Imam Husayn’s First Words in Childhood

Bismi-Llah, Al-Rahmani, Al-Rahim [I begin in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficient]. La hawla wa la quwwata illa bi-Llahi al- 'Aliyy al-'Adheem [There is no power and no strength except with Allah]. Al-hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi al-'Alamin [Praise be to the Lord of the worlds]. Wa salla Allahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa 'alihi at-tayibin wa at-tahirin [Peace and Blessings be upon our Master Muhammad and his Pure progeny] [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa ali Muhammad]

As-salam 'ala al-Husayn, wa 'ala 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, wa 'ala awlad al-Husayn, wa 'ala ashab al-Husayn, wa Rahmatu Allahi wa barakatu [Peace be with Husayn, upon his son 'Ali Ibn Husayn and his children and his companions and the Mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him].

I am very thankful to all of you for your contribution and for your presence and for holding this beautiful majlis [Islamic gathering] for 'Aba 'Abdillah, alayhi as-salam [Peace be upon him]. I would like to just share one story with you but before I share my story, I have one question. Is everyone listening? [Yes]

Ok, I ask a question and without saying anything, if you know the answer, just put in the chat and then we will see who gives the right answer. If you do not know, there is no problem. If you know, it is very good.

Do you know what was the very first word that Imam Husayn said? As a child, the very first word that he said. Without looking at what others have put, you can also put your idea and maybe what they said is not correct. You could put whatever you think or you have heard.

It is something about Salat [ritual daily prayer]. Do you know how we start salat? What should we say at the first... Beginning of salat?

[Lots of answers are coming through on the chat, Shaykhna] Very good. Very good.

Such as MashaAllah [what Allah has willed], Allah, Bismi Allah [I begin in the name of Allah], Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest], Muhammad, La ilaha illa Allah [there is no God truly worthy of worship except Allah], I want to go to Kufa, Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest], Takbirat al-ihram. Lots of Allahu Akbar.

Very good. So the answer can be understood from this hadith [narration] that I am mentioning, inshAllah [with the will of Allah].

So this is a beautiful story. According to our hadith, when Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam was a child, he started speaking very late and some people even were worried that he may never speak. You know some children speak very early, some people later but Imam Husayn was more than other children late in starting to speak.

One day, Rasul Allah salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him] took him with himself to masjid [mosque]. The hadith says that actually, Rasul Allah carried him on his shoulder, on his 'atiq'. And then when Rasul Allah wanted to lead the Salat [ritual daily prayer], he put Imam Husayn on his right side. Imam Husayn, although he is not still able to speak, but he wanted to say Salat [ritual daily prayer] with Rasul Allah. He loved Rasul Allah, he loved Salat, he loved Salat al-Jama'ah [congregational prayers]. So what happened was Rasul Allah said, Allahu Akbar!-'Takbirat al-Ihram' is the first part of Salat which is wajib [mandatory]. We cannot start Salat without saying Allahu Akbar.

What does Allahu Akbar mean? It means... Allah is great. Allah is greater than anything that we can say, any description.

So Rasul Allah said Allahu Akbar [Allah is great] and Imam Husayn also said it, but not completely or not as he wanted. And Rasul Allah repeated and again Imam Husayn said, but not again perfectly. Rasul Allah said, Allahu Akbar seven times and then at that seventh time, Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam said it perfectly.

And this remained in the memory of the people of Madinah that Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam behind the Prophet said 'takbirat al-ihram and Rasul Allah repeated seven times and Husayn alayhi as-salam repeated after him till it became perfect.

It became a sunnah [prophetic practice] that it is mustahab [recommended] that when you want to start Salah, you say seven times. Once is wajib [mandatory], six times is Mustahab [recommended]. Of course, there are other reasons about why it is seven but one part of the story is this.

The hadith is this. There are two hadiths. One is, Imam Baqir alayhi as-salam says, 'Kharaja Rasulallah salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi wa sallam 'ila as-salat wa qad kana al-Husayn Ibn 'Ali 'alayhi as-salam abta'a 'ani al-kalam'- Imam Baqir alayhi as-salam says that-'Rasul Allah went towards Salat [ritual daily prayer] and this was when Imam Husayn had delayed speaking.' 'hatta takhawwafu an la yatakallam wa an yakuna bihi kharasun'- 'To the extent that some people were worried that he may never speak.'

'fa kharaja bihi Rasul Allah hamilahu 'ala atiqihi wa saffan al-nasu khalfah'-'Rasul Allah carried Imam Husayn on his shoulder, went to Masjid, and people were staying in rows behind Rasul Allah for Salat.' 'fa aqamahu Rasul Allah 'ala yaminihi'-'so Rasul Allah put Imam Husayn on his right side.' 'fa ftataha Rasul Allah as-salat'- 'Rasul Allah started Salat.' 'Fa kabbara al-Husayn hatta kabbara Rasul Allah sab'ah takbirat wa kabbara al-Husayn'- 'so every time Imam Husayn was saying Takbir and this continued seven times.' 'Fajarati as-sunnatu bi dhalik'-'and this became sunnah [prophetic practice]'.

In another hadith, Imam Sadiq alayhi as-salam says that is something similar but a little variation, that: 'Inna Rasul Allah kana fi as-salat ila janibihi al-Husayn Ibn 'Ali, fa kabbara Rasul Allah fa lam yuhiri al-Husayn al-takbir -'Rasul Allah said Takbir but Imam Husayn 'lam yuhir' means he did not manage to say it well. 'fa lam yazal Rasul Allah yukabbir wa yu'aliju al-Husayn'-'Imam Husayn did not say Okay, I do not say takbir. No, he kept saying, and this is a good lesson for us.

When we are not able to do something well, we need to repeat, we need to continue, do not feel shy, till we can master it. So Imam Husayn as a child kept trying. 'Hatta akmala sab'ah takbirat fa ahara al-Husayn'-'Then Imam Husayn managed to say it well - fi as-sabi'ah' [the seventh time].

So this beautiful story has many points. One aspect of it is the close relation between Imam Husayn and the Prophet salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam. How much Prophet loved children and even he was carrying his grandchild with him on his shoulder taking him to Salat. Although people were there watching, but Prophet did not feel anything wrong to show this much love and respect.

And then repeating 'Takbirat al-ihram' so that this child can say it well. Also shows that how Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam from a very young age was committed to Salat [ritual daily prayer]. Even if he was not able to say Salat, he was trying to attend Salat. And also the fact that he did not feel shy to say takbir [saying “Allahu Akbar”] and repeated it till it becomes well.

And also this shows that the very first word that Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam said was 'Allahu Akbar' [Allah is the Greatest]. I think this is not only the very first word that he said, this is also a summary of his life. All his life is a manifestation that Allah is greater than any description, than anything. And his last words are remembrance of Allah, dhikr [remembrance] of Allah, 'sabran 'ala bala'ika, rid'an bi qada'ik [patience upon the calamity upon me and submission to Your decree] and things like that.

May Allah inshAllah bless all of you with love for Imam Husayn. And with being, inshaAllah [with the will of Allah], true followers of Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam and all Ahlu Bayt and inshaAllah [with the will of Allah], good helpers of son of Imam Husayn, the grandson of Imam Husayn- Imam Mahdi ajal Allahu Ta'ala farajuhu ash-sharif [May Allah the Most High hasten his re-appearance].

Thank you again for all your contributions and for all who organized and for the parents who helped you. May Allah inshAllah keep you always healthy and safe and protected InshaAllah [with the will of Allah] . Thank you very much for listening. Al-hamdu li-Llah Rabb al-'Alamin [All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds].