Commentary on Munajat of Imam Ali (as) – Part 2

One of the finest segments in this great munajaat, is this eloquent expression of the Imam (AS), where conversing with his Lord, he says: (I have fled to You ..). The concept of fleeing to the Almighty is a deep-rooted concept dealing with the movement of the believer towards Allah (swt), and is also a known Qur’anic term, since Allah commanded His slaves to flee to Him in the verse: {So flee to Allah. Al Dhariyat:50} 

The fleeing to God – like any other fleeing – has two fundamental pillars: 

First: fear and panic from the one you are fleeing from. 

Second: the one you are fleeing towards. 

The fleeing human – is without doubt – not fleeing from a vacuum or nothingness, but, firstly, due to his ‘yaqeen’ (certainty) that an enemy exists, and secondly, knowledge that he can be harmed due to its evil nature. And since in this movement (towards Allah), he is trying to survive by himself, then certainly he does not flee but to an existing being. He is comfortable with Allah’s ability to protect him, and also that the arrival to Him has been made easily attainable. The same applies to someone who wants to save himself from a fierce lion, and in front of him is an impregnable fortress; so it would make sense for this man to do his best, to reach the fortress. So, if a person has lived these two pillars and all its elements, it will generate a compelling movement in his life, which in turn necessitates the self-striving (jihad al nafs) and struggle, and escaping to God, automatically. 

The Holy Quran declares in many instances that Satan is the enemy of man, and warns against following him, emphasizing the need to counter him with equal amounts of hostility, and to remain extremely cautious. Of these verses are : {Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan – [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.Ya-seen:60}, and : {and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. Baqarah:168}, and also: {Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. Fatir:6}.. Why, then, are we negligent of Satan?! And why this strong avoidance to face him?! Why don’t we take a serious stand against this enemy, who never stops scheming?! Or aren’t the verses explicit enough describing him as the worst enemy to the sons of Adam?! Didn’t he swear by the Might of Allah to mislead the descendants of Adam?: {[Iblees] said, “By your might, I will surely mislead them all. Sad:82}?!Aren’t he and his army the ones who see us, yet we cannot see them?! He is, therefore, indeed capable, with a long history of experience in the implementation of his promise. Add to his soldiers, the forces in the kingdom of the self: passion, and anger; If these forces are left to unite with Satan, they have the ability to overthrow the king of his existence, which is ‘aql, the intellect. If Satan was not able to cause such destruction, we would have seen a response to his promise in the Holy Quran. 

In contrast to this arch-enemy, there exists a fortress, which we are commanded to take refuge in. It is non other than the Lord of all mankind. Despite of Satan’s ability and tricks to destroy the sons of Adam, his plotting is weak with no strong foundation, since, as described by the Qur’an, he remains a slave of God Almighty; and Allah (swt) has the ability to prevent his scheming – if he wanted – against the believing slave, just like he has protected his awliya’ (representatives) throughout history. 

There is a narration by Imam Ridha (as), appropriate for this discussion – which refers to this fortress: narrated from his father, through his grandfather, through the Prophet (pbuh), who received it from Jibreel (as): ‘God Almighty said: (La illaha illa Allah (there is no god except Allah) is My fortress, whoever enters my fortress, will be safe from My punishment). The intention here, is the external manifestation of the word of Tawheed (practical tawheed viz theoretical tawheed), where the human being does not see any cause in existence except God Almighty. Otherwise, if it was just referring to the words of tashahud, then all Muslims would be in the fortress of God. So, he who is able to comprehend this reality with insight (baseerah), wouldn’t he take this reality as a fortress?! 

We should not lose sight of another reality mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, which is the necessity to avoid all that prevents one from remembering God Almighty (engaging with the self, money, children and the like), to the degree of distraction and unawareness. These are also enemies of the human being, in addition to the great enemy Satan the accursed. Thus, the aware human being, who discovered that he is surrounded by enemies, will undoubtedly flee to the Almighty, with all his power, and seek refuge with Him. 

Then the Imam (AS) continues in the munajaat: (and am standing before You imploring You in humility and hoping to get the reward You have for me). Most of the pilgrims of hajj invoke this meaning as they stand at the door of the Ka’bah, but in fact the meaning is superficial and naïve. Yes, God Almighty made the Ka’bah a single direction for Muslims in all ages, but Allah (swt) also says in another verse: {So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Baqarah:115}. It is with certainty, that man when in the house of God, would refrain from committing a sin. If a person – for example – was approached by a woman and she invited him to sin in the house of God, he will definitely dismiss her. To him this is a great matter, and he could never imagine committing such an act, since he is living a state of evoking the divine dominion at the house of God. He would not even think about sinning, let alone engage himself in the preludes (to sin). If a person expanded this circle (of feeling divine presence), and saw the whole world as the House of Allah, would he still allow himself to commit a sin?! If he lived that feeling of sanctity and severe prohibition, would he even think about sinning?! 

So, who reaches this degree of a continuous feeling of divine presence, he has achieved what is known as ‘minor infallibility’, and perhaps this is the secret in the well known narration: (the ulema (scholars) of my ummah, are better than the Prophets of Bani Israel); if we expanded the interpretation of this phrase to fallibles, and interpreted the Prophets of Bani Israel to mean not those who’ve been sent a divine law (Ulil-Azm).

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