The Eve of ʿAshura
On the eve of ʿAshura, al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS reminded Mumineen of the night they now were in the midst of, the night Husain Imam AS, his Ahlebayt AS and Ashaab spent in worship and istighfar. He then elaborated verses penned by Syedi Abdeali Mohyuddin QR in the elegy of Imam Husain AS. In particular, he called Mumineen to shed an ocean of tears after reciting this verse:
Will you not shed tears from your eyes, when [you know that] Husain’s blood is being shed in Karbala?
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained how in Imam Husain’s AS grief, the skies and its inhabitants wailed. The stars and their orbits mourned him. He asked us to cry as well, if we too wished to join the inhabitants of the heavens above. In fact, he said, your buka should be so extraordinary, that the people of heaven, one of whom is Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, would look down and upon witnessing your noteworthy buka and matam, supplicate to Allah Taʿala to ensure your ascension to the heavens.
Majlis 9 – Before zuhr
Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS commenced ʿAshura morning’s waʿz mubarak by describing how Aimmat Tahireen AS commemorated this solemn day and guided their followers to do the same. Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen AS broke into tears at the mere sight of food or drink for 40 years. Ibn Wahab recounts an incident wherein he witnessed Imam Jaʿfar al-Sadiq AS in an extended sajda. During this poignant moment, Imam al-Sadiq AS was audibly weeping and fervently praying, asking Allah to bless all those who embark on a pilgrimage to the sacred shrine of Imam Husain AS. When Imam al-Sadiq AS finally rose from his sajda, Ibn Wahab observed that he was visibly grief stricken. Upon Ibn Wahab’s inquiry about the reason behind Imam al-Sadiq’s AS actions, the Imam AS revealed to him that this day was the solemn Day of Ashura, the very day his beloved great-grandfather Imam Husain AS had been tragically martyred. With deep reverence for this significant occasion, Imam al-Sadiq AS stressed the importance for all the faithful to undertake the ziyarat of Imam Husain AS, whether from near or far, and to shed copious tears as they recall his heartrending sacrifice. Throughout the day, Imam al-Sadiq AS remained immersed in sorrow, continually weeping in remembrance of the tragedy that befell his revered forefather. Moved by the intense grief of the Imam, Ibn Wahab found himself overcome with grief as well, and he wept with the Imam in solemn communion.
Syedna Qadi al-Nuʿman RA shares an exchange he had with Imam al-Muʿizz AS, wherein he presented a sermon he had prepared about the significance of the Day of ʿAshura and the tragic events of Karbala. Imam al-Muʿizz AS expressed his approval, acknowledging the accuracy and validity of its content. He then urged Syedna al-Nuʿman RA to emphasise to the faithful the true essence of the Day of ʿAshura: that it was a day of profound mourning such that no single individual should remain unobservant of its gravity and significance. Furthermore, Imam al-Muʿizz AS emphasised that the Day of ʿAshura should never be celebrated like an Eid, as the Umayyads had done. Instead, it should be observed with reverence and sorrow, honouring the memory of Imam Husain AS. The Duat Mutlaqeen AS followed the example of their Imams in adhering to the zikr of Imam Husain AS, and ensured that Mumineen knew of its significance and never forgot it. It was because of them, particularly the efforts of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA and Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, Mufaddal Maula TUS said, that we were all gathered in this majlis today.
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS then introduced the hadith shareef which was the topic of the morning’s waʿz mubarak:
No mouthful swallowed is more beloved to Allah than a gulp of anger restrained by a man, or a gulp of forbearance in times of hardship.
Rasul Allah SAW eloquently describes two difficult situations in this hadith shareef. Firstly, when blinding, self-destructive anger strikes, and in that moment, a person commits that no matter what happens, ‘I will not let my anger overcome me’, then that is a mouthful of anger one has swallowed. The second situation is when hardship strikes, and a person embraces forbearance along with gratitude, then that is said to be a mouthful of patience swallowed. Syedna al-Minʿaam TUS, giving further clarity, then stated, “How is anger controlled?” “By forgiving the one who has angered you, by showing them kindness.” “And how is forbearance achieved?” “By being grateful.”
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS illustrated these important concepts with a narrative of Imam Mohammmed al-Baqir AS. Once, while seated with his companions, a deafening shriek startled all those present. Within a few moments a servant came to the Imam and quietly conveyed something to him, that which he only could hear, to which he responded aloud by stating, ‘Alhamdolillah upon that which Allah gives and that which He takes away. Prepare the janaza; tell them to not cry’. He further instructed that the servant girl be told she was not at fault and that he was emancipating her. Out of deference, none of the as-haab asked the Imam as to what had occurred until a servant came to inform him that the janaza was ready. Hearing this, one of them finally inquired as to what had happened, to which the Imam replied, ‘A child of mine slipped from the hands of a servant girl and died. Come let us pray upon the janaza.’
Syedna TUS pointed out that the Imam AS should have been angered by the incident, but he did not only swallow his anger. In fact, by emancipating the servant he showed that he was not angry to begin with. Similarly he demonstrated forbearance in the face of unimaginable grief, reacting to news of his infant’s death with praise for Allah as the One who gives, and also the One who takes away.
Imam Mohammed al-Baqir AS had been with his revered father, Imam Husain AS in Karbala and had witnessed how his esteemed father had never acted out of anger. Imam Husain AS was not angered by the fact that the people of Kufa had written to him, pledging their support and beseeching him to come, and now had betrayed and sought confrontation. He was not angered by the executions of Muslim RA or Hani RA. Instead, when the enemy halted his advance, he provided both them and their horses water in the blistering desert heat. He was not angered by the slaughter of his dearest companions, nor his brother, nor his young son, not even his six month old infant in his hands. If he were, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS explained, then Imam Husain AS would have slain every one of his opponents yet he did not. The ones he took down in battle were chosen with precision, they were those who deserved to be killed as dictated by divine justice. Even when Jibraʾeel descended with angels of the heavens and the earth, submitting their powers at his disposal wherein every foe would instantly be decimated, Imam Husain AS chose Allah’s happiness by embracing martyrdom.
The quelling of anger, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS prescribed, is achieved by forgiving and engaging in benevolence. He illustrated how this can be done through the following narrative. In one of his battles, Amirul Mumineen AS had downed his combatant, but just as he was about to deal the fatal blow, the man spat on Amirul Mumineen AS. Amirul Mumineen AS immediately stayed his sword, sparing the man. Bewildered, he asked why and Amirul Mumineen AS replied that his every action was only for the happiness of Allah, untainted by his own emotions. When the man disrespected Amirul Mumineen AS with his insolence, the flare of emotion may have compromised his intent. Upon hearing the purity of his heart and intent, the man embraced Islam.
Similarly, forbearance and patience can be cultivated through gratitude. Syedna TUS cited the example of Imam Ali Zainul Abideen AS who, after witnessing the merciless slaughter of his beloved father, Imam Husain AS, and the tyranny inflicted upon his haram, engaged in ʿibadat on the 11th night of Muharram, offering his sincere gratitude to Allah Taʿala for all His bounties and blessings. Maulana al-Minaam TUS then instructed Mumineen to always offer gratitude, irrespective of their circumstances, and adhere to the tasbeeh:
Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS recalled various narratives on the rewards of the ziyarat of Imam Husain AS followed by a narrative in which Rasul Allah SAW dined at Amirul Mumineen’s AS home. Amirul Mumineen AS relates that, after he washed Rasul Allah’s SAW hands and dried them, Rasul Allah SAW left for the masjid where he offered a sajda and wept. Out of respect, none of us could ask him why but Imam Husain AS went and sat in his lap. Rasul Allah SAW embraced Imam Husain’s AS head to his chest and rested his chin upon him. Imam Husain AS asked, ‘O’ grandfather, why do you cry, we were so happy when you came home.’
Rasul Allah SAW replied, ‘I too was overjoyed, until Jibraeel came and told me that all of you will be slain – all in different places’. The young Imam asked who would come for their ziyarat if they were all buried in different places. Rasul Allah SAW replied that his ummah would do so, and they would see this act of ziyarat as tantamount to being in their presence. On the Day of Qiyamah he would absolve them of their sins, and take them into paradise.
Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS recalled vividly how Syedna Burhanuddin RA would perform the tradition of chammar. He described the elegance, grace, and poise with which he rose from his place, stood before Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, and did tasleem before taking his position besides the takht where from chammar was carried out. Maulana TUS stated that this was all etched in his memory. He passionately described how, as children, they would be sat right there in front of the takht and would observe everything at close hand. He recalled, too, how they would hasten to the takht for shifa after the culmination of the waʿz mubarak. He recalled fondly how during these days, Syedna Burhanuddin RA would appraise them the night before of whose shahadat among the Panjatan Paak SA would be narrated the following day.
Then this calamity is such that to bear it would be akin to having camels pass through the eye of a needle.
Indeed, to shed a tear in this grief, no greater than the head of a needle, is rewarded with seven heavens.
These verses of Syedi Abde Ali Imaduddin QR were recited in remembrance of Imam Husain’s AS unimaginable torments in Karbala as he fulfilled the dues that were owed, the bearing of which was to pass hundreds of camels through the eye of a needle. Maulana al-Minʿaam TUS correlated the verse with the instance of when a woman bearing a large load arrived in the masjid where Rasul Allah SAW was seated among his as-haab. When she rose to leave she asked for help in placing the load back upon her head and the young Imam Husain AS came to her aid without a moment’s hesitation. Embracing his cherished grandson, Rasul Allah SAW wept till his beard was drenched in tears. When his companions queried why he wept, he replied:
This woman came bearing the weight of the world, a burden that none but Husain could have borne. He will go to Karbala and bear many burdens; his companions will lay, strewn upon the ground, the ladies of his house will wail in lament, the enemy will cry out for his death. Blood will stream forth from his wounds and, at that time, he will call for forbearance from his haram and bear yet more arrows upon his chest.
Imam Husain AS took out his own small handkerchief to wipe Rasul Allah’s SAW tears, but this only made him cry more. “Today you wipe away my tears but when Ali Asghar is martyred, there will be no one to wipe away yours.”
Mufaddal Maula TUS described the power of a tear shed in Imam Husain’s AS grief. He spoke of how one tear upon Imam Husain AS can cure an incurable illness, give a child to the childless, wealth to the poor. Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS prayed that the difficulties of Mumineen, which may be as immense as camels, pass through the eye of the needle; may the impossible become possible; may our children who may have turned away return to the fold of Dawat; debts be repaid. “Whatever desires you have may they come to fruition, all by the virtue of your grief upon Imam Husain AS.”
Majlis 10 – After zuhr
Syedna TUS chose the following hadith shareef to deliver the maqtal of Imam Husain AS during the time of ʿasr time on ʿAshura.
There is no drop more beloved to Allah Taʿala than the teardrop that flows in awe of Him, or the drop of blood spilled in His cause.
Syedna TUS explained that this hadith shareef provides a lens through which the final moments of ʿAshura can be viewed and understood. Recounting every shaheed’s sacrifice and every drop of blood that was spilled in Karbala on that day, Mumineen were moved to countless tears. Through this buka, and by embodying the many faceted counsels inherent in all the ahadeeth that Syedna TUS expounded upon throughout Ashara Mubaraka, Mumineen can aspire to become deserving of Allah Taʿala’s love and thus become His beloveds.
In the retelling of the sacrifices of the Ahle Bait AS, Syedna TUS invoked the potent prayer of “Ya Ali Madad!” before each shahadat. As he moved from one heart-rending shahadat to another, he called out to Mumineen to join him in raising the cry of, “Ya Ali Madad,” invoking the age-old call for succour and strength in remembering the sacrifices of ʿAshura. With each cry of “Ya Ali Madad,” the walls of the masjid reverberated. Infused with the madad of Maulana Ali AS, Imam Husain’s AS dai, recited his shahadat with unimaginable energy and emotion. With the final sajda, Mumineen were transported to Karbala to that pivotal moment when their redemption and eternal salvation were sealed as the drops from both Imam Husain’s AS tears and blood, seeped into the parched sands of Karbala.
Prior to delivering the maqtal, Syedna al-Dai al-Ajal TUS addressed Mumineen praying, ‘May we continue to meet throughout the year on different occasions, and may we surely come together next year during Ashara Mubaraka, especially on the Day of ʿAshura’. May Allah Taʿala enable us to gather year after year in the presence of Imam Husain’s AS dai during Ashara Mubaraka and may He bless our Maula with a life in happiness and health until the Day of Qiyamat.