Sayyid Al-Kashmiri in Stockholm states:
• The secret of the stability of the Shi’a faith lies in the Hussaini Majalis and the Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (a.s.).
• The largest gathering in the world in Karbala exceeds the number of the pilgrims in Makka by five folds.
• Regrets Arab and world media disregard and cover up of the millions who march towards Karbala - showing Muslim strength through chants of slogans against oppression and submission.
• Financed by volunteers and philanthropists 200 million meals are distributed to pilgrims during the Arbaeeen period – considered the largest distribution in the world.
19 Safar 1436H
In his Friday prayers sermon in the Imam Ali (a.s.) Centre in the Swedish capital Stockholm, to a congregation of Muslims from different communities, Allama Sayyid Murtadha Al-Kashmiri said the Hussaini Majalis are considered to be the only way to spiritual transformation towards the ideology and propagation of true Islamic culture and purification and cultivation of the self. In these Majalis, people follow Imam Hussain (a.s.) by lamenting on the injustices that befell upon him, thus creating a fertile ground for themselves to follow his teachings. The impact of these Hussaini Majalis on the listener is such that it is considered a true revolution for many who then decide to reject sins and wrongdoings. The Majalis may also act as a warning to many who have gone astray and who then return to the right path, because the Majalis teach repentance and lessons of honour, dignity, piety and ethics and thus making them a workshop for heroes and lovers of truth and justice.
Throughout history, these Majalis were considered schools; teaching people about of the true religion and history, the men, the rules [Ahkam] and other different subjects - the most successful centres for purification and cultivation of the self.
The German orientalist Marbin said: “Muslims will never live in humiliation as long as they have these Majalis where they learn lessons of courage and sacrifice.”
He also said: “The main element behind the advancement of the Shia’s is their mourning Majalis for Hussain. It is as though every Shi’a invites others to his faith without other Muslims realizing this – not even the Shi’as themselves realized the benefit of this action; thinking they would be rewarded for it in the afterlife.”
These Majalis are considered to be the greatest strength behind awaking the people. The path defined by Imam Hussain (a.s.) for his followers guarantees the stability and durability of Islam. The importance of holding these Majalis and the secret as to why the pure immaculate Imams (a.s.) emphasized on preserving them becomes clearer when we see that, at that time, the Shi’as lived in utter segregation and under immense pressure from the Ummayyids and Abbasids governments. So much so, they were unable to practice even the minimum of their political and social activities - such that they were on the brink of decline. The Hussaini Majalis liberated them and created for them an atmosphere of harmony and unity making them a powerful force in Islamic society. In this light, some narrations portrayed the Majalis as ‘reviving the tradition of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.)” Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “These Majalis I love them, so revive our tradition.”
Others in authority commented: “what we all need to understand, what unites Muslims, are these mourning ceremonies on the immaculate Imams (a.s.) and especially the master of the oppressed and father of freedom Al-Hussain (a.s.) which have protected the identity of Muslims and especially the Shi’a Imamiyyah.”
The immaculate Imams’ (a.s.) emphasis on holding mourning ceremonies made the Hussaini movement a center for unity; such that on the days of his martyrdom millions of people from different communities and all walks of life and religions mingle in the mourning ceremony and gather around the Hussaini banner.
Every nation needs a unifying factor in order to continue and prosper. There’s no doubt that the best factor unifying the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.), able to attract the masses in their millions at a particular place with the least cost and effort, are these Hussaini ceremonies.
Certainly, if a nation enjoys such a force enabling it to mobilize and direct its various capabilities, in a record time together with some media coverage, it would overcome any hurdle in order to flourish and progress. When the Imams (a.s.) encouraged people to hold these ceremonies, they actually mobilized the scattered masses and created from them a powerful force through unity and harmony and the spontaneity of their movement – as highlighted by the German orientalist Marbin: “The lack of knowledge by some of our historians made them associate Shi’as with lunacy. This is just an allegation because we have never seenpeople like the Shi’a among nations who; through their mourning ceremonies pursued rational politics resulting in fruitful religious movements. (Philosophy of Martyrdom and Mourning – page 109).
He added: “Nothing else matches the Hussaini mourning ceremonies in creating such political awareness in Muslims” (The Hussaini Politics – page 44).
Because of the significance of these Majalis and their effect on the masses worldwide, we see how the enemies of Islam fear them; such that they spared no effort in spreading hateful accusations, at times through their agents or through provoking the tyrants who follow them – as they tried to devoid these Majalis from substance, aiming to destroy the Hussaini rituals. If we take a quick look at Islamic history, since the tragedy of Karbala, we see how these Majalis and Hussaini rituals fed the freedom fighters in the way of Allah to stand against despots and wrongdoers.
We may ask ourselves here: What will happen if all Muslims opened up to these Majalis accordingly and purified their polluted midst, would the oppressors have been able to dominate Muslim lands? Would the plunderers have been able to encroach upon the wealth of Muslim lands – had these Majalis and Hussaini epic been revived?
Ironically, a recently published book in Europe entitled: A Plan to Divide and Destroy the Theology by Dr. Michael Brant who says: “Among the factors of Shia power and authority is that they are influenced by the culture of martyrdom which appeared 1400 years ago through the grandson of the prophet of Islam, Imam Al-Hussain (a.s.). This culture expands and takes hold every year in Muharram through holding mourning ceremonies.” Then he says: “We decided to distort this culture and Shia ideology by providing financial backing to some scholars and speakers and those responsible for these ceremonies. (Al Joumhoriyah Al-Islamia newspaper – edition 83/3/7203.
These people and others thought they could eliminate these Hussaini Majalis without realizing that divine support is behind them - as cautioned 14 centuries ago by lady Zainab (a.s.) when she said to Yazid: “By Allah you will not eliminate our mention.”
The Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (a.s.) is the second factor ensuring the continuity of Shi’ism. The immaculate Imams throughout the ages (a.s.) emphasized on this, regardless of the dangers on the pilgrims’ lives, they encouraged the Ziyarat and supported it with their duas and narrations like the Dua of Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.):
(اللهم يا من خصنا بالكرامة ، وخصنا بالوصية ، ووعدنا الشفاعة ....... اللهم إن أعدائنا عابوا عليهم خروجهم ، فلم ينههم ذلك عن الشخوص إلينا ، وخلافا منهم على من خالفنا ، فارحم تلك الوجوه التي قد غيرتها الشمس ، وارحم تلك الخدود التي تقلبت على حفرة أبي عبدالله ، وارحم تلك الاعين التي جرت دموعها رحمة لنا ، وارحم تلك القلوب التي جزعت واحترقت لنا ، وارحم الصرخة التي كانت لنا ، اللهم إني أستودعك تلك الانفس ، وتلك الابدان حتى توافيهم على الحوض يوم العطش) ولما اسكثر معاوية ذلك على زوار الحسين قال له الامام الصادق (ع) (من يدعو لزواره في السماء أكثر ممن يدعو لهم في الارض)
From the above dua of the Imam (a.s) and his support for Ziyarat of Abi Abdillah Al-Hussain (a.s.), it is clear that this is not a matter of ‘istihbab’ (recommendation) rather this Ziyarat is part of the belief and a challenge to falsehood, evil and oppression and it represents one of the cornerstones of the faith which is the ‘Imamah’. For this reason the Imams (a.s.) used to push their Shi’as to continue with this event and motivated them so they can be directly involved in the values and paradigms - because Hussain embodied Islam and the Qur’an. Indeed, Hussain as a physical body was torn apart by the Ummayid’s forces and their horses and his head was held on their spears. Although the Ummayyid’s tyrannical and criminal behaviour showed no respect for his body, they failed in destroying Hussain’s mind, ideas and principles. Because principles and ideas can neither be torn nor perish. For this reason some considered that Hussain (a.s.) was indeed born on the day he fell on the sands of Karbala.
ويموت الرسول جسماً ولكن في الرسالات لن يموت الرسول
The messenger dies in body but – through the message he is not dead
Because the message remains radiant, in spite of coming under pressure from the tyrannical authorities throughout history. The Ummayyids thought they had suffocated the voice of Hussain in a pit of earth called ‘Hussain’s grave’, but Hussain defied the grave and the earth and he defied the land and defied Karbala and the whole world to become a global glow for humanity.
Yes, they encircled and besieged Karbala with armoured weaponry and placed spies everywhere, in case a Shia slips through to stand on Hussain’s grave and renew allegiance to him and be inspired by his spirit of courage and sacrifice. As though this wasn’t enough, they fought against the love of Hussain by many ways and means, wanting to erase the map of Karbala. They ploughed the whole area and engulfed Hussain’s (a.s.) grave with water, which was then called the ‘Hussaini engulfment’ (Al-Ha’er Al-Hussaini in Arabic). They also cut the trees the pilgrims shaded under from the heat of the sun. Then they evacuated the residents of Karbala and ploughed the whole sector and officially prohibited the Ziyarat. But people never stopped going for Ziyarat. Then they started an ideological battle by saying the Ziyarat of Hussain is heresy and heresy is misguidance and misguidance is in hell fire.
They also instigated a sectarian fight by exploiting innocent people’s emotions and saying to those who wished to perform Ziyarat : “Do you know what the Shi’as say when they stand on the grave of Hussain (a.s.) ? They curse the Sahaba”, lies after lies. God forbid the Shi’as would not do that! Yes, if the Sahaba in question are those like Omar ibn Sa’ad and Shimr ibn thil-Joshan or Shabth ibn Rib’ii who built a mosque to celebrate the killing of Hussain! We and other Muslims do disown such men.
However, with all these restrictions and risks, people went for the Ziyarat of Abi Abdillah Al-Hussain (a.s.) because he is the symbol of goodness and sacrifice for all free people of the world. We witness this growing love and affection in the hearts of the believers increasing every year ((Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.)) Holy Qur’an 19:96 In the Ziyarat we read: And He made the heart of people love you
And how similar today is with yesterday, we see the masses in their millions heading towards Karbala – on foot- from remote corners of the earth. Old and young, men, women and children, without getting bored or tired, so they can be in direct contact with Al-Hussain (a.s.) and his ideas, principles and values.
It is quite regrettable when we see a deliberate disregard by the global and Arab media for this march of the millions, whose number exceed the number of pilgrims going to Haj by five folds, demonstrating Muslims’ strength and by chants of slogans against injustice and submission to an oppressive ruler no matter what his identity may be. This was highlighted by the Independent Newspaper in the UK saying:” The Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela, often held to be the largest in the world, sees more pilgrims but is only held every third year,...” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/one-of-the-worlds-biggest-and-most-dangerous-pilgrimages-is-underway-9882702.html?origin=internalSearch#
Whereas the Arbaeen Ziyarat is held every year in a dangerous security atmosphere challenging terrorism and at the same time offering a ‘peaceful and reformatory message’ to the whole world.
When we compare the gathering of millions, during the Ziyarat of Arbaeen, with large international projects like the aid distribution to the earthquake victims of Haiti, where 4 million meals were distributed, we see that in Karbala 200 million meals are distributed during the Ziyarat period and all financed by volunteers and philanthropists. The writer in Almasalah Arabic news directs a scathing attack on western media for its politicized coverage of the Hussaini event and asks how can a small demonstration in London, a march of several hundred people in Hong Kong or a small gathering in Russia obtain media coverage whilst the largest peaceful gathering in the world with an overwhelming flood of men, women and children can be overlooked? The writer attributes this media blackout to the west’s indifference to inspiring stories, especially those concerning the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.). He also indicates that during the march to Karbala the pilgrim may also discover stories of sacrifice, patience, endurance and kindness as well as all the idioms of a refined character containing a wealth of material for the production of epic films. http://almasalah.com/ar/news/42316
Death lied for Hussain is immortal As time passes [he is] revived
كذب الموت فالحسين مخلد كلما خلد الزمان تجدد
Hussain (a.s.) will remain, till the end of time, a symbol for freedom fighters and freemen and an eternal ray glowing in the horizon.
Peace be upon you ‘O’ Aba Abdilllah, the day you were born and the day you were martyred and the day you will be resurrected.