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A Summary of the Marks of a Mu’min

 
From all what we have indicated while discussing the issues enumerated by the said hadith as the marks of iman, the gist of ziyarat al-Arba’in connotes directing those who are loyal to Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to visiting the shrine of the one who was slain in a foreign land, the Master of Martyrs (‘a), in order to mourn him and to renew the memory of what he had to bear of cruelty the like of which was never committed by anyone who has a tint of humanity in him, let alone those who claim to follow Islam. To be present at the gravesite of al-Husayn (‘a) on the Arba’in anniversary of his martyrdom is the most evident of all signs of iman.
 
Amazement never ends about someone who twists the meaning of this statement by claiming that it means visiting forty believers despite the absence of reference to any such forty believers, nor is there any clue referring to such a meaning.

Surely Islam commends a believer to visit forty others; this is enjoined by Islam and is not a distinguishing mark between the Shi’as and the Sunnis, nor is it directed only to the believers in order to distinguish them from others.

Yes, visiting the shrine of al-Husayn (‘a) on the anniversary of forty days after his martyrdom is called for by those who have a pure faith in and loyalty to Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). It is underscored by the eagerness to be near al-Husayn (‘a). It is known that those who are present at this most sacred shrine (forty days after the martyrdom's anniversary) of the master of the youths of Paradise are, in particular, those who are his Shi’as and who follow in his footsteps.
 
A testimony to the sacred hadith quoted above is the fact that the renowned scholars do not dispute in their understanding of the significance of visiting the gravesite of al-Husayn (‘a) on the 40th of Safar.

One of them is Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi who discusses the merits of visiting the shrine of al-Husayn (‘a) on p. 17, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Tahthib. Having narrated the traditions referring to the merits of any visit to his shrine, he started discussing those to be performed on specific dates one of which is ‘Ashura. After that he quoted this same hadith.

On p. 551 of Misbah al-Mutahajjid (Bombay edition), the month of Safar is discussed and so are the significant events that took place during it. Then the author goes on to say, “On the 20th of Safar, the ladies of Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) returned from Syria to the city of the Prophet (S).

They were the first to make such a visit (ziyarat). Also, Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari came at the same time to visit the gravesite of Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a), thus becoming the very first person outside al-Husayn's family to do so. Such is ziyarat al-Arba’in.

Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-’Askari (‘a), is quoted as saying, ‘The marks of a mu'min are five..., etc.' Abul-Rayhan al-Biruni has said, ‘On the 20th of Safar, the head [of al-Husayn] was returned to the body and buried with it. In it, there is ziyarat al-Arba’in, and so is the event of the return of his ladies from Syria.'”1
 
‘Allama al-Hilli says the following in his book of ziyarat after one performs the Hajj as recorded in his book Al-Muntaha: “It is highly recommended to visit the gravesite of al-Husayn (‘a), on the twentieth of Safar.” The shaikh quotes Imam Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-’Askari (‘a) saying, “There are five marks for a believer..., etc.”

Sayyid Radiyy ad-Din ‘Ali Ibn Tawus, in his book Al-Iqbal, discusses the ziyarat of al-Husayn's shrine on the twentieth of Safar saying, “We have narrated through isnad to my grandfather Abu Ja’far [Imam al-Baqir (‘a)] what he narrated by way of isnad to our master, al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali al-’Askari, saying, ‘The marks of a believer are five..., etc.'”
 
Al-Majlisi, may Allah elevate his status, in his book Mazar al-Bihar, quotes the same hadith as he discusses the virtues of visiting the shrine of al-Husayn (‘a) on the Arba’in. In the discussion of ziyarat that follows the Hajj, shaikh Yousuf al-Bahrani includes in his book Al-Hada’iq the topic of visiting al-Husayn's gravesite on the 20th of Safar, describing it as one of the distinguishing marks of a mu'min.
 
In the same reference, shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi narrates the same tradition from Al-Tahthib and Misbah al-Mutahajjid as proof for the preference of ziyarat al-Arba’in without making any reference to visiting “forty believers”!
 
Some scholars base their exclusion of ziyarat al-Arba’in on the claim that the Imam (‘a), never referred to rewards in the hereafter for those who visit his shrine during it despite the fact that when Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) encourage visiting the shrine of the oppressed Imam (‘a) and those of other Imams of Guidance (‘a), they mention the rewards in the hereafter due to one who performs such a ziyarat. Such a claim should be discarded in the light of the fact that when narrating the said tradition, the Imam (‘a) was highlighting the marks that distinguish a mu'min from others, counting ziyarat al-Arba’in as one such mark of distinction. This is what we have already clarified. He was not discussing the rewards due to one who performs such a visit.
 
Shaikh al-Mufid, in his book Masar al-Shi’a, discusses how commendable and rewardable it is to perform a visit to the Imam's grave on the 20th of Safar. So does ‘Allama al-Hilli in his book Al-Tathkira wal Tahrir. The same applies to Mulla Musin al-Fayz in his book Taqwim al-Muhsinin. The reason why shaikh al-Baha'i, in his book titled Tawzih al-Maqasid al-Arba’in, suggests the 19th of Safar instead, is based on the tenth day of the Arba’in (forty days) under discussion, something that contradicts what is already established.
 

Hosts reached you in earnest roaring,
Rare among the hosts, to defend you.
Do not grant any respite to the lowly one;
How humiliated was lowliness by Hayder!
And revive the life of uprising anew,
Wherein dignity is supported and aided,
And draw for the victors a scheme
Wherein the thrones of the reckless are annihilated.
If a charged hour did not to your call respond
It is shamed, and in more times opportune
Did it indeed to you respond.
Rise and eye the Sacred House,
Then cast another look at your shrine:
That surely is the greatest pilgrimage:
It has become the pride of life and it is rightly so.
Proud of him: the blood of martyrdom is a cause of pride.
Whatever elevated your status they sanctified,
I hide it as do the oppressed,
Yet it surely manifests itself:
Authority complained about its luck and missed
Its pillars, from abusers who took charge,
Blackened, its forehead charred, its pillars
Resent those who with it play havoc and conspire,
And caliphate no longer knows the Muslims,
Abomination therein assails righteousness.
Blackened with a forehead charred
In it apes flourished, tigers filled with filth,
Its cups on the ears poured its tones,
And even during the prayers are cups circulated around!
Such farce is renounced by each and every mosque
That lost its glory, and it causes every pulpit to cry.
So it complains to you, for it then to a hero complains,
One who is mindful and vengeful for the sake of reform.
Virtues are folded up, how great!
This is the mother of virtues every year unfolded!
Leafless, its branches withered, with your blood watered,
So how good and fruitful what you had cultivated!
Against abominations are you called upon.
By a call for help, red, bloody, on a bloody day
The Shari’a did complain about limits changed
And about injunctions there altered.
Their beauty did Umayyah rob so they became
Images formed as misguidance pleases;
Desires blew on them so they are captives complaining:
Who other than Husayn can emancipate?
He met his youths in the morning and led to be
For the Lord's creed sacrifices,
So they were slaughtered.
He conveyed the message as much as he could
Its conveyance was through blood spilled and shed.
In care of reform is the forehead of a man of honour
Bloodied, while the forehead is rubbed with dust.
Labbayk! A lonely man surrounded by large hordes
Counting as many as the pebbles in number, none can count.
Labbayk! A thirsty man whose thirst was never quenched
While in his palms seas of virtues flowed.
These are the tears of those loyal to you,
So quench from them a head almost split
And be kind to these hearts for they wish
You had been in the ribs entombed.
They stampede to uphold the rites
Less magnificent are the Safa and the Mash’ar.
They rode for their sake every sort of danger
Hands almost cut off, skulls almost sawed.
They came to you on the Arba’in and how I wish they
Were with you on the Taff Day when you solicited help!
They found your path to be one for safety
To which they erected the bridge of loyalty
And they hold you as their hope in a fearful Hour
Either to Hell, or to the Pool of Kawthar.
And both opponents when they meet you shall know
Who will drink of it, and who will not a drop draw.2

 

  • 1. Abul-Rayhan al-Biruni, Al-Athar al-Baqiya, p. 331.
  • 2. This poem was composed by the ‘Allama shaikh ‘Abd al-Mahdi Matar al-Najafi.

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