The memories of a person are in proportion to value and eminence of his personality. The more important the personality, the more revered are his memories. The discussions on a divine luminary will also be divine. The society that appreciates benevolence, commemorates the memories of its benefactors and martyrs. This phenomenon is not related to any particular group or religion but its origin lies in the unblemished innate nature of man. Celebrating the contributions made by the benefactors, is an instinctive event for any community.
The matchless endeavour of Imam Husain (a.s), in his quest to uphold truth and wipe out falsehood, is unparalleled in the history of mankind. The enemies of Islam – who had manifested themselves in the form of Yazid and his associates – made a determined effort to destroy Islam through their methodical and evil conspiracies and designs. But it was Imam Husain (a.s), who through his uprising crushed the evil machinations of the enemies. And he was so successful that in the end, the Azaan (call for prayers) could be heard from the court of Yazid itself! A glimpse on the life of Imam Husain (a.s) tells us ‘Beware! Don’t be negligent of the (evil) intentions of the enemies. Don’t let them succeed in their evil plots even if you have to sacrifice your life in foiling their maneuvers.’
Discussing and talking about the “Chief of the Martyrs” has numerous benefits. A few of them are mentioned below:
1) Sign of Proximity to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and his progeny (a.s):
The love of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his progeny (a.s) is the most cherished treasure of a believer. The last verse of Surah-e-Mujaadilah discusses this reality. It says “Those who believe in Allah and the day of resurrection, will never befriend those who are the enemies of Allah and His prophet, even though they (enemies) might be their (own) fathers, or their sons or their brothers…” (58:22). Similarly, the 33rd verse of Surah-e-Shuara asserts that the recompense of (the efforts of) Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is love of his Ahlul Bayt (a.s). Mourning the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) is the finest way of showing our disgust for the enemies of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and also for expressing our love and attachment to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s). How is it possible that a person who is immersed in the love of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is not moved by the calamities that afflicted his progeny, or he is not pleased to hear their merits and virtues?
2) Supporting the Truth:
Imam Husain’s (a.s) uprising was for the sake of establishing a life of truth and wiping out the existence of hopelessness. Hence wherever the name of Imam Husain (a.s) will be discussed, his twin objectives too will find a place in that discussion. The real aim of such key commandments like “Amr bil Ma’aroof” (enjoining goodness) and “Nahi anil Munkar” (refraining from evil) is specifically to make righteousness a way of life and to eradicate immorality. If we analyse the speeches and sermons of Imam Husain (a.s), then we come to know that his (a.s) uprising was for the sake of instilling these two principles in the society. There is no goodness superior than truth and no vice more disgraceful than falsehood. In light of this, mourning for Imam Husain (a.s) – the “Chief of the Martyr”- is a symbol of our support for truth and its followers and our aversion and disgust for falsehood.
3) The influence of good morals:
In the entire discussion about Imam Husain (a.s), we observe examples of compassion and uprightness that are unmatched in the history of mankind. The Holy Quran has stressed a lot on the significance of “reminders”. “Reminders” are indeed beneficial for man, and more so for the believers. Even if one does not act upon them (although it is imperative to pay heed to them), yet they serve the purpose of stimulating the virtues of good morals and character in the minds of the people. Even if the discussion has left only a slight impact on him, sooner or later the person will be inclined to act upon it.
4) Revives the incident of Karbala:
It has always been th fervent aim of the oppressors and the tyrants to eradicate the remembrance of truth and the oppressed ones. The unbelievers strove to blow out the lamp of guidance, but Allah, the Almighty, by His infinite Grace always perfects His light.
Mourning the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) not only revives the incident of Karbala but of the entire Islamic history. Had it not been for this mourning, the enemies of Islam and also those of the Ahlulbait (a.s.) would have made Yazid and his ilk into revered personablities. They would have completely transformed Islamic history. This mourning has made important contribution to the prevalence of true incidents and events.
l5) Hatred towards injustice and inhumanity:
The incident of Karbala has occurred in such a manner that when a person reads about it or hears it from someone, then instinctively he abhors oppression and its perpetuators and also tries to keep himself away from similar situations.
6) Softening of the heart:
Man hears through his ears, sees through his eyes and believes by his heart. Everyone agrees that a stone does not absorb drops of water and a hard ground will not allow a seed to grow inside it. All this requires tenderness in large measure. Only a soft, fertile land will accept a seed and provides it with the environment essential for its growth and development. If the heart is soft and sensitive then words have an effect on it. Hard heartedness does not allow the acceptance of any advice. Mourning on Imam Husain (a.s) softens even the most hardhearted person. Tears are an indication of a soft heart. The task that cannot be accomplished by the greatest doctors can be achieved through mourning. When the heart becomes soft then words of truth stimulate it. There are numerous incidents about people whose hearts were transformed due to mourning on Imam Husain (a.s). Janab-e-Hurr (r.a.) is an ideal example of such a transformation. It was the truthfulness of Imam Husain (a.s) and his tribulations that had created a storm and turmoil within Janabe Hurr (r.a.) and brought him to Imam Husain (a.s).
7) The heart becomes a centre of bounties:
When the heart is sensitive and is affected by truth then goodness and nobility reside in it. The person begins to rely only on Allah and there is an increase in his self-respect. Bravery and courage spring forth from him. He now has the strength to face injustice and oppression. Finally a time comes when the person is able to endure any type of hardship or calamity for the sake of earning more and more bounties. He rejects a life of humiliation in return for a death of dignity. Isn’t it enough to realise that among the benefits of mourning on Imam Husain (a.s) is that a person derives the courage to fight against the oppressors and inspite of being less in number and not being well equipped, yet he is willing to confront the enemy head-on? This one uprising against falsehood has led to other uprisings of a similar nature and still many more are simmering in the hearts of the mourners.
8) Training and Education:
The custom of mourning on Imam Husain (a.s) is not just a narration of an historical event. In fact it serves as an “Open University” in which “professional educators” give lectures on a range of topics and throw light upon the various facets of Islam. Topics like Usool-e-deen, Ahkam, Akhlaq, Islamic History, Worship, Business matters, Quran, traditions, Fiqh etc. are propagated among the people. It is at these congregations that practical guidance is given in the art of debating, public speaking and counseling. The secrets of a successful life in this world and in the hereafter are divulged over here. However, one thing needs to be highlighted. Keeping in mind the state of affairs of the country and the educational trend, the gulf between the orators and the audiences seems to be widening. There is no doubt that the new generation understands the concepts after listening to these lectures. But this understanding is superficial. They are unable to reach to the essence or the core of the subject. Hence while delivering the lecture, the speaker should use those words, which are easy for the new generation to understand and at the same time maintain the dignity and decorum of the pulpit from where he is delivering his speech. By doing this he will have more effect on his audience and will leave a lasting impression on them. Along with this, the speaker should consider the environment of the society and also the evil consequences of the cultural influences from western and other countries upon our society. And after analysing these influences, if he advances some feasible solutions to the intellectual and the behavioural problems, then this will be instrumental in the betterment and training of the younger generation and will clarify for them the proper directions of life. All this does not mean that if such things are not there then the purpose of the custom of mourning for Imam Husain (a.s) does not serve any purpose. The benefits of mourning will still be valid. But if these topics are included, they would enhance the significance of these congregations.
9) Protection against evil influences:
One of the advantages of mourning is that as long as a person is engrossed and involved in it, he is safe and away from many evil and detestable influences. He is away from sinful assemblies even if it is for a short while. His attendance in these gatherings shows that the person’s heart has not yet become absolutely insensitive and there are still some signs of compassion in it. Not only are these signs present in him but they are strong enough to draw him out from an immoral gathering and bring him to the mourning ceremony. It means that if this valuable outlook is nurtured then it will prove to be very productive. This is the place where Allah’s favour and Imam’s (a.s) benevolence and guidance is required so that the words are uttered from the pulpit in such a manner that the one who has abandoned his immoral assembly does not return to it. Just as Janab-e-Hurr (r.a.) stayed back with Imam Husain (a.s).
10) Social Advantage:
Fulfilling the needs of others, feeding the poor, assisting strangers, visiting each other, inquiring about each other’s health etc are all different forms of worship which carry a great reward. All these are collectively found in the discussions related to Imam Husain (a.s).
11) Advice and Guidance:
This is one noticeable aspect in the discourses related to Imam Husain (a.s) which none can refute. People participate in these congregations disregarding their worldly position and power, their standing in society and their status. They participate in these assemblies by totally disregarding their authority and influence. The way a wealthy person sits alongside a stranger, mingling with the common man are all examples that underscore this feeling of fraternity. The wealthy man realises the futility of his wealth, while the man of authority relinquishes his yearning for power. When they look around them and reflect within themselves, they realise that the whole world and its treasures, their power and authority are all lowly and worthless. These very people who strike awe in people’s hearts are made aware of the pitfalls of their wealth and power in these mourning congregations. The audacity of speaking one’s mind, the zeal for advises and guidance, are all related to the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s). Here people from every strata of the society blend with each other and are grateful for such gatherings. Such assemblies are impossible to establish for any other objective – even if people toil day and night and spend whatever they possess. Here the participants feel honoured for attending these ceremonies while in all other places the host feels honoured by the presence of the dignitaries.
12) Preparedness for Reappearance :
In all the ziaaraat related to Imam Husain (a.s) in general and in Ziarat-e-Aashura in particular, we find phrases like
(I ask from Allah, Who honoured your status and honoured me through you, that He should confer upon me the opportunity to avenge your blood with the helped Imam (Mahdi-at.f.s.), from the progeny of Mohammed (s.a.w.a)). In the same ziaarat further, we find a phrase which says
(that Allah should give me an opportunity to avenge your blood and my blood in the company of the rightly guided Imam, Imam Mahdi (a.s) who will reappear and who will be speaking the truth.) Just as a person is keen to avenge the blood of his kith and kin, in the same way an admirer of Imam Husain (a.s) is eager to avenge his (a.s) blood – as if he was avenging the blood of his dear ones. The reference of Imam Mahdi (a.s) in the mourning ceremonies of Imam Husain (a.s) is probably because these discussions and congregations are a means for preparing the grounds for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s). And why not? The religion, for which Imam Husain (a.s) sacrificed his life and the lives of his dear ones, is the same which Imam Mahdi (a.s) is going to establish across the world and pass judgements according to its Shariat. Besides he (a.s.) is the rightful heir of these mourning ceremonies concerning the “Chief of the Martyrs”. We, present our deepest condolences to the Imam (a.s) of our time regarding his oppressed ancestor and his companions.
“O my Master! O Master of time! May Allah present you with an immense reward (in this enormous calamity).”
“O Allah for the sake of Imam Husain (a.s) and for the sake of his companions and their recognition, their sacrifices, their valour, their audacity, their courage, their steadfastness and their worship, You make us like them and include us among the helpers of the Imam of our age – Imam Mahdi (a.s).