Why Respect the "Signs" of Allah
"And He shows you His signs: Which then of Allah's signs will you deny?" (Quran, 40:81)
Allah, the Almighty and All-Knowing has referred to the "Signs" of Allah several times in the Holy Quran. The "signs" have been places, events, personalities, catastrophes and many other things, but one thing which can be observed that according to the Holy Quran, the "Signs" (or Ayats) are meant to remind people of Allah, His Bounties, His Mercy, His Wrath, and his other attributes. Therefore, places, symbols, historical events or personalities, which serve as reminders and symbols for humanity, and strengthen the bonds of love and submission to Allah, are to be respected, revered and remembered, not only as a rite or ritual but also in their true spirit.
While the Quran refers to several things, the Signs are generally reminders and symbols for humanity. Therefore, in addition to those "Signs" mentioned in the Holy Quran, events and personalities like Hazrat Ibrahim's sacrifice, Imam Hussain's lesson from Karbala, Prophet Muhammad's character and places like Masjid-e-Nabavi and the Holy Ka'bah, all of which serve to strengthen man's ties and attachment to the Almighty, are to be respected and loved. Since we unfortunately live in a period when we cannot be contemporaries of these great personalities and evetns, we seek their relics, their traces and that is why things, places and relics attributed and associated with them become so important. It is not wrong to strengthen our love and belief through symbols and relics which remind us of these people, and subsequently, of the Divine Path of these Blessed people, Sirat-e-Mustaqeem. This is one reason why Muslims rever (or remember) the water of Zamzam, the stone Hajar-e-Aswad, the City of the Prophet, the Cave of Hira, the dust of Karbala, the "Devil's" pillar which is stoned during Hajj, the Maqam-e-Ibrahim (mentioned in the Holy Quran as a place of worship to be respected too).... These form our symbolic and material bonds to the pure remembrance of these divine personalities...
Respect for signs or idol-worship? Shirk?
Some people in their ignorance think that Tawhid means love and respect only for Allah, and thus they attribute respecting and loving these symbols as "shirk" (associating someone with Allah) and they condemn all these things. Their point: Entertaining the love of anyone other than Allah is shirk.
However they cannot understand the point that when we respect the Maqam-e-Ibrahim, we are not worshipping a stone or a place, rather cherishing and re-living the memory of Hazrat Ibrahim, whom we love. And we love Hazrat Ibrahim for his love for Allah and because Allah loves him... Therefore, when we trace this line of "love", we find that it originates from and ends at the Almighty Creator, the Most Merciful!!!!
If we read the following Quranic verses, (both occurring continuously), we observe that in the first verse, Allah has described "shirk" (associating someone with Allah) as a "fall from high on" and indeed, one who associate others with Allah, is like one who has fallen from a high pedestal to the greatest depths...
"Being upright for Allah, not associating aught with Him and whoever associates (others) with Allah, it is as
though he had fallen from on high, then the birds snatch him away or the wind carries him off to a far-distant place." [Quran, 22:31]
However we see that in the very next verse, Allah has allowed respect for the "signs" of Allah, and in fact, declared it as the outcome and natural result of piety and purity of hearts and feelings. Therefore, these two verses indicate that respecting and loving the signs of Allah cannot be "equated" with shirk, and indeed, it is a sign of piety...
"That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts." [Quran, 22:32]
Respect for the "Signs" of Allah recommended...
"O you who believe! do not violate the (sanctity of the) signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor (interfere with) the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord" [Quran, 5:2.9]
So the Quran tells us to respect the sanctity of people going to the sacred house for seeking the grace of Allah. Even animals and some sacred months have sanctity which should not be violated...
Finally, as an answer to the allegations of "shirk" by those people who reject these signs and symbols and instead of respecting and loving them, seek to destroy or erase them,
...But none reject Our Signs except only a perfidious ungrateful (wretch)!" [Quran, 31:32]
The Tragedy of al-Baqi
Jannat-al-Baqi is the famous burial place of great personalities without whom the history of Islam is incomplete, in fact, some of them wrote the history of Islam with their deeds and achievements. The Prophet's companion Usman bin Mazoon was the first companion to be buried there on instructions by the Prophet (SA). The Prophet's son, Ibrahim, who died in infancy (and was very dear to the Prophet) was also buried there. Then the Prophet's beloved grandson Hazrat Imam Hasan (AS), was also laid to rest in al-Baqi. Al-Baqi has the graves of three more stars of the Prophet's family, his grandsons, Hazrat Ali ibn Imam Husain, Hazrat Muhammad Baqir ibn Ali ibn Imam Hussain, and Hazrat Jafar Sadiq ibn Muhammad Baqir ibn Ali ibn Imam Hussain.
The descendants of Prophet Muhammad through Imam Hussain and the noble members of his Ahle Bait. These are the Aal-e-Muhammad (descendants of Muhamamd) on whom you shower Salwat and Durood daily in your prayers... The Prophet's aunt, the mother of Imam Ali, Hazrat Fatima binte Asad also rests here. The grave of the Prophet Muhammad's uncle, Hazrat Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib also lies here...
This is what Jannat al-Baqi looked like till sometime back:
Jannat-al-Baqi before it was demolished
However, on 8th Shawwal, Wednesday, in the year 1345 AH (April 21, 1925), mausoleums in Jannatul al-Baqi (Madina) were demolished by King Ibn Saud. In the same year (1925), he also demolished the tombs of holy personages at Jannat al-Mualla (Makkah) where the Holy Prophet (s)'s mother, wife, grandfather and other ancestors are buried.
Jannat-al-Baqi after destruction by the Saudi monarch.
While the monarchs have bulldozed and razed these symbols and reminders of the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem to ground, they continue to enjoy a life which is known to all. Isn't it a matter of shame for the entire Muslim nation that while they build fancy mausoleums and shrines for their political leaders, sufi saints and their parents and family members, but they try to erase the signs and remains of the beloved family of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his progeny)???
Destruction of sacred sites in Hijaz by the Saudi government continues even today. According to some scholars what is happening in Hijaz is actually a conspiracy plotted by the Jews against Islam, under the guise of Tawheed. The idea is to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.
Where are all those champions and "defenders" of the Sahaaba???
Why are they silent when not only the name, but the very graves and traces of the noble Sahaba are being erased???
Where is the Muslim nation which offers durood and blessings on the family of Muhammad, five times a day in their prayers???
A partial list of the demolished graves and shrines
Al-Mualla graveyard in Makkah which includes the grave of Sayyida Khadija bint Khuwailid (a), wife of the Prophet (s), the grave of Amina bint Wahab, mother of the Prophet (s), the grave of Abu Talib, the beloved uncle of the Prophet (SA), and the grave of Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of the Prophet (s)
· The grave of Hawa (Eve) in Jeddah
· The grave of Hazrat Abdullah, the father of the Prophet (s) in Madina
· The house of sorrows (Bayt al-Ahzan) of Sayyida Fatima Zehra (a) in Madina, where she used to weep and mourn after the Prophet (SA).
· The Salman al-Farsi (RA)mosque in Madina
· The Raj'at ash-Shams mosque in Madina
· The house of the Prophet (s) in Madina, where he lived after migrating from Makkah
· The house of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) in Madina
· The complex (mahhalla) of Banu Hashim in Madina
· The house of Imam Ali (a) where Imam Hasan (a) and Imam Husayn (a) were born
· The house of Hazrat Hamza (RA), (the prince of martyrs) and the graves of the martyrs of Uhud (a)
Why this demolition???
It is a sorry shame that while nations and countries around the world spend millions to preserve their cultural heritage and efforts are being made to preserve the ruins of Mohenjodaro and Harrappa civilizations, the so-called Muslims do not attach even any "archaelogical" significance to these remains and traces of the Islamic civilization, and quite incomprehensibly, are endeavouring to ruin them!!
Some Questions and their Answers
Q. The excuse is that pilgrims to Mecca and Medina and the lovers of Ahle Bait visit these sites for "Ziarat" and respect them and perform acts expressing their love and respect for those names and personalities, to whom these sites are attributed.
The answer to this may be looked for in the Holy Quran, where Allah declares the hills of Safa and Marwa as His Signs:
"Surely the Safa and the Marwa 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." [Quran, 2:158]
Allah and those blessed with divine knowledge only know why these two landmarks have been declared as the Signs of Allah??? One popular Islamic significance of these places is the memory of Bibi Hajira, (wife of Prophet Ibrahim) and performing Sai. Another reason may be that these landmarks are the birthplace of Islam, and the light of Islam shone and spread out from here.. Yet another reason may be that by alluding to Safa and Marwa, the Quran indicates and hints, that respecting and revering historical and religious landmarks and symbols, is not prohibited, and indeed, is highly recommended if they incite love and devotion to Allah, by reminding us of those "blessed" by Allah, on the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem.
Notice the tone and words of the above Quranic verse, which seem to allow and permit an act, which might cause some ignorant people to "Blame" and condemn it, and it has been declared that whoever does good spontaneously, with good intentions and purity of heart, then his reward is with Allah, the All-Knowing.
Q. Another excuse which is often brought up to justify this hideous act is that pilgrims to these sites performed "inappropriate" actions and even went to the extent of performing prostration, Sajdah to these graves, which is shirk and a sin, and therefore, it must be prevented.
A very simple answer to this question is that IF the Sajdah is wrong, then it should be prevented and the people should be stopped, instead of bulldozing the cemtries! If today out of love and veneration, Muslims start performing Sajdah at Prophet Muhammad's rauza, will they go out and bulldoze the entire Masjid-e-Nabavi to ground, in order to prevent Muslims from shirk???
To explain the "IF" in the above paragraph, I will mention two incidents from the Quran. It may be said that Sajdah is a symbolic act, of love and veneration. And every act has an outer form and an inner form to it. The Sajdah which we perform for Allah, the Al-Mighty and Sustainer, is the Sajdah of submission, devotion and an acknowledgement of His Mastership, His Power and His Authority. This Sajdah is reserved only for Allah, and performing it for anyone else, is a shirk and a sin.
However we find in Quran that Allah ordered the angels (and Iblis) to prostrate to Hazrat Adam?? All complied except Iblis, who was condemned and punished for not obeying. Surely this Sajdah was not the one which is reserved for Allah, rather one of love and respect to the Khalifa of Allah.
Again in Quran we find that Hazrat Yaqub and the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf prostrated before him. First we see that Hazrat Yusuf mentioned his dream to his father,
"When Yusuf said unto his father: O my father! Lo! I saw in a dream eleven planets and the sun and the moon,
I saw them prostrating themselves unto me." [Quran, 12:4.2]
and then the realization and fulfilment of this vision:
"And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration before him, and he said: O my
father! This is the significance of my vision of old; my Lord has indeed made it to be true; and He was indeed kind to me..." [Yusuf 12:100]
We can see that even Hazrat Yaqub, a Prophet himself performed this prostration alongwith his sons, to Hazrat Yusuf. Therefore, since one cannot dare attribute their actions to "shirk", we can safely conclude that the Sajdah, the prostration, can also be performed out of love, and as a token of respect and veneration, and is different in intentions and spirit from the Sajdah reserved for Allah, the Al-Mighty.
Therefore, without understanding the intentions, emotions and feelings of the lovers and pilgrims, one has got absolutely no right to violate the sanctity of the religious landmarks...
A point which I would like my friends to notice, (as they must have observed in the above list of demolished signs) that there is particular emphasis on demolishing the graves, cemetries, mosques and houses of the close family of Prophet Muhammad (SA). It is strange that the sites attributed to his grandsons, his beloved daughter, his uncle, his parents and grandfather and his noble companions, are being destroyed and demolished instead of being preserved??? Aren't these the very "near relatives", loving whom is our "attempted" reward for the services of the Prophet Muhammad???
"Say (O Muhammad
: I do not ask of you any reward (or fee) for it (my service to you) but love for my near relatives" [Quran, 42:23]
Is this how the so-called Muslims attempt to reward their Prophet???
Will any muslim bulldoze his son's grave out of love and respect??? Why this harsh treatment to the family of Prophet Muhammad then???
Why this bias and hatred against the family of Prophet Muhammad(P)
The answer is quite simple. One who hates the family of Prophet Muhammad cannot be a Muslim, since his durood, his salams and his prayers are all void without loving Prophet Muhammad and his blessed family.
Therefore, in the first place, these ruins of al-Baqi identify and expose the hypocrates and the black-sheep amongst the Muslim ranks, snatching away the masks from their faces and revealing their true intentions and feelings of hatred for Islam and its heritage... and very appropriately so, since exposing tyranny and evil is a tradition of the family of Prophet Muhammad, which reached its apogee in the supreme sacrifice of the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in the plains of Karbala. It is only to be expected of the sites attributed to them to carry on their noble task...
The people who today take out their hatred and bitternes over these cemtries and shrines, are the same, who brutally martyred the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SA), barely 50 years after his death...
These people, the party of Yazeed have time and again tried to wipe out the traces of Aal-e-Muhammad (SA), because they know that this house will keep exposing them, and continue raising voice against their tyranny, till Inshallah, the promised victory is attained... Therefore, these people have always tried to erase the signs of Ghadeer, Khyber and Karbala, and every time, their hatred itself exposes them..!!!
Hazrat Yusuf's example and the roots of animosity against Aal-e-Muhammad.
Also, this hatred and bias is due to jealousy and the handiwork of Shaitaan.. I will give the analogical example of Hazrat Yusuf (AS) once again. Interestingly, Allah has mentioned Hazrat Yusuf (AS) and his brothers also as the "Signs" of Allah, probably because their incident, their feelings and their history has a lot of resemblance to later events and carry several lessons.
"Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs (of Allah's Sovereignty) for the seekers (after Truth)." [Quran, 12:7]
Allah "preferred" him and blessed him with his "grace", and gave him special knowledge...
"Thus thy Lord will prefer thee and will teach thee the interpretation of events, and will perfect His grace upon
thee and upon the family of Jacob as He perfected it upon thy forefathers, Abraham and Isaac. Lo! thy Lord is Knower, Wise." [Quran, 12:6]
Therefore, it is history that when Allah blesses and "prefers" some of his beloved people over others, and endows them with knowledge and wisdom, the people around them become jealous and try to inflict harm on them, and try to desist other people from loving them, (like the brothers of Yusuf attempted to do) and to remove their traces...
Then the Quran relates in Hazrat Yusuf's words the cause of this jealousy and hatred, and identifies the "leader" of the party...
"My Lord was indeed kind to me when He brought me forth from the prison and brought you from the desert after the Shaitan had sown dissensions between me and my brothers, surely my Lord is benignant to whom He pleases; surely He is the Knowing, the Wise. " [Quran, 12:100]
By comparing this analogy, this rule may be established that wherever you see animosity and hatred against those "preferred" by Allah and blessed with "divine knowledge", you will know the "leadership" behind those opposing the "divine" party, is "Satanic" in nature and origin....
The ruins of Al-Baqi call out to you...
The link from al-Baqi to Karbala is obvious: Hatred against the family of Prophet Muhammad (SA)...
This very attempt to erase and hide those cemetries and symbols and to wipe them out of people's hearts and memories is reason for us to justify that what is it, what is the message, and who are those people, whose traces are being erased so anxiously and viciously in the 21st century?? What harm can a few shrines do to these powerful monarchs??? Why in particular, are these so-called Muslims so anxious to wipe away the traces of Aal-e-Muhammad, the Ahle Bait of the Prophet??? Why in particular are the graves of 4 grandsons of the Prophet (the Shiite Imams) have been demolished and not being rebuilt???
An even greater cause for concern is the fact that this party virtually rules the "Islamic kingdom" and heads the Ummah??? Shouldn't we find out their credibility and reject their leadership if it is un-Islamic??? These Khadimeen-e-Haramain wa-Sharafain, these greedy monarchs, are weilding their financial resources also to distort and confuse the real spirit of Islam...
Those of you who have been lucky enough to visit Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, will confirm that there is a control and restriction on the books and literature which can be brought in, especially religious books. Why are they so anxious to block out this literature and these books??? Shouldn't this opposition and these anxious efforts be enough reason for you all to investigate and find out??? Shouldn't this perplexing hatred against the blessed family of Prophet Muhammad appeal to your intellectual and religious curiosity and motivate to find out more about them??? Shouldn't you be interested that why tragical incidents like Karbala and al-Baqi have occurred again and again in history??? Why has there always been an opposition group, anxious to martyr the grandson of the Prophet, anxious to demolish their cemetries, anxious to wipe away their traces???
Once you go through these books, many of the misconceptions and confusions about the sectarian differences will be understood, and people will realize why these misconceptions and hateful slogans are directed towards these sects...
Muharram has started and the message of Karbala echoes out, despite being suppressed and crushed in the past...
I invite you all to put aside hesitations, confusions, doubts and misconceptions and utilise the religious atmosphere around you and the easily available resources around you to learn and find out for yourself the truth... Maybe you will realize that sectarian differences are nothing, merely some vested interests at work to erase the traces and message of Prophet Muhammad and his blessed family...