Majlis-e-Aza or the Mourning Congregations
- :S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali
WHEN THE TYRANNIES and the torturous death inflicted on the Holy Ahlul-Bait, could not be denied, the other course adopted to hide the most disgraceful and most brutal and heinous deeds is to declare the Majlisc-Aza or the mourning congregation for the Martyrs of the Ahlul-Bait who are the authentic custodians of the Holy Qur'an and its teachings as 'Bildt' and 'Is."tifr'. The Majlis-e-Aza is the 'Sunnat-e-Zainabi', i.e., what was inaugurated in Damascus itself by Hazrate Zainab the sister of the Holy Imam Husain, the Great Martyr of Karbala, as soon as she was out of the prison in Damascus. And what the Shias do today is only in the footsteps of the Holy Sister of the King of Martyrs, Lady Zainab who was one of the members of the family of the Holy Prophet, the daughter of Ali and Fatema, one of the great sufferers at Karbala, Kufa and Damascus, and who herself was martyred in the way of the Lord was buried in Damascus. This action of the Holy Lady Martyr Zainab has been regularised by the decree of the Holy Imam thus it has become a prescribed duty of every true Muslim to carry out the godly command.
When the Majlise-Aza for the mourning of the Martyrs is criticised, what about the Weelaf' and the 'Gyarwin Sherif' celebrated every year which had their origin only recently. Can any one prove from any historic record of accepted authenticity like Tabari etc., that any such celebrations were ever held in the ancient days even a century ago anywhere in the world ? Why then this innovation now ? And if such celebrations are commendable for the Holy Prophet or any other person held as Holy, what objection can there be against a similar commemoration for the Holy Ones of the Ahlul-Bait ? The objection can no doubt be if it is to stop the narration of the torturous sufferings inflicted on the holy ones, which automatically disclose as to who the devils of the tyrants were, who enacted the heartless massacres of the godly ones of the Ahlul-Bait of the Holy Prophet.
The fundamental or the basic point underlying the mourning by the Shias for the great martyrs of the Holy Ahlul-Bait is, not merely for the death of those holy ones for, death is there for every one except God. The Shias know it fully well that those who die in the way of the Lord, are not dead but alive (2:154, 3:168). The great martyrs of the Holy Ahlul-Bait have reached the glorious heavenly destination of the life, of the highest eternal bliss exclusively reserved for them by their Lord. Any one, be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim, and a friend or even a foe, if he is only a human being and not a brute, will naturally feel for the miserable sufferings and the painful death of another human being, particularly when the sufferers are godly ones surrendering their selves for the Truth. Only those who are void of the basic human qualities of feelings, will remain effectless and unmoved under such circumstances.
The Majlis-e-Aza has also been declared 'Bid'at' i.e., an unwarranted innovation saying that mourning for the dead is forbidden by Islam. The hollowness of this allegation against the natural act of expressing fellow feelings has already been dealt with above. Even granting for a while that mourning for the dead is forbidden, none can show any objection from Islam to the oppressed or the aggrieved protesting against the miseries inflicted on them. The Majlis-e-Aza is a congregational protest against the brutal atrocities inflicted on the godly members of the family of the Holy Prophet as a revenge against Islam itself. None will object to such protests excepting those responsible for the brutal actions or those who support the devilish conduct and character of those who are temperamentally identical with the brutes possessing the same devilish tendencies.
The actuating factor behind all this mischievous move to mislead the muslims and to create dissensions among them, is only Satan who, during the lifetime of the Holy Ones, instigated his disciples the tyrants, to inflict the most painful miseries and the torturous death on God's commissioned guides to humanity, and now the same Devil is busy beguiling the ignorant ones among the muslims by inspiring in their minds all sorts of doubts and false notions against the truth and those who have been successfully converted by Satan are employed by him as his missionaries spreading the falsehood.
By God's grace, all the awakened minds in the ranks of Islam be they Shias or Sunnis or of any other school of thought, are unanimous in paying the due regard and reverence to the Holy Ahlul-Bait, particularly in the matter of Husain, all Muslims arc united. Each one of the sincere lovers of Islam today is ready to surrender his all for the Holy Prophet and the Holy Ahlul-Batt, more particularly for Husain, the King of Martyrs.
'TAQLEED.' The only, the greatest, and the best protection afforded in Shia'ism, against the continuous as well as the occasional raids by Satan and his disciple missionaries is the ordinance about 'Taqleed' (16:43) or to always abide by the '.-1'line or the Most learned one, called the 'Mujtahid'. This course guides one always to the right or the correct way of the practice of the faith and protects him from committing any excess and from shortcomings, and at the same time the individual from being exploited by the instigations of the satanic forces.
'Taqleed' has also been misinterpreted into the innovated institution of the 'Mureeds' blindly following the 'Firs'. Be it known that being guided by a Mujtahid in matters of doubt about the practice of the Faith, has nothing in common with it, and can never he compared to any such unwarranted blind following. Taqleed is only being attached to any one of the greatest scholars who has reached the level of 'ljtehad' (i.e., the ability to derive the required correct inference from the Holy Qur'an or the genuine traditions of the Holy Prophet) in matters of doubt about any articles of the practice of the Faith 'Furu-e-Deen."Taqleed' or any kind of following any one in the articles of faith i.e., 'Usool-e-Deen' is Warant" (i.e., prohibited). As every one of the adherents of the Faith cannot be expected to know all the minutest details about the practice of the Faith, or be able to draw the correct inference about any doubts, from the Word of God, the Holy Qur'an, and the Hadith or the Sayings of the Holy Prophet, the divinely prescribed course to keep a muslim always on the right course of his practical life, as well as to protect him from getting astray by the misgivings from the ill-informed or less-informed one is l'aqleed' by which one chooses of his own independent discretion any one of the accredited scholars who in his considered opinion is the greatest one of the most learned and the most pious ones of the age, and is always guided by the directive of such a scholar in all matters of the individual's doubts regarding any matter of the practice of the Faith. By this course one is not only assured of the best possible guidance in the right course, by the highest intellect of the age but also of the safety against his getting deluded by the unqualified, misqualified or purposeful misgivings by any one.
Since the practice of the Faith by any adherent, unbounded by this course of, Tagleed', it cannot doubtlessly be free from irregularities, hence it will naturally be unacceptable.
The question of following the highest authority in knowledge and piety, is only in the case of 'Fatima' or the opinion of the Scholar about the law and not about the application of the law for which 'ljtehad' is sufficient. The caution that Shia'ism, the Islam-Original, has sounded against the ruinous effects of unqualified administration of justice is worthy of note here for the information of the sincere adherents of Islam, i.e., the special importance Shia'ism attaches to Justice being meted out in the proper manner, and to the extraordinary care taken against any unqualified and defective administration of it. The following is the decree of the Sixth Holy Imam, Jafar ibne Muhammad the Regulator of the Shia faith:
This declaration clearly warns any unqualified one without any authority from the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imam, who assumes the seat of 'Qazaiat' or (Justice) will be none but the evil one. Hence a ',.(2_azi' (a judge) can be none but a 'Mujtahid' who gets himself qualified under the declaration of the Imam reported above.
While condemning the yielding to the rule of Taghoot' i.e., an authority without the divine sanction, the Sixth Holy Imam Jafar-ibne Muhammad As-Sadiq said that 'instead of submitting to such tyrant, seek the greatest of the scholars among you, who has learnt our traditions and gained deep insight into our sanctions and prohibitions and who knows our rulings well and accept him as your Judge (i.e. Qazi) and your Ruler, as I have appointed him to rule over you. And if he gives a ruling and if it is not accepted by any one, it will be the contempt of God's Sovereignty which is almost 'Shirk' i.e., the recognition of an authority beside God's.
The definition and the requirements of Vjtehad' and Tagleed' given below, are those that have been prescribed by the 'Alasoom' i.e., the Twelfth Holy Imam, as ordained by the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnat, as a part and parcel of the whole system of the Divine Sovereignty and the Absolute Theocracy which is implemented in the very term 'Islam' which means acceptance of the Absolute Sovereignty of God and complete submission to His will. It is on this basis that the institution of apostleship is established. God communicates His will to mankind through the chain of the apostles, which was consummated in the apostleship of the Holy Prophet of Islam through whom was presented .the Final Word of God in the form of the Holy Qur'an, and his own apostolic sayings. And in the continuation of that sovereignty and the institution of apostleship, the Holy Prophet declared Ali and the Eleven Imams in his descent, as the authority joined with the Holy Qur'an representing his as well as God's will.
When the period of the codification and the consolidation of the 'Kstab' and .'Sunnat' was completed, the age of the Imamat for that legislative purpose came to its conclusion. Hence the seclusion of the Twelfth Imam was effected though his hidden existence continues as a necessity, as a medium factor between God and His Creatures, in the process of the Creative administration of the universe. The Imams declared the institution of 'ljtehad' as given below, as the sole directive authority on their behalf, in leading mankind on the right path of submission to the sovereignty and the will of God, in all the practical aspects of the covenant which the 'Kitab' and the 'Sunnat' had already dealt with.
In short, 'Ijtehad' and 'Taqleed' are the supplementary institutions to 'Imamat' which in turn is supplementary to Risalat' (Apostleship) which as a whole is the manifestation of the Divine Sovereignty. There is no room left for any individual view or choice except that the door is left open for every human being irrespective of any racial or geographical bias or restriction, to qualify one's self in knowledge and piety to the level of 'Ijtehad.' The decree of the Holy Imam about the institution of 'Ijtehad' is as follows :-
Adapted from the book: "Husain; The Saviour of Islam" by: "S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali"
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