Azadari Movement in Lucknow

Azadari Movement in Lucknow

negative.jpgLucknow is known as a seat of Shiasm and the epitome of Shia culture. Muharram which is observed in Lucknow is famous worldwide. The processions of Muharram in Lucknow have a special significance. They were started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs. The Majalises, processions and other rituals that are observed by the Shia community to commemorate the sacrifice of Imam Husain A.S. are known as Azadari.

The processions like Shahi Zarih, Jaloos-e-Mehndi, Alam-e-Ashura and that of Chup Tazia have special significance for Shia community, which are taken out with great religious zeal and fervour. These processions which started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs continued till the year 1977.

Processions Banned The first problem regarding Azadari started in the year 1906. Communal riots took place in the years 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1977. The Government of Uttar Pradesh banned the Azadari processions in the year 1977. The Shia community from time to time has been constantly protesting against the ban imposed on Azadari. Many memoranda were sent to the Government regarding the ban but to no avail. The system of courting arrest was also started later by the late Maulana Syed Kalbe Abid in which thousands of Shias courted arrest on the 10th of Muharram every year, at the Imambara Asifi in the protest of this ban.


Self Immolation On the 10th of April 1997 under the banner of “Karvane Furat” the Shias sat on a hunger strike to press their demands and attract the attention of the Government but the effort was in vain. Having been irked by the attitude of the Government and seeing that no other option was left for the community, three Shia youth committed self immolation on 13th of April 1997 at Dargah Hazrat Abbas (A.S.), Mohd. Abbas (24 years), Yusuf (38 years) committed self- immolation. They breathed their last on 16th April 1997 in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. On April 16th another Shia youth, Ishrat Altaf, committed self immolation and passed away.

Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad Arrested Noted Shia religious scholar of India Maulana Dr. Syed Kalbe Sadiq called on the community to observe a Peace March on the 18th of April, 1997. A march was scheduled from Imambara Asifi to Imambara Husainabad in which more than two hundred thousand Shias along with other Ulama participated. Imam Bukhari of Shahi Jami Masjid in Delhi showed his interest in negotiating the vexed Azadari issue and was expected to arrive in Lucknow on the 31st May 1997. On 3rd June he was arrested on the outskirts of the city. Along with him noted Shia Ulama, the Imam-e-Juma of Masjid Asafi, Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad and Sunni Ulama late Maulana Qamar Minai were arrested for organising a meeting and defying Section 144 I.P.C.

On hearing of their leader’s arrest, the Shias stormed the Vidhan Sabha(the provincial assembly of Uttar Pradesh state) and performed Matam. The Government Uttar Pradesh seeing the situation going out of hand was forced to release the leaders without further delay.

Shia’s Decisive Battle
Police mercilessly beat Shias including women and children on 8th June 1997 in Muftiganj in the Alam procession. Upon knowing of this incident Maulana Kalbe Jawad called an emergency meeting of about 115 Shia Anjumans(associations) of the city. At the meeting it was unanimously decided that if the government did not lift the ban on Azadari by 24th june 1997 (18th Safar) the Shias would defy the ban and take out the Alam procession on the 26th of June 1997. The Administration and the government did nothing they imposed a curfew in the city on the night of 26th June 1997. The Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati issued a strict warning to the Shia community that any attempt to take out Alam procession would force the government to deal strongly with them.

The police sealed all the Shia dominated localities but ultimately Shia’s defied the curfew.The Government to save itself from an embarrassment transferred the then District Magistrate of Lucknow and issued the order for the arrest of Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad under National Security Act (NSA).The Administration on the 28th of June 1997 at 4:00 a.m. arrested Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. He was sent to Lalitpur Jail while his family was incarcerated with the prisoners of TADA. News spread like wildfire in the city and the people again break the curfew. The police mercilessly beat them up. Shia women stormed District Magistrate residence and protested there. Shia youth performed matam at the Vidhan Sabha.People from other parts of the country also started lending their support to the Azadari Movement. There were also various protests and agitations reported from the different parts of the country against the arrest of Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. Indian Shias residing in New York, Syria, Pakistan, Iran and other countries also protested against the Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad’s arrest.The situation went out of control and the Government was left with no other option but to release Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. Finally he was released on the 8th of July, 1997.

Ban Lifted The Government assured the Shias that the Azadari procession problem would be looked into and solved in three months time and asked for all agitations and protest to be postponed till then.The Shias did so. Upon the expiry of the period of 3 months the matter was not solved and Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad decided again to defy the ban on Azadari on 27th of September. The Administration, finally held rounds of talks between Shias and Sunnis. The Shias were successful in taking out the first Azadari procession in January 1998 (21 Ramzan) with the permission of the Government. Today the Shias have been given nine processions out of nine hundred that are registered in the festival register of the Shias.

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who present the Fatawa (verdicts) and opinions of Maraje Uzzam with distortion and tempering

 who present the Fatawa (verdicts) and opinions of Maraje Uzzam with distortion and tempering

By Syeda Zahra, Advocate(Courtesy of Tehrik e Nifaz e Fiqah e Jaffria, Pakistan)

Some anti-Islam internal and external forces present the Fatawa (verdicts) and opinions of Maraje Uzzam with distortion and tempering which is a severe deeni, literary and moral breach of trust. The original verdicts being compiled in this article are with the compiler.

Ayatullah Al Uzma Haaj Syed Abul Qasim Moosavi Al Khoie

“performing azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS) is a part & portion of His (AS) mission because declaring the zulm (oppression) of zalim (oppressor) and mazloomiyat of mazloom (oppressed) is exactly the Deen.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Roohullah Khominie, Rahber-e-Inqalaab-e-Islami Iran
Ayyatollah Khomeini
“life of nation lies in Azadari. Hazrat Imam Hussain(AS) granted salvation to Islam, and protected its eminence from being trampled by kissing martyrdom. So holding majalis-e-aza to commemorate Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)’s martyrdom is a source of everlastingness and immortality of Islam. Those who oppose these majalis, oppose Islam. They are totally unaware of Islam’s reality. It is Azadari-e-Syed-ush- Shuhada (AS), which has given protection to Islam till today. Seena zani (beating chest), nohay, lamentation and cries are the very secrets of our success.”

Ustad-Ul-Fuqaha Wal Mujtahiddeen Ayatullah Al Uzma Muhammad Hussain Al Gharvi An Na’eni, former chancellor Hoza-e-Ilmiya, Najaf-e-Ashraf, Iraq.People of Basra asked Ustaad ul Fuqaha Ayatullah Al Uzma Muhammad Hussain Na’ini many questions about Sha’a’ir-e-Azadari. The most important question of those was concerning zanjeer zani and quma zani. Ayatullah Na’ini first explained the greatness and importance of Azadari in these words:

“The coming out of Azadari processions on roads and paths in Ashra-e-Aashoor (ten days) and on other similar occasions is from among those amoor, in the legality of which there is no doubt. Rather this is the most evident source and most prominent inclination from among the mazahir of Azadari-e-Mazloom. It is the easiest way for the promotion of Imam Hussain’s mission and Deen’s completion.” Afterwards he answered the query about Quma zani and zanjeer zani, which is as under: “(To commemorate Hazrat Imam Hussain A.S.) There is no ambiguity in slapping the face and beating the chest to this extent that they (face and chest) become red or black but also to perform zanjeer zani on the shoulders and back is legal. But if the blood appears or comes out due to slapping and beating, it’s also lawful and right. As far as taking the blood out from forehead with swords etc is concerned, its legality is aqwa with the condition of being saved from harm and just to take the blood out from forehead with out causing harm to bone that is not harmful habitually. Because those who know how to use these (zanjeer, quma and sword) use it in such a manner which doesn’t cause harm to the bone. If at the time of taking the blood out he is sure of being safe from harm and by chance gets harm then it will be like that person who performs ablution or takes bath instead of performing dry ablution (tayammam) for he thinks that water will not harmful for him or a person who keeps fast considering himself healthy and that keeping fast will not harm him, but afterwards water or fast appears to be harmful for him, this will not be Haraam. As a precautionary measure, only those perform it who could. And those, who being subdued with the love and grief of Ghareeb-e-Karbala could not know that where the zanjeer and sword is hitting, should avoid. [bMay Allah give them firmness with qoal issaabit in this world and the hereafter.”
Ayatullah Abdullah Majeed Faqeehi Barojurdi”All marasim-e-aza are from among the sha’a’ir Allah (signs of Allah). And to respect sha’a’ir Allah is piety.”
Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Ali Kazmaini Barojurdi”Marasim-e-Aza (azadari rites) are not only mustahab (desirable) rather they are obligatory.”
Ayatullah Al Musleh Al Sheikh Muhammad Hussain Aal Kashif Ul Ghita”By God, azadari is the gate of ample blessings of Allah, and the boat of salvation (kashti-e-najat) which protects from every destruction and trouble. Who is he and what sort of power is that, which could shut this open gate of Divine blessings and intercept this great mean & source, which leads towards Allah”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Syed Mohsin Tabatabae Hakeem”performing azadari is a source of connection with the Guides of deen, of verdure and fertility of emaan, elevation and magnificence of deen and expression of Sha’a’ir-e-Deen (signs of religion). If these amoor-e-azadari (majalis-e-aza, mourning, azadari processions, matam, zanjeer zani and quma zani etc) are not to be performed, irreligiousness would get popularization”.
Ayatullah Al Uzma Gulpaigani”Due to the blessings of Azadari, people get awareness of their rights. It is a source, by dint of which mission of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and the aim of Risaalat (prophet hood) is being revived. In fact Azadari is Deen (religion). The pure and sinless Aaimmah (AS) had said: “perform Azadari-e-Imam Hussain(AS) to stand against tyranny and despotism”. This is Azadari which gave birth to the biggest revolutions, shaked the basis of palaces of tyranny of Umayyad rule, redressed the grievance of oppressed and rooted out the oppressor.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Mamqani”These are the rites of Azadari, by virtue of which thousands of misled have become righteous.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Haaj Syed Mohammad Haadi Meelani” Azadari and its rites only are the most important means of promotion and thrive ness of deen. Which one is that pen which could duly and properly write down the supremacy, praise, virtues and the effects of His (AS) qayaam? Khandaan-e-Ismat-o- Taharat is a divine sign from among the divine signs and Imam Hussain (AS) is the mazloom son of that mazloom father that no one is there to take their qisas but Allah.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Syed Abdullah Sherazi” Rites of Azadari of Ahle-Bayt-e-Ismat- o-Taharat (AS) are from among the most important sha’air-e-deeniya (signs of deen) and are the excellent and most prominent deeds which will provide ground for more and more reward in Akhira (the hereafter). These lead the whole Muslim nation in general and shia nation in particular towards the achievement of great success and creation of revolutions.”
Ayatullah Al Haaj Syed Abdul Aala Sabzwari” The respect, promotion and eternity of sha’air-e-Hussainiyat (Hussaini signs) is from among the most powerful and important means of liberation because Rites of Azadari are from sha’air Allah (signs of Allah)”
Ayatullah Syed Mirza Al Khurasaani Al Ha’eri”Performing Azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS)—-all of this is from the desired sources of nearness to Allah, a great success and eternal reward in this world and the hereafter, and whatever has been said or written against it, it is nothing but venom spitting of Ummayad and enmity of marvanis. Revival of sha’air’s (signs) respect is the promotion of Islam, presevation of Islamic signs and manifestation of Islamic lights.”
Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Jawad Tabatabai Tabrezi”Azadari Rites of Hazrat Imam Hussain Ibn-e-Ali (AS) in whatever manner they are, all are the more effective means for Islam’s greatness, magnificence and protection. For that very reason enemies of Islam are making ambush but they are not able to snatch this great dawat (invitation) from the people.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Muhammad Bin Al Mehdi Hussaini Sherazi”Azadari of Imam Hussain (AS) is the very base of our religion and we want to protect Islam through it. Azadari rites are the sources of salvation for weak and helpless people from tyrant rulers. In whatever manner, sha’air-e-Hussaini are, they are superior and source of sawaab (reward)”
Ayatullah Ali Al Hussain Al Asfahani Al Faani”We consider matam and sha’air-e- Hussainia the nearest means for nearness to Allah Almighty and reaching towards Rasool (peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny) and Aaimmah Huda (AS) because through it mission of these sinless guides get revived. Thrive ness of divine message and promotion of Ahkaam-e-sharia is the fruit of performing Sha’air-e-Hussaini. It creates unity and harmony in the ranks. I consider these sha’air a reply to istaghasa-e-Imam-e- Mazloom (AS)”
Ayatullah Al-Uzma Aqae Al Haaj Syed Muhammad Sadiq Roohaani”Azadari is an effective weapon against oppression. Azadari processions are a source from among the Hussaini sources and a gate from among the gates of Heaven (Jannat). Qayaam of Syed-ush-shuhada (AS) and His sacred sacrifices happened to be the source of religion’s revival after its destruction .if it was not being done then their would be nothing remained of Islam but its name and of Quran but just a written thing.”
Ayatullah Sheikh Muhammad Raza Tibsi Nahfi”All rites of azadari are religious signs (sha’a’ir), and to respect sha’a’ir Allah is a sign of piety of hearts.”
Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Waheedi Tabrezi”It should not be hidden that in praising Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), describing the factors of His Qayaam (coming out), lamenting over His (AS) sufferings, and in holding majalis such a great reward lies that the tongue and pen are unable to describe it. To respect the Azadari rites is a religious want and a source of reward. Weak and helpless of the world could be get freed by virtue of these azadari rites.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Sheikh Muhammad Hussain Gharvi Asfahani”Why these Azadari rites would not be the source of reward, hence just Azadari-e- Mazloom-e-Karbala (AS) and its rites have been the only and only source of unity of the nation, propagation of religion and promotion of Kalma-e-Haq in the past, present and will be in future.”
Ayatullah Hasan Qummi Tabatabae”Majalis-e-Azadari are the only source which gathers the people on a platform and make them aware of religious teachings.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Syed Asad Ullah Moosavi Dazfoli”Azadari rites cause honour, dignity and respect. They are national sign and from among those important Sha’a’ir, Aaimmah (AS) had again and again advised for. Mission-e-Masumeen (AS) is alive due to these azadari rites, and lesson of qayaam-e- haq against Baatil lies in it. In fact maraasim-e-aza (azadari rites) is Maktab-e- hle Bayt (AS).”
Ayatullah Aaqae Raza Madni Kashani”The topmost objective of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) was the protection and prosperity of Islam. So performing Azadari is from among the most important wajibaat.”
Ayatullah Hashim Aamli”Azadari rites and description of sufferings of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) has an effective role and contribution in the existence of Islam in general, and of Mazhab-e-Haqqa Isna Ashari, in particular.”
Ayatullah Sheikh Murtaza Mutahheri”Azadari rites (majalis-e-aza, mourning, azadari processions, matam, zanjeer zani quma zani etc) are a basic movement and a collective Elaan-e-Jehad. A single tear being flown in commemoration of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)’s martyrdom, is also a Jehad (holy war).”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Al Sheikh Muhammad Ali Iraqi”The most important result which is being obtained from Azadari is that: the listener feels that the blood which was caused to shed wrongfully, was the most sacred blood, and Ahle Bayte Ismat-o- Taharat (AS) were those holiest persons who were chained.”
Ayatullah Syed Karamat Ullah Hussaini”Enemies of Islam also are aware of the advantage of azadari rites and majalis-e-aza. For the development of an Elevated Goal, the elimination of Imperialism, the eradication of satanic powers and the establishment of Universal Islamic Rule, the protection of Azadari is very much necessary.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Aaqae Syed Shahab Ud Din Mar’ashi”Qayaam of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) is the Divine Qayaam. Ummat had crossed the limits of oppression and cruelties over Him (AS). So amoor-e-azadari (holding majalis, description of sufferings of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), beating chest, zanjeer zani, quma zani etc) should be performed as in the past. Rather to perform these amoor in the present day world is from among the zarooriyaat-e-deeniya and a source of enhancement in reward.”
Ayatullah Syed Murtaza Pasandeeda Khomenie”To observe the azadari days of Aaimmah-e-Ahle Bayt (AS) is compulsory and obligatory, and to leave them out is against the masaleh of ummah.”
Ayatullah Syed Kazim Mar’ashi”Arrangements of azadari rites, which is a source of success and blessings in this world and the hereafter is obligatory.”
Ayatullah Sheikh Ali Ghazi Shahroodi”Azadari-e-Ghareeb-e-Karbala (AS) is a worship from among the divine worships. Munkar of azadari and its rites is in fact a munkar of zaroorat-e-mazhabi (religious necessity).”
Ayatullah Murtaza Askari”To perform marasim-e-aza is a source of sawab (reward) and all rites of azadari are the promotion of sha’a’ir-e-deeniya (religious signs).”
Ayatullah Syed Taqi Tabatabai Qummi”By virtue of performing azadari, reward and Allah’s pleasure is being achieved. Azadari rites are sha’a’ir-e-deeniya and Maktab-e-Syed-Ul-Mursaleen (peace of Allah be upon Him and His Aal).”
Ayatullah Syed Mehdi Mar’ashi”Azadari of Syed-e-Konain (lord of two worlds) is a kind of angelic lights. It has been, and will remain a source of integrity of shia school of thought, development of deen-e-mubeen, promotion of commands of Khatim ul Anbia(peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny), propagation of mazhab-e-jafariya in the Islamic world, establishment of justice and equity, opposition of tyranny and oppression, and annihilation of oppressor.”
Ayatullah Nasir Makaram Sherazi”Azadari of pashwa’e Hurriyyat (guide of freedom), Salaar-e-Qafla (leader of the caravan), Talib-e-Shahadat (desirous of martyrdom) Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions who sacrificed each and every thing in the battle of Haq and Baatil in Karbala and preferred the red death of martyrdom than the black and dark life of disgrace, is a duty from among the duties of muslim ummah.”
Ayatullah Al Uzma Syed Muhammad Raza Barojurdi”Azadari with all its kinds, is a source of development of sacred deen, Islam .The people who do not give importance to Azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS) and Ahle- Bayt(AS) ,their Emaan (faith/belief) is declining.”
Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Mehdi Moosavi Khalkhali”Performing the rites of Azadari is the respect of sha’air Allah and revival of Aaimmah Ahle Bayt (AS)’s sacred mission. To commemorate Aaimmah Ahle Bayt (AS) whether it is under the title of Azadari or lamentation, is the life of religion and hatred to oppression .The effects of majalis-e-aza in the existence of Islam are evident till today.”
Ayatullah Aaqa’e Haaj Sheikh Jawad Tabrezi”Azadari of Aal-e-Muhammad (progeny of Hazrat Muhammad PBUH&His Aal) is from among the mustahab aamal (desireable deeds). These are the best means to promote Islam and to give public, awareness with the facts and realities of Islamic history.”
Ayatullah Syed Hassan Moosavi Khadmi Asfahani, Principal Hoza-e-Ilmiya, Asfahaan “Azadari of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) is the most important of sha’a’ir-e-deeniya. Wonderful reward has been promised for azadari because shahadat-e-Imam mazloom (AS) is a maktab-e-fikr and a lesson.”
Hujjatul Islam Wal Muslemeen Syed Murtaza Feroze Abadi”Whoever raise a question or argue about istehbaab of azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS) in the present day world, do it understand that there’s something wrong with his deen, lineage and nobility or he has lost his head and gone mad.”
Ayatullah Muhammad Fazil, Hoza-e- Ilmiya, Qumm “All azadari rites are the protectors of sacred qayaam of Imam-e-Mazloom (AS). The first and last objective of Imam Hussain (AS)’s qayaam (coming out) was only the revival of Islam .as just as the foundation of Islamic revolution of Iran is under obligation to azadari rites, in the same manner the development and promotion of this revolution will be achieved through azadari and rites of azadari.”
Ayatullah Jafer Subhani Tabrezi, Qumm Al Muqaddisa “Azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS) is one of those Islamic mustahabbat, which have been emphasized by our guides and leaders of religion. Rites of azadari are the protector of the goal of Imam-e-mazloom (AS), the goal which is the creator of revolutions.”
Ayatullah Muhammad Karmi”Marasim-e-Azadari, being performed in connection with the great sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), are sha’a’ir Allah and obligatory in every period and at every place. Publicizing the mazloomiyat-e- Imam (AS) to this extent that Arsh-e- Iqtadaar (throne) of disobedient and headstrong be shaken and trembled, is extremely necessary.”
Ayatullah Muslim Malkooti Saraabi “Azadari of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) which is one of great sha’a’ir-e-mazhabia, has become a particular sign of Mazhab-e- Haqqa. It would not be improper and wrong to say that the existence of shia maslak without any change and modification up till now, and the protection of Usool and Faru, are under obligation to these Marasim-e-Aza (azadari rites) and Azadari-e-Ghareeb-e- Karbala (AS).”
Ayatullah Hussain Noori, Qumm Al Muqaddisa “Azadari rites are commendable and praiseworthy rather a source of reward. It is necessary for the whole Muslim ummah not only to observe this bloody incident of Aashoor every year but refresh it every moment so that the weak and have nots of this Maktab-e-Fikr be embraced with the freedom of fikr-o-amal (thinking and deed).”
Ayatullah Murtaza Ha’eri Yazdi”Lamentation over Ghareeb-e-Karbala (AS) is from zarooriyaat-e-mazhab (requisites of deen).”
Ayatullah Mustafa Etamaadi”Azadari of Syed-ush-Shuhada (AS) is a true path and divine fountainhead of bounty. Its legality is quite clear, evident and unambiguous in any form and condition. Protection of this heavenly reality is obligatory.”
Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Jaffery Tabrezi”Azadari and Marasim-e-Azadari is a voice of expression of hearty feelings. Hussaini days have been the jhoomar (beauty) of history’s forehead in the name of defending the honour of Islam.”
Ayatullah Syed Mehdi Lajwardi”Those who taunt Azadari-e-Imam Hussain (AS) are living in the heaven of fools. They are the enemies of deen and shariat and are wearing the tauq of curse of the true guides of Quran and Deen-e-Haq.”
Ayatullah Mustafa Noori Ardbeli”Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) is a standard bearer of freedom of thought, rather a divine representative and from Ashaab-e-Kisa (peace of Allah be upon them), in respect of whom Aaya-e-Tatheer was revealed. Beams of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)’s qayaam are a lesson for whole Islamic world. Whole world should find out its way in the light of these beams and rays.”
Ayatullah Aaqae Sheikh Abu Talib Tajleel”Azadari of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) is the very foundation of shia school of thought as well as honour of sha’a’ir Allah. To hold majalis-e-aza and lament over His (AS)’s great sufferings reflects the love with The Holy Prophet (peace of Allah be upon Him& His Aal).”
Ayatullah Aaqae Haaj Syed Hussain Moosavi Karmaani”All effectiveness of karbala is due to the name of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and it is Qayaam-e-Hussaini which gave life to deen. To hold majalis-e-aza and perform marasim- e-aza is the most important amar from among the amoor-e-deen.”
Ayatullah Mohsin Haram Panahi, Qumm Al Muqaddisa”Aza-e- (to mourn) Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) is the respect of sha’a’ir (signs), the revival of deen and the promotion of shariat.”
Ayatullah Abbas Mahfoozi Gilani”Majalis-e-Aza are the revival of Mission-e-Aal-e-Muhammad (peace of Allah be upon Them). These are the majalis which have been giving us protection since centuries.”
Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi, Chief Of Tehreek Nafaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafariya Pakistan To commemorate Hazrat Imam Hussain Ibne Abi Talib (AS), who was The Representative of Khasaan-e-Khuda, The Successor of Anbia (AS), and The Protector of deen-o-shariat, is the declaration of success of Mohaz-e-Tauheed, challenge of Jehad to polytheism, infidelity, oppression, tyranny, despotism and barbarity, the revival of dawat-e-Tauheed-o-Risaalat-o-Walayat. His objective was universal and high in character restoring supremacy of religion, respect of the humanity, preaching and protecting the message of Tauheed-o- Risaalat and walayat. Karbala is the central point of all movements in action for achievement of independence all around the world. Karbala is the name of giving priority to honourable death over life in humiliation. Islam is an expression of Hussainiyyat while Hussainiyyat that in fact is the message of death for evil forces, is commensurate with Azadari. Azadari is a universal protest of oppressed against oppression. Azadari is our jugular vein; it is the soul of all Ibadaat (worships) while zanjeer zani and quma zani are the soul of Azadari. Any one, who will collide with the strong rock of Azadari, will become unidentified.”
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Abbas Alamdaar

The shifting sand dunes of Karbala were smeared with blood. Near one of wash dunes, on the bank of Alkoma, lay the prostrate figure of a youth with blood gushing out from innumerable wounds. The crimson life-tide was ebbing fast. Even so, it seemed as if he was anxiously expecting somebody to come to him, to be near him before he breathed his last. Through his starched throat he was feebly calling somebody.
Yes, Abbas was anxiously expecting his master to come to him before he parted with his life, as he had come to the side of all his devoted friends who had laid down their dear lives for him and in espousing his cause.

It is said that before a man’s death al the past event of his life pass before his mind’s eye in a flash-back. In his last moments Abbas was experiencing this. He was seeing himself as a child in Medina following Husain with a devotion which was considered unique even for a brother.

He was seeing the events of that hot and sultry day in Kufa when his illustrious father Ali was addressing a congregation in the mosque and he, as a child, with his characteristic devotion, was looking at the face of his beloved brother watching him intently so that he could attend to his wishes on an instant command. Seeing from the parched lips of Husain that he was feeling extremely thirsty, how he had darted out from the mosque and returned with a tumbler full of cool, refreshing water and in the hurry to carry the water as quickly as possible to quench the consuming thirst of his dearest brother, how he had spilled water on his own clothes. He was recalling how this incident had made his illustrious father stop in the midst of his speech, with tears rolling down his cheeks at the sight of his young son all wet with water. He was remembering his father’s reply to the queries from his faithful followers as to what had brought tears in his eyes, that Abbas who had wetted his body with water in the process of quenching Husain’s thirst would in the not too distant future wet his body with his own blood in attempting to quench the thirst of his young children. He was vividly seeing the scene on the 21st Ramazan, way back in 40 Hijra, when his father mortally wounded, was lying on his death-bed and entrusting his children and dependents to the care of the his eldest brother, Hasan – all except him. Seeing that his father had commended all but him to the care of Hasan – how he, a child of 12, had burst out into uncontrollable tears. His father, on hearing him sobbing, had called him to his side and given his hand in Husain’s hand with the words:
“Husain, this child I am entrusting to you. He will represent me on the day of your supreme sacrifice and lay down his life in defending you and your dear ones, much as I would have done if alive on that day.”

How his father had turned to him and affectionately told him:
“Abbas, my child, I know your unbounded love for Husain.
Though you are too young to be told about it, when that day dawns, consider no sacrifice too great for Husain and his children.”

He saw before his mind’s eye that parting with his aged mother Fatima in Medina. How she had affectionately embraced him and reminded him of the dying desire of his father to lay down his life in the defense of Husain and his dear ones.
A faint smile of satisfaction flickered for a brief moment on his parched lips a smile of satisfaction that he had fulfilled his father’s wish; that he had performed his duty for which he was brought up. It just flitted for a moment and vanished as other scenes came before his mind’s eye. He was re-living the events of the night before. He was seeing Shimr stealthily coming to him; and talking to him about his ties of relationship; about the protection he had been promised for Abbas by the Commander of Yazid’s forces, only if he would leave Husain and go over to Yazid’s camp; about the promises of riches and rewards that he would get; how he had spurned the suggestion of Shimr with the utmost disdain to the chagrin of that servile minion who had sold his soul for a mess of pottage. How he had scared away that coward by his scathing rage saying:
“You worshipper of Mammon, do not think that Abbas will be lured by your tempting offer of power and pelf. If I die in fending my master, Husain, I shall consider myself the luckiest person. O coward, remember that valiants die but once. Nobody is born to live eternally. By betraying my master, you have betrayed the Prophet, whose religion you profess to follow. On the Day of Judgement you will be doomed to eternal perdition. I am ashamed to own any relationship with you. Had it not been for the fact that you have come here unarmed, I would have given you the chastisement you deserve for your impudence in asking me to become a turncoat.”

How that wretch had scampered from there seeing him roaring like an enraged lion. The thought of that unpleasant interlude contracted his brows. Or was it the excruciating pain he was suffering on account of the deep gashes he had all over his body?

Yet another scene passed before Abbas’s eyes – Sakina leading 42 children, each with a dry water-bag. The children were shouting as if in chorus
Thirst, consuming thirst, is killing us.
Sakina coming to him and putting her dry water-bag at his feet and saying to him:
“O uncle, I know you will do something to get water for us. Even if you can bring one bag full of water, we can wet our parched throats.”
He could see that thirst, aggravated by the scorching heat of the desert, was squeezing their young lives out of them. The sight of these youngsters had moved him more than any other soul-stirring events of that faithful day. How he had picked up the water-bag with assurance to Sakina that he would go and bring water – God Willing.

How he had taken Husain’s permission and marched out of the camp with a sword in one hand, the flag in the other, and the bag on his shoulder, with the children following him in a group up to the outer perimeter of the camp. How Husain had repeatedly requested him to avoid fighting as much as possible and confine himself to the task of bringing water!
His thoughts switched over to the events that had preceded his fall from the horse. With the object of procuring water for his dear little Sakina, he had charged on the enemy who held the river banks. He had run through the enemy ranks like a knife through butter. Again this surging onslaught the cowards could not stand and had run helter-skelter shouting for protection. For a moment it seemed as if Ali, the Lion of God, had descended from heaven. In no time Abbas was near the rivulet. He had jumped down from the horse and bent to fill the water-bag. When it was filled to the brim, he had taken some water in his cupped hand to drink and satisfy his killing thirst. But, on second thoughts, he had thrown the water away. How could he drink water when Sakina and the children were still withering without it?
How could he be so callous as to forget that his master Husain had not had a drop of water since the last three days. He had turned to his horse which had been let loose so that it could satisfy its thirst.

The animal had been intently looking at its master as if to say:
I too am aware that, so long as our master and his children remain without water, our thirst cannot be quenched.
With the water-bag filled he had jumped into the saddle with one thought uppermost in his mind, to get the water to the anxiously waiting children as quickly as possible. Seeing him galloping towards the camp of Husain, the enemy had turned. Somebody had shouted from the enemy ranks that if Husain and his people got water, it would be difficult to fight them on the battlefield. Though it was an uneven fight, he fought them with valour which was so characteristic of his fathers Though he was thirsty and hungry, he charged on them and scattered them. The mercenaries of Yazid were running like lambs in a fold when charged by a lion. Seeing that a frontal assault on a man so brave was not possible, they had resorted to a barrage of arrows. When arrows were coming form all sides, Abbas had only one thought in his mind, how to protect the water-bag than his life. Seeing that Abbas was preoccupied with this thought, one treacherous foe, hiding behind a sand-dune, had rushed out and dealt a blow on his right hand and cut it off. In a flash Abbas had transferred his sword to his left hand and the standard he was bearing he had hugged to his chest. Now that the Lion of Ali was crippled, the foes had found courage to surround him. A blow from an enemy’s sword severed his left arm. The odds were now mounting against him. He held the bag with his teeth and protected the flag with his chest pressed on the horse’s back. Now the paramount thought in his mind was to reach the camp somehow or the other. A silent prayer had escaped his lips:
Merciful Allah, spare me long enough to fulfill my mission.

But that was not to be. An arrow had pierced the water-bag and water had started gushing out of it. Was it water that was flowing out of that bag or the hopes of Abbas? All his efforts had been in vain.
After all Sakina’s thirst would remain unsatisfied and all her hopes would be frustrated. The enemies who had made bold to surround him, now seeing his helpless condition, were now gathering thick round him.
One of them came near him and struck mortal blow with an iron mace. He reeled over and fell from the horse.
He tossed on the burning sand with excruciating pain. He felt that life was fast ebbing out but his wish to see his master had remained unfulfilled. With one last effort, with all the strength that was left
in him, he shouted:
O my master, do come to me before I die.
As it in answer to his prayers he felt some footsteps near him, Yes, his instinct told him that it was his lord. His one eye had been blinded by an arrow and the other filled with blood and so he could not see. But he felt his master kneeling down beside him, lifting his head and taking it into his lap. Not a word was said for a few seconds because both were choked with emotion. At last he heard Husain’s voice, a half-sob, half-muffled cry:
Abbas, my brother, what have they done to you?
If Abbas could see, would he have recognized his master? With back bent and beard turned white and hoary, on hearing the parting cry of his beloved brother, Husain’s plight was such that nobody could have recognized him – such was his transformation. Abbas was now feeling the loving touch of his master’s hand. With effort he muttered:
You have come at last, my Master. I thought I was not destined to have a last farewell with you but, thank God, you are here.
With these words he put his head on the sand. Tenderly Husain lifted his head and again put it on his lap, inquiring why he had removed it from there.
My Master, replied Abbas, the thought that when you will be breathing your last, nobody will be there to put your head in a lap and to comfort you, makes me feel that it would be better if my head lies on the sand when I die, just as yours would be. Besides, I am your slave and you are my master. It is too much for me to put my head on your lap.
Husain burst into uncontrollable tears. The sight of his brother, whose name was to become a byword for devotion and unflinching faithfulness, laying down his dear life in his arms, was heart-rending.
Abbas was heard to whisper softly:

“My master, I have some last wishes to express. When I was born, I had my first look at your face and it is my last desire that when I die, my gaze may be on it, too. My one eye is pierced by an arrow and the other is filled with blood. If you will clear the blood from my one eye, I’ll be able to see you and fulfill my last dying desire. My second wish is that when I die you may not carry my body to the camp. I had promised to bring water to Sakina and, since I have failed in my attempt to bring her water, I cannot face her even in death. Besides, I know that the blows that you have received since morning have all but crushed you and carrying my body to the camp will be heart breaking work for you. And my third wish is that Sakina may not be brought here to see my plight. I know with what love and affection she was devoted to me. The sight of my dead body lying here will kill her” .

Husain sobbingly promised him that he would carry out his last wishes added:
“Abbas, I too have a wish to be fulfilled. Since childhood you have always called me master. For once at least call me brother with your dying breath.”

The blood was cleared from the eye, one brother looked at the other with a longing lingering look. Abbas was heard to whisper:
My brother, my brother and with these words he surrendered his soul to his Maker: Husain fell unconscious on the dead body of Abbas with a cry:
O Abbas, who is left to protect me and Sakina after you?

The flow of Furat became dark as winter and a murmur arose from the flowing water as if to protest against the killing of a thirsty water-bearer on its banks.

CLARIFICATION OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AZADARI (Mourning)

A contemporary scholar Mr Abdul Ghaffar in the daily ‘Hindustan’ dated 21 June 1993 has raised certain objections about the ‘Welcome to Mourning’ (IstiqbaleAza). Perhaps his one-sided study might have plunged him into misunderstandings. Hence it became imperative for us to clarify his misgivings.

The summary of his objections, based on five premises, which are as follows:
(1) Certainly the assassination of Husain will kindle fire in the hearts of the believers until eternity, which will never extinguish. It is a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.)? What is the proof of its authenticity?
(2) The mourning of Prophets (a.s.) before Imam Husain (a.s.) is a meaningless thing.
(3) The survival and resilence of Islam is based on its cardinal principles of Namaz, Roza, Hajj etc. Islam thrives on it and not on mourning of Imam Husain (a.s.).
(4) Mourning and self-flagellation for Imam Husain (a.s.) is forbidden.
(5) Mourning and establishing such gatherings does not have any relevance to the religion. Man should follow Quran and Traditions and not the practice of scholars.

Now we shall reply to the above-mentioned objections so that the foundation and base of Azadari may become evident to one and all. And none shall remain unaware of the existence found in reliable and authentic traditions.

Refutation to the First Objection
“Martyrdom of Husain kindles such a fire in the hearts of the believers which will never extinguish.”
This tradition is but a part of a lengthy narration which Imam Sadiq (a.s.) had related from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). Complete tradition is quoted below:

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“When Imam Husain (a.s.) came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), he looked at him, hugged him and said: ‘Martyrdom of Husain will generate such a fire in the hearts of believers which will never be extinguished.’ Then he said’ My parents be sacrificed for him who is the fountain-head of all mournings’. When the companions asked ‘What does it mean?’ He replied ‘That no believer will remember him but mourning and weeping.’

The tradition was recorded by a great scholar of 8th Century A.H. Shamsuddin Mohammed Aalim (died in 786A.H.), who was given the title of’ Collection of merits and excellences and total knowledge of the world and hereafter’ by Shaikh Mohammed Yusuf Quraishi Shafei in his book ‘Majmua’ quoted from the book ‘Al-Anwaar’ written by Shaikh Abu Ali Mohammed bin Abi Bakr Hammam bin Sohail Katib Iskafi (died in 336 A.H.), who was student of the renowned Sunni scholar of 3rd century A.H. Abdur Razzaq. The narrator of this tradition was Ahmed bin Abi Hiraasa Bahuli, who related from Ibrahim bin Ishaque, who related from Hemad bin Ishaue Ansari, who quoted from Ibn Sinan and who narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.).

This tradition has surprised our respected brethren Abdur Ghaffar but its authenticity was supported by Bukhari in ‘Al Adab Al Mufrad ‘, Ibn Majah in his ‘ Sunan ‘in the chapter of Merits of Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.). Hakim has written about it in his ‘ Mustadrak ‘ pg 77 and Ahmad Bin Hambal in his ‘ Musnad’ vol 4, pg 172 . Apart from these stalwarts, other traditionalists have also narrated it in their books on the authority of Yali Bin Murrah and Jafar Bin Abdullah Ansari that ‘Once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) alongwith his companions was going to attend a feast. He saw Imam Husain (a.s.) playing with his friends. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) moved with agility and wanted to hug him. But when Imam Husain (a.s.) dodged him smilingly. This made the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) to laugh with him and be pleased. Finally he caught Imam Husain (a.s.) and took him in his arms, kissed him and said
“Husain is from me and I am from Husain, Allah likes him who loves Husain. He is one of my grandsons,”

Refutation to the Second Objection
He objects that how come past Prophets (a.s.) mourned and weptfor Imam Husain (a.s.) before his martyrdom?
The cause of this question is that Abdul Gaffar considers Prophets to be like ordinary mortals and thinks that they are unaware of the future happenings. While they are gifted with Divine Knowledge due to which they are aware of future happenings. They used to rejoice at joyous occasions and became sorrowful and uncomfortable at the sad incidents.

It has been mentioned in reliable traditions that often Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) mourned for Imam Husain (a.s.), which was obviously before his martyrdom.
Thewell-known scholar of 10th century A. H. Allauddin Muttaqi Hindi in his book ‘Kanzul Ummal’ has quoted Ibn Abi Shaibah, who has related from Umme Salmah, the wife of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), that “Once Imam Husain (a.s.) came to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) when I was sitting near the door. I saw that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) had something in his palm, which was moved by him and weeping profusely. By now Imam Husain (a.s.) had fallen asleep in his lap. I asked about the matter. He replied: ‘Jibraeel has brought the sand of the place where Husain will be martyred and informed me that people of my Ummat will slay him.’” (Kanzul Ummal, vol 2)

The great Sunni scholar of 8th century A. H., Hafiz Nuruddin Haithami Shafei has related from Tabrani , who has narrated from Hazrat Aisha that
“Once Imam Husain Bin Ali (a.s.) visited Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), while he was in the middle of a revelation. He climbed on the shoulders of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), Jibrael asked from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) that did he love him? The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) replied ‘How could I not love my son’. Jibrael said: ‘Surely your Ummat will kill him afteryou’. Then he stretched his hand and handed over a white sand to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and said: ‘Your son will be killed on this soil. The place is known as Taff.’ After the departure of Jibrael, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) came out, he had the same sand in his hand, he was weeping and he said: ‘ O Ayesha, Jibrael has informed me that my son Husain will be killed on the land of Taff. My Ummat will pass through test after me.’ Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) went, weeping profusely. Hazrat Ali (a.s.), Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Abu Zar were present there. When they all inquired about the cause of grief. He replied: “Jibrael has informed me that, after me, my son Husain will be killed on the land of Taff. He also gave me the sand and said that it is from his grave.” (Majmauz Zawaed, vol 9, pg 187)

Hakim Neshapuri has related a tradition from Umme Fazl that once in her dream she saw the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), whose limb got cut and fell in her lap. She related the dream to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), He replied “You have seen a good dream. InshaAllah, Fatema will give birth to a child and you will upbring him.” Umme Fazl said soon after Fatema gave birth to Husain and I brought him up. Once I took him to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) looked at me, his eyes were brimming with tears. When I inquired about the cause of tears. He replied: “Jibrael had come to me and told me that after me, my Ummat will kill my son.” I asked “Will it be this son?” He replied in the affirmative. Jibrael also brought reddish sand for me.” (Mustadrak Hakim, vol 3, pg 176)

Are not these three traditions enough to prove that Prophets, and Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) in particular, due to Divinely gifted knowledge were well-aware of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). They were aggrieved and mourned for him.

Refutation to the Third Objection
Undoubtedly Namaz, Fasting and Hajj are from the fundamental principles of Islam and none of the Muslim can repudiate it. But what aboutthose things which are regarded as a matter of belief and related to the emotional feelings like the Oneness of Allah, Prophethood of Hazrat Mohammed (s.a.w.) or for that matter love of Allah, His Prophet and Ahlebait. Are not these things also among the obligatory deeds. Are not these things higher than obligatory deeds of Islam? Quran and traditions bear testimony to the fact that faith has precedence upon deed. The pre requisite for acceptance of a virtue is correct belief. Belief in Allah and Prophet, Resurrection, avoidance of polytheism and disbelief, enmity with the enemies of Islam, love of Allah, Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.) and his Ahlebait are in fact total and absolute belief. Good deed leads to perfection and elevation of faith.

Allauddin Muttaqi Hindi, a great Sunni scholar has recorded a tradition in his book ‘Kanzul Ummal’ from a great Sunni traditionalist and historian Ibne Asakir that Hazrat Ali (a.s.) related from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) who said:
“O Ali! Islam is bare naked, it is covered by piety, its dress is guidance, its adornment is shame, its pillar is abstinence and its base is good deeds. The foundation of Islam is my love and love for myAhlebait.” (Kanzul Ummal, vol 13, pg 90 and vol 6, pg 218)

Imamul Mohaddesin Ahmed Bin Hambal has related a tradition from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) in which he addressed his cousin Mutallib Bin Rabiah:
“By Allah faith will not enter any Muslim’s heart unless forthe sake of maintaining contact with me and he loves my Ahlebait (a.s.).”
(Musnad Ahmed, vol 3, pg 201)

The great traditionalist Hafiz Jalaluddin Suyuti has recorded from Tabrani that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“Maintain love of my Ahlebait. Meet Allah in such a way that you maintain love with us. He will enter into paradise by our intercession. I swear by the One who holds my life in His hands that no deed will be accepted unless we Ahlebait approve of it.” (Ahyaul Mayyit, Tradition No 18)

Hence if Namaz, Fasting, Zakat and Hajj are compulsory acts of Islam then the base of these acts is veritable faith and belief, which includes love of Ahlebait. Since Imam Husain (a.s.) is very much from Ahlebait, heartly attachment and love for him according to authentic tradition forms an indispensable condition for the veritability of faith.

At this juncture a question arises that if by Quranic injunction and religious instruction someone loves Imam Husain (a.s.) from the depth of hear tthen is it possible that he will remain unmoved at his calamity and he will not express grief for him?

Therefore, we say that if Namaz, Fasting, Hajj and Zakat are pillars of Islam and its establishment are intact eternity of Islam. Then it is amply proved by traditions that love of Ahlebait and love of Imam Husain (a.s.) and mourning on him, which is an offshoot of love of Ahlebait, is the foundation of Islam. Its establishment is a pre-condition for establishing Islam.

Refutation to the Fourth Objection
The reply to this objection becomes evidentfrom the earlier reply though. Allah, the Almighty, says in Quran
“O Prophet say that I do not ask of you any reward except the love for my kindred” (Shura: 22) .

Hence according to this verse love of Prophet (s.a.), Ahlebait and Imam Husain (a.s.) is compulsory. And the best expression of love is to be pleased in the happiness of the beloved and to express grief at his sorrow. Hence mourning on Imam Husain (a.s.) for Muslims who believe in this Quranic verse is compulsory.
Factually speaking, it is highly surprising how can a Muslim dare to differ from clear injunctions of Quran and traditions and opine that act which is a part of belief is forbidden. It is really astonishing that how will this man face the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and his Ahlebait on Quiyamat and how will he expect their intercession.

Is not there the story of Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) in Quran? Who wept at the separation of his son Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) for an age. So much so that he was blinded. While Hazrat Yusuf was not tormented by thirst, nor was he brutally killed, neither his sons were killed in his arms, his corpse was not trampled under the hoods of the horses, his tent was not set ablaze and even his women folk were not made captive.

Respected Sir Abdul Gaffar what you suggest that while following the practice of Hazrat Yaqub (a.s.) how much shall we mourn?

Before the event of Karbala the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) often mourned for Imam Husain (a.s.). After the demise of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), Janabe Fatema (s.a.) mourned for him so much that according to the narration of Ibne Sa’ad she was not seen smiling even for a day.

Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) mourned for his father for his entire lifetime. Whenever a sheep was slaughtered and its head separated he used to say
“My father’s head was chopped off in the same manner. The son of the Prophet was slain in this way.”

In the end we request Janab Abdul Gaffarthat about any religious matter unless he does not make impartial study and investigations he should not pursue the matter blindly otherwise his actions will be nothing but plain waste. We also suggest that he should refer some of the Sunni books like Maqtal-al-Husain by Mowaffeq Bin Ahmad Khwarizmi Hanafi, Qurratul Ain fil Baka Alal Husain by Mohammed Mobin Tanava Hanafi, Sawadul Ain fi Rethail Husain by Abu Bakr Hadrami Shafei, Fasle TarjamatuI Imam Al Husain Az Tarikhe Damishq by Ibn Asakir and such other books and compilations. And he should deny the religious factuality of Imam Husain (a.s.) and associate with the enemies of Islam thus causing a rift in the unity of the Muslims. He should know that some of the most difficult stages on the Day of Quiyamatwill be giving explanation of such verdicts and rulings which a man makes inadvertently. There are such traditions in Sihahe Sitta where it is mentioned that on the Day of Quiyamat angels will bring some companions to the Fountain of Kausar and they will turned away because they did not fulfil their rights towards Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

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THE MAGNIFICENT SERMON OF IMAM HUSAIN (A.S)

To understand the sermon of Imam Husain (a.s) and to unravel the secrets and mysteries hidden in it, to experience its excellence, to be influenced by it and then convey it in our own words is a task of mammoth proportions. Leave alone the lay man, even scholars, intellectuals and the litterateurs whose entire lives have been spent in teaching, reading and writing are powerless and ineffective in elucidating and interpreting certain portions of the sermon and writing its exegesis. This statement is not an exaggeration but it is an indisputable fact.

For instance, once Janabe Abdullah b. Jafar-e-Tayyar – the husband of Janabe Zainab (s.a) was with Imam Husain (a.s) at the time when he (a.s) had left Mecca. Along with Janabe Abdullah was Yahya b. Saeed – the brother of Umar b. Saeed. Janabe Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) was carrying along with him a letter from Umar b. Saeed that granted safety and protection to Imam Husain (a.s). Yazid had deposed Waleed b. Utbah and had made Umar b. Saeed as the governor of Madina. Janabe Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) was among those respected personalities who tried to dissuade Imam Husain (a.s) from undertaking the journey to Karbala. He even brought Yahya b. Saeed and the letter that granted asylum to Imam Husain (a.s) in Madina. To him Imam Husain (a.s) said ‘I saw my grandfather (s.a.w.s.) in my dream. Now it is impossible that I turn back. And I have not mentioned this dream to anyone else.’

Imam Husain (a.s) said

‘The one who responds to Allah’s and His Messenger’s (s.a.w.s.) invitation, performs good actions and complies with the laws of Islam has not opposed Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.s.). He (Umar b. Saeed) sends a letter of amnesty and at the same time prepares the grounds for war! But know that the greatest security and shelter lies with Allah. And the one who does not fear Allah in his religion, then he will be deprived of Allah’s sanctuary on the Day of Resurrection. I beseech Allah that His fear remains in me in this world and He grants me refuge in the hereafter. If this letter of amnesty is really based on goodness and sincere intentions then he will get its reward in this world as well as the hereafter.’

Through this brief exhortation, the curtain is raised and some secrets are unfolded. The first is a subtle advice to Umar b. Saeed that the one who does not fear Allah in this world and revolts against the truth cannot expect His pardon in the hereafter. This disobedience will be unacceptable and would be unforgivable. Secondly, Imam (a.s.) was heeding the invitation of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.s.) and therefore a letter of amnesty from Umar b. Saeed does not have any significance. It also shows the character, greatness, magnanimity, courage and independence of Imam Husain (a.s).

But what about that dream? What plan does Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) have in his mind? As events progress, numerous advises and exhortations, as well as the highest forms of guidance, the method of enjoining goodness and prohibiting evil in a practical form, emerge from the sermons of Imam (a.s.). Over the years, Imam’s (a.s.) enlightening sermons have been minutely analysed and many pearls of wisdom have emanated from them. And this process continues till date.

The words and advises of Imam Husain (a.s) in the course of his journey from Medina to Mecca and then from Mecca to Karbala – till the time he attained martyrdom, were collected and compiled in a book. Only after intense reflection and deliberation on his enlightening sermons and speeches, did the deep and incisive secrets concealed in them and their universal effects were manifest to the people. Topics like Tauheed, Prophethood, Wilayat (Vicegerency), Qiyamat, Divine Justice (Adl), the proofs and evidences of the existence of God, the difference between the Divine existence and the existence of the creatures and then finally ‘meeting with the Lord’ have all been dealt with in his sermons. Topics that are so profound that even past prophets and messengers appear to be like divers in the sea of amazement and astonishment. These discussions open the doors of ‘True Recognition’ (marefat) of Allah. The greatness of Prophethood, the majesty of Imam, belief in the Day of Accounting, characteristics of the prophets and their successors – as if his sermons are a key to the entire aim and objective of Prophethood.

History is a witness that Imam Husain (a.s) had given so many speeches and sermons to the army of Yazid that finally they were compelled to say ‘O Husain! We have heard all that you have said. Now pick up your sword and start fighting’.

This shows that Imam Husain (a.s) put forth all his proofs and arguments and had ensured that his voice and message was heard by each and everyone. He did this so that no wrongdoer could advance the excuse of ‘ignorance’ on the Day of Judgement. Keeping in view the numerous sermons of Imam Husain (a.s) it is impossible to unveil all their secrets across a short treatise of a few pages. In fact it is difficult to throw light even upon a select few of his sermons. However, if the esteemed readers were to bestow their attention on the books that have been written on the speeches of Imam Husain (a.s) in the vernacular languages, if only to stimulate their interest, and try to comprehend their meanings and significance, then it is possible to make some progress. They will realise that the defense of twenty three years of propagation of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) began in the month of Rajab and it was secured on the day of Ashoora through his sermons. When the Shias acquire the maturity to understand the phrases that emanated from the blessed tongue of Imam Husain (a.s) and their hearts are stirred with an inclination to act upon them, then the advises of the Quran will become evident to them. The mind will then start accepting and comprehending the effects of the sayings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). By reading and hearing about the attributes of our blessed Imams (a.s), the heart finds contentment and we can grasp that even while living in this world we should strive to adorn our hereafter. Writers have concentrated on four aspects in their efforts to unveil the secrets concealed within the speeches of Imam Husain (a.s).
The four aspects are:

(a) One particular Quranic verse, the exegesis (tafseer) of which is from Umar b. Khattab.
(b) The debate on the issue of allegiance, a controversy over which began right after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the advises of the people exhorting Imam Husain (a.s) not to go to Iraq.
(c) Some crucial turn of events during the journey to Karbala.
(d) Those illegitimate ones who were the fruits of the ‘Accursed Tree’. Obviously this short article cannot delve on all these topics in detail. But as the tradition says, “If you cannot take everything, then also don’t leave everything.’

1. The narration of the Holy Quran that is related to the event of Karbala and is a prelude to understanding the sermons of Imam Husain (a.s) is found in Surah Hajj, verse 78 . This verse throws light among other things, upon the personalities that appointed Yazid as the caliph and the successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). In reality, these personalities were the true architects of his evil reign. In this verse Allah exhorts:

‘And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him.’
(Hajj : 78)

Over here, the struggle (Jehad) that Allah has emphasised refers to the Jehad of Imam Husain (a.s) and the opposing group against whom the battle will be waged is Mughairah (according to Baihakee ). The exegesis (tafseer) of this verse is that Ibn Mardiyah narrates from Abdur Rahman b. Awf that Umar b. Khattab told us, ‘Have you not read the Quranic verse in which Allah declares – ‘Just as you did jehad in the early days you should be prepared for jehad in the last days.’ I affirmed, ‘Certainly, I have read this verse. But which era is referred to by the phrase “last days”?’ To this Umar replied ‘The days when the Bani Umayyah will be rulers and the sons of Mughairah will be the ministers.’ Baihakee has also narrated this same incident. (Durre Mansoor, vol. 4 pg. 371, Cairo edition).

The sons of Mughairah were given ministerial portfolios during the reign of Yazid. Moaviyah was unhappy with Mughairah. But it was Mughairah b. Shoba who had suggested to Moaviyah that he should appoint Yazid as his successor. (Vali-e-Ahad). And in order to prove his (Mughaira) loyalty, he sent his son to Moaviyah – along with forty men – to give the oath of allegiance to Yazid as the ‘heir apparent’. After all of them had sworn allegiance to Yazid, Moaviyah took the son of Mughairah in one corner and asked him ‘In how much money did your father purchase their faith?’ Mughairah’s son said ‘In four hundred dinars’. To which Moaviyah replied ‘Even then it has turned cheap!’

The characters that are unveiled and identified in the entire episode are
(a) Umar b. Khattab, (b) Abdur Rahman b. Awf (c) Mughairah, (d) the son of Mughairah, (e) Moaviyah, (f) Yazid, (g) those forty Kufans who swore allegiance to Yazid for four hundred dinars. The era of these individuals is seen in three paces – the rule of Umar, the reign of Moaviyah and the predictions leading to the reign of Yazid. It is the miracle of Quran that in one single verse, it has exposed the true character of these individuals who are sailing in the same boat and who were instrumental in the appointment of Yazid as a caliph. And standing against these characters is the group that represents the truth and who also embraced three eras and who were introduced by Imam Husain (a.s) most fittingly. It was nighttime when Walid b. Utbah announced the proclamation of Yazid. It was at the governor’s residence where Imam Husain (a.s) declared:

In this short address, Imam Husain (a.s) draws Walid b. Utbah’s attention to the following points:
(a) “We are the people of the (last) messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)” :
The reason for saying this is that after a few days the despicable people would argue about the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).The fifth member of the progeny of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) (i.e. Imam Husain (a.s)) has firmly presented irrevocable evidence in the annals of history and has shown that the attributes of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) are divine and heavenly. Infallibility and chastity are the prime requisites to conform to these characteristics and its proof would have to be brought from none other than Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) himself. It means that that not only are they exceptional but they are also unparalleled in their attributes and they strive hard in the way of Allah with a striving a is due to Him.

(b) “We are the treasures of the prophets knowledge” :
We are well versed with divine secrets. We appear like you but are not like you. We are leaders and masters of (past) prophets and the successors. We are the ‘Path’ of Allah and the inheritors of the past prophets. We are the Proofs of Allah and we bestow the teachings of the Book and Wisdom. Just as our grandfather (s.a.w.s.) persevered in his mission of propagating Islam and just as he purified the ‘self’ of the people by means of the verses of the Quran – awakening and shaking their intellect, intelligence and mentality – and at the same time was steadfast, we too are like him (s.a.w.s.). It is our responsibility to smash the majesty and power of the kings of Rome, Damascus and Arabia and replace them with divine splendour and grandeur. And even with a handful of followers we shall achieve our aim. Otherwise there would not be any distinction between the light of guidance and the darkness of deviation.

(c) “We are the place of descent of angels” :
We are that place where angels are constantly arriving and departing. Our silence has given an opportunity to the plunderers of Islam to gather their strength. But it should not happen that at the time of their death they should have any regrets. Angels are our messengers. They constantly bring for us the news of the universe – in which corner of the earth, the weak and the oppressed are preparing for a confrontation. We are the people who can give a fitting reply to the hypocrites and the polytheists within the realm of religion. And we will give a suitable reply. Ibrahim (a.s.) shall declare that He (Imam Husain (a.s.)) is my son. Moosa (a.s) shall announce He is my inheritor. Isa (a.s) shall proclaim that He is my trustee. While the last messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) – the pride of all prophets shall declare proudly: ‘I am from Husain’.

(d) “We are the place of descent of mercy” :
I am the son of that Prophet (s.a.w.s.) who was a mercy for the worlds. I am the centre of mercy. At the time when the accused Shimr was about to behead Imam Husain (a.s) at the time of Asr on the day of Ashoora, he saw that the lips of Imam Husain (a.s) moving. He thought that probably Imam Husain (a.s) was cursing him. He bent forward to hear what Imam Husain (a.s) was murmuring. He heard Imam Husain (a.s) saying, ‘O my Lord! The nation of my grandfather (s.a.w.s.) is ignorant of my great status. Please forgive them.’ This can only be expected from the grandson of that prophet who was a source of compassion for both the worlds. On his way to Karbala when Imam (a.s) met Abdullah b. Jaufi, he (a.s) advised him, ‘You go very far away from here so that my cries for help (on the Day of Ashoora) do not fall upon your ears. Otherwise you will be destroyed.’ (This is just a small glimpse of his benevolence)

(e) “The religion of Islam was initiated through us” :
And we are the ones who will put the seal of finalisation upon it. If only man – who is endowed with wisdom and who discerns everything – were to fulfill the demands of his robust intellect! He should have asked, ‘O son of the prophet! How is it possible that you will put the final seal on the history of Islam. The phrase (ARABIC) is actually pointing towards the ‘Glorious Kingdom’, the ‘Divine Rule’ – the reign for which the entire universe is awaiting and he is the one who will take revenge.

In this way, in a few words, Imam Husain (a.s) has expressed the status of Imamat – a position that is only obtained by divine appointment. – and has elucidated the spirit and purport behind its context and meaning. He did all this in order to complete his arguments and make the people aware of the secrets of the status of Imamat. He did this so that no one would have any excuse on the Day of Accounting. Not only this, but Imam Husain (a.s) has pulled down the facade of power and leadership from the face of Yazid and exposed his true colours. Imam Husain (a.s) said, ‘Yazid is a drunkard. He boldly kills those people whose killing is prohibited. He is openly involved in all sorts of indecencies and obscenities.’ And when he (a.s) demanded from the officials of Yazid, ‘Tell me, how can a person like me give allegiance to a person like him? Be patient and wait till morning. The truth shall be apparent in broad daylight.’ And when Marwan b. Hakam, who was the fiercest enemy of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) advised Walid to kill Imam Husain (a.s), he (a.s) told him sternly, ‘O son of a degraded woman! You shall be the one who will kill me.’

The reign of Yazid – the caliph of the Muslim nation – encompassed the entire Arabian Peninsula. It is that evil era when the corruptions of Damascus have cast their shadows on the Islamic Empire. After describing the malicious character of Yazid and his immoral personality, the persona of Imam Husain (a.s) and his infallible character are as dazzling as the first rays of the rising sun. These phrases (that Imam Husain (a.s) addressed to Marwan) highlight the courage of Imam Husain (a.s) and through them the universal strength of falsehood is raised to dust. The arrows are an indication of the onslaught of war – a war as it ought to be waged. A war of patience, a crusade of steadfastness, a battle against the self and a war against relations.

Imam Husain (a.s) said ‘A person like me will never swear allegiance to a person like him’ . This meant that if the heir to Hazrat Adam (a.s.), Hazrat Nuh (a.s.), Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) and the grandson of the last Prophet (s.a.w.s.) were to sell himself to Yazid, an illiterate and a drunkard and the most tyrannical of all creatures, there would be no difference left between (ARABIC) (those who have been bestowed with Allah bounties) and (ARABIC) (those upon whom there is the wrath of Allah). Consequently, not only mankind would be devoid of the noble values and morals as propounded by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) but there would also remain no sign of divine justice (Adl), belief in the unseen and the Hereafter. Everything would have been lost in the darkness of the disastrous deeds of the progeny of Abu Sufyan. It was a taunt of Imam Husain (a.s) when he said, “Wait until morning. Everything shall be clear.’

O from what an infinite personality did Yazid decide to obtain an allegiance! (No doubt, the only Infinite Being is Allah. Over here we mean that the personality and character of Imam Husain (a.s) is beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals). In this way Imam Husain (a.s) has mentioned the string of allegiances that were purchased from time to time – right from Saqifah till the last allegiance that was purchased for a mere ten dinars (about which we have discussed earlier). All these acts will humiliate the people till the Day of Judgement. Here we would like to mention yet another shameful and disgraceful event of history that is connected to this allegiance (that Yazid sought from Imam Husain (a.s)) and it is related to that very era. The son of the leader of mankind was already determined not to give allegiance to Yazid. But Abdullah b. Umar b. Khattab did give his allegiance to a disgraceful creature. After Yazid, he kissed the feet of Hajjaj b. Yusuf and offered his allegiance to him. And this incident is recorded in the pages of history. After Yazid, Abdul Malik b. Marwan became the caliph and he appointed Hajjaj b. Yusuf as the governor of Madina. Abdullah b. Umar went to visit Hajjaj b. Yusuf in the middle of the night and told him, ‘Please advance your hand so that I may swear allegiance to the caliph of the time (i.e. Abdul Malik b. Marwan)’ Hajjaj b. Yusuf asked him, ‘What is the haste? Why don’t you wait till the morning?’ At this Abdullah b. Umar replied, ‘I have heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) say ‘One who dies without paying allegiance to the ruler of his time, dies a death of ignorance’. Immediately, Hajjaj b. Yusuf asked him, ‘Then why did you flee from paying allegiance to Ali when he was the caliph?’ After saying this, he removed his foot from below the quilt and asked Abdullah b. Umar to kiss it, saying that he was fit only for this kind of an allegiance. And Abdullah b. Umar did that. (Sharh-e-Nahjil Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadeed) . And the irony is that Ahmed b. Hanbal (one of the greatest Ahle Sunnah scholars) has narrated 1,700 traditions from Abdullah b. Umar while he has recorded only 22 traditions from Imam Hasan (a.s) and Imam Husain (a.s) – yes only 22 traditions. (Sukhnan-e-Husain b. Ali (a.s.))

Abdullah b. Umar had gone to Mecca for performing Umrah and on his way to Medina, he met Imam Husain (a.s). He cautioned Imam Husain (a.s) about the evil plans and tactics of Yazid and his cronies in order to arrest and assassinate him (a.s). At this Imam Husain (a.s) said:

“O Abu Abdur Rahman! Don’t you know how offensive and wretched is this world that even a great prophet like Janabe Yahya b. Zakariya (a.s.) was not spared. The people beheaded him and his head was gifted to a singing girl who was also a prostitute and a woman of immoral character. The Bani Israel would commence their day only after they had slaughtered 70 prophets. But when “the greatest of avengers” (i.e. Allah) decided that it was enough, He involved them in terrible calamities…” After this Imam Husain (a.s) said “O Abu Abdur Rahman! Fear Allah and do not turn away from my assistance.”

Two important points emerge from this short sermon. The first one is that this world is so depraved that even a great prophet like Janabe Yahya (a.s) was beheaded and his head was presented to a singing girl. And Imam Husain (a.s) has referred to Janabe Yahya b. Zakariya (a.s.) a number of times during his journey. This shows that he was aware of his fate. Because there is a striking similarity between the martyrdom of Janabe Yahya b. Zakariya (a.s.).and his own martyrdom. And nor were the Syrians and Kufans living during the time of Imam Husain (a.s) any less oppressive than the Bani Israel. Thus Imam Husain (a.s) was commencing the journey (from Medina to Karbala) conscious of the consequences of his each and every step. (All this shows that Imams (a.s.) have the knowledge of the unseen and are cognizant of the future course of events. This (information) they receive either through divine inspiration or through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Yet this does not mean that the Imams (a.s.) act according to their foreknowledge. They live and behave like ordinary humans)

The second point is that it was imperative to expose the character of Abdullah b. Umar. History has given undue importance to this personality. It is surprising that Ahmed b. Hanbal had the audacity to narrate 1,700 traditions from him. According to Sahih-e-Bukhari (Kitab-ul-Fetan) , Abdullah b. Umar had sworn allegiance to Yazid. (Sukhnan-e-Imam Husain (a.s), pg 69 Mohammed Sadiq Najmi).

This same Abdullah b. Umar – at the time of departing from Mecca – arrived in the presence of Imam Husain (a.s) and requested Imam Husain (a.s) to allow him to kiss that very spot where Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to kiss him. Imam Husain (a.s) lifted his cloak and Abdullah b. Umar kissed his chest thrice. And at the time of leaving Mecca, Abdullah b. Umar mentioned to Imam Husain (a.s) that soon he (a.s) would be martyred. Over here, the question that arises is that is it possible that Imam Husain (a.s) would be unaware of his own martyrdom while strangers were conscious of this fact. The “knowledge of the unseen” that Imam Husain (a.s) possessed is a completely different matter. What is evident over here is that even the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) – at every stage of the twenty three years of his propagation, had prophesied the causes and the reasons that would lead to the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) described Imam’s (a.s) distinguished personality, the apostasy that would be prevalent in his nation, those who would oppose the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and would be their staunchest enemies, the rulers who would rule the Muslim empire and who would be more tyrannical than Firaun, the personalities of Bani Umayyah, the journey of Imam Husain (a.s) etc. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had prophesied each and everything. In the end, Imam Husain (a.s) fulfilled the responsibility of Imamat and advised Abdullah, ‘O Abdullah! Fear Allah and do not turn away from your duty of helping me.’ But Abdullah b. Umar, with tears in his eyes, turned his back and returned to Medina. In today’s world there are numerous Abdullahs who are sympathetic and sorrowful for Imam Husain (a.s). But to be included with Imam (a.s.) on the Day of Judgement and to be counted among his friends and helpers requires that one be prepared to sacrifice not only one’s life and wealth but also all those things that we cherish and hold dear. And this is not an easy task.

Thus various people like Abdullah b. Umar, Abdullah b. Jafar (r.a), Umar-e-Itraf (he was a brother of Imam Husain (a.s)), Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah – all of them tried to dissuade Imam Husain (a.s) from undertaking the journey from Mecca to Iraq, but Imam Husain (a.s) was resolute in his intention. The sermon worth mentioning is the one that he (a.s) delivered to Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah at the time he was about to leave Mecca. At that time, Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah was very ill. Yet he arrived in the presence of Imam Husain (a.s) and said, ‘O my beloved brother! You are well aware that the people of Kufa are notorious for violating their pledges. You also know how the Iraqis had behaved with your father. It is better that you stay back in Mecca.’ To this Imam Husain (a.s) replied, ‘If I am martyred in the precincts of Kabaa then it would lower the prestige and the sanctity of this venerable place.’ Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah then advised Imam Husain (a.s) to go to Yemen where he would remain safe. Imam Husain (a.s) replied, ‘I will think about it’. This discussion between both of them had taken place in the night. Yet when morning arrived, Imam Husain (a.s) began preparing to leave for Iraq. When Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah reminded him that he would consider going to Yemen, Imam Husain (a.s) said, ‘O my brother! Last night I saw Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in my dream and he said:

“O Husain, get ready and start moving. Allah wants to see you martyred.’

On, hearing this Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah recited:

‘Surely we are from Allah and to Him shall we return.’

Then he continued, ‘But is it advisable to take the women and the children along with you when you know that the circumstances are very sensitive and fraught with danger?’ At this Imam Husain (a.s) replied. ‘Allah wants to see them in bondage too.’ ( Sukhnan-e-Imam Husain (a.s) )

In this sermon, Imam Husain (a.s) has discussed those factors that led to his journey to Iraq. Firstly, the vision he had of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in his dream. Secondly it was Allah’s wish that that he should be martyred and thirdly it was once again Allah’s wish that his children and the ladies of the family should be imprisoned and held in bondage. Imam Husain (a.s) has given similar relies to Janabe Umme Salmah, Janabe Zainab (s.a) and to Janabe Muhammad b. Hanafiyyah. Those who possess only superficial knowledge of religion and are not well versed with it, draw some baseless conclusions after hearing this reply. They claim that Imam Husain (a.s) was forced to undertake the journey to Iraq and his ‘free-will’ was suppressed by Allah. Unfortunately, this is a school of thought that not only comprises of laymen but also includes scholars and intellectuals. These people say

‘Surely Allah desired that He should see Imam Husain (a.s) martyred.’

Then they continue, ‘Hence the account of this particular event of Karbala is distinct from other events of the world. Because this martyrdom and imprisonment is beyond the scope of any individual – however great he might be. Leave alone humans, even angel have a feeling of regret on being deprived of this momentous opportunity.

In view of what these scholars and intellectuals claim, three pertinent points arise:
The first is that the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) has no significance and value (since it was forced upon him and was not a voluntary act). The second is that the one who performs jehad by his free will is superior (to the one who is compelled to do jehad). And the third point is that the armies of Ibn Ziyad and Yazid are absolved of their offense of murdering Imam Husain (a.s) because they were forced to commit this heinous crime. Our reply to all these points and to all those who propound such views is very simple. Those who are familiar with the profound concepts of ‘Masheeyat’, ‘Iradah’ and ‘Destiny’ (Qadr) will understand the reply of Imam Husain (a.s), which these intellectuals have failed to comprehend and have reached the conclusion that martyrdom was forced upon Imam (a.s.). These people have interpreted Imam’s (a.s.) words in another light. While, on the contrary, these words and phrases highlight the excellence of Imam Husain (a.s).

All the laws and rules of the exalted religion of Islam bear testimony to the fact that Allah expects each and every of His servant to observe them in toto. He expects all His servants without exception to fulfill their obligatory and recommended acts and at the same time refrain from the prohibited and the undesirable acts. He wants to see that every Muslim is subservient to His commands. However the reality is that when it comes to acting upon these laws, then we give preference to our likes and dislikes and disregard the wishes of Allah. Ultimately we act according to our own wishes. Sometimes our desire overpowers us, while at other times, it is our position and status in society that compels us to act according to our cravings. At times, it is our family, environment and wealth that is responsible for our actions. Hence quite a few factors act as an obstacle in the path of complete subservience to Allah’s commands.

But many a times it does happen that we obey the divine commands even though it is a cause of hardship for us. We fast in summer and forsake food and water. Our throats may be parched, yet we don’t even look at water. By doing this we act according to the command of Allah. Allah loves to see us thirsty in the condition of fasting. All these acts we perform out of our own free will and have never felt that someone is compelling us to do them. The desire of Allah does not seize our free will. We act on the laws of Islam on the basis of our free will and intention. It is precisely due to this that we are either praised or condemned for our actions.

Imam Husain (a.s) had heard his grandfather (s.a.w.s.) say in his dream that Allah desires to see you martyred and your family imprisoned. The love of Allah was so firmly rooted in Imam’s (a.s.) entire existence that he was willing to do anything for the happiness of Allah. And nothing could break his determination. Imam Husain (a.s) did not desire martyrdom out of compulsion. But he wanted to attain martyrdom for the satisfaction and contentment of Allah.

Imam Husain (a.s) is the pride of Hazrat Ismail (a.s). Hazrat Ismail (a.s) interpreted the dream of his father (Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s)) as a command from Allah and was willing to be sacrificed for Allah’s pleasure. Then how is it that Imam Husain (a.s) would not interpret the words of his grandfather (s.a.w.s.) as a command from Allah? He (a.s) was willing to have himself sacrificed and have his family and children imprisoned. And this act is matchless in the annals of history. If the sacrifice of Hazrat Ismail (a.s) is a reason for greatness and an example of free will then the sacrifice of Imam Husain (a.s) too is an example of free will and infinite greatness.

The explanation for all this is that ‘Mashiyyat’, ‘Iradah’, ‘Qadr and ‘Qaza’ have different interpretations in “Aalam-e-Takween” (The world of creation) and in “Aalam-e-Tashreei” (The world of actions). “Aalam-e-Takween is related to involuntary acts – the acts in which man has no say and in which Allah’s command is final and will materialize. Birth, death, creation of the heavens and the earth etc are all examples from the world of creation. On the other hand “Aalam-e-Tashreei” refers to that desire of Allah in which He loves to see His creature acting upon the laws of Islam and that too for their own benefit. He loves to see His servants act upon all those things that He has ordered and refrain from all those things that He has prohibited. Hence Allah has given full freedom to man to perform an action or to leave it. As He says in the Holy Quran

‘Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and doing good to others and giving (of the dues) to the near ones. And He forbids indecency and rebellion. He cautions you so that you may be mindful.’ (Nahl: 90)

As we see, Allah is inviting the servants towards His commands and prohibitions through advice and counsel means precisely this and nothing else. And these were exactly the circumstances before Imam Husain (a.s). And for the sake of the command of Allah, he is firm and steadfast in his endeavour. (i. e. jehad was inevitable and an obligation for him). As he had said earlier, the reign of Yazid is equivalent to performing the last rites of the religion of Islam. The only alternative was for the friends and helpers of Bani Hashim and the family members to lay down their lives in order to give a new lease of life to Islam. This is the underlying meaning of the phrase

‘Surely Allah wishes that He sees me killed and my family members are imprisoned.’

Coming to the third question that “What is the significance of that martyrdom which has already been predicted in the past?” The reply to this question is that no doubt Allah was well aware that Imam Husain (a.s) would remain steadfast on the divine command – a command whose greatness and excellence is beyond the realm of human intellect. Allah knew that Imam Husain (a.s.) would never disobey Him and would willingly sacrifice all that he possessed – his wealth as well as his family. And knowing this Allah informed His last Messenger (a.s.) about the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). But this news that Allah gave to His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is in no way the cause of the occurrence of the events of Karbala. Nor can it be said that this divine pre-knowledge usurped the free will of Imam Husain (a.s) and compelled him to attain martyrdom. An example will clearly illustrate this point. Suppose a person performs an obligatory act of faith out of his free will. And suppose Allah informs His prophet about it. Does this information in any way affect the freedom and liberty of that person? The answer is obviously ‘no’. The conclusion is that this martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) is a great and illustrious event. As days turned into months and months changed into years, history has recorded this event in its pages. The light that emanated from his sermons and which spread across the horizon dazzled the enemies and opponents of Imam Husain (a.s). Allah has spoken of these sermons in the farthest corners of the universe when He says:

‘And this happened when You had taken a covenant from them that they would adopt perseverance inspite of living in this world and seeing its splendour and adornment. Consequently they adopted this covenant and You were aware of their loyalty and firmness. Hence You welcomed them near You and made them familiar with Your proximity. Till such an extent that You found them distinguished and You selected them for lofty praise.’ (Dua-e-Nudbah)

Dear readers, this is one aspect from the secrets of Imam Husain’s (a.s) sermon. And these pearls become evident only because all sorts of people – acquaintances as well as strangers – met him during his journey and advised him not to go towards Kufa. Imam Husain (a.s) replied to all of them and especially tried to divert their attention towards Allah. Sometimes he narrated the dream in which he saw Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) while at other times he invited the people towards Allah as he was bestowed with the status of Imamat. When Imam Husain (a.s) reached the place known as ‘Khazeemah’ then while consoling his sister Janabe Zainab (s.a) he said

‘O my sister! Whatever has been decreed will happen.’ (Here too, the word ‘decree’ is used in the meaning of ‘command of Allah’. We have discussed this point earlier.) Moving forward in his journey, Imam Husain (a.s) reached “Roor” and then to a place called “Sa’lebeeyah” It was over there that Imam Husain (a.s) came to know about the martyrdom of Janabe Muslim (a.s.), Janabe Haani (r.a.) and Abdullah Yaqtar (r.a.). On hearing about their martydom, he (a.s) declared:

‘There is no goodness in this life after all this (news).’ This implied that such an environment had been created that no one was able to live a life of freedom and liberty. Even before his martyrdom the sermons of Imam Husain (a.s) created a revolution in that gloomy and ignorant society. He dispelled the feeling of hopelessness and despair from among his companions when he announced

(a) ‘Being martyred in the way of Allah is a cause of distinction for a man.’
(b)’I am advancing towards death. A death, which is not shameful for a man.’
(c) ‘Alas! We are carrying the burden of humiliation.’
(d) ‘We will neither submit to them in humiliation nor will we run away from them like slaves.’

Such sermons and exhortations continued and finally the eve of Ashoora arrived. After completing his prayers, Imam Husain (a.s) addressed his companions in which he said:

‘Know that the hour of martyrdom is drawing near. I withdraw my allegiance from you. You are now free and can go back to your respective cities.’ But when the lamp was lighted again, each and every companion was standing in his place. And each one of them gave a short speech in which they stressed and emphasised their love and attachment to Imam Husain (a.s). Thus when Imam Husain (a.s) had tested all his companions and found them trustworthy, he removed from their eyes the curtains of the world and revealed to each one of them their abode in Paradise. These were the secrets of the sermon of Imam Husain (a.s) that he delivered in the night of Ashoora. ( Sukhnane Imam Husain (a.s) )

In the end we would like to conclude this article with a sermon of Imam Husain (a.s), which is not only embellished with radiant words but is also profound in its concepts. And we pray to Allah that the love of Imam Husain (a.s.) remains firmly entrenched in our hearts till our last breath.

‘O son of the noble one! Be patient and forbearing. Death is nothing but a moment in which you leave behind difficulties and afflictions and enter into the valley of Paradise where there are eternal bounties. Who does not want to be freed from a prison and live in the comforts of a palace? But the death of your enemies is like the one who steps out from a large edifice and enters a prison. My father (a.s.) has narrated to me a tradition from my grandfather (s.a.w.s.) in which he (s.a.w.s.) informed – The world is like a prison for a believer while it is like a Paradise for an unbeliever. Death is that instant which transfers a believer from his prison into Paradise while for an unbeliever it sends him to Hell. I was neither lied to nor have I lied.’