Philosophy of Azadari
"I have risen (against Yazid) as I wish to reform the ummah of my
grandfather. I wish to encourage the good and discourage the evil, and follow in the way of my grandfather (Rasulullah) and
my father, ' Ali bin Abi Talib " -
Asalam -o- Alaikom
The memorable days of Muharram are passing by with a river of tears and thunder
of the matam. This is the remembrance of the King of the Martyrs, the remembrance that our Holy Prophet (saww) had promised:
When the Holy Prophet (saww) informed Lady Fatima (sa) of the Martyrdom in store for his grandson, she burst into
tears as asked "O my father! When would my son be martyred?"
"In such a critical moment," replied the Holy Prophet,
"when neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive."
This accentuated her grief and she inquired again, "Who then, O my
father, would commemorate Hussain's Martyrdom?"
The Holy Prophet said, "The men and the women of a particular group
of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlul Bayt, will mourn for Hussain and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every
Brothers and sisters recently there have been many attacks on the
different elements of mourning (azadari). It is baffling and quite shocking that people have started to label the Alam of
Abbas (as), the cradle of Ali Asgher (as), the replicas of the Mausoleums of the Ma'sumeen (as) etc., as idols that are 'worshiped'
by Shias as they were 'worshiped' in the Indian subcontinent. Even more shocking is that this is being perpetuated by so-called
enlightened Shias. These people go as far as saying that calling upon Moula 'Ali for help is Shirk. This is the same group
of people that have a problem with our different cultures and want to reduce the majaalis of Imam al-Hussain (as) into mere
lectures with no matam, no black clothing, no mourning, no outburst of cries, no emotion!
Well, beware of falling
into this satanic trap because the cursed satan works not at the bars, but within the followers of the Ahlul-bayt (as).
articles will inshallah touch upon some Quranic references for Azadari. However, to begin with, we must rid ourselves from
the understanding that calling upon Imam Ali (as) 'YA ALI MADAD' is shirk. When Imam is called upon, the caller KNOWS that
Imam will come to his/her help ONLY via the authority given to him by Allah (swt). This is nothing but Ibadah of Allah (swt).
By the way, if you have a tablet or see a doctor when you are ill as you feel that this is the only thing that will cure me,
then it is Shirk! So before we attack the fundamentals of the Shia faith, let us see how many idols we have worshiped in our
lives: US Dollars, UK Pounds, Ego, The Doctor, Fame, Power, The West, Materialism, Celebrities, Sports Heroes, Capitalism,
The Boss at work, etc.
Undoubtedly the misguided group that calls Alams and Julas as shirk have not understood the
meaning of ibadah. If an Alam was to be understood as the entity that can make a difference in one's life, INDEPENDENT of
anything else, i.e. totally removed from Allah (swt), than this is truly Shirk. However, if the Alam is respected, kissed,
and used as a method to bring about emotions, and it is done so because it symbolizes the Alam of Abbas (as) that fell in
Kerbala, and that Abbas (as) holds the highest authority in the eyes of Allah (swt) after the Ahlul-bayt (as), and that it
is only through the power and authority given to Hazrat Abbas by Allah (swt) that will make a difference in your duas, then
this is nothing but worship - ibadah of Allah (swt).
The above explanation has failed to do justice to Sheik Arif Husain's
Majalis at the Jafari Islamic Centre in Toronto on 8th Muharram, 1422 A.H. Please listen to the Majalis (8th night) as he
has categorically explained the logical need and basis of taqleed, the historical roots of taqleed (right from the days of
Rasulullah (saww), what is Shirk and what is not, and the Status of Hazrat Abbas (as). Sh. Arif is the Howza (al-Mahdi seminary
in Birmingham UK) founder and principle. Let us listen to this Majalis, and mature our understanding of the Shia faith. The
sign of jahala will be subsequent attacks on azadari.
His majaalis (sermons) in English and Urdu
can be heard at http://www.islamicentre.org/multimedia/muharram.asp
Having explained that respecting the symbols of Kerbala is NOT shirk, we
will now address the Quranic basis for this. However, please rid the notion that in being fed to people that Alams, Jula,
niyaz (the refreshments served in the name of Al-Hussain (as)), etc. are all cultural and traditional practices of India and
Pakistan. Whoever is saying this ought to get out more often! O people, realize that the Alam of Abbas is a global phenomenon
for it is found in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America, and even the most remote places of Africa. Know
that the Alam is not just stick and cloth, but it is a philosophy within itself. Think, just think, how the Alam spread all
across the world. There was no Alam conference, but there always will be the Duas of Fatima Zahra (sa). The Alam fell in Kerbala
after the enemy severed the hand of Abbas (as), so let us pick up the Alam and raise it up high and call upon Abbas (as) and
say, 'O Abbas, come and look at your Alam - it is raised up for eternity' So please, if you feel uncomfortable with the Alam,
go elsewhere, but do not wage a war against the Mission of Abbas (as)!
Moulana Jawed Jafri recently explained the
Quranic basis of some of the practices in Muharram. He enlightened youths with these concepts at a discussion in Muharram
Firstly, Allah (swt) declares in the Holy Quran: "... and whoever respects the signs of Allah, verily it
is (the reflection) of the piety of their hearts"
According to the ayah, a person
who offers respect toward the signs of Allah, actually does so due to the piety and taqwa in his/her heart. We have explained
how the Alams etc. are related to Allah (swt) as Kerbala was the place where Islam was saved. Everyday we place our forehead
onto the soil of Kerbala in salaat. Again, this is nothing but Ibadah of Allah (swt)! Thus, don't call those who kiss the
Alam as blind followers, rather their respecting the signs of Allah (swt) and it is a reflection of taqwa in their hearts
as per the above verse.
Consider Surah Al-Adiyat (The Chargers):
By the chargers (who are heavily breathing);
And those that dash off (their hoofs) striking fire;
And those who scour to the attack at dawn!
And stir thereby
the dust aloft
And penetrate through (the foe) all of them;
History has recorded that these verses were revealed
after Imam Ali (as) led an army to give the enemy a crushing defeat in the early morning. All Ulema will tell you that when
Allah (swt) swears by something in the Holy Quran, He is displaying its importance. Well brothers and sisters, not only as
Allah sworn in these verses by the chargers (warriors fighting in the way of Islam), and their act of dashing, and by the
fire under the attacking horses, but Allah (swt) also swears by the dust that is beneath the horses that the solders were
sitting upon! What magnificent symbolism the Holy Quran is showing - that the dust beneath the hoofs of the horses used in
the Jihad of Allah (swt) is worthy of being an entity by which Allah (swt) swears to convey and important message. Because
these were the warriors fighting in the way of Allah (swt), everyone associated with their charge becomes a sign an symbol
of Allah. So how about Kerbala - the event that saved Islam forever. How about the Flag of Imam Husain (as) - the Alam of
Abbas (as). Do you see now that the symbols of Kerbala are worthy of respect! And respecting them is the sign of the taqwa
and piety of the heart.
In Surah As-Saba, Ayah 13 states:
"They (the Jinn) made
for him (Prophet Sulaiman) whatever he willeth of fortress and models, and basins as large as reservoirs, and huge cooking
cauldrons immovable from their places, 'Act ye gratefully, O family of David! and very few of My servants are grateful'"
words Mahreeb and Tamatheel (models) in tafsir are considered the basis for the replicas of the Mausoleums of the Holy Ahlul-bayt
(as). Again, these replicas serve us as a reminder of the actual Mausoleum (Roza) of our beloved, however they act as symbols
to us for us to do ziayarat from across the world.
In Surah Ash-Shams Ayah 13, the Camel of Prophet Saleh was referred
to as Allah's camel. Does this mean Allah (swt) rides of the camel? NO of course not!, rather it is showing us that everything
that strives or is used in the in the path of Allah (swt) becomes a sign and symbol of Allah (Swt). This has Quranic basis.
There are many more examples, and brothers and sisters are invited to go deeper in the Holy Quran and the Hadith of
the Ahlul-bayt (as) to appreciate the significant of Kerbala and its symbols. A concept that can be researched by the seeker
of knowledge is the meaning behind 'taboot' in 2:248. According to the ayah, the heritage of Prophet Musa and Prophet Haroon
are in the taboot that the angels carry; and this is a sign for the believers. How is this different from the taboot we raise
in Julus and processions in Ashura?
Thus, Let us understand out religion and not be the ones who are the oppressors
of the true faith. Indeed if there is one person who was against the Azadari of Imam Hussain (as), it is the cursed Yazid
In conclusion, there is no Marja or Mujtahid is the Islamic world that has condemned azadari like we hear condemnation
from some common self-proclaimed experts. Azadari is what has kept the religion alive.
Think: when you do tonight
to the masjid; when will you ever see so many people again - what is it that brings them to perform azadari. And what are
the consequences for those who try to undermine the Eternal Philosophy of Kerbala!
There is so much to read about
Kerbala, and so much to learn. It quite obvious that those who wage a war against Alams and the symbols of Kerbala ought to
do some more reading and reflecting. Some internet sites that are useful for all of us in gaining a better understanding of
Kerbala are as follows:
Imam Husain (AS): A brief Description and Analysis http://al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter5b/1.html
Some Traditions on Imam al-Husain (AS) http://al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter5b/2.html
Reasons Behind the Commemoration of Imam al-Husain (AS)
Did Imam al-Husain (AS) Know He Would Be killed?
The Martyred Ones http://al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter5b/5.html
"The love of us (Ahlul-bayt) is faith, and the hatred
of us is fidelity" -