The dictionary meaning of Tabarra means ‘to be aloof’. That is to be aloof from a group or party, but generally it has taken up the meaning of cursing. Although it has no concern with such affairs, and it was Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan who started cursing of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and thus all sorts of abusive language and taunting began to be called as Tabarra. We should know that Shias have no concern with such meaning.
The writer is entirely against the practice initiated by Amir Muawiyah and such a thing was only necessary for Muawiyah and those desirous of the religion of Ali Murtadha’ (a.s.) should think about it.
According to Sayyid Ali Muhammad, cursing is abominable. In my view, whatever the style of curse maybe, it has spoilt the Shiite religion and followers of Shiite faith should try to reform themselves. Muawiyah initiated cursing on His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) on some purpose; and that purpose is not valid for Shias, therefore they should be aloof from it. The reason of cursing His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) was that Muawiyah became a Caliph after making Imam Hasan (a.s.) abdicate Caliphate.
Muawiyah knew that he had no right to Caliphate. Therefore, if this cursing would continue, all Muslims of that time would abuse the sons of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) also and due to this, his Caliphate would gain strength. It happened in the same way. Due to curse and abusive language, Muslims of that time forgot about the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S) in a very short time and thought that Muawiyah and Bani Umayyah were the nearest relatives of the Prophet and not anyone else.
Cursing was made a part of the Friday sermon and as stated previously, everyone gradually forgot Muhammad’s Progeny. Within 50 years of the death of Muawiyah, many Muslims forgot His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and Lady Fatima (s.a.) completely. Hence a man from them asked a friend: “Who is this Ali, whom we all curse in the Friday sermons?” His friend replied: “He was an infidel and deadly enemy of Islam, that is why everyone curses him.”
In the same way, a person asked another: “Who was Fatima?” The reply was: “She was a wife of the Prophet.” This was when not much time had passed after the Messenger of Allah (S) and Muslims of Bani Umayyah period became unaware of Ali and Fatima; and this was the aim of Muawiyah. It is clear that the mention of the family of Prophet (S) was regarded as a crime and using abusive language became customary. As a result, Muslims of that time considered Bani Umayyah as relatives of Prophet (S) and those who were really related to the Prophet were forgotten. It is clear that this political need is not necessary for the Shias of this time.