Conveying the Voice of Imam Husayn To the World Chapter 4: Upholding the Husayni Sha‘a’er

Introduction

Allah Almighty says in His Glorious Book:

{On that account, We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people, and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.}37

In some of the Tafsir (exegesis) it is stated that one of the meanings of “saving life” of the above noble verse is “leaving and exiting the darkness of aberration to the Light of being guided”, as the Almighty states,{Can he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a Light whereby he can walk amongst men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from which he can never come out? Thus to those without Faith their own deeds seem pleasing.}38

So this noble verse considers he who is distant from faith – iman – to be distant from the light or the knowledge with which one lives amongst the people. Therefore the Light that is in fact knowledge or faith as presented in this noble verse is one of the meanings of “giving life”.

This kind of giving life has many manifestations; one would be for individuals who are alive, i.e. to endeavour to guide someone to the right path. In Another case this “giving life” would be for individuals who are dead; for example in a meeting one might highlight the virtues and the good qualities of a mu’min – a believer – who is dead, this act would also be considered “giving life” to the individual concerned. The gatherings that are arranged on the occasions of the birthday or the death of the Imams alayhum-as-salam are also considered a manifestation of “giving life” to those occasions and to their respective owners. This “giving life” is no doubt considered as the Sha’a’er that Allah Almighty refers to in His Glorious Book:

37 The Holy Qur’an, [5:22]

38 The Holy Qur’an, [6:122]

{And whoever holds in honour the Sha‘a’er – Symbols – of Allah, for they truly reflect the piety of the heart.}39

In fact upholding and “giving life” to the Islamic occasions is one of the Sha’a’er that Islam calls for. So when highlighting the virtues of a believer means keeping his memory alive, it is far more significant when we attempt to keep alive the memory of Rasulollah and his Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam. And this is clearly noticed in the tale reported in the holy Qur’an when Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) alayhis-salam said,{Grant me honourable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest generations}40.

This means that “O Lord I ask to make the people after me remember me and keep my memory alive – “giving life to me” – so that my teachings and religion remain alive amongst the people – which are Tawheed and the law of Allah – and at the end of the day the religion that you revealed to me shall be the cause for the guidance of the people.”

Benefits of the Husayni programs

In the same way the mourning programs have great importance and they may not be ignored, and the Husayni Sha’a’er have a significant role in revitalising the nations and no one can deny this fact. So too are the Qur’an recitation sessions, as the words of the Qur’an resonate in the hearts of the believers and occupy their entire existence such that the Qur’an verses become their aims and objectives. For the Qur’an rejects tyranny and oppression, or transgressing upon others’ rights or suppressing their freedoms or sending them on exile. Allah Almighty states in His Glorious Book, {Those who do not judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are the transgressors.}41

{And do not transgress for Allah does not like the transgressors}42

{Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law.}43

39 The Holy Qur’an, [22:32] 40 The Holy Qur’an, [27: 84] 41 The Holy Qur’an, [5: 47] 42 The Holy Qur’an, [2: 190]

{Do the Unbelievers think that they can take My servants as protectors besides Me? Verily We have prepared Hell for the Unbelievers for (their) entertainment.}44

When the Muslims read such verses from the Qur’an, Allah opens their hearts and they realise that the reality (of their society and of their country and circumstances) is contrary to what the Qur’an calls for. It is for such reasons that the tyrants endeavour to prevent the Husayni programs, since these programs expose the criminals and reveal the truth to the people. I shall mention an account from history in this respect and then come back to our discussion.

Husayni Programs vs. Ploys of Colonialists

In one of the Indian cities where the Muslims used to lead a tranquil life, the British entered one of the Indian cities under the guise of a trade company. The local governor mobilised his forces to resist the British, but with all the efforts he made his forces were no match to the British forces.

The result was that British quashed the resistance and killed many of the forces of the Indian governor. Then they issued a decree to kill the women and children, and the city was subjected to brutal massacre, and the bodies of the victims remained unburied for several days such that animals fed on them. In this way the British managed to rule Indian subcontinent. One of the laws they instituted was that they banned the Qur’an recitation sessions and Husayni Sha’a’er programs, whereas the Indian Muslims used to actively organise and participate in such programs. Under the new British law anyone who organises such programs is imprisoned for a period of ten years. However one of the scholars decided to actively oppose this ‘law’ and set up Qur’an lessons for the youngsters and encouraged parents to send their children to his Qur’an lessons. The man was charged for breaking the imposed law and imprisoned for ten years. On his release from prison, and with undiminished determination he continued his Qur’anic lessons for the youngsters, in addition to organising other lessons as well as Husayni Sha’a’er. The successes of his programs were such that similar programs were also set up in other mosques, and they became as widespread as before. Such programs have a direct role in uprooting tyranny from the Islamic countries and freeing them from the grips of the multinationals.

43 The Holy Qur’an, [6: 151] 44 The Holy Qur’an, [18: 102]

The significance of the mourning programs

As for the truths and validity (of the Sha’a’er), they are reflected in the realities we come across in our daily lives. One of the Maraje’ in the holy city of Qum narrated to me an interesting account of his encounter with a Christian priest. He said, “When I was studying in Najaf (in Iraq), I once went to Baghdad with some of the fellow students. While there we heard that there is a priest who actively preaches for Christianity, so we decided to wear normal clothing (not the usual ‘Aba and turban) and attend his session. At the end of the program, and when the people left the hall, the priest turned to us and asked us, “Who are you?” we replied, “we are native” he said, “I don’t mean that, but it seems to me that you are scholars and I do not think you came here to learn from me.” I replied that we study theology. I could tell that from the outset, he replied. In our conversation with him he said, “I shall admit to you a truth that someone else would not say it, and the truth is that your Prophet (Salla-llahu Alayhi wa Aalih) was a man of knowledge and reflection and was aware of reality- and in these qualities he was unparalleled and came second to no one. Furthermore, your Prophet left behind for you things that no other prophet left for his people, and if we had just one of those things we would have made the entire world Christian. The first of those things is the Noble Qur’an, which is the eternal miracle of Islam; the second of them, the descendants of your Prophet who are referred to as “Sayyid”. They always continue to remind the people of the existence of the Messenger of Allah; the third of those is the existence of the shrines of the impeccable Imams as well as those of their of springs. These shrines act as a magnet and a focal point for the people, continually attracting them and giving them spiritual strength and guidance. The fourth of these things are the mourning programs that are established to commemorate them, and these programs are the best centres for making the people adhere to Islam. As you can see I have difficulty attracting followers of my own faith, whereas in your case as soon as you put a banner with “Ya Husayn” written on it, masses of people flock to your assembly.”

The Husayni Sha’a’er, or the mourning programs carry significant

importance, as well as the programs commemorating the birth of the Ma’soomeen alayhum-as-salam. One of the benefits of such programs is that the teachings of Islam with respect to all aspect of life are presented to the people, such as the question of government and leadership, the characters of the leader, his qualities and attitudes, etc. All such issues Islam has dealt with in details and the conduct of Rasulollah and Ma’soom Imams alayhum-as-salam reflect them. Now when such issues are presented and discussed during such programs, this does not go well with the plans of the despots and tyrants. When the characters of the Imams alayhum-as-salam are mentioned such as their bravery and the sacrifice they made for the sake of Islam, or encouraging the people to follow the Ahl-ul-Bayt and to have absolute trust in Allah and whole-heartedly adhere to the teachings of the holly Qur’an, or to fear Allah Almighty alone and no one else, or awakening the youth and encouraging them to follow those teachings. Such issues do not go well with the plans and policies of the tyrants who want to distance the people from Islam and their Islamic heritage, and to weaken their faith in Islam. They want to encourage non-Islamic or anti-Islamic values in societies instead of truthfulness, trust, sincerity and honesty, responsibility, strife, sacrifice, and adherence to the right path. For this reason the tyrant rulers are in perpetual war with mourning programs and the Husayni Sha’a’er. And everyone knows the clear role the Husayni Sha’a’er play in awakening the nation and boosting their morale, encouraging adherence to Islamic thoughts and teachings and calling the people to enjoining good, piety, cooperation, and upholding the cause of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.

Recommendations for the Husayniyahs

  1. To organise programs that emphasise the love and dedication of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam such that this love is out of awareness and understanding of the truth. The creation of love in the hearts is the responsibility of the Husayniyahs through the lectures and programs they organise which give vitality to the hearts and reduces one’s attention to this world and encourages the individual to ascend through an elevated soul and with the teachings and thoughts of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.

  2. To emphasise on the Noble Qur’an and to organise recitation sessions and classes for teaching the recitation of the Qur’an, especially for the children, since they are the strength of the future of Islam, and the same goes for the youth and women. It is imperative that everyone uses this unparalleled source of knowledge and to disseminate its teaching throughout society.

  3. It is also important that programs are held to teach Islamic laws and acts of worship including all those matters that people come across in their daily lives, as well as Aqa’ed or Islamic beliefs, which are obligatory for everyone to know. Other issues should also be taught such the history of the Math-hab and the lives of the holy Imams and their struggles against the tyrants of their times.

  4. Such gathering places as the Husayniyahs should be places for brotherhood, harmony, for remembering Allah Almighty, and honesty in all our dealings with everyone else ranging from friends and brothers, to family members and everyone else; the first and foremost being in our relation with Allah Almighty and the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.