شماره روزنامه

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Ashura, the day of victory

Deepest condolences on the threshold of the arrival of Imam Mahdi (AS), the real avenger of the blood of Imam Hussein (AS), the promised, the expected one, to all Muslim freedom fighters throughout the world, and especially to his true devotees, on the occasion of Ashura, the most unforgettable tragedy in history, the day when Imam Hussein (AS) and his seventy-two companions were martyred unjustly but were not defeated.

Wednesday the 7th of January 2009 is the day of Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, the day of victory for Islam and Muslims. The day of Ashura is commemorated not only by the Shia people but also by freedom-loving nations throughout the world as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (S) at the battle of Karbala. It is especially mourned on the first ten days of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, although the mourning continues through the whole month and well into Safar till the eighth of Rabi al Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

Imam Hussein (AS) was the son of Imam Ali (AS), the first Shia Imam. His mother was Fatima (SA), the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S), and his most famous title is Seyyed ush-Shuhada (Master of the Martyrs). Nine infallible Imams are his descendents, and Imam Mahdi (AS) is the last, the twelfth Imam. His followers await him day and night, praying that Almighty Allah may hasten his reappearance.

--------Merits of Imam Hussein (AS)

The Holy Prophet (S) loved his two grandsons, Hassan and Hussein, tremendously.

He used to say: “Allah has ordered me to love and cherish these two for God supports those who befriend them.”

The Prophet’s (S) companions and followers often heard him say: “Hassan and Hussein are masters, leading the people both in this world and in the hereafter.”

The Holy Prophet (S) described Imam Hussein (AS) and Imam Hassan (AS) in the following words: “Hassanain means Hassan and Hussein. Sebtain means two sons of the Prophet (S), Sheblain means two lions, Sayyedain means two masters or two chiefs. Raihanatain: Two fragrant flowers. Imamatain: Two leaders or Imams.”

His love for Hussein (AS) and Hassan (AS) was so great that he used to say: “My grandsons Hassan (AS) and Hussein (AS) are the masters of the youth in paradise.”

The Holy Prophet (S) would embrace them in his warm and affectionate arms. He would make both of them sit together on his lap. When the verse of purity (Ayat Tahir) was revealed, the Holy Prophet (S) covered them along with their father Ali (AS) and their mother Lady Fatima (SA) with a Yemeni mantle, and said: “Oh Allah these are the members of my household.”

During the event of Mubahala, too, after the Christian priests had come to discover the truth about the Prophet (S) and it was decided that both sides would come with their most beloved ones and invoke a curse upon themselves if they were liars, the Prophet (S) came with his two grandsons along with their father and mother, as Almighty God ordered:

“Say: come, we will summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves…” (Quran 3:61)

The Holy Prophet (S) looked toward Ali (AS), Fatima (SA), Hassan (AS), and Hussein (AS) and then said: “I am at war with those who fight you and at peace with those who are peaceful to you.”

The Holy Prophet (S) said: “He who loves Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein has loved me and he who makes them angry has made me angry.”

At several times and places, the Holy Prophet (S) said: “Most surely Hussein (AS) is the lifeboat (savior) and the light for guidance.”

-----------The tragedy of Karbala

One of the most important of the many memorable events in the life of Seyyed ush-Shuhada was his martyrdom on the 10th of Muharram 61 A.H. For Shia people, Ashura is a day of mourning in which assemblies and processions are held to mourn the martyrs of Karbala and to commemorate their heroic struggle and sacred sacrifice to save Islam.

History has recorded that the years during the reign of Muawiyah were years of angry protest against him because Muawiyah had breached the terms of his treaty with Imam Hassan (AS) and altered the laws of Islam according to his perverse whims. The will of God and His Message were not respected.

The regime of Muawiyah seized every opportunity to weaken the position of the Prophet’s family and to undermine their status and destroy their supporters.

Seyyed ush-Shuhada forbore this difficult period with patience, exposing Muawiyah’s hypocrisy before he died. Muawiyah’s treacherous son, Yazid, succeeded him, as decreed in his will.

The governor of Medina informed Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) of Yazid’s order either to obtain Seyyed ush-Shuhada’s allegiance or to kill him if he refused to approve of Yazid as caliph. Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) was certain that to bow to Yazid’s caliphate would be catastrophic for Islam. Therefore, Seyyed ush-Shuhada migrated to Mecca.

The news of the whole affair of Yazid’s order and Seyyed ush-Shuhada’s migration from Medina spread throughout the various cities of the Muslim world. The people of Iraq, especially those in Kufa, greatly dissatisfied with the government of Muawiyah and Yazid, sent letters inviting Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) to Iraq.

Imam Hussein (AS) knew that Yazid, like his father, was determined to destroy Islam and would not stop short of any atrocity to consolidate his own power and authority. Both Muawiyah and Yazid ruled as caliphs in the name of Islam and called themselves successors of the Holy Prophet (S). The danger for Islam was real and imminent. Now the regime had asked him to ratify its claim to legitimacy in order to justify its actions by obtaining Imam Hussein’s (AS) allegiance.

After hearing of the migration of Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) to Mecca, Yazid appointed a few men to capture or assassinate him during the hajj pilgrimage. Imam Hussein (AS) decided to leave Mecca, not only in line with his plan to fight the oppressive regime of Yazid to safeguard the foundations of Islam, but also to prevent the House of God from being defiled if he were to be murdered there.

Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) then started on his journey toward Kufa which was the center of his supporters who had promised to assist him in his struggle.

This offered the hope that an effective struggle could be waged against the forces of oppression. But the forces sent by Yazid surrounded him in Karbala, near Kufa, preventing him from proceeding toward the city.

Yazid issued orders to capture Imam Hussein (AS), and if he agreed to declare allegiance to Yazid’s caliphate, to bring him to Damascus so that the caliph could decide about him, or if he refused, to fight and kill him and his supporters. Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) refused to capitulate to this disgrace and did not come to terms with Yazid.

Imam Hussein (AS) preferred to accept the challenge of an unequal battle and to fight with a small group of seventy-odd followers and relatives against Yazid’s army of several thousand.

They all fought with marvelous courage and preferred martyrdom to serve their purpose, the revival of Islam. Their holy bodies were buried at Karbala, the scene of their heroic battle. Imam Hussein (AS), the master of the martyrs, lived for 57 years before he was martyred on the 10th of Muharram 61 AH.

There is no doubt that they kept the spirit of sacrifice alive in the hearts of Muslims by glorifying martyrdom. To defend the faith and to fight against injustice and oppression were the aims of Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS), a sacred ideal that will never be forgotten.

In fact, Imam Hussein (AS) adamantly refused to yield to might and wrongdoing and refused to accept any action sullying the image of Islam. He taught the lesson of self-sacrifice to Muslims to save true religious teachings and prevent them from falling into oblivion.

Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) was martyred but not defeated. He reached the heights of human nobility and set a great example of the struggle against injustice and oppression to defend Islam. His martyrdom exposed the evil nature of the regime of Muawiyah and Yazid, who ruled over Muslims in the name of Islam and as successors of Prophet Muhammad (S).

By choosing martyrdom, Seyyed ush-Shuhada (AS) deprived the evil regime of its false legitimacy. Indeed, he shook the foundations of the Umayyad dynasty and thwarted their perverse designs.

However, holding mourning assemblies and mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) are not enough to do justice to the sacred Islamic ideals. Rather, those values must be understood and promoted by all, and not only with words but with deeds as well.

Along with those who await the appearance of Imam Mahdi (AS), let us pray:

Who will take revenge for the blood of the martyrs of Karbala? Where is Hassan (AS)? Where is Hussein (AS)? Where are the children of Hussein (AS)? The whole good, one and all the truth altogether!

Where is the regular unbroken vital connection? Where is the ongoing sequence of desirable goodness? Where are the clear source and spring of Light? Where are the… handsome faces? Where are the… pioneers? Where are the “know all the answers” scholars who communicated and made clear the religion of Allah? The fundamentals of knowledge and wisdom! Where is the “Everlasting legacy of God”? (Never ever is the “Family of Guides” without one).

Where is the impenetrable defense that broke the back of the oppressive tyrants? Where is the “awaited savior” who will set the have-nots and the depressed on their feet? Where is “The Hope” who will bring an end to tyranny and oppression? Where is the “preserved guarantee” who shall give new life to the rule of law and the refined way of life?

Where is the “Chosen in preference good” who shall raise the spirits of the people and give currency to justice and fair play? Where is the “hope-giving confidante” who shall make full use of the Book and define the sphere of action? Where is he who shall blot out dogma in the matter of religion and his (Muhammad’s) children? Where is he who shall break up meddlesome trouble and tampering? Where is he who shall pull down the foundations of confusion (polytheists) and hypocrisy?

Where is he who shall stamp out corruption, vice, reaction, and injustice? Where is he who shall trim the outgrowth of despair, longing, and hardships? Where is he who shall erase the traces of unfairness and self-seeking conceit?

Where is he who shall untie the twisted knots of falsehood and disruption? Where is he who shall separate senselessness and insolence from the people? Where is he who shall tear up by the roots obstinacy, corruption, and apostasy? Where is he who shall love dearly the favorites of Allah and take pains to tame and train the transgressors?

Where is he who shall make people familiar with “words of wisdom”? Where is the ultimate (Divine) source of plenty and prosperity? Where is the “Divine aspect” the God-fearing may look up to? Where is the link that connects the cosmic complex? Where is the authority who shall communicate and make known the true point of view? Where is the author of the conception of peace, fair play, and welfare? Where is the defender of the traditions of the prophets and their children? Where is he who shall get the upper hand over the perpetrators of crime and greed? Where is he who shall not rest until he answers the cries of help when called upon?

Where is the foremost leader of the people, the just, the truthful, and the wise?

Where is the son of the chosen Prophet?

The son of Ali al-Murtaza! 

The son of Khadijah, the resplendent!

The son of Fatima, the great! 

My father, my mother, and I turn to you for protection and sanctuary.

O Son of the favorite Leaders!

O Son of the distinguished nobles!

O Son of the rightly guided Guides!

O Son of the most refined high-minded liberals!

O Son of the select generous Guardians! 

O Son of the polite and pure purifiers!

O Son of the impartial judges!

O Son of the openhanded hosts!

O Son of the mature teachers!

O Son of the brilliant fulfillers!

O Son of the clear and precise arguments who penetrated deep (into the domain of mind)!

(from the Nudbeh Supplication)

------Sayings of Imam Hussein (AS)

(1) Addressing the army of Yazid, “By Allah, neither will I give in to the humiliation of honoring tyrants like you, nor will I flee like slaves…”

(2) Life under the oppression of tyrants is death, and death for the sake of justice is everlasting life.

(3) Surely some people worship Allah for the joys of paradise -- this is the worship of traders. Some worship him for their fear of hell -- this is the worship of slaves. Yet, some worship him selflessly because He is worthy of worship and this is the worship of “free men”.

(4) He who tries to achieve something through acting disobediently to Allah will miss what he expects and fall into what he fears.

(5) Beware of things for which you apologize. The true believer should not make mistakes and should not apologize. The hypocrite makes mistakes and apologizes everyday.

Let us stand facing his holy shrine and salute him as the Infallible Imam has instructed us:

Peace be on you, oh successor of Adam, the choice of Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Noah, the Prophet of Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Abraham, the Friend of Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Moses, who conversed with Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Jesus, the Spirit of Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Muhammad, the Beloved of Allah!

Peace be on you, oh successor of Ali, Commander of the Faithful!

Peace be on you, oh son of Muhammad Mustafa!

Peace be on you, oh son of Ali al-Murtaza!

Peace be on you, oh son of Fatima!

Peace be on you, oh son of Khadijat al-Kubra!

Peace be on you, oh Martyr for whose blood Allah claims compensation!

Oh the assassinated whose assassination and the assassination of his relatives and friends could not be avenged!

I testify that you kept up the prayer, and paid the poor rate and ordered good actions and forbade sinful actions, and obeyed Allah and his Messenger till the last breath. So, may Allah curse the people who assassinated you, and may Allah curse the people who oppressed you, and may Allah curse the people who heard of it and were pleased with it, oh my Master!

Oh Aba Abdullah! I bear witness that you were light before and during conception. The impurities of the pre-Islamic age could not touch you, nor its uncleanliness affect you. I bear witness that verily, you are the pillar of our faith and the leader of the faithful.

I bear witness that you are an Imam, virtuous, that you guarded yourself against sin, that you were pleased to resign to the will of Allah, that you are pure, that you are guided aright and that you are divinely guided.

And I bear witness that verily the Imams who are your progeny are the essence of abstinence, the signs of guidance, the strong rope of religion, and the proofs of Allah for the people of the world.

And I bear witness before Allah, His angels, His Prophets, and His messengers that I believe in him and in his return and in the laws of Allah and in the consequences of human actions.

I sincerely submit to him and follow his commands. May Allah bless them and their souls and their bodies, and what is visible and what is unseen, and what is apparent and what is hidden. (from Ziarat Warith, a widely recited supplication on Imam Hussein {AS}, which is taken from the prayer that Imam Sadeq {AS} taught Safwan ibn Mahran, as narrated in Ibn Qawlaway’s “Al-Mazar”)

The tenth day, the Day of Victory, the day of Ashura, on which the Tragedy of Karbala occurred, remains unforgettable, as the Holy Prophet (S) said: “Most surely, the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) creates warmth in the hearts of believers which never gets cool.”

“May the salutation (of Allah) be upon Hussein, and upon Ali the son of Hussein, and upon the sons of Hussein, and the companions of Hussein.” (from Ziarat Ashura)

Compiled By A.R. Ghavidel.


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