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The Public Rites of Remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S): Part 6

imam hussein (a.s)

The Imams of the Holy Family, thus, created the institution of the rites of remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S). During the earliest Islamic eras, this institution began its activity in a limited form. Some contributory factors strengthened its existence, and these factors gave it additional causes for growth. Its subject matter was enriched with new contents, all of which helped to serve the basic aim of its creation. In the same way, new techniques of expression and practice were introduced. We will mention, in what follows, three matters which we consider to be among the contributory factors for rooting the institution of the rite of remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S) firmly in popular consciousness, for enriching it and for giving variety to its content.

1. There were the revolutions which broke out against the existing government as a result of the revival of the spirit of struggle which the revolution of Imam Hussein (A.S) kept alive. These revolutions raised the slogans of vengeance for Imam Hussein (A.S) in order to arouse and mobilize the people to support them. They made the revolution of Imam Hussein (A.S) a beacon and a slogan. This was an important factor in providing the revolution of Imam Hussein (A.S) with new reasons to live in the hearts and minds of men. This factor was not just limited to the Umayyad period. It also occurred in the 'Abbasid period in the revolutions of the descendants of al-Hassan and others. It used to appear to the people that it was as if the spirit of Karbala' was the thing which was motivating the revolutionaries.

2. By virtue of its power to arouse the emotions, by virtue of its ensuring and publicly declaring the guiltiness of the corrupt government, and by virtue of its direction by the Imams of the Holy Family along this course, the memory of Imam Hussein (A.S) became in many periods one of the means of secret opposition to the existing government. Under the yoke of a corrupt government, the Shi'ite used to suffer in two ways: (i) He was persecuted and hunted because of his beliefs and his historical attitude. (ii) He learnt from the programing of the Imams of the Holy Family that Islam was an integrated belief and way of life. For this reason he would never accept any falsification of its truths. The situation in which the Shi'ite lived and his intellectual policy put him at the center of opposition, Therefore he needed to express himself and his attitude as an opponent with the caution necessary to provide a minimum of security for himself and his economic interests. The memory of Imam Hussein (A.S) provided him with the opportunity of carrying out his opposition to the existing government in secret within a relatively safe compass. It also attained for him a psychological ease which grew out of the ideals of the Holy Family. These shining ideals were guaranteed by the memory of Imam Hussein (A.S).

3. These were the reactions against the attitude of the tyrannical rulers towards the memory and rites of Imam Hussein (A.S). From the Umayyad period until the present, tyrannical rulers have realized the implications involved in the holding of gatherings to remember Imam Hussein (A.S) in terms of the condemnation of their excesses and injustice. Therefore they have attempted to stop them and suppress them. We find this in the Umayyad period, and we find it in the 'Abbasid period. We find it in the political dynasties which followed the 'Abbasids, where the Shi'a lived.

The memory of Imam Hussein (A.S), in the pilgrimage and the rites of remembrance, has faced, in most political periods, suppression prohibition and persecution for those who tried to practice them. In the periods of some rulers there have been feeble relaxations in which the Shi'a enjoyed only a limited amount of freedom. Soon a new period or a new ruler plundered this from them, sometimes preventing them from holding the rites or at other times restricting the rites to keep his memory alive with numerous heavy restrictions. This was done in order to try to empty them of any content critical of the existing regime. Yet all these acts of repression failed to wipe out the rituals associated with this remembrance. The rites of remembrance and other ceremonies were held secretly on their appropriate occasions even in the most harsh and unjust periods.

This attitude by the authorities against the rites of remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S)has remained constant and still generates a reaction which prompts the Shi'ite to hold on to them and care for them. The feelings of the Shi'ite with regard to this may have been that the authorities wanted to deprive him of the only refuge, in which he could relieve his emotions of fear and anger and his psychological repression, and during which he could express his views of the government's attitude and behavior.

These, in our view, are the contributory factors which helped to strengthen the position of the rites of remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S) in popular consciousness and gave it the power to remain firm and continue despite the hostile attitude towards it throughout the centuries. They, also, provided it with the possibilities of development and renewal generation after generation. These were in addition to the basic reason for its existence and growth, namely the fact that the Imams of the Holy Family had directed their Shi'a to develop this great cultural institution.

By Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din

Source: almaaref.org

Other link:

The Public Rites of Remembrance for Imam Hussein (A.S): Part 1

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

Basic Information on Ashura and Imam Hussein (A.S)

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