Seek the praised status (Maqam-e-Mahmood) from God
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
Is it perhaps impossible for me to speak about Maqam-e-Mahmood (the praised place) in this sitting? Where is Maqam-e-Mahmood? In Mahshar (The Grand gathering ground in the Hereafter) there is an area named Maqam-e-Mahmood. There is a pulpit having a thousand steps of light (Noor). At the top, above all others, is the station of the last Prophet Muhammad, thereafter is the Victorious Lion of Allah (Asadullah al Ghalib) Ali bin Abi Talib. Other stairs belong to the Imams and Prophets in accordance with their status in the sight of God. Then those who left this world with Faith in and love for Allah in their hearts, those who made themselves reach and gain this company which we call and seek, that is the spiritual company, those who remained with the Progeny of Muhammad and so their holy souls joined with the holy souls and the pious ones.
Then, there, in this Maqam-e-Mahmood, their orator is the Holy Prophet, standing on the highest stair. He praises Allah and gives a sermon, wherein, according to narrations, he praises God in a way no one had ever praised earlier. What a pulpit on top of which is the Holy Prophet and below it are also the prophets, legatees, Imams and the best people. What other distinctions should I say? Just know that it is so great that in Ziyarat Ashura you seek it. You say: O Lord! Let me reach Maqam-e-Mahmood for the sake of the holy blood, which was spilled, the blood of Husain who is a divine sign. It is the place praised much, from where so much mercy and rewards rain. It is so high and glorious that the audience gets full reward of spirit.
It is said that if, in that gathering at Maqam-e-Mahmood, even the Houries of Paradise arrive and inform the Faithful: ‘We are your Lovers’ and ‘We are eagerly awaiting You’ the lucky audience will reply, ‘How can we leave this pulpit of Muhammad?’ Imam Sadiq is reported to have said that on the Day of Judgment, Husain will be under the shade of the Throne of God and God will be gathering those who had visited Husain’s grave and his Shias and they will get so much happiness, delight and mercy that it cannot be described except by God. So much so that from one side, fairies from Paradise will arrive with a message saying, "We are your lovers and we are eagerly waiting for you." The people at the said Maqam-e-Mahmood will reply, "We will come to you afterwards, if Allah wills." In other words, "We cannot leave the company of Husain; we prefer it over you."
Briefly speaking, these are the matters to be perceived, not described. Those who recite the Ziyarat Ashura hope to be with Husain, with Muhammad, with Ali. Anas asked for exactly this from the Holy Prophet after serving him for nine years. Next morning, he came to the assembly of the Holy prophet in the Mosque. The Prophet asked, "Did you think over it?" Anas replied, "O Messenger of Allah! My need and my desire is that I should be with you in the Hereafter." The same what you recite in the Ziyarat Ashura. Anas told the truth. He earnestly desired and longed for remaining with Muhammad. He said, "I want only this." What was the reply of the Prophet?
Attain nearness to Allah through prostration
Is it an ordinary thing to be with Muhammad? It is not possible without qualification and capability. One who has no qualification does not benefit. If a donkey is dressed royally and its made to sit on the throne. Then even if saffron is put before it, it is of no use. A change is needed. Humanity and spiritualism must be created so as to be able to sit on a throne. This man desires to sit with the king of the universe. The Holy Prophet shows him the way, which if adopted, can enable him to be with Muhammad. He said: Make more and more prostrations. Because prostration is to push back everything except Only One God. It is to cut off the heart from everything else. The longer the prostration, the better it is. The servant is nearest to his Lord when he prostrates before Him.
If one weeps in prostration it is still better. The nicest recitation too is: There is no god except You, the glorified. Indeed I was of the wrong doers (Laa Illaah illaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minaz zaalimeen) for twenty times, a hundred times, a thousand times. Imam Sajjad sometimes recited such utterances placing his head on stones in the valley of Medina. The narrator says, "When he prostrated, he did not lift his head until his entire body perspired." One hour, two hours, only God knows how long in the hot air of summer. My aim is to show what a prostration is. If you want to attain spiritualism it requires some effort. You should be prepared to do deeds, which may disconnect you from the material world and take you towards spiritualism. Otherwise, supposing even if they bring you near the Prophet, you cannot benefit by his company, unless hard efforts are made. Its example is found wherein the Holy Prophet asked Anas to do thus. It is narrated that Amirul Momineen said that once a man came to the Holy Prophet and said, "O Messenger of God! Kindly show me the way whereby God may love me and people also may love me and my possessions also may increase and my body may remain healthy and my life may be long and God may raise me up with you in the Hereafter." The Holy Prophet replied, "These are six desires which require six virtues. If you want that God should love you then fear Him and refrain from sinning and if you want that people may befriend you then do good to them and do not envy for what is in their possession and do not vie for it and if you wish that your property should increase then pay the poor tax (Zakat) and if you want that your body should remain healthy then give more charity and if you desire to live longer then take care of relatives and be kind to them and if you intend and hope that God may gather you with me on the Day of Judgment, then extend your prostrations for God Almighty."
Summarily, if one desires nearness to Muhammad while continuing to sin, it is merely wishful thinking because sin leads to the neighborhood of Satans and Pharaohs. So there is no alternative to walk on the path of obedience and worship which leads to Paradise and the neighborhood of the Holy Prophet and the more one worships and obeys, the nearer he gets to Paradise and the beloved ones of God. Among the kinds of worship, prostration is more effective in creating spiritual nearness. Qur’an and a number of narrations have emphatically mentioned that there are some specialties in the matter of prostration. What is shown by the Imams is briefly listed below:
1. Prostration (Sajdah) is the way of those who repent and turn towards God.
2. Prostration gives utmost trouble to Satan.
3. Prostration drops sins just as wind drops leaves of a tree.
4. Prostration is a position wherein the servant is nearest to God.
5. Prostration is a condition in which man is in utmost humility and slavery in front of the Lord creator.
In addition to extreme self-restraint, there are other worship and deeds, which strengthen the soul. Tonight, we shall explain this holy verse to you.