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What is Azadari, the Mourning of Imam al-Husayn?

In the Name of the Lord of Husayn

Imam Husayn (as) is the ambassador of Allah (swt) who owns the complete authority given by Him (swt) to implement and safeguard the system of Divine justice.

In Karbala, the objective of Imam Husayn (as) for humanity was to safeguard and implement the system of divine justice, the oneness of God and the guardianship of the infallibles. Another objective was liqa ullah (meeting of Allah).

Since Islam is a religion of nature and the message of guidance was for humanity, in order to keep the message of justice immortal and eternal, Imam Husayn (as) adopted the way to address humanity with the message of grief and pain by facing the atrocities imposed on him and his family. The intent was not to fight and be victorious in the battlefield that is confined to time and place; rather the intent was to be victorious eternally. One needs to ponder on the fact that if the intent was to just win the battle in Karbala then Abu Fadl Abbas (as) would have fought and subdued the army of Yazeed (la) with no trouble.

Imam Husayn (as) decided to sacrifice his life, the lives of his beloved Family, and his companions who also followed his decision (to eternally safeguard the true principles of Islam) while facing oppression in every possible way.

Today, any human being can relate to Imam Husayn (as) because pain has no religion. Pain of losing loved ones is common to all human beings and that makes the mourning of our beloved Imam (as) universal and relevant in every age. This communal mourning made people from diversified cultures and religions absorb the grief of Husayn (as).

The purpose of azadari (lamentation) is two fold – taaziat (mourning for Husayn) and nusrat (spreading the mission of the Imam), of which activism is a part of the whole concept of nusrat. Mourning of our beloved Imam (as) is the prerequisite for assisting with his mission. Mourning establishes the bond between mankind and the mission of Hussayn (as). That is why the movement of Husayn (as) is not just alive but also gradually taking over the world.

Recitation of the atrocities (masaib) of Karbala, or anything that reminds us of the tragedy of Karbala (as long as it’s not done with haram means) takes the precedence over the aspect of nusrat itself, since Imam Husayn (as) himself sent the message of nusrat (practical responsibilities) on the tides of grief. Grief and tears wash off the fear and the greed of this world from our hearts and establishes an eternal bond to the mission of Aba Abdillahi al-Husayn (as).

Azadari and its rituals are the means of promoting the story of oppression endured by the Imam (as) and his companions in such a way that anyone who has a heart can relate and feel the pain. On the other hand, there is no question about the fact that the purpose of azadari is to prepare us for supporting the oppressed against the oppressors. However, in order to achieve the objective we will have to keep the form of lamentation open (so long as haram is not committed). When it comes to azadari, the means are just as important as the objective.

Azadari is one door for the whole of humanity in order to step into the institution of tawheed and wilayat. Yes, it was none but Imam Husayn (as) who left the door open for anyone like Hur (as) to come to the door of true Islam. The door of the Imam is open until the day of judgement.

While speaking about azadari, we should understand that within the confines of the Sharia of halal and haram, azadari is not for Muslims only. It is for humanity and anyone is free to express his grief over the tragedy of Imam al-Husayn (as). This grief is the way he feels more connected to Aba Abdillah (as) and that is the true beauty of lamentation–that it welcomes everyone.

We do not own the lamentation of the tragedies of Karbala nor its objectives, it is our master – Imam Husayn (as) who owns it. We are the servants and our job is to be focused on our duties instead of focusing or analyzing the responsibilities of our master. Those who conduct the gatherings (majalis) must consider the participants of such gathering as the guests of our Imam, hence as servants we must treat the guest in the best possible manner and God willing, we will be the recipients of the blessings from our infallible leaders (as).

In conclusion, azadari is the spirit of Islam that fuels our energy and serves as a navigation for our path. Any practical actions (nusrat e haqq) without azadari lack effectiveness and longevity. Activism is one of the aspect of nusrat, not the whole of it.

About Shahid Hussain Baltistani

Shahid Hussain Baltistani is a reciter from Pakistan. He has produced 17 official albums which have been officially released nationally and internationally through electronic media and the internet. He has been invited officially to more than 10 countries for recitation including all Holy Shrines of AhlulBayt (as) and North America. He received his Masters degree in Business Administration and currently works in the corporate world in the media and IT industry.

Shahid Baltistani is also one of the core founders of the 313 Foundation International, an organization which aims to unite the followers of AhlulBayt (as) and promote the integration and harmony among different religions and like minded organizations.

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