What is an Alam?
- :S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali
THE ALAN! WRONGLY called, the 'Panja' in Southern India, is an emblem or the copy of the Holy Banner of the Holy Imam. It is installed in the houses of the devotees of the Holy Imam and also in separate apartments called the 'zishurkhanas' or the Imambadas and is respected and honoured as the standard of a king, loyal, respected and honoured by his faithful subjects. The Brute Yazid lowered the one standard of Truth which the Holy Imam held in Karbala but today God alone knows how many millions of such token standards of the Holy Imam are made and honoured in the world by his. devotees.
It should be remembered that the Alam is not at all an idol in any sense of the word. It is never held either in the place of God or in the place of even the Holy Imam. It is only a copy of the Holy Standard of Truth carried by the Holy Imam when he fought against Falsehood. The 'Alum' is held in high esteem and honour as stated above and it is never in any way worshipped. Worship in Islam is due only to God and not even to the Holy Prophet who is next only to God in authority over his followers.
About the Holy Imam Husain, Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, one of the great mystics of India has said:
Let Muslim remember the well-known declaration of the Holy Prophet:
Take for instance, when a man dies, the nearest of his relatives particularly his own children, and even among his children, they who love him the most will naturally feel the separation from the departed soul, more than any body else. One of the sons may be violent in the expression of his grief, hurting himself in an uncontrollable state of behaviour, while the other son may be quietly shedding tears, and others who may also be sorrowful remains suppressing their grief. At the same time such of the relatives and selfish friends, who were only waiting for the death of the man, to have a share in the property left over by him, or to occupy the post or position which he may be vacating, will naturally feel happy though appearing quiet on the occasion. The same is the case in regard to the degree of expression of the grief for the 'Ahlul-Bait' by the Shias, and the rejoicing made at their martyrdom by others. The fact is that those who are not sorry for the sufferings of the holy ones, seek an excuse for their hard-hearted inimical attitude towards the family of the Holy Prophet, and take shelter under the guise of abiding by the law, and since they are not sorry for calamities inflicted on the holy ones, they do not want others to express their sorrow for the holy victims, for it discloses the devilish character and conduct of the assassins whom they regard as their religious leaders.
Adapted from the book: "Husain; The Saviour of Islam" by: "S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali"
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