Rafed English

Arba’een – the Day of Resurgence

By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz

 

"Inn-al-Husain Misbah al-Huda wa Safinat an-Najah" –Prophet Muhammad (SAWA)
The above-mentioned Arabic phrase translated into English means: Indeed Husain is the Beacon of Guidance and the Ark of Salvation.
There is no doubt about what the Prophet had prophesied for his younger grandson who was martyred in a most tragic manner in Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 CE). Indeed, Husain (AS), whose epic stand against injustice in the face of the heaviest odds resulted in the triumph of blood over naked swords, continues to serve as a catalyst for human conscience and societies in the quest for reformation.
As a matter of fact, the Martyr of Karbala stands as the eternal barometer determining whether people or communities are really alive and spiritually sound, or are spiritually dead corpses whiling away their time in frivolities, before what they thought as the merry spring of life, abruptly ends in infernal autumn.
To be more precise, it is the mourning ceremonies for Imam Husain (AS) that salvage mankind by breathing the spirit of renaissance into individuals and societies and placing them on the pedestal of an eternally evergreen spring that knows no autumn.
Thus the coincidence this year of Arba’een – the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) – with the Spring Equinox that is marked as Nowrouz or the start of the solar hijri calendar year in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2006 as well as in some other neighbouring lands, is not something that could be called as a freak twist of mother nature.
This is not something accidental in view of the fact that God Almighty is the Rotator of Days and Nights, and the Regulator of Seasons. Perhaps it is Divine Will that spring, which heralds resurgence and revival, should start with the strengthening of faith, human dignity, social justice, spiritual values and humanitarian principles, for whose blossoming Imam Husain (AS) gladly gave his lifeblood.
Nowrouz could well be called the renewal of allegiance to the ideals of Karbala. This is what the faithful do every year when they long for assembling in Karbala on the day of Arba’een or at least reciting the special ziyarah or salutation for the Chief of Martyrs (AS), from wherever they happen to be on the 20th of Safar.
Interestingly, this particular ziyarah is considered as one of the five signs of a true believer, according to a famous hadith from Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), the 11th Infallible successor of the Prophet, whose holy shrine along with that of his father Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), was criminally desecrated by the enemies of humanity during the terrorist sacrilege of the golden domed mausoleum of Samarra last month on February 22.
The other four signs of the true believer are: performing 51 rak’ats of prayer daily (17 obligatory plus 34 recommended), reciting Bismillah-ir-Rahman –ir-Raheem in a raised voice during the daily prayers, wearing ring on a finger of the right hand and prostrating on the clay during sajda in the daily prayers.
And what an exalted prostration it is, or more properly ascension (me’raj) to the heavens, for the true believer when he or she prostrates on a piece of clay of the sacred soil of Karbala!
It was the fragrance of this sanctified soil that guided the aged companion of the Prophet, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari – who had lost his eyesight – to the grave of Imam Husain (AS) on the first Arba’een for the immortal martyrs of Karbala.
Jaber, who made the labourious journey to Iraq from distant Medina on hearing of the tragic martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, indeed set an everlasting precedent that the faithful continue to emulate, braving the obstacles to Karbala, which this year have seen terrorists cast in the Yazidi mould, raking pilgrims with gunfire and blowing them with bombs.
Karbala is the rendezvous of the true believers, whose hearts, eyes, minds and all other bodily parts, especially the life-giving souls, have undergone complete transformation to attain the eternal spring of life.
Therefore, this year the prayer of Iranian Muslims on the eve of Arba’een, with tears flowing down their moist eyes for Imam Husain (AS) has a salvaging tone:
Ya Muqalleb al-Qoloub wa’l-Absar,
Ya Mudabber al-Layl wa’n-Nahar,
Ya Muhawwel al-Howl wa’l-Ahwal,
Hawwil halana ila Ahsan il-Haal
(O’ Transformer of Hearts and Eyes, O’ Rotator of Day and Night, O’ Regulator of situations and states, Change our state to the excellent of states.")
Undoubtedly, the most excellent of state for anyone guided by the Beacon called Husain and salvaged by the Ark called Husain, is awaiting the reappearance of Avenger of the innocent blood of Husain – Imam Mahdi (AS), who will rid the Planet of all vestiges of vice and injustice and establish the global government of peace and justice. And the day of his appearance, according to some narrations will be Nowrouz or the Spring Equinox.

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