The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

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The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

Post by Shiabelievers on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:17 am

The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

By Syed Hassan Bokhari, Dr. Farhan Zaidi & Zileyh Shah

As the Ummah enters a new millennium and the coming of our Imam (as) comes ever closer, the Shi'a community is now being faced with new challenges, the traditional opposition from the majority school but also from the Shi'a community itself.

Voices of opposition to the mourning rituals for Imam Hussain (as) is becoming all the more prevalent. This is why we felt that it was our duty to defend the traditions of Aazadari.

Is Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) Bidah?

This is the common argument of the Ahl'ul Sunnah. Our response is that such rituals have passed through history and were rituals cited in the Bible, the Qur'an and in the practices of the Sahaba.

Part 1 - Textual Proofs

1. Christian sources

The Wahabys and Sunnis will ask 'why are you quoting Christian sources?' to them our answer is simple, doesn't Ahmad Deedat prove Salaat from Christian sources? Of course, why because he seeks to demonstrate that this form of Salaat is correct was practiced by previous generations. We will likewise advance the same arguments when proving mourning rituals.

The Bible, Isaiah 22:12 - shows that this type of mourning was ordained by God

"On that Day the Lords called for weeping and beating the breast, for shaving the head and putting on sack cloth"

"You are now at ease, be anxious; tremble, you who have no cares. Strip yourselves bare; put a cloth round your waists and beat yourselves"
The Bible, Isaiah 32:11

"Howl, Heshbon, for Ai is despoiled. Cry aloud you villages round Rabbath Ammon, put on sack cloth and beat your breast and score your body with gashes"
The Bible, Jeremiah 49:3

"The crowd that had assembled for the spectacle, when they saw what had happened went home beating their breasts"
The Bible, Luke 23:48

2. Mourning from the Qur'an

From the Holy Quran from the Chapter ADH-DHAARIYAAT we learn that Hadhrath Sara (as) struck her face when she was told that she would conceive a baby.

"Then came forward his wife in grief, she smote her face and said (what! I) an old barren woman?"
Quran 51:29

Thus it is evident that smiting the face was not an objectionable act in the sight of Allah, otherwise Allah would have reprimanded her for doing so.

3. The mourning rituals of the Sahaba, wives and Ahl'ul bayt (as)

(i) Beating and mourning by a Bedouin / Sahaba

We can read from the book of Muwatta of Imam Malik, that a Bedouin came to Holy Prophet (s.a.w) while beating his chest and tearing his hair in front of the holy prophet (s.a.w) because he slept with his wife while fasting during month of Ramadhan.

Malik's Muwatta
Book 18, Number 18.9.29:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ata ibn Abdullah al-Khurasani that Said ibn al-Musayyab said, "A bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, beating his breast and tearing out his hair and saying, 'I am destroyed.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Why is that?', and he said, 'I had intercourse with my wife while fasting in Ramadan.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked him, 'Are you able to free a slave?', and the man said, 'No.' Then he asked him, 'Are you able to give away a camel?', and the man replied, 'No.' He said, 'Sit own,' and someone brought a large basket of dates to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said to the man, 'Take this and give it away as sadaqa.' The man said, 'There is no one more needy than me,' and (the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace), said, 'Eat them, and fast one day for the day when you had intercourse.' "

The incident should be considered in the light of the following facts :-

The Bedouin being a Muslim was Sahabi (companion) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w).
He was beating his chest and tearing his hair in presence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who neither objected to it nor reprimanded him for the same.
The action of the Bedouin was a result of spiritual pain he suffered as his fast was invalidated.
This incident has been authentically recorded by Sunni traditionists.

(ii) Beating and mourning by Bilal

Sheikh Abdul Haq Mohaddis Hanafi Dehlavi who is regarded as one of the greatest Scholars of the Sunni Sect, describing the events at the fatal illnes of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) in his book 'Modaarejun Nubuwwat' vol II page 544 records:-

"Bilal emerged beating his head and loudly wailing (from the room of Aisha)."

Fatima Zahra (a.s) hearing the rumour of the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) at Uhud came out of her house running and beating her head

Sheikh Abdul Haq Mohaddis Hanafi Dehlavi

Even in this case none of the companions raised any objection at the action of Bilal, the special Muezzin of the Prophet (s.a.w). Moreover, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was yet alive and not dead. This is the extreme extent of grief. Then how can similar action for Imam Hussain (a.s) be prohibited?

Allamah Shibli Numani al Hanafi is a renowned Sunni scholar from the Indian subcontinent, in his Sirat-un Nabi (Eng translation Volume 2 pg 74) quoting Sirat Ibn Hisham we read following Hadhrath Humza (ra) martyrdom:

(iii) Beating and mourning by the wives of the Sahaba

"The Holy Prophet (P) returned to Madina and found the whole city gone into mourning. Whenever he went, he heard wailing and lamentation in every house. He was grieved to find that all who fell in the battle had their mourners doing their duty to the memory of their dear ones; but their was none to mourn the death of Humza (ra). Overwhelmed with grief the words that there was none to mourn the loss of Hamza escaped his lips. The Ansaris were touched to the core when the remark came to their ears. They asked their women to go to the house of the Prophet (S) and lament over the death of Humza. The Prophet (p) thanked them for their sympathy, prayed for their well being, but added that it was not permissible to cry lamentations in memory of the dead. (Women in Arabia were used to wailing and lamenting aloud, they would tear off their garments, dig their nails into their cheeks, slap themselves on the face and put up loud screams. This undesirable practice was from that day stopped for future".

Suffice it to say:

The Sahaba's wives performed mourning rituals upon the death of Amir Humza (ra).

Coming back to Numani's final comments I would pose these questions:

If Lamenting was haraam why would the Prophet (S) had been saddened that no-one was mourning his slain Uncle?
Why would the Prophet (S) allow the women to do something that is haraam?
If as Numani tells us that this was a common practice amongst Arab women and it was banned it would have definitely received maximum publicity.
Beating and mourning by Ayesha and the other wives of the Prophet (S)

(iv) Beating and mourning by the wives of the Prophet (S)

Curiously, not a single wife of the Prophet (S) ever heard of this ban (as claimed by Numani). On the contrary Hadhrath Aisha regarded by Ahl'ul Sunnah as the most knowledgeable women on Qur'an and Sunnah performed the following when the Prophet (S) left this earth:

As narrated by al Tabari in History Volume 9 page 183 (English translation by Ismail Poonawalla)

Abbas narrates:

"I heard Aisha saying "The Messenger of God died on my bosom during my turn, I did not wrong anyone in regard to him. It was because of my ignorance and youthfulness that the Messenger of God died while he was in my lap. Then I laid his head on a pillow and got up beating my chest and slapping my face along with the women".

Need we say anymore? Would the wives of the Prophet (S) indulge in a haraam activity?

According to Musnad of Imam Ahmad Hanbal Vol. 6, page 274; Aisha mourned the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) with other women by beating her head.

(v) Beating and mourning by Sayyida Fatima Zahra (as)

Again the same book of 'Modaarejun Nubuwwat' Vol 2, page 163, the high ranking Sunni Scholar, Sheikh Abdul Haq Mohaddis Hanafi Dehlavi recorded that:

"Fatima Zahra (a.s) hearing the rumour of the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) at Uhud came out of her house running and beating her head".

Does it not transpire from the above that beating of head during the act of mourning for a martyr is also allowed by the religion as Sayyeda (a.s) was well aware of the religious code and was also infallible according to aya tat-hir (33:33). In addition an action of any member of Ahl'ul bayt is a Sunnah for the Ithna Ashari Shia's, mourning is not bidah it is a Sunnah of Sayyida Fatima Zahra (as).

(vi) Beating and mourning for Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal death

From the book of 'Hayatul Aaiwan' it is recorded that :

"Caliph Mutawwakil ordered breast-beatings to be held at the spot where funeral prayers were offered over the dead body of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (a founder of one of the Sunni schools of thought). Accordingly, some 25,00,000 persons including Muslims, Jews, Christians and Majusi gathered there and mourned Ahmad bin Hambal with breast-beatings."

It may be noted here that this Caliph, Mutawwakil is the same one who had completely demolished the sacred shrine of the Holy Prophet's grandson, Imam Hussain (a.s). Yet he has so much love and regard for Imam Ahmad Hambal that he not only beats his own breast, but commands other religious group also to follow his example!
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Re: The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

Post by Shiabelievers on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:18 am


What do these sources demonstrate?

From these sources it is evident that to mourn in this way is a natural reaction to distress.

Who in this life can claim that he never and will never beat himself, if he dare to claim that than he just deceive himself! We human being naturally beat ourselves at the time when something make us happy or sad.

We all goes to the conference, meeting, party and other occasions when the time come to cheer someone for what he has done we start clapping ourselves. Some people will clap that their hands become red, but here there is no one to protest that we are hurting ourselves. Not only is there no one to protest but we join other people by beating ourselves with our hands.

Also when we hear surprise or sad news we hit ourselves on the forehead, on our chest or any place in our body. You can see this behavior to all human beings it does discriminate between Sunni, Shia, Christians, Jews or any one. Again we do not hear condemnation from those who accuse the Shia of beating themselves for the sake of Imam Hussain! Take the example from the Bible you see how it is the human nature:

"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner". (KJV)
The Bible, Luke 18:13

Strange is the world to those people who just follow what they have been taught without trying to struggle to find the truth.

Our detractors will argue that self-flagellation is haraam because it causes pain to the body. To counter this we would present these references.

Previously we quoted the book of Muwatta of Imam Malk, that a bedouin came to Holy Prophet (s.a.w) while tearing his hair in front of the holy prophet, is this not the sort of injury oneself? Why did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) not order the Bedouin to refrain from this action?

The most explicit proof of self inflicted injury comes Owais Qarni, the great Muslim Sahaba, praised by both Shia as well as Sunni erudites, had an immense love for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). When the news reached him in Yemen that two teeth of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) were broken in the battle of Ohad, he extracted all his teeth. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) got the news in Medina that Owais had struck down all his teeth, he (s.a.w) exclaimed, "Indeed Owais is our devoted friend."

This event can be found written in 'Tazkeratul Aulia' by Sheikh Fariddun Attar, also 'Ihsanul Uyun' commonly known as 'Seerate Halbia' vol II, page 295.

We should point out that breaking one's teeth is a thousand times more painful than the beating of one's chest for a few hours. It is even more extreme than breast beating with chains or knives (Zanjir) because those who have suffered from tooth ache will understand the immense pain that circulates in the mouth and head. Compare the removal of a tooth to the forced removal of a full set of teeth without the benefit of modern day anaesthetic and instruments the pain must have been unbearable. This was clearly an act of great courage.

Some individuals will seek to counter this evidence by stating that as Shia we do not follow the Sahaba and hence this act cannot be relied upon as a precedent. We would like to ask such persons, could you show us a single hadith in which the Prophet (S) condemned this act and issued an edict banning it in the future?

Those who are against mourning for Imam Hussain (a.s) and, for that matter, for any of the martyrs of Karbala usually raise a question whether the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had ordered for mourning Imam Hussain (a.s). The answer to this question is: 'did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) ordered Owais Qarni (r.a) to extract all his teeth? Did he insist that the Bedouin to beat his chest? Did he ordered Bilal to beat his head? Similarly there was no order by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) for Fatima (a.s) to beat her head at the rumour of his martyrdom in Uhud. The reason for the absence of such orders with regards to mourning or even sanction therefore is, however, quite clear. These acts were all done out of love and sorrow and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had not forbidden this.

It is quite clear for the holding mourning of Imam Hussain (a.s) by means of beating the chest or Zanjir is to give Physical expression of sympathy for the grief that befall Imam Hussain (a.s) and it expresses nothing but love and loyalty.

Part 2 - Rational and logical proofs

Our fellow Shi'a opposed to mourning rituals usually present their arguments on the following basis.

IMAGE: This is portraying a bad image for the Non Muslims?
MESSAGE of Imam Hussain (AS): We are losing the real values of the teachings of Imam Hussain(AS)

Our answers to these two arguments are as follows:


If Image and blood spill was such an issue then why not examine the other fundamental of Islam. For instance all of the everyday aspects and which is all Wajib:-

Hijab; The kufr and non- Muslims see this as oppression of women, and question why a person should cover herself?
Jehad; The Kufr and non-Muslims see this as radicalism and fundamentalism.
Sacrificing of an animal, lots of blood spill, and the manner which non-Muslims see portray this.
How about going around the Kaaba? Kufar find it funny and question why do Muslims circulate around a stone?
Running between "Safa" and "Marwa". Etc?
Circumcision: Obviously a Fardh, is looked as a cruel act by the non-Muslims which we do to new born babies.
The list goes on...

Zaynab[sa] was the first person who hit her forehead to a bar inside the carriage she was in, causing considerable bleeding, when the head of al-Hussain (AS) was being paraded in Kufa.

Bihaar al-Anwaar; volume 45, page 114

In India and Pakistan, during Muharram you will find that even Sunnis, Hindus and Sikhs participating in the Marches and taking part in chest beating and self-flagellation. So strong is the love expressed by Hindus and Sikhs to Imam Hussain (AS) that they view it as act of worship for which they will receive rewards - a means by which their prayers will be answered? So powerful are the processions in the Indian Subcontinent that Sikhs will even "proclaim" the words "YA ALI MADAD", demonstrating their love for Maula Ali (as).

If these rituals are portraying such a "BAD IMAGE" then CLEARLY then why are Sunnis and Kaffirs not being turned away from them? We should also point out that the number of converts to Shia'ism in the Indian Subcontinent is very large - rather than being repulsed by these rituals converts are attracted to these rituals. Remember many Sunnis have never heard of Imam Hussain (as), these rituals bring his martyrdom to the masses.

If image is such posing such problem, let say that Zinjeer of Tatbeer was completely abolished, what is there to say that KUFR are not going to try to Knit pick on the other aspect of Deen as mentioned above?


Are we really losing the Message of Imam Hussain(AS) performing by these rituals?

People opposed to the mourning rituals will make comments like:

"Instead of telling the world that Human Rights, Truth, Justice, Integrity is what Imam Husayn stood for we are shown as barbarians who cut the heads of their babies"

The message of Imam Hussain(AS) is strong!! As promised by the Prophet (S), it will remain intact till the day of Judgement!! To say that the message of Imam Hussain(AS) is lost is ludicrous as it goes against the traditions of the Prophet(S).

On the birth of Imam Hussain(AS), when Angel Gabriel informed that this child would be one day be martyred, Lady Fatima(AS) wept and asked the Prophet(PBUMHF) who will be there to mourn for him? , The Prophet(PBUMHF) assured her that group of people shall arise and will mourn her child till the day of Judgement, and he said this in a POSITIVE MANNER. No where did he state that Shias shall indulge in Haram acts, when they will mourn for Imam Hussain(AS).

Had the message really been lost, we would have been seeing a very different Islam today Islam is ALIVE TODAY BEACAUSE OF THEIR(AS) SACRIFICE, therefore on what basis do you state that the Imam Hussain(AS) values and teachings are lost. If this was the case then the ISLAM that we would be seeing today would not have been in the original form.
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Re: The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

Post by Shiabelievers on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:18 am

Common Questions and responses related to Zinjeer and Tatbeer:

Q1: "Imam Hussein (as) when speaking to S. Zainab said "Dear Sister, be tranquil and patient. It is not only the inhabitants of the world that die. Those in the heavens do not also continue to live. everything dies except the Almighty, Who has created the people with His power, and will one day bring them to life again, whereas He Himself is Unique. My grandfather was better than me, my father was better than me. My mother and brother were better than me. It is necessary for every Muslim to follow the Prophet of Allah. Dear sister I administer an oath to you that you will follow my advice. Do not tear your dress on account of my suffering; Do not scratch your face and do not lament"

A1: This tradition is often quoted by those opposed to mourning rituals for Imam Hussain[as]. This alleged tradition contradicts other Sahih hadeeth in which S. Zainab[sa] struck her head with a bar in the carriage.

Clearly it would be illogical for her to do this, had her brother forbade her to do it. Do you really think Zainab[sa] will dissobey Imam e Waqt[as] and her brother?

Zaynab[sa] was the first person who hit her forehead to a bar inside the carriage she was in, causing considerable bleeding, when the head of al-Hussain (AS) was being paraded in Kufa. This is one evidence that the shedding of blood is permissible; whether from the head or from the back etc. The infallible Imam Zayn-el-'Aabidin (AS) used to address Lady Zaynab al-Kubra (AS) by saying to her "You are al-Hamdu-Lillah an untaught scholar" - "Anti al-Hamdu-Lillah 'Alimah Ghayr Mu'allimah"
Bihaar al-Anwaar; volume 45, page 114,
Jalaa’ al-‘Oyun; volume 2, page 238,
Zaynab al-Kubra; page 112,
Asraar al-Shahadah; page 474,
Al-Muntakhab; volume 2, page 478,
Nusrat-ul-Madhlum; page 18.

Needless to say that ‘Allamah al-Majlisi – compiler of Bihaar al-Anwaar – and Sheikh al-Shari’ah al-Isfahani have confirmed the authenticity of the report.

Q2: The postmodern Shi'as who deem blood shedding a waste often pose these questions:

Why we can't donate blood-to-blood banks?
Why can't we take flowers to sick people dying of cancer in hospitals?
Why can't we give food to the homeless and needy?
Why can't we show that Imam Hussain (AS) sacrificed his life for the basic rights and values that all communities believe in and cherish dearly?
Why can't we practice what we preach?

A2: As followers of the Ahlulbayt(AS) we should be following their teachings and ethics 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, ALL YEAR AROUND. As followers of the HOLY Progeny, we have all year to:

preach the MESSAGE OF IMAM HUSSAIN (AS) and the lessons of Karbala.
spread the deen of Allah(SWT).
donate the blood to the sick and needy,
give food to the homeless and the needy


Q3. "It is our duty to deliver Imam Hussain's message to the population of the country we live in. To show we are sincere believers of Islam and hold up the things Imam Hussain stood for."

A3. "There is no problem with this statement what so ever, but what is yet to be proven is that this form of ritual is a) DAMAGING to the message of Imam Hussain (AS) b) it is HARAAM according to Hukum Shiria. Neither the Prophet (PBUMHF), nor the Imams (AS) forbade Matam in any form, as proven above".

Q4: "Now can you explain the benefits or the message of Maatam and cutting the children's heads or zanjeer maatam and its relation to what Imam Husayn (AS) died for?"

A4: We counter such feeble arguments with this question….

What was the benefit of the Owais bin karni smashing his jaw, for going through such grievance?

What was the benefit bedouin of beating and tearing his hair?

What was the benefit of lady Fatima al-Zahra(as), the holy infallible, the lady of light, to beat and mourn the way she(as) did?


So in Summary we have shown.

Quranic evidence
Evidence from Tarikh
Evidence from Christain sources
Rational proof and logical arguments

The anti Matamis usually present their argument on the basis of "Image" and "Message", which is weak in the light of all the evidence shown above. It is sad that for some reason we always seem to question the validity of anything that is related to Kerbala and Imam Hussain(AS), BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE HOLY PROPHET(PBUMHF), We don't seem to object heavily to all of the fallacies from the Kufr against our Holy Prophet(pumhf). Indeed the motive of those people are suspicious!

Thus the act of self-flagellation is nothing more than the believer trying to feel as his Master felt and more, realising he cannot be at Karbala the anguish this causes him - the anguish of separation - the helplessness creates this phenomenon of self-flagellation.

But there are many who frown upon self-flagellation owing to various views promulgated about the opinions of the marajae - but different views exist here also and so the reader is urged to consult the maraja he does taqlid of, and not to condemn his brother's actions as there are marajae living today who allow the spilling of blood in self-flagellation and indeed recommend it - it may be your brother is simply following that opinion. However in the end at its very deepest level the practice of self-flagellation is an example of deeply wounded feelings of anguish resulting in an action that is synonymous with it.

It is a co-ordination of the material with the spiritual - a transcendant passion approaching a state that cohesively unites the emotional with the physical - the emotion being pulsing grief, the action the pulsing movements of the flagellant, heart and body acting as one, blood flowing as a result, the intellect having acknowledged its permissibility on the basis of the above examples.

Further, the symbolism is more than even this. In addition to the symbolism of blood that has been spilled and thus sacrificed in the devotee's sympathy with his Master, the King of Martyrs, blood has a sacred meaning none the moreso than with Imam Husain as shown by the blood in the dust given to Umm Salma (sa) turning blood red, and it raining blood elsewhere when the King of Martyrs was beheaded.

The symbolism of the spilling of blood by the devotee, his own blood, is thus symbolic of the very nature of Karbala and brings that event, the supreme sacrifice, to the fore, a sacrifice that for which the lamb was sacrificed instead of his son by a knife by Ibrahim Khalilullah. And what, if Mohammad (saws)'s blood is spilt will man not spill his own blood? And even then the spilling of the blood has a deeper, more personal reason - the heart of worship is love, and here we find love of ahl-ul-bait.

In the world of the spirit the devotee woders how it is that he who was spiritual, whose name meant kindness in its cosmic representation, and whose quality was his famous gentleness, Husain (as) the Lord of the Spirits of the Believers, was treated so cruelly by an unjust material world with suffering that no man has or will bear in the material world. It is this clash of the duality of material and spiritual, with material hurting the spiritual, that excites in the devotee his own spirit's voice, that heart touched by the light of Imam Husain (as), and since all hearts long for their origin, the believer reciprocates his Master's pain by bringing the material onto that wherein his spirit lies - he cuts his own body which harbours his own spirit, a spirit longing for union with his Master - a Master hurt by a cruel material world that cut his material form and hurt his sensitivities, though his spirit, like that of the believer's endured these calamities.

Thus the act of self-flagellation is nothing more than the believer trying to feel as his Master felt and more, realising he cannot be at Karbala the anguish this causes him - the anguish of separation - the helplessness creates this phenomenon of self-flagellation.

The reader is asked if he cannot understand this to ponder the words repeated by cautious Ulema throughout the ages on this topic who have often passed silence. It was not fear of the self- flagellators and their influence as some say - the Ulema said - Fear the Mother of Husain (as) - that is fear Fatima (sa) - for even if one does not perform this action oneself, if that believer's devotion to her son in this action finds her favour then it would be wrong to condemn him - very, very wrong. The martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) has spiritual dimensions that most men can never truly understand.
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Re: The mourning for Imam Hussain[as]

Post by Shiabelievers on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:19 am

sorry i couldnt post all this message at a wouldnt allow me
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