Rafed English

The Torch of Perpetual Guidance, an Exposé on Ziyarat Ashura of al-Imam al-Husayn b. Ali

The Torch of Perpetual Guidance, an Exposé on Ziyarat Ashura of al-Imam al-Husayn b. Ali by : Ali Asghar Azizi Tehrani

 

May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you. This work, a brief expose on Ziyarat ‘Ashura was originally translated as a work which would be sent via email in a series of ‘weekly thoughts’. It is for this reason, that we decided to keep each section short and concise – 400 words at maximum. Obviously, much more can and has been said and written about this visitation, which some scholars deem as being Hadith al-Qudsi or a sacred tradition taught directly by Allah (swt) to the followers of His path.

Since we wished for this work to be released during the sacred month of Muharram 1426 AH/2005 C.E, it was decided to publish this work in electronic format in its summarized version.

Insha-Allah, with the power and permission of Allah (swt), we intend to revisit this translation, refer back to the original source and present a complete look at the explanation of this beautiful and moving greeting. This work is, Insha-Allah, expected to be ready by the ‘Arbain (40th) of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) and his family and friends.

It should be noted that whereas we have tried to remain faithful to the original text, we have added our own thoughts into some segments to better assist in this brief understanding – these will be amended in the final version.

... and I have no success in my work except with the permission of Allah ...
In the Name of Allah, the Source of General Mercy to all Humanity, the Source of Specific Grace to the Believers

Peace be upon you O’ Aba ‘Abdillah; Peace be upon you O’ son of the Messenger of Allah; Peace be upon you O’ son of the Commander of the Faithful and the son of the leader of the inheritors (of the Prophet); Peace be upon you O’ son of Fatimah, the leader of the women of the entire Universe.
 
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللّٰهِ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ أَمِيرِ الْـمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَابْنَ سَيِّدِ الْوَصِيِّينَ،أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ فَاطِمَةَ سَيِّدَةِ نِسآءِ الْعالَـمِينَ،
Peace be upon you O’ the one who was killed and whose blood has not yet been avenged – and whose avenging is in the hands of Allah and peace be upon you, the son of one who was killed and whose blood has not yet been avenged (Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib) and peace be upon you O’ the one who was alone, an individual (killed). Peace be upon you and also upon those souls who accompanied you to your annihilation.
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ثَارَ اللّٰهِ وَابْنَ ثَارِهِ وَالْوِتْرَ الْـمَوْتُورَ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلىٰ الأَرْوَاحِ الَّتِي حَلَّتْ بِفِنَآئِكَ،
Upon you and upon all of those (who were killed) is the Salam of Allah from me for eternity, as long as the night and the day remain.
عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعاً سَلاَمُ اللّٰهِ أَبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهارُ،
O’ Aba ‘Abdillah! Surely the tribulations are great and unbearable and your tragedy is great for us, and for all the people of Islam and unbearable and great is your tragedy in the heavens and for all of the dwellers of the heavens.
يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ، لَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ الرَّزِيَّةُ وَجَلَّتْ وَعَظُمَتِ الْـمُصِيبَةُ بِكَ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلىٰ جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ الإِِسْلاَمِ، وَجَلَّتْ وَعَظُمَتْ مُصِيبَتُكَ فِي السَّمٰوَاتِ عَلىٰ جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ السَّمٰوَاتِ،
May the curse (La’n) be upon those people who laid down the foundations for the oppression and wrongs done upon you, the family of the Prophet [Ahlul Bayt].
فَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ أُمَّةً أَسَّسَتْ أَسَاسَ الظُّلْمِ وَالْـجَوْرِ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ
May Allah curse those people who denied you your position (O’ Ahlul Bayt) and removed you from your rank which Allah himself had granted you.
وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ أُمَّةً دَفَعَتْكُمْ عَنْ مَقَامِكُمْ وَأَزَالَتْكُمْ عَنْ مَرَاتِبِكُمُ الَّتِي رَتَّبَكُمُ اللّٰهُ فِيهَا،
May the curse of Allah be upon those people who killed you and may the curse of Allah be upon those people who made it easy for them by preparing the grounds of your killing.
وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ أُمَّةً قَتَلَتْكُمْ، وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ الْـمُمَهِّدِينَ لَـهُمْ بِالتَّمْكِينِ مِنْ قِتَالِكُمْ،
I turn to Allah and I turn towards you and turn away from them and their adherents, followers and friends.
بَرِئْتُ إِلىٰ اللّٰهِ وَإِلَيْكُمْ مِنْهُمْ وَأَشْيَاعِهِمْ وَأَتْبَاعِهِمْ وَأَوْلِيَآئِهِمْ˛
O’ Aba ‘Abdillah! I am at peace with those who make peace with you and I am at war with those who make war with you until the Day of Judgment.
يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ، إِنِّي سِلْمٌ لـِمَنْ سالَـمَكُمْ، وَحَرْبٌ لـِمَنْ حَارَبَكُمْ إِلىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ،
May the curse of Allah be upon the family of Ziyad and the family of Marwan and may the curse of Allah be upon Bani Umayyah.
وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ آلَ زِيَادٍ وَآلَ مَرْوَانَ، وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ قَاطِبَةً،
May the curse of Allah be upon Ibn Marjana and may the curse of Allah be upon ‘‘Umar b. Sa’ad and may the curse of Allah be upon Shimr.
وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ ابْنَ مَرْجَانَةَ، وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ عُمَرَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ، وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ شِـمْراً،
And may the curse of Allah be upon the nation that carried out, saw and were silent at your killing.
وَلَعَنَ اللّٰهُ أُمَّةً أَسْرَجَتْ وَأَلْـجَمَتْ وَتَنَقَّبَتْ لِقِتَالِكَ،
May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. Surely my sorrow for you is great and I pray to Allah who has honoured your status and has also honoured me through you that He grant me the opportunity to seek your revenge with the victorious Imam from the family of Muhammad.
بِأَبِي أَنْتَ وَأُمِّي، لَقَدْ عَظُمَ مُصَابِي بِكَ، فَأَسْأَلُ اللّٰهَ الَّذِي أَكْرَمَ مَقَامَكَ، وَأَكْرَمَنِي بِكَ، أَنْ يَرْزُقَنِي طَلَبَ ثَارِكَ مَعَ إِمَامٍ مَنْصُورٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ.
O’ Allah! Make me worthy of respect with You through Husayn, peace be upon him, both in the transient world and also the next life.
أَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي عِنْدَكَ وَجِيهاً بِالْـحُسَيْنِ ˛ عَلَيهِ السَّلاَمُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ،
O’ Aba ‘Abdillah! Surely I seek closeness to Allah and to His Messenger and to the Commander of the Faithful and to Fatimah and to Hasan and to you through love of you and through distancing myself from those who laid the foundations and those who built upon and carried out oppression and cruelty upon you all and upon your followers.
يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ، إِنِّي أَتَقَرَّبُ إِلىٰ اللّٰهِ، وَإِلىٰ رَسُولِهِ، وَإِلىٰ أَمِيرِ الْـمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَإِلىٰ فَاطِمَةَ، وَإِلىٰ الْـحَسَنِ، وَإِلَيْكَ بِـمُوَالاَتِكَ، وَبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِـمَّـنْ قَاتَلَكَ، وَالْـجَوْرِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَبْرَأُ إِلىٰ اللّٰهِ وَإِلىٰ رَسُولِهِ مِـمَّنْ أَسَّسَ أَسَاسَ ذٰلِكَ وَ بَنىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُنْيَانَهُ، وَجَرىٰ فِي ظُلْمِهِ وَجَوْرِهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَلىٰ أَشْيَاعِكُمْ،
I disassociate myself from them through Allah and through all of you and I seek nearness to Allah and then to you through love for you and your friends and disassociation with your enemies and from those who want to fight against you and disassociation from their adherents and followers.
بَرِئْتُ إِلىٰ اللّٰهِ وَإِلَيْكُمْ مِنْهُمْ، وَأَتَقَرَّبُ إِلىٰ اللّٰهِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْكُمْ بِـمُوَالاَتِكُمْ وَمُوَالاَةِ وَلِيِّكُمْ، وَبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِنْ أَعْدَائِكُمْ، وَالنَّاصِبِينَ لَكُمُ الْـحَرْبَ، وَبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِنْ أَشْيَاعِهِمْ وَأَتْبَاعِهِمْ،
Surely I am at peace with those who are at peace with you and I am at war with those who are at war with you and I am a friends to those who are friends to you and I am an enemy to those who are enemies to you.
إِنِّي سِلْمٌ لـِمَنْ سَالَـمَكُمْ، وَحَرْبٌ لِـمَنْ حَارَبَكُمْ، وَوَلِيٌّ لـِمَنْ وَالاَكُمْ، وَعَدُوٌّ لِـمَنْ عَادَاكُمْ،
So then I ask Allah who has honoured me with a cognizance of all of you and a cognizance of your friends that He also grant me the opportunity to disassociate myself from your enemies and that He place me with you – both in the transient world and also in the next life – and that he make me firm in your presence with a truthful stance both in the transient world and also the next life.
فَأَسْأَلُ اللّٰهَ الَّذِي أَكْرَمَنِي بِـمَعْرِفَتِكُمْ، وَمَعْرِفَةِ أَوْلِيَآئِكُمْ، وَرَزَقَنِي الْبَرَاءَةَ مِنْ أَعْدَائِكُمْ، أَنْ يَـجْعَلَنِي مَعَكُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ، وَأَنْ يُثَبِّتَ لِي عِنْدَكُمْ قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ
And I ask Him (Allah) that He enables me to reach to the honoured station with you in the presence of Allah and that He grant me the ability to seek the revenge of you with the rightly guided Imam from you, who shall surely come and speak the truth.
وَأَسْأَلُهُ أَنْ يُبَلِّغَنِي الْـمَقامَ الْـمَحْمُودَ لَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ، وَأَنْ يَرْزُقَنِي طَلَبَ ثَارِي مَعَ إِمَامِ هُدىً ظَاهِرٍ نَاطِقٍ بِالْـحَقِّ مِنْكُمْ،
And I ask Allah for your sake and for the status and rank which you have with Him that He grant me that thing due to me showing grief and sorrow at your sorrows even more than of that which he gives in a person’s own grief and sorrows, and what great sorrow and tragedies you faced! How great was your tragedy for Islam and for all of the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth!
وَأَسْأَلُ اللّٰهَ بِـحَقِّكُمْ وَبِالشَّأْنِ الَّذِي لَكُمْ عِنْدَهُ أَنْ يُعْطِيَنِي بِـمُصَابِي بِكُمْ أَفْضَلَ مَا يُعْطِي مُصَاباً بِـمُصِيبَتِهِ، مُصِيبَةً مَا أَعْظَمَها وَأَعْظَمَ رَزِيَّتَهَا فِي الإِسْلاَمِ وَفِي جَمِيعِ السَّمٰوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ.
O’ Allah! Make me at this moment, one who receives from You prayers, mercy and forgiveness.
أَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي فِي مَقَامِي هٰذَا مـِمَّنْ تَنَالُهُ مِنْكَ صَلَواتٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ،
O’ Allah! Make me live the life of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and permit me to die the death of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.
أَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مَـحْيَايَ مَـحْيَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، وَمَـمَاتِي مَـمَاتَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ.
O’ Allah! This is the day (the Day of ‘Ashura) which the Bani Umayyah rejoiced upon (and is the day when the) son of the liver eater (the son of Hind b. Abu Sufyan – Mu’awiyah and his son Yazid) celebrated, the cursed son(s) (Yazid) of the cursed (Mu’awiyah), as said by You and Your Prophet at every place and occasion.
أَللّٰهُمَّ إِنَّ هٰذَا يَوْمٌ تَبَرَّكَتْ بِهِ بَنُو أُمَيَّةَ وَابْنُ آكِلَةِ الأَكْبَادِ، اللَّعِينُ ابْنُ اللَّعِينِ عَلىٰ لِسَانِكَ وَلِسَانِ نَبِيِّكَ فِي كُلِّ مَوْطِنٍ وَمَوْقِفٍ وَقَفَ فِيهِ نَبِيُّكَ.
O’ Allah! Curse Abu Sufyan and Mu’awiyah and Yazid b. Mu’awiyah – upon them may Your curse be forever and eternity. And this is the day when the family of Ziyad were happy and so were the family of Marwan at their killing of Husayn, may the Prayers of Allah be upon him. O’ Allah! Increase upon them Your curse and (Your) painful punishment.
أَللّٰهُمَّ الْعَنْ أَبَا سُفْيَانَ وَمُعَاوِيَةَ وَيَزِيدَ بْنَ مُعَاوِيَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْكَ اللَّعْنَةُ أَبَدَ الأَبِدِينَ، وَهٰذَا يَوْمٌ فَرِحَتْ بِهِ آلُ زِيَادٍ وَآلُ مَرْوَانَ بِقَتْلِهِمُ الْـحُسَيْنَ صَلَواتُ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْهِ. أَللّٰهُمَّ فَضَاعِفْ عَلَيْهِمُ اللَّعْنَ مِنْكَ وَالْعَذابَ الأَلِيمَ.
O’ Allah! Surely I seek nearness to you on this day (the Day of ‘Ashura) and in this place (which I am in) and in all days of my life by disassociating myself from these people and sending curses upon them and through my love and friendship to Your Prophet and the family of Your Prophet, peace be upon him and upon all of them.
أَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّي أَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيْكَ فِي هٰذَا الْيَوْمِ، وَفِي مَوْقِفِي هٰذَا، وَأَيَّامِ حَيَاتِي بِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِنْهُمْ، وَاللَّعْنَةِ عَلَيْهِمْ، وَبِالْـمُوَالاَةِ لِنَبِيِّكَ وَآلِ نَبِيِّكَ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَيْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ.
O’ Allah! Curse the first tyrant who oppressed the right of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and the next person who followed him on this path. O’ Allah! Curse the group who fought against Husayn and those who followed them and supported them and assisted them in killing him. O’ Allah, curse all of them!
أَللّٰهُمَّ الْعَنْ أَوَّلَ ظَالِمٍ ظَلَمَ حَقَّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآخِرَ تَابِعٍ لَهُ عَلىٰ ذٰلِكَ. أَللّٰهُمَّ الْعَنِ الْعِصَابَةَ الَّتِي جَاهَدَتِ الْـحُسَيْنَ وَشَايَعَتْ وَبَايَعَتْ وَتَابَعَتْ عَلىٰ قَتْلِهِ، أَللّٰهُمَّ الْعَنْهُمْ جَمِيعاً.
Peace be upon you O’ Aba ‘Abdillah and upon the souls which were annihilated with you. Upon you, from me, is the peace of Allah for eternity, as long as the night and the day remain and please do not make this (Ziyarat) as my last contact with you. Greetings be upon Husayn, and upon ‘Ali the son of Husayn and upon the children of Husayn and upon the companions of Husayn.
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ وَعَلىٰ الأَرْوَاحِ الَّتِي حَلَّتْ بِفِنَآئِكَ، عَلَيْكَ مِنِّي سَلاَمُ اللّٰهِ أَبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ، وَلاَ جَعَلَهُ اللّٰهُ آخِرَ الْعَهْدِ مِنِّي لِزِيَارَتِكُمْ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلىٰ الْـحُسَيْنِ، وَعَلىٰ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْـحُسَيْنِ، وَعَلىٰ أَوْلاَدِ الْـحُسَيْنِ، وَعَلىٰ أَصْحَابِ الْـحُسَيْنِ.
O’ Allah! Particularly curse the first tyrant, a curse from me, and begin the first curse with him and then send the curse on the second and the third and then the forth (tyrant). O’ Allah curse Yazid, the fifth (tyrant) and curse ‘Ubaydullah b. Ziyad and Ibne Marjanah and ‘‘Umar b. Sa’d and Shimr and the family of Sufyan and the family of Ziyad and the family of Marwan until the day of Judgement.
أَللّٰهُمَّ خُصَّ أَنْتَ أَوَّلَ ظالِمٍ بِاللَّعْنِ مِنِّي، وَابْدَأْ بِهِ أَوَّلاً، ثُمَّ الْعَنِ الثَّانِيَ وَالثَّالِثَ وَالرَّابِعَ. أَللّٰهُمَّ الْعَنْ يَزِيدَ خَامِساً، وَالْعَنْ عُبَيْدَ اللّٰه ِبْنَ زِيادٍ وَابْنَ مَرْجَانَةَ وَعُمَرَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ وَشِـمْراً وَآلَ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ وَآلَ زِيَادٍ وَآلَ مَرْوَانَ إِلىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ.
O’ Allah! To you belongs the praise, the praise of those who are thankful to You for their tribulations. All Praise belongs to Allah for my intense grief. O’ Allah, grant me the blessing of intercession of Husayn on the Day of Appearance (before You) and strengthen me with a truthful stand in Your presence along with Husayn and the companions of Husayn – those people who sacrificed everything for Husayn, peace be upon him.
أَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ الْـحَمْدُ حَمْدَ الشَّاكِرِينَ لَكَ عَلىٰ مُصَابِهِمْ. أَلْـحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ عَلىٰ عَظِيمِ رَزِيَّتِي. أَللّٰهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي شَفَاعَةَ الْـحُسَيْنِ يَوْمَ الْوُرُودِ، وَ ثَبِّتْ لِي قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَكَ مَعَ الْـحُسَيْنِ وَأَصْحَابِ الْـحُسَيْنِ الَّذِينَ بَذَلُوا مُهَجَهُمْ دُونَ الْحُسَيْنِ˛ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.
 
The Du’a (supplication) is the act of speaking to Allah (swt) while the Ziyarat (visitation) is the act of speaking with the role-models and true examples of the faith sent by Allah (swt) .

Nevertheless, Ziyarat itself is also a form of speaking with Allah (swt) since the individuals being addressed are the Prophets (as) and A’immah (as) who are individuals that invite humanity to the worship of the One True God and to struggle against the internal and external enemies. Thus in reality, the Ziyarat is nothing more than speaking to Allah through the intermediaries which He himself has appointed in order for us to reach to perfection.

The Du’a is the act of travelling towards Allah-consciousness and self-knowledge while the aim of the Ziyarat is knowledge of the Imam (as) – and in actuality this is the same as having knowledge of Allah ? and knowledge of ourselves.

Within the Du’a taught by the Ahlul Bayt (as), there are four main points seen: shedding of tears and showing grief, expressing one’s needs, gaining a better understanding of the faith and beliefs and the invitation to stand up and fight against the enemies - internal and external.

This is the same thing which can be seen in the Ziyarat as well, however at the same time, we are calling upon and remembering those personalities who are the best and most perfect examples of these four characteristics.

By this we mean that the Ahlul Bayt (as) are the ones whose tears which they shed in their prayers are the most sincere drops of grief; they are best able to express their needs to their Creator in the most eloquent of ways; their understanding of the faith was the most complete and perfect, and lastly, they were the ultimate manifestation of those who stood up and fought against both their internal enemies and the external despots – each one in his own way and method.

Of all the Ziyarats we have, the best example in which these four points are manifest is that of Imam Husayn (as) – especially since he was the supreme expression of rising up for Allah (swt) and standing up in the face of oppression and tyranny.
The ahadith which speak about the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as) refer to it as being an obligatory (wajib) act which each person who claims to be a Shi’a must perform at least once in his life (this is in reference to the physical visitation of the Imam at his shrine in Karbala’ – since the spiritual meeting of the Imam from wherever one lives through the recitation of the words given to us can be performed at any time and any place).

Is this “wajib” commandment in the narrations the same “wajib” which we understand for acts of worship such as Hajj, Khums, Salat, Sawm, etc? Through this discussion and commentary of this Ziyarat, we hope to clarify this issue, however it suffices to mention here that this is an act which the Prophet of Islam (as) told his daughter, Fatimah Az-Zahra (sa), that a group of her Shi’a (followers) would perform (this was foretold over 50 years before the event occurred) and is something which each Imam has emphasized!

There are numerous benefits which have been promised will be granted to the one who pays his respects to the 3rd Imam and include: one’s sins will be removed, an increase and also Divine blessings in one’s life, removal of difficulties and the acceptance of one’s legitimate desires and appeals. In addition, the Ziyarat of the 3rd Imam is equivalent to the (spiritual) visitation of Allah (swt) and the visitation to His Noble Prophet (S).

It goes without saying that such benefits are not acquired simply by the physical visit to Karbala’ without any positive change in the morals and character of a person. This point shall be elucidated upon in detail in our next discussion, God willing so that we do not think that by a mere journey of a few hours and the recitation of a few words, that we truly become deserving of such bounties!
The Benefits of the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn
The benefits of visiting the Leader of the Martyrs (as) can be divided into two categories: the individual benefits and the societal gains. Although each of these categories contain numerous sub-categories, we will only look at one of each in order to keep this discussion brief.
The Individual Benefits
Without doubt, visiting the Imams, especially Sayyid ash-Shuhada (as) has a very great individual benefit to it since the true meaning of Ziyarat is “to meet someone” and “being one and united” with the person whom we are encountering – either through a physical engagement or a spiritual and esoteric meeting. From one point of view, we know that these personalities are infallible and without doubt, when a person meets those whom he likes to be around and are his friends, he takes on their characteristics or tries hard to be like them to “fit in” (positive peer pressure). Thus, when a person goes to meet those who are the closest to Allah (swt) in the spiritual hierarchy and who are the most righteous from the point of view of their actions and demeanour, he would definitely seek to emulate and be like them!

Just as a person who has been invited to meet the political head of a country or another personality would ensure that he looks presentable and would make sure that he has showered, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, worn the best clothing and applied the best perfume, so too when a person goes to meet personalities such as the Prophet of Islam (S) and the A’immah (as), he too must ensure that not only is he presentable from the physical point of view, but more importantly that his inside is purified of all sins. It is for this reason that Tawbah or asking forgiveness is one of the introductory steps before a person even entertains the thought of going for Ziyarat. Therefore, one of the benefits of the Ziyarat is both a physical cleaning of our body and also a spiritual cleansing of our heart!

Is it possible for a person who says ‘As-Salam ‘Alaika O’ Aba ‘Abdillah’ to be negligent of the noble ethical traits which this Imam best exemplified? Is it possible for a person who says ‘As-Salam ‘Alaika O’ Aba ‘Abdillah’ to be one who worships his lower desires, the wealth of the world and who shows veneration to the open enemies of Allah (swt)? If we see that we have gone to visit the Prophet (S) or any of our A’immah (as) while we have these negative traits within us then we should be sure that there is some doubt in regards to our visitation ...
The Societal Benefits
The societal benefits of this visitation can be best understood if we analyze the reasons why the enemies of the Ahlul Bayt (as) have prevented the Shi’a from visiting their A’immah (as) – those buried in Medina and Iraq, but more importantly, the one buried in Karbala’.

The enemies of the Ahlul Bayt (as) , especially the Bani Umayyah, Bani Abbas and even today’s enemies knew and know the power of the Ziyarat. They have probably studied the philosophy and true meaning of the Ziyarat better than we have and thus, understand that if it is carried out with a complete awareness of the individual whom we are paying our respects to, his or her own struggles against injustice and their motives in rising up for Allah (swt), and that if all of these were instilled in the hearts of those visiting them, that a great revolution would take place in their lands!

They know that the true meaning of the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as) is the rejection and overthrow of ‘their version’ of Islam and an acceptance and implementation of the true visage of Islam which calls for justice, equality and freedom for all.

The societal effects of this Ziyarat are ones which affect all aspects of one’s life – economics, social welfare, arts and humanities, literature, etc. In addition, something as “simple” as the placing of the Turbah during the time of Salat which we prostrate upon reminds us of two things: one is that we are all from Allah and from the ground which He created us and it is back into that Earth that we shall return. However more importantly we are reminded that if we are to go back to Allah, then the best way to return back to Him is through losing our life on the plains of Karbala’ – not necessarily the physical land of Karbala’ in Iraq, rather as the saying goes, ‘Every day is ‘Ashura and every land is Karbala’.’
Why Ziyarat ‘Ashura?
Of all the rites of visitation which we can read when we want to salute Imam Husayn and his family and companions, the best and most highly recommended one is that of Ziyarat ‘Ashura.

In this comprehensive visitation, we combine the concepts of Tawalla [Love for the sake of Allah (swt)] and Tabarra [Hate for the sake of Allah (swt)], the culture of self-sacrifice for the lofty goals of the society and the fact that we must never succumb to oppression and tyranny.

In addition, through such an encompassing prayer, the issues of Tawhid, Nubuwwat and Ma’ad are explained and we realize that without Imamate, these three principle beliefs have no meaning or power to them!

The truth of this statement is clear since if we look through history, these three beliefs have never brought about any serious change in the Muslim state of affairs [just look at the state of the “Muslims” today throughout the world] nor have these three beliefs been able to conquer foreign occupiers of the Muslim lands nor expel foreign entities who have illegally occupied our sovereign countries!

One Qur’anic proof of this point is the verse of Mubahilah (3:61) in which the Christians, who had come to debate the Prophet about the true character of Jesus the son of Mary, brought forth a very interesting point which all Muslims can learn from.

The delegation told the other Christians that if Muhammad brings his companions to the Mubahilah field then to go ahead and challenge them (as the companions - on their own - have no power or strength). However if Muhammad brings his Ahlul Bayt (‘Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn) then they must not go against him as they would definitely perish!

Thus, if the Christians of Najran knew the power of the Ahlul Bayt, then this is something which the rest of the Muslim Ummah also needs to realize and accept.

Therefore, by reading the Ziyarat of ‘Ashura, we are actually seeking to keep the Islam of Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan and Husayn .... up until Imam al-Hujjah alive and through this visitation, we reject the Islam of the likes of Abu Sufyan, the first, second and third “Caliphs”, Mu’awiyah, Yazid and the entire polluted chain of Bani Umayyah, Bani ‘Abbas and others.
The Etiquette of the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn
When visiting the shrine of Imam Husayn (as), we must first off realize whom we are going to visit and the etiquette which we must observe. Just as we spend time to look presentable when we have an important business meeting or a luncheon with a client, so to when we go to meet the representative of Allah (swt) on the Earth, we must also observe these and many other norms and etiquette.

In a long hadith narrated by Muhammad b. Muslim, he asked Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Baqir (as) in regards to the etiquette of the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as). He specifically asked them Imam, “Is it not the same as visiting the house of Allah and performing the Hajj?” To this question, the Imam replied, “But of course it is.” The companion then asked, “Thus, are all the things which the Hujjaj must observe also necessary for me to perform?” To this, the Imam (as) replied and stated: “It is incumbent upon you to deal with those who travel with you with goodness; you should speak less except for the remembrance of Allah; you must ensure that you are wearing clean clothes...”

The Imam (as) went on to list over 15 conditions for the visitor of Imam Husayn and concluded his statement by telling b. Muslim that, “If you observe all of these conditions, then you shall receive the reward as if you had performed a Hajj and ‘Umrah...”

These are obviously related to that person who is able to physically perform the Ziyarat, however many of them can also be performed by those who are reading this Ziyarat from far away.

In summary, the things which these sorts of ahadith teach us are that we need to mould our lives to conform with the way of life of the person whom we are visiting – spiritually. We need to show humility and humbleness in our day to day life [this can be seen in the fact that when we perform the Ziyarat we are recommended to go barefoot and walk with tranquility], we need to always look presentable when interacting with others [we are recommended to wear clean, white clothes and apply perfume to ourselves], we need to be ready and willing to assist those less fortunate than ourselves [it is recommended to give Sadaqa before the Ziyarat and to offer a gift to others] and we need to show moderation in our lifestyle [we are told that we should not eat heavy and fatty foods before such visits which may only make us feel tired and lazy]...

In addition to the etiquette of Ziyarat related to our physical presence, we must also remember the spiritual etiquette – the most important one being the rejection of all external despots and enemies and that if we need to be killed to keep our honour and dignity (just as Imam Husayn did), then so be it. After all, Sayyid ash-Shuhada (as) has told us that:
مَوْتٌ فِي عِزٍّ خَيرٌ مِنْ حَيَاةٍ فِي ذُلٍّ
“A death in dignity is better than a life in humiliation.”
 
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا أَبا عَبْدِ اللّهِ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَابْنَ سَيِّدِ الْوَصِيِّينَ، أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ فَاطِمَةَ سَيِّدَةِ نِسَاءِ الْعالَمِينَ
“Peace be upon you O’ Aba ‘Abdillah; Peace be upon you O’ son of the Messenger of Allah; Peace be upon you O’ son of the Commander of the Faithful and the son of the leader of the inheritors (of the Prophet); Peace be upon you O’ son of Fatimah, the leader of the women of the entire Universe.”
One of the etiquettes and traditions which is seen in all civilizations is the act of greeting one another at the time of meeting and departing. As we know, each culture greets in their own specific manner. The manner of those in the “West” is that of shaking hands; the far East cultures greet one another by slightly bending at the waist; yet others would remove their hat or at least tip the rim of the hat to greet another person. One of the traditions of the Arabs was to say “May Allah keep you alive”, however with the dawn of Islam, the greeting, as the Qur’an itself mentions is the saying of “As-Salam Alaikum” or “Peace be upon you”.

The true meaning of “As-Salam Alaikum” is not a mere “Hi”, “Hello”, “How are you” as we are accustomed to using today – it has a much deeper meaning than just a standard greeting. In actuality, there are three meanings for this greeting:

1. As-Salam, as we know, is one of the names of Allah. Thus, when we say “As-Salam Alaikum” we are actually saying that may the trait of Allah (as-Salam or peace and tranquility) be upon you and may He protect you;

2. As-Salam is also in the meaning of submission or surrender. Thus, when we say “As-Salam Alaikum” we are actually saying that we submit to what you would like for us to do (obviously within the limits of the Shariah.);

3. As-Salam is also in the meaning of protection or safety. Thus in this meaning, when we greet another believer with “As-Salam Alaikum” we are actually guaranteeing our believing brother or sister protection from any evil from ourselves and that we will not do a single thing to harm them – either physically or even spiritually. Not only would we not harm them with our hands, but we will also not cause them grief with our tongue...

Thus when we address Abi ‘Abdillah and say “As-Salamu Alaika Yaa Aba ‘Abdillah” we are saying that: ‘May the peace and tranquillity which Allah bestows upon His creations also be showered upon you. Truly, we submit to your mission and commandments and whatever you ask us to do. In addition, we shall not do a single thing to hurt you – either your physical presence or more importantly, your feelings.

In actuality, we are promising the Imam that we shall not break the laws of Allah (since our Imam grieves when he sees us doing this) nor will we do anything to trample on the sacred goals and objectives which he laid down his life to protect.

Literally, Abillah means the ‘worshipper of Allah’ and the literal meaning of Aba ‘Abdillah is the ‘father of the worshipper of Allah’.

The custom of the Arabs was that if a person possessed a specific characteristic, they would then refer to him as the ‘father’ of that trait. Thus we see that Abu Jahl was known as such not because his son was Jahl (ignorant) or named Jahl, rather it was due to the fact that he best personified ignorance and it can be said that he was the “father (leader)” of ignorance!

Similarly, one who had a strong love and affection for cats would be referred to as Abu Hurairah – not that he is the father of a cat, rather, since he loved and liked to play with cats he developed this title!

Thus, had Imam Husayn (peace be upon him) not risen and sacrificed his life on the plains of Karbala’, today Allah would not have been worshipped as He should be – the Shariah of Muhammad would have been replaced with the Shariah of Yazid and his likes – thus, none of us would have been worthy of the name ‘Abillah’.

With the murder of Imam Husayn, he gave life to the title ‘Abillah’ and ensured that we could worship Allah as He has required us to.

Thus for this reason too, he is known as the ‘father of the worshipper of Allah’. Therefore, any person who is blessed to be able to worship and submit to Allah has been given this blessing through the blood of the 3rd Imam.

It is for this reason that we are told, “Were it not for him (Imam Husayn) no one would have worshipped Allah, and were it not for him, no one would have gain cognizance of Allah.” In this first line of the Ziyarat we greet the Imam by recalling one of his greatest titles and also by mentioning his lineage (his father and mother) and his grandfather – thus, we keep alive the mention of these personalities at a time when people want us to forget them and to think of others! We also guarantee these four personalities that we shall not transgress their teachings nor shall we do anything to cause them spiritual harm and grief ...
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ثارَ اللّهِ وَابْنَ ثارِهِ وَالْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ
“Peace be upon you O’ the one who was killed and whose blood has not yet been avenged – and whose avenging is in the hands of Allah and peace be upon you, the son of one who was killed and whose blood has not yet been avenged (Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib) and peace be upon you O’ the one who was alone, an individual (killed).”
In order to better understand this line, it is necessary to offer the following introduction.

The custom of the pre-Islamic Arabs was such that each extended family belonged to a particular clan or tribe. If a person of one tribe, such as Bani Mudhirr was killed by someone from Bani Kinaana, then the entire tribe of Bani Kinaana was held responsible for this crime! A person from Bani Mudhirr was “permitted” to kill anyone from the other tribe as retribution – even if that person was not guilty of the killing! Such a form of ‘collective guilt’ was the way of the backward Arabs and can even be seen today!

Islam came on the scene and said that the one who is guilty of the crime is the one who must do the time and that ‘blind revenge’ is not permissible. It is through this custom that rivalries and wars came to a halt. The only people responsible in ensuring that one who was killed was avenged was his immediate family – mother, father, brother, etc...

With this said, we see in another Ziyarat of Imam Husayn that we pray, “And surely you are the (metaphorical) blood of Allah on the earth and you are the blood which has not be avenged by a single person on the Earth and which can not be avenged except by Allah, the One.”

Therefore, the ‘avenger’ mentioned in this Ziyarat is not the avenger of an act done by one person upon another person since in this case it would have been settled between Imam Zaynul Abideen (peace be upon him) and Shimr, Yazid and the others. This is not a killing which could be avenged in a few hours and with the killing of a few people. Rather, this is a case of avenging the death of a person who was the representative of Allah over all of humanity for all time and is something which can only be carried out by the One who had sent such a representative.

In closing, we recall the words of our 6th Imam in Du’a an-Nudbah where he cries out to the one who shall avenge the blood on behalf of Allah, “Where is the one who shall avenge the blood of the murdered Prophets and the sons of the Prophets who were murdered? Where is he one who shall avenge the blood of those killed in Karbala’?”
أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى الأَََرْواحِ الَّتِي حَلَّتْ بِفِنائِكَ، عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعاً سَلامُ اللّهِ أَبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهارُ

“Peace be upon you and also upon those souls who accompanied you to your annihilation. Upon you and upon all of those (who were killed) is the Salam of Allah from me for eternity, as long as the night and the day remain.”

This part of the Ziyarat includes salutations upon both the Imam and also the pure companions who sacrificed their souls for the cause of Islam and this instils a greater sense of love and respect for these individuals in our hearts.

Through this greeting (and also keeping in mind the three definitions of ‘Salam’ previously given), we make a pledge that our loyalty is to Imam Husayn and his companions.

Our greetings and pledge to our Imam do not end at the day of ‘‘Ashura – nor even after ‘Arbaeen – rather, our pledge continues “...as long as the night and the day remain.” Thus, for the true Shi’a, we keep our pledge and promise to the Imam until we leave this world – and even beyond!

It is clear why we greet and make this pledge to our Imam, however is it right to make such a pact with the companions of the Imam? Without doubt, if we study the lives of the noble souls who accompanied the Imam to Karbala’, we see that they are truly worthy of submitting and pledging our allegiance to – this is definitely not something we see in the companions of the Prophet – especially those who were in the Battle of Uhud who fled the scene of the battle, looking for the spoils of war!
يَا أَبا عَبْدِ اللّهِ، لَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ الرَّزِيَّةُ وَجَلَّتْ وَعَظُمَتِ الْمُصِيبَةُ بِكَ عَلَيْنا وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ الإِسْلامِ، وَجَلَّتْ وَعَظُمَتْ مُصِيبَتُكَ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ عَلَى جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ السَّمَاوَاتِ

“O’ Aba ‘Abdillah! Surely the tribulations are great and unbearable and your tragedy is great for us, and for all the people of Islam and unbearable and great is your tragedy in the heavens and for all of the dwellers of the heavens.”

In this section of the Ziyarat, we address our Imam directly and recall the tragedies which befell him and our grief and remorse at what occurred on the plains of Karbala’.

The historians have stated that from the first day of creation until the Resurrection comes, the tribulations which Imam Husayn faced are the greatest and most severe – and there is no other historical event which comes close to what he went through. However, why such an emphasis on recalling this tragedy in this particular way and with such words?

The late scholar, Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari has written that, “Once, I sat down and tried to count the number of reasons why this event was so unbearable and I was able to come up with around twenty-one reasons and I do not think that there is any other single event in this world which could compare to this injustice...”

When we study the event of Karbala’ we see that no one was spared – the infant child, the young adults, the grown men, the elderly and even the women of the camp! Not only were they murdered in cold blood, but even after their death, they were not shown respect and this is evident from the trampling of their bodies by the horses and their decapitation and parading through the streets of Kufah and Shaam (Syria)!

In addition, we read in the Ziyarat that this is a tribulation that not only the people of the Earth feel grief and cry about, but even the Angels in the Heavens express remorse about! In this regards, we have numerous hadith, however suffices us to quote the following from the 6th Imam, Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq where he has said, “What is wrong with you that you do not go (to the Ziyarat of the grave of al-Husayn)? Surely 40,000 Angels are at his grave, crying, until the Day of Resurrection.”
فَلَعَنَ اللّهُ أُمَّةً أَسَّسَتْ أَسَاسَ الظُّلْمِ وَالْجَوْرِ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ

“May the curse (La’n) be upon those people who laid down the foundations for the oppression and wrongs done upon you, the family of the Prophet [Ahlul Bayt].”

The word “La’n” which is usually translated as ‘curse’ is one of those Arabic words with no direct translation in the English language. Its true meaning is to be removed and distanced from the mercy of Allah and does not mean ‘curse’ as in using a curse word (as we use in English). Thus, the ‘La’n’ which we make means that we are asking Allah to remove His mercy in this world from the people who brought the event of Karbala’ into being (and who also perpetuate their claims even today) and also for Him to not show Mercy upon them on the plain of the Resurrection.

In this section, we ask Allah to remove his mercy and blessings from those people – that part of the nation of Islam – who laid down the foundations of tyranny and this is in direct reference to those who took part in Saqifah of Bani Sa’idah – those who stole the Caliphate from its rightful inheritor, Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib(as).

The ‘La’n’ is not something alien to Islam or limited to the Shi’a since the Qur’an clearly tells us that this is something permissible for all Muslims and is an act which the Angels and Allah Himself also perform upon certain individuals! In Suratul Ahzab (33), verse 57 we read, “Surely those people who hurt Allah and His Prophet (Muhammad), the curse of Allah shall be upon them in this life and in the next...”

Without doubt, we can not “hurt” Allah – however we can do things against His religion and His chosen servants which He does not accept and which “anger” him. Without doubt, the killing of the one whom He had chosen to lead the community is one such reason for His curse to descend. In addition, without doubt, the killing of the son of the Prophet (Imam Husayn) is an act which hurt the Prophet. Thus, he has a right to curse such individuals and us being his followers, acting according to his Sunnah have every right to also curse such people!

As historians assert, had the caliphate not been stolen from the Commander of the Faithful in the event of Saqifah, the foundations for oppression and wrongs done upon all the members of the Ahlul Bayt would never have been laid. Thus, we ask Allah to remove His mercy from those who hatched the plots which led to this great tragedy ...
وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ أُمَّةً دَفَعَتْكُمْ عَنْ مَقامِكُمْ وَأَزالَتْكُمْ عَنْ مَراتِبِكُمُ الَّتِي رَتَّبَكُمُ اللّهُ فِيها
“May Allah curse those people who denied you your position (O’ Ahlul Bayt) and removed you from your rank which Allah himself had granted you.”

The Shi’a have a firm belief in the Imamate of the chosen members of the family of the Prophet as they form the completion of the faith of Islam and ‘perfect’ the message of the Prophet by protecting it until the end of time. In the opinion of the Shi’a, the role of the Imam is two:

1. Islamic Religious Leadership

All Muslims agree that in the 23 year span of the Prophet of Islam, even though the entire Qur’an was revealed, however not all of the Islamic laws were implemented and explained to the community in detail. It is for this reason that some Muslims believe that if there is no ruling in the Qur’an or Sunnah that they can apply Qiyas (analogy) to the laws – in essence, making up their own rulings. However the Shi’a believe that since there are 12 Imams after the Prophet, that they had the responsibility to explain and elucidate upon the rulings of the Prophet and to further develop these – based on their infallibility and Divinely granted knowledge. Thus, there is no room in the Shi’a teachings for making up rulings based on one’s own ‘opinion’.

2. Political Leadership of the Ummah

The majority of Muslims believe that after the Prophet, we are free to choose our own political leadership and even if an unjust and tyrannical ruler is placed as the head by the “majority”, then he must be followed without question! However, the Shi’a believe that Allah would never leave the community without a political leader and thus, the Prophet definitely appointed and made known his successors. In our present day and age, it is interesting that when Yasir Arafat was on his death bed, his followers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were talking about his successor to carry the cause of the Palestinians forward!

Just imagine, these people have the foresight to ensure a successor is groomed and appointed for the role of guiding a few million people from Palestine, however our Prophet would leave this world without doing the same for the entire Muslim nation of close to 2,000,000,000,000 people!

The ‘curse’ in this section of the Ziyarat is directed towards those people who denied a group of people their God given right to rule and lead and who ultimately ended up denying the words of Allah and the Prophet by electing their own leaders! From this line we also understand that Islam is not only “prayers and fasting” – rather, it is a complete system which includes the Religious leadership of the community and all of its aspects: social, political, economic, artistic and all other dimensions.

Thus, we reject any form of “Islam” if it does not conform to the Islam of Rasulullah, ‘Ali, Hasan and Husayn and the rest of the infallibles (peace be upon all of them).
وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ أُمَّةً قَتَلَتْكُمْ، وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ الْمُمَهِّدِينَ لَـهُمْ بِالتـَّمْكِينِ مِنْ قِتالِكُمْ
“May the curse of Allah be upon those people who killed you and may the curse of Allah be upon those people who made it easy for them by preparing the grounds of your killing.”
The meaning of “...those people who killed you...” is a direct reference to Yazid, Shimr and the other criminals who directly carried out the war against the successor of the Prophet and may also be in reference to those people who killed the first 11 Imams.
As for who “...those people who made it easy for them...”, we alluded to this in our previous discussion and once again reiterate that these people are none other than those who laid the foundation of Karbala’ while they battled for power in the Saqifah of Bani Sa’ida.
بَرِئْتُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَإِلَيْكُمْ مِنْهُمْ وَأَشْياعِهِمْ وَأَتْباعِهِمْ وَأَوْلِيائِهِمْ
“I turn to Allah and I turn towards you and turn away from them and their adherents, followers and friends.”
Not only do we curse and ask Allah to remove His mercy from these people, but once we have carried this Islamic injunction out, we then attest that we hold firmly to Allah and the Ahlul Bayt and distance ourselves from not only the killers of the Imam, but also those who adhere to their ideology and accept them as their leaders, those who follow them (both in succession and also in the spiritual essence of the word) and those who are classified as their friends. Is this nothing other than “Tabarrah” which is one of our Furu’ ad-Din?
This belief of Tawallah and Tabarrah can best be summarized in the famous hadith from Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali Al-Baqir (peace be upon him) in which, when he was asked about the definition of ‘religion’ and he said, “...is religion anything other than love and hate...”
يَا أَبا عَبْدِ اللّهِ، إِنِّي سِلْمٌ لِمَنْ سالَمَكُمْ، وَحَرْبٌ لِمَنْ حارَبَكُمْ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيامَةِ

“O’ Aba ‘Abdillah! I am at peace with those who make peace with you and I am at war with those who make war with you until the Day of Judgment.”

This line of the Ziyarat acts as a continuous and ever lasting pledge that we make to our Imam that no matter what time and day we live in, those who are at peace and submitting to his Wilayat will be considered as our friends. However, if they are against the Imam, then we too will stand against them!

Thus, we are not limiting our enmity and hatred to those who killed the Imam in the year 61 AH – rather, this animosity and distancing from his enemies continues today in the 20th Century!

This line is very close to what we read in Hadith al-Kisa in which the Prophet himself said, “O’ Allah! Surely these (‘Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn) are my family members and those select individuals and my helpers. Their flesh is as my flesh and their blood is as my blood. That which hurts me also hurts them and that which brings grief to me also brings grief to them. I am at war with those who are at war with them and I am at peace with those who are at peace with them and I am an enemy to their enemies and I am a lover to those who love them. Surely they are from me and I am from them...”

This line in the Ziyarat should also act as a wakeup tool for us that in all times, we need to keep ourselves politically aware of what is going on so that we are sure to always be supporting the oppressed and standing up to the oppressors. If this is not the case, then we have surely made a mockery of this Ziyarat and of the sacrifice of our Imam.
وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ آلَ زِيادٍ وَآلَ مَرْوانَ، وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ قاطِبَةً

“May the curse of Allah be upon the family of Ziyad and the family of Marwan and may the curse of Allah be upon Bani Umayyah.”

At this point in the Ziyarat, we now begin to relate some of the names of the criminals responsible for the massacre in Karbala’ by listing three specific families and tribes: the family of Ziyad, the family of Marwan, and the corrupt tree of Bani Umayyah. The history of these three groups would take us pages to narrate, however we offer a few highlights of their infamous lives so that this Ziyarat is better understood.

1) Who was Ziyad and why curse him and his family? His own lineage is not known since his mother was a known adulteress and has thus been attributed to being the son of no less than seven different men – it is for this reason that he is sometimes referred to as Ziyad the son of his father! In the beginning, Ziyad was a staunch follower of Imam ‘Ali (peace be upon him) and was appointed to the region of Fars (Iran) as a governor. He was also loyal to Imam Husayn during the initial period of his Imamate however very shortly, Mua’wiyah managed to buy him out and use him for his own wicked games. He was appointed by Mua’wiyah as the governor of Kufah at which time he killed numerous Shi’a and caused great problems for the followers of ‘Ali.

2) Marwan was the son of Hakam b. Abil Aas b. Umayyah and was the uncle of Uthman b. Affan (the 3rd Caliph). He and his father were exiled by the Prophet and remained out of Madinah during the reign of the first two caliphs and it was Uthman who permitted them back (thus going against the Prophet) and also granted Marwan huge sums of money from the public treasury (after all, they were related). Mua’wiyah appointed Hakam as the governor of Madina and after his death, many individuals from his family took this position.

To show how despised this family was, it has been narrated that any time a child was born in Madina, the parents would take the child to the Prophet for him to make a Du’a for him. When Marwan was born the Prophet made a Du’a and said, “...he is the cursed son of a cursed father...”

3) The Bani Umayyah need no introduction due to their known acts of tyranny and oppression against the Prophet and the first 6 Imams. Insha-Allah, during this exposition, more light will be shed on the polluted tree of the Bani Umayyah and the evils which they wreaked on the Muslim society.
وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ ابْنَ مَرْجانَةَ، وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ عُمَرَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ، وَلَعَنَ اللّهُ شِمْراً

“May the curse of Allah be upon Ibne Marjana and may the curse of Allah be upon ‘‘Umar b. Sa’ad and may the curse of Allah be upon Shimr.”

Ibne Marjana is one of the people discussed in the previous section as he is from the family of Ziyad. Since his mother was an adulteress named Marjana, if we wish to refer to him by his mother’s side, he would be known as Ibne Marjana, while if we wish to refer to him by his father’s side, who was also an unchaste person, he would be known as b. Ziyad. Thus, (‘Ubaydullah) b. Ziyad is also known as ‘Ubaydullah Ibne Marjana – one with an unclear lineage and family tree.

What was Ibne Marjana’s role in the event of Karbala’? He was the governor of Basrah and then was sent to Kufah. He was directly responsible for the killing of Muslim b. ‘Aqil and also guilty of massing the troops towards Karbala’.

‘‘Umar b. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas is the second person cursed in this section. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas was a prominent companion of the Prophet, however like others, he let the material world and Satan get the best of him some time after the death of the Messenger of Allah.

Rising up in opposition to the Imamate of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, he refused to pledge his allegiance to the successor of the Prophet and after a lifetime of submission to Islam, ended

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