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Appendix II: Day of Arba'in (40th day of Imam Husayn's Martyrdom - 20th Safar)

It has been recommended that on the occasion of the Arba'in of Imam Husayn and his devoted companions visit to the graves of the Holy Imam and the martyrs of the tragedy of Karbala should be paid. The day of Arba'in is one of the most crowded days in the sacred city of Karbala.

The Muslims and the Shi'ah in particular come to that glorious place from different parts of the world and send greetings to the great and magnanimous persons who performed the feats of highest, bravery, devotion and honor. Of course, the ceremonies of homage can be performed and one's attachment to the sacred mission of the martyrs can be expressed in any words and language.

However, it will be much better that whatever has come down to us from the leaders of the religion with regard to the ceremonies of paying the homage should be performed in the same manner in which it has been recommended by the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams, and the supplications mentioned in the Holy Qur'an itself should be given preference over others.

How regrettable it is that, for example, people come from far off places for paying the homage to the sacred grave of the eighth Imam, but during their stay in Mashhad for a few days they do not recite anything except the commonplace homage prepared by the sellers and remain deprived of reading all the homages quoted from the Holy Imams.

Muslims Ought to Understand Islam

The followers do not recognize Imam Reza except with the title of Gharibul Ghuraba. These people may be religious but they do not really understand religion. There are people who believe in Allah, His Prophet and in religion, and make sufficient efforts to perform the religious rites, but they do not understand religion and their efforts are usually based on ignorance and vulgarity. These are the people who at times oppose Allah to seek His proximity, attack religion and the religious persons for the sake of religion and consider the believers to be infidels so that they themselves may not become infidels.

Every person, who recognizes Prophet Muhammad to be the Prophet of Allah and admits to be true what he brought from Allah, is a Muslim. However, every Muslim does not understand what is the meaning of being a Muslim, what the purpose of the Holy Prophet's mission was, how supplications and homage should be performed, and which deeds are the means of acquiring proximity to Allah.

On the contrary it often happens that notwithstanding the fact that a person or some persons may be Muslims and religious minded, they may be having ideas opposed to religion, may practice polytheism in the name of monotheism and godliness, and may indulge in hypocrisy in the name of sincerity. Hence, if it is said that such and such person acts against religion or the Qur'an, it does not mean that that person is not religious.

During the course of the history of Islam there have been many persons who have acted against religion while wishing sincerely to seek the proximity and pleasure of Allah. In fact they wanted to defend their religion and even to promote it, but notwithstanding this they took steps against religion. There have been many persons who were interested in the Holy Qur'an and its publication, but they took steps against the Qur'an.

There have also been many persons who wrote false narrations and traditions in the books believing that this action of theirs was a step towards the advancement of religion and thus became the source of deviation of many Muslims. There have been still others who wrote things against the contents of the Qur'an and gave them the name of the commentary of the Qur'an.

A large number of myths have become a part of the history of Islam and many vulgar actions have been considered to be a part of the religious ceremonies. It is for the reason, as we have said, that every religious person does not understand religion and the religious persons should more than anything else think about understanding religion so that they may not disgrace religion, and whatever they do in the name of religion should become the means of the acquisition of the pleasure of Allah and His Holy Prophet. The religious ceremonies cannot be left to the personal taste of the individuals, and the homage of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams cannot be performed with vulgar methods.

One of the dangerous anti-religious ideas is that whichever action assumes religious bias is good and carries spiritual reward, although it may be opposed to the spirit of the religion, and the Prophet who brought it might be opposed to it and might hate it. Similarly the ceremony on which the sacred name of Imam Husayn is imprinted is considered to be the source of honor in this world and in the Hereafter although it may offend the Imam, and whatever is said from the pulpit of Imam Husayn amounts to worship and entails spiritual reward although it may consist of a lie whether it is in praise or vilification of certain persons.

It was in view of these dangers that some distinguished personalities and scholars of the religion, notwithstanding the fact that they were capable of educating and training others, considered it necessary to present their religious belief before the Imam of the time, lest they should be believing in the name of religion in things opposed to religion, or do things contrary to religion, considering them to be apart of religion.

One such great personality was Abdul Azim Hasani who was the great grandson of Imam Hasan. He was a contemporary of Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad and Imam Ali Naqi al-Hadi and is himself reckoned to be a distinguished member of Ahlul Bayt and a great scholar of Islam. Once he came to Imam Hadi and said: "I wish to mention before you my beliefs so that I may stick to them if you endorse them". After he had narrated his beliefs before the Imam the latter said: "I swear by Allah that the faith which you hold is the same which Allah has chosen for His slaves. You should, therefore, stick to it. May Allah keep you steadfast in truth in this world and in the Hereafter".

It is really very surprising that in spite of his being a very great scholar, Abdul Azim Hasani was not satisfied till he had narrated his beliefs to the Imam of the time, but usually an ordinary person is perfectly satisfied that whatever he knows and does is the same which was brought by the Holy Prophet from Almighty Allah.

Hamran bin Aayun was one of the distinguished companions of Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq. Imam Baqir said to him: "You are one of our followers in this world and in the Hereafter". He has been reckoned to be one of the reciters of the Qur'an and a scholar of the Qur'an and Arabic grammar. When he narrated his faith and beliefs to Imam Sadiq the Holy Imam said to him: "If anyone opposes you in the matter of the beliefs which you have narrated, he is an unbeliever". Hamran asked: "Even though he may be an Alawi or a Fatimid?" The Imam replied: "Even though he may be a Muhammadi, an Alawi, or a Fatimid". The Imam meant to say that relationship with the Holy Prophet or Imam Ali or lady Fatima has nothing to do with religion.

Abdullah bin Abi Yafur narrated his beliefs to Imam Sadiq. Amr bin Hulayth also narrated his beliefs before Imam Sadiq and the Imam said to him: "O Amr! I swear by Allah that my faith as well as of my ancestors has been the same as narrated by you and we have remained steadfast in it. Do not forsake piety in any circumstances and do not utter anything other than ! a good one. Do not say that you have guided yourself to the right path for it is Allah who has guided you. Hence thank Allah for the blessings which He has bestowed on you".

Khalid Bajali, who was one of the companions of Imam Sadiq, narrated his beliefs in detail before the Holy Imam and the Imam said to him: "What you have said is sufficient. Be quiet, for whatever you have said is true".

Another person named Yusuf who was one of the companions of Imam Sadiq said to him: "Kindly permit me to narrate the beliefs which I hold. In case they are correct you may tell me about it so that I may stick to them and in case any belief of mine is opposed to truth you may guide me to truth ". The Imam said to him: "Speak". Yusuf said: "I testify that Allah is One and without a partner. I also testify that Muhammad is Allah's servant and Messenger; Ali has been my Imam; Hasan has been my Imam; Husayn has been my Imam; Ali bin Husayn has been my Imam; Muhammad bin Ali has been my Imam; and now you yourself are my Imam". The Imam said a number of times: "May Allah bless you" and then added: "I swear by Allah that whatever you have stated and expressed is the Divine faith and the faith of Allah's angels and my faith and the faith of my ancestors. It is the faith besides which Allah does not accept any faith.

Hasan bin Ziyad Attar also narrated his beliefs before the sixth Imam and the Imam endorsed them.

One of the persons who narrated their beliefs before the Imam of their time was Safwan bin Mehran Asadi who was a common carrier and who hired out his camels. He says that while narrating his beliefs before Imam Sadiq he said: "I testify that Allah is One and with- out a partner". He added: "Muhammad is Allah's Prophet and so long as he was present he was the Proof of Allah for the people. After him Imam Ali was the Proof of Allah".

The Imam said: "May Allah bless you". Safwan added: "After him Hasan bin Ali was the Proof of Allah for the people". The Imam repeated: "May Allah bless you". Safwan added: "Then it was Ali bin Husayn who was the Proof of Allah for the people". The Imam said again: "May Allah bless you". Then it was Muhammad bin Ali who was the Proof of Allah for the people. The Imam said:

"May Allah bless you". And now you are the Proof of Allah for the people. The Imam said: "May Allah bless you".

This magnanimous person who was one of the distinguished companions of Imam Sadiq and Imam Kazim took Imam Sadiq from Madina to Iraq a number of times and the Imam used to hire his camel. Safwan himself also used to accompany the Imam and by means of the blessings of the companionship of the Imam, he identified the grave of Imam Ali which had not been identified till then, and remained in attendance upon it for twenty years.

Safwan is one of the distinguished narrators and has narrated traditions from the Holy Imams. Amongst them are Ziyarat Waritha, the well-known homage of Ashura of Imam Husayn, Alqama's supplication, and a homage of Imam Ali. In his book entitled Misbahul Mutahajjid Shaykh Tusi has quoted Ziyarat Waritha from Imam Sadiq through Safwan. He (Shaykh Tusi) has also quoted Ziyarat Ashura through two media -one from Imam Muhammad Baqir through Alqama bin Muhammad Hazrami, and one from the sixth Imam through Safwan Jammal.

Safwan said to Sayf bin Umayra: "I was with Imam Sadiq when he performed homage at this place in this manner and recited this supplication (i.e. Alqama supplication)". What is surprising is that the supplication which is known as 'Alqama supplication' and is recited after Ziyarat Ashura has been quoted by Safwan from Imam Sadiq and not by Alqama from Imam Baqir. It should, therefore, have been called 'Safwan's Supplication' and it is not known as to why it has been called 'Alqama's supplication'. This very Safwan has also quoted one of the two homages of Arba'in of Imam Husayn from the sixth Imam.

The second homage of Arba'in is the one, which was recited by Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari while paying the homage to the grave of Imam and which has been quoted by Atiyya bin Sad bin Junada from the distinguished companion Jabir. The sentences of the Ziyarat Arba'in of Safwan, as translated below are well known.

They are the same sentences which, according to Safwan, were uttered by the sixth Imam while performing the homage to Imam Husayn: "I testify that you were alight in your noble fathers and the wombs of your pure mothers. The uncleanliness of ignorance did not contaminate you. The darkness of polytheism, blasphemy and perversion did not put its clothes on you. I testify that you are a pillar of the faith, a support for the Muslims and a refuge for the believers. I testify that you are the righteous, pious, praiseworthy and pure Imam, you guide and are yourself guided. I testify that only the Imams who are your descendants are the paragon of virtue and piety, the signs of guidance, the dependable medium and reliance for the people of the world".

We hinted before that it is possible that a person may be religious and may take much interest in religion and the things related to it, but notwithstanding this he may not understand religion and may believe as a part of religion in things with which religion has nothing to do, and may do things in the name of religion which have no sanction. It is for this reason that according to a tradition quoted by Suyuti in Jami'us Saghir the Holy Prophet said: "When Allah wishes to do good to one of his slaves He makes him understand religion. He despises the world and comes to know his shortcomings".

Apparently what is meant by the first sentence of the tradition is that when Allah wishes to do good to a person and to make him happy He makes him understand religion so that his faith and deeds may be based on wisdom and knowledge, and he may not add anything to it on account of personal desires, nor subtract anything from it owing to ignorance and lack of insight.

According to this sacred tradition understanding religion is the foundation of the happiness and prosperity of a slave of Allah. In fact the reason for the mischiefs and divergences which took place in the history of Islam and the irreparable losses suffered by the Muslims, has been that most of the Muslims did not understand religion.

Notwithstanding the fact, therefore, that, according to their own thinking, they served religion, they actually did harm to Islam and the Muslims. Possibly the main reason for this was that during the time of the caliphs the Islamic conquests took place rapidly and every day the inhabitants of a new city or region embraced Islam. In the circumstances it was quite impossible that the persons newly converted to Islam should become aware of its reality and its real teachings, understand this religion and become acquainted with the Qur'an and the commands and morality of Islam through intelligence and knowledge.

Making conquests and persuading people to accept the laws of the Islamic Government is one thing and their education and training and acquainting them with the spirit of Islam and the value of its teachings is another. In none of the sacred verses of the Holy Qur'an revealed about the personality of the Holy Prophet it has been said that Muhammad is a Prophet who is a conqueror, and in none of the religious documents conquest has been reckoned to be one of the virtues of the Holy Prophet. The Qur'an describes the Holy Prophet and his duty and message thus:

O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good tidings, a warner, a summoner to Allah by His permission, and as a shining torch. {Surah al-Ahzab, 33: 45- 46)

Allah does not say: "We have sent you to conquer lands by Allah's permission and to add them to the Islamic state". On the other hand He says: We have sent you as a summoner to Allah by His permission.

We have sent you with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner. {Surah al-Baqarah, 2:119)

We have sent you only as a bearer of good tidings and a warner. {Surah al-Furqan, 25:56)

We have not sent you save as a bearer of good tidings and a warner to all mankind. {Surah Saba, 34: 28)

We have sent you with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner. (Surah al-Fatir, 35: 24)

We have sent you as a witness and a bearer of good tidings and a warner. (Surah al-Fath, 48: 8)

He it is Who has sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite to them His revelations and to make I them pure, and to teach them the Book and wisdom. (Surah al-Jumuah, 62: 2)

In these verses as well as in others revealed in connection with the duties of the Holy Prophet nothing has been said about conquests. On the other hand in all of them a mention has been made of education and training, encouraging the people to do good and warning them against the troubles and adversities from which the evil-doers suffer.

In 8 A.H. Makkah was conquered and idol-worship came to an end in that city. Thereafter the Muslims gained victory over the tribe of Hawazan, who had gathered in the valley of Hunayn to attack them. Then the Holy Prophet proceeded to Ta'if to put an end to idol-worship in that city also, and to destroy the temple of Lat that was reckoned to be the center of Ta'if. However, after having kept that city under siege for some time, he went to Makkah and then returned to Madina, and the city of Ta'if remained unconquered. However, in 9 A.H. the chiefs of Ta'if and the representatives of the inhabitants of that city themselves came to Madina, met the Holy Prophet and offered to embrace Islam on the following two conditions:

(i) They might be excused from offering prayers.

(ii) The Prophet of Allah might postpone the demolition of the temple of Lat, even though for a very short period.

If the Holy Prophet's object had been to conquer the city of Ta'if he would have immediately accepted their offer, considered the surrender of those people a windfall and added the city to the Islamic State. He would then have realized zakat and other taxes from the newly converted Muslims of Ta'if, invited their people to take part in the Islamic battles and thus increased the number of the Islamic forces.

Embracement of Islam by the people of Ta'if and their surrender on the above-mentioned conditions was undoubtedly in the interest of the Muslims from the viewpoint of organization, conquests and other advantages, but the Holy Prophet was not at all agreeable, and so long as the people of Ta'if insisted on the acceptance of their conditions, he declined to accept their embracement of Islam. The last reply which he gave them was: "As regards breaking the idols with your own hands, I excuse you from undertaking this task, and shall send other persons to do it. As regards prayers (al-Salat} it is a must, for without it religion has no value".

It was usual with the Holy Prophet that whenever he conquered a place he asked its chiefs to pull down their idol temples with their own hands. The favor which he did to the people of Ta'if was that he excused them from breaking their idols with their own hands, but as regards prayers he told them that the religion of which prayers did not form a part is worthless i.e. even if not only Ta'if but a country is conquered and its inhabitants do not offer prayers that conquest is of no use. In other words it is no good if the people are religious but do not understand religion.

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