The feeling of sadness and greif comes in various ways and forms, especailly for Imam Hussein (PBUH). Before we dive into how people are mourning for Imam Hussein, it’s worth first mentioning why do we mourn and do other cultures or faiths also mourn to remember the death of an exceptional figure?
Now the essence of mourning is to grieve the loss of a dear one. People have different ways of expressing this grief depending on the extent of love they have for that dear person.
Common ways include weeping, wearing black, growing beards, visiting the grave often, abstaining from something like food, etc.
For example, let’s say God forbid, your grandfather or grandmother passes away, your family goes in a state of mourning. You all wear black and remember her and start crying.
But there’s one thing we have to focus on.
Even if your grandfather or grandmother was close to you, the grief for them would somewhat be lower after let’s say five years. By that time, you’ve accepted the fact that they’re gone and are not coming back. Yes, you do remember them and the good times you had with them, but it’s an on and off thing.
And this is a great blessing Allah has blessed mankind with – the ability to move on and overcome.
But there are individuals in the world whom we are unable to forgot. It is impossible because they aren’t like family members or close friends, they mean the whole world and even more to us.
Some devout Catholics around the world commemorate of martyrdom of Jesus Christ and the re-enact his tragedy by crucifying themselves to feel the pain he felt at the time.
This is done in the Philippines as an annual tradition on Good Friday. Viewer discretion is advised.
Some Jews practice the old Malkus-Lashes, which are a set of 39 lashes hit on the back on Yom Kippur.
And last but not least is us, the thousands down there, and the millions of you everywhere.
We mourn for the Father of Freedom, Master of Martyrs, Imam Hussein ibn Ali, peace be upon him. The one whose name sends chills down spines.
Now how do we mourn his martyrdom?
In order for us to understand the importance and philosophy of mourning for Imam Hussein, we should examine and take notice of the following points:
1. The Holy Quran has emphasized through many different verses on maintaining and reviving the memory of the great men of God, noble religious leaders and prominent personalities of human history and learning lessons from them.
Allah says in Chapter 19:41: "And mention Ibrahim in the Book; surely he was a truthful man, a prophet." Then it explains Ibrahim's strong action against the idols and idolaters.
Also in Chapter 19 in another verse: "Also mention in the Book the case of Idris: He was a man of truth (and sincerity), (and) a prophet; And We raised him to a lofty station.”
The Quran mentions other notable figures like Ishaq, Yacub, Ayub, Dhul-Kifl, Yasa, and then mentions, This is a reminder. And indeed, for the righteous is a good place of return.”
You can see how the Quran stresses on remembrance of those figures.
Let’s not forget the well-known verse: And whoever honors the rituals of Allah - indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” (22:32)
Here of course, according to Imam al-Sadiq, the rituals of Allah are the rituals of Imam Hussein.
For this reason, we see that the infallible Imams, peace be upon them, adopted different ways and methods to revive the memories and names of the martyrs of Karbala, especially Imam Hussein.
One of the methods the Imams used to keep the memory of Ashura alive was arranging gatherings, or mourning ceremonies, for retelling the painful tragedy and crying for the tragic incidents that took place in Karbala and reminding people of those incidents.
Imam Sajjad would constantly cry and mourn for what had taken place on the day of Ashura. He cried so much to the extent that he was known as and called one of the "Bakka’een" (those who cried very much).
It is narrated that Imam Sadiq says: "I have never drunk cold water without remembering my grandfather Imam Hossein.”
An express of mourn can be as simple as remembering the thirst of Imam Hussein every time you quench your thirst.
Another way is to visit the shrine of Imam Hussein.
Imam Baqir, talks about the important of visiting the shrine of his grandfather and says, “Direct our Shi’ah to visit the grave of Hussein bin Ali, for it has been made obligatory by Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, upon every believer who considers Hussein to be his Imam.”
If we truly mourn for Imam Hussein, we should feel that we have been released from the burden of our sins and that resisting our desires, performing prayers, helping others with kindness and compassion have become easier. We can be better humans through sharing and learning from Imam Hussein’s life. This is why the Prophet called Imam Hussein as “the ark of salvation.”
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