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The Public Rites of Remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S): Part 2

imam hussein (a.s)

In the time of Imam Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S), the son of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (A.S) (57-114 or 117), who was present at Karbala with his father when he was four years old, he issued a directive which gave a definite form to keeping the memory of Imam Hussein (A.S) alive at an appointed time each year, 10th Muharram, the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

This form consisted of two practices:

(a) The pilgrimage (ziyarat) should be made to Imam Hussein (A.S) on the day of 'Ashura' for those whose houses were near the grave of Imam Hussein (A.S); otherwise pilgrimage rites should be held at home for those who lived 'so far away that they could not make the journey there on that day.'

(b) People should gather together and weep. Imam al-Baqir (A.S) said in connection with the man who is too far away to make the pilgrimage: Then let him mourn and weep for Imam Hussein (A.S). Let him order those in his house to weep for him. Let people meet together to weep in their houses for Imam Hussein (A.S). Let them console each other for what befell Imam Hussein (A.S). Malik al-Juhm asked him, 'How should they console each other?' He answered: Let them say: May God increases our rewards as a result of what has befallen us through Imam Hussein (A.S) sufferings. May God make both you and us men who seek vengeance for him together with His great saint (wali), the Imam, the Mahdi from the family of Muhammad.

We are here faced with a clear directive for a gathering which was aimed at a defined objective, namely to keep the memory of Imam Hussein (A.S) alive. It has also been given a personal dimension with the words ... 'May God increases our rewards.' Thus the tragedy of Imam Hussein (A.S) is not just the special concern of his family. It is something of general concern which is connected with everyone who loves the Holy Family. Here, we should draw attention to the directive made about what the man who is far away from Karbala ' on the Day of 'Ashura ' should do. It indicates he should provide himself with a substitute ritual for what was taking place at the grave of Imam Hussein (A.S) on the Day of 'Ashura'. In the time of Imam al-Baqir (A.S), the great rites of remembrance were held at the grave of Imam Hussein (A.S) in the way which has been recorded in the directive.

Those who were unable to come to Karbala' held their own rites of remembrance in their houses and in their quarters. Since this directive was especially concerned with what the Shi'ite should do on the Day of 'Ashura', there is also another report which has come from Imam al-Baqir (A.S) in which there is a general directive about gathering and remembering the situation of the Holy Family, which is not limited to a specific time: May God have mercy on a man who meets with another in order to remember our situation.

There will be a third person with them who will be an angel who will seek forgiveness for them. Two people shall never meet to remember us without God making them sincerely proud through the presence of an angel. If you gather together and occupy yourselves in remembering us, then our memory will be kept alive in your meetings and in your remembrances. The best of people after us are those who remember our situation and urge others to remember us.

This test illustrates that the rites of remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S) in the time of Imam al-Baqir (A.S) had begun to take on the form of an institution with a purpose, whose activity was not subject to any specific limitation concerned with time. Rather, it was spreading both in time and place and developing, through being performed, its own customs and techniques.

By Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din

Source: almaaref.org


Other links:

The cause of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (A.S)

Chronology of Imam Hussein’s uprising

“Karbala”‌ Origin & Meaning

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