Chapter One: Introduction
As soon as the moon of Muharam al-Haram appears, the Mullahs express their outrage at mourning for Imam Husayn (as) and pledge to get mourning processions banned. Nasibi websites are flooded with articles against mourning for Imam Husayn (as). These Nasibis dedicate pages to attack the Shi’a for being adherents of Bidah and produce their customary images of blood letting to create outrage in the minds of unsuspecting Sunnis. The perfect example comes from every Nasibi’s most revered site Haq Char Yaar wherein we read the comments of their Mullah:
Haq Char Yaar:
THE HOLY PROPHET ASKED HIS FOLLOWERS TO RESPECT THIS DAY OF ASHURA BY OBSERVING FAST AND BY DEVOTION TO WORSHIP. THE SHI’ITES HAVE TURNED THIS DAY INTO A DAY OF MOURNING ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNFORTUNATE EVENTS OF KARBALA WHERE HAZRAT HUSAYN (R.A.) WAS MARTYRED. THE SHI’ITES DEVOTE THE MONTH OF MUHARRAM, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST 10 DAYS, TO MOURNING BY CELEBRATING EVENTS OF THE BATTLE OF KARBALA AND CRYING AND WEEPING, SHEDDING TEARS, BEATING CHESTS BY HANDS AND CHAINS, TAKING OUT TA’ZIA (REPLICA OF THE FUNERAL) AND YELLING “YA-HASAN, YA HUSEIN, YA ALI” ETC. ALL THESE ACTS ARE INNOVATIONS AND PROHIBITED BY THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM. EVEN IN THE CASE OF NEAR AND DEAR ONES, CRYING ALOUD IS NOT PERMITTED AND MOURNING WITH TEARFUL EYES AND PAINFUL HEARTS IS ALLOWED ONLY FOR THREE DAYS AFTER DEATH. THERE AFTER IT IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
Why are these Nawasib desperate to prevent any commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as)? One of the main objectives of mourning Imam Husain (as) is to highlight the injustices that he (as) suffered at the hands of the brutal regime at the time. For us this provides Muslims to delve into history and analyze the tragedy and the horrific situation that the Imam (as) faced at the time. People can assess the people, the conditions and the political leadership at the time, all factors that help us to understand the era wherein the Imam (as) lived. Let us determine why a leading light of the post Modern Cyber Takfeeris was so desperate to author ‘Why Sunnis Do Not Comemmorate Ashura’ wherein
Ibn al Hashimi issued this moving plea:
Sometimes the Shia of today will encourage the Sunnis to comemmorate Ashura, using and exploiting the fact that the Ahlus Sunnah also loves Hussain (???? ???? ???). We strongly urge our Muslim brothers not to fall into this trap of the Shia! They want us to take part in rituals that were designed to defame the Ahlus Sunnah, and nothing more. We cannot accept the Shia way of life.]
When it comes to the last ten days of Ramadhan the believers participate in Mosque gatherings, busying themselves in supplications and Taraweeh.
They again gather en masse during the first ten days of Hajj and tolerate cramped squalid conditions, wherein they are cajoled like cattle, pushing one another in unbearable heat, yet all this they do in humble solitude.
Such stresses and strains are tolerable yet when it comes to the Ashura of Muharrum wherein the ten days mark the suffering of Imam Husayn (as) his family and companions, Nawasib don’t wish to participate in their sufferings, they want nothing to do with their mourning rituals, nor are they prepared to even shed a tear to remember them, rather they insist that such gatherings are unacceptable, and urge people to steer clear of such gatherings, by labelling them with titles such as Shirk, Kufr, Bidah and a Shia trap. It is tragic that commemorating the martyrdom of the Imam (as) acts as a chagrin to Nawasib such as Ibn al Hashimi, something that should be curtailed by any means necessary.
So what is the real motive behind this plea? To explain it, we really cannot find a better explanation than by comparing his comments to the attitude adopted by those that opposed the establishment of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) a tribunal established in South Africa following the abolition of apartheid. Anyone who felt that she was a victim of its violence was invited to come forward and be heard. Whilst the Commission was welcomed as a mechanism of healing the divided ethnic communities, it courted controversy and opposition from many figures that held State positions during the Apartheid era. Such individuals desperately opposed any inquiry into past incidents, as they feared that those State crimes of would be exposed. This would happen quite naturally, after all when the oppression of the victim is heard; key follow up questions will immediately be asked:
- Who was the victim?
- What was his background?
- Did he have any position of influence / respect in the community?
- Was he a person of good character?
- Was he from any prominent family?
- Were there any mitigating factors that could merit his suffering?
Once the victim is identified and these questions are asked, the next questions will automatically be raised over those that oppressed him,
- Who was the perpetrator?
- What was his background?
- Was he a person of good character?
- Was he from any prominent family?
- Did he have any position of influence / respect in the community?
If it is established that the perpetrator held a key position in the State, then the following questions will be asked:
- How did he attain this position
- Who supported his appointment?
- Who supported his tenure in office, whether through word or deed?
The answers to such questions will uncover some uncomfortable truths and will force people to reassess how they think of the oppressor and those that supported him. At the same time their desire to stand up for the oppressed part will increase, because it is natural for people to support and have sympathy for victims and hate perpetrators of oppression. The closer one sympathizes with the victim the more one hates the oppressor and those that supported him, If there exist people in society that support oppressors it is not on account of any genuine love, it is due to financial inducements or high level positions.
There exist only two grounds that individuals thwart any commemoration that highlights the suffering of a victim and unveils the identity of his oppressors:
Ground One: When they, their relatives and / or friends have aided and abetted such injustice either through word or deed. Such individuals try their utmost to stifle any discussions of conduct fearing that their deeds, or those of their loved ones will be exposed. This is like those that opposed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.
Ground Two: A fear that such an inquiry will force people to re-evaluate how they think of the perpetrator and his supporters; this will alter traditional perceptions of such people which shall in effect change an established belief system.
So Ibn al Hashimi which of the above grounds force you to insist that Sunnis do not commemorate Ashura?
Why do we find that the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (as) and the lessons borne from it attracts all lovers of justice, crosses the boundaries of Sect, Nation States and even religion? Why does this tragedy move the hearts of Muslim and non Muslim alike? The answer is that man has an innate desire to affiliate himself with oppressed peoples and hate those that are oppressors. If man was left in his natural state he would be attracted to this reality. The closer one gets to the victims of oppression the more one sympathizes with them and hates those that oppressed them. That is why these Nasibi deem it a priority to silence talk of Imam Hussain (as) – since they wish to cover up the sins of their ancestors. Their thinking is in line with the narration of esteemed Sunni scholar Ibn Hajr al Makki who wrote in Sawaiqh al Muhriqa page 121.
Imam Ghazali said that to mention the martyrdoms of Hassan(r) and Husayn(r) is forbidden as the Martyrdom of Husnaayn (r) inflames malice against the companions of the Prophet.
This sums up the reason for their opposition. Why does hatred of the Sahaba arise while recollecting the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as)? The reason is that whosoever will listen to the assassination of Husayn (as) he will try to locate his killer who was Yazid. The next question will be ‘how’ he attained the seat as Khalifa over the Muslims, and who supported him? The answer, Mu’awiyah appointed him, who secured his appointment through men such as Abdullah ibn Umar. The next question will be who helped Mu’awiya to attain this seat? The answer, these favours were bestowed upon him during the reign of the Shaykhayn. The veils will be removed and the deeds of this party will be there for all to see. Its fearing this investigation that led to Ghazzali issuing this Fatwa; after all prevention is better than cure.
Ibn al Hashimi could it be that like Ghazzali you are fearful that the belief system of your Nasibi Sect might be exposed, if people stop and listen to the crimes of Yazeed when they pass by street processions that will in turn raise questions over the validity of these types of statements:
Many Companions gave him the allegiance as well. Al-Hafedh Abdulghani Al-Maqdisay says: “His (Yazeed’s) caliphate is rightful, sixty of the companions of the prophet peace be upon him gave him the allegiance. Ibn`Umar was one of them.”
[Qayd Al-Shareed min Akhbar Yazeed, by Ibn Khaldoun, p.70]
Azam Tariq stated:
YAZID WAS THE COMMANDER OF MUSLIM FORCES WHO MARCHED TO CAESAR’S CITY. �THIS WAS THE PIONEERING MUSLIM FORCE WHICH LANDED IN CAESAR’S CITY AND ACCORDING TO A HADITH NARRATED BY ABDULLAH BIN UMAR WHICH HAS BEEN RECORDED BY BUKHARI, RASUL-ALLAH SAID:
“THE ARMY WHICH WILL FIRST EMBARK ON THE EXPEDITION OF CONTANTINOPLE WILL BLESSED.” (BUKHARI).
YAZID WAS THE COMMANDER OF MUSLIM FORCES ON THIS EXPEDITION WHO WAGED JIHAD IN CAESAR’S CITY AND AS SUCH HE FALLS WITHIN THE PARAMETER OF ABOVE HADITH OF THE PROPHET (SAW). IN VIEW OF THIS IT IS NOT BECOMING ON ANY MUSLIM TO CAST ASPERIONS ON YAZID AS THE ENTIRE ARMY WHICH TOOK PART IN THIS COMPAIGN HAS BEEN BLESSED BY ALLAH IN THE CONTEXT OF ABOVE HADITH.
Azam Tariq citing Ghazzali:
“AS REGARDS SAYING (RADIALLAHU ANHA) AFTER THE NAME OF YAZID, THIS IS NOT ONLY PERMISSIBLE BUT COMMENDABLE. IT IS RATHER INCLUDED IN OUR DUA WHEN WE PRAY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF ALL MUSLIMS AND YAZID WAS CERTAINLY A MOMIN (BELIEVER).” ( ,BERIRUT, P. 288).
We now recognize why every form of gathering / congregation is accepted and tolerated, but Azadari wherein the cradle six month old son, Ali Asghar (as) is paraded through the streets is unpalatable to Deobandis and Salafis!
We will corroborate our thinking with this example:
Whenever there is a callous murder of an innocent person, his loved ones will always do their utmost to maintain his memory. Bereaved parents will typically leave a room in the same state that it was in, when their beloved child was alive. They will keep their possessions and belongings intact due to the link they had with their deceased child. Crucially they will keep such items at the forefront of their minds and those of others, particularly when the crime has gone unpunished. Loved ones who have not yet seen justice done will pressure whoever is willing to listen to their loss, in hope that their child’s killers are brought to justice for the heinous crime that they have committed. Their objective is to keep that memory alive. Those that sympathise with the victim’s family will likewise seek to push for justice, and will use available channels to propagate the crime and demand that justice be seen to be done. Those that have the innocent child’s blood on their hands, will insist that no such items should be brought out to remind the people of what happened, thus fearing exposure.
With the above example in mind, consider the level of sympathy that is afforded to the oppressed in occupied Palestine. The Nawasib will:
- actively co-ordinate and participate in marches, carrying banners depicting graphic images of slaughtered innocent children, showing solidarity with these innocent victims
- lobby the State with documented evidence of the oppression of Palestinians
and insist that the cruel Israelis forces are prosecuted, and that such deaths do not go in vain.
Now compare this approach to that adopted to the Nawasib when they are confronted by marches that show solidarity with the victims of Karbala, wherein their clergy seek to curtail such marches in their speeches and writings, and insist that the displaying symbols such as the cradle of Ali Asghar (as) constitute shirk! When we parade the cradle of Ali Asghar (as) through the streets, we seek to remind the people that a bitter crime was committed and justice demands that the killers be condemned for their acts, so tell us:
- Is the six month old son of Imam Husayn (as) less important in your eyes that a a six month old Palestinian child?
- Why is it right to condemn Israeli oppression, but objectionable to publicly condemn the killer of Husayn (as), his family and companions?
- Why is it appropriate to carry graphic pictures of slain Palestinian children, to remind the world of their plight, but not right to present the cradle of six month old Ali Asghar to symbolise his barbaric murder, and suffering to the world??
- Why is there one rule for the killers of Husayn (as) and another rule for the killers of the Palestinians?
- How can demand justice from the Israelis when they refuse to demand justice for the killing of Imam Husayn (as).
The cold, dismissive response of the Nawasib to the suffering of Husayn (as) can be for only one reason, in the same way that the Israelis with blood on their hands and their supporters such as ‘the friends of Israel’ lobby group insist that such soldiers never be exposed for their crimes, the Nawasib likewise insist that those that they support and are affiliated are never exposed for their role in Karbala.
This is because these rituals highlight the plight of the victims, the tyranny of their killers, and the ‘names’ of these killers come to light. When Yazeed is publicly condemned for his issuing orders to kill Imam Hussain (as) then it is natural that Sunnis who love the victim Hussain (as) will raise questions over the validity of the above cited statements, that will in turn bring Nasaibi beliefs about Yazeed crashing to the ground, and that is what forced Ibn al Hashimi to write his article . These gatherings and mourning rituals rightly lay bare the atrocities committed by these murderers, and Nawasib share physical and spiritual ancestry with these killers. After all they deem Yazid their Imam, and deem people like Ibn Ziyad & Ibn Sa’ad to be truthful narrators of [Sunni] Hadeeth. That is why these Nasibis try in vain, to quash the memory of Imam Husayn (as) from Sunni consciousness by declaring such Dhikr to be Haraam, the movement of the Imam (as) superfluous, and efforts to highlight such suffering as trouble making, a viewpoint symbolized by the post modern Salafi scholar Ibrahim al-Jabhan in his work Tabdeed al-Dhalam, page 132:
وقام الحسين رضي الله عنه بعده بمحاولته اليائسة التي خلفت في قلب الإسلام جرحاً لا يندمل ولا يمكن أن يندمل مادام يوجد على وجه الأرض كلاب مسعورة تنهشه كلما أشرف على الأندمال
“Hussain (ra) committed a desperate attempt which inflicted a wound to the heart of Islam that did not heal and (indeed) cannot heal as long there remain upon the earth, rabid dogs snapping at it, whenever a recovery begins”
Their efforts and rants are doomed to fail, as truth will always overcome falsehood.
The time has come to answer these Nasibi in the language that only they understand. If Sunni readers feel tortured and tormented with these responses then we apologise in advance but we deem love for Rasulullah (s) and his Ahl’ul bayt (as) as our foremost duty and believe that all good deeds are accepted only if one has love for the descendants of the Prophet.
What was the practice of the Syrians on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Husayn (as)?
Iam of Ahle Sunnah Ibn Kathir writes in al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Volume 8 page 1108 (Urdu translation published by Nafees Academy Karachi):
“In contrast to the Shi’a, the Syrians would prepare nice foods, adorn themselves with special clothes, wear perfumes and treat the day of martyrdom as day of great happiness (Eid). A variety of foods were cooked to show their great happiness and pleasure. The purpose behind all this was to act different to the Shi’a.
What was the practice of Shi’as on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Husayn (as)?
On the same page Ibn Kathir writes:
“In 400 Hijri, during the reign of Aal Boia, the Shi’a crossed all limits. Drums were beaten (to inform the people about the great day of martyrdom) in Baghdad and other big cities. Ashes and the husk were thrown into the streets and roads. Black curtains were hung on shops. People declared their grief and sorrow. They wept and many of them abstained from drinking water because Husayn was martyred in a state of hunger. Shi’a women ventured out barefooted and bareheaded, they wept, lamented and mourned. This was done to defame Banu Ummaya as Husayn [r] was martyred during their reign”
The mourning and shedding of blood on the day of Ashura by the Shi’as is a protest against the oppression of Mu’awiyah and his descendants for their brutal treatment of the Ahl’ul bayt (as). Our protests shall Inshallah continue till the Day of Judgement, and we don’t care what the Nasibis try to end it.
- Commemorating Muharam
- The rewards for mourning Imam Hussain (as)
- Is Azadari against patience (sabr)?
- Crying and wailing for Imam Hussain (as)
- Reciting elegies for Imam Hussain (as)
- Convening Majlis (Gathering) to remember the dead
- Wearing black attire
- Hitting one’s body in grief
- Putting dust in one’s hair
- Seeking Waseela from the Saints (Awliya)
- Creating and revering symbols (Sha’er Allah)
- Street Processions (Juloos)
- The misuse of Shi’a texts to ‘prove’ that Azadari for Imam Hussain (as) is Haraam
- The stance of Ahlulbayt (as) regarding the commemoration of Ashura
- Refuting common Nasibi objections to Azadari
- Azadari in other cultures
- The tragedy of Karbala
- No public Twitter messages.