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' (Istiqbale Aza). 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 Hussain will kindle fire in the hearts of the believers until eternity, which will never extinguish. It is a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) ? What is the proof of its authenticity ?

  2. The mourning of Prophets (A) before Imam Hussain (A) is a meaningless thing.

  3. The survival and resilience of Islam is based on its cardinal principles of Namaz, Roza, Hajj etc. Islam thrives on it and not on mourning of Imam Hussain (A).

  4. Mourning and self-flagellation for Imam Hussain (A) is forbidden.

  5. Mourning and establishing such gatherings does not have any relevance to the religion. Man should follow Qur'an 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 Hussain 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) had related from Holy Prophet (S). Complete tradition is quoted below:

Imam Sadiq (A) said:

"When Imam Husain (A) came to the Holy Prophet (S), 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 mourning'. 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 AH. Shamsuddin Mohammed Aalim (died in 786AH.), 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 AH.), who was student of the renowned Sunni scholar of 3rd century AH. 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).

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 Hassan and Imam Hussain (A). 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) alongwith his companions was going to attend a feast. He saw Imam Husain (A) playing with his friends. The Holy Prophet (S) moved with agility and wanted to hug him. But when Imam Hussain (A) dodged him smilingly. This made the Holy Prophet (S) to laugh with him and be pleased. Finally he caught Imam Hussain (A) and took him in his arms, kissed him and said:

"Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain, Allah likes him who loves Hussain. He is one of my grandsons."

Refutation to the Second Objection

He objects that how come past Prophets (A) mourned and wept for Imam Husain (A) 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) mourned for Imam Hussain (A), which was obviously before his martyrdom.

The well-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), that:

"Once Imam Hussain (A) came to Holy Prophet (S) when I was sitting near the door. I saw that Holy Prophet (S) had something in his palm, which was moved by him and weeping profusely. By now Imam Hussain (A) had fallen asleep in his lap. I asked about the matter. He replied: 'Jibreel has brought the sand of the place where Hussain 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 Hussain Bin Ali (A) visited Holy Prophet (S), while he was in the middle of a revelation. He climbed on the shoulders of Holy Prophet (S), Jibrael asked from the Holy Prophet (S) that did he love him? The Holy Prophet (S) replied 'How could I not love my son'. Jibrael said: 'Surely your Ummat will kill him after you'. Then he stretched his hand and handed over a white sand to Holy Prophet (S) 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) 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 Hussain will be killed on the land of Taff. My Ummat will pass through test after me.' Then the Holy Prophet (S) went, weeping profusely. Hazrat Ali (A), 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 Hussain 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), whose limb got cut and fell in her lap. She related the dream to Holy Prophet (S), 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). When the Holy Prophet (S) 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) in particular, due to Divinely gifted knowledge were well-aware of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A). 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 about those 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) or for that matter love of Allah, His Prophet and Ahlul-Bayt. Are not these things also among the obligatory deeds. Are not these things higher than obligatory deeds of Islam? Qur'an 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) and his Ahlul-Bayt 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) related from Holy Prophet (S) 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 myAhlul-Bayt." (Kanzul Ummal, vol 13, pg 90 and vol 6, pg 218)

Imamul Mohaddesin Ahmed Bin Hambal has related a tradition from Holy Prophet (S) in which he addressed his cousin Mutallib Bin Rabiah:

"By Allah faith will not enter any Muslim's heart unless for the sake of maintaining contact with me and he loves my Ahlul-Bayt (A)." (Musnad Ahmed, vol 3, pg 201)

The great traditionalist Hafiz Jalaluddin Suyuti has recorded from Tabrani that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

"Maintain love of my Ahlul-Bayt. 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 Ahlul-Bayt 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 Ahlul-Bayt. Since Imam Hussain (A) is very much from Ahlul-Bayt, 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 Qur'anic injunction and religious instruction someone loves Imam Hussain (A) from the depth of heart then 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 Ahlul-Bayt and love of Imam Hussain (A) and mourning on him, which is an offshoot of love of Ahlul-Bayt, 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 evident from the earlier reply though. Allah, the Almighty, says in Qur'an:

"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), Ahlul-Bayt and Imam Hussain (A) 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 Hussain (A) for Muslims who believe in this Qur'anic verse is compulsory.

Factually speaking, it is highly surprising how can a Muslim dare to differ from clear injunctions of Qur'an 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) and his Ahlul-Bayt on Qiyamat and how will he expect their intercession.

Is not there the story of Hazrat Yaqub (A) in Qur'an? Who wept at the separation of his son Hazrat Yusuf (A) 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) how much shall we mourn?

Before the event of Karbala the Holy Prophet (S) often mourned for Imam Hussain (A). After the demise of Holy Prophet (S), Janabe Fatema (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) 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."

Now we seek a reply from Janab Abdul Gaffar - why should we stop mourning and expressing grief on Imam Hussain (A) which is an Islamic principle, and a Sunnat of Holy Prophet (S). 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 accept the religious factuality of Imam Hussain (A) and cease associating 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 Qiyamat will 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).