One of the many glories of Prophet Mohammed SA is that he is the ‘gatherer of dispersed strengths’. This ability remains with AimmatTahereenAS, and in their seclusion, with DuatMutlaqeen. Al-Dai al-AjalSyedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA revealed the very same glory when he assembled the lost pieces of the Jami´ Anwar’s historical tablet:
In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful. “And we desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the inheritors (28:5)”. This is what Allah’s servant and chosen one, Abu Ali al-Mansur al-Imam al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah, the Commander of the Faithful – May Allah’s blessing be upon him and his pure ancestors – ordered to be done (constructed) in the month of Rajab of the year 393
The fifth aayat (auspice, miracle) of Anwar is the lawhattaarikhiyah (historical tablet). This unique stone inscription adorns the inner side of the masjid’s main entrance. The recovery of its scattered pieces, and itssubsequent reassembly due to the blessed presence ofSyednaBurhanuddin’sRA disproved allegations pertaining to Imam Hakim’sAS claims to divinity. On 8thMoharrum 1401 H, in Jami´ Anwar, SyednaBurhanuddinRA stated ‘Nine months ago a piece of inscription was found. Upon it was written ‘م بامر’, with this discovery efforts tofind the remaining pieces commenced. 118 years ago the tablet was recorded to be in its original place, a traveler from Europe awed by the beauty of its script attempted to have it relocated to a museum in Europe. However, by 1880 AD the tablet had broken into pieces, a priceless treasure was lost.During its restoration, six other pieces were gathered from various museums. MamlukAale Mohammed arrived in al-Qaaherah and another piece was found with ‘حـم ونريـ’ inscribed upon it. The حـم was identified as being from thebismillah, and the next part the beginning of a Quranicaayat.
Al-Dai al-AjalSyednaAaliQadrMufaddalSaifuddinTUS explained that the first piece found contained parts of Imam Hakim’s name (the م is from حاكم and بامر is from his honorific بامر الله. It was due to the barakat of the Imam’s name that the remaining pieces were found and the tablet put together. Further, ‘meem’ and ‘be’ are two letters we are all familiar with, for they comprise the tauqeemubarak (signature) of SyednaBurhanuddinRA. Many of us have araaiz which have been graced by this tauqeemubarak. The ‘م ب’denote Mohammed Burhanuddin, and the remaining word ‘امر’ indicate that it was Imam’s amr (directive) to SyednaBurhanuddinRA to commence the revival and restoration of Jami´ Anwar.
The fragment of the lawhat which was first found.
Syedna al-Dai al-AjalTUS commented that putting together the various pieces was no easy task.The difficulties involved in getting even the smallest of artefacts from a museum is well-known. However, Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA was a divine magnet towards whom the relics of AimmatTahereenAS were drawn. Just as numerous manuscripts of Dawatkutub, many in the handwriting of their authors, gathered in the library of SyednaTaherSaifuddinRA along with the coins and shawls of AimmatTahereenAS.
It was with the revival of Jami´ Anwar that the gathering of Mumineen began on an unprecedented scale.Rasulullah’sSA Dai, SyednaBurhanuddinRA, continued to gatherMumineen in his presence. Some came many times a year, even if there was no occasion. Theywere drawn tohim in droves. Anwar’s inauguration was the first time that many Mumineen had travelled by plane.Others who did not possess the means, gathered funds from here and there and made the journey. This was all done to acquire the happiness and benedictions of SyednaBurhanuddinRA. Similarly, in 1411, when AsharahMubarakah was held in Dar es Salaam, many Mumineen from Madagascar, who had not even left their respective towns and cities, made the journey to Dar es Salaam. At the zenith of all gatherings was the one that took place in 1435 H. As word spread of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin’swafaat, Mumineen from all over the world dropped everything and made their way to Mumbai to be a part of the janazahmubaraakah.Syedna al-Dai al-AjalTUS stated that gathering in this manner is not something to be belittled or consider trivial.
The act of gathering is a key element in the functioning of this world. For example, if one was to trace the origins of the foods he consumes he will realize that it comes from various locations. These dispersed elements all come together in one’s body, yet the ability to bring together these scattered elements is divine and onlypossessed by Imam al-ZamanAS and his Dai TUS.
The Art of Writing
The gathering of the fragments of the lawhat, and the joining of letters in writing are works of skill. Writing involves the gathering of alphabets to form words. The writer who skillfully conjoins letters is known as a calligrapher. AmirulMumineenAS explained to his calligrapher Abdullah b. AbiRaafe´ the prerequisites of graceful handwriting which included taking care of the inkwell, pen and maintaining proper spacing as well joining letters.
Maula alone is truly able to gather and bring us together in a coherent whole. While others in this world attempt to form a union, they are prone to failure with someone eventually seeking to exit the setup. By Allah’s will, Maula gathers disparate entities which were strewn far and wide when the fall from grace took place. This majlis is an example in whichMaula gathers Mumineen of varying temperaments. One may be sitting next to an individual who may be ofa completely different nature to him/her, however, the overarching mohabbat for Imam Husain ASbrings and keeps everyone together.
The juxtaposition of writing skill and gathering is beautifully demonstrated in the narrative of MaulatonaFatema’sASpearl necklace. The young Imam Hasan and Imam Husain AS attempted to wrestle each other in order to establish which of them was stronger. They came before RasulullahSA and asked him to judge between them. He replied that such acts do not behove us, and instead asked them to write a sentence each. When they did, RasulullahSA sent them to AmirulMumineenAS since he did not wish to upset one by favouring the other. With the same intention in mind, AmirulMumineenAS in turn, sent them both to MaulatonaFatemaAS. Her solution was to scatter her necklace containing seven pearls, the one who gathers more pearls will be deemed the stronger. Each of them managed to gather three pearls and were looking for the fourth one, however, at the same time each intended for the other brother to gather that elusive pearl. This wish of theirs came to fruition whenJibraeel descended and made two pearls out of the remaining one. Syedna al-Dai al-AjalTUS cast a new light upon this incident when he told us that the strength RasulullahSA wanted to see was their strength in gathering together far flung souls and bringing them all together, just as they had brought together alphabets into words.
Likewise, AimmatTahereenAS counseled the Duat of their times to bring together their followers. Following, their seclusion, DuatMutlaqeenRA continued to gather Mumineen, and to that end were prepared to do all that was necessary. Even when circumstances are adverse, they will nevertheless avail each and every opportunity to bring together Mumineen.
It is well-known that the sons of AdamjeePeerbhoy were deeply embittered towards dawat anddai, but they also maintained a high-profile within the community. The Chelum of Imam Husain AS was one occasion during which they hosted a niyaaz for which Syedna would always grace them, even if it meant traveling to Mumbai for the occasion. One year, however, the sons demanded that no invitation be sent to Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA (49th Dai Mutlaq) who was in Surat at the time. As the date drew near and the news of this misdeed spread, the faithful made it clear that since Syedna was deliberately not invited, they too would stay away. Faced with public humiliation, a telegram was sent to Syedna requesting him to attend. Despite the last minute invitation,Syedna set out taking the night train to Mumbai. Even then there was friction in the family sinceAdamji observed the required etiquettes for qadambosi even though his sons had ordered him not to. The argument continued for over ten minutes, with Syedna hearing every word of this vociferous feud. The sons were rebuking their father, while the father continued reminding his sons of Syedna’s benevolencefor gracing them with his presence. The ill feelings festered, however, and Syedna departed from Mumbai where he stayed at Adamji’s residence after just ten days – much shorter than usual.
Adamji’s residence in Mumbai was frequented by DuaatMutlaqeen, and was a place where they found solace. On one occasion, the young SyednaTaherSaifuddinRA was seated on the verandah practicing his handwriting in a book. Following a sabaq, Syedna Mohammed BurhanuddinRA came to him and asked him what he was doing. SyednaBurhanuddinRA took the book and wrote the verse ‘And soon Allah will suffice, and He is the all-hearing, all-knowing’. In 1341 H, it was this very bungalow that SyednaTaherSaifuddinRA purchased covertly without the sons of Adamji knowing until the time of documentation. SyednaTaherSaifuddinRA relates that even as they ascended Malabar Hill he was still uncertain as to which bungalow was purchased, but finally when they turned in from Jinnah’s bungalow he was certain that the bungalow he wanted to acquire – where he had written the aayat, all those years ago – had in fact been purchased.
The knowledge of how to gather Mumineen was also in the possession of hudoodfodalaa’. During the time of Jafar’sfitnat, Maulaya RajQRbrought Mumineen to the fold of Dawat by visiting their homes garbed in the clothes of a beggar and gently counseled them.When the Jafaris and Hashawis came to know of his efforts in gathering Mumineen, they cut him into pieces. His qabrmubarak is in Ahmedabad surrounded by the graves of 125 other shohadaa’.
Syedna al-Dai al-AjalTUS also counseled Mumineen and Muminaat to lead their lives in a manner that ensures that they remain with Maula in this world and the next. He stressed that one must pray all five faridatnamaaz on time, eat a hearty breakfast, persevere in seeking a livelihood, sit at a thaal for dinner, spend time with their family and at the end of the day take account of the day’s activities,if they had wronged anyone then they should seek forgiveness from him/her. Likewise, so that one remains safe from the gaze of those with ill-intent, he should recite Quran Majeed, as well as other duaa’s like al-Nasrwaal-Mahaabah, Duaa’ al-Kaamil – to be prayed at least once a day and Duaa’Joshan. He also made it clear that Satan will surely enter the homes in which songs are played. He addressed those women who felt that this modern age requires that they attire themselves in a manner that is more becoming of it. He responded to those who question ‘why are you asking us to maintain purdah, by stating thatthe mohabbat of MaulatonaFatemaAS requires Muminaat to maintain their purdah. We are DawoodiBohras. For us, beauty is the inner one.
The expression of noh and aweel is the key to gather those scattered entities that were once a whole. Noh means to come together and cry. Another meaning is for the soul, body and all the organs to come together and be unified in their grief and lament upon Imam Husain AS. It is this remembrance of Imam Husain AS which has greatly increased our strength: as individuals and as a community.We should remember that in the moments leading to his shahaadat, Imam HusainAS addressed the various parts of his body. He counseled his heart to bear these hardships, his feet to persevere in Allah’s cause, his raasmubarak to offer gratitude to Allah when raised atop the spear and for his body to praise Allah even when immersed in its own blood. May we too counsel each part of our body, our family members, our loves ones and brethren in faith to expend ourselves in actions that bring us all closer to Maula and eventually allow them to gather in his presence.