Ashura and disseminating sadness and tears among people?!

Each year, on the tenth of Muharram, the first month in lunar calendar, Millions of people, dressed in black, take to the streets and mosques to mourn the martyrdom anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussain (PBUH), on a day known as Ashura.


Ashura in Karbala

The supreme leader of the Islamic republic of Iran made a speech about Ashura in 2008:

“…I would like to make some statements regarding Muharram and Ashura. Muharram is one of the historical stages that I talked about. The Shia have made every effort to keep Ashura alive. As you see, for many years and centuries in succession never have the people following the Prophet’s (PBUH) household and believing in the Prophet’s (PBUH) household forgotten Imam Hussain’s memory, Imam Hussain’s name, Imam Hussain’s burial place and Imam Hussain’s mourning. Many efforts have been made to encourage people to forget the events of Ashura, but people never did so. You have heard the story of Motavakel and his blocking the way [to Karbala]. They have committed foolish acts and raised foolish objections. Throughout history, they have raised numerous seemingly scientific, emotional and experiential objections. Nevertheless, Shiites have kept them alive and must do so.

Tears on Ashura

Why are you disseminating sadness, crying and tears among people?” They complain. This is not sadness and tears for the sake of sadness and tears. This is for the sake of the values. The things that lie behind the lamentation, beating the chest and the head, and shedding tears are the dearest things that one might find in the treasure trove of humanity, and they are the divine spiritual values. The Shia are trying to uphold the fact that Hussain ibn Ali (AS) is the epitome of all these values. The Shia are trying to keep their memories alive.

And if the Muslim Ummah keeps Imam Hussain’s (AS) name and memory alive and follows him, it will overcome all the obstacles and the hardships. And that is why all of us in the Islamic Revolution, in the Islamic Republic, from the highest to the lowest echelons including the people, the authorities, the senior officials and our honorable Imam have relied on the issue of Imam Hussain and the issue of Ashura and people’s mourning. The morning has a symbolic as well as a realistic aspect. It binds hearts together and it broadens knowledge.


Ashura and a flag with name of Imam Hussain

Of course, the speakers, preachers, panegyrists and poets must take into consideration the fact that this is the esteemed truth. It must not be trifled with. The facts of the events of Ashura must not be abused. No one must add anything to them. No one must mix them with superstitions or do irrational actions in the name of mourning. These things must not be allowed. These acts do not mean favoring Imam Hussain. Once I made a statement regarding the machete demonstration, some people voiced their objection saying “this is Imam Hussain’s mourning and do not object to the mourning”!! [but] this is not an objection to Imam Hussain’s mourning; this is objection to ruin Imam Hussain’s mourning.

Hussaini dais and Hussaini gatherings are where religious facts – that is, facts about Imam Hussain must be stated. Poetry, elegy and laudation must be in this direction. As you saw in Muharram 1978, our mourning processions began in some cities including Yazd and Shiraz and some other places and they spread throughout the country. They beat their chests and they stated the facts of the day in their elegies relating them to Ashura, which is the appropriate thing to do.

We condemn Shimr since we want to root out the causes of being like Shimr and acting like Shimr in this world. We condemn Yazid and Obeidollah because we are opposed to tyrannical rules, to rulers such as Yazid, to the rule of indulgence and hedonism, and to the rule of oppression over the believers in the world. Hussain ibn Ali rose in order to defeat and eradicate the governments opposing the Islamic, human and divine values, and he did so by his uprising.

Our gatherings must be Hussaini gatherings, gatherings against oppression, gatherings against monarchy, gatherings against Shimrs, Yazids and Ibn Ziads of the present time, the current age. And this is the continuation of Imam Hussain’s story.

Today the world is filled with oppression and tyranny. See what they are doing. See what they are doing in Palestine, what they are doing in Iraq, what they are doing in various countries, what they are doing with the nations of the world, what they are doing to the poor, what they are doing with the national wealth of the countries. Hussain ibn Ali’s (AS) movement covers all these extensive areas. Imam Hussain taught a lesson not only to the Shia and the Muslims but also to all the freemen of the world.

The leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement mentioned Hussain ibn Ali sixty or seventy years ago and said: “I have learned from him.” That was while he was a Hindu, he was not a Muslim at all. It is the same among the Muslims. This is the story of Imam Hussain. And you are the treasurer of such invaluable treasure from which all humans can benefit.

Mourning for Imam Hussain must be directed toward such aims: disseminating, elucidating, expressing, informing, strengthening people’ faith, promoting the spirit of religiousness among people, increasing religious valor and zeal among people, stripping people of indifference and sloth. These are what Hussain’s uprising and commemoration of his mourning mean in our era. Therefore, they are alive and will remain alive forever…”

*Read the compelete speech at here


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