SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – We believe that pilgrimages for visiting the tombs of the Messengers and Imams, as well as the scholars and the martyrs, is a definite religious precept which has to be observed, although not a must.
In many books of the Ahlul Sunnah scholars, just as those written by Shi’as, many traditions are narrated from the prophet that he has recommended the precept or pilgrimage. To collect all such traditions will make a voluminous book.
Throughout the history of Islam, our great scholars, and all groups of Muslims have done that with much care, and books are written about the adventures of their pilgrimages. It is evident that nobody takes his visit to a tomb for worship; as such worship only belongs to God. The purpose of visiting the tomb of a great man is to respect him and to pay regards, meanwhile seeking their intercession. It is also narrated that even the prophet himself often went to visit the Cemetery of Baqi’ and saluted the dead in their graves. Therefore no one should doubt the lawfulness of such pilgrimages in Islam.
The Philosophy of the Mourning Ceremonies
We believe that the mourning ceremonies, for the martyrs, especially the matyrs of Karbala will serve to maintain the monument of such dear ones, and keep us aware of their self-sacrifices for the sake of God and Islam in some occasions, particularly the first ten days of Muharram, the period in which Imam Hussain(a.s) and his faithful companions were cruelly martyred, we perform the mourning ceremonies. We explain their aims, and express our deep regards for them and by that infuse new blood in our veins.
In the year 61 Hijri, Yazid a sinful man and a stranger with Islam, succeeded the throne of Islamic caliphate. When he asked Imam Hussain (a.s) to take the oath of allegiance, Imam refused to swear fealty. Yazid insisted and Imam rejected and left Mecca for Iraq. In Karbala, Imam and his seventy two companions and household were surrounded by a great many troops of Yazid. Imam and his companions defended their attacks and fought their enemies boldly to their last breath. All the men, (Imam Hussain (a.s) and his companions) were martyred, and their women and children were taken captives.
Soon after that the blood of Imam boiled and stirred strange excitements among his contemporary Muslims. Groups revolted in turn, aiming at vengeance for the bloodshed. These frequent revolutions gave an end to the nasty life of the Omayid dynasty. All the revolting groups had but one slogan “Vengeance for Imam’s Bloodshed.” Today the rise and martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) is a pattern and a program in our daily life to make us stand firmly against any oppression and cruelty.
Some of our slogans that were taken from Imam Hussain’s bloody history like: “far be abjections from us” or “life is faith and endeavor” have been of immense use in our past and present, urging us not to undergo any unjustified demand or oppressions.
To brief our word here, paying regards to the reminiscence of the great martyrs of Karbala, and else, will infuse new blood of valiance, bravery and self-sacrifice into our veins and will teach us how to live an honorable and proud life, and this is why we try to revive the reminiscence of our martyrs by renewing the mourning ceremonies every year better than the last. Strangers may not know what we do and what we are aiming at or achieving by doing so. They think of it as a mere historical incident that must have been forgotten and covered with the dust of age, but we do know its importance and effect in our past and present history.
It is written in all the famous Islamic histories that “after the battle of Uhad the prophet passed near a house from which the sounds of mourning and wailing for the martyrs were heard the prophet said: “But no one mourns for Hamzih (The Master of Martyrs).”
Saad Ibn Maaz who was a near companion of the prophet from the group of Helpers, heard that and ordered their women to go and mourn and lament for Hamzih, the faithful uncle of the prophet who was mutilated in the battle field of Uhad. Evidently this lamentation was not something specialized to Hazarat Hamzih. It rather is a means of infusing new blood into the veins of Muslims.
Now it is Ashura, the 10th of Muharram 1417 Hijri (1976). A great emotion and enthusiasm is seen throughout the Shi’a world. Children, teenagers, young people, adults, man and woman have all dressed in black and attended the mourning ceremonies of the Martyrs of Karbala. They are so strangely excited and have changed minds that if they be invited to fight the enemies of Islam, they all will take arm and rush to the battlefield and do not avoid any sort of self-sacrifices.
It is just as if the blood of those martyrs flow in their veins, and that Imam and his companions have been slain just now. They sing epic songs and poems full of slogans against colonization, and oppression and in favor of proud and exalted death over an abject life. We hold this incident as a great moral capital that we have to observe it and keep it safe.
By: Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi