When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) informed Lady Fatimah (PBUH) about the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH) and the sufferings he will face, she cried and asked: “O father! When will this tragedy take place?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied: “At a time when you, Ali, and I have left this world.” Upon hearing such, Lady Fatimah’s (PBUH) tears intensified, “O father! Then who cry for my son, and who will hold mourning ceremonies for him?” The Prophet (PBUH&HP) answered: “My daughter! Verily the women of my nation will cry for the women of my Ahl al-Bayt; the men of my nation will cry for the men of my Ahl al-Bayt; and year after year, groups of people will revive this ceremony (1)”. (1- Bihar al Anwar, vol. 44, pp. 292 & 293)

Crying and laughter are two characteristics found in humans; they are two apparent matters and two external phenomena that result from a person’s reaction toward certain incidents and happenings. Certainly these two external phenomena result from internal feelings. A person lacking such characteristics is known to be strange or indifferent.

A smile is usually a reaction to when a person finds admiration or satisfaction in his or her desires. Likewise, grief, sadness, and tears are usually reactions to worries, anxieties, or rejections, or sufferings.

The deeper a person’s insight is, the more effective will his/her inner feelings and external reactions be. The same analogy can be used for crying and laughter: that is, a stronger insight toward a laughter or cry increases the value and importance of these expressions of feelings. In the Holy Quran, crying has been referred to as a necessary characteristic of human beings. It has also given examples on different situations, some of which it approves and some of which it disapproves, of crying:

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! We believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth) (2).” (2- The Holy Quran, (5:83))

This holy verse recognizes tears as a reaction deriving from insight and knowledge of truth. A person, with a deep understanding of truth and reality, becomes so excited upon experiencing the truth, that this very feeling expresses itself in tears. Numerous narrations from the Infallibles (PBUT) also verify the positive and fulfilling effects of crying.

As humans we are gifted with the blessing of a heart. The most valuable capital a person possesses is his/her heart; and it is his heart and affections that specify his way of living. Love cannot merely be uttered; rather it shows itself through external actions. Once, a person sets his heart upon a matter, the rest of the organs of the body work in its obedience. However, this love if gained by the absence of wisdom and intellect can be overruled by emotions and instincts, resulting in a false and ephemeral love: leading the lover into a dangerous zone. Love is only everlasting and true when accompanied by true logic and knowledge, such as a love that lives for Hussain (PBUH). A lover of Imam Hussain (PBUH) can feel the afflictions and oppressions Imam Hussain (PBUH) suffered; his feelings are so immense that they break out into tears and wail.

The pain of the beloved is the pain of the lover, and the joy of the beloved is the joy of the lover. If a person loves Allah (SWT), then Allah’s (SWT) satisfaction is his/her satisfaction. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said:

“Allah (SWT) loves whomsoever loves Hussain (PBUH) (3)”

(3- Sunni reference: Sahih Tirmadhi, vol. 2, p. 307

Shia reference: Kanz al-Ummaal, vol. 6, p. 221)

A requirement for loving Imam Hussain (PBUH) is to join him in his joys and grieves. The life of Hussain (PBUH) and the incident of Ashura are proper motives for the manifestations of all kinds of true and correct crying. And it is on this basis that Imam Reza (PBUH) told Ibn Shabib:

“O son of Shabib! If you were to cry on something, cry on Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abitalib (PBUH) (4)” (4- Al-Amaali of Sheikh Saduq, p. 129)

(Selection taken from, “The Elixir of Tears on Imam Hussain (PBUH)”, by Dr. Muhammad Assadi (with minor changes))


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