Spirit of Aza
This is the true grief which lies in one?s heart. It cannot be expressed in any specific way. As the famous poet ,Ghalib said, There is no specific way of mourning When a person loses something dear, he does not care in what way He expresses his grief because his grief tells him how to express itself.
These are such feelings which can be felt throughout one?s whole body. Even if one is surrounded by worldly pleasures, he will still be able to feel this grief in his heart. When he will look at his young son, he will remember the youth of Hz Ali Akbar (as).
When he will look at his newborn baby, he will remember that infant child who was trembling with pain in the lap of His father. When he drinks water, he remembers the hunger and thirst of the children of Imam Hussain (as).
When he walks through briar and thorn covered earth, he remembers his Mazloom Imam (as) who had to walk 1700 miles with heavy chains.
We watered the garden of Islam with Our blood In this situation we are not dependent upon a majalis, scholar, or book. Our bed becomes the resting place of azadari. When we remember Karbala, we cry over our Mazloom Imam (as). This is the spirit of aza (mourning).
It is based upon love. It is human nature to cry whenever the masaib (sufferings) of Imam Hussain (as) is read. For some people simply reading a book or watching a movie can make them cry.
This is not aza. This is human nature. This is why it has been said; a momin cries when he listens to fazail(attributes) and at the remembrance of masaib(sufferings).
Customs of Aza
Customs of aza are of extreme importance and absolutely compulsory. When someone dies in this world, his relatives cry because this is grief which comes from love. They also put tents so the people who come to offer their condolences will be able to sit there.
The people who come to offer their condolences show their grief to the relatives of the one who has died. Every nation has their own way of mourning. Mulla who is an enemy of aza (mourning) of Imam Hussain (as) always objects to the customs of aza (mourning). Because he does not have such courage to say any word against the aza of Imam Hussain (as), so he issues fatwas against the customs of aza themselves.
He uses his so called sharia. The customs of azadari can be found in every nation. They do it in their own way. However, we have never seen any mulvi oppose these customs when one from his own family dies. Even he himself will act upon these customs.
For azadari he objects to everything. The purpose of the customs of azadari is to remember the one who has died. When we observe this grief collectively, we do it in a specific way. The first purpose is to express our condolences to Ahlul Bayt (as) and the other purpose is to refresh Their remembrance in our minds so that worldly affairs cannot make us negligent in this grief.
Arranging majalis in the houses and imambargahs, inviting people, and scholars or zakirs, doing matam in groups, reciting nohays, distributing niaz, these are all customs of aza. Every nation observes these customs differently. No one can extinguish these customs and inshaAllah until the day of judgment no one will ever be able to do so.
These customs are ever lasting because the reason for doing them is ever lasting. Syeda Zainab (sa) is the founder of these customs, and all other Aimmah (as) observed them. When the news of Karbala began to spread throughout the whole world, each nation established their own customs and ways of observing azadari. Moula Ameerul Momineen (as) said, "Whenever anyone establishes a good custom, he will receive its reward as long as that custom exists."
The first objection on the majalis of Imam Hussain (as) started with marsiya and nohay. The people rejected them by saying this is ghana (singing).
While in reality, this was their own shaitani nature which objected to these customs of azadari. They are not such simpletons that they cannot tell the difference between music and singing.
These people call themselves experts in Arabic. Ghana (singing) is a kind of music which creates lusty emotions in the human. Allah made it haram. While having a beautiful toned voice is beloved by Allah. Hz Dawood (as) was given a beautiful sounding voice as a miracle.
Reading Quran in a beautiful voice is considered as a good act. Allah did not make any part of the human body worthless. Humans can use it as they wish. In order to use it properly, Allah placed certain conditions, and it is wajib (compulsory) upon us to follow these conditions. If you examine the vocal cords and see its relation with the diaphragm, then you will understand it is all about having a beautiful sounding voice.
It all depends upon how one uses these things. If you use them for any worldly purpose, then certainly it is haram. If you use it for the masaib of Imam Hussain (as), then certainly without any doubt it is an act of worship. Once I met Syed Muhammad Amrohi Mujtihid. I asked him about the explanation of ghana (singing). He told me an incident from his childhood. He said once his father took him to a majalis. The majalis starts in this order:
First of all rubai (poetry in the praise of Imam Hussain as) is recited. Then souz (a group of people who recite the sufferings of Karbala in a specific way). Then salam (poetry in the praise of Imam Hussain as). In the end marsya (one person who recites the sufferings of Imam Hussain as).
Moulana said when the marsya khawn (one who recites marsya) started reciting the rubai, his father took his hand and led him to the back rows. He said to me "Son, this is ghana (singing). We will not listen to it." When he started reciting marsya, my father took my hand, and we went back and sat inside the majalis again.
He said to me, " This is marsya. We will listen to it." When I heard this story, I said to Moulana, "The way he recited rubai, souz, and salam is the same way he recited marsya and made people cry. If I or you had recited that marsya, no one would have cried. The thing you are calling "ghana? is present in both places. One you have declared to be haram. The other you have declared as halal.
How is this possible?" Upon hearing this, Moulana looked at me angrily, but did not reply. I say; the best way to use your eyes is to read about the attributes of Masoomeen (as), the best way to use your ears is to listen to the attributes of Masoomeen (as) being recited, and the best use of your voice is to recite the fazail (attributes) and masaib (sufferings) of Masoomeen (as).
Only the enemies of the remembrance of Masoomeen (as) can call this ghana (singing). When we look at the history, we see Masoomeen (as) not only gave Their permission but also Themselves listened to these types of recitations.
Here we present an extract from "Shahadatay Uzma page no. 338". It will clear up any misunderstandings you may have.
"Once poet Abu Haroon Maktoof came to Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Imam (as) asked him to recite the poetry of his marsya which he (poet) had written regarding Imam Hussain (as). Abu Haroon said, "When I started marsya without first reciting souz, Imam (as) said " Do not recite in this way.
Recite the way you read for yourself, and the way you read at the grave of Imam Hussain (as)." Abu Haroon said, "When I recited marsya after having recited souz, Imam (as) shed a great many tears and asked me to recite more. Even the family of Imam (as) who were sitting behind the veil shed a great many tears. "