Rafed English

'Seena-Zani' or the Breast-Beating

THE SHIA YOUNG, in mourning for the great Martyrs of the Holy Ahlul-Bait, particularly for the First Holy Imam Amecrul-Momineen Ali and the Holy Imam Husain, the King of Martyrs, beat their breasts, sometimes to the extent of bleeding themselves. Hurting of ones self is of course not allowed in Islam. Shia'ism the Islam-Original, knows it and recognises it fully and has no sanction against it. But when it is a matter for a godly cause, it contents itself with exhortations from the pulpit and the press, and if the uncontrolled emotion of any of its enthusiasts in his extreme love and devotion to the godly cause, helplessly gives expression to it in beating his breast, the law has to be considerate and tolerable in view of the intention of the action not being any defiance of the law, but the helplessness to the love for the godly ones who suffered the miseries, tortures and the most cruel death in the way of the Lord. In such cases, mere common sense will say that the All-Merciful Lord will not only tolerate the well intentioned excess but love the expression of the extreme devotion to His cause. Thus the breast-beating in mourning for the great martyrs in the way of the Lord, is not condemnable but tolerably commendable, for hurting of one's self is prohibited if that be for any worldly cause besides God's and when it is in the cause of the Lord Himself, the Shia Ulema do not spare exhorting the enthusiasts to control their emotions while expressing their love and devotion in this regard, and since the action does not affect any of the fundamentals of Islam and the intention is not to violate any law which rather in a way strengthens the bias for devotion to a godly cause, it is not stopped by force. Such a toleration is illustrated in the historic event popularly reported about the great devotee of the Holy Prophet Owais-e-Qurani, who, with his own hands pulled out his teeth and this action is praised by the Ulema from the pulpit while they speak of the love and devotion to the Holy Prophet. Why should the same and identical action by the Shias for the Ahlul-Bait be seriously considered and unsparingly criticised instead of issuing an similar to admiration the one given to Owais.

There is an apt example in the practical and every day life of man to know how far such actions are ingrained in the native endowments in man.

Adapted from the book: "Husain; The Saviour of Islam" by: "S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali"

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