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The holy month of Sha’ban is incredibly auspicious as it hosts the sacred night of blessings. This night of benefits is given its name due to the historical and spiritual event that occurred centuries ago and was brought forth by our holy prophet Muhammad (saww). This blessed night is an opportunity for those who cannot grasp and understand the spiritual realm that Allah (swt) has put on this earth to see from a tangible perspective that there is a connection between spirituality and the unknown world. This connection will help to elevate every believer, as this night provides the opportunity to manifest mercy, blessings, and miracles. The belief around this night is that Allah (swt) writes our coming years’ destiny.

Allah (swt) has promised that those who sincerely and truthfully ask from within the core of their hearts for any wishes will all be granted. He guarantees that He will grant those wishes. The question here arises, why, of all the nights, considering that on Laylatul-Qadr, the night the Holy Qur’an was revealed, has the 15th of Sha’ban been chosen as the pure night where no legitimate desire remains ungranted? Logic can only justify it within the blessings of the birth of our present Imam Mahdi (ajtfs). His advent on this night has elevated the night from a common one to one that holds tremendous honour, similar to the merits of Laylatul-Qadr and Arafat.

Imam Mahdi’s (ajtfs) life has been foretold by so many narrations that he is the ‘Messiah’ who will bring peace, blessings, and good tidings to this earth. This prestige doesn’t come quickly. He is carrying the weight of the world. He is responsible for avenging the oppression and atrocities done to Lady Fatima (a.s). He is responsible for avenging the brutal martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family. He has the responsibility of ensuring that we all remain guided. Not only does he carry the burden of the past, but also of the present and future. He is the one who will establish true justice.

Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) is known in many religions as the Messiah. Within the Jewish faith, the awaited Messiah is described with an underlying similarity to the Islamic belief that the Messiah will bring peace to the world. They have in their prophecy at least four other things about the Messiah. The first is that he will be a descendant of King David. Secondly, he will gain sovereignty over the land of Israel. Next, he will gather the Jews there from the four corners of the earth and restore them to the full observance of Torah law.1 Within the Christian belief system, Prophet Isa, also known as Jesus Christ, is the messiah foretold in the Bible2. Christians believe that when Jesus Christ returns to Earth with the mission of justice, it will be the reappearance of the Messiah3. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who, under Buddhist tradition, is foretold to manifest on Earth, attain full Enlightenment, and impart the Dharma. Scriptures claim that Maitreya will share many of Gautama Buddha’s (also known as Kyamuni Buddha’s) teachings. It is predicted that Maitreya will arrive when much of the human world has forgotten the teachings of Gautama Buddha4. These are just a few faiths with a clear prophecy of a saviour coming to build a just and peaceful world.

So why are we disconnected from this prophecy that most global religious faiths have in common? It all comes down to the ‘self.’ It is always of the self in metaphysical, psychological, physical or spiritual terms. In our previous article, we spoke about self-awareness and self-care. This blog will sync up on self-reflection. How perfect is the timing that we reflect upon ourselves with the coming Night of Blessings?

When we self-reflect, we look within ourselves and ask, “Who are we?”. Sure, it sounds so easy. The typical answers come up. We describe our gender, creed, race, religion, culture, values, likes and dislikes, passions, and hobbies. Have we ever asked, “Who are we in the realm of this world? In the eyes of Allah (swt)?”

“Your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it. Your sickness is from you, but you do not perceive it. You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe. You are indeed the Evident Book, by whose alphabet the Hidden becomes Manifest. Therefore, you have no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you if only you reflect.”5

–Imam Ali (as)

This quote holds the secret of self-reflection. We recognize that, indeed, we do not know ourselves when we realize what and who we are and for what purpose we were created. We have the universe within us. How much do we know about the universe? Science has just discovered less than 10 percent of the ocean world6 and less than 4 percent of (outer) space.7

Yet, the Imam (a.s) says that the whole Universe is within us. Not only that, but he states that we make our sicknesses in life. These sicknesses include our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ailments. We are oblivious to the amount of disease we carry daily. We are consumed by sickness when we get angry, upset, rageful, or even irritated. When we take our prayers lightly, forget the importance of punctuality in our prayer timings, don’t recite the Holy Qur’an to remove the rust from our hearts, be a helpful person to others, generous and kind, we bring about the disease to our soul. Every negative entity, personality, attitude, thought, and value is a disease we bring to ourselves. All these diseases can be cured by us too. This is what the Imam is telling us. The cures lie within.

Additionally, he speaks about the Evident Book. This was the overt guidance that has now become a secret. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) always said that true guidance is only accomplished when you hold fast to the Holy Qur’an and his Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). Here, the Imam (a.s) is also reiterating the same advice. The Book is engraved inside of us. We must learn to seek it and bring it towards the surface where our conscious mind can contemplate and guide itself toward inner balance and peace. This is, again, highlighted by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) when he states: An hour of contemplation is better than a year of worship. When one contemplates and self-reflects upon themselves, they have technically gone into a state of worship.

During this night of power and blessings, let’s try to utilize it to deeply contemplate who we are and why we are who we are. Aim to find the light that brightens our souls to learn about the universe within us and connect to the Lord and His light to find meaning in self-reflection.

[1] The Messiah. (n.d.). Copyright 2023. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-messiah
[2] What Does Messiah Mean? | Bibleinfo.com. (n.d.). https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-does-messiah-mean
[3] Alma’itah, Q. S., & Haq, Z. U. (2022). The concept of Messiah in Abrahamic religions: A focused study of the eschatology of Sunni islam. Heliyon, 8(3), e09080. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09080
[4] Wikipedia contributors. (2023, January 26). Maitreya. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya
[5] Can someone explain this quote by Imam Ali (as) by each sentence: “Your sickness is from you but you do not perceive it, and your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it. . .”? (2021, September 18). Al-Islam.org. https://www.al-islam.org/ask/can-someone-explain-this-quote-by-imam-ali-as-by-each-sentence-your-sickness-is-from-you-but-you-do-not-perceive-it-and-your-remedy-is-within-you-but-you-do-not-sense-it/sayyed-mohammad-al-musawi
[6] How much of the ocean have we explored? (n.d.). https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html
[7] Quotations, S. (2022, April 4). How Much of Space Has Been Explored? Space Quotations. https://spacequotations.com/how-much-of-space-has-been-explored/