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In Defense of Mourning

Child mourners in Lebanon carry a replica of Ali al-Asghar's cradle.

To condemn Azadari because certain people take it to extreme levels or have introduced elements of Shirk into it is no different from the Wahabis who wish to destroy our holy shrines because some people exaggerate the status of the Ahlul Bayt, or the non-Muslims who condemn Islam because of the actions of a few extremists and terrorists.

Child mourners in Lebanon carry a replica of Ali al-Asghar's cradle.

As we formally end the Ayyam Aza (days of mourning) for Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) with Eid Zahra this week, it is an apt moment for us to critically examine a growing debate in our communities on the issue of Azadari (mourning traditions). With the rise of religious awakening in the Western Shia community, it is quite satisfying to see believers who are intent on not just mourning the tragedy of Karbala, but also applying the message of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) on an individual and social level.

Unfortunately for many individuals, this emphasis on practical reform has often been accompanied by scorn and ridicule towards the traditional aspects of Azadari  – dismissing them as “backwards”, “cultural”, and therefore, “un-Islamic” – and a call to “reform” Azadari to “contemporize” it and make it more “relevant” for the 21st century Western Shia.

In this issue, as in any other religious matter, we must turn for guidance towards our righteous scholars and Maraja Taqleed (Religious Authorities). As those who have visited Najaf in recent years will testify, whenever Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani has been asked for his opinion on the matter, he has urged believers time and again to transmit Azadari to their future generations in the exact same manner that they acquired it from their parents and ancestors (except for any forbidden practices). Indeed, he states on his website, “It is not appropriate of the mourners to violate the commemoration method received by the righteous predecessors (Salaf-e Saleh) in mourning the martyrdom of the Lord of Martyrs, Imam Hussain.”

Similarly, Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani, a leading scholar in the Islamic seminary of Qom, said in a recent lecture, “The smallest word spoken against the Hussaini rituals breaks the back of the Seal of the Prophets (peace be upon him and his progeny). These Azadari rituals, these chest-beating rituals, these chain-beating rituals have the highest need of being protected and preserved. Woe unto those people who wish to erase these Hussaini rituals!”

It goes without saying that we would be doing a great disservice to the Imam and insulting his memory by mourning his death without acting upon his message. And it is indeed frustrating to see those who will give their lives for Azadari but fail to pray on time, observe Hijab, pay Khums, or follow any of the obligations of our faith. Similarly, for reverts and second-generation immigrants, some of these Azadari rituals and traditions do not make much sense. For such individuals, it is of course necessary to perhaps develop new traditions (poetry slams, English Latmiyyas, etc.) that they find culturally relevant and relatable. But neither of these factors gives us the right to judge anyone’s intentions, nor does it give us the right to scorn Azadari and the traditional mourning rituals. Instead, what is incumbent upon us is to make an attempt to understand these rites, their history, symbolism, and significance, and why they mean so much to millions of Shias in the West and around the world.

Tone Down the Crying and the Matam

Apparently it makes some of us uncomfortable to see grown adults sobbing uncontrollably during the tragedy narration. Can’t we just do it silently? Similarly, we see the people who get extremely passionate and start beating their chests uncontrollably, sometimes without their shirts on, and we furrow our brows and sigh at how “ignorant” and “uncivilized” some of our brothers are.

It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that Imam Zainul Abideen (peace be upon them) cried over Imam Hussain for over 20 years, and “never would any food be placed before him that he would begin to weep.” (Bihar al-Anwar)

Imam Sadiq has further said, “O Lord, have mercy upon those eyes which have shed tears in compassion for us, and upon those hearts which have been restless and blistered for us, and upon those loud shrieks which have been [uttered] for us.” (Ibid.)

The immense emotional outpour as a result of remembering this tragedy is therefore not an act of ignorance but rather a tradition and recommendation of the Ahlul Bayt and a sign of the believer!

On a historic note, it is recorded in Fawaid ar-Rijaliyah that once when Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom was walking through the streets of Karbala with some students, they came across some mourners who were passionately beating their chests for Imam Hussain. As the students looked at them with some scorn, suddenly Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom took off his turban, unbuttoned his shirt, and also began beating his chest vigorously. The astonished students attempted to control him, but to no avail. When he finally stopped, the horrified students asked him why he had started doing Matam in such an “undignified” way and lost control over himself, despite being the greatest Shia scholar of the time. Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom replied, “How could I not do what I saw my Imam doing?! When I went close to the group of mourners, I saw my Imam. His head was uncovered, and he was grieving on my grandfather (Imam Hussain) and doing Matam with the rest of them!”

A more recent example of such unbridled passion for mourning Imam Hussain is the famous video of Martyr Ayatollah Baqir al-Hakim reciting the tragedy narration in Qom a few years ago on the Day of Ashura, when he neared the end and began crying and striking himself uncontrollably.

We Don’t Need Nauhas and Latmiyyas

I pray on time, I observe Hijab, I pay Khums, I organize all sorts of youth activities – so why should I waste my time listening to and reciting Nauhas? Instead, why don’t we cut out the Nauhas and just have a longer speech? Isn’t the learning part what’s more important?

Imam Sadiq is reported to have said, “There is no one who recites poetry about Hussain and weeps and makes others weep by means of it, except that Allah makes paradise incumbent upon him and forgives his sins.” (Rijal al-Shaikh al-Tusi)

Similarly, elaborating on the great rank of those who recite poetry for the Ahlul Bayt, the late Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Behjat stated, “The brethren who are busy lauding Ahlul Bayt, those who recount the virtues of the Imams and the tragedies that befell them, must know their station, what action they undertake and why. They must know that they are practically implementing the commandment of being ‘kind to the Prophet’s kindred’ to which the Holy Qur’an refers. Whether they recount the virtues of Ahlul Bayt or their tragedies, they thus repay the wage of conveying the Message and keep people firm on the path of the Qur’an. The Qur’an states the following: ‘Say: I do not ask you for a reward for it other than being kind to my kindred.'” (42:23)

Can’t We Spend this Money in Better Ways?

Every year the Shia world spends millions of dollars on Azadari, the Majalis, the speakers, the food, etc. If we saved all this money, just think how many schools, orphanages, and libraries we could build!

No one is downplaying the importance of libraries, schools, and homeless shelters. Indeed, we as a community have a great obligation towards those who are less unfortunate and in need of our financial assistance. But when it comes to these projects, why do we overlook our huge bank balances and are so quick to pounce on the funds that have been appropriated for the Azadari of Imam Hussain? If someone wishes to show his/her devotion by sponsoring dinner at the mosque one night, what gives us the right to dismiss the person’s sincerity and bemoan the “waste” of money that could be spent doing “so many better things”?

A deeper answer to such objections was given by the late Imam Khomeini. Following Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980, thousands of refugees from western Iran were relocated to temporary housing within Tehran. As the month of Muharram approached, some people urged Imam Khomeini that instead of spending so much money on Azadari that year, the funds should be used to provide housing and shelter for the refugees. The Imam replied that the Azadari funds were not sufficient enough to provide housing for even half the refugees. The Azadari and mourning sessions for Imam Hussain should still go on, he insisted, and as a result of the blessings of this Azadari, we will receive enough from Allah that we will be able to house all these refugees!

These Replicas Are Hindu Traditions

The Imams never decorated the walls of their mosques with Alams or create miniature replicas of shrines or cradles or coffins or horses. In fact, aren’t these a bunch of Hindu traditions that have seeped into our Azadari and should therefore be eliminated?

In regards to the Alam, we must realize that it is a replica of the flag and the standard of Islam – the standard under which 313 believes defeated an army of over a thousand at Badr, the standard which was planted by Imam Ali (peace be upon him) on the fort of Khaybar, the standard that Abul Fadhl al-Abbas (peace be upon him) lost both arms trying to protect, and the standard under whose shadow the Awaited One (may Allah hasten his reappearance) will receive allegiance from his followers.

As far as creating replicas of the shrines is concerned, it is interesting to note that Allama Majlisi has narrated from Shaikh al-Mufid and Sayyid Ibn Taoos in the recommendations of 17th Rabi al-Awwal: “If you wish to do Ziyarat of the Holy Prophet at a place other than Medina, then after doing Ghusl, make a small replica of his grave in front of you, and write his name on it. And turn your heart towards him and recite…” (Zaad al-Ma’ad)

Furthermore, we must know the importance of imagery and symbolism when it comes to understanding and appreciating religious values, especially for ordinary people. The most obvious proof of this is in the fact that we turn and pray towards an empty black cuboid five times a day. Or, when we visit the shrines, we hold on to gold and silver cages and beg the Imams to grant our desires. It is not the bricks of the Ka’ba or the gold sarcophagus enclosures that we care about; it is those who symbolically reside within each of these physical constructs whom we venerate.

We keep replicas of the shrines for the same reason that we hang up posters of the Ka’ba or the Prophet’s Mosque – because they remind us of the holiness associated with these locations, and being unfortunate in that we cannot be there physically, the ability to at least touch and kiss these replicas provides somewhat of spiritual relief to a soul yearning nearness to its Masters buried in Karbala and Najaf. We honor the cradle because it represents not only the cradle of Ali al-Asghar (peace be upon him), but also because it symbolizes the purity and innocence of those who were massacred on Ashura. We shoulder the coffins (Taboot) as a sign of eternal defiance towards the oppressors who did not allow a funeral for the Prophet’s grandson and left his body on the hot plains of Karbala. And we kiss the Zuljana because it symbolizes to us that final companion of the Imam who demonstrated to us the true embodiment of loyalty and courage till the very end, the faithful stallion who refused to abandon its master amid a storm of arrows, spears, and stones.

It is true that many of these symbols and practices are cultural in their origins and were not venerated or recommended by the Infallibles. But if they serve as a means of attaining the nearness of the Infallibles, surely they deserve our full respect and reverence.

Why Do We Have to Sit on the Floor?

We live in the West now – why do we still have to take off our shoes and sit on the floor?

To answer this question, we must understand the sanctity and holiness of these gatherings. The Imams have taught us that angels and Allah’s mercy descend upon any gathering where the virtues and tragedies of the Ahlul Bayt are remembered. Traditions tell us that Lady Fatima Zahra and Imam Zainul Abideen (peace be upon them) are in attendance during every mourning session that is held for Imam Hussain.

We sit on the floor because it is the Sunnah of the Infallibles, and that is how they conducted their Majalis. And according to the Holy Qur’an, when Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) approached the burning bush, he was told, “O Musa: Surely I am your Lord; thus, take off your shoes, for surely you are in the sacred valley Tuwa.” (20:11-12) Therefore, taking off our shoes and sitting on the floor is the least we can do to express our respect and consideration for these sacred gatherings. Indeed, marching barefoot during the processions for Imam Hussain is a practice of many of our highly esteemed scholars and Maraja.

In Conclusion

Living in a multicultural society and trying to attract the maximum number of non-Muslims towards Islam and the message of Imam Hussain, it is easy for us to dismiss the ritualistic elements of Azadari as “cultural”, intimidating towards reverts and non-Muslims, or even outright unnecessary. Similarly, when we see certain members of our communities going at length to commemorate the suffering of Imam Hussain without acting upon his message, it is tempting to question the very purpose of this Azadari.

It is perhaps necessary to develop new methods of Azadari to cater to the needs of reverts and second-generation immigrants, and it is indeed saddening to see some Shias giving more importance to Azadari than to implementing the message of Imam Hussain. But neither of these factors gives us the right to dismiss, scorn, or belittle Azadari and the rituals which have been developed over generations and which hold a very sacred spot in the hearts and minds of millions of believers, especially if they have been deemed permissible by our Maraja Taqleed. Indeed, to condemn Azadari because certain people take it to extreme levels or have introduced elements of Shirk into it is no different from the Wahabis who wish to destroy our holy shrines because some people exaggerate the status of the Ahlul Bayt, or the non-Muslims who condemn Islam because of the actions of a few extremists and terrorists.

In the words of Imam Khomeini, “I pray to Allah to grant us success to observe the Ashura rites as we did before and in traditional forms; let processions be as forceful as before, with people beating their chests and reading elegies. Be confident that your life is dependent on these ceremonies, elegies, congregations, and processions.”


Further Resources:

Ayatollah Khorasani on Imam Hussain and Azadari

Azadari – 40 Hadith

Extracts from the Instructions of Imam Khomeini Regarding Mourning

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28 comments

  1. Can you recommend nauhas on Youtube, etc., for English speakers? If not in English, somehow comprehensible, like with subtitles or something similar?

  2. [quote]As those who have visited Najaf in recent years will testify, whenever Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani has been asked for his opinion on the matter, he has urged believers time and again to transmit Azadari to their future generations in the exact same manner that they acquired it from their parents and ancestors (except for any forbidden practices). Indeed, he states on his website, “It is not appropriate of the mourners to violate the commemoration method received by the righteous predecessors (Salaf-e Saleh) in mourning the martyrdom of the Lord of Martyrs, Imam Hussain.”[/quote]

    From this, I gather the parents are the Salaf-e Saleh mentioned in this verdict. Also, strangely enough, I found another but quite different response to the exact same question on his website here:
    http://sistani.org/local.php?modules=nav&nid=5&cid=541&hl=matam

    “The main purpose of mourning during ‘Ashura, is to respect and revive the symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (a.s.), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals.”

  3. [quote] I found another but quite different response to the exact same question on his website here[/quote]

    What’s so different about the two responses..?

  4. [quote]What’s so different about the two responses..?[/quote]

    its like the difference between , “I ate a banana”, and “I drove to work”

  5. Not at all. The ruling quoted in the article is saying that we must not violate the traditions set down by past generations, while the one you quoted is saying that these traditions should draw the attention of others (i.e. non-Shias) to our faith. If anything, perhaps he is indirectly stating that the traditions we already have are sufficient for the purpose of drawing others to Shi’ism, and we don’t really need to innovate new ones at all! 😉

  6. Assalam Alaikum

    There are quite a few good rising reciters in English. One is Mulla Hassan (http://www.mullahassan.com), whose are styled more on the Arabic latmiyya, and another is the group Voices of Passion (http://voicesofpassion.com), whose are set to the rhythm of famous Urdu nauhas.

    On YouTube, you can search for something like “English noha” or “English latmiyya” to find other reciters, as well as Urdu/Arabic recitations with English subtitles.

    Also, you can go on the Latmiyya/Nauha channel on ShiaTV (http://shiatv.net/channel_detail.php?chid=9), and just type in “English” in the search box.

    Insha’Allah we can have an article in Islamic Insights next Muharram on the best places to find English nauhas/latmiyyahs. 🙂

  7. lol, I was very particular in the way I phrased my comment; the two verdicts are not mutually exclusive was my point. You can eat a banana and also drive to work, each is perfectly fine its own right or even when combined (but you should probably eat the banana before/after driving to work since its dangerous to peel a banana while driving).
    :-*

  8. Salam,

    Thank you sooooo much for this much needed article! I think a lot of people in my community need to read this and stop being so judgemental!

    -Ws
    🙂

  9. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

    Salaam,

    There are few points that I would like to discuss about this issue of symbolism in Azadari. Firstly we should understand that there are two different things: First, Azadari which we have received from Ahlul Bait(AS) directly. The Azadari is about mourning on great sacrifice of Imam Husain(AS). And the second one is Taziadari or many rituals related with Azadari which developed in polytheistic environment of India and later spreaded to other parts of world.

    So the article brother has written is about Taziadari, and not Azadari. I have never come across any shia in my life so far who is against mourning on Imam Husain(AS)’s martyrdom. So if no shia is against the mourning then there is no point in defending the mourning among the shias. The question is raised about Taziadari or the rituals which have been related with Azadari in particularly Indian sub continent.

    I cry often when I hear or read the stories of our Imams(AS). Just few days back I was hearing the last will of Imam Ali(AS). I heard that twice, and each time I could not control my tears. I do not believe in Tazia or Alam, but I never felt that I need them to concentrate on mourning.

    The statements of the mareje quoted above are usually made in the context of Iran and Iraq, and not with respect to India or Pakistan where Azadari has taken quite a different shape thanks to Tazia, Alam, the related rituals.

    [quote] It is not appropriate of the mourners to violate the commemoration method received by the righteous predecessors (Salaf-e Saleh) in mourning the martyrdom of the Lord of Martyrs, Imam Hussain [/quote]

    If we look at the history of present rituals in South Asia they have been mostly started by Nawabs (erstwhile provincial rulers in Mogul empire in India) or mostly people like them. As for example the Tazia was created and initiated by Timur the Lame (Tamerlane, 1336-1405), and most of the rituals related to Taziadari were initiated by debauched and irreligious Nawabs. Timur was a killer/robber who killed thousands for worldly wealth. So will we consider these fellows as the righteous predecessors (Salaf-e Saleh)? Do these people come under the category of righteousness? Therefore, certainly our Maraja Aytullah Sistani did not mean these people as the righteous predecessors.

    Certainly only Ahlul bait(AS) and our righteous ulema can be counted as righteous predecessors, and not robbers or debauched rulers.

    [quote]
    Similarly, Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani, a leading scholar in the Islamic seminary of Qom, said in a recent lecture, “The smallest word spoken against the Hussaini rituals breaks the back of the Seal of the Prophets (peace be upon him and his progeny). These Azadari rituals, these chest-beating rituals, these chain-beating rituals have the highest need of being protected and preserved. Woe unto those people who wish to erase these Hussaini rituals!” [/quote]

    In above quoted Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani is talking about “chest-beating” and “chain-beating rituals”. Is he talking of the Tazia? Or Alam? The horse? Or many such non sense started by corrupt people and attached to Azadari?

    [quote]
    In the words of Imam Khomeini, “I pray to Allah to grant us success to observe the Ashura rites as we did before and in traditional forms; let processions be as forceful as before, with people beating their chests and reading elegies. Be confident that your life is dependent on these ceremonies, elegies, congregations, and processions.” [/quote]

    Again the same case, when ulema make such statements, they do so for usually the form of Azadari found in Iran/Iraq, and not the one inspired by Hinduism found in India/Pakistan.

  10. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    Timur and Tazia:

    It is said Timur the Lame used to visit the tomb of Imam Husain(AS). Once he could not go there, so he created a replica which came to be regarded as Tazia in India. Like most such rituals Tazia does not appear to be harmful in its initial phase. Later the rulers of Awadh started making buildings known as Imam Baras to place Tazia permanently throughout the year. This way new structures came into existence in which Tazia was kept. Gradually these Imam Baras sprouted all over due to a status symbol race among the elites. People started going to Imam Baras throughout the year, and slowly these buildings became centers of worship, of course not the worship of Allah(swt).

    Now in today’s Lucknow(India) people visit these places very punctually at least once a week. Many people prostrate there, they ask for their duas, present offerings and they do many such things as done in Hindu temples in India. Slowly also the concept of Tazia in common man has changed. Theoretically it is regarded as replica of Imam Husain(AS)’s tomb, but practically it’s supposed to posses supernatural powers. People believe that the benefit or loss in their lives is controlled by it. In today’s Lucknow the Imam Baras are complete copy Hindu temples, and Tazia or Alam a substitute for idols.

    As per sharia Azadari is Mubah, and Taziadari at most could be a Mubah. But when a Mubah act takes to haram like shirk , it becomes forbidden.

    We take the history of idol worship in Mecca in pre-islam period. There were four idols which were worshiped. Out of these four, three are supposed to be images of great men belonging to the period of prophet Nuh(AS). These were good and noble people of that era. People used to respect them much. After their death to remember them, people made their images. As the generations passed these images of good men got converted into idols and then into deities and started to be worshipped.

    To prove Tazia and Alam and the likes OK , people give examples of rituals related with Hajj. How can these two be compared when Hajj rituals have been on the footsteps of prophets and verified by holy Quran, while the Tazia and the likes have been started by corrupt people and there is not authority from Ahlul bait(AS) for them? Can we compare two things in which one has been done by infallibles and the other by debauched and ignorant rulers?

  11. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    Nawabs and Rituals:[/b]

    The Nawabs of Awadh(India) were very passionate about Azadari, but they wanted to do things in their way. They started many rituals to mark different occasions. We discuss few examples:

    There was a ruler Naseeruddin Haidar. This man started many rituals, in which one was related with 15th of Shanban. On the night of 14th Shaban, he would dress like a woman and act like giving birth to Imam Zamana( Allaho Akbar, Astaghfirullah). He would act as he were having labor pain and then dolls would be placed beside him as a symbol of a newly born baby!!!

    Similarly the queens also made many rituals common among people.

    One of my aunt’s family is responsible for extending the 18 days in mourning period after Chehlum( Arbaeen). This happened around 1857 that one of British officer’s wife was killed by a man whose name was Jafar. One of her forefather Nawab Jafar Ahamd Khan was wrongly imprisoned on the murder charges for the same. But later the real person came in court so he was freed. He used to take out procession of Tazia on the Arabaeen, which he could not do as he was in jail at that time. When he was freed, it was Rabiul Awal, so he consulted people and took out his procession on 8th of Rabi ul awal. The procession was taken out silently as the Arabaeen had passed. As the procession was taken out silently so, it started being regared as CHUP TAZIA
    (Quiet Tazia?) From next year onwards he started taking out the procession on 8th Rabi ul awal, and slowly the mourning period was extended 18 days more!!!

    Does this all not sound of very rotten and dead minds? People having very status quo-ist and degenerative mentality?

    [b]
    Conclusion:[/b]

    This can be true for some people that Tazia or Alam make them remember Imam Husain(AS). But what we have seen that in places like Lucknow where such things were born are today neck deep in polytheism. So if we don’t have Tazia in our homes, it does not harm as Tazia never has been a part of any tradition coming to us from Ahlul bait(AS), but what if we have them and we incline towards polytheism because of them as happening in Lucknow, then it will be a great loss.

    We can do Azadari as Ahlul Bait(AS) used to do. Ahlul Bait(AS) are our role model in every act we do and Ahlul Bait(AS) are the best role model. Then why do we need to follow drunkard nawabs or robber Timur?
    Do the debauched Nawabs or Timur fall under righteous predecessors category? I do not think so. To me the path trodden by Ahlul bait(AS) is the best path, and it is the only path of salvation, it is the path for which Allah has taken guarantee by ayat al Tatheer, I cannot take risk by following robbers or ignorant rulers.

    These rituals have done great harm to the message of Imam Husain(AS). People waste all their energy on them, and nobody bothers about true message for which our Imam sacrificed his life

    Our Imam’s goal for Karbala:

    “Indeed, I have not risen up to do mischief, neither as an adventurer, nor to cause corruption and tyranny. I have risen up solely to seek the reform of the Ummah of my grandfather. I want to enjoin what is good and stop what is wrong, and (in this) I follow the conduct of my grandfather and my father Ali ibn Abi Talib.”

    May Allah guide us to the deen of Ahlul Bait(AS) and keep us away from the path of deviation!

  12. It’s pretty interesting that many people will find the more odd and extreme examples of Azadari to counter the concept. This is just like the West using Wahabism to describe all of Islam. It’s an incorrect conjecture.

    If people really feel Azadari, as a whole, is cultural and has no religous meaning, then it’s unfortunate but does not take away from the essence of mourning Ahl Bayt. All over the world, Shias are attacked for trying to mourn Ahl Bayt. When Bani Ummayah and their successors attempted to oppress Shias, they tried to limit them from mourning the Imams who were so brutally oppressed… People were forced to pay gold to visit Imma Hussain etc.

    We must defend mourning because otherwise, it’s a gradual removal of our relationship with Ahl Bayt..slowly we start saying,” who needs to mourn? I’m too educated for this” etc. However, the more ignorant people are, the more likely they are to oppose all MOURNING because they don’t understand it and refuse any attempts to do so either.

    There are Hadiths which are not sahih, but has anyone rejected all Hadiths because of this? When it comes to Mourning, people are so quick to point out the cultural aspects that may not be “Islamic” however, very few will concede its importance.

    Imam Sadiq (as) said: “May God have mercy on those who revive our Cause..”

  13. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

    [quote]It’s pretty interesting that many people will find the more odd and extreme examples of Azadari to counter the concept. This is just like the West using Wahabism to describe all of Islam. It’s an incorrect conjecture. [/quote]

    Can you please show from my comments above that I said that the whole of Azadari is wrong? Did I not say above that Azadari comes directly from Ahlul Bait(AS) ?
    What I meant to point out is about some ignorant rituals which have no connection with chaste Ahlul Bait(AS) and which have harmed the very cause and purpose of Azadari.

    This is very usual that whenever you point out any thing bad being done by ignorant people in the name of Azadari, people start labeling you as Wahabi. How come? We all are unanimous on Azadari, but the question is of polytheistic rituals which originated basically in Indian sub continent. I think such people believe that if you remove these rituals, the Azadari itself will end. If this is conclusion, then it’s really very sorry state of affairs. Azadari is from Ahlul Bait(AS), and it does not depend on some rituals for its survival.
    Can anybody start just doing anything what his heart inclines to in the name of Azadari? And if you ask him to reform or point out the limits of Sharia then you are opposing Azadari and you killing the cause of Ahlul bait(AS)? Is it really so? Was the purpose of Imam Husain(AS)’s martyrdom was to give a free license to people to do any rubbish in the name of mourning?

    How sorry is really one’s heart when it’s realized that these rituals kill the very purpose of Imam Husain(AS)’s martyrdom but still people do not want to part from them! The holy Prophet(S) said that the mourning on Imam Husain(AS) will generate a warmth in the hearts of believers. Now we need to examine ourselves that where this warmth is going to? How this spiritual energy is utilized? It’s wasted on rituals, and is not used for excelling in the wake of Islam and Ahlul Bait(AS).

    If we love Ahlul Bait(AS) then sincere following is a condition. We cannot determine our own ways, rather we have to emulate what Ahlul Bait(AS). The rituals which have no connection with Ahlul Bait(AS) have harmed Ahlul Bait(AS)’s purpose. It’s not because of love of Ahlul Bait(AS) but it’s because love of our forefathers that we do not want to part with them . We just dont want to question what our forefathers have been doing, though their doings might have been completely wrong.

    The love of Ahlul bait(AS) is about humbling ourselves before them, and following what they have asked us to. Holy Quran lays the law of love :

    [3:31] [b]Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful[/b] Our claims of love are one sided until we humble ourselves before Allah and Prophet(S) and holy Ahlul bait(AS). People think they can just do anything what their hearts incline to, and if you ask them to keep inside the bounds of Sharia, you are a wahabi:
    [b]
    [17:36] And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.[/b]

    How sad it is that we are asking people to follow the path of Ahlul Bait(AS) and avoid what the ignorant Nawabs and others have invented, but they respond to us in such a way that as if we asked them to do something against the teachings of Ahlul Bait(AS). In fact it’s more a matter of following forefathers than following Ahlul bait(AS) that we don’t want to listen:

    [2:170] [b]And when it is said to them, follow what Allah has revealed, they say : Nay ! we follow what we found our forefathers upon; what and though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right way[/b]

    There’s a good news, that the more people are awakened and the more they want to lead the lives according to teachings of Ahlul Bait(AS), the more they will examine and question what the previous ones have been doing.. Im telling you this on the basis of observation of last 20 years. I have seen a tremendous change in people’s way of thinking. Nobody could imagine some 20 years back about questioning any thing. Now almost most of the ulema confess in private that these rituals invented by Nawabs attached with Azadari have harmed Islam and have led people astray from the path of Ahlul Bait(AS). So the rituals which have been invented by ignorant ones being inspired by the polytheistic surroundings will not last much longer.

    May Allah provide us light of guidance emanating from the pure source of Ahlu Bait(AS), and may Allah quench our thirst of love for Ahlul Bait(AS) through the pure stream of prescribed methods from Ahlul Bait(AS) themselves, and may Allah save us from blindly following our forefathers or the corrupt deviated rulers of past!

  14. Umm…is it just me or if it wasn’t for “taziadari” we’d not know about azadari?!

  15. Here we go again. Lover of Ahlul Bait, you are mistaken on a number of levels. Here’s how:

    1. Whether a fasiq promoted rituals or not does not have anything to do with whether we can take those rituals and appropriate them for ourselves. It is ironic that you say we need proof from Quran and Ahlul-Bait and then not provide any to establish this premise. The debauched have done many things for their own purposes in history, including acts prescribed by Allah, but this does not mean that we turn away from those actions. This is the same mistake people made in turning away from the 8th imam when he was forced to be the crown prince of Mamun;

    2. The ayat you quoted similarly have nothing to do with the issue of the rituals being what Ahlul-Bait wanted or not. I could easily throw those verses right back and you and tell you to not act in the way of your nafs which has never wanted to do such action. Although I myself do not think you need to be convinced to do the rituals, but it is difficult to see how your stance is any different from that of people who say we MUST follow certain rituals otherwise we are doomed;

    3. You clearly have little knowledge of the Arab and Persian world if you think that using ‘alams (flags) and zuljenahs is a South Asian custom. Across the Arab world, there are recreations of the entire battle of Karbala. There are processions held every night in which people playing the role of Ahlul-Bait ride horses and do many other things. Insha-Allah you will go to Karbala and see for yourself next Ashura and Arba’een. If you are suggesting that Tamer the Lame influenced the forefathers of all these people, you are sorely mistaken!

    4. We have room for culture in Islam, as long as the action does not violate the guidance of the Quran and Ahlul-Bait. For example, there is no rule that women must wear Arabic dress, only that they must cover their whole bodies except the hands and face from unrelated men. Furthermore, there is the issue of intention. Just because someone invented something for their own belief system does not mean I cannot appropriate the outer form and infuse it with my own culture and beliefs.

    The fact is, none of these rituals of carrying flags, carrying empty coffins, or carrying replicas of shrines violates the guidance and obviously the symbolism is actually helping quite a few people get closer to Ahlul-Bait.

  16. If you are going to make such strong accusations, you should probably cite sources. Otherwise, your words don’t really mean anything.
    🙁

  17. Your entire argument is based on the premise that Ayatollah Khoasani and Ayatollah Sistani’s statements do not apply to South Asian azadari. How so? Have you ever been to Iran or Iraq?! Hahahahaha buddy, if you think our Desi rituals are “polytheistic”, go check out the kinda stuff our Iranian and Arab brethren do in Muharram! 😛

  18. Also, you say the shabeehs (replicas) are Hindu customs. Did you not see the picture used with the article? It says, “Child mourners in [b]Lebanon[/b] carry a replica of Ali al-Asghar’s cradle.” I find it hard to understand how Hindu traditions from the subcontinent somehow made it all the way across to the Near East… 😀

  19. When we idolize someone or something it’s the same sin as those whom started the tradition. At first they “the idol worshippers” started to bow in remembrance of some saint; then to remember them more they created statues of them and started not only bow as respect but pray to it. Over time that figure(statue) turn from a form of respect to a god.

    Even Mohammad PBUH didn’t want people to get up when he entered a place. HE was very humble. He taught people to remember GOD more. I think for us to turn to any shrine and to ask the Prophet or his descendants (PBU ThEM ALL) to help us is WRONG. We as Muslims are taught to turn to noone bu ALLAH when we need guidance; when we need help.

    With all the my LOVE and respect to Mohammad and his close family Hussain and Hassan and ALI (Peace and Blessing Be Upon Them ALL); please brothers lets have respect for them remember them; but ALWAYS ASK ALLAH for guidance as we do in our Prayers as in (surat Al-Fatiha).

    Peace and Blessing of Allah Upon All my Muslim Brothers and Sisters!

  20. Assalam Alaikum

    Thank you for your comments. In regards to your objections:
    [quote]The statements of the mareje quoted above are usually made in the context of Iran and Iraq, and not with respect to India or Pakistan where Azadari has taken quite a different shape thanks to Tazia, Alam, the related rituals.
    [/quote]
    Says who? Unless specifically stated, a Marja’s statements are universally applicable, even if we lived on the moon. Furthermore, as the comments before me have stated, these types of rituals are found throughout the Shia world, not just in the subcontinent. Just go on YouTube and look up Azadari in Iran and Iraq, and you will see what I mean. Just because they live in Iran and Iraq doesn’t mean our Iranian and Arab brothers’ rituals are any more or less “polytheistic” (by your definition) than ours.
    [quote]They do so for usually the form of Azadari found in Iran/Iraq, and not the one inspired by Hinduism found in India/Pakistan.
    [/quote]
    Again, who says these rituals were inspired by Hinduism? Do you have any documented proof for this?
    [quote] I do not believe in Tazia or Alam, but I never felt that I need them to concentrate on mourning.
    [/quote]
    A picture speaks a thousand words. I have already explained the importance of symbolism and imagery when it comes to religion in the article. Masha’Allah, you are a very pious and spiritual individual who does not need these rituals or symbols to mourn properly, and may Allah increase your rank and station. But for the majority of us who are not yet at your level, these symbols and rituals are very important parts of our mourning experience. As such, you are more than welcome to not “believe” in Tazia or Alam, but please do not condemn our mourning experience, especially if it has been deemed permissible by our Maraja Taqleed.
    [quote]It is said Timur the Lame used to visit the tomb of Imam Husain(AS). Once he could not go there, so he created a replica which came to be regarded as Tazia in India. Like most such rituals Tazia does not appear to be harmful in its initial phase. Later the rulers of Awadh started making buildings known as Imam Baras to place Tazia permanently throughout the year. This way new structures came into existence in which Tazia was kept.
    [/quote]
    Regardless of the historic background – and let’s be honest, this is only one version of how Tazias were started – Tazias are considered not only permissible but in fact approved by the Infallibles. This is demonstrated from the recommendation of Allama Majlisi as I quoted in the article. Furthermore, there is another hadith of the Holy Prophet [saww] that if you have a very important du’a, you should go to the gravesite of your parents and ask Allah over there. If your parents’ grave is not accessible, draw four lines on the ground, pretend like it is the grave of your parents, and then do the du’a. So if that is the status of creating a “Tazia” of your parents’ grave, don’t you think the Tazia of our Infallibles’ shrines carries even greater importance?

    Furthermore, even if Taimur started the tradition, that does not mean we should condemn or discard it. Masha’Allah you have been blessed that you can afford to go for Ziyarat, but for the majority of Shias living in the subcontinent, North America, and Europe, it has been and still is financially and logistically quite difficult to go for Ziyarat. For this reason, the narrations of the Ahlul Bayt [as] tell us that whoever is unable to travel to the actual site and performs Ziyarat from distance receives the same reward from Allah. Since the majority of us cannot go for Ziyarat (or even if we do, it is at most once in a lifetime), we create these replicas in order to allow us to do Ziyarat from our homes or Imambargahs. It is as simple as that!
    [quote]To prove Tazia and Alam and the likes OK, people give examples of rituals related with Hajj.
    [/quote]
    No, we don’t need to give examples. All we need is our Maraja to tell us that these are permissible, and that is enough for us. If you have any specific questions, I encourage you to directly contact your Marja Taqleed or his representative in your area.
    [quote]As per sharia Azadari is Mubah, and Taziadari at most could be a Mubah. But when a Mubah act takes to haram like shirk , it becomes forbidden.
    [/quote]
    Once again, you are grossly mistaken. Azadari is the tradition of our Ahlul Bayt, and not only is it highly recommended, our Ulema tell us that in certain situations, it actually becomes Wajib! Please see the [i]Azadari – 40 Hadith[/i] link I quoted in the article for recommendations of the Ahlul Bayt on this topic.

  21. [quote]Most of the rituals related to Taziadari were initiated by debauched and irreligious Nawabs.
    [/quote]
    Yes, many of the Nawabs were corrupt and Fasiqs, but it is extremely unfair and inappropriate for you to term all the Nawabs as “debauched and irreligious”. (I am assuming you are referring to the Nawabs of Oudh.) Do you know that the main reason why the Bara Imambara was built was to provide employment for people during a time of famine? Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bara_Imambara#Relief_Measure

    Have you heard of the “Oudh Bequest”? Are you aware that these same Nawabs whom you call “debauched and irreligious” were channeling over six million rupees each year to Karbala and Najaf and were the main source of financial support for the Hawza Ilmiya during the entire second half of the 19th century? Please see: http://www.jstor.org/pss/259477

    Learn your own history, my brother.
    [quote]One of my aunt’s family is responsible for extending the 18 days in mourning period after Chehlum( Arbaeen).
    [/quote]
    LOL…I have heard all sorts of crackpot theories from pseudo-intellectuals in our communities over how certain Azadari traditions were started, but this is a first! For your clarification, the reason why we do Azadari until Eid Zahra is because that is the day Imam Sajjad [as] was informed about the killers of Ahlul Bayt, and he and the womenfolk temporarily halted their mourning. This is observed not just in the sub-continent, but also in Iran and the Arab world. In the Arab world, it is called Farhat al-Zahra, but it is the same idea. Please see: http://islamicinsights.com/religion/religion/eid-az-zahra.html
    [quote]So will we consider these fellows as the righteous predecessors (Salaf-e Saleh)? Do these people come under the category of righteousness? Therefore, certainly our Maraja Aytullah Sistani did not mean these people as the righteous predecessors.
    [/quote]
    Once again, I encourage you to directly contact Ayatollah Sistani or your own Marja Taqleed regarding clarification on this issue. I provided the explanation which has been given to me by those who have visited him in Najaf, as well as several respected ulema.
    [quote]But what we have seen that in places like Lucknow where such things were born are today neck deep in polytheism.
    [/quote]
    I wish you had read the article more carefully. But just to restate, just because some people have started committing polytheism and other forms of extremism when it comes to Azadari does not give anyone the right to dismiss Azadari as a whole. Are you aware that the main reason why Wahabis insist on destroying the shrines of the Ahlul Bayt is also because some people commit polytheism over there? Does that justify their argument?

  22. [quote]Now in today’s Lucknow(India) people visit these places very punctually at least once a week. Many people prostrate there, they ask for their duas, present offerings and they do many such things as done in Hindu temples in India. Slowly also the concept of Tazia in common man has changed. Theoretically it is regarded as replica of Imam Husain(AS)’s tomb, but practically it’s supposed to posses supernatural powers. People believe that the benefit or loss in their lives is controlled by it.
    [/quote]
    Since my family is also from Lucknow, I am familiar with its Azadari traditions and the kind of extremism that can take place. However, you and I both know that Lucknow is an atypical case which cannot be taken as representative of the world-wide Shia community. Plus, please keep in mind that Islamic Insights is a publication aimed at the Western Shia community. If this was a Lucknowi or South Asian publication, surely we would have an article entitled “The Shirk in Our Azadari”. However, Islamic Insights as a publication caters to the Western Shia community, and particularly Shia youth in the West, and the rising sentiment here is not one of increasing polytheism (unlike Lucknow), but rather, as a result of the post-modern philosophical approach of challenging and denigrating all that is sacred, an attitude that questions and rejects tradition solely on the basis of it being tradition if an apparent benefit is not visible right away. Challenging this attitude and explaining the wisdom behind traditional modes of mourning, using examples from our Ahlul Bayt and righteous scholars, was the main purpose behind writing this article.

    (Even then, we have had at least two dozen articles emphasizing the [b]message[/b] of Imam Hussain, and only [b]one[/b] article on the importance of mourning..!)

    That said, however, I encourage you to listen to the speech by Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani mentioned under “Further Resources” in the article in which he gives a thorough explanation of the status of one who visits Imam Hussain [as] and the importance of asking for your du’as at his shrine. The Ahlul Bayt have said, “The one who comes for our Ziyarat is like the one who has done the Ziyarat of the Holy Prophet in Medina. But the one who comes for the Ziyarat of Aba Abdullah al-Hussain [as] is like the one who has done the Ziyarat of Allah [swt] on His Arsh [throne]…” ([i]Man La Yahduruhul Faqih[/i]) Why then are you surprised if people ask for their hajaat, present offerings, and believe the shrine (or its replica) carries so many supernatural powers?

    Also, I fail to understand why you think that revering and sanctifying these symbols and following the teachings of Imam Hussain are two mutually exclusive matters, and that one cannot happen without the other. If anything, you are contradicting yourself, because you yourself state that the former is supposed to lead to the latter!
    [quote]How sorry is really one’s heart when it’s realized that these rituals kill the very purpose of Imam Husain(AS)’s martyrdom but still people do not want to part from them!
    [/quote]
    Yes, I agree that Azadari should lead to internal and external reform. But what gives you the right to question other people’s motivation and intentions? And are you suggesting that just because we do not see the reform happening, we should abandon these rituals? According to what you are saying, prayer is supposed to help us feel spiritually close to Allah, but if it fails to do so, we should stop praying..? Rather, we should investigate the cause of why that reform is not happening. The main cause is ignorance. People are not aware about the teachings and message of Imam Hussain. As such, it becomes incumbent on enlightened individuals such as yourself to guide and help people understand the message of Imam Hussain, rather than condemn the rituals which they hold so dear, and in the process, risk alienating them even further. The purpose of Imam Hussain was to do Amr Bil Maroof, and as his follower, it is incumbent on you to do the same in the most gentle, loving, and kind fashion.

    With du’as for your tawfeqaat,

    Syed Arsalan Rizvi

  23. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

    [quote] When we idolize someone or something it’s the same sin as those whom started the tradition. At first they “the idol worshippers” started to bow in remembrance of some saint; then to remember them more they created statues of them and started not only bow as respect but pray to it. Over time that figure(statue) turn from a form of respect to a god.

    Even Mohammad PBUH didn’t want people to get up when he entered a place. HE was very humble.
    [/quote]

    Respect and worship are two different things. Some people go to the extent of worship this does not mean that there should be no respect shown for holy persons. The verses of holy Quran are in support of special status of Prophet(S) and his holy Household(AS):

    [49:1] O you who believe! be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

    [49:2] O you who believe! do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds became null while you do not perceive.

    [49:3] Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Messenger are they whose hearts Allah has proved for guarding (against evil); they shall have forgiveness and a great reward.

    The above verses are for special respect which is reserved only for Prophet(S) (and his Household(AS)). If we are not sufficiently respectful towards Prophet(S), our deeds will go null and void. The act of showing respects towards holy Prophet(S) emanates from a pious and God-fearing heart, and there is tremendous reward and forgiveness from Allah for the respect shown by believers for holy Prophet(S) and his chaste Household(AS).

    Then there are traditions about respect of scholars ,pious people, and believers. If some people out of their ignorance, exceed the limits and start worshiping these great men, then it’s the fault of these transgressing and ignorant people. It does not infer that showing respects will necessarily lead to worship.

    There is a story about a woman that she came to see Prophet(S). In front of Prophet(S), she started quivering and trembling. The holy Prophet(S) said that he is not like a tyrant rulers that people should fear him.

    The above story concludes that people should not fear Prophet(S) as they fear or bow before tyrants , but they should show respects and love for him as the greatest prophet and the best of humans deserves. We must not forget that being slightly disrespectful towards holy Prophet(S) may cause annulling of all of our good deeds.

  24. Lover of Ahlul BaitAS

    [quote] I think for us to turn to any shrine and to ask the Prophet or his descendants (PBU ThEM ALL) to help us is WRONG. We as Muslims are taught to turn to noone bu ALLAH when we need guidance; when we need help [/quote]

    The holy Prophet(S) or his holy Household(AS) are not dead. As per holy Quran they are alive, and we should not consider them dead. As regards seeking help from them, if any body thinks that when he is asking holy Prophet(S) or chaste Ahlul Bait(AS) for help and that seeking of help is exclusively from them and not from Allah, I mean to say that if he thinks that this help will come without will or power of Allah, then it’s polytheism, but if he believes that holy Prophet(S) or Ahlul Bait(AS) help only by the will and power of Allah, and the credit goes to Allah for all help and mercy, then it’s according to Tauheed and it’s not shirk.

    We receive tremendous benefit from the Sun in the form of sunlight, heat, energy etc. This sunlight from the Sun is source of continuation of life on this earth. Now if we believe that the Sun has been created by Allah and the light and energy we receive from it , is actually only because of Allah’s will and power, the Sun is nothing but a medium of reflection of Allah’s mercy, then this belief is Tauheed. But if somebody believes that the Sun is a power in itself and is independent for its existence and does not depend on Allah’s will or power for its continuation, then it’s shirk.

    There are many people who donot understand this fact about an existence which is possible or contingent (mumkin al wajud) and is dependent on the Absolute Being of Allah(wajib al wajud / Necessary Being ), such people start worshiping the Sun. So, should we destroy the Sun for this shirk? Or should we deny the fact that we receive benefits from the Sun? Or we should correct the ignorant people so that they understand the difference between medium and the Absolute Power(Allah swt)?
    When an uncorrupted soul looks at the signs of Allah, its love and reverence for Allah is increased because it realizes the glory and lofty status of Allah, while when a corrupt one looks at the same signs, it forgets Allah and start worshipping them.
    “Every praise, uttered by any speaker for any good deed is in reality addressed to Allah only; because every good (which is the object of praise) emanates from Him only. In short, to Him belongs the species of the praise and all and every praise.” – Allama Syed Husain Tabatabai.

    The issue of guidance again is the same that of help. All guidance is from Allah only, and we should attribute all good guidance to Allah.

    As an aside, the discussion about replicas is about something created by us and then referred towards holy Ahlul Bait(AS). The Tazia or other replicas at most could be Mubah , and when a Mubah leads to polytheism it becomes forbidden.

  25. Oh come off of it. How did you decide that the replicas or Tazia are simply permissible at best? First you condemned the practice as haraam and now all of a sudden you are saying it’s permitted.

    By the way, asking for intercession is not wajib either. It’s up to a person to decide if they want to do that also. But surely there are some people out there who commit polytheism because they do not know what intercession is really about. We don’t go and ban asking for intercession though, so how can you tell people not to engage in tazia just because of the actions of some?

    You really should learn before trying to offer guidance to others, it doesn’t become you. You know some things but you are really confused about a lot of other stuff also and need to learn from our scholars. If you think your idea is endorsed that tazia is mubah at best and haraam if it leads to polytheism (implying it’s forbidden for everyone, not just those people), lets see some names.

    This is my sincere advice.

  26. Dr. Abid Hussain

    Salam Alaikum,
    This has unfortunately become a very divisive issue in the community with
    insults being hurled on both sides. I think first of all this attitude is to be
    condemned. We should be tolerant towards one another and accomadate
    difference of opinion.
    Two persons are dangerous those who want to change everything and those
    who want to change nothing. It is true that the methodology of those who want
    to change everything resembles the approach taken by Wahabis to demolish
    everything in the name of Shirk and Bidah. However it is also true that those
    who fail to see the need for reform and proper education are equally at fault.
    It is important to understand that there is a problem which needs to be tackled
    in a proper Islamic way. Why did Ayatollah Khamnei pass a fatwa against
    “Qumazani”? Do people who don’t adhere to this opinion want to say that he
    is against azadari? No it is not so. He thought that this ritual is projecting
    Shias in a negative way and is providing fuel to the enemies of Islam to project
    Shias as barbaric people and thus is bringing disrepute to the School which I
    personally believe is correct. There is no discussion as to is it halal or haram. A
    Marjae is entitled to pass a verdict that an action which was deemed to be halal o
    or mubah till than is haram in the changed circumstances. Remember the
    famous Tobacco Ban of Mirza Shirazi. Imam Khomeini even stopped Hajj
    temporarily after the massacre of Iranian Hujaj at the hands of Saudi security
    forces. This does not mean that till now people have been doing something
    which was forbidden or bad. It only means that this ritual or action is bringing
    disrepute and is damaging under the changed circumstances and hence
    should be stopped. It may well be a temporary ban. This is the whole concept
    of Marjiyat and Ijtihad of which we are so proud. There is a problem and we
    need to acknowledge and tackle it. But I agree wuth Arsalan that we have to be
    very cautious not to damage the institution of Azadari which we all know is our
    life-line without which we are in danger of loosing our identity.
    Wa Salam
    abid

  27. Salamun `Alaykum.

    I would like to thank all brothers who have contributed their comments for others to learn. Aza (Mourning) of Imam Hussain (as) or as a matter of fact Aza of any Infallible (as) is a recommended deed (Mustahab) and is a tradition (Sunnat) of all Infallible Imams (as). Aza of Imam e Hussain (as) is beyond an iota of doubt a recommended deed. We commemorate Mourning ceremonies of Imam Hussain (as) to remember and revive his divine message. The Tazia, Nauha, Latmiyya, Alam and other symbolic objects or rituals are means of achieving the purpose which is to revive the message and remember the sufferings of Sayyid ush-Shohada (as). The road that leads to ones destination is as important as the destination itself, because if you do not tread the correct path it will take you away from destination. We have received many rituals regarding mourning ceremonies from Ahlul Bayth (as) and many other rituals have later on taken shape. Those which we have received from Holy Progeny of Muhammad (swas) are best examples to commemorate Aza while those which have taken shape later on and which are not defaming Islam are also recommended by Islam. Aza means to mourn and mourning of Imam Hussain (as) is Mustahab, there is no particular way to mourn so we can mourn in any way we like provided we do not insult or defame Islam by our way of mourning.
    Unfortunately some people, I’m not particularizing anyone here as we find ignorant people all over irrespective of their colour, creed and geographical location, who adapt these rituals as habits and sprout out beliefs from it. For example: Women come out bare footed in mixed gatherings commemorating azadari and when someone tries to explain that it is haram to show feet while it is mustahab to do Azadari they respond saying that you are an Anti-Azadar who is stopping from Azadari. Anything which comes against Sharia no matter in whatever disguise, be it even in disguise of Azadari is a Taguth. One cannot abandon an obligatory act in the name of Azadari, it is not Azadari that I’m condemning here but those acts which are against sharia and are done in the name of Azadari. Beliefs always precede practice, we do not believe in Allah because we worship Him but we worship Him because we believe in Him and believe Him to be the Object of worship and worthy of Being worshipped. We must focus our attention as a priority to eliminate those practices which are against sharia and are done in the name of Azadari.
    WasSalam

  28. @lover of ahlul bayt

    i disagree with your extreme comments about the the fact that how people do shirk in dargahs and imam baras in lucknow…I habe been living and brought up in those parts of lko where you think shirk takes place…everybody knows the tazias are only the replicas…..its only when you manage a mob of 20 lakh people in a small space or a small room there are bound to be uncontrollable movements of the crowd and it gives an effect to the people that this is not how it shud be…

    and they give their own conclusions…ask a kid or a teenage in a street or a muhalla of lucknow and they will tell you the importance of azadari….

    also, people are becoming educated now…and still they come to dargahs for their mannats which is incredible….only a small percentage may pray in the wrong manner and may commit shirk (but the percentage is very less).

    but there are extremists in both the cases everywhere excluding lucknow…..also, the importance of processions in lucknow is very significant due to the fact that they were banned by the govt till late 90s…and now locals had to fight with the lko govt to start these processions….which is why they are very attached to them….

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