My son! Convey my greetings to my followers and tell them that: my father passed away while he was lonely, so weep on him; and that he was martyred, so shed tears over him …”

(Imam Hussain (PBUH) addressing his son Imam Sajjad (PBUH) on his last moments)(1) (1. Words of Imam al-Hussain (PBUH), p. 458- Zari’ah al-Najah, p. 139)

The Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) constantly encouraged their followers to weep and make others weep over Imam Hussain (PBUH), and they themselves were committed to do so. In Zyiarah of Nahiya, Imam Mahdi (PBUH) addresses his blessed forefather, Imam Hussain (PBUH), by saying; “I shall mourn you every morning and every evening, and I shall weep blood for you instead of tears.” (2) (2. Al-Mazaar ibn Mashhadi, p. 501- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 98, pp. 238 & 320)

While emphasizing constant mourning for Imam Hussain (PBUH), the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) made their grief more apparent upon entering the month of Muharram.

In this regard, Imam Reza (PBUH) says; “When the month of Muharram arrived, my father was not seen smiling, and during the first ten days, his grief would intensify with every day that passed. The day of Ashura – the tenth day – was the peak of his grief and crying; and he would repeatedly say (on that day): this is the day that Hussain (PBUH) was killed.” (3) (3. Amaali of Shaikh Saduq, p. 191- Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 14- p. 505)

In addition to individual mourning and personal grief, the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) also emphasized the mourning gatherings. In fact, they held these gatherings in their houses or public venues.

Di’bil Khuzaii says: I met Imam Reza (PBUH) during the days before Ashura while he was in a state of mourning and sitting among his followers. The Imam (PBUH) asked me to sit besides him, and he said to me, ”O! Di’bil! These days are the days of grief for us, and the days of delight for our enemies; recite a eulogy for the Master of the Martyrs (PBUH).”

Di’bil says that I recited a poem about the tragedies of Imam Hussain (as). Imam Reza (PBUH) and the others cried so intensely that the sound of crying permeated the entire house. (4) (4. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 45, p.257)

Moreover, Imam Reza (PBUH) said to Rayyan bin Shabib on the first day of Muharram, ”Muharram is the month in which (even) the ignorant Arabs used to forbid any war; however, in this very month our women and progeny were taken into captivity and their tents were set on fire …. and they did not respect the dignity of the Prophet (PBUH&HP).” (5) (5. Amaali of Shaykh Saduq, p. 284)

Imam Hussain (PBUH) tolerated all these calamities so that the religion of Islam and true worship of Allah (SWT) would survive. The rising of Imam Hussain (PBUH) guarded the religion of Allah (SWT), and mourning over his tragedies keeps the Divine message of his uprising alive. To this end, mourning the oppressed martyr of Karbala (PBUH) pleases Allah (SWT), as the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) themselves constantly commemorated his martyrdom. Therefore, it is good to remind ourselves of the life of the Master of the Martyrs (PBUH), the message of his rising, and his grief over these days, and to commemorate and hold mourning gatherings in an attempt to follow the tradition of the dignitaries of our religion.

(The above is a selection taken from “Ihraam of Muharram”, by Abdul Hussain Neishabouri (with changes and additions))

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