Muharram Majalis / Lectures- Advices

Letter to Reciters  |   Advice by Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi  |   A Serious look at Majalis- Al Tawheed  |  Methods Muballigh to follow  |

  Majalis Ettiquettes  | Extract of Imams Will |   I.M.A.M.S -US message  |  Advice to recitors Video 11 pts

Letter to Reciters & Sponsors of Majalis lectures                             Urdu PDF file

A time when people listen

Kerbala is a miracle & Imam Hussain(as) /Muharram has a special place in the hearts  .People from all walks of life & all sections of society are drawn to attend lectures/majalis for the sake of their love for Imam Hussain (as).

At no other time do people spend as much time & are willing to listen to lectures /know about Islam.

 The main purpose of Imam Hussain(as)s sacrifice was to take people out of ignorance as stated in concisely in Ziarat Arbaeen.It is our responsibility to continue to do our bit for this purpose.

People prefer no responsibility & enjoy enemies condemnation

It is human nature to prefer NOT to listen to things, where one is required  to think & act contrary to oneself (nafs) & against the pleasures being enjoyed. People usually prefer not to have any responsibility cast on them, where action or change is demanded of them.

It is comfortable to listen to condemnation of others & confirmation/arguments of our beliefs being superior. Use of inappropriate language/terminology, in public, for certain personalities can only fuel further hatred & weaken Islam. Maintaining peace & unity between brothers in Islam ,is also important in many environments. Additionally many arguments used in majalis ,can easily be countered in logical discussions & hence are not very useful in serious debates. We must remember that in most cases, it is only our Actions /Akhlaq (morals) that will influence others & not the words/arguments as used in lectures .

This condemnation & arguments by itself ,does not lead to improvement in oneself or the society & instead may create a dangerous sense of superiority & complacency at the expense of gathering further knowledge on Islam.It is therefore required to change oneself AND the society for the better.i.e. to be more Islamic

The number of people attending & extent of compliments received, may be higher ,if the Khatib condemns others & only narrates events /points in theatrical /poetic style without relating it to ones own actions /change areas. ..BUT he will then probably NOT help in promoting the CAUSE of the Ahlulbayt(as)

What about the 'Message 'of Ahlulbayt & our actions?

We are hopeful of our salvation through the Ahlulbayt (as) & Azadari by itself is extremely useful for us, in almost all its forms & an Ibadat without any doubt.The Majalis must contain praise for the Ahlulbayt/our aqaed & even the famous historical events/wars which depict their personality. This is especially required for our children who also need to be told.

However ,It is also very important that the Majalis includes the CAUSE and MESSAGE of Ahlulbayt (as). The Ahlulbayt gave everything to ensure Original Islam is spread & is followed.i.e. Allah's Rules/ Shariat of wajib,haram,mustahab, makrooh acts get known & followed .The aim of all HIS Messengers & Ahlulbayt (as) was to make human beings know & submit completely to HIS will

The logical consequence / proof of love of Ahlulbayt(as) is to be obedient to them & hence Obedient to Allah swt. Hence we need to be told what the Ahlulbayt said  & how to be obedient & obtain the 'Razaiat' (Pleasure/Acceptance ) of Ahlulbayt (as) . This is very necessary so that we can live according to what Islam expects of us ,have an improved life here & be saved from the hardships of Barzaq.The majalis can therefore become more useful if this element is included & events/praise/condemnations  are also related to ;what WE need to do i.e. to the listeners responsibility.

Ahlulbayt (as) have provided us with a treasure of knowledge which include Morals( Akhlaq) ,Home life improvement ,Avoidance of sin , Social awareness/Need to help others ,Current world muslim affairs etc etc & these topics also need to get dealt with in addition to strengthening of Aqaed

Majalis by itself for a few days is insufficient for change SO it is important to make the listener aware that he has to continue his knowledge acquisition beyond the Muharram majlis to books, cassettes ,CD�s ,internet etc which are so easily available now

Each country & environment is different & may need a separate mix of content but using SOME part of the majalis for conveying the message of Islam for self / social improvement should not get ignored.

The Imam of our time will return soon inshallah & he will need pious people with awareness & Islamic  knowledge .There is a heavy responsibility on reciters & sponsors of Majalis (who can influence khatibs) to ensure that the important role of using this miracle of Majalis is appropriately done.

An element of this responsibility also falls on the listeners , when they praise/acknowledge/influence the type of lecture/majalis being recited

Advice to Recitors of Azaa by Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi     Pdf

 (This article is written from a speech given to recitors of Azaa by the above esteemed scholar)

Now that the days of mourning for Imam Husayn (a) have come upon us we must try and become familiar with our responsibilities. The purpose in gathering today is to remind those who recite the tragedy of Karbala of their responsibilities during the days of mourning for Imam Husayn (a). Each one of us, in whatever way we can, should try to benefit from this great event of history. The famous Hadith Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn is a historical truth. If we look at the history of Islam, we see that there were many hypocrites during the time of the Holy Prophet (s). Sura al-Ahzab, Sura at-Tawba, and Sura al-Munafiqun all show that there was a strong group of hypocrites during the time of the Holy Prophet (s). However, the strength of the Prophet was such that they did not dare to reveal themselves. We can compare this to the time of Imam Khumayni. A group of hypocrites were present at that time who co-operated with the assumption that they would later gain control of the revolution. But the control and influence of Imam (r.a) prevented them from reaching their goals and eventually they fled. 

The group of hypocrites during the time of the Prophet slowly gained strength after the death of the Prophet. Things reached a stage where the chief of all the hypocrites, and a leading figure among the enemies during the battles against Islam [Abu Sufyan], announced in a gathering of the Banu Umayya, his well known declaration: Remove this Khilafat away from the field. By the being by whom Abu Sufyan swears [his idols], there is no heaven and there is no hell. They have started a play called Islam and now the field of play is in your hands. Get the Islamic government in your hands.People were heedless after the death of the Prophet and left the field open for the Banu Umayya. As a result, the son of Abu Sufyan, with all his beliefs and [wrong] desires, sat in the place of the Prophet and became known as Muawiya, leader of the Muslims. The Banu Umayya did not hide their lack of faith in Islam. It wasn�t only Yazid who said: The Banu Hashim have played with the Kingdom, there was no news that came from God, nor any revelation. They all clearly indicated their lack of faith. As an example, it has been narrated of Umar bin Saad that he said: They say there is a God, there is a Day of Judgment, and there is punishment. If that is true I will repent after killing Husayn. If it is false, I will have acquired the world and received the governorship of Rayy. Notice how all this shows their lack of faith.

Thus a group of people without faith in Islam, who considered Islam as a political plaything, did not believe that Jibrael came down or that the Qur�an was the word of God, got hold of the most sensitive part of Islam; the issue of successorship. If they remained, nothing of Islam would remain. At such a juncture it was necessary that the veils be opened and the evil face of the age of ignorance and the Banu Umayya be revealed for the Muslims. Who came into the field to save Islam from the clutches of these faithless hypocrites? It was Imam Husayn (a) and his companions who entered the field and drank from the cup of martyrdom. They opened the curtains and allowed the Muslims to see the party of the hypocrites. The rising of the Tawwabeen and the rising of Mukhtar and others were all uprisings to defend the Ahlul Bayt (a). So was the rising of Abu Muslim Khurasani and the taking over of the Caliphate by the Abbasides was under the banner of �the pleasure of the family of Muhammad, Allah�s blessings be on him and his family�.

Imam Husayn changed the path of history. He saved Islam from the group who wished to return the people to the days of ignorance. Thus [when the Prophet says] I am from Husayn, [its meaning is that] the remaining of Islam was due to Husayn. That is from one aspect. The other aspect is that Imam Husayn taught a lesson to the Muslims, a lesson that will remain throughout history until the end of the world. It will remain until the rise of the Imam of our time. Every year through Imam Husayn�s martyrdom, from the lessons learnt in Ashura and the actions of his companions and himself, it is possible to train individuals who are lovers of martyrdom and are willing to sacrifice themselves for protecting and saving Islam. On one hand he saved Islam at that time, and on the other hand he left a lesson for all to come.

You all know that these are the days of fajr. Those who were present during the revolution know that the one thing which gave strength and momentum to the revolution was the Ashura of Imam Husayn. Through the teachings of Ashura it was possible for the revolution to succeed. Thus the departed Imam [Khumayni], may Allah sanctify his name, after the victory of the revolution when some people thought the rituals of mourning for Imam Husayn should decrease, was firm and said; The ritual of Ashura must continue in the same form, and the people it brought forth should continue to be brought forth. We are indebted to Karbala and to Ashura. Ashura is our pride; it is the school of training humans. Ashura is the protector of Islam, and not just Shiism.

A group of people are not aware of what Imam Husayn did. They do not understand the role of Imam Husayn at that time, or the traces and teachings he left behind. This is due to ignorance. However there are others who are not followers of the school of Husayn but because of their research they acknowledge the role of Imam Husayn in the history of Islam. The issue of Ashura has reached beyond the frontiers of Islam and even non- Muslims learn lessons from this school. You should know that Gandhi, the leader of the revolution in India, told people: For the sake of saving this country from the clutches of the colonialists, I have no better no lesson for you than the one Imam Husayn taught the Muslims. Follow that school, that program, and you will be able to free the great country of India from the English colonialists. Thus the image of Islam also gained from the light of Ashura. 

I have reminisced about this before for many of you, but there are many present today who have not heard it before, so I am repeating it for them. We were sent, in the early days of the revolution, to Kurdistan. We tried slowly to connect with the Ahle Sunnat but Mahabad, Kurdistan was very silent. This was at a time when during the early days of the revolution all places blazed with fervor. I talked to some of the Ahle Sunnat whom I had befriended and asked them why they were so quiet and complacent while the rest of the country was so enthusiastic. He said; you cannot compare us to yourselves. You have two things that we do not have and those two things create the fervor and momentum that you see.

The first thing is that your scholars are independent of the government; rather the scholars themselves are a government. We are completely dependent. If the awqaf does not give us seven hundred tomans per month, our condition would stall. But your scholars, through the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt and the understanding of the issue of Khums and the verse: Know that whatever you may come by, a fifth of it is for Allah, and the Messenger, for the relatives, the orphans, the needy and the traveler . . . (8:41)  [Because of this they] were able to have the freedom to stand on their own and fight against the Shah without fear. The other thing is that you have a resource by the name of Imam Husayn. You put up a black flag [of mourning] and groups gather together.

We must guard this great resource very well. However every resource can be affected by afflictions, and tonight I would like to present to you some aspects of such an affliction regarding the role of the recitors. The recitors have had an important role in the history of Islam. You have all heard of the story of De�bal al-Khazai�[the great poet of the Ahlul bayt]. The poetry of Debal was so effective that once his caravan was attacked in the

desert by thieves. When one of the thieves got on his horse, he recited verses from Madaris Ayaat. Debal asked the thief; do you know whose poetry this is? He said, yes, it is by Debal Khazai. De�bal asked him; Have you seen Debal, the poet of the Ahlul Bayt, do you know him? The thief said he did not. De�bal told him who he was. The man cried out; my fellow thieves; Debal is among us. Return all the goods that you took from them.Guard them and see them safely back to their homes.The poetry of Debal had spread everywhere, even among the thieves of the desert and from this we can deduce that the followers of the Ahlul Bayt gave a lot of importance to this form of poetry. The Masumeen themselves gave it a lot of importance to it and encouraged it. They said; for every verse [of poetry that is composed], a house in Jannah. It had an important role, and it should be so. A recitor can express the emotions of Ashura and convey the aims of Imam Husayn through poetry to the hearts of others, especially to the young generation. But at the same time, it is possible that it may become afflicted with problems and we should be careful of that. I am presenting before you fourteen points that are brief and summarized regarding this matter. 

1) The material must be rational; the poetry must be either first hand or second hand.Second hand means it is found in an authentic source, while first hand means that in reality the condition of Imam Husayn and his companions was thus. The greatness of Imam Husayn must be protected in the contents of the poetry. When we hear in one of the verses of poetry; O Imam Husayn, O Imam Husayn I am certain that you had no greater desire than to see Akbar becoming a bridegroom; that reduces the greatness of Ashura.Firstly, Ali Akbar had become a bridegroom earlier, according to some reliable reports.Secondly, this person is putting himself in Imam Husayn�s place and Imam Husayn in his place. He is confining Imam Husayn to his own lowly thinking, since all he himself wishes for is to see his son or daughter married.

Or regarding the Imam of our time, a poet says; I do not know which desert you are wandering in, so that I too can wander in that same desert. The Imam is not wandering in a desert; he is among us, among the Muslims, among the Shiahs. The phrases and terms should be such as to pay tribute to the greatness of Imam Husayn. Here I must appreciate some of the present day poets of Tehran, Mashhad and Qum, who have composed noble

poetry. The recitors must make use of this poetry. Those who cannot memorize new poetry and are ashamed to write it on paper and read from it should know that it is not a shame to read from paper. In fact that is good. I too write down material that I have memorized so that it is more reliable. Write it, and read the new poetry that has been composed. Praise be to God that we have thoughtful recitors who recite beautiful poetry.

They nourish the holy aims of Imam Husayn, the school of the Ahlul Bayt, and the love for Imame Zaman. I hope they will keep these points in mind. 

2) Matters that seem exaggerated should not be mentioned. You have heard the saying of Ameerul Mu�mineen; two people will be destroyed regarding me; the one who loves me excessively and raises me higher than my status and praises me the way he [should]praise God, and the enemy who, I seek refuge in God, curses me. Both of these two groups have been grouped together and both of them are wrong.

We have heard certain whisperings and I am forced to repeat them here. People say; there is no god but Fatima az Zahraa, and there is no god but Zaynab. The respected preachers who are present in the gathering must draw their attention to it. I have said often that one who says such a thing and understands what he is saying, if he drinks tea his cup must be washed [to be made pure]. He is guilty of two things; one that it is against the teachings of Islam and the other great wrong is that when this reaches the ears of the enemies - and these days it spreads very easily - the enemies say; In the name of Allah, this is why we say the Shias are disbelievers.

Also, sometimes organizations name themselves with names that are not very appropriate. For example; the organization of those crazy about Imam Husayn (a). I am not saying this is haram, but imagine if you want to participate and you are asked as to where you are going, you will say I am going to those crazy about Husayn. This will spread and among the young generation it will become an excuse; what type of group is this that names itself crazy about Husayn? Instead, name yourselves [with names such as] those who love Husayn, those who sacrifice themselves for Husayn, those who give their hearts to Husayn, the servants of Husayn. You should have names that reflect the appropriate status for Imam Husayn. 

3) Education is very necessary. In the hawza we have a section for propagating Islam and we have sections for learning. The preachers are taught, and the recitors must also be taught. The preacher must have knowledge and skill, and the recitor must also have knowledge and skill. He should have knowledge of what he is reciting, and know how to present his material. He cannot achieve much if he only pays attention to the skill of reciting but does not have knowledge. He cannot fulfill his responsibility that way. Just as we have these facilities in our Hawza, how good it would be if Inshallah we would have centers beside the hawzas to train the recitors. They would come to these centers where they would be taught the correct ways and methods of reciting. They would be more successful in their work and would please the Imam of the time and be accepted by Imam Husayn. 

4) During the gatherings of the respected preachers and the respected recitors, people should not be given permission to sin. They say; whatever sins you want to commit during the year, you can. On the day of Ashura all these will be washed off. Imam Husayn died for the religion and the school of Islam. This must be strengthened [not weakened by allowing people to sin].

You have heard the story of Hajib Hashi Kashani. He recited a poem about Ali (a); Hajib if you will be raised with Ali, then commit whatever sin you want. If our affairs will be with Imam Ali on the Day of Judgment, then sin as much as you like. At night he saw Imam Ali in his dream. Imam told him; Hajib, you recited a very wrong poem today. You are a good recitor but you recited a bad poem. Hajib asked, what should I say? He said say; Hajib if you will deal with Ali on the Day of Judgment, be ashamed of meeting Ali and sin less. Do you see how great the difference is between these two mentalities? We must not give the permission to sin. Imam Husayn was martyred for Salaat. You say Bibi Zaynab sat and recited Namaze Shab on the 11th night of Muharram. Then how can we say sin as much as you want, and change the religion so much? 

5) You should not let people take off their shirts and become bare-chested during the Majlis. If women are a witness to this then it is definitely a sin. Even if they are not, we live in a time when this will be filmed and spread out. People will say; see what the Shiahs of Imam Husayn are doing. It was common in the past and still is. The mourner wears a black shirt, the front is open and they want to beat the chest. The back is open so they can beat the back with zanjeer [This is not appropriate]. The shirt must not be removed. In our times it is harmful for us to do so. 

6) We should not encourage mourners to hurt their bodies. Our bodies may be hurt during Jihad, during martyrdom for Islam. Our youth were shattered into pieces by the bombs of the enemies. This is not a problem.  

7) The time of Salaat must be given serious consideration by the preachers and recitors. They must never have a program going on at the time of salaat. Salaat is the pillar of religion, the source of training of our society. Salaat is everything to us and must not be sacrificed. We ourselves say that on the day of Ashura Imam Husayn recited Salaat in the face of the shower of arrows from the enemies so that you should know that nothing can stop you from salaat, not even being in the midst of the battlefield. In the Qur�an we have instructions for Salatul Khawf. The meaning of Salatul Khawf is that in the battlefield if the enemy does not desist, the Muslim army must be divided into two groups. One group defends the army while the other goes to the back to say their prayers. Then they change places. Salatul khawf has been mentioned in the Qur�an. Salaat has great importance. How can we allow the majlis of Imam Husayn to become the cause of missing salaat? 

8) The rhythm chosen for the recitations must be appropriate. For the majaalis of Imam Husayn we have many recommended rhythms which are mournful and very effective and beneficial. But lately in all corners we have seen rhythms of the times of the oppressive rulers. I am afraid that people take the rhythms of the places in America of entertainment

and corruption, and they apply these to the program of the recitors. The rhythm of recitation must be appropriate for the Majlis of Imam Husayn (a). We have a Hadith which says during the last times there will be a group who will recite Quran with the rhythm of entertainment and corruption. These people have been promised a painful punishment. The recitations become worse when these rhythms are applied to it. 

9) Those who recite the tragedy of Karbala should be careful that they are not used by undercover political organization, for such groups want to infiltrate everywhere; the mosques, the universities, the schools, the religious organizations, the gatherings of recitors, everywhere. Be careful that they are not able to do that. 

10) You should refrain from very detailed and heart-rending recitations. Some of the stories narrated are so painful that even the Imam of our time is not pleased that it should be recited to that extent. We can make an exception for the day of Tasua and Ashura for such stories but they should not be recited in everyday majlis. A skilled preacher and recitor can refrain from reciting the tragedy and still create a surge of feeling among the listeners. It is not a skill to recite the most heart-rending narrations and make people weep. Rather it is a skill to create grief by only alluding to the tragedy. This is what should be done and it can be done. 

11) The majlis should not be such that people get exhausted. Especially consider the desires of the youth of today so that they come to mosque. Why? Because there are groups that wish to separate our youth from religion and the majaalis of Imam Husayn. Satellites, internet, means of corruption, intoxicants, pornographic pictures, wrong teachings [all these are means of destroying our youth]. We must strive to attract the youth, not tire them. 

12) We must not neglect the strengthening of the leaders and Marjaiyat. The enemy is striving hard to prevent this. You have heard the words of the President of America. They are trying hard to weaken the leadership and are active in it. I was telling someone that if there was no marjaiyat in Iraq, the Shiahs would not have reached where they are, nor would Iraq be what it is today. They would have completely transformed Iraq. It is the Marjaiyat that has saved Iraq, saved the school of the Ahlul Bayt, saved the sacred shrines of Najaf and Karbala. Thus we must strive to protect this institution. The recitors can mention this as part of their presentation, or as a side mention. Over and above this, the love of the Imam of our time must be an important part of all the majaalis. Attention must be drawn to the Imam. 

13) The last point is that the recitor should have the akhlaq of Imam Husayn. People should not say that these recitors are actually evil people, they hurt others. They must say that the recitors are pure people, they do not lie, do not cheat, and their wives and children have Islamic etiquette. They do not have inappropriate hijab and their families do not have problematic issues. If we do not have the akhlaq of Imam Husayn our majaalis will not have any worth. 

I hope that Inshallah all of you, through he teachings of Imam Husayn, will be able to safeguard yourselves and your families, your societies and your country, as well as Islam and Qur�an. May you never give the school of Imam Husayn less than it deserves.

Inshallah the training school of Imam Husayn will become stronger each year, against the wishes of the enemies.

A Serious look at Majalis - Dhakirin and Amr bil Ma'aruf Wa Nahiy anil Munkar�  Urdu PDF file 

Al-Tawhid, A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture Vol. II, No. 1, Muharram 1405 Editorial

The months of Muharram and Safar offer the yearly opportunity to commemorate the martyrdom of al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A), the grandson of the Prophet (S) and the third Imam of the Shiite Muslims, at Karbala' on the tenth of Muharram in the year 61. The tragedy and heroism of the event, the resistance and self‑sacrifice of the martyrs, are remembered during these days by the Shi`ah and the Ahl al‑Sunnah alike, and by the Shi`ah with a special ardour, fervour and enthusiasm. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the ardour and enthusiasm inspired by the martyrs of Karbala' is something unsurpassed in the history of religions. No individual or group in the history of the world has attracted such sustained admiration and love in the hearts of their followers as the martyrs of Karbala' and in particular the figure of al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A), an admiration which has not dwindled in the course of more than thirteen and a half centuries that have elapsed since that event.

Mourning ceremonies are held by Muslims throughout Muharram and Safar, and in gatherings which are called `majalis' (sing. majlis) elegies are recited and sermons are delivered from the minbar, the Islamic pulpit, in which the sufferings undergone by al‑Imam al‑Husayn, the members of his household and his companions are narrated. For the Shi'ah sect, the majlis and the sermons delivered therein are the primary source of religious education for the children, the illiterate and even educated adults. However, with the general decline and deterioration in the Muslim Ummah, of which the Shi'ah community is a part, the great educative potential of the majlis has slowly eroded, to the extent that not only the great educative purpose that lies behind mourning for al�-Imam al‑Husayn has been forgotten, the majalis has become a platform for intensification of sectarian animosities and propagation of misconceived beliefs that conflict with the spirit of the Islamic faith. With the general decline of the Islamic culture there has been a parallel deterioration in the educative level of the sermons that are delivered from the minbar. The spreading ignorance and inertia of the majlis audience has laid diminishing demands on the learning and capacity of the religious speaker, called `dhakir' in India and Pakistan and rawdeh khan in Iranand Iraq. The lamentable ignorance of the masses and the deplorable negligence or absence of the sense of duty on the part of many dhakirs have converted most majalis into mere sources of nourish�ment of sectarian conceits and delusions. Shi'ism, which implies a voluntary and aware choice to shoulder greater responsibility as member of the Ummah and devoted obedience to the wajib al‑'ita'ah (i.e. those whose obedience is obligatory) Imams of the Household of the Prophet (A), its meaning has gradually degenerated into a mere emotional attachment for the Ahl al‑Bayt (A), devoid of any sense of ethical or social responsibility for the present‑day condition of Islam and Muslims. We, the self‑declared Shi'ah of al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A), should pause and meditate at the answer given by him to a man who proclaimed to the Imam, "O son of the Prophet, I am one of your Shi'ah." Al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A) said to him:

Fear God, and do not make such a claim that God, the Almighty, should say to you, "You lied insolently by making this claim." Indeed our Shi'ah is one whose heart is free from every kind of deception, adulteration, hatred, malice, and corruption. If you are not such then say, "I am one of your admirers and supporters."

The Qur'an repeatedly calls its audience to meditate about its verses and to draw instruction from them,

What, do they not meditate in the Quran? .... (4:82)

What do they not meditate in the Quran? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts? (47:24)

A Book We have sent down to thee, blessed, that men of understanding may ponder its verses and so remember. (38:29)

Whereas the Holy Book calls the believers to emulate the Prophet (S) as the sublimest model of humanhood,

You have a good example in God's Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the Last Day, and remembers God oft. (33:21)

the dhakir struggles to project the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A) as supernatural beings to be admired and extolled, not to be imitated and obeyed. He strives to drive home the point that the Qur'an is understandable only for God or the Holy Prophet (S) or the Imams (A), a book of sacred and abstruse meanings opaque to human understand�ing, a book so holy that it is impertinent even to try to understand it.

The Qur'an and hadith lay great emphasis on the duty of al‑'amr bil ma'ruf wa al‑nahy `an al‑munkar, and it is recognized as one of the most important duties of Muslims in general and the `ulama' in particular.

Unfortunately this duty is discreetly shunned by the dhakir who is averse to disturb the complacence of his audience and to venture to guide them at the cost of his own popularity. The strategy of con�nivance, though full of perils in the Hereafter, yields immediate returns. The strategy of reducing (seemingly, elevating) the wajib al‑ita'ah Imams of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A), obedience to whom is obligatory, into holy inimitable metaphysical figure‑heads to be admired and implored in supplications for worldly benefits, may serve to attract applausing crowds but does no service to the religion of God and does no justice to the great teachers of mankind, which the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) in fact were. In some cases the attitude goes further than mere connivance, where the dhakir tries to soothe and appease bad religious conscience by proving on his own authority that absence of obedience to the commands of the religion of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) will not hurt the believer as long as he remains their passionate admirer, as if such a thing were possible. When such disastrous attitudes are consciously cultivated among the people, when the mourning assemblies‑which were original�ly instituted to propagate the message of al‑Imam al‑Husayn - �are held without paying any attention to al‑'amr bil ma`ruf wa al‑nahy`an al‑munkar and to the sublime goals of al‑Imam al‑Husayn and the sacred purposes behind his resistance against the regime of Yazid, it is not strange that those goals should gradually lose their relevance in the Muslim society, and the ahkam should become unimportant for the Muslim masses.

The following sermon of al Husayn ibn 'Ali (A) delivered during Mu'awiyah's reign at the time of Hajj in a gathering of eminent personalities of the period, not only shows the kind of issues that should be discussed during Hajj, but also is a good guideline for sermons which are delivered in majalis during Muharram and Safar:

O people! Take a lesson from God's warning to His friends through His censure on the rabbis, when He says:  Why do the bishops and rabbis not forbid them to utter sin, [and consume the unlawful? Evil is the thing they are doing.] (5:63)

And when He says:  Cursed were the unbelievers of the Children of Israel by the tongue. of David, and of Jesus, Mary's son; that for their rebelling and their transgression. They forbade not one another any dishonour that they committed; surely evil were the things that they did. (5:78‑79)

God has reproved them because they beheld the open vices and corruption of the oppressors, but did not forbid them from that on account of attachment to their favours and fear of what periled them. Whereas God says: ...So fear not men, but fear me .... (5:44)

And He says: And the believers, the men and the women, are friends of one another; they bid to honour and forbid dishonour (i.e. perform the duty of al‑ amr bil ma'ruf wd al‑nahy `an al‑munkar), they perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and they obey God and His Messenger. They‑upon them God shall have mercy; God is Almighty, All‑wise. (9:71)

God mentions the duty of al‑amr bil ma'ruf wa al‑nahy `an al‑munkar before all other duties, because He knows that if it is performed and established in the society all other duties, the easy and the difficult, are also established. That is why al‑amr bil ma'ruf wa al‑nahy`an al‑munkar signifies invitation to Islam together with resistance against injustice, opposition to the oppressor, [proper] division of the public funds and booty, collection of alms and their correct distribution.

Then you, O company of men well‑known for your learning! You, who have a good name and are known [among the people] for your goodwill. God has given you honour with the people. The illustrious venerate you and the weak respect you. You. are preferred by him over whom you have no merit and over whom you have no power. The deprived seek your intercession in need, and you walk on the road with the majesty of kings and princes. Is it not that you have such honour and dignity because people place their hopes in you to stand for the establishment of Divine duties? If you fail to discharge most of those duties, then you have scorned the duties of leaders. You have forfeited the rights of the weak, though you have obtained your own claims. Neither you had to sacrifice your wealth nor endanger your lives for the sake of Him Who created you. Nevertheless, you desire that God should put you in the Paradise in the neighbourhood of His apostles, and you hope to be safe from His chastisement. Indeed I am afraid that you who harbour such hopes from God shall have to taste His vengeance. Because God had honoured you and raised you in station above others, for there are many servants of God who are not held in such high esteem as God has granted you among the people. God's covenants are broken before your very eyes, yet you are not dismayed, although you are alarmed if some of your ancestral compacts are endangered; as if the compact of the Messenger of Allah (S) were some insignificant and paltry thing! The blind, the dumb and the handicapped in towns are without protection and mercy, but you neither act as demanded by your high station nor care and have regard for one who attends to them. You have made your own life safe and secure by getting along with the oppressors and showing lenience and connivance in regard to their injustices, which God had com�manded you to oppose and forbid. Indeed if you understand, the calamity that has befallen you is greater than the one which afflicts the people; because you have failed to safeguard the responsibility of the learned. Since the implementation of the laws and running of the affairs lie with the men of Divine knowledge, who are custodians of His [laws regarding the] haram and halal. But you have been wrested of this status. And it was not taken away from you except for your departure from righteousness, and on account of your disagreement regarding the Sunnah, after that it had been made clear and evident to you.

Had you the endurance to put up with adversities and hardships for the sake of God, the affairs of God would have returned into your hands and your lost authority would have turned to you again. But you allowed the oppressors to take your place and handed over the affairs of God into their hands, that they may act dubiously and indulge in their lusts. They got their authority because of your running away from death [which is inevitable] and due to your love of life, which shall [anyhow] depart from you. In this fashion, you submitted the weak into their hands, to be enslaved and exploited, permitting them to run the affairs of the country according to their whims, and to make ignominy their way of life through their [unchecked] desires, following the perverse and disobeying the Almighty. They have appointed a loud‑voiced orator for every pulpit in every town, and the country lies open and unprotected at their mercy. Their hands are free to do whatever they like, and the defenseless people are at the disposal of their mercy. Among them are merciless tyrants who oppress the weak, and men of authority who know neither the creation nor the Day of Resurrection. It is surprising‑and why shouldn't I be surprised‑when the country is in the hands of a faithless tyrant and the ruler of the believers is one who has no mercy for them. Indeed God is a judge between us in our disputes and contentions.

My God, You Know that whatever I have said is not for the sake of rivalry for power, nor for the sake of futile vanities of the world, but because we desire establishment of the landmarks of Thy religion, reform in Thy lands, security of Thy oppressed creatures, and the practice of Thy com�mands and the duties laid down by Thee.

And you, [O company of the elect of the Ummah] , assist us and do us due justice. The oppressors have power over you and they act to extinguish the light of your Prophet (S).

And God suffices us, and in Him we put our trust. Towards Him do we turn, and towards Him all things shall return.

The present situation in the Muslim world is no better than the conditions that prevailed during the later decades of the life of al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A). All way-marks of the Islamic culture have been washed away in the deluge of modern paganism. The greater part of the Muslim world is under direct or indirect domination of non‑Muslims. The sad signs described in a prediction of al‑Imam `Ali (A) have already come true:

A time will come when nothing will remain of the Qur'an except its script, and nothing of Islam except its name. The mosques in those days will be flourishing with regard to architecture, but desolate with regard to guidance. Those staying in them and those visiting them will be the worst of all on the earth. From them mischief will spring up and towards them all wrong will turn. If anyone isolates himself from it (mischief) they will fling him back towards it, and if anyone hesitates, they will push him towards it ...

In such conditions how can any discourse about the great struggle of al‑Husayn ibn `Ali (A) be unaccompanied with a discussion of the lamentable condition of the Muslim Ummah? Is it not the height of callousness and even hypocrisy to pass by in silence the aims and ideals for which he took a stand against the regime of Yazid and sacrificed everything? Is it not the very extreme of injustice to deprive the Muslim children and adults of the great potential of the majalis which are held in the memory of al‑Imam al‑Husayn (A)? Is it right not to use the great devotion of the Muslim masses to the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) and their great enthusiasm and zeal during the months of Muharram and Safar‑a time when the hearts are softened by the stupendous tragedy of Karbala' to receive the teachings of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives with al-�Imam al‑Husayn‑to inform and educate our children and adults about the ahkam of the Shari�ah and the akhlaq of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A)? The Shiites have admired `Ali and his sons (A), their leaders and guides, for centuries, and wept over accounts of their sufferings. Is it not time that we should start following them in deed, in all walks of our life? After all they are our Imams, our leaders and our teachers, who underwent those sufferings and hardships in order to instruct us and guide us on the Straight Path of Allah? Should we not question our sincerity if we persist in our refusal to be benefited by their efforts to improve our lot, to purify our souls and to guide our intellects?

The majlis should inform and instruct. It should inspire and enlighten. Like al‑Husayn ibn 'Ali (A), his dhakir, who occupies the minbar of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A), should aim at resurrecting the spirit of Islam and the message of the Qur'dn. The majlis should instruct the people in the usul and the ahkam of the Shari�ah and the akhlaq of the Imams (A). If the majalis of al‑Imam al‑Husayn (A) do not help our youths and adults to understand Islam profoundly, who else can stop them from falling into the clutches of deviate philosophical schools and from being swept away by the tide of the pagan Western culture? Would it not be more beneficial to discuss the great merits of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) as ideal human beings and ideal teachers of mankind, instead of discussing them as metaphysical entities to be revered but not to be obeyed, to be glorified but not to be emulated, to be invoked for assistance in worldly needs and affairs and to be ignored in vital matters of our duties, obligations, and responsibilities as Muslims?

Only when our majalis become classes. for dissemination of the teachings of the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) which lie buried in hadith texts, only when our majalis become platforms of Muslim unity instead of being instruments of division and disunity, only when our majalis and manabir become the seats of the duty of al‑amr bil ma`ru f wa al‑nahy `an al‑munkar, only when the Qur'an is made again the book of our life and the light of our majalis, only then can it be said that our majalis and manabir are doing justice to al‑Imam al‑Husayn (A) and to the people whom the majalis were originally instituted to nourish spiritually, morally, and intellectually.

Tehran Muharram, 1405 


Methods to be followed by the Mubaligh -


By His Name, The Most High

On the advent of the blessed holy month of Ramadhan for the Hijri year of 1428, Imam Ali Foundation held its annual meeting for Mubaligheen and Juma Imams on Sunday 26 Sha�ban 1428 (9/9/2007). The meeting aimed to address Tabligh issues and new methods to be followed by the Mubaligh in order to encourage and attract people to adhere to their religious obligations, worshiping throughout this month, by reciting the holy Quran and supplications - like the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) who spent their days and nights during this holy month worshiping and supplicating [The Almighty].

Over 150 Alim and Mubaligh attended the meeting. They emphasised on the significance of the holy month of Ramadhan and how to benefit and enjoy its spiritual atmosphere through special supplications - as recited by the Masoomeen (a.s.)

Everyone present stressed the need to increase people�s awareness that terrorism and killing of innocent souls, attacking lives and livelihoods, be they personal or public, terrifying people gratuitously is deplored by all heavenly religions. God and his Messenger (s.a.w.w.) deplore such acts that are against the true teachings of Islam, the religion of love, charity and elevated manners, forbearance and equilibrium.

The representative of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Seestani (long may he live), the scholar Sayyid Murtadha Kashmiri also articulated the qualities of the Alim and Mubaligh. The most important of these are; avoiding all that is against Islamic law no matter how trivial, piety, steadfastness, social awareness and other elevated manners, thus cultivating peoples� trust and loyalty to the Alim. He also stressed the need for unity among the Alims themselves and to continue their consultations through individual meetings or other forms of communications in order to enhance their success.

He concluded the meeting by conveying the recommendations made by the office of the supreme Mardja� Imam Seestani (long may he live) in Najaf - urging the Mubaligheen and the eulogists to take note and adhere to them - as follows:

1- Reduce the lectures on the teachings of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to accommodate what people can take; as the saying goes: speak to people according to their aptitude.
2- Diffuse the wonderful words of the Imams (a.s.) that will endear them to the people and refrain from stating what has been purported and has no effect.
3- Avoid relating tales and other baseless stories that insult peoples� intelligence and refrain from saying that which is not credible.
4- Allocate part of the program to disseminate Shari�a rulings on everyday matters either to do with worship or transactions.
5- Educate people and increase their social awareness by including historical and factual stories that will be a lesson for them now and in future.

9 September 2007


Extract of Will of Imam Hussain (as) as given to Mohammad re nowned as Ibne Hanafiyah: 

�I have not risen to spread evil or to show off, nor for spreading immorality or oppression. But I have left for the betterment of the ummah of my Grand father and I desire to propagate the Religion and forbid against evil, thus following the foot-steps of my Grandfather and Father Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s).� 

Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.) in North America

WitIn the coming of Muharram this year, 1372 years have passed since the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) along with a little over 70 of his close family members and companions in Karbala. Every year, with the coming and renewal of the anniversary of this event, we witness the interaction of the souls whose enthusiasm and interest to commemorate this event increases in different parts of the world, even in regions that one would not expect toremember the holy household of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).   

The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) addressed his son, Imam Husain (a.s.), and said, "Oh Husain, you are the tear of every believer; there isn't a time when a believer remembers you except that his tears are invoked."   

Therefore, in addition to this being a divine gift that has been placed within the essence of existence and in the depths of the souls of the faithful, the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) - even in the hardest of times - never diverted their attention, care, and advise to the faithful to be committed to this event and its commemoration. The reason the Imams (a.s.) placed such emphasis on commemorating the martyrdom was because they knew the immense effects it would have on enrooting the religion, correcting the faith, and connecting the believers to God Almighty.  

 Keeping in mind the three core components of the memorial commemorations of Imam Husain (a.s.) namely: the lecturers, speakers and preachers, the caretakers of memorial  services and the audience of believers; building upon the former and the latter, it is important  to mention the following points which are noted and derived from the advice of the purified  Imams (a.s.) and the directions of our scholars and grand jurists since the advent of Karbala:

   1. The lecturers on the podium of Imam Husain (a.s.)   , 2. Pertaining to caretakers of the gatherings and services   &  3. Pertaining to the crowds of believers        

1. The lecturers on the podium of Imam Husain (a.s.)  

          There is no doubt that the phenomenon of standing at the podium and dressing up in the garb of people of religion and knowledge causes one's mind to think of the Honorable Prophet's (s.a.w.) role in admonishing and reforming society. Therefore, qualified lecturers and conscious preachers have always paid attention to the following:  

* The act of taking this responsibility is only done for the sake of delivering the message and guiding people to attain nearness to God Almighty. It is to be far away from any of the other influences or incentives which often accompany this position and status.  

* A commitment to providing a lecture that invokes the tears by appealing to the emotions and inspires the minds through wise admonition. In other words, mixing the wave of sadness and sorrow over the tragedy with the lessons and reminders which are inspired by the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.). For indeed, the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.) exemplifies many virtuous qualities, much Islamic knowledge, and important events from the lives of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his family (a.s.). Imam Al Redha (a.s.) was asked about the way to revitalize the affairs of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to which he (a.s.) responded, "By learning our knowledge and then teaching it to the people. For indeed, if people knew the merits of our knowledge, they would follow us." 

* Moderation and fairness in choosing and proposing issues; taking inconsideration the appropriateness of the discussion with the level and nature of the gathering by using wisdom and good advice; presenting many different opinions and theories andthen focusing on following the best.    

* Bringing the attention of the audience to the new movements and missions which aim to present a false image of Islam and Muslims by mixing the truth with falsehood using devious methods that aim to deviate from the correct path. Such methods include taking concepts, which are at the heart of the religion of Islam and its teachings, such as "liberty' and "citizenship" and placing them under the banner of "liberalism" through programs and projects that aim to deviate society into becoming one which is irresponsible, unethical, without a religious identity or noble cultural affiliation. The enemies of Islam have placed all of their efforts and resources into extinguishing the light of the seal of all religions, but were unsuccessful. As a result, armed with money and media, they aim to innovate new types of methods to target Islam and Muslims. Though it should have been more of a priority for them to analyze the reasons for their repetitive failures, and the secret of Islam's resilience and success through its Qur'an and those who carry its message. If they had done so, they would have followed the path of its guidance and happiness rather than wasting their lives in a war they cannot win. 

* Tending to the general level of the audience. It is narrated that the Honorable Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "We, the Prophets, have been commanded to speak to people at the level of their intellects." This includes being mindful of the time and place. For it is not necessary that different groups of people share the same pride and esteem for a particular type of speech, ritual, or tradition. 

 * The importance of emphasizing holding steadfastly onto the Holy Quran and the holy household of the Prophet (s.a.w.). There is no guarantee of being successful achieving this goal during the major occultation, except by holding steadfastly onto the grand jurists, those religious experts who have fulfilled the required qualifications of the Shi'a school. These jurists are those whose jurisprudential qualifications, piety and asceticism have been authenticated by major scholars and all of the Islamic seminaries. For not holding onto them would lead the Muslim nation into division an separation within the community, making it exposed to corruption, loss and deviation even on issues that are not points of contention.  

2. Pertaining to caretakers of the gatherings and services  

          For each group of people there are caretakers and leaders who are hoped to be among those described as people "of strength and insight." They are the ones who represent the nucleus of social activism through their great efforts, adamant activism and unique devotion to the Shi'a school of thought and the faithful - especially during the season of Imam Husain's (a.s.) commemoration. They carry the heavier load in establishing the gatherings, managing them and helping to make them successful. Therefore, the sincere and successful among them have never ceased to be attentive to important matters, such as:  

* Being open to all people. For indeed, the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.) is the revolution of God's Messenger (s.a.w.). For he (s.a.w.) said, "Husain is from me and I am from Husain." This means that the message and the giving is for all without exception. The Messenger (s.a.w.) and his family (a.s.) were not limited to a particular nationality, language, group, or family. But rather, "We did not send you except as a mercy to all the worlds." That is why the gatherings and services should be open to all, in order to make the voice of Imam Husain (a.s.) reach the largest number of people this season - that they may gain from his guidance and sacrifice.  

* In addition to catering to the general attendance, importance must be given to specifying the appropriate times and venues that are suitable for women, youth, and children. For it is important to increase the awareness of mothers, educators and women in general. It is necessary to attract the youth and children and have them invest this period of their lives in learning and building their system of belief and knowledge.  

* Taking advantage of the large presence of crowds by drawing attention to the beneficial services and useful suggestions that the religious and charitable groups have to offer throughout the year. For example, religious education and preaching programs, as well as various other programs which are important to mention. It is also important to discuss projects, services and programs in areas in which we must invest, areas which help our societies advance - that is if we were interested in being a successful society - just as other developed societies that have advanced before us. For instance, issues of civil rights, voting especially at the regional level, and voting for school boards, city councils and others.  

 3. Pertaining to the crowds of believers  

          At the core of the gatherings for the commemoration of Imam Husain (a.s.) are the faithful attendees, their interaction and empathy. They are important to the success of the gathering. Therefore, the most prominent and successful gatherings have always been characterized by the attendance of faithful crowds that have several unique characteristics, such as:  

* Sincerity in the intention of the attendee: -The participation in the gatherings of Imam Husain (a.s.) should entail a great deal of sincerity in order to attain nearness to God Almighty. Often, the factor of the group mindset, companionship, flattery, societal expectations, or gaining a reputation, or infamy or other factors may have an effect on the intention - something which the believing followers of Imam Husain (a.s.) try to completely avoid.  

* Identifying the intention in attending: -That is by limiting it to two reasons: The first is to express sadness over the tragedy and share in the mourning with Imam al-Mahdi (a.t.f.) for his loss of the Master of the martyrs (a.s.). The second reason is to gain knowledge at the banquet of Imam Husain (a.s.) in order to attain the level of "the great success". For it has been narrated in the advice of Imam Ali ibn Mousa al-Redha (a.s.) that he told one of his companions, "...Oh Ibn Shabeeb... if it would make you happy to share in the reward of those who were martyred with al-Husain (a.s.) then say the following whenever you remember them, 'Oh, I wish I were with them, for surely I would have achieved a great success." With this, the Imam (a.s.) confirms the elevated status of those who were martyred with Imam Husain (a.s.), a status distinguished from all others in history. Secondly, he described the event as a "great success". Thirdly, he connected the believers of every time and place with a historical connection - linking those among them who aspire for great success.  

* Cooperation: -Extending a helping hand of moral and material support to those managing the gathering to help in its success; by inviting the general public, encouraging them, and helping to remove barriers that prevent their participation and attendance. This should be done in an effort to introduce them to Islam through the memorial of Imam Husain (a.s.).  

* Abiding by the advice of the grand religious jurists and scholars of the Islamic Seminaries in keeping the season of the commemoration of Imam Husain (a.s.) alive and well, and within the religiously legal guidelines. It is important to stay away from anything which might lead to a religious infraction.  

We ask God Almighty to grant us success. May God make us all from the servants of Islam and Muslims, and recorded in the book of Imam Husain (a.s.).  

May the peace and blessings of God be upon you all. 

Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.) in North America