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Al-Abrar, The Righteous Ones

Al-Abrar, The Righteous Ones

Author:
Publisher: Veritas Consulting PR and Media Consultancy UK
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

Al-Abrar, The Righteous Ones

Stories for those who wish to taste righteousness

Author(s): Ghulam Habib

Publisher(s): Veritas Consulting PR and Media Consultancy UK

www.alhassanain.org/english

Al-Abrar is a collection of stories for character building and ethical guidance for young readers. The main theme in these stories is to present human role models that perform righteous actions for the worship and pleasure of God.

Miscellaneous information:

Al-Abrar, The Righteous Ones Stories for those who wish to taste righteousness Ghulam Habib All rights reserved. This work is entirely owned by Dr Mohsen Reza Heydari and Veritas Consulting PR and Media Consultancy. Copying, duplication, printing and distribution of this work by any means is unethical and illegal.

Notice:

This version is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The composing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

Dedication 7

Foreword by the Author 8

Birr and Abrar 9

Death of Father 12

Sick Son 14

Difficult Lessons 18

Surprise Donation 26

Marriage Proposal 30

Transport 35

Joint Project 1 - Dowry 42

Joint Project 2 - House 47

Well Arranged Marriage and… 52

Scholarship 58

Laptop 61

Professional Career 65

After About One Year… 68

Today, after 20 years… 71

Dedication

Dedicated to the divine spirit of Imam Khomeini (ra),the great teacher of ethics and mysticism who inspired millions

Foreword by the Author

Stories provide a better means of communicating ideas than simple text without examples. This is also the Qur’anic style of teaching divine values and high human qualities. I was inspired by Martyr Bint al Huda (r) to write the stories for the present book.

The stories presented in this small book illustrate a human role model in the form of a spiritual teacher ‘Seyyid’, who provides spiritual and ethical guidance and inspiration and affects the life of several young students and people who attend his lectures. His lectures focus on common ethical and ideological topics that are suited to the needs of young students. He also practically guides students and helps people. Different ways to carry out a sincere action is the main message of these stories.

It is hoped that these stories will be useful for the instructors of ethics and for Sunday schools as well as for the college and university students.

Ghulam Habib

2015

Birr and Abrar

لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَۚ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah surely knows it. [Qur’an, 3:92]

It was the usual gathering on Saturday evening after maghrib and ‘isha prayers in the yard of Seyyid’s house and he began his lecture with the recitation of above verse of Qur’an to the limited audience….

He began: ‘The word ‘birr’ in Arabic has many meanings, all pointing towards righteous deed. Every good deed doesn’t fall into the category of ‘birr’ or righteous deed. Many human beings do good deeds; however, either because of their intention or the circumstances in which the good deed was done or their words, gestures or actions after doing that deed, it is excluded from being ‘birr’. In the Holy Qur’an, this word is used in different contexts, all of which point to high quality good deeds for the sake of God.

The person who is pious is called ‘barr’ in Arabic and its plural is ‘abrar’, those who do pious deeds and they have a very high place in heaven. The verse I have recited points to many deeper aspects of human life and the way human beings live and treat each other.

Under normal circumstances, human beings usually help each other because it’s the human nature and God has created human beings as such. It is also the custom or norm of a society or people of a locality or members of a family or a group or close friends to help each other and provide support in difficult times. Most of the times, it is a give and take relationship. However, doing a righteous action [birr] only for the sake of God is really very difficult, if not impossible, because it is not based on a give and take good done usually.

The prime criterion set by the Holy Qur’an for achieving ‘birr’ is that one has to spend or give something in the way of God that is very valuable, something that is highly loved by a person or towards which a person has very much emotional attachment or one is in need of it at the time of giving it in the way of God. It doesn’t mean only money or valuable material possession; it can be other things also such as one’s own normal peaceful life, one’s daily routine, one’s family, one’s valuable time, expertise, social prestige, career, and other highly valuable and dear things that one loves more dearly than any other thing.

Secondly, one should not expect anything in return, not even thanks for the good action. One should consider it only a duty carried out for the sake of God’s pleasure. One should try to do the good action before the person in need asks for it. This means that one should be aware of those near him and be quick and also search for those in need so that timely help and support can be offered at the right time and to protect self-respect of a person who doesn’t like to ask for help. One should make utmost effort to preserve it, keep it a secret until death and protect it from ostentation (riya). Finally, one should be thankful and pray for the person to whom he has done good because it was due to him that he was able to do the righteous action.’

He continued…. ‘Most of the times good actions are done but the intentions are not clear. Sometimes, because a person likes to do it or it is his habit, while at other times, it is out of external force or pressure such as to save one’s prestige or to show one’s generosity or to preserve one’s social status. Sometimes, it is out of strong emotional feeling while at other times, it is due to a feeling of escape out of anxiety or depression. Sometimes, the intention is known to the doer and seems good to him, but in reality it is not. Sometimes, the good action is done to make a show of it and gain worldly benefit or profit. And sometimes, the intention is also pure for the sake of God and the action is done for the sake of God. However, after sometime, the person cannot protect the good action and makes show of it, talks about it, hints at it to draw someone’s attention, or subtly expresses it indirectly by a bodily gesture and so the action no longer remains in the category of birr… It is nullified by ostentation, when God doesn’t give reward for it and the meager return for that action then comes from creatures.

Another beauty of good action is to do it under the most difficult circumstances, for example, doing the good action right at the time when it should be done even though a person is very tired, under stress, depressed, or under his own personal difficulties or problems. The more severe the difficulty, the better will be the quality of good action and acceptance by God. Another example is to do good and help someone whom a person doesn’t like or someone who has harmed or angered him unjustly. Several examples of such good actions are found in the life of Ahlul Bayt (as). In addition, the good action should be done in such a way so as to not make the person who is helped feel ashamed. It should be done secretly. One should also protect that action while one deals with that person or meets him and should not make show of it which is very difficult.

Best example of birr is in the life of Ahlul Bayt (as) when Imam Ali (as), Hazrat Fatima (sa), Imam Hasan (as) and Imam Husayn (as) observed fast for three days and gave away their food to needy persons at the time of iftar for those three days. They had no food to eat for three days while they fasted. They didn’t inform anyone of this highly noble action of self-sacrifice and worship of God until Prophet (swas) was informed by angel Jibraeel and then verses of Qur’an were revealed in praise of their sincere action for the pleasure of God. God thanked them for their utmost sincere action…..

The reason Qur’an mentions that ‘abrar’ are in high place in heavens is perhaps these righteous individuals keep their good deeds hidden and safe from any ostentation, showing off and other such acts that would give a worldly return until their death. However, it doesn’t mean that one should not do any good deed openly in a society that is necessary to be done in public or for the sake of rescuing and helping poor or downtrodden people. Here the intention is divine and remains hidden while the deed becomes known to most of the people. Such difficult deeds in this world makes ‘abrar’ eligible for divine reward reserved for ‘‘illiyun’. The best example of such a great personality is Imam Husayn (as) who did the highest good deed of enjoining the right and forbidding the evil against the despotic tyrant of his time, Yazid, to save Islam and sacrificed his life, his own family members and his loyal friends in Karbala under the most difficult circumstances.

I wish you all try to do only one good action for the sake of God, keep it safe until you die and become abrar, the righteous ones God has mentioned in this holy verse. You have to be vigilant and careful while doing it. You have to be careful even after doing it. Make a firm will with sincere intention and pray to God for help, He will help you… I will specially ask few of you who are regular and close to me about your experience of a good action after one year… Insha’Allah…’

After the lecture, Seyyid sat on the floor as usual with audience and then looked at some of the university students and smiled. Those students included Sobhan, Qamar, Asad, Bilal, Shahid, Yusuf, Shareef, Ahmad, Mostafa, Ibrahim, Vaheed and Husayn who were very close to him and were among his regular audience. They were from different family and social backgrounds. Several other people were also present and Seyyid’s house was always open for anyone seeking advice on different issues.

People then started asking him their questions and seeking his guidance on various personal matters. It was the weekly tafsir of Qur’an lecture on Saturday evening after maghrib prayers. The students close to Seyyid who were very good friends were now seriously discussing how to taste the righteous action according to the criteria explained by Seyyid. They moved a bit away from where Seyyid was sitting with others so that they could discuss in private. A few minutes later, the dinner was being served but their discussion was continuing. Ahmad said that he has recorded Seyyid’s lecture and will email the important points to them. After dinner they went near Seyyid requesting him to pray for them to achieve success and said goodbye to him.

Death of Father

Two weeks later, Qamar’s father passed away. Seyyid went to his house for condolences and then sat with him. He was the eldest son. His family was rich and had business, both inside the country and abroad. Two of his brothers were abroad, studying in universities. Qamar now lived with one sister and his mother. The whole family was very religious, humble in behavior and their life style was very moderate.

Qamar was a regular attendee of Seyyid’s lectures and was usually very quiet and sober in his manners. His life had changed after meeting Seyyid a few years ago. He would often recall how Seyyid surprised him and changed his way of thinking and his life…

When he met Seyyid for the first time, he was preparing for his bachelor’s degree’s final exam and somehow accidentally met one of Seyyid’s students, Mostafa. Mostafa took him to offer maghrib prayers and then unintendedly he attended Seyyid’s lecture on ‘spiritual pleasure.’ He was very much impressed by Seyyid’s words. After the lecture, he sat near Seyyid and asked a few questions on spiritual pleasure. Then, he asked Seyyid: ‘How can I feel spiritual pleasure?’ Seyyid saw a new book in his hands and asked about it. Qamar said that he had just bought this book and that it was the expensive latest edition and that he had a final exam after ten days. ‘I am among the top students of my class Seyyid and this book will help me get first position in final exams because I don’t think my classmates know about it.’ Seyyid smiled and very calmly asked Qamar to photocopy the book and give the original expensive book as a gift to a poor student of his class whom he thinks is able to compete with him in final exams. Qamar didn’t believe what he had heard and so he asked: ‘What did you say Seyyid?’ Seyyid smiled again and said: ‘Yes do it. Tell me what happens to you. And remember, don’t tell anyone about it.’ Qamar was in a state of shock and then said goodbye to Seyyid. Seyyid prayed for his success.

After his exams were over, Qamar came to Seyyid’s house one day at dhuhr and sat a bit away. Seyyid saw him and after prayers asked him to come closer. Then, Seyyid asked him about his exams. Qamar said that his performance was very good and he was waiting for results. Finally, Seyyid asked him softly: ‘Did you do it?’ Qamar replied: ‘Yes, Seyyid.’ ‘How do you feel?’ Seyyid asked him. ‘I cannot describe the joy, the feeling inside that made me as if I am free of all stresses; like total peace inside myself. It was a pleasure that I never had before and it never leaves me whenever I think of it. It is still there Seyyid.’ Then Seyyid asked him to pray two rak’at prayers to thank God for this opportunity. ‘Keep it up Qamar,’ said Seyyid.

All the students of Seyyid had one or more such shocking good experiences from Seyyid that changed their lives and made them very close to Seyyid. His noble style of teaching and training them was the reason and very often, these students would bring their friends and family members to Seyyid for guidance.

Every once in a while, Qamar would invite his close friends to his house for gatherings and playing games, share their good experiences, etc. He had passed his MBA shortly before his father died and was now applying for specialized diploma courses to strengthen his knowledge in marketing and other areas for managing his family business which he had inherited from his father.

All the friends were at his house on the 40th day after the death of his father and Seyyid gave a very inspiring lecture on bala’, or tribulations and hardships in one’s life. He explained that bala’ is a necessary ingredient of a believer’s life. He said: ‘God doesn’t test us by placing an exam paper in front of us, like we are tested in our school, college and university. God creates a scenario around us and tests us. The first thing one has to do is to be patient and the second thing is to have trust in God and then one should pray more and do one’s best in that situation. The beauty of God’s exam is that it is always according to one’s level of faith and ability and another characteristic is that He tests us with innovative ways next time – from something we love most, or from something we never thought of before. Everyone’s bala’ is according to the level of his faith, nearness to God and his ability.

Prophet Muhammad (swas) said that no prophet was tormented to his extent. Imam Ali (as) has praised God for tests with which He examines His servants every time with a new situation. There is a sermon in Nahjul Balagha that begins with the praise of God for His new ways of testing his servants,’ he continued. Seyyid ended his lecture with few advices about the importance of reading Holy Qur’an: ‘I advise young college and university students that they should read Holy Qur’an like their course book, not casually as most of the people read it in their daily life. A student should make habit of reading this divine course book daily. There is divine wisdom in each and every word of Qur’an.

One should ponder over the meaning of each and every word in it and find the reason as to why God has used in a particular ayah. Holy Qur’an is the ultimate book of science for every human being and its depth never ends. The more we ponder, the more we discover the hidden meanings in it.’ All those present listened quietly to Seyyid’s words of wisdom and appreciated his practical knowledge about life and interpretation of Islamic traditions.

After everyone left, Seyyid sat with Qamar and his family and advised them to be patient and to recite Qur’an and give sadaqa for his father and do good deeds in his name.

Sick Son

After few weeks…

It was almost the time for dhuhr prayers and one of the persons, Mr. Zahid who was a regular attendee of Seyyid’s lectures came in a hurry and requested to talk to Seyyid urgently. Mr. Zahid told Seyyid that his son was very sick last week and had been hospitalized. He had a major surgery in emergency to save his life. At the time of admission in hospital, he only paid some of the required advance money as his financial condition was not good. On the third day, the hospital asked him to pay a huge sum so that they can do major surgery and take care of his son after it. Mr. Zahid said that he borrowed money from his boss and requested him to reimburse fixed amount from his monthly salary.

In hurry, he took the money from his boss and went to the hospital. However, when Mr. Zahid went to the hospital accountant office to give the required money, the accountant checked in the computer and informed him that his brother had come the night before and deposited not only money for surgery but also a large extra amount sufficient for his son’s stay in the hospital after surgery until his discharge. ‘The hospital will return any remaining extra amount back to you’, said the accountant. Mr. Zahid was shocked and told the accountant that he had no brother. However, the accountant said that the person introduced himself as his brother. Mr. Zahid asked if that person left his name, phone or any other contact details. The reply was negative as that person gave money in cash and left no details. Finally, Mr. Zahid asked about physical features and the accountant was upset and said that he deals with hundreds of hospital patients and their family members and doesn’t remember him. Mr. Zahid came out of hospital, puzzled as to how to find that person….

Seyyid smiled and told Mr. Zahid that he should first thank God for this timely help and offer two rak’at prayer of thanks to God. Secondly, he should pray another two rak’at prayer for the person who helped him and also give sadaqa for him. ‘You should always pray for that person after your prayers and in your night prayers as he has saved your dearest and most valuable asset of your life,’ said Seyyid. It was time for dhuhr by then so they performed their prayers with few others who had come to Seyyid’s house.

After prayers, Mr. Zahid told Seyyid that among his family members there was no one who could pay the high amount of money for his son’s surgery. He also mentioned that his own brothers and first cousins are not living in the city and they were not informed of his son’s condition and so it is impossible that they may have paid. He also called other family members who could have paid the money and found that they were not informed of this son’s condition and declined that they have paid… Mr. Zahid then said that the only place he could think of was Seyyid’s house where they meet with several friends twice or thrice a week to pray and attend his lecture and so he thought someone from here may have done it. However, he didn’t recall informing anyone in the gathering here when he came last time while his son was admitted in hospital. ‘I left in hurry after dhuhr prayers when my wife called from hospital to bring few medicines. Seyyid, please help me to find the person who has done this noble deed and saved the life of my son while remaining secret himself’, he said. Seyyid smiled and said that he will help, but that Mr. Zahid should wait for a few days until his son recovers after surgery and is discharged from the hospital. He also said that he should come this Saturday and he will try to see what can be done.

Mr. Zahid’s son was still in the hospital and was recovering fast and Mr. Zahid and his wife were happy and at the same time, trying to find out who the mysterious helper was. That afternoon, he received a phone call from Ahmad, a student very close to Seyyid, who asked him for urgent help with money. The amount was very small. He said that the money will be returned in a week’s time. He said ‘Dear brother Zahid, you are under no obligation to help me. I will ask another person to help me and it will not affect our relationship in the least.’ Mr. Zahid, who was quietly listening to Ahmad, informed him that his son was in the hospital and had major surgery. Ahmad was surprised to hear this news and apologized to him and said that since he was having exams, he didn’t come to Seyyid’s house last week. However, Mr. Zahid said that he will be happy to give him the money on the condition that he will not inform Seyyid or anyone about it. Ahmad refused to take it. However, due to repeated and heavy insistence of Mr. Zahid, he was forced to take it. Ahmad provided details of his bank account number and Mr. Zahid immediately transferred the required amount. After a week, as per his promise, he returned the money to Mr. Zahid.

The next Saturday, after maghrib prayers, Seyyid gave a lecture on the characteristics of believers and their lifestyle. A lot of people were present, including the 12 students. He mentioned few basic things about the believers’ intention and thinking, their life, their actions, their manners, their aim of life, their ways of dealing with different situations, their basic routines and their quest for hereafter. ‘A true believer is a totally different human being. Though he may appear to be a common person, but he is very high in his status. He lives like a passenger in this world. He sees things, actions, events, and everything that happens around him with the eye of reality, with the divine vision blessed to him by God according to the level of his faith and knowledge. He is a very intelligent person though he may appear to be slow. He is not fooled by the crafty ways of this world. He doesn’t go after his name, fame and transient glittering worldly returns’, Seyyid continued...

Everyone was immersed in the inspiring words of Seyyid. After the lecture, Seyyid announced that everyone should pray for the recovery of Mr. Zahid’s son. He then said that someone has done a great deed by helping him and said that Mr. Zahid wants to know who that person is and thank him. However, no one from the audience responded. Seyyid then requested that if that person doesn’t want to show himself in front of everyone, he should come to him in private and he will keep his secret. Everyone recited salawat.

After the dinner was over, Mr. Zahid stayed with Seyyid until everybody left. However, no one came to him or Seyyid. Mr. Zahid then thanked Seyyid for his help. Seyyid said that after your son is back to normal life, bring him here and then he will help to find out that person. Mr. Zahid then left thanking him.

Families of several friends and acquaintances who used to come to Seyyid’s house visited his son in the hospital during the next few days. However, he and his wife couldn’t get any information about the person who had helped. His wife asked from ladies of the families, but nobody was aware of anything about it. Mr. Zahid informed Seyyid about it. Seyyid smiled and said that the person who has helped his son must be of a very high IQ and cautious in protecting his deed. But he said that he will try to find out in a few days after he brings his son to Seyyid’s house.

After four weeks, Mr. Zahid came to Seyyid’s house with his son, Javad. It was before maghrib prayers. Some students were making preparations for the gathering of joy and happiness as it was the occasion of wiladat of Imam Ali (as). Seyyid kissed his son who was a boy of 13 years of age studying in 7th grade. Seyyid asked him about his health and studies. Then Seyyid asked Mr. Zahid that he should observe a few things today. When he will announce that today Mr. Zahid’s son is here who has now fully recovered and recite salawat for his health, watch the faces of those who are near him, especially those 12 students. ‘If someone smiles more than others, or shows a specific affectionate expression while looking at your son then surely that person has paid for his son’s surgery. If this doesn’t happen then watch who talks more to your son, makes him sit near him, shows more tender affection towards your son while you are here after prayers, during dinner and after it. If someone, especially one of those 12 students shows more affection or frequently smiles looking at your son’s face, that person might have helped. You should then inform me and then I will ask that person in private,’ said Seyyid. Mr. Zahid said that he will be vigilant and try to observe what he asked him.

After prayers, when Seyyid sat on his seat to give a lecture, he changed the routine and first asked Javad to come near him. Then he introduced Javad, told about his illness and said that some unknown person has helped and may God bless him. He then said prayers for Javad’s health and requested everyone to recite salawat. He then began his lecture on fruits of patience in one’s life. He said: ‘Patience is the basic ingredient of faith. A patient person is a very powerful person because God is with him. However, most of the times in our daily lives, patience is forgotten and the person who has suffered a hardship or loss gets stressed. Patience keeps a person stable under the most difficult situations in life. It acts like a powerful shield. A successful person is always patient because he gets back what he lost, he achieves success, gets what he struggled for because patience is a divine mechanism that overrules all the events and material phenomena and guarantees ones success,’ Seyyid said. He then described different levels of patience and their fruits and the skills necessary to develop patience.

‘Finally when a person reaches the highest point of patience, he achieves the station of rida, or satisfaction with God in all circumstances. Beyond that there are other stations until God is satisfied with his servant, which is the last station’, Seyyid concluded. Everyone was deeply in thought and paid utmost attention to the inspiring words of Seyyid. Mr. Zahid was carefully watching the faces of those 12 students and some others in the audience who were rich. However, he failed to detect any sign. They were all sitting and listening to Seyyid. No one showed any emotions on their faces. He looked at Ahmad’s face who was also smiling and saying salawat with others but dismissed the possibility of help from him since during those days Ahmad was himself in need of money and had asked him for help.

After the lecture, during dinner, people talked with Mr. Zahid and asked about his son, they also talked casually with Javad, asked about his health, studies etc. However, no one showed any special affection towards his son. Mr. Zahid took the hand of Ahmad and pulled him away from everyone and asked him about his exams. Ahmad said that the exams went very well and he thanked Mr. Zahid for his timely help with money. Mr. Zahid insisted that if he needed money, he should consider him as his real brother and ask him without any hesitation. Ahmad thanked him and promised that he will do the same.

When everyone left, Mr. Zahid told Seyyid that despite his close, keen and continuous observation, he couldn’t detect anyone who showed specific affection towards his son as all were same in their good behavior. Seyyid said that he saw Ahmad was talking to his son, perhaps he may have helped. Mr. Zahid said that Ahmad himself was in need of some money during those days and so it is not possible. Seyyid asked Mr. Zahid how he knew this. Mr. Zahid said that Ahmad had called him for help about four days after the surgery of his son and that he was not aware of his son’s sickness. Seyyid smiled. He then said that the person who helped him for his son’s surgery was perhaps in the gathering today but was too smart to disclose himself. ‘Perhaps we may never find him,’ he said. However, he said that after a few weeks, he will try again. Mr. Zahid then thanked Seyyid and left with his son.