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Sahifa-e-Sajjadiya (sahifae sajjadia) book of imam sajjad a.s.Sahifa-e-Sajjadiya (sahifae sajjadia) book of imam sajjad a.s.-1

2011-07-02

THE ROLE OF SUPPLICATION

Though many of the supplications which have been handed down from the Prophet and the Imams were certainly spontaneous utterances of the heart, others must have been composed with the express purpose of reciting them on specific occasions or passing them on to the pious. Most of the prophetic supplications are short and could easily have been recited on the spur of the moment, but some of the prayers of the Imams - such as Zayn al-'Abidin's supplication for the Day of 'Arafa (no. 47) - are long and elaborate compositions. Even if they began as spontaneous prayers, the very fact that they have been designated as prayers for special occasions suggests that they were noted down and then repeated by the Imam or his followers when the same occasion came around again.

Naturally it is not possible to know the circumstances in which supplications were composed, but we do know a good deal about early Islam's general environment which can help suggest the role that supplication played in the community. Many Muslims, no doubt much more so than today, devoted a great deal of their waking lives to recitation of the Qur'an, remembrance of God, and prayer. Even those who left Mecca and Medina to take part in the campaigns through which Islam was spread or participate in the governing of the new empire did not necessarily neglect spiritual practices. And for those who devoted themselves to worship, supplication was the flesh and blood of the imagination. It provided a means whereby people could think about God and keep the thought of Him present throughout their daily activities. It was an intimate expression of tawhid or the `profession of God's Unity' which shaped their sensibilities, emotions, thoughts, and concepts.

In the Islamic context, supplication appears as one of the primary frameworks within which the soul can be moulded in accordance with the Divine Will and through which all thoughts and concepts centered upon the ego can be discarded. The overwhelming emphasis in the Sahifa upon doing the will of God - `Thy will be done', as Christians pray - illustrates clearly a God-centeredness which negates all personal ambitions and individual desires opposed in any way to the divine Will, a Will which is given concrete form by the Shari'a and the sunna. For Muslims then as today, obeying God depended upon imitating those who had already been shaped by God's mercy and guidance, beginning with the Prophet, and followed by the great Companions. For the Shi'ites, the words and acts of the Imams play such a basic role in this respect that they sometimes seem - at least to non-Shi'ites - to push the sunna of the Prophet into the background.

The companions of the Imams constantly referred to them for guidance, while the Imams themselves followed the Prophet's practice of spending long hours of the day and night in salat


 


 

Al-Sahifa al-Kamilah al-Sajjadiyya
(The Perfect Book of al-Sajjad)

In the Name of God,

the All-merciful, the All-compassionate

[Preface:

Concerning the Chain of Authorities of the Sahifa]

1       The greatest sayyid, Najm al-Din Baha' al-Sharaf Abu l-Hasan Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn 'Umar ibn Yahya al-'Alawi al-Hasani (God have mercy upon him) related to us:

2       He said: The felicitous shaykh, Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Shahriyar, the treasurer of the treasure-house of our master, the Commander of the Faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (upon him be peace) told us in the month of Rabi' I in the year 516 [May-June 1122 CE] while [the Sahifa] was being read before him and I was listening.

3       He said: I heard it [being read] before the truthful shaykh Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz al-'Ukbari the Just (God have mercy upon him) by Abu l-Mufaddal Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn al-Muttalib al-Shaybani.

4       He said: Al-Sharif Abu 'Abd Allah Ja'far ibn Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn al-Hasan ibn Ja'far ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (upon them be peace) related to us.

5       He said: 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar ibn Khattab al-Zayyat related to us in the year 265 [878-9].

6       He said: My maternal uncle 'Ali ibn al-Nu'man al-A'lam related to me.

7       He said: 'Umayr ibn Mutawakkil al-Thaqafi al-Balkhi related to us from his father Mutawakkil ibn Harun.

8       He said: I met Yahya ibn Zayd ibn 'Ali (upon him be peace) when he was going to Khurasan after his father was slain and I greeted him.

9       He said to me: From whence are you coming? I said: From the hajj.

10     He asked me about his household and the sons of his paternal uncle in Medina and he pressed me urgently about [Imam] Ja'far ibn Muhammad (upon him be peace), so I gave him news of him and of them and of their sorrow over his father Zayd ibn 'Ali (upon him be peace).

11        He said to me: My paternal uncle [Imam] Muhammad [al-Baqir] ibn 'Ali (upon him be peace) advised my father not to revolt and he let him know what would be the outcome of his affair if he revolted and left Medina. Have you met the son of my paternal uncle, Ja'far ibn Muhammad (upon him be peace)?

I said: Yes.

12        He said: Did you hear him mention anything about my affair?

I said: Yes.

13        He said: What did he say about me? Tell me!

I said: May I be made your sacrifice! I do not want to confront you with what I heard from him.

14        So he said: Will you frighten me with death? Tell me what you heard!

I said: I heard him saying that you would be slain and crucified as your father was slain and crucified.

15     His face changed colour and he said: God erases whatsoever He will, and He establishes, and with Him is the Mother of the Book! O Mutawakkil! God has supported this affair through us and appointed for us knowledge and the sword. These two are combined in us, while the sons of our paternal uncle have been singled out only for knowledge.

16     I said: May I be made your sacrifice! Surely I see people inclining more to the son of your paternal uncle, Ja'far (upon him be peace) than to you and your father.

17     He said: Surely my paternal uncle Muhammad ibn 'Ali and his son Ja'far (upon them both be peace) summon people to life, but we summon them to death.

18     I said: O son of the Messenger of God! Have they more knowledge, or have you?

19        He looked toward the ground for a time. Then he lifted his head and said: All of us have knowledge, but they know everything we know, and we do not know everything they know. Then he said to me: Have you written anything from the son of my paternal uncle? I said: Yes.

20     He said: Show it to me. So I brought out various kinds of knowledge, and I brought out for him a supplication which had been dictated to me by Abu 'Abd Allah (upon him be peace). He had related to me that his father, Muhammad ibn 'All (upon them both be peace) had dictated it to him and had told him that it was one of the supplications of his father, 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (upon them both be peace), from Al-Sahifat al-Kamila.

21        Yahya looked at it until he came to its end. He said to me: Will you permit me to copy it?

I said: O son of the Messenger of God! Do you ask permission for that which belongs to all of you?

22     He said: Truly I will bring out for you a sahifa with the Perfect Supplications, which my father had in safekeeping from his father. My father counselled me to safeguard it and to withhold it from those unworthy of it.

23     'Umayr said: My father [Mutawakkil] said: So I stood up before him, kissed him on the head, and said to him: By God, O son of the Messenger of God! I profess the religion of God through love for you and obedience toward you! I hope that He will favour me in my life and my death with your friendship.

24     So he tossed the page of mine which I had given to him to a servant who was with him and said: Write this supplication with a beautiful, clear script, and give it to me. Perhaps I will memorize it, for I had been seeking it from Ja'far (God safeguard him) and he withheld it from me.

25     Mutawakkil said: So I regretted what I had done and did not know what I should do. Abu 'Abd Allah had not ordered me not to hand it over to anyone.

26     Then he called for a box and brought out from it a sahifa locked and sealed. He looked at the seal, kissed it, and wept. Then he broke it and undid the lock. He opened the sahifa, placed it upon his eyes, and passed it across his face.

27     He said: By God, O Mutawakkil, were it not for the words you mentioned from the son of my paternal uncle - that I will be slain and crucified - I would not hand this over to you and would be niggardly with it.

28     But I know that his word is the truth which he has taken from his fathers and that it will be verified. So I fear lest knowledge like this fall to the Umayyads and they hide it and store it in their treasuries for themselves.

29     So take it, guard it for me, and wait with it. Then, when God has accomplished in my affair and the affair of those people what He will accomplish, it will be a trust from me with you to be taken to the sons of my paternal uncle, Muhammad and Ibrahim, the two sons of 'Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn Ali (upon the [last] two of them be peace). They will undertake this affair after me.

30     Mutawakkil said: So I took the Sahifa. when Yahya ibn Zayd was slain, I went to Medina and met [Imam] Abu 'Abd Allah [Ja'far al-Sadiq] (upon him be peace). I related to him the news of Yahya. He wept and his feeling for him was intense.

31     He said: God have mercy on the son of my paternal uncle and join him to his fathers and grandfathers!

32        By God, O Mutawakkil, the only thing that prevented me from handing the supplication over to him was what he feared for the Sahifa of his father. Where is the Sahifa? I said: Here it is. He opened it and said:

This, by God, is the handwriting of my paternal uncle Zayd and the supplications of my grandfather 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (upon both of them be peace).

33     Then he said to his son: Stand up, O Isma'il, and bring out the supplications which I commanded you to memorize and safeguard!

34     So Isma'il stood up, and he brought out a Sahifa just like the Sahifa which Yahya ibn Zayd had handed over to me. Abu 'Abd Allah kissed it and placed it upon his eyes. He said: This is the handwriting of my father and the dictation of my grandfather (upon both of them be peace), while I was a witness.

35        I said: O son of the Messenger of God! Would it be proper for me to compare it to the Sahifa of Zayd and Yahya?

He gave me permission to do that and said: I consider you worthy of that.

36     I looked, and I found the two to be a single thing. I did not find a single letter to differ from what was in the other Sahifa.

37        Then I asked permission from Abu 'Abd Allah to hand over the Sahifa to the two sons of 'Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan.

He said: God commands you to deliver trusts back to their owners. Yes, hand it over to them.

38     When I rose to go and meet them, he said to me: Stay in your place.

39     Then he sent for Muhammad and Ibrahim, and they came. He said: This is the inheritance of the son of your paternal uncle, Yahya, from his father. He has singled you out for it instead of his own brothers. But we place upon you a condition concerning it.

40     They said: God have mercy upon you! Tell us, for your word is accepted.

41     He said: Leave not Medina with this Sahifa!

42     They said: And why is that?

43     He said: The son of your paternal uncle feared for it what I fear for you.

44     They said: He only feared for it when he came to know he would be slain.

45     Abu 'Abd Allah (upon him be peace) said: As for you - feel not secure! By God, I know that you will revolt as he revolted, and you will be slain as he was slain!

46     They arose, while they were saying: 'There is no force and no strength save in God, the All-high, the All-mighty!'

47     When they revolted Abu 'Abd Allah (upon him be peace) said to me: O Mutawakkil! What did Yahya say to you? 'Surely my paternal uncle Muhammad ibn 'Ali and his son Ja'far summon the people to life, but we summon them to death.'

48     I said: Yes, God set you right! The son of your paternal uncle Yahya said that to me.

49     He said: God have mercy upon Yahya! My father related from his father from his grandfather from 'Ali (upon him be peace) that the Messenger of God (God bless him and his Household) was seized from his senses for an instant while he was on the pulpit.

50     He saw in a vision some men leaping upon his pulpit like monkeys and making the people retrace their steps.

51     So the Messenger of God sat down (God bless him and his Household), and sorrow was apparent on his face.

52     Then Gabriel (upon him be peace) came to him with this verse: And We made the vision that We showed thee and the tree cursed in the Qur'an, that is, the Umayyads, to be only a trial for men; and We frighten them, but it only increases them in great insolence.

53     He said: O Gabriel! Will they be in my period and my time?

54     He said: No, but the mill of Islam will turn from your migration, and it will come to a halt ten [years] after that. Then it will begin turning exactly thirty-five years after your migration, and come to a halt five [years] after that. Then there is no avoiding a mill at whose axis stands error. Then there will be the kingdom of the pharoahs.

55     He said: God sent down concerning that: Surely We sent it down on the Night of Decree. And what will teach thee what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months in which the Umayyads rule, during which time there will be no Night of Decree.

56     He said: So God gave news to His Prophet (upon him be peace) that the Umayyads would own sovereignty over this community and that their kingdom would last this period of time.

57     Were the mountains to vie with them, they would tower over the mountains until God (exalted is He) gave permission for the disappearance of their kingdom; and during this time they have made their banner enmity and hatred for us, the Folk of the House.

58     God gave news to His Prophet concerning what the Folk of the House of Muhammad, the people of love for them, and their partisans would meet from the Umayyads during their days and their kingdom.

59     He said: God sent down concerning them: Hast thou not seen those who exchanged the favour of God for unbelief, and caused the people to dwell in the abode of ruin? Gehenna, wherein they are roasted; an evil resting place!

60     The 'favour of God' is Muhammad and the People of his House. Love for them is a faith that takes into the Garden, and hate for them is an unbelief and a hypocrisy that takes into the Fire.

61     So the Messenger of God (God bless him and his Household) confided that to 'Ali and the Folk of his House.

62     He said: Then Abu 'Abd Allah said (upon him be peace): Before the rise of our Qa'im not one of us Folk of the House has revolted or will revolt to repel an injustice or to raise up a right, without affliction uprooting him and without his uprising increasing the adversity of us and our partisans.

63     Al-Mutawakkil ibn Harun said: Then Abu 'Abd Allah dictated to me the supplications, which are seventy-five chapters. Of them eleven chapters have escaped me, while I have safeguarded sixty-some.

64     Abu l-Mufaddal related to us. He said: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Ruzbih Abu Bakr al-Mada'ini the scribe, who lived in Rahba, related to us in his house.

65     He said: Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muslim al-Mutahhari related to me.

66     He said: My father related to me from 'Umayr ibn Mutawakkil al-Balkhi from his father al-Mutawakkil ibn Harun.

67     He said: I met Yahya ibn Zayd ibn 'Ali (upon them both be peace). Then he mentioned the whole hadith including the vision of the Prophet (God bless him and his Household) which was mentioned by Ja'far ibn Muhammad from his fathers (God's blessings be upon them).

68        In al-Mutahhari's version, the chapter headings are mentioned. They are:

1. In Praise of God

2. Blessing upon Muhammad and his Household

3. Blessing upon the Bearers of the Throne

4. Blessing upon the Attesters of the Throne

5. His Supplication for himself and his Special Friends

6. His Supplication in the Morning and Evening

7. His Supplication in Worrisome Tasks

8. His Supplication in Seeking Refuge

9. His Supplication in Yearning

10. His Supplication in Seeking Asylum with God

11. His Supplication for Good Outcomes

12. His Supplication in Confession

13. His Supplication in Seeking Needs

14. His Supplication in Acts of Wrongdoing

15. His Supplication When Sick

16. His Supplication in Asking for Release from Sins

17. His Supplication Against Satan

18. His Supplication in Perils

19. His Supplication in Asking for Rain during a Drought

20. His Supplication on Noble Moral Traits

21. His Supplication when Something made him Sorrowful

22. His Supplication in Hardship

23. His Supplication for Well-Being

24. His Supplication for his Parents

25. His Supplication for his Children

26. His Supplication for his Neighbours and Friends

27. His Supplication for the People of the Frontiers

28. His Supplication in Fleeing

29. His Supplication when his Provision was Stinted

30. His Supplication for Help in Repaying Debt

31. His Supplication in Repentance

32. His Supplication in the Night Prayer

33. His Supplication in Asking for the Best

34. His Supplication when Afflicted

35. His Supplication in Satisfaction with the Decree of God

36. His Supplication upon Hearing Thunder

37. His Supplication in Giving Thanks

38. His Supplication in Asking for Pardon

39. His Supplication in Seeking Pardon

40. His Supplication when Death was Mentioned

41. His Supplication in Asking for Covering and Protection

42. His Supplication upon completing a Reading of the Qur'an

43. His Supplication when he looked at the New Crescent Moon

44. His Supplication for the Coming of the Month of Ramadan

45. His Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadan

46. His Supplication for the Day of Fast-Breaking and Friday

47. His Supplication on Day of 'Arafa

48. His Supplication on the Day of Sacrifice and Friday

49. His Supplication in Repelling the Trickery of Enemies

50. His Supplication in Fear

51. His Supplication in Pleading and Abasement

52. His Supplication in Imploring

53. His Supplication in Abasing himself

54. His Supplication for the Removal of Worries

69       The remaining chapter headings are in the words of Abu 'Abd Allah al-Hasani (God have mercy upon him).25

70       Abu 'Abd Allah Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Hasani related to us.26

71       He said: 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar ibn Khattab al-Zayyat related to us.

72       He said: Khali ibn al-Nu'man al-A'lam related to us.

73       He said: 'Umayr ibn Mutawakkil al-Thaqafi al-Balkhi related to us from his father Mutawakkil ibn Harun.

74       He said: My truthful master, Abu 'Abd Allah Ja'far ibn Muhammad dictated to me.

75        He said: My grandfather 'Ali ibn al-Husayn dictated to my father Muhammad ibn 'Ali (upon them all be peace) while I was witness:

 


 

In Praise of God

When he (upon him be peace) began to supplicate, he would begin with praise and laudation of God (Mighty and Majestic is He). He would say:

________________________________________

1          Praise belongs to God,

           the First, without a first before Him,

           the Last, without a last behind Him.

2          Beholders' eyes fall short of seeing Him,

           describers' imaginations are not able to depict Him.

3          He originated the creatures through His power with an origination,

           He devised them in accordance with His will with a devising.

4          Then He made them walk on the path of His desire,

                     He sent them out on the way of His love.

           They cannot keep back

                               from that to which He has sent them forward,

                     nor can they go forward

                               to that from which He has kept them back.

5          He assigned from His provision to each of their spirits

                     a nourishment known and apportioned.

           No decreaser decreases those whom He increases,

                     no increaser increases those of them whom He decreases.

6          Then for each spirit He strikes a fixed term in life,

           for each He sets up a determined end;

           he walks toward it through the days of his span,

           he overtakes it through the years of his time.

           Then, when he takes his final step

           and embraces the reckoning of his span,

           God seizes him to the abundant reward

                     or the feared punishment

                     to which He has called him,

           That He may repay those who do evil for what they have done

                     and repay those who do good with goodness,27

7                     as justice from Him

                    (holy are His names,

                    and manifest His boons).

           He shall not be questioned as to what He does,

                     but they shall be questioned.28

8          Praise belongs to God, for,

           had He withheld from His servants the knowledge to praise Him

                     for the uninterrupted kindnesses

                               with which He has tried them29

                     and the manifest favours

                               which He has lavished upon them,

           they would have moved about in His kindnesses

                     without praising Him,

           and spread themselves out in His provision

                     without thanking Him.

9                     Had such been the case,

                     they would have left the bounds of humanity

                               for that of beastliness

                     and become as He has described in the firm text of His Book:

                     They are but as the cattle—nay, but they are further astray from the way!.30

10        Praise belongs to God, for

                     the true knowledge of Himself He has given to us,

                     the thanksgiving He has inspired us to offer Him,

                     the doors to knowing His Lordship He has opened for us,

                     the sincerity towards Him in professing His Unity

                               to which He has led us,

                     and the deviation and doubt in His Command

                               from which He has turned us aside;

11                   a praise through

                    which we may be given long life

                               among those of His creatures who praise Him,

                     and overtake those who have gone ahead

                               toward His good pleasure and pardon;

12                   a praise through which

                     He will illuminate for us the shadows of the interworld,31

                     ease for us the path of the Resurrection,

                     and raise up our stations

                               at the standing places of the Witnesses32

                     on the day when every soul will be repaid

                               for what it has earned -

                               they shall not be wronged;33

                     the day a master shall avail nothing a client,

                               and they shall not be helped;34

13                   a praise

                     which will rise up from us to the highest of the 'Illiyun35

                     in a book inscribed,

                               witnessed by those brought nigh,36

14                   a praise whereby

                     our eyes may be at rest when sight is dazzled,37

                     our faces whitened when skins are blackened,38

15                   a praise through which

                     we may be released from God's painful Fire

                     and enter God's generous neighbourhood,

16                   a praise by which

                     we may jostle the angels brought nigh

                     and join the prophets, the envoys,

                     in a House of Permanence that does not remove,

                     the Place of His Generosity that does not change.

17        Praise belongs to God,

                     who chose for us the good qualities of creation,

                     granted us the agreeable things of provision,

18                             and appointed for us excellence

                               through domination over all creation;

                     every one of His creatures submits to us

                               through His power

                     and comes to obey us

                               through His might.39

19        Praise belongs to God,

                     who locked for us the gate of need

                               except toward Him.

                     So how can we praise Him?

                     When can we thank Him?

                     Indeed, when?

20        Praise belongs to God,

                     who placed within us the organs of expansion,

                     assigned for us the agents of contraction,

                     gave us to enjoy the spirits of life,

                     fixed within us the limbs of works,

                     nourished us with the agreeable things of provision,

                     freed us from need through His bounty,

                     and gave us possessions through His kindness.

21                   Then He commanded us that He might test our obedience

                     and prohibited us that He might try our thanksgiving.

           So we turned against the path of His commandments

                     and mounted the backs of His warnings.

           Yet He hurried us not to His punishment,

                     nor hastened us on to His vengeance.

                     No, He went slowly with us through His mercy,

                               in generosity,

                     and awaited our return through His clemency,

                               in mildness.

22        Praise belongs to God,

                     who showed us the way to repentance,

                     which we would not have won save through His bounty.

           Had we nothing to count as His bounty but this,

                     His trial of us would have been good,

                     His beneficence toward us great,

                     His bounty upon us immense.

23                   For such was not His wont in repentance

                     with those who went before us.40

           He has lifted up from us

                     what we have not the strength to bear,41

           charged us only to our capacity,42

           imposed upon us nothing but ease,

                     and left none of us with an argument or excuse.

24                   So the perisher among us is he who perishes in spite of Him

           and the felicitous among us he who beseeches Him.

25        And praise belongs to God

                     with all the praises of

                               His angels closest to Him,

                               His creatures most noble in His eyes,

                               and His praisers most pleasing to Him;

26                   a praise that may surpass other praises

                     as our Lord surpasses all His creatures.

27        Then to Him belongs praise,

           in place of His every favour upon us

                     and upon all His servants, past and still remaining,

                     to the number of all things His knowledge encompasses,

           and in place of each of His favours,

           their number doubling and redoubling always and forever,

           to the Day of Resurrection;

28                   a praise whose bound has no utmost end,

                     whose number has no reckoning,

                     whose limit cannot be reached,

                     whose period cannot be cut off;

29                   a praise which will become

                     a link to His obedience and pardon,

                     a tie to His good pleasure,

                     a means to His forgiveness,

                     a path to His Garden,

                     a protector against His vengeance,

                     a security against His wrath,

                     an aid to obeying Him,

                     a barrier against disobeying Him,

                     a help in fulfilling His right and His duties;

30                   a praise that will make us felicitous

                               among His felicitous friends,

                     and bring us into the ranks

                               of those martyred by the swords of His enemies.

           He is a Friend, Praiseworthy!