Majlis 9-10: 10th Muharram al-Haraam
Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA laid out, with immaculate clarity, from the outset of this waʿz mubarak, the eternal and enduring truths that are enshrined in the shahaadat of Imam Husain AS. His was a martyrdom foretold down the ages, divinely communicated to each of the prophets who were guided by Providence to pass through Karbala in their lifetimes. It was widely known that Imam Husain’s AS setting out for Karbala was for shahaadat and he was urged by many of those close to him not to go or at least, if he was intent on going, then not to take the pious women and dear children of his Ahle Bayt AS with him. However, instead of attempting to conceal them, Imam AS in his divine wisdom chose to keep them with him. He took not only his own shahzada and successor, Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS but also his grandson and imam thereafter Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS. By taking them with him he showed the world that divine decree would prevail, regardless of the efforts of its enemies to defy and erase it. His decision to take the sayyidaat and children of his Ahle Bayt AS was not to expose them to the dangers he knew were ahead, but to safeguard them from being terrorised where he left them were he to leave them alone. Imam AS could not countenance any harm coming to them whilst he was still alive.
The day of ʿAashura, Maulana al-Muqaddas RA informed us, was the Eid of weeping: a day in which a single tear was enough to absolve sins even as great as the effervescence of the ocean surf. Rasul Allah SAW witnessed the shahaadat of his beloved grandson Imam Husain AS on the day of ʿAashura. With the dust of Karbala spread across his blessed forehead and beard, he appeared in a dream to Maulatona Umme Salama RA to remind her of the jar of Karbala’s soil he had left with her. The jar of soil that had turned red on the day of Imam’s AS shahaahdat.
Maulana Burhanuddin RA described the journeys past Prophets AS made through Karbala, where they each encountered some difficulty or bodily injury that prompted an inquiry as to why and ultimately lead to the revelation of Imam Husain’s AS shahaadat in that hallowed place and its implications for the salvation of all people from all times. Nabi Adam AS stumbled injuring his foot, Nabi Nuh AS found his ark caught in tumultuous waves that he feared might sink it, Nabi Ibrahim As was thrown from his horse, Nabi Musa AS was wounded until he bled while Nabi Eesa AS came upon a herd of deer whose weeping brought him to tears. When they queried what had befallen them in this place, when nothing of the like had happened anywhere else, they were told of the tragedy that was to befall Imam Husain AS in Karbala and each of them cursed his slayer.
Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA narrated that Imam Jaʿfar al-Sadiq AS stated that on the Day of Qiyaamat everyone will stand before Allah Taʿala for the final judgement. Aʾimmat Tahireen AS will be entrusted with the judgement of their followers and the imam of each age will oversee the judgement of their contemporaries. Imam AS then explained that there are three types of sins. The first are those between a servant and the Almighty. Imam AS added that Aʾimmat Tahireen AS will ensure that such sins are forgiven by virtue of their lofty status in the eyes of the Almighty. The second form of sins are those between an individual and the imam, borne out of shortcomings in comprehending the stature of the imam, failing to give him due veneration or not fully complying with his directives. Imam AS stated, ‘We will forgive such sins.’ The third category of sins are those that have taken place between two individuals. These sins are the most exacting and difficult to absolve for. Even if someone carries out the smallest of aggressions against someone, they will have to recompense for it. The Quran Majeed states:
وَلَكُم فِي القِصاصِ حَياةٌ يا أُولِي الأَلبابِ لَعَلَّكُم تَتَّقونَ
And for you in retribution there is life, O people of understanding.
Qisaas (reparation, expiation, retribution) extends to all acts and deeds. If someone is hurt by one’s actions or even by a single hurtful word then qisaas will have to be given. The implications are far greater if it is a physical act of assault. Imam AS states that this debt of qisaas will be borne by the imams at great personal cost and difficulty. One should refrain from all acts and deeds whose burden will have to be borne by Awliya Allah AS.
Illustrating the need to be wary of one’s every action, Syedna al-Muqaddas RA recounted the time when Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS was riding upon a camel which stumbled. Imam AS raised his whip to strike it, however, refrained and then exclaimed, ‘Were it not for the fear of qisaas, I would have struck you’. Qisaas extends not only to one’s conduct with animals but also, as Amirul Mumineen AS has stated, ‘To the land you reside on and use.’
The Ahle Bayt AS and As-haab of Imam Husain AS were of exalted stature; they were the ones for whom the rank of shahaadat was divinely ordained. Imam Husain AS called Zuhair b. Qayn RA and included him amongst his ranks. Zuhair returned to his travelling companions and family and bid them farewell. Hurr AS liberated himself from the enemy camp and attained shahaadat. It is Imam Husain’s AS forbearance and great stature that he sacrificed men of such nobility and loyalty and allowed them to venture out and seek shahaadat, knowing well that the world would be left devoid of such individuals. The Imam AS knew that in the continued presence of his son Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS, all the hudood of Dawat are present and that the Dawat will remain till the Day of Qiyaamat.
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then related narrations revealing the preeminence of Imam Husain AS. Rasul Allah SAW states, ‘The qabr of Imam Husain AS is upon a ridge of jannat. He also stated, ‘Between my qabr and the qabr of Imam Husain AS lies a garden of jannat’ and ‘Between my qabr and my minbar lies a garden of jannat.’ Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA then asked whether there was a garden to be found? ‘All one sees are rugs.’ He then added that the one who believes in Rasul Allah SAW should seek out its meaning. He then mentioned that Imam Husain’s AS glories are like that of the minbar. Syedna RA then related the divine reward found in the ziyarat of Imam Husain AS and recollected the timeless tale of the old lady from Persia, her unceasing love for Imam Husain AS and her unflinching determination to do his ziyarat.
Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA recounted the shahaadat of Maulana Ali Akbar AS and then put it to Mumineen, ‘At the time of your deaths if you yearn to behold the Panjatan AS and their Dai, then do the matam of Imam Husain AS today.’
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA described the return of Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS and the haram to Madina. Before entering the city he halted on the outskirts and its people thronged to him when they came to know of his arrival. He told them that the maatam of Imam Husain AS took place in the heavens, in the waves of the oceans and even the leaves of trees cried tears of blood. As he related the events, each heart-rending shahaadat, he wiped his eyes with a kerchief that had become red from his crimson tears .
We have heard of the instances of Imam Husain’s AS shafaʿat (intercession), among which is the instance when a man had been found of wrongdoing and Rasul Alllah SAW warranted that he be brought before him. The man kept himself hidden and escaped capture. One day, he came upon the young Imams AS walking alone in an empty alleyway. He took both upon his shoulders and came carrying them before Rasul Allah SAW, whose delight was evident in his open smile upon seeing his grandsons brought to him in such a manner. The man sought forgiveness and Rasul Allah SAW replied, ‘You are pardoned, by the grace of Hasan and Husain.’
Imam Husain’s AS shafaʿat extends to those of this earth and those of all realms. The narration of the fallen angel Fitris is well known; how he crawled his way towards the newborn Imam AS and by gently placing his flightless wings upon him he was forgiven and the power to rise back to the heavens returned to him. Equally well-known, yet never less emotive, is how the young Imam AS, four years old at the time, gave not one, not two, not three not four not five not even six but seven children to the man whom Allah Taʿala had decreed would have none. ‘We cannot say this, Allah will be angered,’ Rasul Allah SAW told him but Imam AS replied, ‘Allah would never be angered by me!’
Al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS narrated how, following the shahaadat of Imam Husain AS, a group of doves descended upon his pious, slain body lamenting his loss and covered themselves in his sacred blood. The doves then dispersed in all directions and one of them made its way to a garden perching itself atop a tree frequented by the young daughter of a Jewish man. The daughter was gravely disfigured, lame and blind. As she played beneath the tree, a single drop of Imam Husain’s AS dum mubarak fell on her from where the dove was perched and the young girl was immediately cured of all her ailments. So drastic was her transformation that when she returned to her father he did not recognise her and upon hearing what had transpired, he embraced Islam. The dove then flew to Madina coming to rest at the qabr mubarak of Rasul Allah SAW. Maulatona Fatema al-Sughra AS recognised the fragrance that emanated from the dove as that of her beloved father, Imam Husain AS. Upon seeing the blood soaked dove she was certain that Imam Husain AS had been slain and ran to Maulatona Umme Salama RA who drew the jar of earth given to her by Rasul Allah SAW only to find that the earth had turned into blood. Maulatona Sughra AS was grief stricken and shortly after the return of Imam Husain’s AS haram to Madina, she passed away, her heart in anguish at what had befallen Imam Husain AS.
It is a matter of immense fortune for us that just before Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin’s TUS final narration of Imam Husain’s AS shahaadat on the day of Ashura, he beseeched Burhanuddin Maula RA to anoint the eyes of Mumineen with his duʿa mubarak lest they should ever dry up. Mufaddal Maula TUS pledged nazr al-maqaam so that every Mumin could bring forth a tear. He urged them to seek salvation and heavenly reward by shedding the smallest of tears, even if equivalent in size to the wing of a fly. Even moistened eyes , he exclaimed, could earn the vast thawaab manifest in lamenting upon Imam Husain AS. As we bid farewell to this ʿAshara Mubaraka our hearts already long for the next, when once again we shall find ourselves in the presence of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, wherever we reside in the world, partaking of the hallowed zikr of Imam Husain AS.
May Allah Taʿala grant al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS a long life in pristine health until the Day of Qiyamat.