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The Divine Banquet

Ayatollah Hasanzadeh AmuliCalling the Qur’an a banquet has so much sweetness in it that, despite being comprehensible, is inexpressible. However much you seek closeness to the Holy Qur’an, you have in reality become near to the perfect human being. Hence, reflect on what extent you benefit from the Holy Qur’an.

Ayatollah Hasanzadeh AmuliThe Holy Qur’an is the written form of a perfect human being (Insan-e-Kamil). This means, it is a written form of the Muhammadan reality. The Holy Qur’an says: “Indeed this Qur’an guides to what is most upright.” (17:9)

 

“In the Apostle of Allah there is certainly for you a good exemplar.” (33:21)

However much you seek closeness to the Holy Qur’an, you have [in reality] become near to the perfect human being. Hence, reflect on what extent you benefit from the Holy Qur’an. This is because the realities of its verses are actually the stages (darajaat) of your essence, and its runways (madaarij) are the ladder[s] of your spiritual ascent and perfection.

The Leader of Thaqalayn (human beings and Jinns) Hadhrat ‘Ali (peace be upon him) in his will to Muhammad bin Hanafiyya says:

“And upon you is the recitation of the Qur’an and action according to what it says; adhere to what it has made compulsory, the laws that it contains, the lawful and unlawful things it mentions and its commandments and prohibitions; and observe your night prayer with it, and recite it during your night and day, for surely it is a covenant from Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, to His creatures. Hence, it is incumbent on every Muslim to look at his covenant every day, even if that be only fifty verses. And know that the stations of Paradise are equal to the verses of Qur’an; and on the Day of Judgment, the reciter of the Qur’an will be told: ‘Read and ascend!’ Then there would not be in Paradise after the station of the prophets and the veracious (siddiqin) a station higher than that.”

The late ‘Alam al-Huda (Sayyid al-Murtadha) narrates from Ibn Masud that the Most Noble Messenger (peace be upon him and his progeny) said: “The Holy Qur’an is a Divine Banquet (ma’dabat Allah); thus benefit from it as much as you can, for indeed the most empty of houses is that heart which is empty of the light of the Qur’an.”

Calling the Qur’an a banquet (ma’duba) has so much sweetness in it that, despite being comprehensible, is inexpressible. Then, expounding the meaning of the word ma’duba, ‘Alam al-Huda says: “Ma’duba with a dhamma over the letter dal in the speech of Arabs means the food that a person has prepared to invite people so that they may benefit from it. In this sacred tradition, the Most Noble Messenger calls the benefit that one derives from reciting and safeguarding it, as ma’duba (prepared food). In the Arabic, when one invites a person for a meal, he says: Qad adaba al-rajulu ya’dabu fahuwa adab. And a banquet (ma’daba) is also called mad’aat.”

Al-Ahmar has said: “It is also pronounced as ma’daba with a fatha over daal [instead of a dhamma, as previously mentioned], and the aforesaid tradition also has been narrated with such a pronunciation (ma’daba instead of ma’duba). Hence what is meant by ma’daba or ma’duba is one and the same thing, and there is no difference in meaning.”

Others have said that ma’daba with a fatha over dal is in the linguistic form of maf’ala, and its origin is from the word adab (etiquette). Hence the meaning of the tradition would be: “The Qur’an has been sent for training the creation.”

The reason why the word ma’dabat has come with a taa of the feminine gender, while the Qur’an is referred to with a masculine gender and thus there is no need to have a taa at the end of ma’dab, is that the letter taa here confers a hyperbolic connotation. ‘Antaza, the poet, has said something similar: wal kufru makh’abatun linafsi al-mun’im. The word makh’abat here has come with taa employed for a feminine gender [but it confers a hyperbolic connotation]. It means, “Disbelief extremely hides the reality of the human being’s soul.”

Therefore, O dear brothers and sisters, come and sit near the Divine banquet; whatever your soul seeks will be found there, things that even the eyes by beholding them derives pleasure. Welcome to the training ground, for you cannot find greater etiquette than [what] it [contains], and cannot get a loftier teacher than its tutor. Is there anything after the truth other than deviation?

Sayyid Ibn Tawus narrates from Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him): It was repeatedly experienced by the Imam in the state of prayer that he would fall unconscious while reciting the Qur’an [in prayer]; when he would return to his normal state, he was asked, what led you to be overtaken like this? Imam said a statement, whose meaning is as follows: I repeated the verses of the Qur’an so much until it was as if I would hear it from the tongue of its original speaker. This is where the human power could not bear the vision of Divine Magnificence and Grandeur, and I fell unconscious.

Sayyid Ibn Tawus thereafter says: Know that the Qur’an is a boundless ocean. Why shouldn’t it be so, when it is the manifestation of Divine grace?

The first and sixth holy Imams have said. “Allah, the Majestic and Invincible, manifests Himself for His creation in His speech; but they cannot perceive.”

About Arsalan Rizvi

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