Julus – Performance vs Perception

By Mohamedarif Suleman,
Nairobi, Kenya

Last time’s discussion on Julus and the current anomalies surrounding it invited a lot of debate. As always, there were various people who saw the point made, while others, the die hard veterans believe that the statements were malicious and far from the truth. The Community on Friday, in reality, is in the pursuit of objectivity, which is why views from all corners are invited and circulated.

But as the brave words of Br Hussein Datoo propensed through the subscriber list, a lot of people could actually identify with the vicious circle in which we are now moving without realizing the impact that we are now causing to society in general. Sister Saeeda has made a commendable comparision between the Julus she witnessed from Beirut and another from the Indian Sub Continent and Pakistan. Her points are well received, and in fact confirm the fears of many a leaders and the well wishers of the community vis-a-vis our apparent return to Hindu practices. Interestingly, as the discussion made forays, a visiting Maulana reciting in Nairobi over the Ashra of Muharram made some very questionable remarks. Amongst his predominantly “Indian” theme, he said that the action of ladies in Banaras in Uttar Pradesh if washing the feet of the shabeeh of Zuljana with milk was symbolic of its role in the last hours in the life of a thirsty Ali Asgher (AS). He further said that in a certain year, when the typical Julus did not pass through a certain route featuring the omnipresent Zuljana, mothers refused to feed their children until they first “fed” Zuljana. These, he opined, were examples of non-Shias’ appreciation of the sacrifice made by Imam Husain (AS)’s caravan, something that we had failed to comprehend. One wonders that as we scream our heads off for reform, what good will the arrival of such reciters do to our efforts at bringing a more practical approach to our understanding of the event of Kerbala. Incidentally, thee Hindu involvement in our processions was also discussed as a common feature in Dar es Salaam processions in the last edition, and a question was posed as to why their belief is so selective so much so that it hinders their accepting the belief wholesome? An incredible piece has surfaced from Br Aunali Khalfan who has aired his views, and in between throwing some hard lines at the author, has resolved and important factor that the Julus actually purports to deliver a message and raise our voices as a Muslim Nation amidst growing oppression against our brethren, especially in the Middle East. His message, while loaded with sharp sentiments about the Julus, raises important points in as far as the true role of the procession is concerned. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Ask some recent past Nairobi Jamaat leaders, and they will tell you how some people thought that we were a Hindu sect heading towards the Karbrastan to bury the idols of our fallen war heroes. Ask any highly learned man and experienced personality of this community to tell you why the “alam”, originally a flag, has been converted into a different form today. Ask specifically, why the “alam” of Hazrat Abbas (AS) is tall and has a mashq (water bag) tied to its “neck”. Ask them if this really symbolizes the flag that he heralded on the fateful day, or that it represents the tall stature of the brave warrior whose hands were cut off and the mashq was strapped across his neck. It is very easy to proclaim that we are doing this with a reason, but very difficult to be logical. If the organizers of the Julus, the leaders of this community in the first place are not going to accept that a problem exists, and that most of our tradition is Hindu in flavour, and if we continue to rationalize with our own explanations, then what can one say? If our appearance in public is causing a misinterpretation of our beliefs, it is mandatory upon us to change that. That, brothers and sisters, is what communication is all about…the world is free to draw their conclusions, but they will always be based on our presentation. That will be the true perception.

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Mulla’s Last Thoughts

Mohamedarif Suleman – Nairobi, Kenya

For the benefits of the non-Gujrati readers (which I am afraid may constitute a large percentage of our community), here are excerpts from Marhum Mulla Asgherali M M Jaffer’s last counsel published  in a recent edition of the Gujrati magazine “ithnasheri” that quotes Marhum’s last visit to Bhuj and Kutchh.

During informal conversations, Mulla engaged his host Janab Yusufali Bhojani and his collegues in a discussion related to youths and the influence of the omnipotent media on their minds.

It is recalled in the article that Mulla lamented at the overpowering role of the 24-hour cable and digital TV and the internet. He said that in the guise of harmless entertainment and depiction of the lives of people, such networks and indeed the World Wide Web was a source of conveying a materialist culture deviod of Islamic values, and in many instances directly opposing matters of faith. He said that the professional packaging of such channels was so sophisticated that it attracts the youth but simultaneously trains them for skills of living a materialist life. Not only do they cause mental anguish but also physical agony.

When we reflect at his last thoughts, we perhaps cannot feel anything else but agreement. For not only are we all surrounded by such problems today, for most parents it seems almost impossible to correct the situation because the risk of being labeled old fashioned by the young generation is looming large. But Mulla preaches bravery. He felt that if parents do not reverse the situation, the time would not be far that our children would finally change their names as well to fall in line with the pressuring demands of their generation. Shying away from the problem will guarantee parents of distress in this life and punishment in the hereafter.

Watching a TV pop show in which women bare their bodies and men swarm all over them, or for that matter being bombarded by a commercial in which the brand sellers claim sexual attraction as a primary reason to wear, say, a certain perfume or shirt, is a desperate attempt by the sellers to target a vulnerable age group using basic instincts which need no further persuasion. After all, telling people that a certain washing power washes well than its competitors is one thing, and telling them that if used, it would guarantee sexual favours from members of the opposite sex, is something else.

It is about time, we stood up to our times and said to the new generation that it was fine if they desired sex, et al. But as Muslims, we were brought to create change for humanity. To show the world, that unlike animals, who attract others’ mates by smell, strength or charm, human beings are meant to live a life in which sex has to be enjoyed as a means of gratitude to Allah and as per His commandements.

Beyond the man-woman relationship, which seems to be the theme in most new genre soaps, ads and films, other attributes such as scant dressing, rebellious haircut or disobedience to the elders are all traits that favours general trade and commerce because it enhanced customer spending.

The onus definitely lies on the parents. Recently, a feverish debate has emerged within Nairobi, whereby the Managing Committee and preachers have plainly appealed to the relevant people to curb this attitude of standing outside the mosque when the Majlis of Imam (AS) is being recited. Thanks to a few poor deliveries by Zaakiereen, the young people have labelled these majlises as a waste of time, and in any case, they do not understand the language. Parents, instead of pushing their children to put efforts in comprehending the language, echo their sentiments. Today, it is better for a child to be computer literate than to possess Islamic values. Mulla, may Allah rest your soul in peace, but your words are nothing but the truth.
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Neither Wealth nor Beauty – Part 2

By Mohamedarif Suleman

Jowaibir left the house murmuring, “By God, whatever the Qur’an teaches and whatever is the purpose of the Prophet Hood of Muhammad is totally against what Ziad says.”

Those nearby heard the murmurings of Jowaibir. Zalfa, the lovely daughter if Ziad, and the beauty queen of Medina, heard those words of Jowaibir. She came to her father and asked, “Father, what was that man who just went out saying? And what did he mean?” “He had come to ask for your hand in marriage and was claiming that the Prophet had sent him for this purpose.” “Isn’t it possible that he had really sent him, and thus your rejection may amount to the disobedience of the Prophet’s order?”  “What do you feel about it?” “I feel you should bring him back before he reaches to the Prophet, and then go yourself to find out the truth.”

He brought Jowaibir back to his house with due respect, and then himself hurried up to the Prophet. When he saw him, he said, “O Messenger of God, Jowaibir came to my house and brought such a message from you. I would like to inform you that our custom is to give our daughters to persons of equal status and belonging to our tribe, who are all your helpers and companions.” “O Ziad, Jowaibir is a faithful man. That dignity and honour which you are talking about has now been abrogated. Every believer man is equal (for marriage purpose) to every believer women.”

Ziad turned to his house and explained the situation to his daughter. She said, “Please do not reject the proposal put by the Prophet. This matter concerns me. I accept Jowaibir whatever his condition may be. If the Prophet is pleased with it, I am also pleased.”

The wedding was duly solemnized. Ziad paid ‘Mahr’ from his own wealth and offered good articles to the couple. They asked the bridegroom, “Have you got a house where to take the bride?” He said, “No, I had never thought that I would get a wife and settle in domestic life. It was the Prophet who came suddenly and had a talk with me and sent me to Ziad’s house.” Ziad arranged for him a house equipped with complete necessities, and transferred the bride superbly adorned with ornaments and perfumes. Night came. Jowaibir did not know where was the house meant for him. He was guided to the house and led to the bridal chamber. When he saw the house and its equipment and looked at the dazzling bride, his past came to his mind and he said to himself, “How poor was I when I entered this city. I had nothing, neither lineage nor family, now God made these affluences available to me through Islam. Indeed it is Islam that has brought such changes in the social outlook of the people beyond any imagination. How grateful I am to God for bestowing upon me all the blessings.” In spiritual ecstasy, he went to a corner of the room; spent the night in recitation of the Qur’an and prayer. It was dawn when he came to himself and decided to fast in gratitude to God. When women came to see Zalfa in the morning, they found her untouched. They kept the matter secret from Ziad. Two nights and days passed in the same manner. He was fasting during days and praying in the nights. The women of the family of the bride were worried. They thought perhaps Jowaibir was impotent and had no need for a women,. At last, they put the matter before Ziad. He informed the Prophet, who then called Jowaibir. “Don’t you have any desire for women?” “Incidentally, I have a very intense desire of that kind.” “Then why didn’t you go near your bride?”  “O Prophet of God, when I entered the house, I found myself amidst that affluence. A state of gratitude and devotion took me over. I thought it is necessary to offer thanks and prayers to Allah before anything. Tonight, I shall go near my wife.”

Jowaibir and Zalfa lived a very happy life.

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Abu Baseer Specialist Eye Clinic

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The Names of Allah

Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)

Asmaa ul Husna, as we commonly know them, have various benefits.  This week, let us look at a few and the benefits attached to them upon recitation.  Material for this edition has been sourced from various primary and secondary materials but most prominently from the book “The Beautiful names of Allah” by Mohamedhussein G Somji.

“Allah” is the first of these beautiful names.  It is the Name Proper, if you may.  If recited 66 times at the time of Asr prayers or at the time of the setting of the sun prayers will be granted and legitimate desires will be fulfilled.  It is said that this name has been repeated 2,607 times in the Holy Qur’an.  Also, if it is recited 200 times on Fridays in the state of ablution the Almighty will fulfill one’s legitimate desires.  And if recited 1,000 times daily, a person will become pious and the worldly love will vanish from the heart of the reciter, and the cognizance of Allah (SWT) will be achieved.

“Ahad” is another name.  It means “the Unique”.  If this is recited 1,000 times in solitude, it will be felt that angels are with the reciter.  If recited 100 times, it is useful to combat snake bites.  If recited many times, one will develop love and friendship for others.

“Awwalu”, or the “Foremost” is third in line.  If this is recited prior to any task before hand, it will assist the reciter in completing it nicely with the blessings of the Almighty.  If recited regularly, people will be kind to the person and will reunite with departed and separated persons and relatives through dreams.

“Aakihiru” means “Everlasting”.  if this is recited regularly, there will be everlasting success in all works undertaken.  The person will be loved by all and respected in all aspects of life.  It will also help attain success in unfinished or hopeless missions.

“Aliyyu” (The Highest).  When recited frequently, the person will be respected and honoured by all, and will be promoted in rank.  If kept with oneself in writing, one becomes prosperous.

“Aleemu”.  This means “all knowing”.  If recited 6 times after the obligatory prayer, the person will be aware of the secrets of nature.  If recited frequently, the person will recognise the Almighty.  If recited 21 times daily, the person will become a learned man.

“Azeezu” or “Predominant” is yet another of these glorious names.  If recited 13 times everyday, a person will acquire great wealth.  If recited 94 times, it will be useful to gain the knowledge of alchemy or chemistry.  If recited in infinite numbers, a person will gain spiritual powers.

“Aadilu” is of course “Equitable”.  When recited regularly, a person will do justice in all cases.  Also reciting this name reveals secrets.

“Afuwwu” (Forgiver).  This is useful for removing and avoiding of sins and achieving the blessings of the Almighty.

“Akramu” or the Gracious, is instrumental in attaining grandeur.  It should be recited after every obligatory prayer and at bed time.  If recited for a great number of times at the time of sleeping, angels will be detailed by Allah, who will ask for pardon for the person throughout the night.

An important observation is the exclusion of intentional sinning for any such mystical forces to positively act upon a person.  It is evident that when in deep agony or dire distress, we tend to remember the only Being who can free us from the chains of trouble.  Very few people form the routine habit of reciting these names so that they become a part of one’s daily life.  Understanding and believing in the meaning of each of His names is paramount before any results can be expected, for if one doesn’t believe in His justice, merely chanting the name is wasteful.

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