Ashura: Night of Blessings (II)

IN the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Almighty Allah declares about man and time in the Holy Qur’an Dhar, 76:1-3: “Has there not been over man a long period of time, when he was nothing— (not even) mentioned? Verily We created man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So, We gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight. We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will). Indeed, in that are surely signs for everyone who is patient and grateful.”

Truly, the ‘Ashura Day of Blessings is unique from the outset of history. According to Imam Al-Ghazali, writing in his Mukhashfa al-Qulub, Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) was asked why the day of ‘Ashura was considered so noble. Umar (RA) listed a few events which had taken place on ‘Ashura: Allah created the skies and earth on this day, along with the Preserved Tablet; Allah created Angel Jibril (AS); Allah created Adam (as), as well as Hawau (AS); Allah created Jannah; Allah enabled Adam (as) to live in Jannah; The first rain to fall on earth was on ‘Ashura. Therefore, since before the beginning of human history, ‘Ashura has been filled with significant events.

Also, it was on ‘Ashura Day that Nuh and his people descended from the Ark occasioned by the flood that perished the idolaters. Nuh (AS) was a truly amazing person. For around 950 years, he called his people to Allah, yet in all that time, only a small group of people believed him. The rest of his people were filled with enmity and hostility towards him.

In Nuh’s own words, as related by Allah in Qur’an 71:5-12), “He said, ‘My Lord, indeed I invited my people (to truth) night and day. But my invitation increased them not except in flight. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with (great) arrogance. Then I invited them publicly. Then I announced to them and I (also) confided to them secretly. And I said, Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in (continuing) showers, and give you increase in wealth and children, and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.’”

In these beautiful words, Nuh (AS) invited his people to the forgiving and generous Lord, both publicly and individually, yet they rejected him. For almost a thousand years, he appealed to their hearts and minds to recognise the truth of Allah’s grandeur, yet they hated him and ridiculed him.

Finally, Allah ordered Nuh (as) to build an ark and afterwards sent a flood upon the earth, which only the passengers of the ark survived. The waves were as high as the mountains and the rain fell for months. Eventually, Allah stopped the rain and the earth swallowed the water.

According to Al-Jilani, other Prophets (AS) also went through significant events on ’Ashura, including Prophet Adam (AS). Allah accepted his repentance, and He forgave Adam (AS).

Qur’an 7:19-25 attests: “O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the garden and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish but approach not this tree or ye run into harm and transgression. Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before). He said, ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest ye should become angels or such beings as live forever’. And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So, by deceit he brought about their fall. When they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: ‘Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?’ They said: ‘Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls. If Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy mercy, we shall certainly be lost’. (God) said: ‘Get ye down with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time. Therein shall ye live and therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken out (at last).’”

Moreover, it was on ‘Ashura Day God saved Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Allah extinguished the fire he was thrown into by King Namrood’s subjects. Qur’an 21:69 confirms: “We said, ‘O Fire! Be thou cool, and (a means of) safety for Abraham!.’”

Furthermore, Prophet Ayyub (AS) was healed on ‘Ashura Day. Almighty Allah released him from the long test which he had borne patiently with constant faith, even as he lost his family, his health and his wealth (Qur’an 6:84; 21:83-84; 38:41-44).

Qur’an 21:83-84 affirms: “And (remember) Job, when he cried to his Lord, ‘Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful’. So, We listened to him. We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his people to him, and doubled their number, as a grace from Ourselves, and a thing for commemoration for all who serve Us.”

Truly, Prophet Sulayman’s (AS) prayers were answered on ‘Ashura Day for unsurpassed blessings. Almighty Allah gave him a vast kingdom, which none after him has ever had. He could command the winds, and his army consisted of men, jinn, birds and animals (Qur’an 38:30-40; 27:18-19, 22-44).

Qur’an 38:34-40 upholds: “And We did try Solomon. We placed on his throne a body (without life) but he did turn (to Us in true devotion). He said, ‘O my Lord! Forgive me and grant me a kingdom which (it may be) suits not another after me for Thou art the Grantor of bounties (without measure)’. Then We subjected the wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, whithersoever he willed, as also the evil ones iIncluding) every kind of builder and diver,as also others bound together in fetters. Such are Our bounties whether thou bestow them (on others) or withhold them, no account will be asked. And he enjoyed, indeed, a near approach to Us, and a beautiful place of (final) return.”

Indeed, Prophet Yunus (AS) was forgiven and saved from the belly of the whales on ‘Ashura Day. Almighty Allah took him out of the belly of the whale and forgave his people for their previous disobedience (Qur’an 4:163; 6:86; 10:98; 37:139-148; 21:87; 68:48-50).

Qur’an 21:87-88 confirms: “And remember Ẓun-nun, when he departed in wrath. He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness, ‘There is no god but Thou. Glory to Thee. I was indeed wrong!’  So, We listened to him and delivered him from distress and thus, do We deliver those who have faith.”

And Prophet Isa (AS) was saved from being crucified on the cross, as Almighty Allah raised him to the heavens on ‘Ashura Day of Blessings (Qur’an 3:55-58; 4:157-159).

The Holy Qur’an 3:55-58 attests: “Behold! God said: ‘O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith to the Day of Resurrection; then shall ye all return unto Me and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute. As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help. As to those who believe and work righteousness God will pay them (in full) their reward but God loveth not those who do wrong. This is what We rehearse unto thee of the signs and the message of wisdom.”

Thus, Allah tested his Prophets (AS) on ‘Ashura, and blessed them, and saved them, and forgave them, and took them back to Him. He (SWT) favoured them in all these ways, for even His tests are a favour and a blessing, as the Prophet (saw) said, “When Allah loves a servant, He tests him” [Tirmidhi].

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