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A Brief Exegesis of Ziyaarat-e-Naahiyah


For the introduction of blessed Ziyaarat-e-Naahiyah, we quote the ‘Martyr of the Niche’  (Shaheed-e-Mehraab) Hazrat Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Jafar Saheb Zaidi (r.a) who expired in 28 Zilhajj 1400 A. H. (circa November 7, 1980) in Lahore. After a brief sermon he wrote,

‘This Ziyaarat is actually a gift for Islam and homage paid by Hazrat Saahebul Amr (a.s.) to his beloved, oppressed grandfather, the fifth companion of the cloak ‘ Hazrat Sayyed Al Shohada (a.s.). It is an elegy and a lamentation in the form of a salutation in which Imam (a.t.f.s.) depicts the heartrending afflictions of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.). It is a sufficient testimony to the authenticity of this Ziyaarat that none other than the ‘Preserved Word’ has narrated it.

“And We made it a word to continue in his posterity”

(Surah Zukhruf:28)

This Ziyaarat is related from the special deputies who were the only link between the Imam (a.t.f.s.) and the people. The Shiite scholars have deemed this Ziyaarat as most authentic and have recorded it in their books of Ziyaaraat and supplications.

1)      Allamah Majlisi (r.a) first recorded the Ziyaarat in his book ‘Tohfatuz Zaair’ among the Ziyaaraat    that are transmitted from the infallible Imams (a.s.) and not from the scholars. Allamah Majlisi (r.a) has recounted it citing the works of Sayyid Ibne Taoos (r.a) and Shaikh Muhammad b. Mashhadi (r.a) as references.

2)      Another respected scholar, Shaikh al-Taaifah Abu Jafar Toosi (r.a) has also related this Ziyaarat      directly from Ibne Ayyaash. Shaikh Mufeed (r.a), the teacher of Shaikh-e-Toosi (r.a) and Shaikh-e-Najaashi (r.a), has also reported it in his book al-Mazaar.

3)      Sayyid Ibne Taoos (r.a) has recorded this Ziyaarat in his famous compilation Iqbaal al-Amaal.

Evidently, many Shia scholars have chronicled the Ziyaarat in their works underlining its credibility and authenticity. The illustrious Shia scholar Janab Sayyid Sibte Hasan Hansawi in the magazine “Al Jawad” January 1953 advanced very firm arguments upholding the authenticity of Ziyaarate Naahiyah.  We advance some of the arguments that should suffice for this purpose. Also mentioned in the issue of Al Jawad is the fact that the Ziyaarat has been translated by the respected Maulana Sayyid Ali Mohammad, followed by Maulana Sayyid Mohammad Reza and Maulana Sayyid Ali Mohammad. Mirza Dabeer (r.a) and Mir Ishq (r.a) have translated the Ziyaarat in the poetic form.

“Wassalaam. Sayyed Muhammad Ja?far Zaidi.”

(Khateeb Jaame Shia, Krishn  Nagar, Lahore 1961)

Then Maulana Sayyid Husain Murtaza writes that, ‘The text of the Ziyaarat is sourced from Behaarul Anwar (printed at Tehran, Iran) old edition 1303 AH, Vol. 22, pg. 197-201 and new edition (Moassasul Wafa) from Beirut, Lebanon 1403 AH, 1983, Vol. 97, pg. 317-328.

He continues, ?Readers must note that in the science of traditions (Ilm-e-Hadis), the most reliable method of transmitting and narrating traditions is that the student gets his notes/study material attested by his teacher. The teacher makes necessary changes in the text of the tradition and, when satisfied, grants permission to the student to narrate traditions to others.

After clarifying this point, Maulana Sayyid Husain Murtaza writes:

“In line with the etiquette of the science of traditions, I have listed below my teachers in this field:

1)      The honourable teacher of jurists and traditionalists, Ayatullah Sayyid Shahabuddin Najafi Mar’ashi (r.a)

2)      The respected teacher of traditionalists Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Reza Golpaygaani (r.a).

3)      The respected teacher of traditionalists, Ayatullah Muhaddis Zaade Qummi, son of Ayatullah Shaikh Abbas Qummi (r.a), the compiler of Mafaatihul Jinaan.

4)      The respected teacher of traditions and jurisprudence, Ayatullah Shaikh Muhammad Reza Najafi (r.a).

5)      The respected and honourable teacher Ayatullah Sayyid Ibne Hasan Najafi (r.a)

“I have got the permission to transmit traditions from these illustrious personalities with the help of my father Ayatullah Haaj Sayyid Murtaza Husain (r.a). With this I present traditions pertaining to Imam-e-Zamaana (a.t.f.s.) to my fellow countrymen”

Sayyid Husain Murtaza Naqvi, Qum, Iran.’

With a preface and introduction like this, it is abundantly clear that the authenticity of Ziayaarat-e-Naahiyah is endorsed not just by eminent scholars of Iran and Iraq but also by renowned scholars of India and Pakistan.

Since the Ziyaarat is very lengthy, we have resorted to brevity while expounding the Ziyaarat. We begin the discussion straight away with the statements related to Hazrat Sayyid al-Shohada (a.s.). We have omitted the opening statements of the Ziyaarat not because, God forbid, we do not consider them important enough. Rather, it is purely to keep this exegesis concise and to restrict the discussion, as far as possible, to Imam Husain (a.s.), this being the Muharram special edition of Al Muntazar.

1. “Peace be on Husain (a.s.) who sacrificed his life in the way of Allah with complete sincerity.”

This statement has three important words Sameha, Nafs and Mohja. ‘Sameha’ means to be generous and munificent. Islam, especially the Shiite sect, places great emphasis on generosity and munificence. The distinguished scholar of traditions Allamah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (r.a) in the 71st volume (page 350) of his book ‘ Beharul Anwaar has recorded over 22 traditions on this subject. We have mentioned some traditions by way of illustration.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) asked Imam Hasan (a.s.), ‘What is generosity’

Imam Hasan (a.s.) replied: “To spend (in the way of Allah) whether in ease or difficulty.”

(Ma’anil Akhbaar pg. 255)

In another tradition

The narrator relates, “I heard Imam Reza (a.s.) elucidate (the concept of generosity): ‘The generous one is proximate to Allah, Paradise and proximate to the people. While the stingy one is distant from Allah, Paradise and distant from the people.”

(Oyoono Akhbaar al-Reza (a.s.) Vol. 2, pg. 12)

The second word that is the subject of discussion in this line of Ziyaraat-e-Naahiyah is ‘Nafs’. Nafs is the reality based on which man acquires his self. When a man says ‘I’, he is referring to his Nafs (self).

The highly respected scholar Ibne Baabwayh Al Qummi (r.a.), more popularly referred to as Shaikh-e-Sadooq (r.a) in his book ‘Risaalatul Aqaaed’ describes nafs thus:

“Our belief about the selves is that these are the souls due to which we exist.”

(Beharul Anwaar Vol. 61, Pg. 78)

Readers who wish to get a more detailed view on this topic may refer to the various chapters in the 61st volume of Beharul Anwaar like ‘The Chapter of the Reality of the Self and the Soul and their conditions’, The Chapter of the Potential of the Self “

To conclude, when we say nafs, we mean our entire, actual self.

The third word for discussion is ‘Mohja’ means blood or blood of the heart or life or soul.

In view of this definition, by reflecting on this statement of the Ziyaarat, we can appreciate Imam Husain’s (a.s.) sense of sacrifice in the path of religion. Indeed, Imam’s (a.s.) generosity and munificence are without parallel. After all, he is the one about whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asserted, “Husain is from me and I am from Husain.” With such credentials, it was sufficient for Imam Husain (a.s.) to make just one sacrifice in the way of Allah i.e. his own life. However, Imam Husain (a.s.) wanted to show the world that when the Ahle Bait (a.s.) wished to deal generously with Islam, they weren’t satisfied with sacrificing just their own lives. Rather they did not settle for anything less than a comprehensive sacrifice even if it included an equal brother, a son in the prime of youth, a young nephew and even a 6-month old infant. As if this was not enough, Imam (a.s.) submitted to the unveiling and parading of his womenfolk in the most humiliating manner across Iraq and Syria. All this was insignificant for Imam (a.s.) only because it resulted in the preservation of his grandfather’s religion till the Day of Resurrection.

2.  “Peace be on the one who obeys Allah secretly and openly.”

This statement underscores Imam Husain’s (a.s.) sense of obedience and submission. Indeed obedience and submission are the objectives behind man’s creation. Unfortunately, most men do not perceive this. Let’s understand from the Ahle Bait (a.s.) themselves the role of obedience and submission in our lives.

Is Allah, the Almighty, in need of our obedience? When we refer this question to Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) the ‘City of Knowledge’, this is the response we get:

“He created the creation while He was needless of their obedience and was secure from their disobedience. This is because the disobedience of the disobedient does not harm him and the obedience of the obedient does not benefit him.”

(Nahjul Balagha Sermon 193)

If Allah is needless of our obedience then why has He commanded us to worship Him” Once again, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) informs us:

“When you command your self to obey Allah, you honor your self and when you urge it to disobey Allah, you degrade it.”

(Sharho Nahjil Balagha by Ibne Abil Hadid Vol. 10, pg. 189)

So the more one exhorts his self to obey Allah, the more honor he grants his own self. And the more one disobeys Allah, the more he humiliates his own self.

Often relatives, friends, colleagues and customs incite us to disobey Allah or at the very least act in a manner contrary to the Islamic Shariat.  In such a situation, we are at odds over our religious obligation. Again, it is Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) who resolves this predicament:

“Your Lord calls out to you but you did not answer His Call and turned your back on Him. However, when Satan called out to you, you responded to his invitation and welcomed him. Allah invites you to the everlasting abode, full of bounties, in the neighborhood of the Prophets (a.s.) and the fortunate ones. On the other hand, although this world invites you to misfortunes, destruction, calamities and disasters, you respond to it and advance towards it urgently.”

(Ghorarul Hikam wa Dorarul Kalem)

This tradition informs that

“There can be no obedience for the creatures at the expense of Creator’s disobedience.”

(Man Laa Yahzorohul Faqeeh, Vol. 2, Pg. 621)

In other words, obeying the creatures is not obligatory, regardless of them being relatives, friends and colleagues, if it results in the disobedience of Allah.

September 1, 2020