Exegesis of Ziyarat-e-Naahiyah

(Continued from the previous Muharram issue of Al-Muntazar)

9. “Salutations upon the son of Lote tree (Sedratul Muntaha)”

The word ‘Sedra’ means a lote tree. This has reference from the following verse:

“And certainly he saw him in another descent, at the farthest lote-tree (Sedratul Muntaha); near which is the garden (Jannatul Mawa)” 

(Surah Njam (53): Verses 13-15)

The aforesaid verse refers to seeing of Hazrat Jibrael  in his original form by Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) on the night of ascension at the Lote tree near the garden.

This exegesis is based on authentic traditions quoted in large numbers by the Shias as well as the Sunnis. Now, let us glance through the traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) about ‘Sedratul Muntaha’.

(i) Nomenclature

It is narrated from Hazrat Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that the lote tree is called ‘Muntaha’ (the final destination) because the angels (who write our deeds) take the accounts of deeds to ‘Sedra’. There, the honored writer of goodness writes the deeds of the servants sitting under the lote tree. Hence, it is called ‘Sedratul Muntaha’.

(Ealalush Sharaai, Behaar al-Anwaar, v.18, p. 365)

(ii) The Huge Lote Tree

It is narrated in the tradition of ascension from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.):

Jibrael  made me stand near a huge tree, the like of which I had never seen before. I saw an angel on each of its branches, on every leaf and fruit. The crown of light of Allah, the High and the Majestic was shining on it.  Jibrael  said: This is ‘Sedratul Muntaha’. All the previous Prophets (a.s.) have halted here but none has gone beyond. However, Inshallah, you will be going beyond this.

(Kashful Yaqeen Fee Imrate Ameeril Momeneen (a.s.), p.  89 -91)

(iii) The holy persona of Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)

In some Ziyaraat, the Holy Persona of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) has been remembered as ‘Sedratul Muntaha’. For instance, a ziyarat of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) has been narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) which reads

“Salutations upon the tree of ‘Tooba’ and ‘Sedratul Muntaha’.”

 (Behaar al-Anwaar, v.100, p. 306 narrating from Misbah Al Zaaer, p. 77 – 78) 

This is the reason that Imam Husain (a.s.) has been remembered as the son of ‘Sedratul Muntaha’ in Ziyarat-e-Naahiyah.

(iv) Ahle Bait (a.s.) are ‘Sedratul Muntaha’ Personified

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about ‘Sedratul Muntaha’. He (a.s.) replied:

Its roots are firm and strong and its branches are in skies. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is its root, Imam Ali (a.s.) is its trunk, Janabe Zahra (s.a.) is its branch. The Imams are its different branches. Our Shias and our followers are its leaves.

The narrator said: May my life be sacrificed upon you! What does ‘Muntaha’ refer to? Imam (a.s.) said:

By Allah, this is the pinnacle of religion (i.e. Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the perfection of religion). One who is not from this tree is neither a believer nor our Shia.

(Behaar al-Anwaar, v. 24, P.  139 narrating from Basaer Al Darajaat)

(v) ‘Sedratul Muntaha’ Craves for the Leader of the Pious – Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.)

A tradition is narrated from Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) that:

“When I was taken to the sky and I reached ‘Sedratul Muntaha’, a concentrated fragrance emanated and a strong wind blew from its trunk. I asked Hazrat Jibrael: What is this? He replied:

“This is ‘Sedratul Muntaha’. When it saw you it craved for your cousin.”  

At that time, I heard a caller calling from the side of Allah: Muhammad is the greatest among the Prophets and the Messengers. Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib is the most excellent among the successors and those who possess the mastership and love of Ali are the best among the creatures …”

(Tafseer-e-Furaat Ibn Ibrahim Kufi, p. 219)

(vi) The Cure for Grief and Sorrow of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

It is observed in traditions that whenever Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was aggrieved and sorrowful, Hazrat Jibrael  brought some leaves from ‘Sedratul Muntaha’. He then washed the head of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with it. This healed his grief and sorrow.

Therefore, it is very much emphasized in traditions to wash the head with leaves of lote tree so that one is saved from the whisperings of Shaitan for seventy days.

 (Behaar al-Anwaar, v. 76, p.87)

(vii) Writings on ‘Sedratul Muntaha’

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informs, “When I reached ‘Sedratul Muntaha’ I saw the following written on it:

I am Allah, there is no god except Me and I am One and Alone. Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is the chosen one from My creatures. I have helped him through his Vizier.

I (Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) asked: Who is my Vizier? I was told: Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). When I passed ‘Sedratul Muntaha’ I reached the Throne of Allah the High.

(Khesaal, The Chapter of Four) 

10. “Salutations upon the Son of ‘Jannatul Mawa’”

‘Jannatul Mawa’ was briefly mentioned in the last sentence. Sedratul Muntaha is near ‘Jannatul Mawa’. A person asked Hazrat Bilal (a.s.) what will the people do when they enter paradise? He replied:

They will cruise in the two rivers. The boat will be of emeralds and its pedals will be of emeralds and pearls. In it will be angels of light. They will be wearing green dresses. The narrator asked: ‘Will the light be green? He replied: The dress will be of green color but the light will be of the Lord of the Worlds through which they will travel in the river. The narrator asked: What is the name of the river? He replied: ‘Jannatul Mawa’.

(Tafseer-e-Noorus Saqlain, v. p. 156 narrating from Man La Yahzorohul Faqih)

The literal meaning of ‘Jannat’ is garden and ‘Mawa’ refers to place of shelter. There is a lengthy discussion about ‘Jannat’ in the books of traditions; however we will complete our discussion here. For further details interested readers may refer to the book Behaar Al Anwaar, v. 8, p. 280 – 281.

11. “Salutations upon the son of ‘Zam Zam’ and ’Safa’”

Every Muslim and especially those who had the honor of going for Hajj are aware of the importance of Zam Zam, Safa, Marwah and the other signs of Allah. We will present some essential points for our readers:

(i) Nomenclature

According to Janabe Ali Ibn Ibrahim Qummi (r.a.), the word ‘Zam Zam’ is derived from ‘Zamma’ which means ‘to stop’ or ‘to confine’. The reason being that when Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) wife, Janabe Haajarah, saw her son from the mountain of Marwah, she saw a spring flowing under his feet. (Both the mother and the son were alone in the hot desert and were suffering from severe thirst. When the mother saw water, there was no limit to her happiness). The water was flowing, so Janabe Haajarah built a small wall of sand around it.  This act is known as ‘Zammat’ in Arabic thus the name ‘Zam Zam’.

However, according to other Arabic litterateurs, the word ‘Zam Zam’ is an infinitive (masdar) which means ‘having a thing in abundance’. This is specially used for water.

(ii) Other names of ‘Zam Zam’

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:

‘Zam Zam’ has other names also – Rakzato Jibrael (The place of Jibrael’s feet), Hafeerato Ismail(a.s.) (Well of Ismail), Hafeerato Abdil Muttalib(a.s.) (Well of Abdul Muttalib), Barra (goodness), Mazmoonah (one whose guarantee is taken) (in some transcript it is given as Maznoonah i.e. valuable treasure), Rawa (one who quenches thirst), Shaba (One satiates), Ta’am (food), Mat’am (place of eating food), Shefa-o-Soqm (Cure for sickness).

(iii) The Beginning of ‘Zam Zam’    

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says: When Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was returning from Makkah after leaving Janabe Haajarah and his son, Janabe Haajarah asked him: In whose care are you leaving us? Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) replied: I am leaving you in the care of the Lord of this building (Holy Ka’bah).

Imam (a.s.) says:

When the water was exhausted and the child became thirsty, Janabe Haajarah went to the mountain of Safa and cried, ‘Is there anyone here to help?’ Then she went towards the mountain of Marwah and called out the same. Then she reached her son and found water was flowing near her son’s heel. She collected the water and the water stopped. Had she left it, the water would have continued flowing perpetually.

(Al Kaafi, v.4, p. 201)

(iv) Janabe Abdul Muttalib and ‘Zam Zam’

A tradition is narrated from Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.):

Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s.) was sleeping in Hijr-e-Ismail (a.s.) when he saw a dream. A person appeared in his dream and said: Dig the Barra (another name of Zam Zam). He asked: What is Barra? The person disappeared.

Again on the second day, he saw the same person in his dream who was saying to him: Dig the Maznoonah. He asked: What is Maznoonah? Again the person disappeared.

On the third day, he saw the same person in his dream who was ordering him: Dig the Tayyebah. When he asked him: what is Tayyebah, the person disappeared.

On the fourth day, the same person returned in the dream and said: Dig Zam Zam. He asked: What is Zam Zam? He replied: Neither will it dry nor its water deplete. Then he was showed its place. Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s.) got up and started digging at the place which he was shown. The Quraish asked Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s.) what he was doing. He replied: I have been ordered to dig the well of Zam Zam. When he removed the mud and water was seen, the Quraish said: We also have a right in the well with you because this well belongs to our ancestors. Janabe  Abdul Muttalib(a.s.)  replied: This does not belong to you. This is particularized to me and not you.

(Al Kaafi, v.4, p. 219, Trad. 6; Kunuzul Fawaaid, p. 106)

(v) Virtues of Water of Zam Zam

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: The water of Zam Zam is medicine for every disease. 

(Al Mahaasin, v. 2 p. 399 Trad .2395; Man La Yahzorohul Faqih, v.2,   p. 208 Trad.2164)

 Ali Ibn Mahziyar narrates: On the night of 11th Zil Hajj, I saw Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) performing Tawaafun Nisa. Then he performed prayers behind Maqaame Ibrahim. Then he went to Zam Zam and taking a bucket kept near Hajar-e-Aswad, he (a.s.) pulled out some water. He drank and sprinkled some water on parts of his holy body. Then again he went to Zam Zam. Our friend informed us that next year too, Imam (a.s.) did the same.

(Al Kaafi, v. 4 p. 230, Trad. 3)

(vi) Supplication before drinking water of Zam Zam

Two supplications have been narrated in this regard:

Bismillah Al-Hamdolillah Ash Shukro lillah

(Al Mahaasin, v. 2 p. 200 Trad. 2400)

When a person completes the circumambulation of the Holy Ka’bah and finishes recitation of Namaz-e-Tawaaf, he should come to the well of Zam Zam and drink it by extracting it once or twice. Then sprinkle some water on head, back and stomach and say:

Allahummaj’alho ilman naafean wa rizqan waasean wa shefa’an min kulle daain wa soqmin

“O Allah! Make it (for me) beneficial knowledge, vast sustenance and cure from all pain and sickness.”

Then he should return to Hajar-e-Aswad.

(Al Kaafi, v.4 p. 430 Trad. 2; Tahzeeb, v.5 p. 144 Trad. 476)

(vii) To gift water of Zam Zam

When Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was in Madinah, he used to request people coming from Makkah to gift him (s.a.w.a.) the water of Zam Zam.

This was a short discussion about Zam Zam. Now, very briefly we will discuss about the Mount of Safa.

The Holy Quran says:

“Surely the Safa and the Marwah are among the signs appointed by Allah; so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them both; and whoever does good spontaneously, then surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing.”

(Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 158)

(viii) Nomenclature

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says:

The mountain of Safa is called Safa because the chosen one of Allah, Hazrat Adam (a.s.) descended on it from Paradise. Therefore, Allah, the High named it from the names of Hazrat Adam (a.s.). Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic says

“Surely Allah chose Adam”

(Surah Ale Imran (3): Verse 33)

(Elalul Sharaai, p.  431)

(ix) The beloved piece of land of Allah

Abu Baseer says I heard Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) say:

“Allah likes ‘Mas’a’ (the place of doing Saee i.e. between Safa and Marwah) more than any piece of land because this is the place where oppressors and tyrants are humiliated and disgraced.”

(Behaar Al Anwaar, v. 99, p. 235 narrating from Elalul Sharai, p. 433)

(To be continued, Inshallah, in the next issue)