The Ahadeeth Shareefa of Rasul Allah SAW and the August Stature of Maulana al-Imam al-Husain AS

Second only to the Noble Quran, the Hadith of Rasul Allah SAW is fundamental to Islamic theology, law and practice. The Hadith or the Prophetic Traditions refer to the sayings and directives of the Prophet of Islam SAW, and, conjoined with the sum total of his distinguished actions and practices, form the Sunna. According to all Muslim schools of thought, the Sunna constitutes an integral, indispensable part of the Islamic faith. Not only a primary source of Islamic law and custom, Muslims also revere the Hadith as the living heritage of their beloved Prophet, as his priceless legacy entrusted to them. They believe that studying the Ahadith (pl. of Hadith), memorizing them and applying their teachings in practice is a means of endearing themselves to Allah Subhanahu and expressing their love for his pre-eminent Messenger SAW.

The Hadith corpus is replete with sayings that highlight the lofty stature of the Ahle Bayt al-Nabi SA. It is fitting that during the auspicious days of Ashara Mubaraka we derive baraka and blessings from some of the Ahadith that mark the standing of Nabi Mohammed’s SAW esteemed grandson, the martyr of Karbala, Maulana al-Imam al-Husain SA. This brief composition will present some well-known Ahadith in his honour from various textual sources. It is pertinent to note here that, in spite of myriad disagreements about the authenticity of Ahadith and their chains of transmission, numerous Prophetic sayings,  agreed upon by all Muslim scholars, illustrate the lofty station of Imam Husain SA.

In his 16 volume historical opus, Sharh al-Akhbar, the Fatimi jurist and daʿi, Syedna al-Qadi al-Nuʿman RA has devoted a section to Prophetic sayings and narrations in praise of both Imams SA. Each report within his work has been personally authenticated by the 14th Fatimi imam and khalifa, Maulana al-Imam al-Muʿizz li Deen Allah SA. Within those sayings is the hadith of Rasul Allah SAW proclaiming

الحسن والحسين سيدا شباب أهل الجنة
Hasan and Husain lead the youth in Heaven. 

Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA posed a question, which he subsequently answered, about this hadith–Do the two Imams SA not lead all the dwellers in Heaven? He then clarified that indeed they lead all in Jannat where all its dwellers are shabab for evermore, having been bestowed everlasting youth. Hadith scholars consider this hadith to be sahih and mutawatir. A sahih hadith is an authenticated one which has an unbroken chain of reliable narrators leading up to Nabi Mohamed SAW, while a mutawatir hadith is one transmitted by numerous independent chains of narrators, making the soundness of the hadith beyond question.       

Another mutawatir hadith reported by Syedna al-Qadi al-Nuʿman RA that testifies to Imam Husain’s SA distinct stature is

حسين مني وانا من حسين من احبه فقد احبني ومن ابغضه فقد ابغضني
Husain AS is unto me and I am unto Husain AS, whosoever loves him loves me and whosoever hates him hates me.

It is evident from such statements that Imam Husain AS was the beloved of Rasul Allah SAW and dedication to him is dedication to the Prophet of Islam SAW while any hostility towards him is hostility towards the Prophet SAW. If there was no other prompt other than this hadith to justify infinite lament over the fate suffered by Imam Husain SA, his family and his companions upon the scorching sands of Karbala, it would suffice for a Muslim who loves his Rasul Allah SAW. True love for him would manifest itself in a perpetual expression of profound, everlasting grief for what his beloved grandson was made to bear by those who only intended to mock Islam by calling themselves Muslims. However, this is not the case and the Ahadith clearly direct Muslims to weep in Imam Husain’s SA remembrance.

The most important hadith that encourages lamentation upon Imam Husain AS is

من بكى أو أبكى أو تباكى على ولدي الحسين وجبت له الجنة
One who grieves, or makes others grieve, or makes an effort to show grief for my son Husain has made Jannat obligatory for him.  

Rasul Allah SAW has bestowed Jannat upon one who laments and weeps on Imam Husain AS. This tradition of expressing lament, articulating grief and remembering the atrocities committed against him is one of the core beliefs of the Shia faith. If to follow the Prophetic tradition and carry out deeds that lead one to Heaven is an integral part of a Muslim’s faith, then to wail and weep in Imam Husain’s AS memory especially during the days which led to his shahadat in the month of Muharram is an integral part of being Muslim and following the Prophetic tradition. Rasul Allah SAW stated

يشرك في حب الحسين البر والفاجر
Both the good and immoral person loves Husain.

If even immoral and grave sinners are prone to love Imam Husain SA, one can only imagine what scourge of humanity comprised his oppressors at Karbala and their masters in Kufa and Damascus, not that they merit being called human to begin with. Every known measure of evil fails to qualify the extent of their depravity.

Rasul Allah SAW foresaw the barbarity that his venerated grandson would face on the day of Aashura in Karbala and there are many reports of the Messenger SAW receiving such divine intimation. Al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA has narrated one such foretelling, also found in well-known Hadith compilations, the Musnad of Ahmad b. Hanbal being one of them. 

An angel came to visit Rasul Allah SAW who instructed his consort, Maulatona Umme Salama AS to not allow anyone to approach him for the duration of the angel’s visit. It so happened that during the course of this meeting, Imam Husain AS, still at a tender age, wished to enter the room. Umme Salama tried to stop him but the young Imam was too quick for her and bounded up to his noble grandfather, who showered his grandson with love and affection. The angel asked Rasul Allah SAW whether he loved his grandson, to which he responded in the affirmative. Then the angel, with a heavy heart, informed Nabi Mohammed SAW that his own umma would slaughter this grandson and if the Prophet wished he could show him the location where this slaughter would take place. The angel then brought forth sand from Karbala and presented it to the grieving Messenger SAW, who subsequently entrusted it to Umme Salama, to be kept safe till the shahaadat came to pass.

Intimations such as these would bring heart-wrenching sorrow and grief to Rasul Allah SAW, who would often publicly express his lament. Needless to say, as a result, most Muslim scholars, past and present, find it only natural to express grief upon what transpired in Karbala. 

Like all Muslims, the Dawoodi Bohras—believers in one Creator, Allah Subhanahu, Who conveyed His final message to humankind through Nabi Mohammed SAW—are ardent followers of the Prophetic traditions. Thus, remembering Imam Husain’s AS sacrifice and his stand against tyranny and inhumanity is an integral element of faith for the Dawoodi Bohra community, one which informs the community’s values and traditions in every sphere of their lives.