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Tragedy of Karbala: Effects and Consequences

Ziyaarat constitute an important part of traditions narrated from Ahle Bait (a.s.). Our reliable scholars have authored complete books containing Ziyaarat which are both authentic and based on correct chains of narrators. The readers are aware of the rewards of these Ziyaarat, however, the messages conveyed therein and the titles by which Imam (a.s.) is addressed to rarely receive the due attention. As a consequence, we are unaware of the covenants we make with our Imam (a.s.) through these Ziyaarat. It is quiet possible that we make every possible effort to fulfill the promises we make through these Ziyaarat provided that we realize what promises we have made and whom have we taken as witness for the same. Every noble person fulfills the promise when he makes one. As person ascends the peak of nobility, the veils of extraordinary feats are removed from his sight.

Ziyaaraat are the best source of recognition of Masoomeen (a.s.). On one hand, they bring forth the merits and virtues of Ahle Bait (a.s.) and on the other hand they discuss the objectives for which the progeny of Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) bore patiently the injustices inflicted on them. Moreover, they also expose their enemies and inform them of the eternal chastisement awaiting them. They remind us of our duties towards Ahle Bait (a.s.), the extent of the influence of their martyrdom and the creatures who mourned them. Among such Ziyaaraat, the ones concerning the Chief of Martyrs Imam Husain (a.s.) are of special importance. Even with a cursory look at such Ziyaaraat, one can gauge the extent to which the mourning of Imam Husain (a.s.) has spread. It also clarifies the fact that mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) can neither be limited nor will the efforts to reduce its effects see the light of the day.

The mourning Azadari of Imam Husain (a.s.) is based on Holy Quran and has been transcribed by the Divine Will on the tablet of existence. Every recitation of these Ziyaarat acts as a source of nobility for the reciter and enhances his worth. The first Majlis was recited by Hazrat Jibraeel (a.s.) by the permission of Allah where Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was the audience. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) then recited a Majlis where Imam Ali (a.s.), Janabe Zahra (s.a), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) were the listeners. How immaculate and pure an audience! We shall cast a glance over the Ziyaarat concerning Imam Husain (a.s.) and for brevity’s sake present some parts of his Ziyaarat.

In the first Ziyaarat narrated by Siqatul Islam Shaikh Abbas Qummi (r.a) in his renowned book Mafaatihul Jinaan, we find the method of performing the Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) as told by Imam Sadiq (a.s.). Yunus ibn Zibyaan inquired from Imam (a.s.) the manner of doing Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (a.s.), Imam (a.s.) replied.

When you go for Ziyaarat, first take the ceremonial bath in the Euphrates, wear clean clothes, walk barefooted since you are entering the precincts of Allah and His messenger. While proceeding recite the following:

Allaho akbar Wa La Illaha Illallah Wa Subanallah

After this send Blessings (salawaat) …

For the pilgrim the manner of the Ziyaarat acts as a source of proximity to Allah, teaches him monotheism and enjoins him to eschew polytheism.

At another place we find in Ziyaarat:

“I testify that your sacred blood shall last in eternal paradise. The inhabitants of throne were shattered looking at your pure blood and all the creatures mourned it. The seven heavens and the seven earths and everything between them were grievous at your martyrdom. The creatures of Allah who inhabit the paradise and the hell were struck by grief and both visible and invisible creatures lamented on your martyrdom.”

Among the creation of Allah throne enjoys the most exalted position. This is the place where Masoomeen (a.s.) stayed before stepping into this world.

As we find in Ziyaarat-e-Jaame’ah:

“Allah created you as lights, then made you gaze at His Throne (Arsh).”

Earth is the lowliest place whose illumination and worth owes its existence to the presence of Ahle Bait (a.s.). In spiritual world, throne has the loftiest position whereas in material world earth is the most debased place. Every one from first to the last ones have lamented over Imam Husain (a.s.) After struggling for thousands of years man is still unable to see many creatures even with the help of powerful microscopes, but Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informs us of these invisible creatures of Allah through this tradition.. if only we pay attention them!

Mourning – Its Definition and Glory

Mourning is related to love and perception. Mourning is not the result of a transient sorrow. It is a stage where a person as well as his heart is unable to bear pain. It is an indication of deep sorrow. A person mourns only when the afflicted person is closely related to him. Otherwise everyday many tragic incidents take place which do not affect us in any way.

Only he will mourn who perceives, loves and is concerned about the afflicted one. We find from the Ziyaarat that all the creatures of the world have the ability to perceive and feel pain as well. It is our lack of knowledge that we think them to be without perception and senses. Were these creatures devoid of perception and senses how then would they be able to love Imam Husain (a.s.) and lament over him – In absence of the ability to perceive, they would be uninfluenced by the tragedy of Imam Husain (a.s.). We find in Ziyaarate Ashura that:

“O Aba Abdillah, unbearable is the sorrow and nerve-racking is the agony you put up with, for us and all (true) Muslims, crimes committed against you shocked and unnerved the dwellers of the heavens, one and all.?”

The intensity of the calamity depends not only on the magnitude of the affliction but also on the status of the afflicted one. The tragedy of Imam Husain (a.s.) is very grave on all the followers of Islam.

Anyone who is unaffected by the cruel treatment meted out to Imam Husain (a.s.) is out of the fold of Islam because this tragedy was such that even the heavens and its inhabitants were deeply affected.

It is evident that the heavens and its inhabitants which are unaffected by the events of the earth were not only moved by this incident but such an incident was very intense on them. No one can gauge the greatness of an event that affects the heavens. One can find in the books of the history that after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.), the land of Karbala was engulfed in such a darkness that stars were visible during the day time.

The sun was so aggrieved that it withheld its light; one could see redness on the skies the like of which was never seen before. For forty days after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) blood gushed forth from under every stone that was lifted. One could also see blood on the walls and houses at sunrise and sunset. Nothing in this universe was unmoved by the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). These effects which continue to exist today and are not based on emotions but on truth and reality.

We find in numerous traditions from reliable books that every day a row containing no less than one thousand Prophets (a.s.) and proximate angels descend on the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) to pay homage to him. At every time Prophets (a.s.) and proximate angels are busy in Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (a.s.). Traditions not only record their visitation of grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) but also the manner of their visitation. They visit in a state of extreme sadness, with dust on their heads, their hair disturbed, wailing and crying. Traditions like these show that even after 1400 years, the sufferings of Imam Husain (a.s.) are still afresh and their intensity has not reduced. When such is the condition of Prophets (a.s.) and proximate angels, one can never say that he has sufficiently mourned the heart rending calamity of Imam Husain (a.s.) even though some may opine that we weep excessively over Imam Husain (a.s.).

The intensity of the tragedy of Imam Husain (a.s.) is known only to Allah. Traditions concerning the Creation of universe clearly state that Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the cause of creation of this universe and life subsists because of them. Whatever bounties man receives is due to Ahle Bait (a.s.). Every dignified person should be thankful towards the one who provides him with bounties and be sorrowful in his sorrow.

For brevity’s sake, we bring only the translation of the hadith narrated by Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) in his famous book Behaaarul Anwaar. Janabe Jabir Jo’fi narrates from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Imam (a.s.) said:

“O Jabir, (in the beginning) Allah and none else existed. There was neither a known thing nor an unknown thing. Allah created Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) before anyone else and with him He created us with His great light. We were before Him in shades of green light. Neither sky existed nor earth, neither place nor night, neither sun nor moon. Our light was illuminated by Him in the same manner as the rays of the sun are illuminated by the Sun. We were glorifying and praising Allah and busy worshipping Him all the time. Then Allah initiated the creation by bringing creatures into existence. He created place and wrote on it:

“There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Ali is the chief of the believers and his successor, and I helped and supported him through Ali“.

Allah then created the throne and wrote the same on it. He then created the skies and wrote the same on it. He then created the heaven and the hell and wrote the same on them. Allah then created the angels and placed them in the skies; Allah then created the air and inscribed the same on it. Allah then created the Jinn and made them inhabit the air. Then Allah created the earth and wrote the same on it. Due to these words the skies stand firm without pillars, and the earth remains secure. Allah then created Adam from the soil of the earth. “We therefore are the first creation of Allah and first among the creation to worship and glorify Him. We are the cause of the creation and the source of glorification and worship for angels and men”.

(Behaarul Anwaar Vol 57, Pg 169, Hadith 112)

From the above tradition we learn that Allah created Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny before anyone else by His exalted light. They were busy worshipping, purifying and glorifying Allah from the very first day.

When Allah created this universe He wrote on its face His Tauheed, the apostleship of His Messenger and the Mastership of Imam Ali. This proves that our kalima:

“There is no God except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and Ali is Wali of Allah”

is written on the face of the universe.

Let us now look at another tradition regarding this topic brought by Allamah Majlisi (r.a) in his book Behaarul Anwaar quoting form Misbaahul Anwaar. We shall bring only the translation of the tradition to be concise.

Anas relates that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“O uncle, when Allah wanted to create us He originated a sentence which created light, then He said another word which created the spirit. He then placed the spirit in the light and created Me, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain. We glorified and purified Allah at the time when there was no mention of it (that is we did not learn them from anyone).

When Allah willed to create His Creation He split my light and created the throne from it. So throne is from my light and my light is from Allah and my light is superior to the throne.

Then Allah split the light of my brother Ali and created angels from it. Thus angels are from the light of Ali and Ali‘s light is from Allah and superior to angels.

Allah then split the light of my daughter Fatima and created the skies and earth from it. Thus, the skies and the earth are created from her light and her light is from Allah and superior to the skies and the earth.

Allah then split the light of my son Hasan and created sun and moon from it. Therefore the sun and the moon are form the light of Hasan and his light is from Allah and is superior to the sun and the moon.

Allah then split the light of my son Husain and created paradise and its fairies (Hoor al-Een) from it. So paradise and its fairies are from the light of Husain and his light is from Allah and superior to the paradise and its fairies.”

(Behaarul Anwaar Vol 57, Pg 191,193, Hadith 139)

The above tradition clearly brings out the fact that this universe has been created from the light of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his holy progeny. This universe is a result of their blessed existence and a reflection of their light.

When it is proved that this universe is a result of the existence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny, then we can also state that the relation between this universe and them is not ephemeral and based on emotions but everlasting and based on truth. This relationship is stronger than that of a father and a son. It should be borne in mind that the stronger this relationship will be, the more unbearable will be the calamity of Imam Husain (a.s.) on them. Ahle Bait (a.s.) have two deep relationships with this universe, that of creation and that of guidance. It has been proved beyond doubt that Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the means of recognizing, glorifying and purifying Allah for the universe. This relation is not transient and based on emotions but perpetual and real.

The lamentations of universe over the calamities of Ahle Bait (a.s.) especially Imam Husain (a.s.) is based on innate nature and the intensity of the calamity. This relation can never be severed nor can the effects of this sorrow be reduced. The universe will be called as ungrateful if it does not observe the mourning of Imam Husain (a.s.).

This tradition also proves that paradise has been created form the light of Imam Husain (a.s.). Therefore on every step at the door of Imam Husain (a.s.) paradise lies beneath. When the love of Imam Husain (a.s.) gets deeply entrenched in the thought, character and every aspect of one’s life, man’s heart becomes the nest for the manifestation of divine light.

The calamity of Imam Husain (a.s.) has not only grieved this universe but also those for whom it has been created. It should be borne in mind that Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) is the greatest creation of Allah and that all his actions are a reflection of Allah’s greatness. None of his (s.a.w.a.) actions like other human beings are based on emotions.

Ibn Abbas narrates: On one afternoon, I dreamt that Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) head is covered with dust, hair disturbed and carrying a small bottle containing blood in his hand.

I asked, “O Messenger of Allah! My parents be your ransom, what is this”

He (s.a.w.a.) replied:

“This is the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions which I have been collecting since morning.”

Ammar says that on counting the days we realized that it was the same day on which Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred.

Another tradition says that when Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred Ibn Abbas saw Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in a dream with a bottle in his hand. When asked about it he (s.a.w.a.) replied:

“This is the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions which I am taking before Allah.”

(Tareekh-e-Ibn Athir, Vol. 1 Pg. 582, Printed at Beirut)

The lamentations of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with dust on his head and hair disturbed is more important than the mourning of the universe. Therefore, it is not within the capacity of anyone to measure the extent of the oppression on Imam Husain (a.s.). If we wish to tread the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and fulfill the aim of our creation, then we should observe the mourning of Imam Husain (a.s.) and that too with great intensity, although our grief and its intensity is nothing when compared to the actual tragedy.

September 1, 2020