Khaak-e-Shefa: The Dust with Healing Powers
Abhi bataonga suraj ko rooshni kya hai
Zara jabeen pe uta loon main khakh-e-paye Hussain
Allah, the Almighty, has bestowed Imam Husain (a.s.) with such amazing traits that it is impossible for us to comprehend it with our limited intellectual faculties. With all his knowledge and spiritual prowess, man can never comprehend the exalted status that Allah has conferred upon Imam Husain’s (a.s.) illustrious companions. When we are confounded with the status of Imam’s (a.s.) companions, then how can we hope to grasp Imam’s (a.s.) position of distinction? Suffice it is to say in praise of Imam’s (a.s.) companions that the infallible Imams (a.s.) used to visit their graves regularly. Moreover, they exhorted their followers to frequent their graves and recite this statement at their shrines,
‘May my parents be sacrificed upon you.’
‘You have become purified and also the earth wherein you are buried.’
‘You have attained a mighty success.’
‘Alas! Had I been with you, I would also have been successful like you.’
Allah has granted certain merits to Imam Husain (a.s.), which underlines his elevated position. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed
1.Supplications made below the dome in Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine at Karbala are answered by Allah.
2.The dust of Karbala has healing powers.
3.The chain of Imamat continues in his progeny.
(Mustadrak al-Wasail by Mirza Husain Noori, vol. 10, p. 335, tradition 15)
Here we shall discuss the significance of the dust of Karbala (Khake Shifa). Readers should note the amazing healing powers of this dust, which shall unfold over the following pages. We shall see the superiority of the land of Karbala vis-à-vis other lands. We shall see how this dust was gifted and how the recipient respected it. We will learn how much the infallibles (a.s.) treasured the dust. We shall read about the miraculous powers of this dust and how those who desecrated the dust were humiliated and disgraced.
Land of Karbala and the Prophets (a.s.)
The land of Karbala has been a place of visitation (ziarat) for the past Prophets (a.s.). Hazrat Adam (a.s.), Hazrat Nuh (a.s.), Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Ismail (a.s.), Hazrat Yusha b. Nun, Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) and Hazrat Esa (a.s.) have all passed through this land at some point of time. In fact, history is witness that circumstances compelled them to pass through this land. Each one of them was informed about the tribulations and ultimate martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). On this information, each one of them wept bitterly and cursed the Imam’s (a.s.) killers.
While passing through the land of Siffeen (during the battle of Siffeen) Hazrat Ali (a.s.) paused at the land of Karbala. He asked Ibne Abbas loudly, ‘O Ibne Abbas, are you aware of this land?’ Ibne Abbas confessed, ‘I am not aware of it.’ Hazrat Ali (a.s.) declared, ‘If you had been informed about it, even you would have wept like me.’ After this, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) wept intensely, till his tears soaked his beard. Then he informed, ‘Over here (in Karbala) they shall dismount. Here they shall pitch their tents. Here their blood shall be spilled. A group of youths from the progeny of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) shall be massacred. Hazrat Jibraeel (a.s.) has shown me the dust of this place.’
(Mojamul Kabeer – Tabaraani, vol. 3 p. 115, tradition 2, 819 from Asraare Shohada,
vol. 1 p. 270 – New Edition)
These incidents highlight the fact that the land of Karbala was sacred and revered right from the beginning. Therefore, one can imagine the significance of the events leading to Imam Husain’s (a.s.) martyrdom, information of which was given to the Prophets (a.s.) and Imams (a.s.).
Holy Ka’bah and the land of Karbala
There are numerous traditions informing us that Allah created the land of Karbala 24,000 years before the Holy Ka’bah.
1. Allah made the land of Karbala holy and sacred before He did the same with the Holy Ka’bah.
2. The land of Karbala was made pure and blessed by Allah much before He originated creation.
3. This land will remain holy and blessed. It will excel over all other lands in Paradise.
4. In Paradise, this land will be the residence of Allah’s friends (awliyaa Allah).
5. This land is holy and sacred due to its dust.
6. The Prophets (a.s.), Messengers (a.s.) and the Ulul Azm Apostles (a.s.) will inhabit this land in Paradise.
7. The brilliance of this land will dazzle the residents of Paradise.
8. This is the land that shall announce, ‘…I am the holy, sacred and blessed land. Within me rests the Chief of Martyrs (a.s.) and the Chief of the Youths of Paradise (a.s.).’
9. This is the land where Allah spoke to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) and Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) was engaged in whispered supplications (Munajaat) with Allah. It is the most honoured of all lands.
10. In Islam, there are other lands that have been bestowed with greatness and honour, but none of these lands can be compared to Karbala.
Once the land of Ka’bah declared proudly, ‘Which land is like me? Allah has made His House on me. People from all parts of the earth come to pay homage to me. I have been made sacrosanct (haram) and sacred by Allah.’
On hearing this Allah, revealed, ‘Be silent! Wait a little (before you say anything further). By My Might and My Honour, the excellence and distinction I have granted to the land of Karbala is more than what I have given you. Compared to Karbala, your position is like a needle head sized drop in front of the sea. If the dust of Karbala had not been there, I would never have bestowed this honour upon you. If the one resting in Karbala (Imam Husain (a.s.)) had not been there, I would neither have created you nor the House over which you are so haughty. Wait, adopt humility and modesty and don’t be arrogant and boastful. Don’t try to prevail over Karbala in importance (as that is not possible). Else I will be displeased with you and throw you in Hell.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p.267, tradition 13, narrating from Imam Ja’far al-Al-Sadiq (a.s.))
It must have become evident to all that comprehending the significance of Karbala is beyond us. When the land of Ka’bah is like a drop in front of Karbala, then how can we grasp its significance? Narrated hereunder are some traditions to enable our readers to get a fair idea about the distinction that has been conferred upon the land of Karbala.
Humility of this land
Allah, the Almighty, has granted this elevated status to the land of Karbala because of its humility. Safwaan Jammaal narrates from Imam Jafar al-Al-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘…when earth and water were boasting about their superiority over the other, Karbala was also asked to narrate its merits. Karbala declared, ‘I am Allah’s blessed and purified land. There are healing powers in my dust and water, however, I do not consider that a source of pride and arrogance. On the contrary, I stand humbled and disgraced in front of my Lord. I do not consider myself superior to anyone. I thank Allah (for everything). Allah was so pleased with this sign of humility that He elevated the already exalted status of Karbala with the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.).’
Then Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrated further, ‘One who is humble in front of His Lord, Allah raises His status. One who is proud in front of His Lord, Allah disgraces him.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 271, Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 109-10, tradition 17)
If one desires to achieve the highest rank, it is necessary for him to be humble and meek before his Lord. This humility should not be for ostentation and display, rather it must be from the depths of the heart. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) supplicates in Dua-e-Makarimul Akhlaq, “O Allah! Just like you have granted me honor in the apparent, also inculcate a sense of humility in my concealed by an equal degree. Proud and arrogance is the basis of humiliation and disgrace.” If only the proud ones could understand this point.
Namaz is among the most important acts of worship. If namaz is accepted (by Allah) then all other acts of worship will be accepted. But if namaz is rejected then all other acts of worship will be rejected. Namaz soothed the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) eyes. In namaz, prostration (sajdah) is a sign of proximity with Allah and assumes tremendous significance. That is why the act of prostration enjoys an elevated station near Allah. It is refusal for prostration that made Shaitan disgraceful in front of his Lord.
According to the Shiite laws, prostration cannot be done on anything and everything. It is permitted only on certain pre-specified objects (as discussed in Tauzihul Masaail-The Articles of Islamic Acts). One of the objects on which prostration is permitted and is even highly recommended and praiseworthy is the dust of Karbala. In fact, prostration on the dust of the land of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) burial has maximum distinction and an incredible reward. We have outlined some traditions in this regard:
Seven layers of earth get illuminated
Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) informs, ‘By prostrating on the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave, the seven layers of earth get illuminated.’
(Wasaailush Shia, vol. 5, p. 365-66, new edition in 30 volumes)
Seven veils get lifted
Muawiya Ibne Ammar narrates, ‘Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) had a yellow pouch in which he kept the pure soil from Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave. At the time of namaz, Imam (a.s.) used to spread the soil on the place of prostration and prostrated on it.’
In this regard, Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) reveals, ‘By prostrating on the soil of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave, seven veils are lifted.’
(Ibid. p. 366, tradition 3)
In another tradition it is mentioned that Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) used to prostrate only on the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave to express his humility in front of Allah.
(Ibid. tradition 4)
Indeed, how amazing are the merits of this dust! The seven layers of the earth are illuminated and the seven veils are lifted. Among the characteristics of light is its inability to penetrate opaque objects. Therefore, the sunlight despite its brilliance and intensity can be blocked easily even by a small curtain. An insignificant mud wall can prevent the sunlight’s progress. Light, regardless of its brilliance and intensity, has to submit to these opaque objects that can hamper its advancement. But the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine at Karbala is so pure and sacred, that a prostration on it can pierce the seven layers of earth with its light and lift the seven veils. Indeed, if this is the significance of the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine, one can only imagine the significance of Imam (a.s.) himself and his martyrdom. It is only with Imam’s (a.s.) momentous sacrifice that namaz and prostration still exist today in the Islamic world.
Animals have sight but lack insight. Therefore, they can see the bounties but are not able to grasp that there is a bestower of bounties. Man can see the bounties and also understands that there is a giver. When he is granted a bounty, he shows his appreciation by thanking the bestower. Therefore, while prostrating on the dust of Karbala, it is important that we also thank the one who has shed his blood and given life to namaz and prostration.
In his famous supplication – Dua-e-Abi Hamza Sumaali, Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) recites:
‘O Allah! Indeed You are not veiled from Your creatures, rather their actions are a veil between You and them.’
Our sins and irreligious traits have become a barrier between Allah and us. Our evil actions have deprived us of the opportunity to acquire recognition of Allah, Who is closer to us than our jugular vein. However, our detestable actions have driven us very far away from Allah. With the wonderful effect of prostration on Imam Husain’s (a.s.) dust, these veils between the creatures and Allah are lifted. We acquire greater proximity with Allah, and indeed this is the objective of prostration.
Renowned scholars have interpreted the lifting of 7 veils and illuminating of 7 layers of earth thus: The self (nafs) has 7 detestable sins that obstruct the light of truth from reaching that person. These sins are – malice, envy, greed, bad behavior, foolishness, deceit and insulting others. Each of these hateful traits sets a gloom on the hearts and darkens them. The darkness of these sins prevents the light of guidance from penetrating the hearts. As the darkness increases, man sinks into the depths of deviation and misguidance.
When man prostrates on the pure dust of Karbala, he is overwhelmed by a sense of humility and devotion and piety, which are necessary traits for worshipping Allah and an important criteria for the acceptance of worship. This sense of humility and devotion cleanse the hearts from detestable sins and allow the light of guidance to pierce the hearts. After this, the heart gets adorned with seven beautiful traits – wisdom, determination, forbearance, good nature, fortitude, modesty and love.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared,
‘Surely Husain (a.s.) is the beacon of guidance and the ark of salvation.’
This is the impact of the pure dust of Karbala – it removes the impurities of sins and makes the worshipper proximate with his Creator.
There are some who object to prostration on this sacred dust. They consider it an innovation in religion (bid’at) and declare Shias as polytheists. They protest so vehemently against this prostration that we begin to wonder if they are prejudiced against this dust or against those buried beneath it!
The Shias of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) have this firm conviction and belief that the prostration on the dust is solely for Allah, the Almighty, and none else. The opponents of the prostration on dust do not realize this fact and hence the intense opposition.
All the Shias prostrate on this dust (to gain proximity with Allah) and do not worship the dust itself. Prostrating on the dust and prostrating the dust are two different actions. All the Muslims prostrate on the earth. That does not mean that they prostrate the earth itself. Earlier, we have outlined that the land of Karbala has gained supremacy over all other lands. Likewise, its dust is also the most exalted. The rewards and merits in prostrating on this dust are also unique and the dusts of other lands do not enjoy the same distinction. Simply because some prejudiced people do not agree with this, does not deprive the dust of Karbala of its distinction.
The tasbih of Janabe Zahra (s.a.) is among the most important ta’qeebaat (recommended acts of worship after namaz). Janabe Zahra (s.a.) had made the beads (of tasbih) from a thread and used to remember Allah with it. After the martyrdom of Janabe Hamza (a.s.) she prepared the beads from the dust of Janabe Hamza’s (a.s.) grave. This tradition continued and after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.), the beads were made from the dust of his grave.
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 33, Makaarimul Akhlaq, p. 281)
Six Thousand Virtues
The beads of tasbih prepared from the pure dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave has some unique merits. Imam Reza (a.s.) narrates, ‘If a person recites the glorification –
Allah will grant him 6,000 virtues for every bead, will forgive 6,000 of his sins and raise his level by 6,000 degrees. He also grants him intercession by the same degree.’
The chain of reward prevails
Another amazing merit of this tasbih is that even if the worshipper extends his hand to pick up the beads but does not recite anything, he will continue to get the reward.
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 133)
Desire for fairies (hoor)
When an angel intends to descend on earth, the heavenly fairies request him to get beads (of tasbih) from the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave.
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 136)
A necessary possession for the Shias
Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) narrates,
‘It is necessary for the Shias to always keep 4 possessions – mat made from date leaves on which he can recite namaz, a ring, a toothbrush and a string with 33 beads made from the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave. When he turns the beads by reciting some remembrance of Allah (zikr), he will get 40 virtues and if he turns the beads without reciting anything, he will get 20 virtues.’
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 132)
While presenting a gift to his friend, man selects an invaluable present for him. Gifts strengthen relations. We have already mentioned that the Hur request the angels to procure beads from the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave. This underlines the fact that the dust of Karbala is dearer and more valuable to the residents of Paradise than the residents of earth. We can gauge the importance of this dust further from this tradition:
Imam Reza (a.s.) sent a dress from Khorasan to a person. In that dress there was also the dust (of Karbala). The recipient of the dress asked Imam’s (a.s.) messenger – ‘What is this dust?’ The messenger replied, ‘This is the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) sacred grave. Whenever Imam Raza (a.s.) gifts a dress or any other present, he always sends the dust of Imam’s (a.s.) grave along with it. Then Imam Reza (a.s.) declares,
‘With Allah’s permission this dust will grant you security.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 278, tradition 1)
Cure for every disease
There are thousands of diseases and sicknesses in this world. For every disease there is a cure and a medicine to heal it. Each sickness has a particular remedy and medication. The same prescription can be harmful for another sickness. Moreover, the drug takes time to heal. But the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave has unique healing powers that can cure any sickness.
In this regard, Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrates,
‘Allah, the Almighty, has made the dust of my ancestor – Imam Husain (a.s.) as a cure for every sickness and safety from every fear.’
(Amaali Shaikh-e-Tusi (r.a.), p. vol. 1, p. 326)
In another tradition, it is mentioned,
“The dust of Imam Husain (a.s.)’s sacred shrine is cure for every sickness and salvation from every fear.”
Also, it has come in another tradition that,
‘The dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) sacred shrine is a cure for every sickness and this is the biggest medicine”
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 275)
These traditions highlight the healing prowess of the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine. It is the best medicine for every sickness, offering security from every fear. The sickness could be physical – dealing with the body or it could be spiritual dealing with the soul and ethics. The physical sickness is nevertheless easier to heal, but the spiritual diseases do not heal easily and at times don’t heal at all. But this dust can heal all these sicknesses very easily. The dust also grants security from fear and not just worldly fear, rather every kind of fear – fear of poverty, enemies, death, grave, Barzakh, Munkar and Nakeer. However, there is one important criterion to avail of these healing powers of the dust and that is, complete certainty and belief in it. So the one who prostrates on the dust with hesitation and doubt will derive limited benefit.
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 274)
From where to acquire the dust?
A common question regarding the dust is – which part of Karbala has the miraculous dust? There are several traditions in this regard. Some traditions declare that the dust can be acquired:
a. From the sacred grave of Imam (a.s.).
b. Upto a distance of 70 yards from the grave.
c. Upto 70 feet from the grave.
d. Upto 1 mile from the grave.
e. Upto 4 miles from the grave.
f. Upto 10 miles from the grave.
g. Upto 5 farsakh from all 4 directions of the grave.
h. Upto 25 yards from the direction of the feet of Imam Husain (a.s.), 25 yards from Imam’s (a.s.) face, 25 yards from Imam’s (a.s.) back and 25 yards from Imam’s (a.s.) side.
i. Upto 20 yards from all 4 sides.
These traditions though apparently in conflict, do not contradict each other in reality. The probable reason being that the dust of Karbala does not have an independent position that merits greatness and distinction. In reality, the dust draws its merit and excellence from the blood of the martyrs of Karbala. Since the blood of the martyrs was spilled all over the battlefield, the dust in several parts of Karbala possesses these glorious merits and distinctions
Moreover, the closer the dust is to the sacred grave of Imam Husain (a.s.), the greater will be its powers and effects. It is obvious that that part of Karbala that has in it the grave of Imam (a.s.) is superior to all other parts.
Jibraeel (a.s.) Presents the Dust to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
One of the important traits of this dust is that it has always remained in pure hands and has been safeguarded with respect and honor. Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrates,
‘Once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was in Janabe Umme Salma’s house. At that moment, Imam Husain (a.s.) entered the house. Even Jibraeel (a.s.) was present over there. Jibraeel (a.s.) told the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), ‘Your nation will slay this son of yours (Imam Husain (a.s.)).’
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said,
‘Show me the dust where he will be martyred and his blood spilled. Jibraeel (a.s.) presented a fistful of dust to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The dust was of red colour.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 60, tradition 3)
In another tradition it is mentioned that every angel who used to descend in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would offer his condolences on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). He would also inform the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about the land of Imam’s (a.s.) martyrdom and would present the dust of the land where Imam (a.s.) would be slain mercilessly.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 61, tradition 8)
In one tradition it is revealed that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave this sacred dust to Janabe Umme Salma (r.a.).
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 60, tradition 4)
These incidents underline the importance of this dust and its amazing merits. More importantly they also serve to emphasize the importance of preserving this dust and inhaling its fragrance, as this was the Sunnat (tradition) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Then those who counter this distinction accorded to the dust and ridicule it instead of honouring it are in fact directly opposing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Jibraeel (a.s.)! But then how can those who participated in the gruesome murder of Imam Husain (a.s.) and/or were satisfied with it ever respect this sacred dust! If the glorious personality of the Chief of Martyrs (a.s.) himself was not honored, what hope is there of his sacred dust being revered!
The Etiquette of Acquiring the Dust
The dust of Karbala is by no means some ordinary dust that one can simply pick up and use. There are some etiquette (aadaab) specified in traditions for picking up the dust and preserving it. A person told Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘I heard you mention that the dust from the sacred shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) is a cure for every ailment. But I have used it and found no benefit in its use.’ Imam (a.s.) replied,
‘There are some etiquette for acquiring and using this dust. One who does not adhere to them, will find the dust of no use.’
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 101 p. 135)
There are several traditions in this regard along with numerous supplications. We have mentioned just two in the following paragraphs.
1. Janabe Abu Hamza Samali (r.a.) narrates from Imam Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘When you wish to pick the dust from Imam Husain’s (a.s.) sacred shrine, recite Surah Hamd, Surah Falaq, Surah Naas, Surah Tauheed, Surah Qadr, Surah Yasin, Ayatul Kursi. Then recite this supplication
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 283-84, tradition 12)
For conciseness, we have not mentioned the translation of this supplication. The supplication itself has many points worth reflecting upon, which give us some idea of the importance of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the dust of his grave.
2. A person approached Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) and complained, ‘I am often very sick and am afflicted by various types of diseases. I have supplicated Allah several times with many an invocation but to no avail. Imam (a.s.) replied,
‘Why don’t you use the dust of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine? There is a cure to every ailment and a security from every fear. When you wish to use this dust, then recite:
‘O Allah! I beseech you by the right of this dust and by the right of the angel (a.s.) who picked the dust, and by the right of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who kept this with himself and by the right of the successor (wasi) who rests in it, send blessings on Muhammad and his progeny (s.a.w.a.). Make this dust for me a cure for every ailment and a security for every fear.’
Then Imam (a.s.) explained,
‘The angel who picked this dust is Jibraeel (a.s.), who then showed this to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and informed him (s.a.w.a.) that it was the dust from the grave of his beloved son, who would ultimately be martyred by his nation. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who kept this dust is Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.). The successor who is resting in it is Imam Husain (a.s.).’
The narrator asked, ‘I appreciate that the dust is a cure for every ailment but how is it a security against every fear?’
Imam (a.s.) informed,
‘If you fear a king or any other tyrant, keep this sacred dust with you and recite this supplication
The narrator informs that I did exactly as Imam (a.s.) instructed me. Consequently, I was cured completely from all ailments and was secure from every fear. Thereafter, I never faced any problem.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 282-83, tradition 10)
The Etiquette of Using the Dust
We find that the method of acquiring and consuming Khake Shifa is detailed in narrations and various supplications have been specified for this purpose. For brevity, we rely on just one narration.
It is narrated from Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) that,
‘The earth of the pure and holy grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) is a pure and blessed musk. For those who consume it from among our Shias, it is a cure for every ailment, and if our enemy uses it then he will melt the way fat melts, when you intend to consume that pure earth recite the following supplication
(Mustadrakul Wasail, vol. 10 pg 339-40 tradition 2; New edition of Makarimul Akhlaq p.189; Beharul Anwar, vol. 101, p. 23, tradition 60)
Besides the above another short supplication to be recited at the time of using Khake Shifa is as follows
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 284, tradition 2)
There are several more detailed manners that are narrated under the above subject. It is evident from the above supplications themselves that this blessed earth has a cure for the ailments, liberation from fear along with beneficial knowledge and abundant sustenance.
The Measure to be Used
Traditions say that Khake Shifa should be used in quantity of the size of a gram seed (chana). And after eating it one should drink water in slow sips.
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 286)
Eminent jurists, in the light of traditions, declare that consuming earth is prohibited. Yet they unanimously hold that using the sacred earth of the holy grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) is permitted. (We have already mentioned the discussion regarding the area referred). In fact it is recommended that this earth be given to the child at the time of its birth and also this sacred earth be placed in the grave.
1. Dust transforms into blood
Said b. Jubair narrates from Abdullah b. Abbas that I heard the lamentation from the house of Janabe Umme Salma (r.a.) – the wife of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), when I came out of my house I saw people heading towards the house of Janabe Umme Salma (r.a.). I went to her and inquired: ‘O Ummul Mo’mineen! Why are you so grieved? She did not reply to me and turned to the ladies of the house and asked them to mourn with her saying: Your master, the Leader of the Youths of Paradise, the son of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is killed!’ The people asked her from where she had received this news. She replied: ‘I saw the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in my dream and his head was covered in dust. When I asked him (s.a.w.a.) he replied, ‘My son Husain (a.s.) has been murdered. I immediately went and looked for the earth given by Jibraeel (a.s.), as I had been informed that this earth will change into blood when Husain (a.s.) is killed. I saw that there was fresh blood.’ Janabe Umme Salma (r.a.) smeared that blood on her face.
(Amaali Sheikh Toosi, vol. 1, p.322)
This is the earth of Karbala that turns into blood grieving for Imam Husain (a.s.).
2. Completely cured
This sacred dust has benefited innumerable people. In fact, we all know how someone or the other has benefited from it. And if we compile these incidents they would surely make a voluminous book. We narrate one such incident, which has been related through reliable traditionalists. As the narration is quite lengthy we bring here a concise report.
Muhammad Ibne Muslim (r.a.) who was among the trusted companions of Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrates:
‘I visited Medina at a time when my legs were paining so much that I even found it difficult to stand up. When Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) was informed of my ailment, he sent his slave to me with a drink, which was covered with a kerchief. The slave asked me to drink what he had brought and told me that he was instructed by Imam (a.s.) to return only when I had finished drinking it. The drink was cold, it tasted good and had the scent of musk. When I was through with the drink, the slave told me, ‘Your master has instructed that after finishing the drink you should visit him.’ I was perplexed that I could not even get up then how was I supposed to visit Imam (a.s.). But as soon as the drink reached my stomach, my ache disappeared and I, who could not even get up, began walking with great ease and presented myself before Imam (a.s.) and asked for permission to enter. Imam (a.s.) called me in a loud voice affirming my return to good heath. I came near him crying and kissed his (a.s.) hands and forehead.
Imam (a.s.) enquired regarding the drink he had sent. I replied, ‘I bear witness that you Ahle Bait (a.s.) are surely a mercy and that you are the successors of the vicegerents. When your slave brought that drink to me, ‘I was unable even to stand up and despaired. When I drank it, I found it to be cold and tasty and sweet-scented as no other drink. Then the slave informed me that Imam has called you. I was thinking that I will surely go even if it costs me my life. But after consuming that drink, my pain vanished. Praise is for Allah who has sent you as mercy for your Shias.
Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘O Muhammad! The sacred dust of the holy grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) was mixed in the drink, which you had. This is the best thing for cures and nothing can be compared to this. We give our women and children this very dust and draw divine blessings.’
(Kaamil al-Ziarat, p. 275-77, tradition 7)
From this incident we learn how much our Imams (a.s.) love us and the level of concern they have for us. Then we should be like Muhammad b. Muslim (r.a.). The effect of the dust is definitely there, provided we have the faith in it and in the one offering it to us, like Muhammad b. Muslim (r.a.) had the faith in Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.).
Dust of Paradise
During the Safawide rule in Iran, a European cleric came to Isfahan (Iran) to derive evidence from the Islamic scholars about the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Prophethood. The cleric was very talented and had complete command over mathematics and astronomy among other sciences. He could inform people about their condition, thereby proving his ability and authority, and striking awe in the hearts of the people. One day, he requested the king to gather all the scholars of the kingdom so that he could display his many talents and faculties. As per his request all the scholars were made to assemble in the court. Among these scholars, was also present the illustrious and acclaimed scholar of the Shiite world – Muhaddis-e-Faiz Kashani (r.a.) – the compiler of several renowned works like Tafsir-e-Safi and Kitab-e-Wafi. Muhaddiss-e- Kashani (r.a.) told the European cleric, ‘Indeed, your people are foolish. They have sent an incompetent and novice like you for this great task. This task requires a multi-faceted person with a wide range of skills and talents.’
The cleric was infuriated at this comment and began trembling in anger. He exclaimed, ‘O Islamic scholar! Speak with a little respect and etiquette. I swear by Jesus (a.s.) and his mother (s.a.), if you were aware of my enormous skills and talents you would never have rebuked me in this manner. Indeed women have not given birth to one like me. I am the epitome of skills and talents. Examine me if you want. For, it is at the time of examination that one’s true worth is underlined.’
Muhaddis-e-Kashani (r.a.) put his hand inside his pocket and removed his clenched fist. Then he demanded, ‘What is in my fist?’ The cleric was struck by this challenge and reflected on the question for long. He tried hard to guess the answer until the colour of his face changed in utter frustration.
Muhaddis-e-Kashani (r.a.) remarked, ‘You have failed to answer my question. Your ignorance is now evident and the reality has unfolded.’
The cleric exclaimed, ‘I swear by Jesus (a.s.) and his mother (s.a.), I already know what is in your clenched fist, I am only trying to guess as to how it came in your possession!’
Muhaddis-e-Kashani (r.a.) demanded, ‘What is in my fist?’
The cleric replied, ‘Your fist has the dust of Paradise. I am trying to figure out how you came to possess it.’
Muhaddiss-e-Kaashshani (r.a.) tried to test him further by saying, ‘It is possible that your calculation and estimate is wrong and you are mistaken.’
The cleric stood his ground and replied, ‘No I am certain of it (dust of Paradise). I am only confused about how you have got it.’
Muhaddis-e-Kashani (r.a.) elaborated, ‘O cleric! I have with me the dust of Karbala. Our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed us that Karbala is a part of Paradise. If your calculation and assessment is correct, then you should accept the truthfulness of our Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and testify your faith in him (s.a.w.a.).’
The cleric agreed, ‘You are right!’ He immediately testified to the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and became a Muslim.
(Asraare Shahadat, vol. 1, p. 523-24, new edition)
Indeed not only is Imam Husain (a.s.) the light of guidance, but everything that comes in contact with him is blessed with these powers. Now we begin to understand the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
There are more things to write on this topic. But brevity demands that we conclude this treatise over here. At the end we supplicate to Allah, the Almighty, to make this sacred dust of Karbala a cure for all our spiritual and physical diseases and to grant us security from every fear. And finally to make us pure and sacred just like this dust.