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Newsletter for August 2010


Z i a r a t-i-Imam

By Nasir Shamsi, Monroe, New Jersey

When I was a small boy I once asked my father why did he, after every namaz, point with his index finger in a direction while reciting Salaam. His simple answer was: Son, we are what we are today because of the supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet. He gave away all he had in Karbala, to save the Deen of Allah; we pay our homage to the savior of Islam by offering our salaam to him and other Shuhada, after the initial salaam on the Prophet and his ahlul bayt. This is called Ziarat-e Imam. Those among us who cannot visit Imam's Roza (grave) for a physical ziarat, present their salaam to him, his father and mother and grandfather as well as other Imams and the Shuhda of Karbala, pointing in the direction of their Rozas. 

 May Allah's Blessings be on Muhammad and his Ahlul Bayt. They are models of excellence for men, women and children of Islam. The ziarat is of immense importance because through it we are reminded five times every day about our responsibility to carve our lives and build our character, in accordance with how these venerable leaders lived their lives. Ziarat is thus a continuous source of guidance and inspiration to the believer. It is truly an exercise in piety because it is a perpetual reminder of the beauty and excellence of  Allah's ' Deen ', as reflected in the lives of these supreme leaders, who were models of excellence in human conduct.

When I say ' Assalamu alaika Ya Rasoolullah, asslamu alaika Ya Habibillah, asslamu alaika Ya Nabi Allah, while pointing in the direction of  the ' Roza '--the grave of the Prophet, I feel as if we were standing in the presence of the Beloved of Allah (Mahboobe Khuda).

Assalamu alaika Ya Amirul Mumineen Ali ibne Abi Talib. This ziarat or salaam takes my mind to one of the holiest places, Najf-e Ashraf , that wonderful place that transmits light of ' Emaan ' to millions of believers around the world.

Assalmu alaika Ya Sayyedatunisa al- alimeen transports me in no time to the Jannatul Baqi'i. It also reminds us of the heartless atrocity of the Saudis who had desecrated the sanctity of the Baqi'i, by demolishing the shrines of the Prophet's beloved daughter as well as those of the other eminent personalities of early Islam.

 Assalamu alaika  Ya ibn Rasullullah, Assalmu alaika ya ibne Fatima tu Zahra ( My salaam on the (grand)son of the Prophet , my salaam on the son of Fatima tu Zahra).

 In the like manner, there is a chain of salutation for other Imams and Shuhda who stand tall in our memories as supreme leaders. The ziarat is also the recognition of the importance as well as sanctity of the places that provide a resting place for the Prophet, his daughter and the Imams of Ahlul Bayt. There is a special significance in Islam attached to the religious places, may they be the Ka'aba, the House of Allah built by Hazrat Ibrahim and Ismail, or Baitul Muqaddas, the Qibla-e awwal (the first Qibla), or the the graves (called Roza) of the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt.

These places are source of bliss and peace and spiritual enlightenment. I wish to share with the readers a personal experience that may bring comfort and re-assurance to many hearts.

 In 1970, I was working for the Pakistan government, as Income Tax Officer in Gujranwala. One morning a Darvish came to my office. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he had been told in a dream to visit the Roza of Imam Raza at Mash'had, Iran. He had been trying to get a passsport for the past six months. He cried that he could no longer wait. I certified his application and requested my friend, Iftikhar Ahmad Khan, the Director of Passports, to issue a passport to him.

The Dervish, Zamin Shah about 60 years of age, returned the following morning to my office. He was holding the passport firmy and securely in his two hands, with mixed expressions of happiness, gratitude and impatience on his face. He told me that he was leaving immediately for Iran. I wished him a safe journey. Zamin Shah was approaching the door to leave my office. But some thing came to my mind and I called him back. I asked him if he could take my message. As he turned back, I wrote a line on a small paper, asking if we could also be called for ziarat. The Dervish tied the note in the corner of the muslin cloth on his shoulder; he said he'll never forget to deliver my paper at the Roza. He left; I never saw him again.

To my greatest surprise, the circumstances took a mysterious turn and in less than  six months only, I found myself standing in the haram of the great Imam in Meshad, with my wife, and our 3 years old son, Ali Imran. We had no earlier plans or design to travel. But here we were standing at the Roza of the Imam. Through a surprising chain of events, we were able to embark on this most amazing journey. We left behind our twins, our newborn  sons, who were only ten months. I still wonder how did we take this risk ! During this journey, not only did we visit the Roza of Imam Raza at Mashad, but we also were able to visit, by the Grace of Allah swt, the ziarats in Karbala, Najaf in Iraq and Zainibiya in Damascus.

How did it all happen ? I still wonder ! There is only one explanation. There is another dimension there; when we ask, it is heard. Allah swt is close to you, very close. " I am nearer to you than your jugular vein ", Allah says in Quran.  He listens to your sincere prayers. He makes things happen in no time ( kun fa ya koon ), if you are sincere in asking. So turn to Him in total sincerity; He will grant it, in His Infinite Mercy.  






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