وَتَرْجُمانَهُ
Salutation upon you, O the reciter of Allah’s Book and its interpreter
Like the previous statement, this is also a salutation on two entities. However, unlike the previous salutation, the entity in question is one and the same – the Holy Quran. Or to be precise it deals with the two Qurans – the Silent Quran (the book itself) and the Speaking Quran (Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.)) and highlights the cohesive and durable bond between the two. Indeed, the two shall always remain united in this world until they meet the Holy Prophet (S) in the hereafter. The renowned prophetic tradition underlines this fact:
إِنِيْ تاركٌ فيكم الثَّقَلَين كِتَابَ اللهِ عَزَّ وجَلَّ، وعِتْرَتي أَهْلُ بَيْتِيْ مَا إِنْ تَمَسًكْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلٌوْا بَعْدِيْ أَبَدًا فَإِنًهُمَا لَنْ يَفْرَقِا حَتَى يَرِدَا عَلَيً الْحَوْضَ
‘I am leaving behind in your midst, two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my progeny. If you fasten to them, you will never be led astray after me and these two shall not separate from each other till they meet me at the pond (حوض) of Kawthar.’
Traditions like this or with similar implications are aplenty. These are recorded by the Ahlul Sunnah and Shia scholars and are deemed authentic and reliable by them. In view of the tradition mentioned above, it is evident that every age has a representative of the Prophet’s (S) progeny and in this era, Hazrat Wali al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) holds this esteemed position.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) warns Amr b. Ubaid,
فَاِنًمَا عَلَى النًاسِ أَنْ يَقْرَؤُو القُرْآنَ كَمَا أُنْزِلَ فَاِذَا احْتَاجُوْا إلِى تَفْسِيرِهِ فَاْلِاهْتِدَاءُ بِنَا وَإِلَينَا يَا عَمْرو
‘O Amr, it is obligatory on the people to recite the Quran as it was revealed. When they feel the need to interpret its verses, they should necessarily refer to us and acquire guidance.’29
٧. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ فِي آناءِ لَيْلِكَ وَأَطْرافِ نَهارِكَ
‘Salutations upon you in the night time and during the day.’
With this salutation, you are announcing your intention to send peace upon Imam (a.t.f.s.) at every moment, be it day or night.
This statement is borrowed from the Quranic verse
وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَى
‘…during hours of the night do also glorify (Him) and during parts of the day…’30
٨. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يابَقِيَّةَ الله فِي أَرْضِهِ
Salutation upon the Remnant of Allah in His earth
Over here, Imam (a.t.f.s.) has been addressed with the renowned title that finds a mention in the Holy Quran.
بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
“Surely the remnant of Allah is good for you if you are believers.”31
The word (بقية) has several meanings. However, for brevity we have delved only on one meaning which is relevant to our discussion over here.
بَقَىِ مِنْهُ: تُرِكَ بَعْضُهُ
i.e. some of it’s part is left.
This means that Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is the last link preserved by Allah in His chain of Prophets (a.s.) and their successors (a.s.) sent for mankind’s guidance.
This is also the meaning used in Ziyaaraat and supplications.
الَسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بَقِيَّةَ مِنْ أَوْلِيَائِهِ وَ حُجَجِهِ
‘Salutation upon the Remnant of Allah, from His Friends and His Proofs.’32
(بقية الله) was the title of even the previous Imams (a.s.). However, it is used more specifically for Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.). The following tradition underscores this fact.
A denier of the Holy Quran approached Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and asked him, ‘I have read in the Quran, ‘the Remnant of Allah is better for you.’ Who is this Remnant of Allah?
Imam (a.s.) informed,
‘This refers to the Mahdi, who shall reappear after a period of intense examination. He shall then fill the earth with justice and equity as it would have been filled with tyranny and injustice. Among his signs are occultation and a concealed lifestyle. At that time, rebellion and upheavals will be common and the fire of vengeance will be stoking strongly among the people.’33
When Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) introduced Ahmed b. Ishaaq (r.a.) to Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) while he was still an infant, Imam (a.t.f.s.) declared to Ahmed b. Ishaaq (r.a.)
أَنَا بَقِيَّةُ اللهِ فِيْ أَرْضِهِ
‘I am the Remnant of Allah on His earth.’
This is the very statement that Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall proclaim on his reappearance. Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall be sighted first in the precincts of the Holy Kabaa where while leaning against the sacred monument. Kabaa, he shall recite the above statement.
٩. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يامِيثاقِ الله الَّذِي أَخَذَهُ وَوَكَّدَهُ
Salutations upon you O Allah’s Covenant that he has taken and emphasized upon it.
The poet has depicted this thus:
بـقـيّةُ اللهِ وصَـفْـوةُ الـرُّسُـلْ
ونُـخبةالـوجودِ مـا شئتَ فَقُـلْ
The remnant of Allah and the existents, say as you please
The selected among the chosen one of messengers
(ميثاق) means pledge and allegiance. Reliable traditions reveal that in (عالم الذر)(the world that preceded this material world and roughly translated as ‘the world of particles’), Allah had taken the pledge from the Shias with regards to the mastership of the infallible Imams (a.s.) of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). That is why in this Ziyaarat we refer to Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) as ‘Allah’s Covenant’. Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the covenant on which Allah has put a lot of stress and emphasis for His creatures.
In (عالم الذر), when all the creatures were present in the form of particles (ذر) they were made to affirm the pledge regarding Allah’s divinity, the Holy Prophet’s (S) prophethood and Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) mastership. However, when the creatures were examined in this matter with complete free will and without any compulsion, most of them were unsuccessful and failed to affirm the allegiance.
After this triple allegiance (divinity, prophethood and mastership), Allah questioned the creatures regarding Imam al-Asr’s (a.t.f.s.) occultation and reappearance, in which, even more creatures were unsuccessful and failed to affirm the pledge regarding Imam al-Asr’s (a.t.f.s.) occultation and reappearance.
Therefore, this pledge has become a subject of divine emphasis. It is this very covenant, the affirmation of which made some prophets (a.s.) reach the exalted station of ‘firm in determination’ (أولو العظم), in preference over other prophets (a.s.).
In this aspect, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) declares
وَأَخَذَ المِيْثَاقَ عَلى أُوْلِي العَزْمِ أَنًّنِيْ رَبَكُمْ وَمُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوْلِي وَعَلٍيٌ أَمْيْرُ الْمٌؤْمِنَيْنَ وَأَوْصِياؤُهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وُلاَةُ أمْرِيْ وَخُزًّانُ عِلْمِيْ، وَ أَنَّ المَهْدِيَّ اَنْتَصِرُ بِهِ لِدِيْنِي وَأُظْهِرُ بهِ ِدَوْلَتِيْ وَأَنْتَقِمُ بِهِ مِنْ أَعْدَائِيْ وَأُعْبَدُ بِهِ طَوْعاً وَكَرْهاً...
‘Allah has taken this pledge even from the (أولو الزم) Prophets (a.s.): I am your Lord, Muhammad (S) is My Prophet, Ali (a.s.) and his infallible sons (a.s.) are the masters and treasurers of My affair. I will most certainly help My religion through Mahdi and through him My government will prevail. Through him, I will avenge My enemies and through him all will submit to My Worship willingly or otherwise.’34
As is evident from the tradition, all the (أولو العزم) Prophets (a.s.) have testified to the fact in Aalam al-Zarr that religion will be helped by and attain deliverance through Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
١٠. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياوَعْدَ الله الَّذِي ضَمِنَهُ
Salutation upon you, O Allah’s Promise regarding which He has given His Assurance
In several supplications and Ziyaraat, Imam (a.t.f.s.) has been referred to as the ‘Promised One’ and this is a fairly common title. A distinctiveness of Ziyaarat al-Aali -Yaasin is that Imam (a.t.f.s.) over here has been addressed as ‘Allah’s Promise’, a promise that has been endorsed further by a divine assurance. Perhaps, Imam (a.t.f.s.) has been referred to as a Promise, because of the hopes and expectations behind his promised advent. In fact, the word Promise only evokes Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) remembrance and mention as is evident in Surah Maryam:
حَتَّى إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ
“Till they see what they had been promised.”35
Under the exegesis of this verse, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) reveals,
فَهُوَ خُرُوْجُ الْقَآئِمِ
‘Here the Promise refers to the advent of Qaim (a.t.f.s.).’36
Likewise, readers can refer to other Quranic verses like Surah Nur: 55.
Another noteworthy point on the subject of promise is that Allah never reneges on His Promise. When it comes to honouring one’s word and abiding by a promise, indeed who can take precedence over Allah?
Certainly none! Allah’s promise itself is sufficient for any event to occur. Then, what about the Promise for which Allah has given an added assurance. In this era, it is our duty to wait for the realization of the divine promise. It is regarding this Promise that we find in Ziyaraat:
السَّلامُ عَلَى الْمَهْدِيِّ الَّذِي وَعَدَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِهِ الْأُمَمَ أَنْ يَجْمَعَ بِهِ الْكَلِمَ وَيَلُمَّ بِهِ الشَّعَثَ وَيَمْلَأَ بِهِ الْأَرْضَ قِسْطا وَعَدْلا وَيُمَكِّنَ لَهُ وَيُنْجِزَ بِهِ وَعْدَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“Salutation upon Mahdi – Allah’s Promise to the nations. Through him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)) Allah will gather the people and unite the scattered ones and fill the earth with justice and equity as it would have been filled with tyranny and injustice. And it is through him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)) that Allah will fulfill His Promise to the believers.’37
١١. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّها العَلَمُ المَنْصُوبُ
Salutation upon you, O Master of the Raised Standard.
Over here, Hazrat Baqiatullah (a.t.f.s.), has been referred to as the ‘Raised Standard’. It is possible that the term – Raised Standard over here isn’t used alone, rather a word ‘Master’ is concealed before it. So this verse should have read as
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا صَاحِبَ العَلَمُ المَنْصُوبُ
In the light of this arrangement, the translation of this verse will now read as
Salutation upon you, O Master of the Raised Standard.
This verse alludes to the Raised Standard that will unfurl in all its glory on Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance and will serve as a sign to the people of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) veracity.
The respected scholar of Al-Abqari al-Hesaan writes, ‘When Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance draws near, his standard shall start unfurling on its own, without anyone’s intervention. Then Allah shall bestow the power of speech to this standard, which shall exclaim – O Allah’s Servant, reappear now and destroy Allah’s Enemies.’38
Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) will have with him three standards. On one of them shall be inscribed:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإسْلامَ دِينً
‘…This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion…’39
On the second standard shall be written:
يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيرًا
‘They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide.’40
The third standard shall be adorned with the words:
لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ عَلِيٌ وَلِيُّ اللهِ وَ خَلِيْفَتُهُ الحَسَنُ وَ الحُسَيْنُ وَ التِسْعَةُ مَنْ وُلْدِ الحُسَيْنِ أَوْصِيَائُهُ
‘There is no God except Allah. Muhammad (S) is His Messenger. Ali (a.s.) is His Slave and His Caliph. Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) and the nine sons from Husain’s (a.s.) progeny are His Successors.’41
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informs:
‘Imam az-Zaman’s (a.t.f.s.) standard is a unique flag – the very flag which Hazrat Jibrail (a.s.) brought during the battle of Badr and entrusted to the Holy Prophet (S). This is the very flag that Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s.) had unfurled during the Battle of Jamal and which resulted in his triumph. After this he wrapped up the flag and handed it over to his son, Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.). In this manner the flag was passed on from one Imam (a.s.) to another as a legacy and an invaluable treasure. The Imams (a.s.) maintained the flag, but none got the opportunity to unfurl it. Now this flag shall unfurl at the hands of the last surviving member of this immaculate household – the Qaim, Mahdi of Ale Muhammad (a.s.).42
١٢. وَالعِلْمُ المَصْبُوبُ
(Salutation upon you), O overflowing knowledge...
The word (مصبوب)‚ is (اسم مفعول) and is made from (صَبّ) which means to overflow or to pour out.
Like the earlier statements, this statement also throws up two possibilities. One possibility could be that Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is the possessor of overflowing knowledge and the other is that Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) personality is overflowing with knowledge. At this stage, my pen confesses its helplessness in describing ‘absolute knowledge’.
For how can ‘the overflowing ignorance’ have the audacity to elucidate the reality of ‘the overflowing knowledge’! Indeed this is only possible if we restrict ourselves to the traditions of the infallibles (a.s.) to unravel the reality of ‘the overflowing knowledge’.
In this regard let us cast a glance at the traditions, supplications and Ziyaraat related to Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). (Readers are requested to read the following lines with rapt attention)
اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ كَنْزِ الْعُلُومِ الْإِلهِيَّةِ
‘Salutation upon you, O the treasure of divine knowledge…’43
اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا مَعْدِنَ الْعُلُومِ النَّبَوِيَّةِ
‘Salutation upon you, O storehouse of the prophetic knowledge…’44
إِنَّكَ خَائِزُ كُلِّ عِلْمً
‘Indeed you are the collection of every knowledge and science’ 45
وأنّكَ خازن كلِّ عِلْم، وفاتقُ كُلِّ رتقٍ
‘Indeed you are the collection of every knowledge and the splitter of every sewn thing (of every branch of knowledge).’46
السَّلامُ عَلَى الْحَقِّ الْجَدِيدِ وَالْعَالِمِ الَّذِي عِلْمُهُ لا يَبِيدُ
‘Salutations upon the revived truth, (the revived truth implies that Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall revive the truth on his reappearance as the truth will have been corrupted and scarred beyond recognition until then) and the scholar whose knowledge shall never be ruined.’47
In Dua al-Nudba, we address Imam (a.t.f.s.):
اَيْنَ اَعْلامُ الدّينِ وَقَواعِدُ الْعِلْمِ
‘Where is the standard of religion and the foundation of knowledge.’
In the same supplication, we address Imam (a.t.f.s.) further:
يَا ابْنَ الْعُلُومِ الْكَامِلَةِ
‘O son of the complete sciences’
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), the splitter of prophetic sciences, informs us:
إِنَّ العِلْمَ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَسُنّةِ نَبِيِهِ يَنْبُتُ فِي قَلْبِ مَهْدِينَا كَمَا يَنْبُتُ الزَرْعُ عَلى أَحْسَنِ نَبَاتِهِ
‘Surely the knowledge of Allah’s Book (Quran) and the traditions of his Prophet (S) grows in the heart of our Mahdi just like crops grow in the best place of vegetation.’48
We have mentioned only a few instances of traditions to give readers an idea about ‘the overflowing knowledge’. Indeed the actual number is innumerable and will overwhelm the reader like the boundless ocean amazes the onlooker at the shore. The dawn of reappearance is still away. Imam (a.t.f.s.) is still awaiting those trusted and upright companions who will help him establish the objectives of reappearance and will be the subject of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) limitless affection and benefaction.‘
The overflowing knowledge’ is sealed in the holy personality of Imam (a.t.f.s.). The brilliance of his knowledge is beyond the gloom of darkness and cannot be overwhelmed by it. In fact, this knowledge is too high for our thoughts to comprehend. Our imagination fails to grasp the reality of this knowledge.
Consider that 124,000 prophets (a.s.) have been raised by Allah, who collectively have informed us of only 2 alphabets of knowledge. When Imam (a.t.f.s.) reappears he will unfold the remaining 25 alphabets.
Glory be to Allah!
All praise be to the Great Maker, the Comprehensive Power and Creator who has bestowed His Slave with this knowledge. The light of Imam’s essence illumines the heavens and the earth. Indeed, we confess our helplessness in grasping this reality. From the depth of our hearts, we summon all our strength and insight and proclaim:
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّها العَلَمُ المَنْصُوبُ وَالعِلْمُ المَصْبُوبُ
‘Salutation upon you, O Raised Standard and the overflowing knowledge’
It is worth noting that the past prophets (a.s.) did not disclose all their knowledge to their nations. They informed them of only a little and if they did reveal a fraction of the treasure houses of their knowledge, it was to their special and trustworthy companions.
Traditions testify to the fact that throughout his lifetime the Holy Prophet (S) never addressed his companions with his ultimate and perfect intellect. This complete and perfect intellect knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S) is only with the infallibles (a.s.).
The divine secrets and knowledge with which the Holy Prophet (S) was blessed, got transferred from one Imam (a.s.) to the other and now rests with Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). In the time of Imam Mahdi’s (a.t.f.s.) major occultation, the false and erroneous knowledge gained ascent. Imam (a.t.f.s.) discharged his responsibilities only with the two alphabets of knowledge that prevailed in the world. He is still informing the people of only the two alphabets, the depth of which perplexes the mind.
That is why when Imam (a.t.f.s.) blesses Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Noman (r.a.) with a portion of this knowledge, he becomes (Shaikh) Mufeed of the Islamic Shariat and its defender. When Imam (a.t.f.s.) bestows a small portion of this knowledge on Syed Raziuddin b. Taoos (r.a.), he becomes the protector and compiler of supplications and Ziyaraat.
When we see Imam (a.t.f.s.) gift a portion of this knowledge to Hasan b. Yusuf b. Mutahhar (r.a.), he transforms miraculously into Allamah Hilli (r.a.). When we observe Imam (a.t.f.s.) whisper a few words in the ears of Ahmed b. Muhammad Alifi (r.a.), he becomes the upholder of jurisprudence with insight and becomes Muqaddas- e-Ardebali.
Likewise in every era there are some pious and special personalities who have benefited from a drop of knowledge from Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) boundless knowledge. And with this small drop, they have scaled the peaks of wisdom and intelligence.
Allah, the Almighty, bestows knowledge on Imam (a.t.f.s.). So Allah is, one who pours (knowledge) and Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the one overflowing with knowledge. Imam (a.t.f.s.) vhimself confers some drops of this knowledge on the Shias in which case he becomes (صَابَّ) and the scholars are (مَصْبٌوب).
The third point that needs some emphasis is that at all times we should address the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with utmost humility and beseech them with raised hands, ‘O Master! We seek knowledge and wisdom only from you and reject everyone else.’ We should translate this claim into action and never desert Imam (a.t.f.s.) by approaching others for knowledge.
In Arabic, (غوث) is an infinitive means help, succour, shelter and relief of the aggrieved. In supplications and Ziyaraat, we see (غياث/ غوث) being used prolifically to denote Allah’s Names. For instance,
يا غِياثي عِنْدَ كُرْبَتِي! يَا غِيَاثَ المُسْتَغِيثِين! ياغِياثَ مَنْ لاغِياثَ لَهُ!
O Resource in my neediness! O Rescuer of those who appeal! O Shield for the defenceless!49
Of course the true and rightful shelter and succour is Allah, Himself at a fundamental level. However, as is the case with other divine traits, His Appointees (i.e. Prophets and Imams) are the perfect manifestation and the complete reflection of divine shelter and succour. Consequently, we see even the infallibles (a.s.) being addressed with the titles of (غوث) or (غياث).
For instance, in the Ziyaarat of Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s.) on 17th Rabbiul Awwal, which is narrated by Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), we address Imam (a.s.):
اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا غِياثَ الْمَكْرُوبينَ
‘Salutations upon you, O shelter of the aggrieved and distressed.’50
This is the Ziyarat that Imam (a.s.) instructed his trusted companion – Muhammad b. Muslim (r.a.).
This trait has also been associated with Imam Husain (a.s.). While forecasting the tribulations of his family after Karbala, the Holy Prophet (S) informed,
وأمّا الحُسِيْنُ فَإِنّهُ مِنّيْ وَهُوَ اِبْنِيْ وَ وَلَدِيْ ... يَا غِيَاثَ المُسْتَغِيثِين
‘As for Husain (a.s.), surely he is from me and he is my son and my offspring…and the shelter of the distressed’ 51
Likewise, these titles have also been employed while addressing other Imams (a.s.). Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) while enumerating the personality of his beloved grandson – Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) declares:
يُخْرِجُ اللَهُ مِنْهُ غَوْثَ هَذِهِ الامَّةِ وَ غِيَاثَهَا
‘Allah shall manifest the saviour and shelter of this nation through my son (Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.)).’52
In the Ziyarat of Imam Jawad (a.s.) we come across this title:
السَّلَامُ عَلَى غَوْثِ اللَّهْفَانِ
‘Salutations be upon the shelter and succour of the distressed.’53
Similarly, Imam Mahdi’s (a.t.f.s.) most esteemed forefather –the Holy Prophet (S) has described him (a.t.f.s.) with such titles. Our religious responsibility is that in all our problems, be it major or minor, social or personal, religious or worldly, we implore only Imam (a.t.f.s.) for succour and reject all other imposters like the Sufi mystics and sages who have no divine mandate and authority and are the biggest shams, to put it mildly. If with such a benevolent and divinely guided Imam to help us, we still knock at the door of others, we have rejected Imamat and its precepts.
Often we wonder how to beseech Imam (a.t.f.s.) for help as we are not well-versed with the etiquette of supplication and invocation. The following points may be of use in this regard:
First: The most important criterion is pure intention (niyyat). If we beseech Imam (a.t.f.s.) with sincerity from the depth of our hearts, then it does not matter in what language we call out to him. He shall most certainly heed our plaint.
Second: Our beloved Imams (a.s.) have trained us in this regard in their supplications and Ziyaraat. Keeping in mind brevity, we have outlined a few lines that the respected readers can memorize while beseeching Imam (a.t.f.s.):
يَا صَاحِبَ الزَّمَانِ اَغِثْنِي يَا صَاحِبَ الزَّمَانِ اَدْرِكْنِيْ.
يَا مُحَمَّدُ يَاعَلِيُّ يَا فَاطِمَةُ يَا صَاحِبَ الزًّمَانِ أَدْرِكْنِيْ وَ لاَ تُهْلِكْنِي.
يَا اَبَا الْقاَسِمِ اَغِثْنِي يَا اَبَا صَالِحِ الْمَهْدِيْ اَدْرِكْنِيْ اَدْرِكْنِيْ وَ لاَ تَدَعْنِيْ فَاِنّيْ ذَلْيِلٌ عَاجِزٌ.
يَا مَوْعُوْدُ الْمُنْتَظَرُ اُنْظُرْ اِليْ المُحْتَضَرِ.
الْمُسْتَغَاثُ بِكَ يَا صَاحِبَ الزَّمَانِ.
Third: There is no definite time or any numerical limit prescribed to seek succour from Imam (a.t.f.s.). Whenever one is spiritually inclined towards imploring Imam (a.t.f.s.), one can do so with the sentences mentioned earlier, without any hesitation whatsoever. No time should be considered unsuitable for this meritorious act – be it day, night, noon, dawn, dusk.
١٤. وَالرَّحْمَةُ الواسِعَةُ
(Salutations be upon you)…O the encompassing mercy.
A cursory glance over the Quranic verses reveals that this term (رحمة) is employed exclusively for Allah to the exception of all others.
فَقُلْ رَبُّكُمْ ذُو رَحْمَةٍ وَاسِعَةٍ
‘…then say: Your Lord is the Lord of All- encompassing mercy’54
In the recommended supplications (تعقيبات) recited after Prayer (salat)- e-Asr, we beseech Allah with the supplication narrated by Janabe Zahra (s.a.):
اَللّـهُمَّ ذَا الرَّحْمَةِ الْواسِعَةِ
In Dua al-Kumail, the opening lines highlight Allah’s ‘All- encompassing mercy’
اللهم إنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِرَحْمَتِكَ الَّتي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْء
‘O Allah! Surely I beseech you with Your Mercy that encompasses everything.’
Apart from Allah, this manner of addressing (i.e. ‘All- encompassing mercy’) has been used only for the Messenger of Allah (S) and Imam (a.t.f.s.).
In the Majestic Quran, Allah, the Almighty declares:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ
‘And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.’55
And these very words have been reiterated in the case of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) in the renowned tradition of the Green Tablet (Hadith al-Lauh):
وَ أَكْمَلَ ذَلِكِ بِاِبْنِهِ م - ح - م - د رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِيْنَ
‘I (Allah) shall complete the chain of Imamat through his son (i.e. son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)) M H M D – a mercy for the worlds.’
Imam (a.t.f.s.) is referred to as the All-encompassing mercy because with his advent there shall not remain a soul on this earth but he will have embraced Islam. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) elaborates, ‘After Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) advent, the Meccans shall slay both representatives appointed by Imam (a.t.f.s.) in Mecca. Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall dispatch his army for the third time with the explicit command – Don’t spare anyone but ensure that he embraces Islam.
This is because Allah’s All-Encompassing Mercy includes everything and I am that All-encompassing mercy. Certainly I would also have preferred to turn towards them along with you so that no excuse remains between Allah and them and between them and me.’56
The above tradition underlines how Imam (a.t.f.s.) has introduced himself in the light of Allah’s All-encompassing mercy and has also indicated the reason for the same.
١٥. وَعْداً غَيْرَ مَكْذُوبٍ
We shall not dwell on the details of this line as we have already dealt with it before while elaborating on
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ ياوَعْدَ الله الَّذِي ضَمِنَهُ
Our earlier discussion on this topic should suffice.
After this part of Ziyarate Ale Yasin, we proceed towards the 8 salutations that are linked to each other through the word (حِيْنَ). (حِيْنَ) in Arabic indicates time – i.e. it is the English equivalent of ‘While’ or ‘When’. When we address Imam (a.t.f.s.) with these salutations we are referring to the actions that he performs at different points of time in his life.
١٦. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
١٧. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِيْنَ تَقْعُدْ
‘Salutations be upon you when you stand.’
‘Salutations be upon you when you sit.’
A point worth noting in these 2 and the other 6 sentences is that all the verbs are in the present tense.
(تَقُوْمُ) means ‘to stand’ and (تَقْعُدُ) means ‘to sit’. It is quite possible that these words have been employed metaphorically. A case in point is the famous prophetic tradition
اَلْحَسَنُ وَاَلْحُسَيْنُ إِمَامَانِ قَامَا أَوْ قَعُدَا
‘Hasan and Husain are the two Imams, regardless of whether they are standing or sitting.’57
Over here standing indicates to rise or revolt in order to claim one’s rights. Sitting indicates to negotiate peace in line with the circumstances and demands of the situation and concede one’s rights. Peace is resorted to when a war would go against the larger interests of the Muslims. In light of the above interpretation, we can translate this statement thus:
‘Salutations be upon you O Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) when you rise (to claim your rights) after your reappearance and salutations be upon you when you are seated patiently behind the curtain of occultation beseeching Allah to hasten your reappearance.’
١٨. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تَقْرَأُ وَتُبَيِّنُ
‘Salutations be upon you when you recite (the Holy Quran) and elucidate its interpretation.’
According to the rules of Arabic language, (قَرَءَ يَقْرَءُ) is a transitive verb (فِعْل مُتَعَدّي). In other words, when we say that Imam (a.t.f.s.) is reciting, the question that comes to mind is ‘what is he reciting?’
By and large Shia scholars have taken the Holy Quran as the subject matter of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) recitation. However, this is just one possibility. It is equally possible that Imam (a.t.f.s.) is reciting the Jaameah (كتاب جامعه) of his grandfather – Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s.) and it is also possible that Imam (a.t.f.s.) is reading the Mushaf (مصحف) of his grandmother – Janabe Zahra (s.a.) and it is quite likely that he (a.t.f.s.) is also browsing through the Jafr (كتاب جعفر).
So in light of this, we can say -
‘Salutations be upon you, O Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) when you are reciting the Book and when you are elucidating its verses.’
Another point that demands some elaboration is – to whom is Imam (a.t.f.s.) reciting the elucidation and interpretation of Quranic verses? Who are those fortunate people who sit along with Imam (a.t.f.s.) and listen to the interpretation of the Quran Directly from Imam (a.t.f.s.)?
The illustrious scholar – Abi Zainab Muhammad b. Ibrahim Nomani has recorded a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in his book – ‘Ghaibat’ which serves to answer the above question to some extent:
لاَ بُدَّ لِصَاحِبِ هذَاَ اْلأَمْرِ مِنْ غَيْبَة وَلاَ بُدَّ لَهُ فِيْ غَيْبَتِهِ مِنْ عُزْلَةٍ وَنِعْمَ الْمَنْزِلُ طَيِّبَةُ وَمَا بِثَلَاثِيْنَ مِنْ وَحْشَةٍ
Occultation is necessary for the Master of this affair (Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.)). And in occultation his separation (from the people) is also necessary. What a wonderful place is Medina? He will be accompanied by 30 people who will serve to ward off loneliness and fear from him.’58
(These 30 companions are special and privileged. They spend every moment of their lives in the glorious presence of Imam (a.t.f.s.)) It is possible that in this era of occultation Imam (a.t.f.s.) arranges for a class or an assembly of these companions and instructs them with lofty religious concepts on a regular basis.
Just thinking of this fantastic spectacle of Imam (a.t.f.s.) training these students is sufficient to bring tears to our eyes. Our hearts are captivated with this image and we are gripped with the desire to be a part of this assembly and class that is a direct beneficiary of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) boundless knowledge and sits face to face with him. Our stark ignorance in Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) occultation becomes even more evident to us. We are reminded of that statement of Imam Husain (a.s.) in Dua al-Arafah:
اَنَا الْجاهِلُ فى عِلْمى فَكَيْفَ لا اَكُونُ جَهُولاً فى جَهْلى؟
‘When I am so ignorant in my knowledge, then how ignorant am I in my ignorance!?59
١٩. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تُصَلِّيَ وَتَقْنُتُ
‘Salutations be upon you when you perform the Prayer (Salat) and recite the Qunoot (of the Prayer).’
In Arabic literature, Salaat means to glorify Allah (تسبيح) and recite supplication (دعاء). Over here it refers to the obligation of prayer (salat) imposed on every Muslim by the Islamic Shariat. Likewise, Qunoot in Arabic literally means obedience to and humility in front of Allah, the Great. Here, it refers to the act of performing Qunoot in prayer (salat).
In the Ziyaarat, we send salutations on Imam (a.t.f.s.) when he is engaged in prayer (salat) and when he recites the Qunoot. Indeed, there is no way for us to determine the sincerity and intensity with which Imam (a.t.f.s.) performs these actions as Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) piety and devotion are beyond our fragile imaginations.
All we can say is that Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the son of Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s.), whose worship and humility is without parallel. It follows naturally that Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) worship is also with utmost sincerity and humility and in line with divine satisfaction.
We eagerly await the day when we shall be able to witness this Prayer (salat) and Qunoot performed with the highest level of servitude. Not only we, but Prophet ‘Isa (a.s.) is waiting in anticipation for the day when he shall have the honour and distinction of praying prayer (salat) behind Imam (a.t.f.s.).
The renowned Ahlul Sunnah traditionalist, Muttaqi Hindi, records a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S),
‘On his reappearance, Mahdi shall advance towards Hazrat ‘Isa (a.s.) and request him to undertake the responsibility of leading the congregational prayers. Hazrat ‘Isa (a.s.) will humbly reply, ‘The congregational prayers have been established for you to lead.’60
This verse of the Holy Quran deserves attention:
أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ
‘Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil…’61
Under the exegesis of this verse, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) relates, ‘This verse has been revealed in honour of the Qaim of Ale Muhammad (a.t.f.s.). By Allah! He (a.t.f.s.) is the ‘distressed one’ in this verse. When he will recite two rakat prayer (salat) behind Maqam al-Ibrahim and supplicate to Allah, Allah will answer his prayers and deliver him from the difficulties and appoint him as the Caliph on the earth.’62
This is the prayer of a helpless soul, on reciting which Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall be ordered to rise. The command shall be issued in this manner,
‘O Allah’s slave, rise and seek vengeance against Allah’s enemies.’
As far as Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) Qunoot is concerned, there are severalsupplications that are associated with Imam (a.t.f.s.). Interested readers can refer to some of these books viz. Muhajjud Daawaat pg 67, Al-Baladul Ameen 569 and Behaarul Anwaar vol. 85,pg. 233.
٢٠. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تَرْكَعُ وَتَسْجُدُ
Salutation upon you, while you bow and prostrate
We have already explained the significance of conveying salutations to Imam (a.t.f.s.) while he is engaged in various acts of salaat under the verse:
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تُصَلِّيَ
Perhaps it is due to the importance of these two acts (bowing and prostration) that they have been given a special mention. Or it could be a pointer towards Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) prolonged bowing and prostration. Even Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) revered grandfather – Imam Moosa b. Jafar Al-Kazim (a.s.) has prayed for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance with a mention of his bowing and prostration. Yahya b. Fazl Nawfali narrates,
“I was in Baghdad in the presence of Imam Kazim (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) had completed the Asr prayer. As per his practice, he (a.s.) raised both his hands towards the sky and recited:
لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ
‘There is no god save You. You are the First and the Last and the Apparent and the Concealed.’
Imam (a.s.) repeated this sentence 10 times. After invoking Allah in these words, he (a.s.) supplicated,
أِسْألُكَ بِاسْمْكَ المَكْنُوْنِ المَخْزُوْنِ الحَيِ القَيُوْمِ الَّذِيْ لاَ يَخِيْبُ مَنْ سَأَلَكَ بِهِ أَنْ تُصَلَيِ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ وَ أَنْ تُعْجِّلَ فَرَجَ الْمُنْتَقِمِ لَكَ ِمْن أَعْدَائِكَ وَ أَنْجِزْ لَهُ مَا وَعَدْتَهُ يَا ذَا الجَلاَلِ وَ الإِكْرَامِ
‘I beseech You with Your Concealed and Treasured Name, O Ever Living, O Controller (of all creation), the Name with which when You are invoked, one is never disappointed. Send salutations upon Muhammad and his progeny and hasten the reappearance of the one who will avenge Your enemies. And fulfil the promise You have made to him, O Majestic, O All- Revering!’
The narrator asked Imam (a.s.), ‘Who is the beneficiary of your Prostration supplication?’ Imam (a.s.) replied:
ذَلِكَ المَهْدِيُّ مَنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
‘He is the Mahdi of Muhammad’s progeny (a.s.).’
Thereafter, Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) elaborates further on Imam Mahdi’s (a.t.f.s.) excellence:
بِاَبِيْ أَسْمَرَ الَّلوْنِ يَعْتَوِرُهُ مَعَ سُمْرَتِهِ صُفْرَةٌ مِنْ سَهِرِ اللّيْلِ بِاَبِيْ مَنْ لَيْلُهُ يَرْعَى النُّجُوْمَ سَاجِدًا وَرَاكِعًا
‘May my father be sacrificed on your wheat complexion that has long since turned yellow due to incessant night vigils. May my father be sacrificed on the starry nights, which find you engaged constantly in bowing and (of the night-vigil prayers)!’63
In the last tradition, mention has been made of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) solemn bowing and prostration in the dead of night. Only Allah is Aware what prayers and supplications keep His best creation engaged. Indeed, what can one say about the intense bowings and prostrations that are offered with such sincerity to Allah, the Almighty. One point worth highlighting over here is that the statement
بِاَبِيْ مَنْ لَيْلُهُ يَرْعَى النُّجُوْمَ
Means that Allah, the Almighty, likes to see His servants alert and vigilant about performing salaat and other acts of worship at its time. It means that one should use the heavenly bounties to dutifully observe one’s religious obligations. In this regard, Mulla Mohsin Faiz Kashani (r.a.) records a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S):
أَحَبُ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ إِلى اللهِ الَّذِينَ يُرَاعُونَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالأَهِلَّةَ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
‘The most beloved of Allah is the one who is always attentive of the Sun, the Moon and the shadows for the remembrance (and worship) of Allah.’64
٢١. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تُهَلِّلُ وَتُكَبِّرُ
‘Salutation upon you, when you declare that ‘there is no god but Allah’ and when you proclaim ‘Allah is the Greatest’.
To declare that there is no god but Allah and that Allah is the greatest are among the greatest signs of Allah’s Unity (توحيد). It is a declaration of the truthfulness of Islam and its being in compatibility with human nature. Once a Zoroastrian youth, who wished to convert to Islam, was introduced to Ayatullah Husain Tabatabai Burujardi (r.a.).
The people explained to the revered Ayatullah that the youth wished to embrace Islam. The Ayatullah asked him, ‘What did you find so appealing about Islam?’ He replied, ‘Islam’s truthfulness and its compatibility with human nature.’ The Ayatullah commanded him to recite the Kalemah.
The youth says, ‘I heard the Ayatullah recite the Kalemah with such awe and reverence that I never heard anything similar to it ever after that. When he was reciting ‘There is no god but Allah’, I could feel an awareness of Allah’s Unity (توحيد). When the general deputy of Imam (a.t.f.s.) (نائب عام) has such an awesome impact in his recitation of the kalemah, then what can one say about the Imam (a.t.f.s.) who has been reciting these divine glorifications since the beginning of the world, rather, even before the initiation of the creation of the world. He is none other than the one who has instructed the Prophet (a.s.) and the proximate angels with these praises.65
O Allah! Grant us the grace to listen to the divine praises of Imam (a.t.f.s.) in person. We admit our ears are obsessed with prohibited things like music and are unworthy of listening to the pure and chaste recitations of Imam (a.t.f.s.), but Your Boundless Mercy makes us hopeful of being granted this priceless bounty.
O Allah! Grant us the grace to recite these holy incantations.
In this regard Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates,
وَمَنْ كَبّرَ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ الِإمِامِ وقَالَ لاَ إِلهَ إلِاّ اللهُ وحَدْهَ ُلاَ شَرِيْكَ لَهُ كَتَبَ اللهُ لَهُ رِضْوَانَهُ الأَكْبَرَ وَمَنْ يَكْتُبِ اللهُ لَهُ رِضْوَانَهُ الأَكْبَرَ يَجْمَعْ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ اِبْراهّيِمَ وَمُحَمَّدٍ ( عَلَيْهِمَا السَلاَمُ ) وَالمُرْسَليْنَ فِي دَارِ الْجَلاَلِ
‘One who declares ‘there is no god but Allah’ and ‘Allah is the Greatest’ in front of the Imam (a.t.f.s.), Allah will write for him His great satisfaction’. And for one whom Allah writes His great satisfaction, He will gather him along with Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), Prophet Muhammad (S) and the Messengers (a.s.) in the House of Majesty.’66
Indeed, beholding the Proof (حجّت) of Allah is equal to declaring ‘there is no god but Allah’ and glancing at the slave (ولي) of Allah is to declare that He is the Greatest. This is because Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the manifestation of divine majesty and splendour and is the standard-bearer of divine unity.
When will we witness that moment when we can glance at the one who is the best in declaring the Oneness and Greatness of Allah? Indeed, when we will see you, our hearts will swoon and we will uncontrollably exclaim (الله أكبَر) and (لاَ إلَهَ إِلاَ اللهُ) . Indeed, when we hear you recite (الله أكبَر) and ( (لاَ إلَهَ إِلاَ اللهُ, we will not remain ourselves and will recite
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تُهَلِّلُ وَتُكَبِّرُ
To conclude, we shall mention another tradition on this topic.
Fuzail relates that either Imam Baqir (a.s.) or Imam Sadiq (a.s.) urged the people,
أَكْثِرُوْا مِنَ التَّهْلِيْلِ وَالتَّكْبِيرِ فإَنِهُّ لِيْسَ شَئٌ أحَبَ ُإلِى اللهِ مِنَ التَّكْبِيْرِ وَ التَّهْلِيْلِ
‘Recite excessively ‘there is no god but Allah’ and ‘Allah is the Greatest’. For surely there is nothing more beloved to Allah than proclaiming ‘there is no god but Allah’ and ‘Allah is the Greatest’.’67
Certainly, in today’s age, Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the most beloved one of Allah and he is engrossed in reciting that which is dearest to Allah.
٢٢. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تَحْمَدُ وَتَسْتَغْفِرُ
Salutation upon you, while you praise Allah and seek forgiveness from Him.
This salutation draws our attention to the fact that among Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) regular recitations is extolling and praising Allah, the Almighty, and his oft turning to Him in seeking forgiveness and clemency. Praising Allah and seeking His Pardon is directly proportionate to one’s level of recognition. As the latter increases, the former is augmented. Hence, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informs,
‘Everyday, the Holy Prophet (S) used to praise Allah 366 times i.e. equal to the number of veins in his body, in this manner:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ كَثِيْرًا عَلَى كُلِ حَالٍ
‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, as much as possible, in every condition.’68
Likewise, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates with regards to seeking forgiveness,
‘It was the Holy Prophet’s (S) practice that whenever he departed from an assembly, no matter how small and insignificant, he would seek divine forgiveness at least 25 times.’69
The Holy Prophet (S) himself declared,
وَ أنَا اَسْتَغْفِرُ الله سَبْعِيْنَ اِسْتِغْفَارِا
‘I seek forgiveness from Allah seventy times.’70
Indeed seeking forgiveness becomes even more admirable considering that these personalities (a.s.) were infallible and sinless. Perhaps, the unaware and vulnerable are actually deceived by seeking forgiveness of this kind. While seeking forgiveness is the subject of a detailed discussion, we shall try to address it briefly so as to alleviate doubts from the minds of the skeptics.
Seeking forgiveness has several rationales:
Seeking forgiveness and clemency is one of the greatest and most laudable acts of worship.
The Islamic nation has been bestowed with knowledge due to this exalted worship.
This act of worship is one of the best forms of expressing humility and remorse in front of Allah, the Almighty.
Every moment, the infallibles (a.s.) are elevated by Allah in degrees. When they look back at their (lower) position, they express contrition and penitence by turning to Allah in forgiveness.
حَسَنَاتُ الأَبْرَارِ سَيِّئَاتُ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ ‘The virtuous actions of the righteous are like sins for the proximate servants of Allah.’ Let us see how we can understand this better with the help of an example. There is a child who prays salaat and feels that with this he has worshipped Allah in a befitting manner even while his salaat may not be fundamentally correct.
As opposed to this, a religious scholar, whose faith is elevated by degrees, prays salaat with total concentration and tranquillity and with a feeling of abject humility and degradation. After completing salaat in this manner, he collapses in prostration and weeps uncontrollably and exclaims in anguish, ‘O Allah! Indeed I have failed miserably in fulfilling the right of Your worship. O Allah! I implore You to forgive me for my shortcomings.’
When the imploring of an ordinary scholar does not astonish us, why should we take exception to the entreaties and beseeching of the infallible Imam (a.t.f.s.)? These immaculate souls were stationed at such high degrees of divine recognition that it is nigh impossible for our imperfect intellects to fathom them.
٢٣. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ حِينَ تُصْبِحُ وَتُمْسِي السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ فِي اللَيْلِ إِذا يَغْشى وَالنَّهارِ إِذا تَجَلّى
‘Salutation upon you in the morning and in the evening. Salutation upon you in the night when it darkens and in the day when it brightens up.’
In this Ziyarat, we have mentioned the times of day in three places. The first time was when we recited
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ فِي آناءِ لَيْلِكَ وَأَطْرافِ نَهارِكَ
The second and third times are underlined in the above two sentences. What is the reason behind such time-related salutations? This poser is best answered by the personality addressed in this Ziyaarat. We beseech Allah to hasten the reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and to give us the grace to hear directly from him the various aspects of this and other Ziyaraat and supplications. At this stage all we can say is that:
عِبَارَاتُنَـا شَتَّى وَحُسْنُكَ وَاحِدٌ
وَكُــلٌّ إلَى ذَاكَ الْجَـمَالِ يُثْيرُ
“Our phrases are many while your splendour is one
And all of these indicate towards your beauty
٢٤. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّها الإمام المَأْمُونُ
Salutation upon you – O Protected Imam!
According to Arabic Grammar, the word (مامون) is the Nominal Object of (آمن). Its meaning can have various connotations – protected, contented, reliable and trustworthy. It means that Imam (a.t.f.s.) is the leader who has been protected and secured by Allah and He found him so contented that He appointed him (a.t.f.s.) as a leader and guide over His Creatures. Imam al- Zamana (a.t.f.s.) is so trustworthy that the archangel Jibraeel (a.s.), the Trustworthy prides over him (a.t.f.s.).
٢٥. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّها المُقَدَّمُ المَأْمُولُ
Salutation upon you – O Protected Imam! O the Foremost, the Hope of Creation!
This statement can be translated in two ways. One is by making (مامول) as the attribute (صفت) and (مقدم) as the attributed one (موصوف) i.e. O Foremost One, who is the hope of creation. The second way to translate the statement is by reversing the roles of these two words and making (مقدم) as the attribute (صفت) and (مامول) as the attributed one (موصوف), i.e. O the One who is Foremost in being sought with hope and expectation (by the Creatures).
Indeed Hazrat Baqiatullah (a.t.f.s.) is the splendour of hope of all mankind. Rather, he is hope of all Prophets (a.s.), the Successors (a.s.) and most importantly he is hope of Her Majesty Fatema Zahra (s.a.). Every true and righteous Muslim awaits the reappearance of the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) who is expected to revive the Holy Quran and its edicts:
أَيْنَ المُؤَمَّلُ لإحْياءِ الكِتابِ وَحُدُودِهِ
‘Where is the Expected One who will enliven the Book (Quran) and its statutes’?71
Yes, Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance is an event that is eagerly anticipated by all righteous servants. Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) illustrious ancestor, Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) has also referred to Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this manner:
...ثُمَّ يَقًوْمُ القَائِمُ الْمَأْمُوْلُ...
‘…then the Qaim (a.t.f.s.), the Expected One, shall reappear…’72
Likewise Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has also reminisced over Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) with this title.73
٢٦. السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ بِجَوامِعِ السَّلامِ
Salutation upon you with a comprehensive salutation.
This is the last statement of Ziyarate Ale Yasin. The reciter of of this Ziyaarat has now reached a stage where he has completed reciting the Ziyaarat and describing Imam (a.t.f.s.) with the most perfect and choicest of attributes.
Instead of endlessly reciting – ‘Salutation upon you…’ it makes sense to recite a single salutation that can convey a sense of completeness and totality. That is why he recites, ‘Salutation upon you with a comprehensive salutation’.
The word (جوامع) is the plural of(جامع). Gramatically, (جامع) is the Nominal Subject and means ‘to collect the scattered ones’. A word that, albeit small in appearance, unravels profound concepts, is referred to as(جامع) . In the context of the Ziyaarat it means – Whenever a salutation is recited and whatever be its kind, may it all be addressed to you O Imam (a.t.f.s.)!
After this we call upon Imam (a.t.f.s.) as a witness and testify that there is no God save Allah and Muhammad (S) is His Messenger and His worshipper. Then we testify to the Imamat of each and every Imam by name and proclaim the certainty of each and every stage of Resurrection right from deat to Heaven and Hell.
٢٧. يامَوْلايَ شَقِيَ مَنْ خالَفَكَ وَسَعِدَ مَنْ أَطاعَكَ ؛ فَاشْهَدْ عَلى ماأَشْهَدْتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنا وَلِيُّ لَكَ بَرِيٌ مِنْ عَدُوِّكَ
‘O my Master, wretched is the one who has opposed you. Fortunate is the one who has obeyed you. You be a witness to all that I have testified by making you a witness. I come to you in friendship expressing disgust against your enemy.’
The above statement enlightens the reader with some critical concepts related to Islamic belief. The reasons for being among the wretche (شقي) and fortunate (سعيد) i.e. among the inhabitants of heaven and hell, are highlighted. In this Ziyarat we proclaim – O Master, indeed all those who have disobeyed you have earned the right to enter the Fire of Hell.
They are wretched and despicable and their hearts are devoid of the light of guidance. On the other hand, all those who have obeyed your diktats, complied with your instructions and conformed to your standards are among the inhabitants of Paradise. In other words, being wretched and fortunate dictates who will enter Paradise and who will be relegated to Hell.
Another important point that comes out strongly from this is that man is wretched and fortunate based on his own actions. There is no scope for anyone to claim (on the Day of Resurrection) that he was made to enter Hell as he was (inherently) wretched. None can take recourse to the excuse of compulsion and hold his pre- ordained destiny responsible for his evil and corrupt actions. If one is wretched, he is so as a direct consequence of his immoral actions and if he is fortunate, then it is the outcome of his virtuous actions and of course, divine help and grace.
After this we declare our friendship and love for the Imams as their Shias and in the same breath we distance ourselves from their enemies. It will not be out of context to mention over here the equal significance that Islam attaches to loving the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and detesting their enemies. No Shia worth his salt can ever be attached to the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and can never harbour any love and inclination towards them. (In this regard please refer to Surah Ahzab (33): Verse 3 and its exegesis)
٢٨. فَالحَقُّ مارَضَيْتُمُوهُ وَالباطِلُ ماأَسْخَطْتُمُوهُ وَالمَعْرُوفُ ماأَمَرْتُمْ بِهِ وَالمُنْكَرُ مانَهَيْتُمْ عَنْهُ
‘Then truth is what pleases you and falsehood is what displeases you. Your command constitutes goodness and your prohibition signifies evil’.
This statement highlights that the only criterion for determining truth, falsehood, good and evil is the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). All that satisfies the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is good even if it appears repulsive to us or even if our defective intellects fall short of grasping the rationale behind it. All that displeases the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is evil even if it appeals to us.
The Holy Quran declares,
عَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ
‘…Perhaps you may dislike a thing while it is good for you, and perhaps, you may love a thing while it is evil for you…’74
The 19th verse of Surah Nisaa reiterates this concept.
The verse of Surah Baqarah underlines the helplessness and vulnerability of our intellects in determining on the one hand, everything that is good and beneficial for us and on the other, all that is evil and harmful for us. Our intellects at best can only inform us about the truth and falsehood of the general (like honesty, virtue, lies, deceit, etc), and cannot enlighten us about the reason and purpose behind all actions, many of which may apparently even go against the apparent intellect, like struggling in the way of Allah.
This point is well-highlighted in the incident involving Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) and the man from Khorasan. Imam (a.s.) orders the man from Khorasan to leap into the blazing fire-pit. Imam’s (a.s.) seemingly preposterous demand is not only at odds with man’s inherent nature of self-preservation, but does not find any favour with the intellect either.
What the intellect cannot fathom is Imam’s (a.s.) implicit objective of revealing the reality of the situation to the Khorasani. Obviously the Khorasani refused to oblige. When the same command was made to Haroon al-Makki, a close companion of Imam (a.s.), he instantly leaped into the blazing fire-pit without any fuss. When Imam (a.s.) lifted the cover of the fire-pit, the man from Khorasan saw Haroon al-Makki sitting comfortably, a scene that shocked him no end.
This is also the case with goodness and evil. If Imam (a.s.) commands us towards an act, it is good, and whatever he prohibits is evil. Now that we are aware of this reality, we are duty-bound to give due attention to all our actions and thoughts and must gauge the truthfulness and falsehood of the same in light of Imam’s (a.s.) commands and prohibitions.
٢٩. فَنَفْسِي مُؤْمِنَةٌ بِالله وَحْدَهُ لاشَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَبِأَمِيرَ المُؤْمِنِينَ وَبِكُمْ يامَوْلايَ أَوَّلِكُمْ وَآخِرِكُمْ وَنُصْرَتِي مُعَدَّةٌ لَكُمْ وَمَوَدَّتِي خالِصَةٌ لَكُمْ آمِينَ آمِينَ
‘I have believed in Allah, the One – there is no associate for Him. And I have believed in His Messenger (S) and in Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and in the foremost from amongst you as well as those who succeeded them. My help for you is ready at all times and my love for you is sincere. O Allah! Accept our supplication! Accept our supplication’!
A point worth appreciating is that the Ziyarat employs the second person plural in the finishing line as opposed to the second person singular in earlier sentences. This is because at the end we are addressing all the Imams (a.s.) and our expression of sincere love and help extends to all the Imams (a.s.). It is possible that this verse is referring to the Raj’ah, when all the Imams (a.s.) shall return and avenge the Pharoahs of their times for the oppression and affliction that was heaped upon them.
O Allah! We implore You to grant us the grace to be worthy of being alongside the Imams (a.s.) when they return so that we can also contribute in relegating their enemies to the blazing fire of Hell.
O Allah! Hasten the reappearance of our Master, Hazrat Baqiyatullah (a.t.f.s.). Aameen! Aameen!
by Sayed Haashim Bahraani (a.r.), vol. 2, p.3.
by Shaikh Tabarsi (a.r.) vol. 8, p. 456.
Akhbaar al Ridha’, p.131.
Kitabul Hajj, The Chapter of Ziyaarat of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave, Hadith 6; Mafaatihul Jinaan, Imam Husain’s (a.s.) first ziyaarat.
961, Urdu Translation by Maulana Nazim Ali Khairabadi.
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 52, pg. 153.
عرفة, Dua al-Imam al- Husain (a.s.).
vol.18, p. 345, Elalush Sharaae’, Oyoon-o-Akhbaar al-Ridha’ (a.s.).
لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ
Forgiveness, tradition 2.
Anwaar vol. 52, p.236
Qurbul Asnad, p.2-3. ↩
Maanil Akhbaar by Shaikh Saduq (a.r.), p. 22; Tafseer al-Burhaan ↩
Tafseer al-Abul Futooh, vol. 9, p. 338; Tafseer al-Majma-ul-Bayaan ↩
Tafseere Burhan, vol. 2, p.33. ↩
Surah Yaasin (36): Verses 1-3. ↩
Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 79. ↩
Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 109. ↩
Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 120. ↩
Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 130. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 167, H. 1, narrating from Oyoon-o- ↩
Majmaul Bahrain, vol. 2, p. 65 under the alphabets رَبَبَ. ↩
Tafseer al- Burhaan vol. 1, p. 190. ↩
Surah Hujuraat (49), Verse 12. ↩
Surah Baqarah (2), Verse 189. ↩
Surah Noor (24), Verse 27. ↩
Tafseer al-Durrul Manthoor, vol. 6, p. 93. ↩
Majmaul Bahrain vol. 6, p. 253, Aqrabul Mawaarid ↩
Khesaal by Shaikh Saduq (a.r.), p. 522. ↩
Surah Hud (11), Verse 40 ↩
Surah Nur (24): Verse 55. ↩
Mafaatihul Jinaan; Iqbaalul A’maal by Sayyed b. Tawoos (r.a.) p. ↩
Surah Bani Israel (17): Verse 81. ↩
Al-Ghaibat by Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) p. 165. ↩
Hadith al-Kisa ↩
Furu’ al-Kafi by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yaqub al-Kulayni (a.r.), ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 25, p. 372. ↩
Ibid, p. 385. ↩
Tafseer al-Furaat al-Kufi, p. 91. ↩
Surah Taha (20): Verse 130. ↩
Surah Hud (11): Verse 86. ↩
Fauz al-Akbar, p. 71. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar vol. 93, p. 115. ↩
Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 8, Chapter 3, Tradition 1. ↩
Surah Maryam(19), Verse 75. ↩
Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 231, Tradition 9. ↩
Mafaatihul Jinaan, p. 530, Aadaab al-Sardaab. ↩
An-Najmuz Zaahir, vol. 2, pg. 52, Al-Abqari al-Hesaan. ↩
Surah Maidah (5): Verse 3. ↩
Surah Insaan (76): Verse 7. ↩
Bughyatut Taalib fi man ra’a Imamal Ghaib (a.t.f.s.), pg. 39. ↩
Kamaluddin, pg. 672; Ghaibat al-Nomani, pg. 307 ↩
Misbahuz Zair, pg. 437; Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 226. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 117 ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 99, Misbahuz Zair, pg. 437. ↩
Mafatihul Jinaan, Ziyarat al-Sahebil Amr, second Ziyarat, pg. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 228. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg. 36. ↩
Dua al-Jawshan al-Kabeer, 11, 14, 28, parts. ↩
Anwaar, vol.100, pg. 375; Mafatihul Jinaan (Urdu translation), ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 28, pg. 39; Amaali al-Sadooq, pg. 101 ↩
Uyoon-o-Akhbaar al-Ridha’ (a.s.). ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 53. ↩
Sura Anaam (6): Verse 147. ↩
Surah Ambiya (21): Verse 107. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 53, pg. 11. ↩
Elalush Sharaa’e, pg. 211, chapter 159. ↩
Ghaibat al-Nomani, pg 188; Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 340; ↩
Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 98, pg. 225; Mafatihul Jinaan – عمال يوم ↩
Al Burhaan fi alamaate Mahdi Akhiriz Zaman, pg. 160. ↩
Surah Naml (27): Verse 62. ↩
Tafseer al-Ali b. Ibrahim, vol. 2, pg. 129. ↩
Behaarul Anwaar vol. 86, p. 81. ↩
Khulaasatul Azkaar, pg. 6. ↩
For details readers are requested to refer to Behaarul Anwaar ↩
Tafseer al-Burhaan vol. 3, p. 329 under the exegesis of the verse ↩
Al-Kafi, vol. 2, Chapter of تهليل, تسبيح and تكبير , tradition 2. ↩
Al-Kafi, vol. 2, Book of Supplication, Chapter of Praise, ↩
Al-Kafi, vol. 2, Book of Supplication, Chapter of Seeking ↩
Majmaul Bahrain vol. 3, p. 427. ↩
Dua al-Nudbah ↩
Al-Ghaibah of No’maani p. 275, Chapter 14, tradition 55; Behaarul ↩
Kamaluddin p. 334, Chapter 33, tradition 4; Behaarul Anwaar vol. ↩
Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 216. ↩