Conveying the Voice of Imam Husayn To the World
There are therefore certain duties that we must discharge with respect to the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, some of which are:
- We must present the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, as well as his principles and aims to the world through modern media such as Radio and Television, books, internet, etc. in the way that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam would want it. We must glorify the Sha’a’er which the Husayniyahs32 facilitate commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.
It is also desirable that the days of Ashura are declared public holidays and signs of sadness and mourning being publicly displayed. Imam Ridha alayhis-salam said, “even the Jahiliyyah33 – the pre-Islamic era – used to regard Muharram as a scared month, thereby forbade war and fighting in it, whereas our sanctity was violated in this month! Our blood was shed, our dignity breached, our women and children were taken prisoners, our tents were torched; and all their contents looted, our dignity were not saved even for the sake of (our grandfather) Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih . . . , truly the day of Husayn wounded our eyelids34, shed our tears, humiliated our revered one in the land of Karb (anguish) and Bala’ (affliction), and you (O land of Karbala) have left us with anguish and affliction until the last day of this life. So for the likes of Husayn the weepers should weep, for crying and weeping destroys the great sins”.
Then Imam Ridha alayhis-salam said, “With the start of the month of Muharram, my father could not be seen smiling, every day his heartache and anguish would increase until the tenth day, which was the day of sorrow, grief and weeping; saying this is the day Husayn alayhis-salam was killed”. Imam Ridha alayhissalam is also reported as saying, “he who does not concern himself with his business and occupation, or seek to sort out his affairs on the day of Ashura, Allah Almighty would see to his needs in this world and in the hereafter, and he for whom the day of Ashura is the day of mourning and sorrow, Allah would make the Day of Judgement the day of joy and happiness, and he would 32 Husayniyah is a religious centre where Husayni commemoration programs are held.
Husayn – The sacrifice for mankind
be pleased seeing us in Paradise. He who considers the day of Ashura the day of barakah - blessing and good fortune – and stores food stuff etc. in his house, on the day of judgement Allah would resurrect him and accommodate him at the bottom of hell with Yazid, Obaydullah ibn Zeyad, and Ommar ibn Sa’d – may the curse of Allah be upon them”.
Just as Imam Husayn alayhis-salam strived to implement the teachings of Islam and the laws of the holy Qur’an, so too we must follow in his footsteps and implement the teachings and laws of Islam throughout the Muslim land.
It is imperative upon us, wherever we may be, to hold programs for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, in the best possible manner, since the survival of Islam until the end of time is the aim which Imam Husayn alayhis-salam died for. Islam shall remain alive by virtue of the blood of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and the blood of those who were brought up in his school, defending Islamic values and teachings, throughout history.
In short, commemorating the memory of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam by holding mourning programs of Ta’ziah in the days of Ashura, giving food on those days, etc. all of such programs help keep the memory of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam alive, and it is such programs that have protected the spirit of Shi‘a35 and adherence to the holy Qur’an and the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.
Imam Zayn al-Abidin and Ashura
Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam also manifested the essence of this duty by his prolonged grief and weeping for his father. It is reported from Imam Baqir alayhis-salam, “ . . . and he (Imam Zayn al-Abidin) wept for his father for twenty years, and every time he was served food and drink, he wept for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, until on one occasion his servant said to him, "Is your sorrow and grief not going to end?", Imam Zayn al- Abidin, alayhis-salam replied, "Woe unto you! The prophet Jacob had twelve sons, and (when) Allah made one of them disappear, his eyes 35 Literally Shi‘a means ‘follower’, and this term was first used by Rasulollah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih when he referred to Imam Ali alayhis-salam by pointing to him and said,“He and his Shi‘a are the prosperous ones” From then onwards the followers and devotees of Imam Ali alayhis-salam become known as the Shi‘a.
turned white (i.e. blind) because of his increasing crying for him, his head turned grey because of grief, and his back humped because of sorrow, and all this while his son was alive in the world. Whereas I saw my father, my brother, my uncle, and seventeen members of my family killed around me . . . so how can my grief and sorrow end?" It is reported that Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam cried and wept so much for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam that it was feared that he would loose his eyesight. Every time he was given water to drink, he wept such that his tears poured into the water cup, and when he was asked about this, he replied "how can I not to when my father was denied the water that was absolutely free for the beasts and wild animals".
Ahl-ul-Bayt and Ashura
The Ma'soom Imams alayhum-as-salam annually held Azadari or mourning programs commemorating the day of Ashura, and in fact the Imams of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam encouraged others to continue to hold such programs to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam in various forms and styles of remembrance be it those which are obligatory, or those that are Mustahab or permissible, for this day is like no other day. There has been many hadith from them in this respect; in one narration Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam is asked as to why the day of Ashura became the day of sorrow and grief, lamentation and weeping, rather than the day when Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih died, or the day when Fatima-al-Zahra alayhas-salam died, or the day when Amir-ul-Mu'minin36 alayhis-salam was killed, or when Imam Hasan alayhis-salam was killed by poisoning? Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam replied, “Truly the day of al-Husayn is the day of the greatest catastrophe, since As-hab al-Kissa (people of the cloak) alayhum-as-salam who were the most honourable of creation in the sight of Allah were five, and when Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih died, Imam Ali, Fatima al-Zahra, Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam remained, and the people sought solace and comfort in them, and when Fatima al-Zahra alayhas-salam died, people sought consolation and comfort in Amir-ul-Mu'minin, Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam, and when Amir-ul-Mu'minin alayhissalam died people sought solace and comfort in Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam, and when Hasan alayhis-salam died people could find 36 Amir-ul-Mu’minin, meaning the Commander of the Faithful, is the title that was exclusively awarded to Imam Ali alayhis-salam by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih.
comfort in Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, but when Imam Husayn alayhissalam was killed, there remained no other member of As-hab al-Kissa to seek solace and comfort in, and by the killing of the last of them all access to As-hab al-Kissa was severed, whereas so long as there was even one of them amongst the people, it was as if all of them were amongst the people.
That is why the day of Husayn alayhis-salam is the most calamitous of all days.”
Thus great rewards have been reported for establishing and upholding these Husayni Sha'a'er. Imam Baqir alayhis-salam stated, "Imam Zayn al- Abidin used to say, "Any believer who weeps for Imam Husayn alayhissalam and his tragedy such that his tears run down his cheek, Allah Almighty shall accommodate him in Paradise, and any believer who wept for us for what we suffered at the hands of our enemy in this world such that his tears run down his cheeks Allah shall accommodate him in a lofty station, and any believer who suffers hardship in our cause, such that he weeps for us and his tears run down his cheek, Allah Almighty shall repel from his face any anguish and protects him from fire on the day of Judgement".
And thus tyrants and despots throughout history tried to stop these sacred ceremonies and Husayni Sha‘a’er, as is the case of the (Ba‘thist) regime in Iraq. The regime first began by banning the mourning ceremonies in the capital city – Baghdad – and it then extended this ban to all other cities of Iraq. It then went on to ban the people Basra and other cities from coming to Karbala on religious occasions such as on Ashura and on the day of Arba‘een.
The Ba‘thist regime then gained enough courage and confidence to arbitrary arrest the Ulema, scholars, and public speakers of the Husayni Sha‘a’er, and subject them to brutal torture, before executing great many of them. All of this is in aid of suppressing and killing the spirit and the will of the Ummah, which emanate from the religious and Husayni Sha‘a’er.
This was a quick insight in the role of Sayyid-al-Shuhada alayhis-salam in protecting Islam, and a glimpse of his station in the sight of Allah Almighty, and lofty station and the eminence of the Imam in this world and in the hereafter, and how can it not be when he addresses Allah Almighty saying:
I have left the entire world for the sake of You and I have orphaned my children so that I see You So if I am cut into pieces for the love of You my heart would lean to none other than You And these words reflect the extent of the sincerity of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam in his love for Allah, and his honesty in defending Islam.