Friday, September 5, 2014
"Why do the 'Shia' Place so Much Emphasis on Imam Hussain and The Battle of Karbala?"
November 29, 2011 at 12:11pm
Many people wonder, and ask the following question time and time again: Why do the 'Shia' place so much emphasis on the Battle of Karbala and the death of Imam Hussain (a.s)? But the more appropriate question is: Why don't we all, as Muslims, commemorate this event together?
The events that occurred in the Battle of Karbala, and the lead up to it, are narrated in both Shia and Sunni sources. It is not a point of Shia-Sunni conflict, because Imam Hussain (a.s) is the grandson of our Prophet (PBUH). Muharram is a time that should be commemorated together because Imam Hussain (a.s) sacrificed everything He had for our sake - the future generations of Muslims. His sacrifice on the plains of Karbala was purely so Islam would be kept alive.
The proof behind these statements, is all found in the history behind this great event: Yazeed, who was a drunkard, oppressor, and an illegitimately born son of Muawiyah seized the government of Islam, and claimed to be the representative of the entire religion at the time (the Khalifah). The position of the Khalifah in Islam is vital, as they are meant to be the most suitable person to represent, implement and teach Islam to the common people. If someone like Yazeed got the approval of the Holy Prophet's family, His crimes would have been left unquestioned, and the practises of 'Islam' would have been changed to suit Yazeed's dictatorship. This would have resulted in severe consequences. The very foundations of Islam would have been corrupted, as Yazeed's only interest was power, and his practise's were those that directly opposed the teachings of Islam. We would've lost the concept of Haraam and Halal; the Quran and Sunnah would have been abandoned. Islam, which was still a very NEW religion, would have forever been changed, and the divine teachings and efforts of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) would have been lost.
It is because of this very reason that Imam Hussain (a.s) revolted against Yazeed, and refused to pay Him allegiance, because He saw that the potential consequences were severe. To achieve Imam Hussain's approval would have been victory for Yazeed, as He would therefore have permission to seize power in the name of religion, and not be stopped by anyone. Because Imam Hussain (a.s) was the beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and was known amongst all the Arab lands, Yazeed forced Imam Hussain (a.s) to either submit to his illegal government, or be killed.
Imam Hussain (a.s) refused to give into injustice, and saw it His duty as an Imam to defend and protect the future of Islam. Because of this, the family of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) were isolated by the government, and were forcefully driven out of their homes to the scorching desert of Karbala, in Iraq. Though Imam Hussain (a.s) only had an army of 72 men and was accompanied by his women and children, Yazeed still sent an army of thousands of men to kill Imam Hussain (a.s) and all those that defended Him for the sake of Islam.
Imam Hussain (a.s) and His family, were left without food or water for three days, brutally slaughtered, their bodies trampled by the hooves of the enemy's horses, and not even Imam Hussain's 6 month old infant, Ali Asghar, was spared. The women and children, who were now orphans and widows, had their tents burnt after their men were murdered, they were taken as prisoners and captives, and made to walk from the current day Iraq to Syria, to the palace of Yazeed where they were humiliated after their great loss.
This huge sacrifice of Imam Hussain (a.s) was done, KNOWING that all of the above would happen, but Imam Hussain (a.s), the beloved son of the last Messenger of God, still refused to give into the injustice that would destroy our religion from its roots. This is precisely why Imam Hussain's women and children accompanied Him on this great journey - to make a statement: He did not fight for the sake of worldly power, but He and His family fought purely to defend Islam, and to show the future generations to come that this war was not like any other. This sacrifice was done for our sake, to make a revolution that would SHAKE humanity into realising that there is a distinction between TRUE Islam and the infiltrated version that the people had seized for the sake of power. Because of this stand, the religion lived on, as people came to realise the truth after the murder of the Holy Prophet's family.
Not only did Imam Hussain (a.s) save our religion, He did it in such a way, that He left his mark on humanity and inspired great revolutionists forever to come. He did this by implementing the true values of our religion that Yazeed attempted to destroy, even in the times of utmost difficulty and oppression. We as humans complain when we are tested by Allah swt, but Imam Hussain (a.s) saw His every family member - His sons, nephews, and brothers - brutally murdered before His very own eyes, whilst knowing His own death still awaited Him. Yet through this tragedy, He taught lessons of immense bravery, patience, courage, compassion, true love of Allah swt, forgiveness, and most importantly: to never give in to injustice. Imam Hussain (a.s) repeatedly on the day of Ashura tried to remind the enemies about the religion of God, to serve only Allah swt, and up until His dying breath still praised and thanked Allah swt.
Apart from the month of Muharram being a reminder to us about the supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain (a.s), what accompanies this is being reminded of the true beauty of our religion, as demonstrated so perfectly by Imam Hussain (a.s). It is a time for us to weep and appreciate this great sacrifice. The tears we cry cleanse our spiritual souls, and create a yearning within us to strive towards Allah swt, in the same way Imam Hussain (a.s) did. It is the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to weep over His son Imam Hussain (a.s). The rewards of this act are mentioned in the following narrations:
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: "O' Fatimah! Every eye shall be weeping on the Day of Judgment except the eye which has shed tears over the tragedy of Husain (a.s) for surely, that eye shall be laughing and shall be given the glad tidings of the bounties and comforts of Paradise."
Bihar al-Anwar, vol,: 44;pg,:293.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said to Lady Fatimah (s.a): "On the Day of Judgment, you shall intercede for the ladies and I shall intercede for the men; every person who has wept over the tragedy of Husain (a.s), we shall take him by the hand and lead him into Paradise."
Bihar al-Anwar vol. 44,pg. 292.
Thus, though Imam Hussain (a.s) and His family were brutally killed, victory surely lies with Imam Hussain (a.s). Because more than 1300 years later His sacrifice is still remembered, His tragedy is mourned as though it happened yesterday, and He is the inspiration behind many revolutions that exist up until this very day. Many people have converted to the path of Islam upon hearing the extent of Imam Hussain's complete submission to God, and the perfected Islamic values He implemented throughout His life, and ultimately on the Day of Ashura. Has humanity ever seen an accomplishment as great as this?
In conclusion, when love of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Allah swt encompasses one's heart, it is impossible not to feel saddened by this tragedy that inflicted pain upon the Prophet's progeny. When one comes to realise the extent of this tragedy, and the fact that it is the reason Islam is alive today - how can we resort to saying commemorating Muharram is a secetarian or a 'Shia' ritual? It is a time that all Muslims together should unite and mourn this tragedy out of the love of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and His family, and be reminded of the beautiful essence of our religion.
As an Egyptian (Sunni) writer, Abdul Rahman Al Sharqawi says:
"Hussain is a martyr for religion and freedom. The 'Shia' alone should not be proud of the name of Hussain, but rather, ALL free men and women of the world should be proud of this honourable name."
As a chronicler of religious rituals diverse culture I have shot all this within the spectrum of culture without giving in to shock and awe.
I have documented this practice in Mumbai during Ashura and Chehlum two important mourning days in Moharam.
Most of the Kamazni begins from 6 Moharam night at Kaisar Bagh Dongri and continues regularly till 9 Moharam.
While on 9 Moharam it takes place at Honda Byculla after the majlis by Maulana Yasoob Abbas and thamn this ptocession winds through JJ Hospital main road to a local Imambada and more kamazni and zanjir zani on the roads till it ends at Imambada Amin and at Fotowat.
On Ashura 10 Moharam it is a morning event at Amin Imambada , where there is hardcore sword matam by Habib Nasser and Jalal Mamu.. others do their stuff .. and than the Iranians break their fast with Khichda .
Later in the afternoon the procession begins at Moghul Masjid and moves on the roads towards Rehmatabad Shia cemetery after the Shame Gariban majlis by Maulana Athar Sab the kamazni , zanji zani and sword matam starts .
In other cities that I have documented it happens in Lucknow on 9 Moharam outside the Shia Girls College and Maulana Agha Roohi cuts his head too , han the net day the procession moves to Karbala Talkatora .. where the Tazias replicas of Imam Hussain are buried ,,
There is heavy kamazani and zanjirzani .
In Hyderabad the Ashura rituals begin at Bargah and at Bibi Ka Alawa ,, than behind the Bibi Ka Alam procession that ends at Chaddar Ghat .
In Madras it is on the roads and ends 1000 Light mosque
This image of child kamazani was shot in Ashura Chennai 2010.
Answer by Board of Istifa, Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The philosophy of mourning during 'Ashura', is to respect the symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (as), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. So those actions which are not understandable and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided.
Ayatollah Khamenei Ayatollah Khamenei: Practical Laws of Islam >> Religious Events
Q1430: What is the view on beating the drum and cymbal, blowing the trumpet, and lashing oneself with chains with blades during the processions of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.)?
A: If the use of such chains leads, in the eye of the public, to defaming our school of thought or inflicting a noticeable harmful effect on the body, it is not permissible. There is no harm in using the drum, cymbal, and trumpet in the traditional way.
Q1439: Is there any basis in religion for piercing one's body with weights dangling therefrom, all in the name of commemorating the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn (a.s.)?
A: These acts, which are, inevitably, bound to portray our school of thought in a negative shade, are impermissible.
Q1449: In commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on the tenth of Muharram, some people hit themselves with a machete, or walk bare-footed on fire. Such actions defame Shi'ism and put it in a bad light, if not undermine it. They cause bodily and spiritual harms on these doing it as well. What is your opinion in this matter?
A: Any practice that causes bodily harm, or leads to defaming the faith, is Haram. Accordingly, the believers have to steer clear of it. There is no doubt that many of these practices besmirch the image of Ahlul Bayt's (a.s.) School of Thought which is the worst damage and loss.
Q1450: Is hitting oneself with swords Halal if it is done in secret? Or is your fatwa in this regard universal?
A: In addition to the fact that it is not held in the common view as manifestations of mourning and grief and it has no precedent at the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.) and even after that and we have not received any tradition quoted from the Infallibles (a.s.) about any support for this act, be it privately or publicly, this practice would, at the present time, give others a bad image of our school of thought. Therefore, there is no way that it can be considered permissible.
Zanjeer, Qama zaniAfter reading the above mentioned orders from two Great Ayatollah's of our times. People should start following the orders to safeguard Islam and to fail the propaganda of "Taghoot" and arrogant powers of this era against Shiites proving them "Crazy" & "Insane" people who beat themselves sometimes so hard even threatening their own lives. To see the propaganda of "Taghoot" by yourself to believe, please visit the below given link called as Ashura.
As such the true form of Azadari (mourning) is relevant to Wilayat only. The Azadari seen mostly are a set of rituals which are done with the purpose of earning rewards, expressing love of Imam Hussain (a.s.) in the form of grief, or expressing condolence to his mother Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Whereas Azadari in its true sense is awakening of the Ummah to stand and protest against the Yazid of our age and denounce their cruel and harmful policies towards Islam, and this spirit is very much lacking in our Azadari sessions, and this can only be enlightened through the Wilayat of the righteous, that is the Ulama (Faqih) during the occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.).
As far as mourning is concerned and getting attention of entire world, then it should be done very nicely with "beating chests and heads with hands" and with complete discipline in procession. All the people should participate with fully dressed in black cloths. Then definitely it will impress the entire world and will force them to accept us as a peace loving people. On the other hand people fear from Shiites when they see them doing Zanjeer Zani crazily and from head to toe covered with blood.
Some people call it Mojeza (Miracle) of Imam Hussain (a.s.), that there is no infection out of the wounds of Zanjeer and Qama.
As far as no infection with Zanjeer and Qama is concerned, shows the lack of knowledge regarding cultures and religions of world. National Geographic channel has shown many times that in some countries they do the same things which Shiites do and they neither feel pain nor infection after doing so. Hence they can also claim it as Mojeza. So, it has been decided that religion can not be practiced according to our assumptions and self-made thoughts instead we should commemorate true Azadri with its soul.
Some says; this is an issue of Aqeeda, whereas Taqleed is forbidden in Aqeeda, so what concern we have with the Marjae's?
This is one more ignorant question. Aqeeda (Usool example Tauheed) is belief, beliefs are always in the heart, when the beliefs get manifested in practical form it becomes Furoo (example Salaat), and all Furoo are controlled by laws of Shariah. Now love for Allah is Tauheed, but when the same love comes into action it become Salaat, which is Furoo, and Shariah will tell us the way of Salaat. In a similar way, the love of Imam Hussain (a.s.) is Aqeeda, but when the same love comes in practical form, it becomes Furoo (example Azadari) and has to be controlled by Shariah.
As far as matter of Owais-e-Qarani is concerned, he didn't broke his teeth's deliberately but infact it was emotional act and was not pre-planned thing rather than it was unplanned and very quick as he heard the news of the Prophet's broken teeth's. So if we suppose that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) didn't object on it then even we can't relate it to Zanjeer and Qama Zani's permission. Because (1) we do this Zanjeer and Qama Zani pre-planned and we do it every year and Owais-e-Qarani did it only once so we can't make habit of it. (2) we see no continuation of such practice after Owais-e-Qarani, hence proving that its not desirable or Mustahab thing otherwise other companions (Sahabas) would have done it or after that any of companions of Aimma would have done it when hearing martyrdom of any Imam.
Hence it is proved that we find no legal status of shedding blood deliberately and make a practice of it every year rather then we should try to find out the ways which Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) has done, don't forget after Imam Hussain (AS), we have the history of eight (8) Imams, its not less. Why sticks on the act of Owais-e-Qarani only hence try to prove baseless thing?
Question:Is there any problem with causing the bleeding of the head – TATBIR – as it is practiced, to express one’s grief about the martyrdom of our Imam Hussain peace be upon him, assuming there is going to be no permanent harm?
There is no problem with that, given the assumption made in the question, and Allah knows best.
You stated that there is no problem in causing the bleeding of the head – known as TATBIR – if it does not lead to harm. It is said that it is not more than a permissible act, then can TATBIR be MUSTAHAB – desirable – if the intention was the upholding and honoring the Sha’a’er – signs of Allah – and sympathy with the Ahl-ul-Bayt, peace be upon them?
Most probably Allah Almighty would give thawab – reward (the individual) – for sympathizing with the Ahl-ul-Bayt if the intention is sincere.
Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Seyyid al-Seestani
The current leader of the Hawzah of the holy city of Najaf.
What is the ruling regarding the lashing with chains, chest beating, and walking on fire on the occasion of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him?
If (these are) not associated with extreme harm or loss of limb, there is no objection.
What is the ruling regarding wearing black, and chest beating when commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him, as well as other infallible Imams peace be upon them?
This is permissible, and in fact this is regarded as one of the best means of seeking nearness to Allah, since it is upholding and honoring the Sha’a’er of Allah Almighty. [This is a reference to the Qur’anic Ayah 22:32. – translator.]
Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Imam al-Seyyid al-Shirazi
Some individuals say that I do not see shedding my tears as enough to express my grief for Imam Hussain , his household and his followers on the day of Ashura. So is hitting myself with sword and injuring myself is allowed?
The Hussaini Sha’a’er, including TATBIR, are some of the RAAJIH issues. TATBIR is a MUSTAHAB deed, unless it leads to death, loss of limb, or loss of faculties. (RAAJIH means MUSTAHAB that could become WAJIB depending on the circumstances - translator.).
What is your opinion regarding hitting the head with sword – TATBIR – on the day of Ashura whether or not it harms the individual?
The most common and widely known opinion of the Fuqaha (scholars) is that the desirability (of TATBIR) is in it not being extremely harmful.
If one engages in the program of TA’ZIAH for Imam Hussain , and goes on to serve the program of TA’ZIAH but does not do TATBIR, is he regarded as a sinner, who deserves to be humiliated?
TATBIR is a desirable act, and a MUKALLAF – i.e. one who has reached the adolescence age and is duty bound – may forsake a desirable act. It is not allowed to humiliate a Mu’min, and also one who does not do TATBIR may not humiliate or insult others, or accuse them (of false things).
What is your opinion regarding the reports that Lady Zaynab , when she saw the head of her brother Imam Hussain peace be upon him, being paraded in public hit her forehead on the bar of the carriage she was travelling in, causing bleeding to flow from beneath her veil, which was visible to onlookers who witnessed the event?
Yes that is proven.
(Some of the famous references, which confirm the above report, are as follows)
· Bihaar al-Anwaar; volume 45, page 114,
· Jalaa’ al-‘Oyun; volume 2, page 238,
· Zaynab al-Kubra; page 112,
· Asraar al-Shahadah; page 474,
· Al-Muntakhab; volume 2, page 478,
· Nusrat-ul-Madhlum; page 18.
ke hath main
ka waqt yad ata hai
bacche ke khoon se
khanjar aj bhi
maf karata hai
unke sar dekhkar
ho jata hai
Manuela is from Italy and a great family friend she wanted to shoot the Ganesh Visarjan ..immersion so I bought her to Juhu Beach and we both had umbrellas but the stormy weather and the rains played havoc with our cameras .
This picture was shot by dear Twitter friend photojournalist Chirag Wakaskar , he is a great photo enthusiast and charming too..
I saw that Manuela got good pictures as I have shot a lot of Visarjan in the past , I was barefeet , after about an hour and a half Manuela wanted to return back to Bandra so we took a rick and gave a miss to the big Ganpatis .
The ricjk ride back home to Bandra took us more than two hours because of the bad unmanageable traffic snarls ,, we were trafucked to put it mildly.
At home Marziya Nerjis and Zinnia shot Manuela ,, they love showing of their skills on the camera .
Later Manuelas friend Anjali fetched her from my home ,,,
Kamazani is a Shia ritual of cutting the head with a dagger , and is a very old ritual in memory of the Martyrs Of Karbala Imam Hussain the Grandson Of The Holy Prophet and his family .
The trials tribulations the Imam underwent and the genocide by Yazid the Caliph of the Umayad Caliphate is remembered during Moharam , a month of happiness as New Year for majority Muslims but a month of pan and a month of the start of Shia Mourning in remembrance of Ghame Hussain.
All this is commemorated for 2 month 8 days and the hosting of this event at Imambadas and in Shia homes is known as Azadari.
The 10 day Ashura is the saddest day for the Shias and most of them self flagellate known as Zanjirzani, they cut their heads know as Kamazani, and this ritual was basically done by the males and even new born children but of late Shia fathers get their daughters to do the same .
I first shot a Girl doing Kamazni cutting her head at Hyderabad in 2003 ..and than I saw a lot of girlchildren doing the same in 2009 and 2012.
This image of the girl child doing kamazni was shot in Chennai 2010 .
My friend Pappu bhai Kurla allows his daughter to partake in this ritual and so does my friend Habib Nasser whose daughter is just 2 year old.
In Chennai and Hyderabad children s Kamzani is very common..I used to shoot it once but than hardly shoot it anymore.
And I shot it more for its photo journalism value rather glorifying the ritual..
And all this blood letting by the Shia is a silent protest againt the terrorism of Yazid and his bete noire the ISIS of modern times ..
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