Intercession is the fragrant nerve of the Islamic doctrine called HOPE. With the help of hope, every Muslim – regardless of his sect – comforts himself and ultimately, departs from this transient world. Every Muslim, worth his salt, is a firm believer of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being the ‘Intercessor for the Sinners’. That is, he (s.a.w.a.) will intercede on behalf of the sinful servants of his Ummah in the court of the Almighty and seek pardon for their acts of commission and omission. The thought of ‘the Resolver of problems’ makes us busy and active, searching for intercession, its factors and causes. This request requires three elements:
a) One who needs intercession;
b) One who has the power to intercede; and
c) One who has the power to accept intercessions or to reject them
Difficulties, hassles, problems, calamities, mishaps and catastrophes are an inseparable and undeniable part of our lives. There is none in this universe who has not faced them. Everyone, without exception, is toiling hard to dispel his difficulties and problems, or at least, struggling to keep them at bay. In this struggle, those whose intellects are veiled, and fear neither Allah nor His retribution in the Hereafter, don’t distinguish between the prohibited and the permissible, lawful and unlawful, right and wrong. For their own comforts and security, they are willing to violate all laws of humanity and breach the boundaries of civilization and compassion. Such characters too desire individuals for intercession. Besides, they too have leaders of falsehood. It is a different problem altogether that such a person also attempts to present himself as a civilized and humane individual to the society, disguising his personality and deceiving others. The moot question is: Can he save himself from calamities and mishaps by masking his true visage in the garbs of deceit and hypocrisy? Is it not true that the silence of the oppressed and the blood of the martyr rip apart the very essence of the oppressor? The oppressor moans; he too feels the pain of divine retribution. Always, there rises a rebel who makes life hell for him. Lo and behold! Even the oppressor wants relief from discomfort and restiveness.
History has never witnessed – nor will it ever till the Day of Judgment – a tyrant and a despot more oppressive than Yazid (may Allah curse him). He too departed from this world in extreme discomfort. Whenever he tried to sleep, he dreamt the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) standing in front of him and protesting, ‘O Yazid! What did my Husain do unto you? Why did you massacre my entire family so brutally?’
When and where did Yazid – the Emperor – who lorded over more than half of the world, die? From where did his funeral procession pass? Where is his grave? History has decimated all the signs and indications. The edgy and agitated moments passed in his lavish and opulent palace in the last phase of his life of depravity and debauchery have been well-recorded in the annals of history on the authority of his upright and humane wife, Hind.
The Real and Eternal Face of Difficulties
Man – the prisoner of difficulties and calamities – after being released from the shackles of this world, has to pass through the various stages of death. The first stage is when his eyes are open but tongue tied. He cannot relate his condition. What is he going through? What is he witnessing? Finally, his body loses the warmth of this worldly life. Facing the squeeze of the grave, the traveler of the world of Barzakh is finally led to his final destination – the Hereafter -chained by his deeds. That day will be the day of real difficulties and untold calamities. ‘The Healer of our souls’ and ‘the Intercessor of our sins’ has warned and informed us of the various kinds of suffering and troubles to be faced by mankind on the Day of Judgment, Return, Reward, Punishment and Retribution, in a manner most eloquent. This day – more famously recalled as the Day of Judgment (Yaum al-Deen) – is remembered by a Muslim in his prayers numerous times in a day. There is not a fraction of a second through the day when this call – Master of the Day of Judgment – is not uttered in the universe. This day is also called as ‘the Day of Entering’ (Yaum al-Wurood). On this day, every soul -no exemptions allowed – will enter the field of gathering. The earth will awaken those in slumber for millions of years and cause them to enter the field of Gathering. The word ‘Day of Entering’ bears great connotation, containing in its few alphabets, numerous prophecies, interpretations and interpolations. The Holy Quran informs in Surah Maryam, Verses 71 & 72,
“And there is not one of you but shall enter it; this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord. And We will deliver those who guarded (against evil), and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees.”
Man’s journey commences from the time he steps into this world to continue for a very long period, until a Day gradually arrives when he will reach a plane far beyond comprehension of human thought. This Day will solely be under the charge and exclusively under the control of the All-Mighty. He will watch each and every person. The scroll of deeds of each individual will be tied around his neck. This Day, when the entire humanity will be ushered into this ground of gathering, is called as the Day of Entering. On this momentous day, when the ilk of Yazid, in zillions, will be subjected to unimaginable punishment, will there be a cool shade as well? Will there be somebody who will be surrounded with noble souls and pure creatures, and in whose shadow people will gain relief from the travails of the Day of Retribution? According to the traditions narrated on the authority of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), it is the holy being of Imam Husain (a.s.) who will provide such shade and comfort on the Day of Judgment. Yes, Husain (a.s.), who broke the wrist of Yazid’s oppression with his patience and forbearance and produced unparalleled sacrifices that cannot be matched till the end of this world but in the event, crushed and trampled on Yazid’s arrogance and conceit. That was Karbala, the field of examination of this transitory world. Whoever responded to Husain’s (a.s.) cry for help and assistance became successful. But, when he (a.s.) enters the Day of Judgment along with his companions and co-martyrs, the glory of his power and authority will be awesome and breathtaking.
The field will be radiant with the light of divine beauty. Angels will be the guardians and the executors of the event. The unbelievers, polytheists, oppressors, blood-suckers and tyrants – who unleashed a reign of terror and dread in this world -will tremble and shiver on seeing the majesty of their Lord. The hearts of those seized in divine retribution will quiver and quake and they will be quite a number – till vision comprehends the horizon – but shall not muster the courage to look at the other side. Yes, only they will be saved who have been granted a certificate of redemption by the infallible Imam (a.s.) in the form of Ziyarat-e-Aashura (which is also considered as Hadith-e-Qudsi -a divine word which is not a part of the Holy Quran). Everyone has to pass through the Bridge of Seraat. Only he will pass safely who used to cry copiously while reciting the aforementioned ziyaarat in this life and purified his heart through it. Thereafter, he threw himself in prostration and supplicated, ‘O Allah! Grant us the intercession of Husain (a.s.) on the Day of Entering’!
It should be borne in mind that the Ziyarat-e-Aashura is recited by our beloved Imam-e-Zamaana (a.t.f.s.), the son of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), the son of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.), the son of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the son of the Straight Path Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). He is our master, who protects us from negative thoughts, envy, jealousy, greed and other evils, and grants us refuge in the lap of his benevolence. Even he throws himself in prostration at the end of Ziyarat-e-Aashura and prays,
“O Allah! Grant me the intercession of Husain on the Day of Entering!”
When he (a.t.f.s.) must be uttering these words, every moment that is spent waiting for the Hereafter, must be responding with Amen! This prostration teaches us the way to illuminate the paths of our lives. Keep away from violating promises and oaths. Ask whatever you desire from the depth of your heart and make yourself among those deserving the intercession of Imam Husain (a.s.). If every heart-beat will utter, ‘O Allah! Grant me the intercession of Husain (a.s.)’, he will hear its responsive cry from the core of the earth till the zenith of the divine throne, as if the mother of Husain (a.s.), Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.), is comforting, ‘Don’t worry, don’t despair, don’t be anxious and apprehensive, my son Husain, my noble, thirsty, the martyr of Karbala, Husain, will never deprive his mourners and his wailers of his intercession on the Day of Entering. For, every individual of this group – the Shiites who mourn for Imam Husain (a.s.) – is a result of my supplication in front of the Almighty.’ Of course, with the condition that he knows the etiquette of prayer and prostration as taught by the infallible guides (a.s.). There should be such sincerity and despair in our invocations that when we beseech, the ocean of Divine Mercy agitates and calls, “(O Mourners of my Husain)! Don’t despair of Allah’s Mercy.”
O Son of Husain (a.s.)! O Resident of Occultation! Acquaint each and every individual of our community with the importance and benefits of Ziyaarat-e-Aashura. For the sake of your grand-mother, Janab-e-Fatima Zahra (s.a.), make us eligible for the intercession of your ancestor Imam Husain (a.s.) on the Day of Entering. Aameen!