Ashura

On the movement of Imam Hussain peace be upon him

Ashura

the day the skies wept blood

685. In this year in Britain it rained blood, and milk and butter were turned into blood. 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Translated, edited by G. N. Garmonsway, Professor of English, King's College, London

ISBN 0-460-87038-6

 

is it true that

the skies wept blood for Imam Hussain when he was killed?,

Imam Mahdi weeps blood for Imam Hussain?,

a tree weeps blood for Imam Hussain every year on Ashura?,

the head of Imam Hussain spoke, and recited Qur'an while being carried from Karbala to Shaam and back?,

Imam Zayn al-Abidin mourned and wept for Imam Hussain for more than twenty years?


another two questions

Who was the first to establish the Hussaini Sha'a'er?

Who was the first Ma'soom Imam from the Ahl-ul-Bayt to hold a mourning and lamentation program?

 

 


MESSAGES

Message of Ayatollah al-Udhma Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi on Ashura 1425

Message of Ayatollah al-Udhma Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi on the vicious and brutal massacre of the Hussaini pilgrims on Ashura 1425

Message of Ayatollah al-Udhma Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi on Ashura 1424 :-

The aims of the movement of Imam Hussayn alayhis-salam

Message of Ayatollah al-Udhma Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi on Ashura 1423

Message Imam Shirazi to the Ummah on Ashura 1422

FATAWA

On the practice of "Qama-Zani" or "Tatbir" - - Fatawa of seven of the leading Maraje' of the holy city of Qum on the occasion of Ashura 1423

Fatawa of Imam Shirazi and other most eminent Maraje' on Hussaini Sha'a'er including "TATBIR" or "Qama-Zani"

Top


ARTICLES

A Glimpse from the Ray of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam

al-Hassan and al-Hussain are two Imams . . .

Imam-Hussain . . . An Exemplar

Upholding the Hussaini Sha'a'er

Benefiting from Ashura

Hussaini Sha'a'er: Interview

Top

 


Ziyaraat

Ziyarat Warith

Ziyarat al-Jame'a

Top



Questions and Answers about Ashura

 

Historical evidence of Ashura practices

Historical evidence of Ashura practices - please give more details . . . .

Misuse of Ashura practices. . .

Sword beating in Ashura. . . violence and innovation?

Shedding of blood, Zanjeer . . . - is it Halal, Haram or Makruh?

TATBIR, Shedding of Blood: does any of the MARAJE' allow it?

Top

 

when Imam Hussain was killed, the sky rained blood

It is reported that when Imam Hussein (AS) was killed not only the residents of the heavens cried for Imam Hussein (AS), but even the skies cried for him and they wept blood for this Mazlum.  This is reported not only in the Shi'a books but also in the most important Sunny references:

 On the day of the martyrdom of al-Hussein (AS) the sky rained blood . . . . 

See

Thakhaa'er al-Uqba pp 144, 145, 150. 

Al-Sawaa'eq al-Muhriqah pp 116, 192 . . . . . .

 There was not a stone which was not lifted but underneath it was found blood . . .   

See

Al-Sawaa'eq al-Muhriqah pp 116, 192. 

Tathkirat-ul-Khawaas p 284,

Tafsir ibn Kathir vol. 9, p 162 . . . . .

There are great many more hadith and great many references in this respect. 

And it should be noted that the skies everywhere wept blood for Imam Hussein (AS). Here another report is quoted which is found in Britain that indicate that the skies wept blood for Imam Hussein (AS) everywhere:

 685.  In this year in Britain it rained blood, and milk and butter were turned into blood. 

 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,

Translated, edited by G. N. Garmonsway, Professor of English, King's College, London

ISBN 0-460-87038-6


Imam Mahdi weeps blood for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam

Yes it is true. Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reapearance, mourns for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam every day - night and day - and he weeps blood for his greatgrandfather, as seen from his declaration he makes in his Zeyarah, know as Zeyarat al-Nahiyah:

". . . now that I could not be with you on the day of Ashura to defend you and fight off your enemies, I shall mourn you every morning and every evening, and I shall weep blood for you instead of tears . . . 


Head of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam

One of the miracles that Allah Almighty gave to Imam Hussain alayhis-salam was that his sacred head spoke as it was being carried from Karbala in Iraq – to Shaam – modern Syria – and back to Karbala where it was buried in the grave where his sacred body had been buried.  In the course of the entire passage of the women and children captives, with which the heads of the martyrs of Karbala were also carried from Karbala to Shaam and back, the sacred head of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam used to recite the holy Qur'an, and this phenomenon proved instrumental in guiding the people to Truth.  The sacred head of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam also spoke in the court of the evil Yazid.  When the sacred head of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam arrived at the court of Yazid, amongst others, the Roman envoy of the emperor of Rome was also present.  After realising that the captives were the women and children of the household of the Prophet of Islam, and the head of the grandson of the Prophet was amongst them, the Roman envoy protested to and rebuked Yazid, and said, “had we had a descendent of Jesus amongst us we would have honour him and glorify him”.   In response to this protest Yazid ordered the Roman envoy to be killed immediately.  The sacred head of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam said in a loud voice, “there is no power but that of Allah”. At that occasion and at every other occasion throughout the journey from Karbala to Shaam and back, people were astonished to see and hear the sacred head of Imam Hussain speaking, and they realised that this was no ordinary event but a divine miracle, and Allah Almighty is showing them the realty of Imam Hussain alayhis-salam.  Such events revealed to the people the reality and the significance of the hadith stated by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih,

“I leave behind two momentous weights, the Book of Allah and my descendants the Ahl-ul-Bayt

the people realised that the truth is with Imam Hussain alayhis-salam when they saw the miracle of his sacred head speaking or reciting the holy Qur'an.


 

The mourning of Imam Zayn al-Abidin for Imam Hussain alayhum-as-salam

It is reported from Imam Baqir alayhis-salam, “ . . . and he (Imam Zayn al-Abidin) wept for his father for twenty years, and every time he was served food and drink, he wept for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam, until on one occasion his servant said to him, "Is your sorrow and grief not going to end?", Imam Zayn al-Abidin, alayhis-salam replied,

"Woe unto you! The prophet Jacob had twelve sons, and (when) Allah made one of them disappear, his eyes turned white (i.e. blind) because of his increasing crying for him, his head turned gray because of grief, and his back humped because of sorrow, and all this while his son was alive in the world.  Whereas I saw my father, my brother, my uncle, and seventeen members of my family killed around me . . . so how can my grief and sorrow end?" 

It is reported that Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam cried and wept so much for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam that it was feared that he would loose his eyesight.


 

WHO WAS THE FIRST TO . . .

  1. who was the first individual who founded the Hussaini Sha'a'er or the mourning ceremony for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam? was she Zaynab alayhas-salam, the loyal sister of Imam Hussain? or was he one of the imams? or better still was it recommenced by Rasulollah, the Prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih?

The first one who founded the Hussaini Sha'a'er is Allah the Almighty. This was in the form of the composition of Zeyarat Ashura. According to authenticate hadith, Zeyarat Ashura was composed by the Almighty.

[The hadith of Zeyarat Ashura being the composition of Allah Almighty is in Bihar al-Anwar, volume 98, page 300, second edition, 1983/1403, al-Wafa publishers, Beirut . After narrating Zeyarat Ashura and the Du'a that comes after the Zeyarat, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq states, "I have received this Zeyarat from my father, who received it in this form Ali ibn al-Hussain, who received it in this form from al-Hussain, who received it from his brother al-Hassan, who received it from Amir-ul-Mo'minin Ali ibn Abi Talib alayhum-as-salam, who received it in this form from Rasulollah salla-llahu alayhi wa aalih who received it from Jibra'il alayhis-salam, who received it from Allah Almighty.

This report also appears in MISBAAH AL-MOTAHAJJID, PP 542-546, by Sheikh al-Tousi.]

  1. Who was the first person who wept for Imam Hussain for the momentous tragedy of Ashura? is it true that when Imam Hussain alayhis-salam was born, archangel Jibra'il descended upon Rasulollah salla-llahu alayhi wa aalih to tell him of the events of Karbala ?

Yes this is true. Rasulollah wept for Imam Hussain while he was a baby on a number of occasions, and quoted Jibra'il alayhis-salam of the events of Ashura in a land called Karbala .

However the first person who wept for Imam Hussain alayhis-salam was the father of mankind Adam alayhis-salam! Adam is reported as saying to archangel Jibra'il when he descended upon him on one occasion, "Why is it that every time I pass through this particular area I feel extremely sad and bereaved, and unconsciously weep?" Jibra'il alayhis-salam said to Adam, "The name of this particular area is Karbala . . . ", and he went on to narrate the events of Ashura in details. Having heard the tragidy of Karbala , Adam alayhis-salam grieved for Imam Hussain whom he knew of as a member of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.

  1. Who was the first individual who narrated the tragedy of Karbala and read the elegy for the event of Ashura?

Jibra'il alayhis-salam was the first person to narrate the tragedy of Ashura, when he did so to Adam alayhis-salam. He also read the elegy for the event of Ashura.

  1. Who was the first individual who founded the practice of Tatbir or Qama-Zani?

Lady Zaynab alayhas-salam was the first person who founded the practice of Tatbir to Qama-Zani as reported in authenticated evidence. The details concerning this event is detailed elsewhere in the Q&A of this section.

  1. Who was the first individual who founded the practice of walking-on-fire?

Lady Zaynab and Imam Zayn-el-Abidin alayhum-as-salam are the founders of the tradition of "fire-walking" as practiced in the Hussaini Sha'a'er nowadays.

When the army of Yazid slaughtered every companion and then Imam Hussain alayhis-salam, they attacked the tents of the imam and his companions. The victorious army torched the tents and the women and children fled the blazing tents. Lady Zaynab alayhas-salam was asked why she did not escape as they were about to torch her tent, she replied "how can I when I have a patient inside the tent". When her tent was eventually set on fire, Lady Zaynab dragged her nephew, Imam Zayn el-Abidin alayhum-as-salam out of the tent, walking on the fire of the burning tents that were razed to the ground.


Who was the first Imam to hold Majlis Aza?

Who was the first Ma'soom Imam from the Ahl-ul-Bayt to hold a mourning and lamentation program, like the traditional Majlis Hussaini that are held annually in Muharram today? Or is it that the Majlis Aza that we have today is the invention of the Shia over the last few centuries?

Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam was the first member of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam to publicly hold a mourning and lamentation program for Imam Hussain - like the Majlis Aza that are held today.

After they were released from captivity in Shaam, the women and children of Imam Hussain and his followers, lead by Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam headed towards Karbala so that they could revisit the graves of their loved ones and bury the heads of the Martyrs with the bodies. They arrived at the site of the graves and the battle of Karbala on the twentieth of Safar, or forty days after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his followers - hence Arba'een.

After Karbala they headed back to their hometown - Medina . At the outskirts of Medina , Imam Zayn al-Abidin ordered to halt and to set up tents there. They ended up staying there for three days. The Imam turned to Bishr Ibn Hadhlam asked him if he could compose poetry and lamentation for Imam Hussain saying, "Your father was a very good poet, have you inherited some of that talent" The reply was afirmative.

Bishr Ibn Hadhlam entered Medina and went to the tomb of Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih and announced the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, describing the savagery and brutality with which Imam Hussain and his sons, brothers, and companions were killed, in his lamentation poetry. This touched the heart of the people to the extent that the whole of Medina was lamenting Imam Hussain, and almost everyone gathered the tomb of Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih to mourn his grandson en masse.

Then the people headed to the outside of the city to receive the remainder of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam. . . . . .

 


 

Question: Historical evidence for Ashura practices?

I was wondering if you could provide historical evidence of the following acts that we the Shi'a perform during the 10 days of Ashura.

1. Which Imam (as) or his companion was the first to practice Zanjeer Ma'tam?

2. Which Imam (as) or his companion was the first to produce an Allam as a sign of the events of Karbala ? Such that they would kiss it, bless food underneath it or to pray Salaat under its shade.

3. Which Imam (as) or his companion was the first to produce Taboots and carry it among the believers during the mataam so they pay their respect?

Answer

Members of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) always encouraged their followers to commemorate the memory and the tragedy of Imam Hussain (AS) and they themselves (AS) set examples in different ways for us to follow. Commemoration of Ashura is on the same basis as the commemoration of the birthday of Rasulollah (PBUH) which are referred to as Sha'a'er or symbol, just as the Hajj is an example of Allah's Sha'a'er:

Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols (Sha'a'er) of Allah . . . (2:158)

. . . and whoever holds in honour the Symbols of Allah, such (honour) are truly from the piety of heart. (22:32)

The shedding of blood during Muharram for Imam Hussain, peace be upon him, is not only Halal, but it is also very Mustahab indeed, and all PROMINENT scholars and religious authorities - Maraje' - always encouraged it throughout the history of Islam. This included the Tatbir or Qamah Zani - which is the hitting of the head with swords.


The people who practice Tatbir take lead, amongst the teachings of other infallibles, from Zaynab al-Kubra, heroin of Karbala and sister of Imam Hussain peace be upon them. Zaynab peace be upon her was the first person who hit her forehead to a bar in 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 This statement is seen by scholars as indicating a degree of infallibility for Lady Zaynab (AS).

There are also reports that Imam al-Saadiq (AS) arranged for SHABEEH or enactment about Ali the Junior (Ali al-Asghar the son of Imam Hussain (AS)) to recreate the scene of Karbala for the people, and the Imam (AS) does not hold this enactment solely for the Ali al-Asghar but for all the martyrs of Karbala.

On another occasion a poet comes to the Imam (AS) and asks permission to recite a poem about al-Hussain (AS). The Imam (AS) said to the poet to wait so that he could set up a Hijaab to that the women could come to the Majlis and listen to the lamentation. When the Hijaab was set up the imam invited the women to come to the Majlis and asked the poet to start reciting, which he did. The imam (AS) stopped him asked him to recite the lamentation in way and dialect, which he does it in their hometown (in Iraq for example).

All these indicate that the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) used to teach and proactively encourage their followers to uphold the memory, torment, and the teachings of Imam Hussain by words and poetry, by enactment - SHABEEH - to recreate the scenery of the day of Ashura in Karbala, and by show devotion to Imam Hussain in Tatbir as shown by Zaynab al-Kubra (AS).

Last, but not least, al-Imam al-Mahdi (AS) states in his Zeyarat al-Naheya, addressing Imam Hussain (AS): . . . . now that I could not help you when needed most help . . . I SHALL CRY BLOOD FOR YOU INSTEAD OF TEARS.

As for the practice of Allam etc. this was a practice before as well as after Islam, and the prayers in the shadow of Alam is nothing other than show of respect. The carrying of Taboot falls in the category of the SHABEEH mentioned above.

In general if today some people engage in practices that does not contradict the teachings of Islam and at the same time those practices depict the tragedy of Karbala in different ways then this is acceptable

Back to question list


Question: more details please!

I am grateful for you prompt reply to my question above. I was wondering if you provide me with some more information regarding something that was mentioned in your reply: "Zaynab peace be upon her was the first person who hit her forehead to a bar in the carriage she was in, causing considerable bleeding, when the head of al-Hussain (AS) was being paraded in Kufa"

1.) Did she (as) hit her head on the bar by mistake, or did she do it on purpose? What was her niyat (intention) when she did the act? Was it an act of mubah or mandoub act?

2.) Was our 4th Imam (as) present when it happened, or was he (as) later informed about it and he (as) consented to the action?

3.) Did any of the Shi'a present at that time follow her (as) example?

4.) Did she (as) recommend her followers to do the same?

5.) Which of our A'immah (as) use to draw blood during the days of Moharram?

Answer

Please find the answers to your question as follows:

ANSWER1. There is no doubt that Lady Zaynab (AS) hit her head to the bar on purpose, and most certainly this was NOT done by mistake. And her ladyship (AS) did that to show her grief and anger for the catastrophe that had been brought about upon the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) and Islam, and in particular to Imam Hussain (AS) who was the head of the Ahl-ul-Bayt and the leader of Islam, and to declare her stance about the awesome events of Karbala. The evidence that would suggest that Lady Zaynab (AS) did what she did with the intention of a MANDUB act is that with her action she wanted to defend the reputation of Imam Hussain (AS) and to defend the stance he took against the tyrant of the time. She did that to show how oppressed Imam Hussain (AS) was, and to declare and defend his cause which is the TRUTH and the HAQQ, and furthermore she did that to declare the BATIL or FALSE nature of the front opposing Imam Hussain, who are the enemies of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) and Islam. Her action was very much MANDUB, if not most obligatory and so too for anyone else for that matter in order to defend the stance of Imam Hussain (AS) and his cause, which is the HAQQ, and to expose the opponents of Imam Hussain (AS) who are the proponents of the BATIL or FALSEHOOD.

If it were not for the actions of Lady Zaynab (AS) - and every single action of hers for that matter - and those of Imam Zayn-ul-Abidin (AS), the message of Imam Hussain (AS) and his action and effort would probably have been lost.

ANSWER2. Most probably Imam Zayn-ul-Aabidin (AS) was present when Lady Zaynab (AS) hit her head to the bar, since when she did so, the captives were being paraded in one single caravan through the Kufan streets, and she did so at the moment when the army displayed the head of Imam Hussain (AS) and those of his followers.

Even if we were to suppose that the Imam (AS) was not present in the vicinity of Lady Zaynab (AS) at that moment, history does not record that the Imam Zayn-ul-Aabidin (AS) protested against that action! Normally the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) used to advice the people in general not to show (too much) grief for their dead! But on the contrary, the history of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) is full of examples of the Imams supporting and encouraging grief AZADARI for Imam Hussain (AS) and the show and enactment of the scenes of Karbala.

Nonetheless, today the scholars and the FUQAHA' of Islam DERIVE the laws of Islam for the Halal, Haram, Mandub, and Makruh, and while there is no particular hadith about the scientific, scholarly, etc. status or merits of any particular scholar, we follow their Fatwa and their Decisions in the halals and haraams. Whereas in the case of Lady Zaynab (AS) there is a specific hadith from the infallible Imam (AS) about her status as was given in our previous reply. The hadith is reproduce here for your convenience.

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 This statement is seen by scholars as indicating a degree of infallibility for Lady Zaynab (AS).

And in this case Lady Zaynab (AS) is better able to derive if she needs to do so the laws of Islam than any of the scholars we follow!

In arguing against the practice of Tatbir/Qama-Zani, some might argue that Lady Zaynab (AS) was overwhelmed by emotion, and therefore she hit her head to the bar causing substantial bleeding, i.e. it was a natural, spontaneous, and emotional reaction and nothing more than that. The reply to this argument is two fold. First, the statement of Imam Zayn-ul-Abidin (AS) about her would counter such arguments, an untaught scholar. Second, if she were to be overcome by grief and emotion, she would have done so in Karbala, where the carnage and the unbearably horrific scene there on the Day of Ashura were overwhelming to the utmost degree . . . but in fact her Ladyship (AS) did not do such a thing there . . . let's not forget that at the Karbala scene she sees her loved ones are slaughtered and decapitated one after the other . . . before her eyes . . . the young and the old . . . and even the infants . . . no one is spared, no matter what their age is . . . and ultimately she sees the leader of Islam and the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS), her most beloved one is slaughtered, beheaded and then his body is mutilated before her eyes . . .given this most horrific scene, with blood flooding the battle ground and mutilated bodies everywhere, Lady Zaynab (AS) could have taken one of the hundreds of swords there and hit her head with it, but Zaynab does not do that. On the contrary she keeps her composure - which is impossible for many men and women to do under those circumstances- and takes care of the petrified orphans and bereaved women whose tents have been burnt and possessions looted by the army of yazid.

Lady Zaynab (AS) does not hit herself in the highly charged atmosphere at the scene of Karbala , but she does so in the relatively calmer environment of Kufa, and on the first public gathering following the Karbala massacre. Therefore it cannot be said that she was overcome by grief and emotion and she did not know what she was doing, but in fact her actions were calculated . . . she did that in Kufa to make a public statement . . . about the events of Ashura, Imam Hussain (AS), his cause, and what he stood for.

ANSWER3-4. Knowing whether any of the Shi'a followed her example or not, does not change the legality of this act or reduce or diminish from its desirability. Without researching more into this aspect, we cannot tell whether the people followed the practice of Zaynab (AS) or not, especially the times when people were arrested on mere suspicions, and executed on the basis of accusation of being followers of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS).

ANSWER5. There have been many books written about the biography of the Imams of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) but were brunt or destroyed. So we do not know if any of the Imams (AS) did draw blood from their heads on the Day of Ashura, but this does not change any of the legality of this action, as can be seen from the following hadith, which is one of many clear instructions from the infallible Imams to the Shi'a, and as it can be seen, the enormity of the orders given to the Shi'a goes far beyond what the Shi'a do today, and which they would have to do if it comes to that . . . read on:

Imam al-Saadiq (AS) used to encourage the Shi'a people to go and visit the tomb of Imam Hussain (AS) at all costs and under any circumstances, at a time when the ruling authorities used to threaten the visitors of the tomb with the amputation of the limbs. Despite that the Imam (AS) used to encourage them to visit the tomb, and used to detail the Thawab for such visits even if one lost an arm and a leg in the process and even if such a visit led to the killing of the person visiting the tomb of Imam Hussain (AS).

This is an irrefutable evidence on how far the Imams of the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) used to go to keep the cause of Imam Hussain (AS) alive, even to the extent of arms and legs being amputated and lives lost, let alone the shedding of a few drops of blood, which we do these days!

Back to question list


Question: misuse of Azadari

Are the practices of Alam, Taboot, Zuljanah, Zanjeer-Zani allowed in Azadari?  Can you please elaborate?  Under the current circumstances are these things in Azadari allowed or not, when others are getting the wrong impression about Islam?

Thanking you in anticipation.

Answer

Practices such as Alam, Taboot, Zanjeer-Zani, are allowed in AZADARI.  This is because there is nothing illegal or Haram in these practices.  If something is abused, then this abuse does not make it illegal, but the abuse must be eliminated, or if there were any wrong or illegal Haram - practices then those Haram practices must be eliminated not the AZADARI.

You had mentioned that these things in AZADARI, or the AZADARI itself, are giving others the wrong impression about Islam, or false impression about Fiqh. 

In Islam, the legal or the illegal the Halal or the Haram are not based upon the impression others get, otherwise there are a lot of people who consider the Hijaab which Islam has made obligatory for women as oppressive, and they go on to condemn Islam for this as being an oppressive religion towards women.  Does this mean that we should abandon Hijaab because of the impression others have got about Islam or should we try to make them understand the wisdom and philosophy of Hijaab, which the people in the West have started to appreciate and praise these days?

Back to question list


Question: violence / innovation?

I had a fellow brother at the Mosque mention one of the teachings of Imam Shirazi. The teaching in question deals with Ashura and the beating of swords and chains. This brother mentioned that Imam Shirazi says that it is allowed to use swords and chains and the drawing of blood, while someone else has said it is not allowed. Please enlighten me on Imam Shirazi's teachings regarding this. I personally do not agree with violence in Ashura. I dare to say that I could not imagine Imam Hussain (AS) would even want us to hurt ourselves. In fact I would think he died to keep real Islam alive and keep us from going the deviant path of innovators.

Answer

Any action of a Muslim may fall in one of the following categories:

Haram        (not allowed)

Makruh       (detestable/undesirable but not Haram)

Halal          (Allowed)

Mustahab    (desirable but not Waajib)

Waajib        (Obligatory)

As with the issue of hitting the head with swords (Tatbir in Arabic or Qamah-Zani in Farsi) Imam Shirazi is not exceptional in any way to permit, and encourage, this action in Ashura. In fact ALL high-ranking ULAMA and AYATOLLAHS not only have allowed this, and continue to do so, but for the entire history of the Shi'a over the past fourteen centuries, they have always encouraged this, declaring Tatbir or Qamah-Zani as very Mustahab indeed.

And it should be pointed out that if one suffers hardship in the cause of commemorating Imam Hussain (AS), then so be it! Imam Hussain (AS) is a special case. He went out of his way to save Islam, and offered all he had in this cause, not only worldly possessions, but his Ahl-ul-Bayt and sons . . . from Ali al-Akbar to his toddler sons . . . and not only that but his womenfolk (wives, sisters, daughters, nieces) were left at the mercy of the most ruthless people on earth to be taken prisoners. Whatever we do is not sufficient for what Imam Hussain (AS) did.

Needless to say the first person to perform Tatbir' was Hazrat Zaynab al-Kubra (AS), the sister of Imam Hussain (AS). The family and supporters of Imam Hussain (AS) were and being paraded as prisoners in Kufa, and the people of Kufa booing the prisoners, when they started parading the head of Imam Hussain (AS) on long spears, along with other heads, to show her anguish Hazrat Zaynab (AS) hit her forehead against the supporting rod of the cabin she was traveling in. She therefore set the first precedence of Tatbir for Imam Hussain (AS).

So in short, Tatbir has always been recommended as Mustahab by the overwhelming consensus of the ULAMA and there has rarely been any, if at all, high-ranking Aalim ever to have declared otherwise.

As for Iran , significant number of devotees, just as in many other countries, have always performed Tatbir for many years (or rather centuries), and in recent years despite its prohibition being enforced by the authorities, people continued to perform this duty. In the last couple of years even the authorities there have started to turn a blind eye to such programs given the insistence and eagerness of the people to perform Qamah-Zani.

 

Back to question list


Question: Is shedding of blood on Ashura allowed?

What is your position of Zanjeer and the use of knives, blades, and hooked

Chains to shed your own blood during Muharram ... Is this sort of act Haram, Halal or Makruh? Is this the Sunnah of the Ahl-ul-Bayt at all?

Answer

The shedding of blood during Muharram for Imam Hussain, peace be upon him, is not only Halal, but it is also very Mustahab indeed, and all PROMINENT scholars and religious authorities - Maraje' - always encouraged it throughout the history of Islam. This included the Tatbir or Qamah-Zani - which is the hitting of the head with swords. The Maraje' have even decreed that it is acceptable and permissible if one is harmed in this process, provided of course the injuries sustained do not constitute permanent injuries or endanger the life of the individual.

The people who practice Tatbir take lead, amongst the teachings of other infallibles, from Zaynab al-Kubra, heroin of Karbala and sister of Imam Hussain peace be upon them. Zaynab peace be upon her 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"

This statement is seen by scholars as indicating a degree of infallibility for Lady Zaynab (AS).

There are also reports that Imam al-Saadiq (AS) arranged for SHABEEH or enactment about Ali the Junior (Ali al-Asghar the son of Imam Hussain (AS) whose throat was slashed by Harmalah when the imam sought water for him) to recreate the scene of Karbala for the people, and the Imam (AS) does not hold this enactment solely for the Ali al-Asghar but for all the martyrs of Karbala.

On another occasion a poet comes to the Imam (AS) and asks permission to recite a poem about al-Hussain (AS). The Imam (AS) said to the poet to wait so that he could set up a Hijaab to that the women could come to the Majlis and listen to the lamentation. When the Hijaab was set up the imam invited the women to come to the Majlis and asked the poet to start reciting, which he did. The imam (AS) stopped him asked him to recite the lamentation in way and dialect, which he does it in their hometown (in Iraq for example).

All these indicate that the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) used to teach and proactively encourage their followers to uphold the memory, torment, and the teachings of Imam Hussain by words and poetry, by enactment - SHABEEH - to recreate the scenery of the day of Ashura in Karbala, and by show devotion to Imam Hussain in Tatbir as shown by Zaynab al-Kubra (AS).

Last, but not least, al-Imam al-Mahdi (AS) states in his "Zeyarat al-Nahiya" addressing Imam Hussain (AS):

" . . . . now that I could not help you when you needed most help . . . I shall mourn you every morning and every evening, AND I SHALL CRY BLOOD FOR YOU INSTEAD OF TEARS . . . "

 

Back to question list


Question: Is Tatbir allowed?

Is the practice of TATBIR, hitting one's head by sword to cause bleeding, allowed in Islam? 

Are there any other Marje', alongside Grand Ayatollah Imam Muhammad Shirazi, who considers TATBIR as Halal in Islam or even MUSTAHAB?

There are people who do TATBIR on Ashura in Bahrain , is it practiced anywhere else in the Muslim world?

Answer

Practicing TATBIR is highly encouraged by Islam, as can be seen from the decrees of the most prominent MARAJE' of Islam.  Ayatollah al-Udhma Imam Muhammad Shirazi is not the only one who has allowed the Sha'a'er al-Hussaini, but in fact all of the most prominent MARAJE' have also allowed these. 

If you wish to see the list of some of the names of the most eminent Ulema and Maraje' who allow TATBIR click here.

It should be interesting for you to know that TATBIR is not only practiced in Bahrain, but it is also practiced in many countries around the world such as Saudi Arabia - al-Ihsaa', Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries, United States of America and Canada.

Back to question list