The knock of respite
The word ‘Mohlat’ or ‘Respite’ is attached to the creation of Prophet Adam (a.s.) and to the creation of mankind in general in such a manner that it cannot be separated from him. Respite has been with man since ages and will be there forever. This word is a yardstick in man’s worldly life and a judgement of Allah’s justice in the hereafter. Through respite, man will be chastised and be rewarded. He will be rewarded with paradise or punished with hell. It is through this that man can achieve comfort or remain in difficulty. It is this very respite that implies negligence and awakening. Respite can lead to the right path or can misguide from the right path. It is the protector. When this is such an evident truth, then why man is heedless about it? He laughs, he cries and passes through various emotions but why doesn’t he acquaint himself with the expanse and depth of the meaning of respite.
After this initial introduction, that is associated with the aspects such as knowledge, actions, wisdom, astonishment and variations, contest or congregation, and so on, we would like to bring the attention of our readers to the fact for which Allah has revealed in Quran:
…therefore, give good news to My servants
The word ‘Bashaarat’ – good news – is for all those men of intellect and wisdom who have always taken into consideration the long life of the Hereafter, which is after this limited life and difficult world. This is not a mere figment of imagination. God, the Almighty, has made it is so evident through the lives of His prophets, messengers, and pious servants that it cannot be denied.
Expanse of Respite
Every word, associated with respite, revolves around the minds of intellectuals the way currency revolves around people’s minds. It is so entangled with the being of man that it cannot be separated from him till he meets his end.
From the beginning of creation, the children of Adam (a.s.) are divided in two groups. One is that group of creation that denied the prostration in front of Adam (a.s.) and sought respite to deviate the children of Adam (a.s.). The other group are of those creations that Allah has appointed to guide the children of Adam (a.s.). They are the messengers, prophets, executor of the will of prophets, and the Imams (a.s.) who are were proofs of Allah for His decisions in the hereafter.
Those were the paths on which Allah has bestowed His bounties, and not the paths that have earned wrath and leads to astray.
There was a group amongst the creation who opposed the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and took it upon themselves to deviate and entangle man, thereby establishing themselves from the east to the west – History is witness to it!
Every aspect of nature in the creation of Adam (a.s.), every step, and every moment is a test of good and evil. There are those, who for achieving their goal in life, do not differentiate between good and evil. And we also find a group who ponder based on their innate nature (fitrat) and take precautions to avoid deviation. Both these groups of people are spending their lives in this world and availing the respite given to them.
Every child is born on the innate nature of Islam. As he grows, he develops the capability to differentiate between good and evil. By virtue of his acquiring knowledge and upbringing, he becomes aware of all the ways to protect and safeguard himself from the disturbing consequences of evil. It is connected to the essence of a man. It is related to the thought, mind, heart and all its branches. On this subject, there is ample amount of literature that scholars and intellectuals have penned down. There have been many discussions on this subject and can be found in the form of chronicles in the universities. And now, social media beautified these establishments as writings of intellectual and wisdom.
The following discussion is about the limited lifespan of man – the worldly life – which is based on changes. He comprehends things based on his intellect and the situation he is in, thereby realising his merit over other creatures.
Superiority has two aspects: one is self-worshipping and other is God-worshipping. One aspect of superiority means to possess merits, i.e. a person is meritorious over others owing to his wealth and power, because of which, others will stand up from their places as mark of respect. Such a person will cross all limits of good and evil to achieve his goal. Such a person believes in the superiority of self. (However, this also has different levels and stages and it is not possible to cover the details here). To summarize, it is enough to say that self-worshipping starts with helplessness in the essence of man and it reaches its peak after crossing the limits of lunacy to a state for which the poet (Dilfigaar) has said:
WOH SAMAJHTA THA KE SHAAYAD YEH BHI ASHRAFUL MAKHLOOQ HAI
AADMI KO DEKH KAR SHAITAAN AADHAA RAH GAYA
(He was thinking he is also the best of creatures, After seeing (such) a man, Satan was left belittled)
The other aspect of superiority is based on the foundation of God worshipping. From the world of genesis till date, man is helpless in front of God. Despite the progress in science and technological innovations, intellect demands a leader and guide for mankind from the Almighty. To complete His argument on God-worshippers and those who direct their intellect towards truth, God has established the chain of Prophets (a.s.) and Imams (a.s.).
The ark of Prophet Nuh (a.s.) became the saviour in the deluge. The inferno became cool for Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.). Eventually, every messenger passed away while propagating the right path, till the last of the messengers who testified his truthfulness by performing the miracle of splitting of moon. And, according to the prophecy, his twelve rightly guided caliphs arrived. Till the period of the eleven caliphs (a.s.), there was a hue and cry amongst the rulers. And the twelfth caliph, Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), the one who will fill the earth with justice and equality for the worshippers of truth, arrived on this earth.
Since we have started the discussion of respite, we can comment that both these groups (the God worshipers and the self-worshippers) are spending their lives till the time of respite. And during the time of respite, the leaders of truth have fulfilled their responsibility of raising the curtains of negligence.
Allamah Iqbal says it beautifully in this couplet:
MAUT KO SAMJHA HAI GHAAFIL IKHTETAAME ZINDAGI
HAI YEH SHAAME ZINDAGI SUBHE DAWAAME ZINDAGI
(The negligent ones have considered death as the end of life, In fact, this (death) sunset of life is the beginning of an everlasting dawn of life).
Now, we will stop here and will answer the question of the negligent ones.
Whether those God-fearing people, who value their lives and are careful of treading their journey within the well-defined confines, established by the Almighty, will always be engulfed with difficulties or will they also enjoy the luxuries of life?
This question is owing to short sightedness. Otherwise, only the remembrance of Almighty is enough for the tranquillity of heart. The Holy Quran states:
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.
This is the remembrance that attracts man to actions that will be the cause of the Creator’s satisfaction. Subsequently, God guides the helpless man towards that path on which if he travels, he will achieve success in this world, and will be the recipient of the good news of the everlasting life in the hereafter. The Lord is the one who sent a prophet, and with him, sent evident proofs, His book (also called mother of books), and a scale (test), so that man can spend his life in this world with peace and be attached to the hereafter.
We sent Our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice.
Centuries have passed and the prophecy of Allah’s prophet (s.a.w.a.) is echoing the truth in the vast expanse of this world that after him, there will be twelve caliphs. The twelfth caliph will be the one who will enliven this dead world.
…gives life to the earth after its death
He will fill the world with justice and equity. He is the guardian and successor from the side of Allah. He will implement the laws of Quran. The darkness of the clouds of disbelief will disappear. By the wounded ribs of lady Hazrat Fatima (s.a.) by the arrow-struck neck of the six months old baby Hazrat Ali Asghar (a.s.), by the trampled body of Hazrat Qasim (a.s.), by the intense thirst of Imam Husain (a.s.) for which he (a.s.) himself says: “The whole world was appearing hazy to me. My condition was similar to the opening of cracks in the earth due to scarcity of water”, by the parched throat of Imam Husain (a.s.) that was attacked by dagger, while you (Imam) were prostrating to Allah thereby establishing the standards of worship and indicating the respite that has been granted to the oppressors. The army of the twelfth Imam (a.s.) is also getting ready that will comprise of sincere servants of Allah and it is there even today in the form of Islamic jurists (Maraaje’) who serve through the interpretation of religion and explanation of laws.
Majority of the people are fraudsters and very few are God-fearing. But our twelfth Imam (a.s.), the inheritor of the knowledge of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) of Allah, the executioner of His will and guidance, the one who has tremendous power and can overpower anyone, is only giving respite to complete the argument. One can imagine how much power he would have: his prayer mat will be on the water, the water which is the combination of two elements, life itself is dependent on this air. How many secrets of Allah he would be carrying with himself?! While the army of Satan is hell bent on deviating mankind.
Divine justice demands that if deviation and oppression is spreading in the world, then it is necessary that there should be a divine guide, who will protect the people from misguidance and deviation, and make them aware. And that is why, we find a tradition that states that the twelfth caliph will guide the people in a manner like the shining sun – covered by the cloud and casts it rays on the earth.
One of the couplets from Dua of Kumayl that has been recited by Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is as follows:
O Allah, I ask You by Your mercy, which embraces all things;
And by Your strength, through which You dominate all things,
And toward which all things are humble;
And before which all things are ordinary;
And by Your invincibility through which You overwhelm all things,
Based on the context of these sentences, the power of Satan’s army in spreading deviation is no match in front of the power of God. It is only a respite till the appointed time that Allah has promised Satan when he sought from Almighty. It is only due to this promise that respite is given. These destructive deviations have no existence in front of the One in whose control is the movement of the sun, moon, and stars.
That is why Allah has established His caliph and guardian on this earth. And has made such an arrangement in occultation that not only will he guide the sincere servants of Allah and those who seek truth, but also will, always, keep him under his compassion. And for this reason, when Satan sought respite till the appointed time, Allah said that you will be unable to deviate my sincere servants.
O the one who will establish the laws of Quran, O the beloved son of Narjis (s.a.), accept our supplications. Every mornings and evenings, only the following words echoes: O the avenger of the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.), we are awaiting for you.