Chapter Six: Reciting elegies for Imam Hussain (as)
Many of today’s Nawasib deem the recital of sad poetry in praise of our slain Imam (as) to be an act of Bidah that has no place under the Shari’ah. As an example see the “Fatwa” of Mullah Ghulam Rasul in ‘Ibtada Matam’ page 60:
Reciting couplets is the act of Shaytaan and one who performs such an act shall appear as a dog on the Day of Judgement
If these words have not been reported by anyone in this book, we can write here that they have no authencity for being without a narrator and hence a product of his own mind.
Rather than produce such a weak narration we suggest that this Nasibi opens up the books of his own camp where he can read about the couplets recited by Hadhrat Adam (as) and Hawa or the couplets of Ayesha. In his efforts to defame the Shi’a this Nasibi didn’t even care about his father Adam or mother Ayesha.
The couplet of Adam (as)
We read in Ahl’ul Sunnah’s authority work Tareekh Yaqoobi Volume 1 page 30:
“Adam and Hawa on one occasion recited couplets over Habeel to the point that their eyes filled with tears”.
Ibn Katheer writes in his esteemed book al Bidayah wa al Nihaya, Volume 1 Page 181 published by Nafees Academy Karachi:
“Historians and their adherents have narrated that Adam[as] recited elegy over Habeel’s death which can also be said as the first elegy of the world”
al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 1 Page 181
The contents of the said couplet can be found in
The History of Tabari, Volume 1 page 316
Adam is your father and Hawa your mother and they both recited couplets.This Nasibi asserts that one who recites couplets appears as a dog on the Day of Judgement, so what is his opinion about his parents on the Day of Judgement?
If it is permissible for Adam (as) and Hawa (as) to recite couplets at the death of their flesh and blood Habeel, then it is also permissible for us to recite couplet at the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) who was the flesh and blood of Rasulullah (s).
An elegy recited before Umar ibn al Farooq
Allamah Shibli Numani al Hanafi records this event in his esteemed book Al Faruq, Volume 2 page 234 published by Taj Company Ltd Karachi:
“The greatest poet of the day was Mutammim bin Nuwaira, whose brother had been slain by mistake by Khalid in the reign of Abu Bakr. He was so shaken by the event that he wept unceasingly and sang elegies over his dead brother. Men and women followed him as he passed and made him recite the elegies. He read and wept and others wept with him. When he came to see Omar, the Caliph asked him to recite his elegies. He recited a few verses; the last two ran as follows:
“For a time we were together with the courtiers of Jadhima, until people said we would never part
Then we parted, it was as if we had never spent a night together”
Omar said if he knew how to compose an elegy, he would have composed one for his brother Zaid.
Al Faruq, Volume 2 page 234
Here we see Umar the Khalifa requesting the poet to recite sad poetry for him. If reciting poetry about the dead so as to make others cry is Bidah, then Umar would not have entertained this poet, rather he would have used his famous whip to silence the man.
Hassaan bin Thabit’s elegy at the death of Holy Prophet (s)
Ibn Katheer records the elegy recited by Hassan bin Thabit over the death of Holy Prophet(s) in the following manner:
“In Taiba there are signs and a glowing house of the Prophet (s). The signs perish……but the signs of Dar-ul-Harm will not faint, and they will keep your signs living for ever… there is a grave in which you have been laid and covered with soil, I stood there and kept crying for you, my eyes became sore, the eyes of Jins must be sore too, they remind us of the favors of the Prophet (s), and there I can not find myself able to count those favors and my heart repents, those hearts are affectionate and tender who start counting his favors yet they do not even reach the fractions of it, but my heart is grieved, they have lengthened their stay at the grave of Prophet (s) and they cry a lot there……their eyes have pierced inside due to excessive crying……they cry upon that person, who is mourned at by the heavens and the earth…then the houses, playgrounds, mansions, all got deracinated….. O People! Cry for the Holy Prophet (s)… may I never see your tears dried up… may I not see that you do not cry upon him who showered favors upon the people… cry a lot, shout and wail for losing such a being… ..”
al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 5 Page 485-486
The Jins read elegies for Imam Husayn (as)
Although we have previously provided authentic Sunni narrations regarding the mourning of Jins for Imam Hussain [as] but let us here quote Ibn Katheer al Nasibi who in his book al Bidaya al Nihaya, Volume 8 page 1106 [published by Nafees Academy Karachi] stated:
Imam Ahmed narrates that Abdullah bin Mehdi had narrated to them that Ibn Muslim had narrated from Ammar’s reference that he had heard Um-e-Salama saying that she had heard the Jins crying over Imam Hussain. It has been narrated by Hussain bin Idrees from Hashim bin Hashim from Uma from Ume Salma, who was reported to have said:
“I heard the jins crying over Hussain, they were saying:
“O! You, who killed Hussain in ignorance, let be the tidings of punishment and torment for you. All the people of the skies, the Prophets, the Apostles and the people are cursing you. You have been cursed through the verses of Daud (as), Musa (as) and the owner of the Bible, Essa (as).””
al Bidaya al Nihaya, Volume 8 page 1106
The couplets of sorrow narrated by Imam Husayn (as)’s women folk
We read in al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 8 page 1097 published by Nafees Academy Karachi:
“Upon hearing news of the death of Husayn, he sent his caretaker of the two Mosques Umar ibn Saeed, to convey the good news to the people of Madina.
When the women from Banu Hashim heard this they began to recite couplet When the Umawi Gate keeper of the Prophet’s Mosque heard these words from the women of Banu Hashim, he placed his hands over his ears and said ‘This loud noise and crying is revenge, for the killing of Uthman”
al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 8 page 1097
This proves that those who killed Imam Husayn (as) were the Banu Umayya and they did so to avenge Uthman’s death.
Couplets accompanied by instruments
Some Nasibi make a big issue out of the fact that in some cultures the Shi’a mourn by having their couplets via singing.
- Sahih al Bukhari Volume 2 page 179
- Sunan Tirmidhi Volume 1 page 332
- Mishkat al Masabih Volume 2 page 638, Kitab al Nikah
“Rubay bint Muawwez reported: ‘The Prophet came and entered my house when I was betrothed. He sat upon my bed like you sitting near me. The young girls began to beat Daf and sing about those who were killed on the Day of Badr’.”
Girls remembered the martyrs of badr while singing on Daf in front of the Prophet(s) and he approved of it. This proves that the act of singing about martyrs with accompanying musical instruments, is an act endorsed by the Prophet (s) as an act within the confines of the Shariah.
Singing by Abu Bakr upon the death of the Prophet (s)
We read in Tareekh al Khamees Volume 3 page 173:
“Ayesha narrates that on the death of the Prophet, Abu Bakr lifted the veil hiding the face of the Prophet and sang…”
This Nasibi Mullah in his book on page 6 says that recital of couplets was founded by Shaytaan and one who does this is doing the taqlid of Yazeed, and is a Rafidi. If this is the case then you need to count Khalifa Abu Bakr and Ayesha in this category. If it’s permissible for Abu Bakr to sing in memory of Rasulullah (s) then there should be no issue of the Shi’a singing in memory of Imam Husayn (as).
Elegies and the shedding of blood for King Faisal
When King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was killed, verses were written lamenting his loss and his killing that goes to show that the Wahabi’s don’t even adhere to their own Fatwas when one of their Leaders die. All those acts that are Haraam when it comes to mourning Imam Husayn (as) suddenly become okay! We then see that praising and remembering the dead, writing elegies and verses all to express sorrow, grief and pathos on persons killed or dead etc. is but a natural human tendency and urge which is to be respected and honoured. This is clear proof of Azadari!
The Daily, Nawa – i – Waqt, Lahore, March 25, 1976 recorded this deeply moving elegy in honour of the slain Nasibi leader:
We are mourning and our eyes are shedding tears of blood. Our hearts are burning in fire of grief. Our hearts are pierced with pangs of separation and our minds are numb. We have lost sanity of thinking that our beloved leader Faisal has been shot dead by his insane nephew.
Look dear readers! Their eyes are shedding tears of blood and their hearts are pierced on the killing of King Faisal. If the custodian of the two Holy Mosques and King of Saudi Arabia is killed, azadari is performed for him and slogans of ” Wa Faisala ” meaning, O Faisal are raised .If these cries of agony and sorrow are permissible, why should then Azadari for the King of Martyrs, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s) who was mercilessly slaughtered by Muslims be banned and prohibited?
- 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
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