The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Zainab
Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Zainab (5AH/626CE to 62AH/681CE)
Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Zainab was born in Medina in 5AH/626CE. She was a granddaughter of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), daughter of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatimata Zahra. As a result of losing her mother when she was seven, Sayyida Zainab had a special closeness with her brothers Imam al Hassan and Imam al Hussayn. When her father became Caliph, Sayyida Zainab and her family moved with her father from Medina to Kufa. While in Medina, Sayyida Zainab held sessions to help women study the Qur'an and learn more about Islam, a practice she continued in Kufa. She was instrumental in the protection of her nephew. When Sayyidi Ali Zayn al 'Abidin was sentenced to death by the governor of Kufa, she threw herself on him in a protective embrace and, moved by her actions, the captors spared Sayyidi Ali Zayn's life. Sayyida Zainab was a model of defiance against oppression and other forms of injustice. Although Sayyida Zainab had wealth, she lived a modest life and donated most of her wealth in charity and was especially generous to the poor, the homeless, and the parentless. In her character she reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In sobriety and serenity she was likened to the Mother of the Believers, Khadija, her grandmother; in chastity and modesty to her mother Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatima Zahra; in eloquence to her father Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali; in forbearance and patience to her brother Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan; and in bravery and tranquillity of the heart to Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn. Her face reflected her father's awe and her grandfather's reverence. She died in 62AH/681CE.
(Silsilat). The Spiritual Chain of each tariqa descends from the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) down to the present-day Shaykh. It is through his attachment to the silsilat that the newly initiated murid has the means to travel to Allah under Divine Protection.
Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) is the final Prophet and Messenger and is known as the Seal of the Prophets (khatm al-anbiya). He (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) is the most central figure within the Islamic tradition, in general, and in Sufism, in particular. All Sufi Orders trace their lineage to The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), for it was through him that Allah transmitted the final Divine revelation to humanity and it is within him that Allah has granted an incomparably great character. His (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) incomparably great character is the model par excellence for the individual seeking to draw close to Allah.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali was born in Mecca in 598CE, with some sources indicating the he was born in the sacred sanctuary of the Ka'aba. He was the fourth caliph and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), later becoming the Prophet's (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) son-in-law though marriage to the Holy Prophet's (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) daughter, Fatima Zahra. Imam Ali was the first child to accept Islam. The personal qualities for which Imam Ali is renowned are innumerable and include being an exemplary warrior, statesman, husband, father, and scholar of immense eloquence. He was respected for his courage, knowledge, belief, honesty, piety, nobility, unbending devotion to Islam, deep loyalty to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), consistent treatment of all Muslims, and generosity in forgiving his defeated foe. He is seen as an exemplar of futuwwah (spiritual chivalry). Almost all silsila of the turuq trace their lineage through Imam Ali. On the 19th of Ramadan 40 AH, Imam Ali was attacked with a poison-coated sword while prostrating during the fajr prayer. Rather than seek out revenge, Imam Ali stipulated that if he survived his attacker would be pardoned and if he died his attacker should receive only one equal hit. Imam Ali died a few days after the attack in Iraq in 40AH/661CE.
Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatima Zahra was born in Mecca in 615CE. She is the most famous daughter of the Holy Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and Khadija. She was the wife of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and the mother of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan and Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn. She has been regarded as one of the four exemplary women in the history of humanity (along with Asiya, wife of Pharaoh; Mary, mother of Jesus; and Khadija) and is referred as Fatima az-Zahra, meaning "Fatima the resplendent." Numerous marvels are attributed to her and she is seen by many as an important model for female piety and sanctity. She was only eighteen when she died in Medina in 11AH/633CE, passing shortly after her father (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). She is buried in the graveyard of Jannatul Baqi' in Medina in an unmarked grave, which was according to her will.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan was born in Medina in 3AH/625CE. He was the eldest grandson of the Holy Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), son of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatimatu-z-Zahra, and was the was the fifth caliph, though he abdicated after six or seven months. When negotiating Imam Hassan's abdication, it is reported that he was offered an annual stipend of 1,000,000 dirhams from the treasury Bayt al-mal, along with land taxes. To this Imam Hassan replied "He is trying to appeal to my greed for a matter which, if I desired it, I would not surrender to him" and only asked that safety be granted to the people. After his abdication, Imam al Hassan spent the remainder of his life in Medina, living in seclusion. He died in 50AH/670CE and is buried in the al-Baqi' cemetery in Medina.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn was born in Medina in 4AH/626CE. He was grandson of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), son of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatima Zahra. Next to the main door of his mosque in Cairo is a plaque which reminds all who enter that the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said "I am from Hussayn, and Hussayn is from me." Despite expectations of him to take a prominent political role, Imam al Hussayn shunned the grandeur of his genealogical status in favour of breaking bread with the poor and needy. While he suffered persecution at the hands of the political powers, Imam al Hussayn said "I will never give my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave ... I have not risen to spread evil or to show off ... I only desire to enjoin good values and prevent evil." After three days of being denied water in the scorching desert heat, his oppressors attacked. Vastly outnumbered, Imam al Hussayn and his companions resisted the oppressors despite being fatigued, thirsty, and heavily wounded. Imam al Hussayn was the last to be slain and, while he was killed mercilessly, he dies holding firmly to his principles, that of instating an Islamic polity rather than unjust rulers.