The exegesis of the Salutations to Hazrat Imam Zamana (a.s.) on the day of Friday
Peace be upon you O guardian and supervisor nominated by Allah on His creation
The word ‘ayn’ means ‘eye’ (Surah Maidah (5), Verse 54), similarly another meaning is derived from it is ‘spring’ (Surah Baqarah (2), Verse 60). The Holy Quran has used this word in context with these two meanings; otherwise the word has been used in several other meanings and contexts. According to famous Arabic litterateurs, the exact meaning of this word means eye and in rest of the cases its use is symbolic. He explained it with a simile that the reason for its usage in spring may be because the way water gushes out of the spring, similarly tears roll out of the eye.
Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) has been mentioned as the ‘eye of Allah’, In Quran, Allah has mentioned His eye in the following verse:
(O Prophet!) And wait patiently for the judgment of your Lord, for surely you are before Our eyes
(Surah Tur (52), Verse 48)
It may be emphasized here that according to Islamic monotheistic beliefs Allah does not have any physical form or shape. However, He has made metaphorical references to things on His own like Kaaba is mentioned as His house and the she camel of Hazrat Saleh (a.s.) is mentioned as His own.
Nevertheless, according to the traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.), Imams (a.s.) are the eyes of Allah which constantly supervises His creation. There are innumerable traditions in this regard, but we will mention two of those traditions. Allamah Mohammad Baqir Majlisi (r.a.) in his famous book, Behaarul Anwaar has devoted one entire chapter to this subject and quoted 63 traditions in it.
1. Khusaimah relates that I asked Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) about the Quranic verse “And everything will perish except His face (wajh)”. Hazrat Imam Sadiq (a.s.) explained that
by ‘wajh’ Allah means His religion and the religion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Hazrat Ali (a.s.), they are His face and His eyes among the people.
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 24, p. 197, hadith 33, quoted from Tauhid-e-Saduq, p. 140)
It may be noted here that the face of Allah here is not physical face but Imams (a.s.) because through them people can turn towards Allah.
2. Hazrat Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, Hazrat Amirul Momeneen Ali (a.s.) said, ‘I am the knowledge of Allah and the observant eye of Allah.’
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 24, p. 198, h. 25, quoted from Tauhid-e-Shaikh Saduq (r.a.), p 152, 155)
It is evident that in the present era, Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) who represents Ahle Bait (a.s.), is the eye of Allah who guards His creation.
‘Peace be upon you O light of Allah through whom the guided ones receive guidance and through whom the believers are provided salvation.’
Shia and Sunnis unanimously agree that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and His Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the light of Allah which guides mankind. Let’s have a glance at the ‘Ayate Noor” and its interpretation in the Holy Quran:
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; the likeness of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not– light upon light– Allah guides to His light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is Cognizant of all things.
(Surah Noor (24), Verse 35)
In the interpretation of this verse, famous Sunni scholar, Ibne Maghazali Shafei in his famous book, al Manaqib writes that Ali bin Ja’far says that I went to Imam Abul Hasan (a.s.) and asked him about this like a ‘Niche in which the lamp’, to which he replied:
“The niche means Hazrat Fatema (a.s.) and the lamp implies Hazrat Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.). And the glass is as it were a brightly shining star? the glass is as it were a brightly shining star refers to Hazrat Fatema (s.a.) who is a shining star among the women of the world. ‘Lit from a blessed olive-tree’, here the tree means Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) and when the verse says ‘Neither eastern nor western’ means that Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian. ‘The oil whereof almost gives light’ means soon knowledge will emanate from it. ‘Though fire touch it not – light upon light’ means there will be Imams one after another. ‘Allah guides to His light whom He pleases’ means… whoever Allah wishes guides towards our Mastership and Leadership.”
(Manaqibe Maghazali pg 317)
This was from a Sunni book; there are a huge number of traditions even in the Shia books. One of them is mentioned hereunder:
Janab Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari (r.a.) narrates that when I entered Masjid-e-Kufa, I saw Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was writing something from his fingers and was constantly smiling. Out of curiosity I asked, “What is the reason for this mirth?”
Hazrat Imam Ali (a.s.) answered:
“I am amazed at the man who recites this verse and does not recognize it as he ought to recognize it”
I asked which verse O Amirul Momeneen (a.s.) He (a.s.) said:
The saying of Allah, ‘Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; a likeness of His light is as a niche’ Here ‘niche’ means Hazrat Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), while I am the lamp, ‘in a glass’ the glass case means Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.), ‘it were a brightly shining star’ means Imam Ali bin Al Husain (a.s.), ‘lit from a blessed tree’ means Mohammad bin Ali (a.s.), ‘olive’ means Ja’far bin Mohammad (a.s.), ‘neither eastern’ means Musa bin Ja’far (a.s.), while ‘nor western’ means Ali bin Musa (a.s.), ‘the oil whereof almost gives light’ is Mohammad bin Ali (a.s.) and ‘though fire touch it not’ is Ali bin Mohammad (a.s.), ‘light upon light’ is al Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) and ‘Allah guides to His light whom He pleases’ is Al Qaem Al Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Ghaayatul Maraam, by Sayed Hashim Bahrani (r.a.), pg 318)
This tradition was the hidden interpretation of Ayate Noor. Late Shaikh Hadi Tehrani (r.a.) has written a full article on this and named it as ‘Resalatul Nooriyah’. Those interested in comprehensive information may refer to this article.
Nevertheless, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) in chapter 18 has recorded 42 traditions which explains that Infallible Imams (a.s.) are the Light of Allah. For details refer vol 23 pg 304, one of those traditions is mentioned below:
Abu Khalid Kabuli inquired from Hazrat Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) about the verse
‘ Therefore believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Light which We have revealed ‘
(Sura Tagabun(64), Verse 8).
Imam (a.s.) replied:
O Abu Khalid! By Allah, Noor in this verse refers to Imams (a.s.) from Aale Mohammad (s.a.w.a.). By Allah till the Day of Judgment, they will be Allah’s Light which has been revealed. By Allah they are the Light of Allah in the earth and skies. O Abu Khalid, by Allah the Light of Imam (a.s.) is more illuminated in the heart of the believers than the sun during a bright day. By Allah, they brighten the hearts of the believers. From whomever Allah wishes, He hides His Light, which results in the darkening of their hearts. O Abu Khalid none will love us or accept our wilayat until Allah purifies his heart. And Allah will not cleanse his heart until he submits in front of us. And once he is submissive to us then Allah will protect him from intensive questioning and fear on the Day of Judgment.”
(Behaarul Anwaar vol 23 pg 308, hadith no 5, narrating from Tafsir Ali bin Ibrahim Qummi)
If Imams (a.s.) are Lights and their light is much more powerful than the physical source of light then, their effects will also be much more intense and significant. Two of those effects have been mentioned in this phrase of the ziyarat.
It is explained that through this Noor people are guided and believers (who are guided) get succor.
The word used in ziyarat is ‘faraj’. Traditions have emphasized to await the ‘faraj’ (the relief). As Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“Wait for the relief (faraj) and do not despair of Allah’s mercy as certainly the most loved action in front of Allah is waiting for the relief.”
This hadith clearly indicates that waiting for faraj is a laudable action in front of Allah. While the succor in this world will be attained only and only after the reappearance of Hazrat Imam-e- Zamana (a.t.f.s.), the succor in the hereafter is meant only for those who believe in the mastership and Leadership of the Infallible Imams (a.s.).
However, it should be borne in mind that for spiritual relief external means are not required, but the purification of soul and adherence to Ahle Bait (a.s.) alone is sufficient.
As Imam (a.s.) says in this tradition:
“Excessively pray for faraj (relief) for in this (prayer) lies your salvation.”
Lets all of us pray to Almighty, O Allah! please hasten the reappearance of Hazrat Hujjat bin Al Hasan (a.s.).
(to be continued in the next issue, Inshallah)