Wonderful Tales from the Holy Quran I/IV

Wonderful Tales from the Holy Quran (I/IV)

By Sayed Athar Husain

Talk at Pinner Philosophy Group November 30, 2011

I am thankful to the Chairman Pinner Philosophy Group, Paul Skidmore and the Deputy ChairmanMargaret Alagappa for assigning me this talk and inviting me to take this chair of the speaker and I thank Philosopher Derek Foster who asked me a year back to give a talk on Islamic thoughts that prepared my mind to give such a talk. I am then thankful to the philosophers, literatures, teachers, historians, astrologers, mathematicians and all the gifted with knowledge that sit here and discuss philosophy and rationality and the aspects of human behaviour and higher sciences in this Church building room. In Islamic terminology this is called prayer, which the Pinner Philosophy Group has been conducting under its banner of literalism and learning and elated be this body. It is shortly going to celebrate its ten years of philosophy sessions of which five years I have spent with it. And what a wonderful association it is! I find it in harmony with Nature and Quran and Hadees-e Qudsi[1]! If my talk tends to be little poetic, you will have to give leeway to me. I am an engineer and pilot my thoughts to land on the surface of the paper when I write. Philosopher Linda Stevens[2] here, a major contributor of this group has seen my manuscript of The Land of Seasons and Songs and given me certificate that I am poetic and Philosopher Alistair McGechie who kindly consented to see the manuscript and saw it, told me I use excessive superlatives! So you have been told and I have no doubt you will have pulled out your decretory guards to fend off poeticism with superlatives and any aggression you sense in the talk, which are not meant to be.

But there is no poeticism when I deliberate a word of praise for Philosopher, mathematician and astrologer Graham Marett for his delightful way of delivery and how in one talk he serves a menu of topics to others for their engagement for one month and also when I say a word about Philosopher Adrian Lepper for his political philosophy talks and delights and surprises he pulls out from it. And truly these eulogising are to project the Pinner Philosophy Group in whose praise I take so much delight, and I can go on praising the stars of the Pinner Philosophy Group, but it will be keeping me from the subject.

The ages of Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham) AS (Alaihissalam) to Hazrat Moosa (Moses) AS to Hazrat Eesa (Jesus) AS and up to Hazrat Mohammad Mustufa SAWW were the ages of theology development[3], its nourishing and proliferation. The Prophets were bringing books of law, pure, vibratory and assertive and implementing its edicts and the Oneness of God, and enforcing His unique worship, and now this is the age of frippery, and philosophers who are extensions of the Prophets have to sit down and make rationalistic diagnosis of the causes of the moralistic degradation in the world, which is leading to lapses[4] in not following what law of ethics the Prophets brought. The faith they gave to the human race was to make them of higher beings with tentacles to sense and boost economy, besides priming their ego with the virtues of morality, but that early impact seems to have been swamped by the man’s own interpretation given to faith and versions created of it and on each front it seems revitalising itself and more so on the front of the lack of morality, whose lack of application has brought economic whirlwind of downturn in the world, and there is an immediate need to look into it rationally.

I was listening to the LBC radio on FM 97.3 mega Hertz the other day (November 22) and heard that the judge has passed ruling that it is not a crime to swear at the policeman. Now swearing was a mark of low intellect, but the court was giving freedom of practice licence to the low intellect and a well founded reason to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to vary with it and declare that court order or no court order, any one swearing at the police will face the risk of arrest. In other countries this would be taken as contempt of court, but the philosopher here in England must hale the commissioner’s determination as a philosophic act and their evaluation and rationality should stream in to colour itself in such declarations as of the Commissioner.

And then there is another prideful ignorance record of slips in morality which has to be addressed to adopt corrective motality. A burglar was ordered to write only a letter of apology to the victims of the house to be spared the jail term because he was a teenager, although he took away a Playstation 3, a camera, a camcorder, two TVs and two speakers from the family home in Leeds (Metro newspaper November 24). And in his apology letter he writes: ‘To be honest I’m not bothered or sorry about the fact that I burgled your house, basically it was your fault anyways.’ And he bragged that he felt no ‘sympath or remorse’. ‘Firstly you didn’t draw your curtains which most people now to do before they go to sleep. Secondly your dumb you live in Stainburns a high risk burglary area and your thick enough to leave your downstairs kitchen window open. I wouldnt do that in a million years. But anyways I don’t feel sorry for you and Im not going to show any sympath or remorse.’

To add fuel to the fire the BBC gives coverage to mercy killing. Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile and some MPs have complained that its reporting amounted to a campaign in favour of assisted suicide and euthanasia. It broadcast a confession by television presenter Ray Gosling 70, telling how he smothered his partner with pillow as he lay dying in hospital. He was though arrested for murder, Daily Mail, February 23, 2010.

Or the pensioner’s countrywide strike, with schools closed and hospitals half closed, today the 30th of November for more pension and more facilities grant, demanding more in share than their contribution and the country’s pool, which is not moralistic.

In face of these glaring petty lapses and the organised invasions of territories, killings, terrorism and economic downturns, one big step towards their elimination is to look into rationality and morality. And we are going to do that by looking into the wonderful tales from the Holy Quran. These tales are prayer, combating against the evil and lessons in morality, satire, surprises and are by their nature consultancy bureau to the sensing, and a message to all the ages of humanity and we shall go through them using three spring sources of gnosis: One; the words of God in Quran, two; the words of God in the Hadees-e Qudsi and three; the traditions[5] and the spoken words of the last Messenger of God Hazrat Mohammad Mustufa SAWW and absorb the benevolences assimilate-able from these.

We begin with the first Aayet of Quran; Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim – in the name of God, the most Gracious the Merciful. The gift of Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim is that any work started with the recitation of this Aayet, will see its completion. The secret of Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim is in its unseen force to breach into the domains of the impossibilities and it is in its three names of Allah:

Allah – the personal name

Rahman (Kind) – the attributive name

Rahim (Most Merciful) – the attributive name

Kitab al-Kafi[6]: Book -2, Furu-e Kafi, page 306, author, Mohammad Ibn Yaqoob Al-Kulayni Rahmat Ullah Alaih (RA) – God’s blessings descend on him says:

One day the Paaighamber[7] of God, Hazrat Eesa AS – God’s salutations on him was going somewhere. One of hisfollowers, who had great faith in him,was also following him. Hazrat Eesa AS came across a river on the way. The Paaighamberstopped there and sat down at the bank of the river, thinking how to cross and go to the other side of the river. The follower when he saw his Paaighamber - the Lord and Master has stopped, he also stopped there. Hazrat Eesa AS was waiting at the bank that God spoke; ‘O Eesa what are you waiting there, say Bismillah and put your foot on the water.’ Hazrat Eesa AS said Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim and put his foot on the water and started walking on the water.

The follower was Peter and no less an Apostle of virtues than one, the highest in status. And an Apostle is one who is highest in worship and in virtues of obedience. The Apostle seeing that his Paaighamber is walking on water by saying Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim, also said Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim and put his foot on water and he was also walking on the water behind his Prophet. He walked for a little while and then as he was walking a thought came to his mind that Hazrat Eesa AS is walking on water and he is also walking on water and where the difference between them was and he was like him. And as soon as that thought came to him he went below the surface of water and started sinking and now he realised he was sinking and the Prophet was walking on the water and that he was not equal to his Paaighamber.

The Apostle then turned to Tobah – to the repentance for forgiveness from God and beseeched God saying that he is sorry to have entertained that thought that he is equal to His Paaighamber, and said to God, “O God of mercies I am sorry, I am guilty to have thought, I am equal to Your Paaighamber, please forgive me and save my life, I will not repeat that mistake again.” And because God always listens to Toba – the earnest repentance; the water went down below his feet and he was walking again on the surface of water. Hazrat Eesa AS turned to look at the follower and smiled. The holy Quraan in Aayet 2:160 says:

But those who repent (for hiding the truth) and corrected their faults, then I accept their repentance and I am oft-returning, Most Merciful.

Hazrat Eesa AS one day was passing through a graveyard. He AS saw there is a grave where upon Azab - the torment of punishment is descending. Two angels of Qahr or wrath are striking the dissident dead with Gurz – the mace of fire and the dissident is screaming. The Prophet said Astaghfirullah – I seek God’s refuge, and he AS took fast steps and cleared off from the graveyard quickly, walking away from it.

After one year the Prophet again passed from that graveyard and this time he AS saw the dissident of that grave is in comfort and he is being kindly treated and there are two angels appeasing him. The Prophet seeing that change stopped there and asked God what the matter was. Last year I saw the dissident was tortured and tormented and this year I see he is treated kindly.

God spoke to Hazrat Eesa AS and said, ‘O Eesa, this man when he died, his load of sin was grievous and he was receiving punishment for his sins. But when he died he had left behind a son who grew and after one year of his death went to school and said Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim, and his son’s one good deed has made Me forgive his sins and reward him with ease and benignity.’

Hazrat Eesa AS one day passed through a village lane with his Hawaris - the twelve apostles and with certain number of followers and he AS passed from in front of a house in which there was rejoicing and merriment taking place. People were wearing bright clothes and were cheery and enjoying themselves. Hazrat Eesa AS enquired what the reason for the merriment was. The Prophet was told just now the Uroos – the new bride has entered in the house and people are rejoicing for it. The Prophet saw the destined for the bride that she is going to die that night, so the Prophet from his Alhami – the revelatory knowledge uttered; tomorrow there will be Ghum - mourning in this house. The bride will have died.

When the next day came, one of the Hawaris went to the house of the bride to offer his condolence to the people of that house and to give shoulder to the bride’s bier to the graveyard. But he found there was the same rejoicing going on and there was no sign of sadness that the bride has died. The Hawari was perplexed, he went to the Nabi and said, ‘O Prophet of God, my ‘father and mother’[8] may be sacrificed to you, your words cannot be wrong but yesterday you said the bride will die but it is not so, and she is living, and the house is full of merriment as it was yesterday. Why is that so, O Prophet?’

Hazrat Eesa AS was himself surprised and the Prophet thought, ‘if that happened, how he will spread the Gospel. People will not believe in what I say.’ He therefore decided to go to the bride’s house and find out what happened. The Prophet went to the house of the bride and the people finding that the Prophet has come to their house ran round to seat him and pay their respects to him and felt fortuitous and extremely honoured that the Prophet has come to their house. The Prophet said peace and blessings on you, I have come here to see the new bride and ask her something. The bride came and saluted the Prophet and Hazrat Eesa AS said tell me what unusual thing you did since you came to this house. Now it was custom of the time that the new brides did not take out their steps outside of their rooms, and did not begin immediately socialising in case they were called ‘forward’ and not bride like; roaming around in the house. The bride said, ‘Last night, O Prophet of God I slept and everyone in the house was sleeping fast. Then nearing to the morning I heard a beggar is asking for bread. The beggar repeatedly asked for bread and no one got up, so I got up and I went to the kitchen and took two breads and went to the door and gave them to the beggar.’

Hazrat Eesa AS said that is the reason that the death was withheld from you. God in His immense mercy extended your life due to your good act of alms you gave. The Prophet then asked the household to take him to where the bride was staying that night. He was taken to the bride’s room. There in the corner of the room, one snake was sitting with its tail in his mouth. The Prophet said that that was your death which was removed from you by your alms.

It is in Kitab al-Kafi, volume 8, p. 337 that one person came to Imam Jafar Sadiq AS and asked the Imam, ‘Is it true that Hazrat Eesa AS made a dead alive and that he lived.’ The Imam replied yes, ‘he lived and had son born to him.’ The Imam said, ‘This man was a friend of Hazrat Eesa AS and he used to go to his house, Then Hazrat Eesa AS disappeared for some time. And when he went to his house after returning, the mother came out and she was weeping and said he is dead.’ The Prophet said, ‘do you want to see him.’ The mother said yes and the Prophet said all right I will return tomorrow so that I make him alive. Next day when the Prophet came he said to the mother, take me to his grave. When the Prophet reached to his grave he stood up on the grave of the dead and said rise with the permission of God. The grave split and the person stood up. When the mother and the son saw each other they started crying. Hazrat Eesa AS asked him: ‘Do you want to live with your mother. You will have food and drink and work to earn you living and you will marry and also you will have sibling born and you will have twenty years to live.’ He said that is all right. Hazrat Eesa AS gave him in possession of his mother and he lived for twenty years and a son was born to him.

Wassalam,

Afkar-e Shia (Shia thought)

London

1.12.2011


[1]Ahadees-e Qudsi are collection of narrations in which words spoken are formatives meant by God, but said by the Prophets. These are hypothetically in various languages but mainly in Hebrew and translated into the Arabic language from Zaboor - the Holy Book of Prophet Dawood AS, from Taurait or Torah, from Injil or the Gospels, and from Sahuf - the Scrolls of Prophet Ibrahim AS, and these are also edicts and narrations coming from the Imams of the Aehlebaait - the twelve Imams from the House of the Prophet SAWW. And by the concept of this definition their promulgation will spread over to encompass the words of God in the Book Avestaof Prophet Zoaraster, and the words of God in Lord Krishna’s Bhagwat Geeta – those which match God’s qualities and do not contradict the confirmed words of God - the revelations of God. And so will be said of Gautam Buddha’s doctrine, and of Lao-Tzu’s wisdom - theTaoism. The status of Hadees-e Qudsi is; these are second to the revelations of Quran which are the direct words of God and second to the Hadees which are the spoken words and traditions of the Prophet of God, Mohammad Mustufa SAWW.

[2]Linda Stevens has also said there are gems in it (in The Land of Seasons and Songs). It is a book of varieties in oriental thoughts. My other book is Shia Culture. It deals in religion, politics and ethics. The other books are House of the Prophet and The Humour of the Land. All these books are ready and God willing will be published in 2012. All these books are carrying interesting bits of information and are highly recommended to be read as light entertainment propositions.

[3] The religion of Islam came from day one that is with Adam AS when he came on this earth and seen reformation after reformation till its completion by the last Prophet Mohammad Mustufa SAWW.

[4]This is Taliban factor, Wahabism, prejudices and injustices and superpower chauvinism, leading to world economic slump. It is a relief thanks to Heavens, the Tahreek-e Taliban in Pakistan have announced on 21st November they are halting war of atrociousness against the government and the people of Pakistan.

[5] The pertinence of the traditions of the Prophet Mohammad SAWW as the source of gnosis is that he SAWW is the speaking Quran and the Book of Revelation is the silent Quran.

[6]Book al-Kafi is the collection of Ahadees divided in three sections; Principles (3 books), Details (4 books) and Religiosity or Qualities (1 book). Al-Kafi is considered sufficient for guidance by the Shias for all the Muslims, who will consult these and make them their standard in the code of practice.

[7]Nabi is a prophet, not necessarily given a book of law but Qadir that is having power to show miracle. Rasool or Paaighamber is one divine of God who necessarily has a book of law. And the English word Prophet – or the Mursal is a small meaning word vis-`a-vis Rasool and Nabi. And the English language has to do something to accommodate these meaningful words. The Holy Quran revels when these functionaries are combined; altogether there are 124000 of them.

[8] The dearest possession one has is father and mother, which the Hawari - the apostle commits to sacrifice on the Prophet. As far as his own life was concerned it was already committed to be sacrificed on the Prophet for the safety and the honour of the Prophet.

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