Q100: Kissing the Shabith's

Are we allowed to kiss the "Julus' which we take out in Muharram? After all they are made out of our own imagination A. I do not understand what you mean by 'kissing the Julus'. 'Julus' in Urdu means procession. How do you kiss a procession?

If you mean 'Tazaia', 'Alam' and other such symbols, then the answer is 'yes'. The respect shown to these things is not for the paper, cloth or wood. It is for original tomb or Alam whose symbol or copy these things are.

Q101: PIGEONS ON SHABIH'S

What is the significance of keeping pigeons on Imam Husain's (a.s.) 'lash' on Ashura day? A. It is the first time that I have heard of such a custom. I cannot understand why it is done. Frankly speaking, it is high time that the community-members sit down to scrutinize all the customs and rites, not only of 'Azadari' but of marriage and death also, with a view to remove all such things which have no basis in Sheriat.

Q102: MOURNING AND CHANCES OF "SHIFA'AT"?

Are there any better chances of Shifaat (Intercession) for the mourners of the heroes of Karbala? Is it only Mourning' which entitles one to Shifa'at or Mourning and following Islam?

A. Mourning on the tragedy of Karbala depends upon the true love of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.). And the true love of Ahlul-Bait is bound to lead a man on right path, i.e., following the path of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.).

Suppose someone asks you "Is it true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" And you say: "Yes".

Then he says: "Will it keep the doctor away even if one starved himself and did not take any food except that one apple a day? And you say: "No". And then he retorts: "It means that the apple does not give us any strength at all and that proverb is absolutely wrong".

What will you say to such a man? The same is the position of your question.

Q103: MAJLIS IN WRONG PLACE

Can we hold the Imam Husain's Azadari (Majlis) in place which, we know, is used for drinking, cinemas and dances? I personally do not agree with it. But we have got one Mulla who said we can do that although we have got other facilities like private house. A. No. Never do it. It will be a disrespect to Imam Husain (a.s.).

Q 104: PURPOSE OF NAZR MONEY

Can we use the salaam, panjatan and Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) money towards the building of Imambada?

A. This money is treated as 'Nazar' If the donor has given it for any specific purpose, then it must be used for that specific purpose. If he had no particular expenditure in mind, then it may be used, among other things, for Azadari and/or building of Imambara.

Q105: NAZAR

Are we allowed to use the "Hazrat Abbas" Alam and Salaam's money for religious purposes? A. Yes, but you should do Niyaat that you are using it on behalf of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.). Here are the items for which such money may be used (in order of preference): -

(1) Azadari of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) (2) Helping needy Zawwar of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) (3) Any work of religious uplift and propagation.

Q 106: WHO CAN SIT ON MINBER?

I would like to know more about Minber-e-Rasui i.e. who is allowed to sit on it and recite majlises on it, and what are the conditions to sit on it?

A. Minber is,the copy of the minber of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and it can be used only for the preaching of religion, which includes the description of Fadhail (Greatness) and sufferings of the prophets and Imams (a.s.) and their true followers. The main purpose of such preaching is to exhort people to be sincere followers of Muhammad (s.a.w ) and Aal- e-Muhammad (a.s.). The aim of the Majlises is not just to pass the time, meet friends, drink tea or sherbat and then go home without any improvement in the belief or character.

Keeping it in view, you will appreciate that if a preacher himself does not follow the rules of sheriat how can he urge people to become good Muslims. It is very unfortunate that in this century, minber and Majlis have become just like business concerns; 'Zakirs' treat these institutions as their earning places.

As a result, every Tom, Dick and Harry jumps upon the Minber, makes some demonstration of his oratory, tries to make people appreciate his 'art', fills his pocket and that's that. Nowadays the main aim of reciting Majlis is to get riches, or prestige in the community. Inna Lillahi Wa Inna llaihi Raje-un.

Q107: ZAKIR WHO TELLS LIES

If you know that a certain man is speaking a pack of lies, backbiting others, doing "haram' deeds and taking Najis food, can such a man sit on the Minber of Rasul (s.a.w.) and recite Majlis?

A. Such a man should not be allowed to go on Minber.

Q 108: WAS BIBI ZAINAB EXCESSIVELY DISTRESSED ON THE EVE OF ASHURA?

We have seen a book. In this book it is written that when Bibi Zainab (a.s) came to know that all the companions and some of the relatives of Imam (a.s.) were going to be killed in Karbala, she started shrieking and crying. Imam Husain (a.s.) then tried to pacify her with exhortation: "What is all this, sister? I am afraid faith and endurance are over-powered by passion and devilish forces".

Zainab (a.s.) replied: "How could she control herself when Imam Husain (a.s.) was killing himself with his own hands?" Imam (a.s.) answered that such was ALLAH'S WILL. This reply added much to Zainab (a.s.)'s distress and she went out of control due to excessive grief. Witnessing this Husain (a.s.) made a lengthy speech on patience and perseverance".

In this booklet the source of the above incidence was "Yakubi' and "Ibn-e-Jarir'. What I would like to know is if this incidence is authentic or not. If not, please supply us with an authentic one (including the source).

A. Before replying to your question, let me explain some thing about Ibn-e-Jarir and his book.

Ibn-e-Jarir (popularly known as Tabari', 'At-Tabri') is one of the Sunni historians of 4th century of Hijra. He has collected in his history narratives concerning any given subject without saying which narrative he himself prefers.

He has written in his "Preface": "whatever news is in this book of mine (which I have narrated from our predecessors) which the reader thinks strange or the hearer deems absurd (because he finds no way of saying that it may be correct and gets no meaning in reality), then he should realize that (that absurdity or falsity) has not come from us; it is from one or other of the narrators who narrated it to us. We have just written it as it was told us." (See page 7 of the Vol. 1).

Now coming to your question: It appears that your writer does not know Arabic and has never seen 'Tarikh' of Tabari. There was nothing wrong if Zainab (a.s.) became distressed in the night of Ashura.

But Tabari (or more correctly, his narrator) added some sentences in between and writer of your booklet, because of his stark ignorance, has very badly twisted even those words. The result is a scene of such an 'absurdity' (to use the word of Tabari himself) that no man in his right senses can accept it.

For example:

Your booklet says: "What is all this, sister? I am afraid our faith and endurance are overpowered by our passion and devilish forces".

The words in Tabari are: "O sister, your forbearance be not taken away by Satan". Your writer says: "Zainab replied how could she control herself when Imam Husain (a.s.) was killing himself with his own hands."

Tabari has written: "Zainab said, My father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Abu Abdillah, you are resigned to be killed? My soul be your ransom."

Note: It should be mentioned here that Shaikh Mufid (r.a.) has given this incidence in his book Al-lrshad, and this particular sentence is not therein. Sheikh Mufid's period was just after Tabari.

Your writer says: "Imam (a.s.) answered that such was Allah's will".

Tabari writes: "and (Imam) said, "If Qata (a bird) was left to itself a single night it could sleep." It was a proverb to show that there was no way out because of the enemies. In view of so much distortion from the source, we can easily say that this episode, as recorded in your book, is NOT in Tabari's Tarikh at all.

So far as authenticity or otherwise of this episode is concerned, I have already quoted the words of Tabari in his preface. Some times, some people mislead their readers by quoting the names of great authors like Tabari or Majlisi without mentioning the fact that the books from which they are quoting (like Tarikh of Tabari or Biharul-Anwar of Majlisi) are only a collection of all available material on a given subject, and that its inclusion in those books does not make them authentic.

One more proof of the absurdity of this episode is that it goes on to say that Hazrat Zainab (a.s.) fainted and Imam (a.s.) threw water on her face in the night of Ashura!!

Q109: WHEN DID HUR JOIN IMAM HUSAIN (A.S.)?

In the same book, Hur (at Karbala) joined the force of Imam Husain (a.s.) on the day of Ashura (i.e., 10th Muharram) before the start of the battle. In every Muharram majlis I hear that Hur went over to Imam (a.s.)'s side on the night of Ashura.

A. Hur (a.s.) went to Imam Husain's side on the day of Ashura, not in the night of Ashura. It is found in all books of history, traditions and biographies. The story of his arrival the night before Ashura may be just an invention of some Zakirs.