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Our Perspective

Among the initial statements of the Sayyid, the one which stands out the most is “many exaggerations are made to express the human dimension – just to make people cry… but whether these things actually happened – no” – is absolutely incompatible with the reality. The Sayyid gave a hint that the exaggerations are related to Lady Zainab (sa) who came out of the tent and uncovered her head in front of the people.  In reality, none of us have ever heard from any speakers or any scholars or even any poets that Lady Zainab (sa) uncovered her head and came out of the tent!


Rather we recall the words of Imam Hussain (as) to Umm Salamah that are recorded in the history: “O grandmother! Allah Almighty desires to see me offer my life and that my head be severed out of cruelty and injustice. Besides (Allah) desires that my family and womenfolk be expelled, and my children, oppressed, bare-headed, arrested and bounded in chains.” [nafasul-Mahmum by Sheikh Abbas Qummi]. In al-Muqarram’s Maqtal al-Husayn, it says: “People raced to rob the ladies of the Messenger of Allah. The daughters of Fatima al-Zahra tearfully ran away, their hair uncovered. (Tarikh-e-Tabari) Scarves were snatched, rings were pulled off fingers, earrings were taken out, and so were ankle-rings. (Muthir al-Azan) A man took both earrings belonging to Umm Kulthum, riddling her ears in the process. (Al-Dam’a al-Sakiba)” Similarly, “it is related that the ladies were drawn out of the tents and the tents were set on fire. The women of the Prophet’s family were bare-headed, bare-feet and marauded similar to the ones in captivity.” (Nafas al-Mahmum).


These are the actual atrocities that were done by the army of Yazid post the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as). The head-cover was snatched and tents were looted. We reiterate the account of history as it happened. It is actually a huge burden of sin to belittle or hide the atrocities that were endured by Ahlul Bayt (as)!

Regarding the ritual of carrying the Taboot in Majlis which he referred to in his next statement, that people in Hussainiya’s bring a coffin (taboot) and place a mannequin in it! Again, we haven’t seen anyone putting mannequin’s in a coffin. But if someone says symbolizing the coffin (taboot) in a majlis is disgraceful then they need to revisit the Holy Quran. It is important to know that this ritual’s didn’t develop by a particular subcontinent culture, rather it is a divine symbol mentioned with wisdom in the Holy Quranic, hence belittling it or admonishing it as being a manmade ritual to make people cry for Imam Hussain (as) is not a wise judgment. I have written an article on the Holy relics in Islam that covers the aspect of Taboot. Please read it here

Regarding placing a lion on top of the taboot, I am not really sure where this is done, but people have the habit of taking the title of Imam Ali (as) “Asadullah Al-Ghalib/Over powering Lion of Allah” which is given by the Prophet (saw) – too literal,  and such literal expression is seen in the form of art in Iran, Pakistan and India in the form the “Dua Naad Ali” in shape of a lion. Such depictions don’t mean in any way that the lion (an animal) is like Imam Ali (as), or Imam Ali (as) is like a lion. The Prophet (saw) has given the title to Imam Ali (as) as the Lion of Allah (swt) which simply means that Allah (swt) has given tasarruf (overpowering authority) to Imam Ali (as) over His creation.

In the conclusion, the respected Sayyid says something that I was least expecting from him. He said where are those people who enthusiastically perform the rituals of Tatbir (shed their own blood) on the Day of Ashura when it comes to defending the holy shrines from the enemies.  The Sayyid even put the validity of the ritual of tatbir) in question and admonished its practitioners.

First of all, the topic of tatbir is not a subject of discussion! This subject is resolved if we pay attention. There are decrees of the scholars who founded the seminary of Qom about the validity of this ritual, namely Sheikh Haeri and Sheikh Naini followed by many maraje. We have clear decrees from many Marajeen and Mujtahideen confirming the validity of this ritual. If someone needs the Fatawas then please let me know I can provide this information. This issue is NOT a subject of discussion and this is the reason that we see an increasing number of people every year in Karbala doing tatbir.

Regarding the act of safeguarding the shrines, it’s not fair to taunt those who were not there to protect the shrines as the people of this great movement have been doing. However, is it not fair on the same token to ask the Sayyid where his people were when Hussein Kamal was destroying the shrine of Imam Hussain (as) and Abul Fazl (as) in 1992? Or where the Sayyid and his brave followers were when Saddam destroyed the shrines and the scholars and the seminaries? Obviously it is not a fare question to pose to anyone, because accountability is valid when responsibility exists, and responsibility is valid when ability exists. The resistance movement of Lebanon had no ability to protect Karbala in 1992, hence they had no responsibility, but now they have the ability to protect the shrine of Lady Zainab (sa) hence it becames their responsibility. I can say with certainty that if the shrine of Imam Husain (as) comes under attack while we are on Ziyarat then almost every pilgrim will offer his or her life to protect it.


There is one more aspect that we need to reflect upon, that a shrine is not sanctified just because it is a burial site of the revered personality, it is also because the shrine is a symbol of truth and a means of guidance, a structure that serves as a reminder of the divine message. Every aspect of worship or a ritual (mandated by Islam) is serving as a reminder to us about truth and falsehood and our ability to make the right choice. Visiting the shrine of any personality from Ahlul Bayt (as) and performing any aspect of worship including the rituals of Azadari is no different than going to the pilgrimage of Hajj and performing the rituals of Hajj (like throwing rocks and touching the black stone) and reflecting on it, and to seek proximity with Allah (swt). The rituals of Azadari, like the procession of Ashura are also a means to remind human beings about the event of Karbala and the fight between the truth and falsehood. In Pakistan, the Ashura processions are always under attack, the ritual that serves as a medium to convey the divine message is the primary target for the Wahabies.

It is worth noting that every year we see more people coming out of their houses with women and children in the midst of all the threats to keep the ritual of procession alive, to continue making the tragedy of Karbala known to the world. Isn’t that a sacrifice worth praising? Isn’t that sacrifice and the offering of life during juloos same as guarding the shrines? What about all the Shias who were killed innocently?


In any case, the rituals of Azadari that we practice has a meaning and depth in it, they are not followed blindly, all we need is to have perspective and insight to understand it.

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