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Majalis-ul Muayyadiya - by Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Life and Lectures of Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis - (Lectures Coming soon!)
Lecture 4 - No Earthly Life Beyond Death
O Momins, may God shower His mercy on you, thank Him for the guidance He has given you in following the Imams. Listen to what I am going to tell you and act on it. If you do so you will take little interest in this treacherous world and your souls will be lifted up to the higher region, the world of sanctity.
Bear in mind just as the cat eats its own kits, the world also devours the very people whom she brings up in luxuries. To stick to the world is like relying for drink on the water that trickles down from your fingers. The more you rely on this world the more you will suffer. The greater the rise the greater will be the fall.
Pray to God to have mercy on you. Spend your time in doing things, which will be of permanent value to you. Catch hold of the ‘Arwat-ul-wusqa', the strong handle by sticking to your faith through your devotion to the Imams. Work for your ‘akherat', the next world, and your actions in this direction will be good and everlasting.
In our previous ‘Lecture' you have been told that the Prophet and the Imams address the people according to their capacities. They tell them things, which they can understand with ease. When they find their audience intelligent and receptive they talk of philosophy which is the essence of religion. Imam Jafar Sadiq, may the greetings of God be on him, said to one of his followers, "Talk to the people according to the level of their understanding. Do not speak to them of things they do not understand. Do you like that they should abuse God and His Prophet?" His followers said, "How can they abuse God and His Prophet?" The Imam said "If you persist in telling them what they do not believe in, they will curse the sayer and what you tell them is nothing but the words of God and His Prophet."
Some men are nothing more than lower animals. They are interested only in eating, drinking and multiplying like them. The Prophets came on earth as physicians of the souls. When they talked to such people, they took into account their low level of their intelligence and their habits. Hence, when they promised them the reward for good deeds, they drew out before them the picture of ‘jannat' with rivers flowing in it and with ‘hoories' and good looking boys strutting about on the lawns. This is the type of description of ‘jannat' that we find in the Holy Qur'an which is meant for the people who are at the lowest level of the intelligence. Similarly, when they talked of punishment they talked of iron chains in hand and feet, the flames of burning fire and some such things which frightened the ignorant men of low calibre.
The Prophets were followed by the Imams who threw full light on such things which have been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in the compressed form. They are like the land, which receives the water from above and brings out the corn, the vegetables and the trees bearing fruits of different varieties.
All the Muslims who recite the ‘kalma-e-shahadat', unanimously mention that after death we will rise again. They all believe in the Resurrection but they differ in the nature and the form of our rise. Those who cannot think beyond the external side of life believe that we shall rise on the Dooms-day with our bodies along with our souls. But those who are guided by the Imams know that our souls will rise and not the bodies. If we compare the two doctrines we find that our opponents agree with us in the rising of the souls. Here they are all one with us. But we do not agree with them in the rising of the souls with the bodies. Hence, ‘Ijma', the unanimity, is with us.
On one hand they say that the bodies will appear in their original forms. On the other they maintain that they will be free from changes, diseases, decay and death. How can an earthly body be free from those defects, which are natural with it? If we maintain that the bodies will assume their original earthly forms then they must feel hungry, they must feed themselves, they must suffer from one disease or the other and after some time they must decay. If this is the case how can the body be perpetually in heaven or hell?
The body is made of materials, which belong to earth. All its component parts are dissolvable. If they maintain that the body will be free from these defects then it ceases to be a body, and knowingly or unknowingly accept our point of view.
Some mischief-mongers in our former meetings of the missionaries, used to purposely bring in these discussions in order to strike at the very root of our ‘dawat'. May God protect us from the influence of such devils that create suspicions in the minds of the faithful. The Holy Qur'an says, "With regard to those who believe, God brings them out from the darkest regions to light and those who disbelieve are driven by their devilish friends from light to darkness."
Now we shall go on with the explanation of the rest of the verse, which we dwelt at length, in the last meeting. The remaining verse is as follows: "... They will get there what they want and We have more than that with Us." The verse is similar in meaning to another verse, which says; "To those who do good there is ‘husna' and more than that." The commentators tell us that ‘husna' in this verse stands for ‘jannat' and the expression ‘more than that' implies ‘looking at the face of God'. They do not seem to have understood the meaning of the ‘face of God'. There is another verse of the Holy Qur'an which says, "Everything on earth will perish; only the face of your glorious Lord will remain".
The words, ‘hand and the face' which are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in the phrases such as ‘the hand of God' and ‘the face of God' are believed by a large number of commentators to mean ‘the usual hand and the face'. The Mo'tazalas do not hold this view and denounce these commentators as infidels. They argue that the face is a part of the human head and the human head supported by the human body. Hence, to believe that God has a face is to degrade Him to the position of human being. Consequently, they believe that the word is used in a figurative sense. They are equally misled. They are neither here nor there. Neither they stick to the literal meaning of the word nor are they able to arrive at the inner meaning, which is the substance of the symbol.
The face is the principal part of the man by means of which ‘X' is distinguished from ‘Y' and ‘Y' is distinguished from ‘Z'. The phrase ‘Wajhullah' which literally means ‘the face of God' stands for the great 'Hadd' through whom the knowledge of Unity of God with the knowledge of the angels is acquired in the highest degree. Everyone who comes in contact with this ‘hadd' becomes ‘baqi' i.e. eternal and those who deny Him become ‘fani' i.e. perishable. The holy Prophet says, "I am the face of God and I am the face of my ‘ummat'." On one occasion the holy Prophet is reported to have said, "Cursed is the world and everyone who is in it excepting those who live according to the instructions of the ‘Wajhullah'."
With regard to the word ‘hand' the Prophet says, "God has two hands both of which are right." The Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali bin Abu Talib, greetings of God be on him, says, "I am the hand of God extended on earth."
Reverting to our explanation of the verse, "They will get in it what they want and more than that is with us", we said that this verse similar in meaning to another verse, "Those who do good will get the 'Hasanat' and something more than that." The Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali, once said in this connection, "May I tell you the ‘hasanaat' i.e. the good deeds the door of which is secure from the frightfulness of the Day of Judgement and ‘Sayyiah' the evil deeds the perpetrator of which will be thrown headlong in Hell-fire?" His followers said, "Yes, our lord, tell us". He said, ‘Hasanaat' means devotion to us and sayyiah' means hostility to us."
In short, this is the 'hasanaat' the reward of which is ‘husanaa' which is security from punishment on the day when the people will be punished or rewarded for their deeds. The addition which is with God and which is interpreted as a look at the face of God is in reality meeting the Imam of the time who has inherited his authority from the Prophet and the ‘wasi'.
O Momins, may God make you prosperous and help you in joining those about whom God says, "They will get what they want and there is something more than that with Us."
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis - (Lectures Coming soon!)
Another article on Al Muayyad by Mohamed Adra
Poetry by Al Muayyad
Al Muayyad's protege Nasir Khusraw
Poetry by Nasir Khusraw
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