Prayer, a Cry for Justice
During the Imamate of Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH), the Abbasids used fear to suppress the people of Qum, and brought oppression and horror in ruling this area. They placed “Mousa Ibn Yahya” as the governor of the province of Qum who was a cruel man and distant from any emotions. He gave people a hard time and was very unfair to them. The people of Qum who had never seen such cruel rule, sent their most respected men to Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH). Imam taught the representatives a supplication to be recited in the Qunoot of each prayer, so that Allah (SWT) removes this major difficulty from their lives.
This supplication, similar to the others has been narrated by the Prophet’s Progeny (PBUT), and offers a great encyclopedia, and in fact it is a political charter, a strategic and self-protective principle for moving forward. One can find educational methodologies, cultural views and political awareness in this prayer.
In this supplication, Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH) describes the situation in which a tyrant governor rules, and the difficult condition in which the Shia lived in (and are still living since the era of the Imams (PBUT)). Imam (PBUH) is teaching his followers how to deal with a situation when no action can be taken, and benefit from supplications as a defensive mechanism. Therefore, the nature of this supplication is such that the span of time does not affect its meaning or usefulness; one can benefit from it at the time of trouble in the society and request the Lord for help.
Imam Askari (PBUH) praises Allah (SWT) in the first part of the supplication and then speaks of the difficulties and hardship which the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) endure; he describes the circumstances very eloquently, in a manner particular to the Prophet’s Progeny as such:
“O Allah! Calamities have surrounded us, the curtain of bewilderment has befallen upon us, and suffering has crushed us. Those who were not protectors of your religion have become our leaders, those who have become the sources of hatred and animosity (institutions of corruption), the same people who have cancelled your rituals, and have committed to destroy Your servants and Your cities have held on to our destinies.
O Allah! Our wealth (whom You have bestowed upon us), after we distributed it amongst us, went hand in hand and was usurped, and as divine rule and statehood was forced away from us through lobbying, despite being chosen (by Allah to be the Imam of the people) were deemed valueless. Thus, the result came to be usurping the money of the orphans and the widows (from the public treasury) to purchase entertainment. The (unbelievers) forcefully ruled over the believers, and the corrupt (man) of each tribe took over their affairs; therefore no defender has saved them from destruction, and no patrol seeks to protect them, and no caring person exists to quench a thirst. Thus, the pure seekers are on the verge of being wasted, and are held captive, and have allied with sorrow and belittlement…..”
Here Imam Askari (PBUH) speaks of the era’s political situation: the unorganized situation, the messed up social norms, the lost values and weakened beliefs, and the horrific losses which have befallen Islamic communities. It is clear that the words of the Imam is not limited to the rule of the Abbasid Dynasty, but rather, a call to identify the heresies and deviations of all corrupt rules.
In another section of the supplication, the Imam says, “O Allah! Do not leave a shelter for corruption, except that you destruct it, and do not leave a shield for it except that you collapse it, and do not leave a unified word (for it), unless you disseminate it; and do not leave (it) an army, unless you make it worthless; and do not give it any height, unless you make it one with dirt; and do not leave for it a waving flag, unless you collapse it; and do not leave it any greenery unless you destruct it. Disperse its friends from unanimity, and after unified words, disunite it; and after governing the community, dishonor it….”(1), (2)
This section of the supplication, speaks of the Imam’s pain and great sorrow, whom has turned to the One Lord asking for the removal of the corrupt from the Earth. In effect, by this supplication, the Imam is breathing a breath of life into the human soul, and this reminds us of an important pillar, that no matter how much unrighteousness spreads, yet the Divine Hand is so powerful that it can remove its massive volume. So why the hopelessness?
But at the end, the Imam (PBUH) prays for the Awaited (May Allah Hasten His Appearance); the same man who will spread justice among the Ummah, destroy tyranny, and establish God’s rule, which will revive hopes, servants and nations. Imam (PBUH) requests the assistance, success, and persistence for the goals of Imam Mahdi (PBUH).
Paying more attention to the details of this prayer will prove how the Shia point of view does not accept ignorance towards oppression and divergence from the origin of religion. Even when the social condition does not allow any action, recognizing and rejecting by heart the type of divergence and those who promote such is important. Likewise the supplication is a ground for expressing hatred for oppression and corruption. Similar supplications have also been narrated from Imam Askari (PBUH) that have had strong effects on people; they not only awakened people from individualism, which created a sense of sympathy with others, but also continues to make them sensitive to the corruptions in society.
(The above is a selection taken from, ”The Life of Imam Hassan al-Askari (PBUH)”, by Late Baqir Sharif al-Qurashi (with some changes and additions))
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 8th of Rabee al-Awwal, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the flag of guidance, the light of piety, the ore of wisdom and knowledge, the 11th Imam of the Shiites, Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (PBUH).
1. Mahaj al-Da’awaat, p. 63
2. Considering the deep concepts proposed by Imam through the supplication, our effort has been to reflect an exact translation of the main concepts. To this goal the persian translations of Seyyed Hassan Islami and Muhammad Sadwiq Shariat have been used.
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