Rafed English

The Ziyara To Al-Husayn: Its Objectives and Aims

Perhaps, it may be that one of the things which distinguishes the Imamite Shi'a from many other Muslims is their extraordinary concern to make pilgrimages to saintly men and women in the history of Islam, and their intense eagerness to practise this continually.

The foremost of these saintly men is the Apostle of God and, after him, the Imams of the Holy Family. The foremost of the latter is Imam al-Husayn ibn 'Ali. Added to these are some women who enjoy a special status in the history of Islam, in general, or the history of Shi'ism, in particular. At the head of these women comes the Lady Fatima the Fair. Then there is the Lady Zaynab, daughter of Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. After her, there are the women who have participated, in one way or another, in the history of Islam in general, or the history of Shi'ism in particular.

There is a widespread belief in the minds of the people, even in the minds of a great majority of the Shi'a themselves, in recent times, that the motives for making these pilgrimages (ziyara) are connected with the veneration of the persons to whom the pilgrimages are made, because they are noble in the eyes of God, and therefore the pilgrimages are connected with seeking intercession by them with God, and with seeking blessing from God through their mediation.

In short, the widespread belief is that these motives bring the persons to whom pilgrimages are made and the person who makes a pilgrimage to them into contact; and that this is everything.

This, however, is a great mistake.

The mistake of non-Shi'ites in the understanding of this Shi'ite practice is a result of judging it from the outside without understanding it from the inside, and without understanding its processes in the political and social ideas of the Imams of the Holy Family. The latter have made the pilgrimage (ziyara) an established practice in Islamic legal tradition and something the Muslim practises continually as a political, social and cultural institution which has been established at the heart of the Shi'ite cultural cosmology.

The mistake of the Shi'a, themselves in their practice of such pilgrimages arises out of their failure to understand it as an institution which represents, in the history of Islam, the revolutionary core which has set itself up as a permanent witness and critic of the existing government and its methods of dealing with the umma.

When the inner structure of the Shi'ite man begins to crack and abandon its basic virtue, his understanding of the practices, which were formed to nourish his soul and mind, changes. Then he changes them into practices which paralyse him and justify his defeatist position. This is what has happened to the Muslim individual in general, but here we are studying the special position of Shi'ite man.

The Imams of the Holy Family directed their Shi'a to make visitations to the Prophet and the Imams who preceded them in the service of a great aim. This was to keep the relationship between living Islam and the Shi'ite man throbbing with life lest Islam become transformed in his mind into mere ritualistic practices and dead jurisprudence.

Lest the formal practical patterns of Islam, with which the Muslim lives in his daily life at the level of government and society, should become merely repetitive patterns which have been accepted from the past. Whereas they should be kept alive in his mind as the sound, healthy and pure patterns of Islam, and they should be kept alive in his mind as the faithfu1 trusted practices of Islam.

When the Imams of the Holy Family made the ziyara into an intellectual, political and social institution, they intended to put Shi'ite man in living and direct contact with the sources of his Islam in thought and ideology, in application and practice.

The texts concerning the ziyara to the Apostle of God bring light to bear on the efforts of the Apostle of God in the call to Islam, in its spreading and in its consolidation, in addition to the expressions of praise, honour and respect for the person of the Apostle which they contain.

The texts concerning the ziyara to the Commander of the faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, include an exposition of his intellectual and practical efforts in the cause of Islam.

The same is the case with regard to the texts concerning pilgrimages to the other Imams of the Holy Family. Each of the approved pilgrimages includes a commitment before God which the Shi'ite man makes, particularly, with the person to whom the pilgrimage is made and, generally, with the Apostle and the Imams of the Holy Family, that he will remain faithful to their covenant, their faith and their practice. Here, we will give some examples of that:

O God, make me, in this state that I am in, one of those who will receive Your blessing, mercy and forgiveness. O God, make my life the life of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, and my death the death of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, may the blessings of God be with him and his family.8

O God, I testify before You to the authority (wilaya) of those to whom You and Your Apostle have dedicated it. I testify to my renunciation of those whom You and Your Apostle have renounced.9

…I testify before God, the Blessed and Exalted-and He is indeed a sufficient witness. I testify before You that I believe in You and will follow You in my very nature, in the legal requirements of my religion, in the impressions made by my actions and in my final destiny and resting place.10

O God, I testify before You and before those of Your angels who are present that I believe in them and reject those who fight against them. O God, make what I say with my tongue be a reality in my heart and a religious precept in my actions.11

There is much more of this material.
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Among (the prayers of) these pilgrimages which are recited at the shrines or places of pilgrimages of the Holy Family, those of al-Husayn ibn 'Ali are the most numerous and the richest in intellectual and kinetic content.

The concern of the Imams of the Holy Family has been constantly and consistently intent on bringing light to bear on the revolution of al-Husayn. It has made the memory of al-Husayn a firm and fiercely living presence in the public mind. It has put pilgrimages to al-Husayn at the head of religious festivals for the Shi'a in every part of the world.

The reason for that is that the revolution of Imam al-Husayn was the greatest event in tragedy and nobility in the history of the Shi'a. Even though Imam 'Ali waged many wars to correct the course of Islam, he waged them from a position of authority. On the other hand, Imam al-Husayn had embarked on his war of self sacrifice from outside authority, even against authority, and without worldly expectations.

It is because of this that his revolution enjoys a greater power of revival and a greater ability to influence and to outline the sacrificial example for Shi'ite man to face the difficulties of his existence under oppressive governments. From another angle, it is an exemplary, intensely stimulating and practical application of the changing of an intellectual attitude into a course of action and activity in daily life.
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It is, then, an absolute certainty that, in order for the pilgrimage to accomplish its influence, it must arise out of an awareness of the role played in Islam by the person to whom it is made, and of his attitude towards the struggle for the sake of Islam. This state of awareness is the preoccupation of many of the texts which have reported that the character of a pilgrim to al-Husayn is of 'one who knows his right."12

The knowledge of the right of the person, to whom the pilgrimage is made, means an awareness of the role which he carried out in his life, of his central position in the leadership of the movement of Islam in the two fields of legislation and application. Whenever a pilgrimage is carried out in the light of this awareness, it will strengthen the contact with dynamic and effective Islam in the heart and mind of the pilgrim because it will bring him into contact with dynamic and effective examples in the history of Islam.

Making a pilgrimage to the Apostle and the Imams of the Holy Family is not an idle pastime, nor is it a worldly activity. It is a spiritual act of worship. It is an action which is aimed at bringing oneself closer to God. Because it is an act of worship, the texts, which call for the practice of it and devotion to it, contain promises of reward from God, of forgiveness of sins and errors and of the granting of blessings.

This is a matter which can be understood when such a pilgrimage is put in the correct framework which we have elucidated, and when it does not become a mere act of celebration and veneration which a living man carries out to honour a dead man. When a Shi'ite carries out a pilgrimage, he is renewing his contact with Islam as a whole and he is promising God that he will hold fast to it, guard it and apply it in his life. It is an action which entitles him to reward and blessings from God in accordance with the principles of Islam.

From what we have mentioned the magnitude and great effect of this institution on the formation of Shi'ite man will be clear as well as the vast potentialities which abound in it and the extent of its ability to transform psychologically Shi'ite man from his position of surrender to a dynamic and active position when he regains the true concept of the pilgrimage and puts it into practice in the essential spirituality from which it sprung forth.

It also makes clear the extent of the burden of error into which Shi'ite man has fallen, as well as some of his spiritual leaders, when he conceives of the pilgrimage as being only a form of honour and veneration of a certain person and neglects the numerous aspects of the educational objectives which it aims at.
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The field of study of the pilgrimage is very broad as must now be clear. It includes the pilgrimages to the Prophet, all the Imams of the Holy Family and other outstanding men and women in the history of Islam, generally, and in the history of Shi'ism, in particular.

We are, however, compelled to limit our present work to the specific field of our study, namely the pilgrimages made to Imam al-Husayn as a manifestation of the revolution of al-Husayn in popular consciousness.

This field, in terms of the material which can be studied, is, as we mentioned above, the fullest of the aspects of pilgrimage and the richest of them in ideas and emotions. This arises out of the special position which al-Husayn and his revolution enjoy in the Shi'ite mind in terms of his important position in the continuous movement of correction which began with 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and has, in no way, finished.
IV. The Ziyara In The Legal Texts

Hundreds of sound Traditions have been reported from the Imams of the Holy Family, in many of which there is the call to make pilgrimages to al-Husayn and that this should be done at all times, as well as on specific days, and from near and from far.

Similarly texts have been reported from them, which give the pattern of the pilgrimages which are made to al-Husayn at specific times and on every other occasion.

In the same way the Imams of the Holy Family had performed pilgrimages to al-Husayn, themselves. By that they were a model for their Shi'a in this matter. The earliest example which we have of that is the action of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin 'Ali ibn al-Husayn. He used to go from Medina to Karbala' to make pilgrimages to the tomb of his father.

One of the Shi'a of the Holy Family saw him at the mosque of Kufa. Since he was surprised at his presence, he asked him: 'What has brought you to a land in which your father was killed?' He answered him: 'I have made a pilgrimage to my father and I have performed the salat in his mosque.'13 It appears from the question of the questioner that he was surprised at Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn's presence. This suggests that the pilgrimage had not yet become widespread and a familiar matter.

In what follows, we shall mention some selected texts which contain the basis for the legality of the pilgrimage as a principle. They, also, include the urging and wish for it to be done.

1. In a Tradition whose chain of authorities goes back to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ibn 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, the latter said: 'Order our Shi'a to make pilgrimages to the tomb of al-Husayn b. 'Ali. Doing this is a duty for every Muslim who acknowledges the Imamate of al-Husayn.'14

2. In a Tradition whose chain of authorities goes back to Zurara, who reported: I said to Abu Jafar (i.e. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir), 'What do you say about anyone who makes pilgrimages to your father when he is afraid?' He answered, 'God will keep him safe on the day of the greatest fear. The angels will meet him with good news and he will be told: Do not fear and do not be sad. This is the day of your success.'15

3. It is reported on the authority of Musa ibn Umar, on the authority of Hassan al-Basri, on the authority of Mu'awiya ibn Wahb, who recounted: I asked permission to visit Abu 'Abd Allah (i.e. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq). I was told to enter. So I went in and found him in his place of prayer in his house. I sat until he had finished his salat. Then I heard him address his Lord in private prayer saying:

“O God, forgive me and my brothers, and those who make pilgrimages to the tomb of al-Husayn, who have spent their wealth and made their bodies go there out of a desire for reverence towards us, out of hope for what there will be with You for them through contact with us, out of a joy which they have entered into through Your Prophet, in answer to our command and because of anger which they have entered into against our enemies.

By that, they wish for Your approval. Reward them on our behalf with happiness. Watch over them night and day and remain, in the best way possible, with their families whom they have left behind Accompany them and protect them from the evil of every tyrant, from every weak and violent one of Your creatures and from the evil of devils, both jinn and human. Give them the most excellent reward which they hope for from You through their absence from their homes and through their preference of us to their sons, their families and their relations.

O God, our enemies denounce them for their journey. Yet that does not stop them from journeying to us, out of opposition by them to those who oppose us. Have mercy on those faces which have been burnt by the sun. Have mercy on those cheeks which have twisted in grief at the hollow grave of Abu 'Abd Allah (i.e. Imam al-Husayn).

Have mercy on those eyes which have shed tears, out of mercy for us. Have mercy on those hearts which have mourned and been enflamed for us. Have mercy on that cry which was for us. O God, I entrust to you those bodies and those souls until you receive them at the watering-places of Heaven on the day of the greatest thirst.”

Mu'awiya ibn Wahb continued: He continued to pray while prostrating as he made this prayer. When he finished I said, 'May I be your ransom, if what I heard you saying was said to someone who did not know God, I would think that Hell-fire would never feed on anything of him. By God, I wish that I had made a pilgrimage (ziyara) to him and not performed the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).' He replied, 'I do not rejoice with you for that. What prevents you from making a pilgrimage to him?' Then he went on, 'Mu'awiya, why did you not do that?' 'May I be your ransom,' I replied, 'I did not see that the matter had reached all this extent.' He said, 'Mu'awiya, those in Heaven who pray for those who make pilgrimages to him are more than those who pray for them on earth.'16

4. In the Tradition from Ibn Bukayr, that latter said: I said to Abu 'Abd Allah (i.e. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq), 'I stopped at al-Arjan. My heart struggled with me about staying at the grave of your father. When I left, my heart was apprehensive and worried so that I went back out of fear of the authorities, informers and soldiers from the garrisons.'

He said: 'Ibn Bukayr, don't you want God to see you fearful concerning us? Don't you known that God shades anyone who is afraid, out of fear for us, under the protection of His throne. His reporter under the throne is al-Husayn and God keeps him safe from the terrors of the Day of Resurrection. The people will be terrified but he will not be terrified. The angels will bring succour to his power and they will quieten his heart with good news."17

5. In a Tradition of Abu'Abd Allah (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq), he said: "Ali (ibn Maymun al-Sayigh), make a pilgrimage to al-Husayn and do not abandon him.' 'Ali ibn Maymun asked: 'What reward will there be for anyone who goes to him?' He replied: 'For him who goes to him on foot, God has ordained a good reward for each step and the removal of an evil for each step, and He has raised his rank.'18

6. In a Tradition which is reported from Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, he said: 'Whoever would rejoice to be at the tables of light on the Day of Resurrection, let him be among those who make pilgrimages to al-Husayn ibn'Ali.'19

7. In a Tradition from Imam Musa al-Kazim ibn Jafar, who said: 'The least reward for one who makes a visitation to al-Husayn on the banks of the Euphrates, if he recognises his right, his sanctity and his authority as Imam, will be that his past and later sins will be forgiven.'20

8. In a Tradition whose chain of authorities goes back to Imam 'Ali al-Rida ibn Musa, he said: 'Every Imam has a mutual compact with his close associates and his Shi'a. This compact can be properly fulfilled and carried out by making visitations to their tombs. Whoever of them makes a visitation to them out of the desire to make such a visitation and in confirmation of their desire, for them their Imams will be intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.'21
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There are examples of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of texts which have come from the Imams of the Holy Family urging pilgrimages to al-Husayn in different ways.

Some of these texts came in answer to questions from different men; others were made from the beginning without any question in order to direct the thought of the Shi'a towards pilgrimages.

Because of these texts which are specific to the pilgrimage to al-Husayn or those in which the Imams urge pilgrimages to the Prophet and other Imams or other righteous men and woman a Shi'ite social and cultural climate has developed in respect to the pilgrimage, in a general way, and in respect to the pilgrimage to al-Husayn, in particular.

This has formed an emotional human tendency which constantly grows in importance in all lives and places which it travels through at all times and in all circumstances.

Among the evidence for the growing importance of the pilgrimage among the Shi'a is the story that one of the adherents of the Shi'a complained to the seventh Imam, Musa al-Kazim ibn Ja'far, that the pilgrimage to al-Husayn had become so well-known that the pious pilgrim was no longer able to practise it without drawing attention to himself.

This was something which was a negation of the piety which made a Muslim prefer to do good works secretly. He reported: I went to the Imam and said: 'May I be your ransom, people who know of this matter22 and others who do not, are making pilgrimages to al-Husayn. Even women are making the journey to him. It has become very famous so that I have held myself back going because of the fame which I have seen it to have.' The Imam stopped without answering for some time. Then he came towards me and said: 'O Iraqi, since they make themselves known, you will not make yourself known! By God, anyone who goes to al-Husayn recognising his rights, cannot but have his past and later sins forgiven by God.'23

Fear of the official authorities did not succeed in limiting the development and spread of this tendency. There are texts which indicate that the measure of the authorities only had a slight effect. It appears that this tendency-as the nature of things requires-began little by little. Then it constantly grew in importance and its scope widened.

It came to have fixed seasons which were formed at a very early period, at least in the time of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. In a Tradition recorded by 'Abd Allah ibn Hammad al-Basri, the Imam said to him: 'I have learnt that people are going to the tomb of al-Husayn from regions around Kufa as well as other people and women who mourn for him. That is in the middle of the month of Sha'ban. Among them are reciters who recite, story-tellers who tell his story, mourners who mourn and poets who recite laments.' 'Yes,' I answered. 'May I be your ransom, I have seen some of what you describe.' He said: 'Praise be to God Who has caused there to be among people, those who come to us, praise us and lament for us. God has made our enemies those who criticise them for being close to us, and others who threaten them and revile what they do.'24

It appears that the Imam meant the 'Abbasids and their followers by his last words.
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All the means of transportation known at that time were used in travelling to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of al-Husayn in addition to walking.25 The same is the case right up to the present time-the majority of the text lays stress on the importance of walking to make a pilgrimage to al-Husayn. In some texts, however, there is mention of boats.

The texts in Kamil al-Ziyara come from Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, with the exception of one text which comes from Imam al-Baqir. It is certain that this tendency had begun to grow and spread its scope during the Umayyad period.

Similarly groups of pilgrims used to come in crowds from the majority of the regions of the Islamic world at that time, perhaps even all of them. Instructions are mentioned in the texts to pilgrims who came from Khurasan, Arjan and Yemen.

As for those who were unable to get to the tomb of al-Husayn, they were able to perform the ritual of ziyara at a distance. The Imams have given texts for the ziyara to al-Husayn from a distance. The report of Malik al-Juhm contains an explanation of the appropriate actions for a believer to do when he is far from Karbala' and cannot travel there to perform the pilgrimage to al-Husayn. Malik said: I asked the Imam: 'May I be your ransom, what should someone do who lives far away from the place and cannot get to it on the Day of 'Ashura '?'

Imam al-Baqir replied: 'On that day he should go out into the desert or up on a high roof of his house. There he should give an indication of his wishing peace to be with al-Husayn and he should strive in prayer against his killer. After that he should perform two rak’as, doing that on the middle of the day before the sun begins to decline. Then he should mourn for al-Husayn and weep for him. He should, also, tell those in his house to weep for him.'26

In this way the opportunity was provided, for everyone and in all circumstances, to participate in and be influenced by the ziyara and through that to renew contact with al-Husayn and what he represents. This facet of the legality of performing the ziyara, even while at a distance from the tomb, which has mentioned, reveals the intense anxiety of the Imams of the Holy Family to fix firmly the roots of the institution of ziyara in every heart in order to provide the widest scope of its educational and guiding task.

While the performance of the pilgrimage is something which is recommended on every day of the year, there are special days and nights in which the merit for performing it is greater. They are: the Day of 'Arafat (Yawm 'Arafat), that is 9th Dhu al-Hijja; the Day of Sacrifice (Yawm al-Adha), that is the 10th Dhu al-Hijja; the Day of the End of the Fast (Yawm al-Fitr), that is 1st Shawwal; the Day of'Ashura', that is 10th Muharram; 1st of Rajab; 15th of Rajab; 15th of Shatban; and the Nights of Destiny (layali al-qadr), that is 19th, 21st and 23rd of the month of Ramadan.

Sometimes added to these times is the pilgrimage made to him on 20th of Safar, which is the ziyara of the forty days (on the occasion of the passing of forty days after the martyrdom of al-Husayn; that is from 10th Muharram to 20th Safar). On that day a great number of pilgrims gather at the tomb of al-Husayn at Karbala', even though it does not enjoy, with the religious scholars, the status which is accorded to the rest of the times for pilgrimage which we have mentioned earlier, because the narration for the pilgrimage after forty days has a weak chain of authorities and is supported by weak evidence.
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By this direction of theirs -in addition to the personal factor of al-Husayn and his revolution with every Muslim- the Imams of the Holy Family have been able to make the personality, revolution and tragedy of al-Husayn and what happened to him, his family and his followers at Karbala', into a living vibrant thing which is continually recalled.

By means of the performance of the pilgrimage, they have made it something which preserves contact with his reasons and objectives, something which brings praise and veneration to al-Husayn and his family, something which contains the pledges which the pilgrim makes before God that he will keep to this path and follow this way, also something which includes the denunciation of the oppressive deviating forces which committed their hideous crime at Karbala', and the denunciation of all other forces, later on, which followed those criminal forces in their example, their slogans and their attitude.

…May God curse a people who killed you. May God curse those who gave them the possibility of fighting against you. May I be innocent before God and you of them, their party and their followers.27

May God curse those who fight against you. May God curse those who ordered it. May God curse those who got that order and accepted it.28

The ruling powers, in the time of the Umayyads and the 'Abbasids and those who followed, became aware of the danger of this current and of its ability to produce a state of consciousness of the situation among the people and a repudiation of the dominant political forces. Therefore throughout Islamic history, various attempts were made by the authorities and their supporters, aimed at stopping the increasing number of pilgrims to Karbala'.

The attempts appeared in two different manifestations.

The First Manifestation was to put garrisons and guards on the roads leading to Karbala' to stop the pilgrims from reaching the grave of al-Husayn and to carry out various punishments on those who were apprehended. The punishment, on some occasions, was death.

It appears that this repressive manifestation was so cruel that its effects were reflected in the demeanour of the Shi'a in performing the pilgrimage. It was also the reason for the great number of questions about the rules for the pilgrimage in circumstances of fear.

It reached such a degree that Ibn Qawlawayh al-Qummi devoted a special chapter in his book with the title: Chapter Forty-five: The Reward for the Pilgrimage to al-Husayn made in Fear. In it he has recorded some of the things which have been set out by the Imams of the Holy Family in this matter.

Some of what he presents is reported from Imam Abu Jafar al-Baqir and the other part of it is from Imam Abu' Abd Allah al-Sadiq. This means that the repression of this Shi'ite practice existed in the Umayyad period and continued into the 'Abbasid period. In what follows, there will be some of the texts which Ibn Qawlawayh has presented.

It is reported from Muslim ibn Muhammad: Abu Ja' far Muhammad ibn'Ali (i.e., Imam al-Baqir) asked me: 'Are you going to the tomb of al-Husayn?' 'Yes,' I replied, 'but in fear and dread.' He said: 'The more intense this is, then the reward for it will be in accordance with the fear.'29

It is reported from al-Asamm that Ibn Bukayr said: I said to Abu 'Abd Allah (i.e. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq), 'I stopped at Arjan. My heart struggled with me about staying at the grave of your father. When I left, my heart was apprehensive and worried so that I went back out of fear of the authorities, informers and soldiers of the garrisons ....'30

Another example is reported by al-Husayn ibn Abi Hamza al-Thumali. He recounted: 'Towards the end of the period of the Marwanids, I went to perform a pilgrimage to the grave of al-Husayn, keeping myself out of view of the Syrians until I reached Karbala'. Then I hid myself in the area of the tomb until the middle of the night ....'31

Another example are the words of'Abd Allah ibn Hammadal-Basri to Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq: 'May I be your ransom, I used to go to the grave of al-Husayn until I became beset by the authorities who were determined to guard their wealth. I was well-known to them. So out of precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya), I gave up going to it.'32

Another example is the answer Misma' Kardin gave to Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq when he asked him whether he was going to the tomb of al-Husayn. He said: 'No, I am a man well-known to the people of Basra, among whom are people who follow the wishes of the Caliph.

We have many enemies among the tribesmen including those who hate the Shi'a and others. I could not be sure that they are not watching my situation on behalf of the sons of Sulayman.' (The Sulayman who is mentioned here is Sulayman ibn 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas, the governor of Basra.)

This method of combatting the pilgrimages to al-Husayn did not succeed in checking the overriding tendency which continued to grow in size and importance. The texts, which Ibn Qawlawayh and others have reported, and the fact of history confirm that this tendency remained firm and constantly increasing without the repression having any effect on it.

The Second Manifestation was the attempt to remove the object of pilgrimage. This was done by the destruction of the tomb of al-Husayn and the wiping out of any trace of it so that its place would become lost and would not be found. This manifestation occurred in the reign of the'Abbasid, al-Mutawakkil, through the decision he made to destroy the tomb of al-Husayn. We will let Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani tell us his methods in what he has reported of that time:

“Al-Mutawakkil was very hostile towards the descendants of Abu Talib, cruel towards their group and suspicious of their activities. He had great anger and animosity towards them and was very doubtful and suspicious of them. It occurred to him that Ubayd Allah ibn Yahya ibn Khaqan, his vizir, also used to think badly of them and the denunciation of their activity seemed good to him.

He carried out actions against them that none of the 'Abbasids before him had carried out. Among these, he ploughed up the grave of al-Husayn and removed all trace of it. He put armed garrisons on the rest of the roads. Anyone they found making a pilgrimage to it, they brought to him. He killed or punished them severely.

Ahmad ibn al-Ja'd al-Washa reported to me-and he was a witness of it: The reason for ploughing up the grave of al-Husayn was that one of the songstresses used to send their young girls to him, before he was Caliph, to sing to him when he was drinking. When he assumed authority, he sent for that songstress.

He learnt that she was absent and had gone to perform a pilgrimage to the tomb of al-Husayn. News of this reached her and she hurried back. She sent one of her young girls to him whom he was familiar with. He asked her, 'Where were you?' She answered, 'My mistress went to make the pilgrimage and she took us with her.' It was in the month of Sha’ban. So he asked, 'Where were you making a pilgrimage to in the month of Sha'ban?' 'To the tomb of al-Husayn,' she answered.

He flew into a rage and ordered her mistress to be imprisoned, and he confiscated her property. He sent one of his men, called al-Dizaraj-who was a Jew-to the tomb of al-Husayn. He ordered him to plough it up, obliterate it and destroy everything around it. He carried that out. He destroyed everything around it, demolished the building and ploughed up about two hundred fields around it. When he reached his grave, no one would approach it.

So he brought some Jews and they ploughed it up. Then he made water flow all around it. He put armed garrisons in control of it. There was a mile between each armed garrison. No one could perform the pilgrimage without being apprehended by them and sent to him.

Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Ashnani reported to me: My promise to perform the pilgrimage seemed impossible in those days because of the terror. Then I decided to risk my life to do it. A perfume merchant helped me to do that. We set out to perform the pilgrimage, hiding by day and travelling by night until we came to the area of al-Fakhiriyya.

From there we departed in the middle of the night and went into between two garrisons so that we came to the grave of al-Husayn. It was hidden from us. We began to sniff for signs of it and search for some aspect of it until we came upon it. The structure, which had been around it, had been torn down and burnt. Water had been made to flow over it and the place where bricks had been sunk down so that it had become like a ditch.

We performed the rituals of the pilgrimage to him. We threw ourselves down on the ground and smelled a fragrance from it which I have never smelled anything like. It was like some kind of perfume. I asked the perfume merchant, who was with me, 'What fragrance is this?' 'By God, I have never smelled any kind of perfume like it,' he replied.

We made our farewells and put marks around the grave in a number of places. When al-Mutawakkil was killed, we gathered with a group of the descendants of Abu Talib and the Shi'a to go to the grave. We removed the marks and restored it to the state which it had been before.”33

Al-Tabari has reported in his history concerning the events of the year 23634 : It has been mentioned that an official of the head of the shurta proclaimed in the area: 'After three hours, any man whom we find at his tomb, we will send to the dungeons.' The people fled. They were prevented from going there. The place was ploughed up and the area around put under cultivation.

We must presume that his terrorisation had some effect for sometime on the activity of the movement towards performing the pilgrimage and that it caused it to become moribund. Indeed the persecution seems to have increased in some periods to such an extent that the 12th Imam (al-Mahdi Muhammad ibn al-Hasan) was obliged to issue a general directive to the Shi'a in which he forbade them from performing pilgrimages to the cemetery of Quraysh in Baghdad (the sacred site of the graves of the two Imams, Musa ibn Ja'far al-Kazim and Muhammad al-Jawad) and the sacred site of the grave of al-Husayn at Karbala'.35

Even though the method of repression and the method of destroying the grave, in addition to the former, had made the development of the movement to perform these pilgrimages moribund for some time, or had prevented them, they had not succeeded in bringing them to an end in any final way.

The Shi'a seized every opportunity available to activate the movement to perform the pilgrimage, especially after periods of repression and persecution. Moreover, after such periods, the movement to perform the pilgrimage used to return in a more intense and varied form that had been the case before its prevention and the suppression and punishment of the pilgrims.

The only explanation for that is the fact that al-Husayn's revolution and personality continued to grow without any interruption in popular consciousness in a way which could not be stopped at any point, such was its size and nature. It is still growing and spreading its extent even to the present day.

After having got to know about the pilgrimage from the external aspect -its motives, history, preventions, circumstances, time and continuous growth- it is necessary for us to become acquainted with it from within -if that is the correct expression. We shall examine examples from the texts which have been reported from the Imams of the Holy Family of how the pilgrimage to al-Husayn was to be performed, together with a brief analysis of each of the texts.

We shall put forward here two examples of prayers of the ziyara of al-Husayn. One of these is long and detailed and the other is brief and general. The two examples should be considered as representative of dozens of texts which have been reported from the Imams of the Holy Family about how the pilgrimage to al-Husayn should be performed. Of a similar nature are those texts which have been laid down about how the pilgrimage to the other Imams of the Holy Family, apart from al-Husayn, should be performed.

These two examples are reported from Imam Abu 'Abd Allah (Jafar al-Sadiq).
V. Two Examples Of The Ziyara To Al-Husayn
1. The First Example

It is reported from Imam Abu 'Abd Allah Ja' far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq that he said: 'When you enter the Ha'ir,36 say:

1. O God, this is a position by which you have honoured me and distinguished me. O God, through it give me my desire for the reality of my faith in You and Your apostles.

The visitation begins with thanking God for honouring and distinguishing the pilgrim by giving him the opportunity to perform the pilgrimage. Then he prays to God that He will answer him and grant him his request for the reality of his faith in God and His prophets.

2. The peace of God be with you, son of the Apostle of God and the peace of His angels be with you in the pure fragrances which come to you and on you in the evening and the morning. Peace be with the angels of God, who bring men close to God. Peace be with the Muslims who have you in their heart and who speak to you of your great virtue with their tongues.

After discharging his duty of remembering God and thanking Him, the pilgrim begins by calling for peace to be with al-Husayn. Then he calls for peace to be with the angels of God. He goes on to call for peace to be with all those who believe in al-Husayn's attitude and who declare their faith in him.

This suggests that al-Husayn is not alone, nor is the pilgrim, who believes in al-Husayn's cause, alone; they are both part of a great movement which God blesses and sends His peace to its men and women through the angels. Part of this movement are the angels who bring men close to God; part of it are those people who believe and trust in al-Husayn with their hearts and who declare their faith in him.

3. I testify that you are truthful and trustworthy. I trust in what you called for, I trust in what you came for. You are the vengeance of God on earth for the blood whose vengeance will only be attained on earth by your friends.

O God, make me love their martyrdoms and their witness, so that You bring me close to them and make me with the first of them and a follower of them in this world and the Hereafter.

At this stage of the pilgrimage, the pilgrim declares his close bond with al-Husayn in terms of faith and principles.

First, he testifies to the truth of what al-Husayn came for and called for.

Secondly, he testifies to the fact that al-Husayn, when he made the sacrifice in his true and sincere mission, did not belong to any man, nor one group of people He belonged to the whole of humanity. Therefore he is 'the vengeance of God'. His vengeance, then, is a common cause which profiteers and deviators cannot deal with. Only the friends of God can deal with it '. . . for the blood whose vengeance will only be attained on earth by your friends.'

After this testimony, which signifies the bond of reason and principle with God, the pilgrim then turns to ask that God bind him emotionally to al-Husayn . . . 'make me love their martyrdom and witness.' This is for the sake of joining them in their struggle so that he may be in their vanguard in witness and a follower of them in principle in this world and the Hereafter.

4. Glory be to God, to Whom the angels and the Kingdom of Heaven give praise, and through Whose names all His creation is sanctified. Glory be to God, the Most Holy Sovereign, the Lord of the angels and the Spirit. O God, inscribe me within the group, which has come to the best of Your places, and within the best of Your creatures.

O God, curse idolatry and tyranny and curse their parties and followers. O God, make me bear witness to all the testimonies of God with the Holy Family of Your Prophet. O God, receive me as a Muslim and give me a sure place with those surviving inheritors who inherit Paradise, where they will dwell eternally among Your righteous worshippers.

Here there is a return to remembering and glorifying God. Then there is the prayer to God that He may accept his coming and his pilgrimage to al-Husayn, so that He will inscribe him among those who have come to him. This is a result of the pilgrim having already declared the bond of principle and emotion with al-Husayn and his revolution.

The pilgrim, then, announces his negative attitude which rejects the enemies of al-Husayn and of his call, including the Umayyads and the representatives of their policy in history, who were their followers.

He returns, after this, to the prayer with a supplication which comes from the depths of a soul thirsting to meet God in purity. Thus he prays to God that He make him among the group of His righteous worshippers whose lives form a continuous chain of striving for the sake of God, the end of which comes through the faith and Islam.

5. O God, ordain faith for me and confirm it in my heart. O God, make what I say with my tongue a reality in my heart and a religious precept in my actions. O God, make me one of those who have a firm footing with al-Husayn and establish me among those who were martyred with him.

At this stage of the pilgrimage, the pilgrim returns to asking God to establish him in the true faith. Here, the prayer of the ziyara includes assurance about an important problem of the true faith, in fact the most important problem concerning this faith. It is that this faith is not a belief alone; it is belief and works, ideology and conduct. What the pilgrim aspires to, is not a theoretical faith but a living active faith. In this way it becomes clear that the pilgrimage is employed in the service of a pure and practical Islamic policy.

The pilgrim, then, returns to al-Husayn and prays to God tha the will decree that he be among those who were martyred with al-Husayn in terms of those martyrs representing the apex of the vocation in which faith is transformed into works and conduct.

6. I testify that you are the purity of the pure and pure of purity. Through you, the land is pure. The earth where you are is pure and your sanctuary is pure. I testify that you ordered and called for justice, and that you are the vengeance of God on His earth so that He may arouse the feelings of all His creation because of you. The blessings of God be with your spirit and your body. You are the sincere one, the truthful one and confirmer of truth. May God destroy those who destroy you with their hands and tongues.

Here, purity means innocence from religious and moral sins. The holiness which al-Husayn enjoys arises out of his purity, not from any other source. This purity spreads wherever the pure man settles. The places, themselves, do not enjoy any holiness; their holiness only derives from them being a centre of action and activity by the pure man.

After that the pilgrim to al-Husayn testifies that his revolution was for the sake of justice; justice was its slogan and its objective. Thus, al-Husayn is the vengeance of God, not of any particular person or group, because the justice, which he strove to establish, was the justice of God.

Then, he testifies to his practical truth: a vocation which gives corroboration through action, effort, slogans and theoretical belief. This is what made him an opponent of those in power nominally in the name of Islam, who were men with slogans; the reality of their conduct gave testimony to their insincerity.

The pilgrim goes on to reiterate his renunciation of the enemies of al-Husayn, who are, at the time, the enemies of justice and truth.

7. Peace be with you, O martyrs. You precede us and we follow you. Receive the good news of a meeting with God which has no discrepancy. God will attain your vengeance for you and He will overcome His enemies on earth through you. You are the lords of the martyrs in this world and the Hereafter.

This salutation is to the men who bore witness with al-Husayn at Karbala'. On the occasion of every pilgrimage to al-Husayn there is a salutation and a prayer for peace for the martyrs.

In this salutation, the pilgrim declares that the martyrs precede him and he follows them, that they are all-both the pilgrim and the martyrs-companions in one journey of struggle. In this way the pilgrim binds his life to the path which the martyrs traveled and for the sake of which they died.

8. Praise be to God, Who remains One in all matters. He created the creatures and none of their affairs is absent from His knowledge. The earth and those who are on it are sureties for your blood and your vengeance, O son of the Apostle of God, may God bless you.

I testify that you will have from God the support and victory which He promised you, that you will have from God the truthful promise of the destruction of your enemies and the fulfilment of God's promise to you.

I testify that those who follow you are the true ones of whom God said: Those are the truthful ones and the witnesses before their Lord, they will have their reward and their light.37

In this section, after praising God and His unity, the pilgrim makes a declaration of the cosmic nature of al-Husayn's revolution, for the earth and those on it will be the guarantors for his blood and are not transitory, for the confirmation of realities which are eternal and which extend into the future of time and of man. Similarly it has deep roots in the past and present of man and time.

Then, the pilgrim speaks of hope, for the martyrdom of al-Husayn and the end of his revolution do not bring an end to hope, nor do they throw one into the abyss of despair devoid of action. Al-Husayn's cause is the climax of war in a long uninterrupted history of the struggle for the sake of the Muslim, and for man, in general.

Therefore, the divine promise will be attained, must be attained. For this reason, the Shi'ite works for al-Husayn's policy through the inspiration of the attainment of God's promise from this hope.

This section calls to mind the words which al-Husayn wrote from Mecca when he decided to leave his brother, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya and the Hashimites: '. . . Whoever joins me will be martyred and whoever does not join me will not attain victory.'38

At the end of this section of the prayer of the ziyara the pilgrim performing it renews his testimony of the faithfulness of the supporters of al-Husayn.

9. Praise be to God, Who has not taken a son and has no partner in His sovreignty. He created and determined everything. I testify that you called upon God and His Apostle, that you fulfilled his covenant with God and you carried out his words to God, that you strove for the sake of God until certainty came.

May God curse a people which killed you. May God curse a people which treated you unjustly. May God curse a people which forsook you. May God curse a people which abandoned you. O God, I testify in the authority (wilaya) of those whom You and Your Apostles appointed. I testify to my renunciation of those whom You and Your Apostles renounced.

O God, curse those who lied against Your Apostle, destroyed Your Ka'ba, distorted Your Book, shed the blood of Your Holy Family, spread corruption in Your land and disparaged Your worshippers. O God, redouble the torment on them for what has taken place on Your roads, Your land and Your sea. O God, curse them in secret and in public in Your earth and Your Heaven.39

In this section, the prayer of the ziyara reaches its climax. The pilgrim returns to praising and exalting God. We notice, here, that the remembrance, praise and exaltation of God permeates every section of the prayer of the ziyara. The pilgrim remembers God in a variety of ways throughout the prayer of the ziyara to al-Husayn, and his pilgrimage to al-Husayn is, itself, a kind of remembrance of God through remembering one of His righteous servants who struggled for His sake.

The pilgrim reiterates his declaration testifying that al-Husayn's revolution was for the sake of God. After this he curses all the forces opposed to al-Husayn's call and revolution: those who forsook him; those who abandoned giving him support; and those who killed him.

He, then, declares his firm life-long bond with the policy of struggle of al-Husayn, and his absolute renunciation of the enemies of that policy.

In an intense emotional manner appropriate to the psychological state which he should have reached when he comes to this stage of the pilgrimage, the pilgrim reiterates his complete and absolute renunciation of the enemies by cursing them through mentioning the features and acts which require such a curse: they lied against the Apostle; they destroyed the Ka'ba; they distorted the Book; they shed the blood of the Holy Family; they disparaged Your worshippers.

Here are clear indications of specific historical events. These include the revolt of Ibn al-Zubayr, al-Hajjaj's bringing it to an end and the destruction of the Holy Ka'ba.
* * *

This example of the prayer of the ziyara is representative of the largest part of the texts associated with the pilgrimage to al-Husayn.

It contains the following elements:

1. It remembers God and glorifies and praises Him. It declares the extent of His authority, omnipotence and magnitude;

2. It honours al-Husayn and the Holy Family as being representatives of the Islamic way of life, of the righteous conduct required by the Islamic way of life and of the true causes of a Muslim and of mankind, in general.

3. It mentions al-Husayn's revolution, his witness, and the martyrs and witnesses with him as the climax of the struggle to realise truth and achieve justice. It gives these a universal and cosmic quality in terms of those who are witnesses of it being 'the vengeance of God.'

4. It concentrates on the hope for the coming victory and it rejects despair.

5. It declares the life-long bond between the Shi'ite and al-Husayn and his policy. It also declares the absolute renunciation of all forces whose policy opposes the policy of al-Husayn.

All these elements are repeated in the prayer of visitation in several ways, in a variety of expressions and from different angles in order to attain one aim: to make al-Husayn's revolution, insofar as it is an application of Islam and its principles, something vibrant with life in man's consciousness, something which inspires him in his daily life through the ideas which are appropriate to it.
2. The Second Example

It is reported from Imam Abu 'Abd Allah Ja'far al-Sadiq that he said: 'When you come to the tomb of al-Husayn stand at the door and say:

1. Peace be with you, O heir of Adam, the chosen of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of Noah, the prophet of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of Abraham, the dear friend of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of Moses, the one addressed by God.

Peace be with you, O heir of Jesus, the spirit of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of Muhammad, the beloved of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of 'Ali, the entrusted delegate of the Apostle of God.

Peace be with you, O heir of al-Hasan, who gave satisfaction.

Peace be with you, O heir of Fatima, daughter of the Apostle of God.

In this example, the revolution of al-Husayn is presented from an angle which differs from the angle in which this revolution has been presented in the previous example.

Al-Husayn's revolution had been accused by the regime of having departed from the general policy. It was a rebellion against the legal authority and it caused dissension in the community. Therefore it was an aberration in the course of Islam and because of that it was without legality.

The Umayyads attempted to give this quality to the revolution of al-Husayn. It is indisputable that the apparatus of information at that time -the hired Traditionists and the story- tellers- attempted to give this picture of al-Husayn's revolution to the masses.

This attempt was not ordained to have its hoped for success, even though it did succeed in forming some of the insignificant views of some jurists and Sufis, fragments of which we find in some of their books, represented by unfriendly expressions towards the revolution of al-Husayn.

The Imams of the Holy Family and their followers among the scholars undertook to refute this falsification. Instead of the revolution of al-Husayn being made unlawful, the whole Umayyad regime was made unlawful. In the same way its extensions in time as represented by any regime, which bore the slogans of the Umayyads, were made unlawful. In a general way, the pilgrimage was one of the means of refuting and exposing this. This example of the prayer of the ziyara is more concerned with these points than other prayers of the ziyara.

In this example, the revolution of al-Husayn is closely connected to the movement of Islam which is deep-rooted in history of the life of humanity. It goes back in time to the first human existence which brought Islam in its first form on the earth as represented by Adam, the father of mankind. It goes on to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad and then comes to 'Ali.

From this viewpoint, the revolution is not an event without any precedent. It is part of the movement of Islam in history. It is an extension of the movement of the prophets of God and their entrusted delegates in time, place and man.

Therefore, it enjoys legality and thus it is its right that it should receive the support of all the Muslims. Its legal and political opponent, i.e. the regime, is what does not enjoy legality. Therefore it is men's duty to destroy the latter in order to bring victory to the revolution.

This is one of the aims of this example of the prayers of the ziyara Perhaps it has the greatest importance in the view of the Imams of the Holy Family.

Another aim is that the Shi'ite Muslim should be aware that, through the revolution of al-Husayn, he is linked to Islam in its furthest extension. Since Islam has acted in steering time in this manner, it does not stop at the revolution of al-Husayn.

Rather, it takes a new impetus and a new strength from this revolution and continues to accumulate the power of an active transforming movement through the conscious act of heroism motivated by a faith, which believes in it and works for the good of mankind through it and by its guidance.

2. Peace be with you, O truthful witness.

Peace be with you, O pious reverend entrusted delegate (wasi).

Peace be with you, O proof of God and son of His proof.

Peace be with the souls who dismounted at your open field of battle and remained where you stopped.

Peace be with the angels of God, who surround you.

In the previous section the pilgrim declared his awareness of the position of the revolution of al-Husayn in the historical movement of Islam, and his awareness of its legality and the lack of legality of the regime which it rose against. After that, the pilgrim declares, in this section of the prayer of ziyara, his awareness of the qualities which gave al-Husayn and his revolution this position in the history of Islam and its historical movement.

First, he is truthful and a witness. A truthful person transforms his faith into a living actual application. He does not leave it confined to the realm of ideology, nor does he seek comfortable justifications for himself. This truthfulness leads him on to become a witness so that he seals his life with the most glorious act of truth. He seals it by witnessing with it through, and for the sake of, his faith.

This reality is the reality of truthfulness and witnessing. It is what makes it suitable that he and his revolution should be among the outstanding features of the movement of Islam in history.

Secondly, he is the entrusted delegate (wasi). He is the entrusted delegate of his brother, Imam al-Hasan, who was the entrusted delegate of his father, Imam 'Ali, who was the entrusted delegate of the Apostle of God.

He is a pious reverend entrusted delegate. Through the reality of his being an entrusted delegate, he works for the religion of God and for the umma. Thus he bears a heavy responsibility and sacrifices his life to carry it out.

Thirdly, he is the proof of God and the son of His proof. This quality comes from his being a pious reverend entrusted delegate (wasi) of God. Through this quality, he was the heir of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

After Muhammad, he was the heir of ‘Ali and al-Hasan. They are proofs of God to His creatures. He is like them in being a proof of God to His creatures. He is a continuation of them, and his revolution is an extension of their revolutions and calls.

He explained to men and summoned them to God so that the authorities of his time no longer had any argument or excuse for shunning the guidance of God and the faithful application of the Islamic way of life demanded by God.

Finally the pilgrim takes note of the fact that al-Husayn was not alone in his truthfulness and his witness. His supporters participated with him in a degree of truthfulness and witness. They, then, are also a model which should be imitated, beacons through which one will receive light on the long journey to truth and justice. The pilgrim calls for peace to be with them to show his awareness of their rank and their great role.

The pilgrim brings this section to a close by calling for peace to be with the blessed angels who surround the grave of al-Husayn and the grave of the martyrs.

3. I testify that you have performed the salat and you have paid the alms-tax (zakat), you have enjoined the good and forbidden evil; you have worshipped God sincerely so that certainty came to you. Peace be with you and the mercy and blessings of God.40

At the end, the pilgrim declares his awareness of the essence and core of al-Husayn's life. It is living Islam. The relationship with God is represented by salat, a real relationship which always exists in daily activity. The salat is not merely the formal prayer which ends at the call for peace in it. The salat with the believer is something which encompasses within its nature the life and actions of the person praying.

The relationship with men is represented by the alms-tax (zakat) a form of giving. Thus his position with regard to men is the position of the giver, someone who sacrifices and pays no attention to himself and his own interests for the sake of others.

Movement in society is represented by enjoining good and forbidding evil. It is the movement of building society, building righteous man and a clean life.

The first feature of all these manifestations of the life of al-Husayn -in relation to God, in relation to men and as a movement in society- is absolute sincerity towards God, total absorption in God and shunning everything else except God.
* * *

These are two examples of the dozens of texts which deal with the visitation to al-Husayn and his fellow martyrs at Karbala' at all times and at specific times previously indicated.

The scope of the ritual of visitation has been broadened to include all the Imams of the Holy Family and the supporters who were martyred alongside them, or who accomplished an important area of work for Islam during the time of the Imams and at their direction.

The overwhelming majority of the texts concerned with the pilgrimages to the other Imams and their followers repeat the honour given to al-Husayn and his followers, the horror at what befell them and the renunciation of their enemies.

The pilgrimage fulfils the role which it is intended to fulfil in the formation and historical existence of the Shi'ite Muslim. It keeps him in living vibrant contact with the Imams of the Holy Family, with their vision and with their movement which provides opposition and yet is constructive.

It keeps him in contact with the Islam which confronts in order to remove injustice and establish justice among all the people -not with Islam through its official governing institutions. In the eras of the rule of Islam, neither the Holy Family nor their Shi'a have had any share worth mentioning in the official institutions of the government of Islam.
Vl. The Ziyara in the Poetry of Lament for Al-Husayn

In the odes of the poets of lament for al-Husayn which they composed in praise of and in lament for the Holy Family, and in lament for al-Husayn, they have given expression to the ritual of the ziyara since the first half of the fourth century. It is a date for which we possess poetic evidence. Even though we can estimate that the poetry of lament included this purpose before this date, there is not much before it.

That is because the reflection of any concern of the people in poetry implies two things: (i) This concern which the poetry reflects, is a common subject which excites the interest of many groups of people of diverse schools of thought and views.

This common subject excites in the people emotions and feelings of love, or awe, or hostility towards it. (ii) There is no danger, or at least no great danger, in the expression and practice of this common subject. Otherwise the poets would not express it in poetry which came readily to men's tongues and which was recited at their gatherings.

In the light of this analysis we can judge that poetry gave expression to the pilgrimage from several aspects out of the total of its purposes when the pilgrimage became a common concern for the Shi'a, and was no longer limited to a selected few among them, when it became an established part of their religious activity which had a socio-political quality.

This is from one aspect. From another, poetry probably gave expression to the pilgrimage when it became possible to carry it out with security and the safety of the pilgrim was not exposed to danger.

We can deduce that these two matters -the widespread nature of the pilgrimage and freedom to carry it out with security- were achieved in the second stage of the 'Abbasids, after the Buwayhids had gained real control over Iraq and Iran and the Hamdanids had gained control in Syria.

In this period, popular consciousness attained an understanding of the pilgrimage in a comprehensive form. This consciousness came to express its understanding of it on numerous occasions when thousands of people gathered. Karbala' began to witness a constant movement of pilgrims coming to the tomb of al-Husayn.

Then the pilgrimage became one of the topics of the poetry about al-Husayn, which the poets expressed in a variety of ways and at which they looked from different aspects.
* * *

Perhaps Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Murad al-Dabbi al-Halabi al-Antaki, known as al-Sunawbari (d. 334) was among the first poets of lamentation who reflected

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