Mourning For Imam Husain

Azadari means mourning for Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his relatives and companions who were martyred in the desert of Karbala’. Mourning is a precept as well as a practice. An example of practice is to wear black or green clothes, to construct sarcophagus (Tazia) like Imam Husayn’s tomb, to construct Husainiyyahs, to install banners, hold meetings to commemorate Imam Husayn’s martyrdom, feed mourners, distribute food among poor people, serve the poor and rich with eatables and drinks.

All these are different methods of commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.). For example, standards (Alam) are installed in Iran and in India people make sarcophagus (Tazia). In China, there is no such thing; there the people go to the forest, make a fire and walk on it. Mourning for Imam Husayn (a.s.) is such a deed that his believers can never give it up and enemies of Muhammad’s Progeny can never bear it.

All important religious and secular events are commemorated annually like the 12th Rabi Awwal etc. Ghazzali prohibited narrating the tragedy of Husayn (a.s.), because it cast aspersion on Abu Bakr, Umar and Muawiyah. Abu Hanifah also prohibited celebrating Eid Ghadeer for this very purpose. But the followers of Muhammad’s Progeny can never give up the remembrance of the tragedy of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and can never neglect mourning for him.

Remembrance of a beloved is a natural thing. The demand of friendship is not forgetfulness. Now the writer would like to write about the custom of mourning, lamentation and dirge recitation among Ahlul Sunnat.

The book Ashatal Maat1 states that when the Holy Prophet (S) passed away, angels came to express condolence and Allah also did not abstain from expressing sorrow. That is, Allah also gave condolence to Himself. We come to know that condolence is a natural thing and it is not out of Allah’s will. Everyone knows that Prophet Adam (a.s.) also mourned for his son, Habil’s death and why should he had not have done so, when mourning is a natural thing?

Hence, if followers of Husayn (a.s.) and other family members of the Prophet mourn for Imam Husayn (a.s.), it is a necessary thing, and it is true and appropriate. Lamentation and dirges are included in mourning and to consider it prohibited is entirely senseless.

In Mishkat2 and Sunan Nasai3, Abu Huraira states that when anyone from the family of the Holy Prophet (S) expired, women gathered and cried bitterly. One day, Umar prevented those women from crying and drove them out. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “O Umar! Leave them, let them cry, because the eyes become full of tears in mourning and it also troubles their hearts and the calamity is also fresh.” Thus, we come to know that mourning is lawful and why it should not be, when it is entirely natural?

Umar action shows his temperament, due to which he prevented the ladies from crying and drove them out. If such a thing had not been according to nature, why the Prophet allowed it? We should know that weeping in trouble is not a sin according to the Holy Prophet (S).

Waqidi’s Maghazi Futuh Sham4 shows that all those martyred in the Battle of Uhud were mourned by their women relatives, in a special gathering arranged by them. When the Holy Prophet (S) knew about it, he became angry and advised them against it. This shows that mourning for Imam Husayn (a.s.) is not allowed.

According to Tarikh Khamis5, Lady Fatima (s.a.) also sat near the grave of her father and wept and recited dirges; smelt the dust of grave and recited the following verse:

“I am overtaken by such a misery. That if this trouble falls on the day, it would turn into a dark night.”

‘A’ysha also was crying and saying: “Ah! He is dead. He never ate barley bread to satiation. He sat on palm-leaf mat, instead of a throne. He did not sleep at night for fear of hell.” Now people of justice should decide whether lamentation for the tragedy of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and Ahlul Bayt is lawful or not?

In Mishkat, in the chapter of eulogy of Ahlul Bayt6, Salmi reports that Umme Salma says that she saw the Prophet in her dream and that his head and beard were covered with dust. She asked: “O Messenger of Allah (S), what has happened to you?” The Prophet replied: “I had gone to the place of the martyrdom of Husayn (a.s.).”

Another tradition of Mishkat related by Umme Fazl says: “One day, I came to the Prophet and gave his daughter’s son, Husayn (a.s.) in his arms. All of a sudden the Prophet’s eyes were filled with tears. I asked the reason and the Prophet said: ‘Jibraeel has informed me that my son would be martyred and Jibraeel has given me red dust of his grave.’”

According to the tradition of Seerate Muhammad7, when Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, blood rained from the sky and vessels became full of blood, the sky became so dark that stars were visible and blood oozed from beneath the stones. It is also mentioned in this book that blood rained on every house of Khorasan and Syria.

This shows that the sky and other things were all mourning for Imam Husayn (a.s.). Shame on such Muslims, who refuse to mourn for Imam Husayn (a.s.). How amusing that Pir Dastagir writes in Ghaniyatu Talibeen that “Ashura (10th Mohurrum) is a day of feast and celebration. We should not mourn this day, because it is of cheerfulness and we should be happy on this day; Ahlul Sunnat will be rewarded if they do so.” Ahlul Sunnat should decide whether we should be aggrieved or happy on the day of Ashura? But since their leader, Ghausul Aazam advises them to be happy, it is better for them to do so!

Enough in justification of lamentation and elegy is that dirges are found even in the Sunni book of Madaraj Nubuwwah and also Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi has written them in Sirre Shahadatain. What else can it be except that lamentation and reciting of dirges is absolutely lawful for Shias, because when the caravan of the captives of the family of the Prophet returned to Medina from Syria, Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) asked Bashir to recite a dirge for the martyrs of Karbala’ and inform the people of Medina of the return of the family of the Prophet.

Bashir says: “I mounted my horse and was reciting couplets of the dirge about the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) in a loud voice.” Thus, he arrived at the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (S) and saw some women in veils who came out of their houses weeping. All men and women were wailing and reciting dirges. Why followers of the Imam should not weep and lament? People will cry in future as people lamented before. But since Ahlul Sunnat follow Pir Dastagir, they cannot join the mourning of Imam Husayn (a.s.). Poor people, they are quite helpless. What can they do?

  • 1. Vol. 4, Pg. 611
  • 2. Pg. 144
  • 3. Vol. 1, Pg. 168
  • 4. Pg. 108
  • 5. Pg. 406
  • 6. Pg. 562
  • 7. Pg. 474