Moharram mourning begins in Lucknow
Maulana Agha Roohi, Afzal Mahal

The theme of series of majlis at Afzal Mahal was ‘Jannat ke Imam aur jahannam ke Imam’. Speaking on this theme, Maulana Agha Roohi discussed about qualities of Imams of heaven and hell and how right livelihood is important to sustain good character.

Quran is guidance

People say ‘lahaul’ and believe in Shaitan, but they harbour doubts about him who is ‘ghayab’, why is this so? Quran is for ‘hidayat’ (guidance), today it is ‘hadiya’. “Hidayat hadiya ho rahi hai”. People have made a business of selling guidance. Quran should be given free like ‘tabarruk’ (blessing), not sold for business. This shows a business-minded mentality. In the same way, you cannot dishonour the ‘tiranga’ (Indian flag). If you do, then you can go beyond the border. Similarly, if you dishonour ‘alam’, then you can go to ‘jahannum’. To all those maulvis and mullahs, who love their meat more than giving true guidance, I say, ‘apne pet ko janwaro ka kabrastan na banao’ (Don’t make your stomach a graveyard of animals).

First Imam of hell

The theme of the majlis as we know is ‘Jannat ke Imam aur jahannam ke Imam’. The ‘pesh imam’ of hell is Shaitan, who is also the first Imam of hell. The first Imam of heaven is Imam Ali. You have often heard people saying that they got influenced by Shaitan and did something wrong (‘Shaitan ne bahkaya’). They shift the blame for their wrong acts on Shaitan, so that they can hide from their shame. Shaitan can even creep close to us while we are offering namaz.

When this happens then we forget how many ‘rakats’ we have offered. Shaitan can even reach wives of ‘paighambars’, eg in the maidan of Mina. But, he could not reach the mothers of Karbala martyrs, who stood firmly behind Imam Hussain. And, the reason for this was ‘hisar-e-Abbas’ -- who was the wish (‘tamanna’) of the first imam and the need of Karbala. Shaitan was in heaven. When he refused to bow before Adam, he was thrown out. People can say why was Shaitan present in heaven in the first place. This was done so that when time came, he could be thrown out with ‘laanat’ (to condemn to hell) till eternity! Ali was in Kaaba for three days, but Abu Talib was not worried or went searching for him. It was the prophet who went with his hands outstretched to Ali because it was his need. Moreover, take care, don’t raise ‘nara-e-tadbeer’ here in Lucknow otherwise police will wonder whether you are a Pakistani -- you could be arrested also. A ‘nara-e-haidari’ is more than enough for our purpose. We don’t belong to any Al-Qaida, or any Jaish. We come to Hussaini majlis with ‘josh’ not ‘Jaish’. A person who is a Shia is not a traitor and a person who is a traitor is not a Shia. Everyone should know that our ‘azakhane’ (mourning house) give the message of peace.

Curses and blessings

I selected the theme of discussion in this majlis through ‘istakhara’ (seeking the best from Allah) and it came ‘wajib’ (obligatory). In the name of Hussain one gets ‘tabarruk’ (blessings), while in the name of Allah you get ‘bheekh’ (alms)! How will a beggar understand the taste of ‘tabarruk’! The ‘laanat’ (curse) of Allah gets one thrown out of heaven, while ‘laanat’ of prophet does not allow one to go to heaven. The air of heaven comes out through ‘azakhane’, not out of mosques. By the way, one will never see Ibn-e-Muljim’ coming out of a ‘azakhana’. The first ‘pehchaan’ (identity) of ‘imam-e-jannat’ is ‘taharat’ (purity). If he is doing ‘wazu’ then it is not because he has to do it, or he is dependent on it (‘mohtaaj’), but because he wants others to learn from his act. Some people call us agents. Yes, we Shias are agents of maula’s servants. We are agents of those, who at Ghadeer conveyed their congratulations sincerely and not merely with words. What we want is that Ali’s ‘qaida’ (base, foundation) should spread, not Mullah Omar’s ‘qaida’. Ali’s ‘qaida’ says help even an enemy and do not take revenge.

Namaz and ‘ahlebait’

If you want to propagate the truth of Quran, then you have to say Ali-Ali. Ali has so many qualities that Nusahris got involved in ‘khushfahmi’ and called him ‘khuda’ (Allah). Often many Muslims ask, till when we, Shias will keep talking about ‘fazail-e-ahlebait’ (qualities of prophet’s family). Tell them, this will continue till the time 17 ‘rakat’ namaz is offered daily and 30 rozas are kept every year. Some people say that we spend so much time and money on ‘azadari’ and why is this not spent on some constructive work (‘tamiri kaam’). To such people I say: ‘Why don’t you reduce the namaz rakats and use the time you save as a result in some constructive work!

Right livelihood

“Imam-e-jannat hote hai qarrar aur imam-e-jahannam hote hai farrar”. After the name of ‘Imam-e-jannat’ one uses ‘alhais-salam’ because they are ‘salamat’ (safe). All those who want ‘rizq-e-halaal’ (livelihood allowed Islamically), they keep ‘dastarkhwan’ (dinner spread) of Imam Hasan. ‘Rizq’ (subsistence, livelihood) is of two types: ‘rizq-e-halal’ and ‘rizq-e-haraam’ (livelihood prohibited Islamically). Those who want heaven, they keep ‘dastarkhwan’. Also, there are those who learnt ‘sajda’ from the prophet, but I convey my salam to Abu Talib in whose lap Ali was brought up and who went on to be the ‘khuda’ of Nusahris. I ask everyone, ‘Forget ‘bagawat’ (revolt, disloyalty) with Ali and Hussain and you will find that terrorism will end. All countries will then take pride in associating themselves and coming close to Muslims. Once this happens, then people will look at mosques and madarsas with respect. Kaaba is being given a bad name today, masjid-e-nabvi is being insulted. I urge all Muslims, ‘Use your brain, don’t be emotional all the time. We are a group associated with ‘aqeeda’ (faith).

Love prophet’s family

‘Imam-e-jannat’ are 12, while the number of ‘Imam-e-jahannam’ cannot be counted. Imams of hell are burning all the time. Understand that Hussain did not sacrifice his life to save ‘namaz’, but in the ‘sadka’ (charity) of Hussain, ‘namaz’ was saved. Nara-e-haidari is the cry of those who are ready to give their lives. It is not the cry of Taliban or Al Qaida or a terrorist. When love for ‘aale Mohammad’ (prophet’s family) is there, then the mark on the forehead (from namaz sajdas) is not a stain. If that love is not there, then such a mark becomes a ‘daag’ (stain). Also, after ‘matam’, the marks on the body are called ‘nishan-e-matam’, not ‘daag-e-matam’. Hussain has saved Islam, Kaaba and ‘jannat’.