The Grand Scholar Sayyed Ali El-Amine: It is necessary to re-consider organizing themajaalis practices of Imam Hussein in reading its aspects with tools of "internal reform"
•There are those who take advantage of Ashurrain favour of their personal authoritative ambitions
•Imam Al-Sadiq warned from the emblems thatignite seditions
The Grand Scholar Sayyed Ali El-Amine over emphasized on the fact that some people desperately tried in a dark period of history to take considerable advantage of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS). This fully intended to favor their political projects, and personal authoritative ambitions. In an interview with 'Al-Watan' Sayed El Amine stated that; these people used to attract other individuals under the emblem of "taking revenge for Imam Hussein" and the reason behind thiswas the fact that the tragedy of Imam Hussein sympathized these people towards its tyrannized effects along with its religious importance to Muslims. Furthermore Sayed El Amine certainly indicates that when we don’t insult the beliefs of others through our practices and traditions, then we are truly the ones practicing the principles of reform for which Imam Hussein upraised. Sayed El-Amine also called for the re-consideration in reading the true aspects and lessons of the majjalis practices by promoting this event with tools that correspond to the goals and objectives of this holy event thusly presenting Ashurra as a school in which we learn and derive from it how to face oppression and corruption. In all due fairness, El-Amine added that "this is the main objective that the sha'ariah law wants from society which is rightfully based on unity and cooperation among its members.
•How do you examine the facts of what happened at the battle of Karabala in which shedding of holy blood took place?
Ashurra in our Islamic history was a painful event that exceeded its tragic chapters and criminal content. This event with no doubt clearly showed the deep audacity in shedding blood which God Almighty has forbidden to, and this is strongly testified in both the holy quran and the sunnah of the holy prophet (p.b.u.h) in which they are surely the main source of belief and sharriah law of this heavenly message (Islam) that all muslims believed in. Furthermore this audacity was reached to include highly religious figures like Imam Hussein (a.s) the grandson of the Messenger of Allah Mohammad (p.b.u.h), his progeny and companions. It is commonly known that the Prophet's well known tradition about his grandsons: "Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the leaders of the youth of paradise".
•What is the reason behind these solace rituals being held this time every year?
It is for what Karbala was of a great tragedy for all Muslims as it deeply traumatized them. Muslims recall the memory of this tragedy every year in order to derive from it the inspiring lessons. Among the many reasons for the remembrance of this tragedy was the brutality of the event and itsoutraging effects which we repudiate and deny so that such an event is not repeated or seen again happening among Muslims. For if Imam Hussain'sblood was to be shed without any rejection then the value of any Muslim blood will no longer be of any importance.
•However, there are those who take advantage of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in favour of their political projects and authoritative ambitions?
True, as they said before that some people desperately tried in a dark period of history to take considerable advantage of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS). This fully intended to favour their political projects, and personal authoritative ambitions. These people used to attract other individuals under the emblem of "taking revenge for Imam Hussein" and the reason behind this was the fact that the tragedy of Imam Hussein sympathized these people towards its tyrannized effects along with its religious importance to Muslims.
•Yet, these people use the saying of Imam Hussein as evident that: "for a martyr a revenge with God" ?
My dear brother, Imam Sadiq (as) was aware of the negative consequences and results of this emblemthat at some stage would ignite seditions and wars in the Muslim community. Imam Al-Saidq stood up and faced this situation that noticeably was hiding behind it the love of power and authority, he strongly told them that Imam Hussin is not a revenge for a group of people nor for a tribe neither a clan but he is God's revenge. When the martyr is killed for the sake of God then God will take revenge from the unjust through his laws and provisions that truly destroy the thrones of tyrants.
•So what does it mean to take revenge for Imam Hussein at this time?
Imam Hussein is not a revenge for the tribe ofHashem nor a revenge for a certain sect neither he is a retaliation for a school of thought. Having said that, those who committed such an heinous tragedy are now in the court of God, therefore Imam Hussein became a martyr and a martyr is certainly God's revenge and hence God is the best ruler. For this reason, whenever Imam Sadiq used to address the tomb of his grandfather Imam Hussein he usedto always say: "Peace be upon you, O he who fought in the way of Allah and the son of one who fought in the way of Allah".
•What kind of lessons are derived from Ashurathrough which the Muslim communities can benefit from in our present day?
Ashura is a discipline from which we learn lessons of patience, sacrifice and redemption in addition to the refusal of oppression and injustice. Ashura is a model in the saying of the truth by opposing corruption to the land and by resisting any oppression to people. It is also a strong witness on the blatant abuse of the dictators that often respond to the voices of reform with the use of swords. The reasons and circumstances that surrounded Imam Hussein and the forces driving his uprising with hisknowledge of the consequences are privatised to Imam Hussein's personal character, in other words it is part of Imam Hussein's duty. This is referred to as "Ka'ady'a fe waq'aa" in the science of jurisprudence meaning "an issue in an event".
•This means that, Karbala was not repeated in any time after the tragedy?
Yes, that's what we understand from the Imams ofAhulubayt after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (as), the movement of Imam Hussein was not seen by the Imams after him as a "general principle" to upraise against the ruler. For this reason, Karbala was not repeated in the time of the Imams after Imam Hussein even though oppression still took place at that time (ie. during the time of the Imams after Imam Hussein) with even severer consequences.
•Why don’t we justify the uprisings of the oppressed people through the application of the event of Karbala?
I say: Karbala in its brutal effects was not an act by Imam Hussein nor it was a result of his proceedings in order for us to apply it to our lives and to our societies rather it was certainly through the evil operations by the evil ruler.
•So, you call upon the change in the reality of such oppression and injustice by promoting it through gentle persuasion?
We should carefully view the goals of Imam Hussein, in seeking to achieve reform in our society and nation as Imam Hussein did so when he called upon reform in the nation of his holy Prophet (sw) and that is through the command to promote virtue and prevent vice. And thus we shall imitate what was narrated by Imam Ali (as): "
•Do some Ashura rituals have any legitimacy in the Shari'ah?
No! that's why many of the practices that take place on the occasion of Ashura have become over time part of the customs and traditions that don’t have any origin in Islam. In addition, Ahlulbayt (as) themselves did not even practice such traditions in their lives. Many of the Imam Hussein biography narrators narrate Imam Hussein's will before his death to his sister the holy lady Zeinab: " O' Sister! By the right that I have on you. Be patient on my separation, and when I get killed do not beat yourself and do not gripe your hair, you are the daughter of Fatima e Zahra (sa), show patience the way she showed on the death of Holy Prophet (s)."
•Then, what is the reason that drives its replication (ie. rituals) in events of solace?
These traditions were enhanced over many centuries and were determined through emotional approaches! The scholars in a general sense did not expose themselves to educate these rituals and were not willing to teach people the right principles and values to be practiced in such events. This inattention by the scholars gave people the feeling that such traditions are recommended religiously. Some of them even think that these ritual have reached the degree of legitimate religious duties that must be practiced!!!
•Are there any religious scholars that denied such illegitimate acts?
There are many religious scholars that don’t practice such acts and don’t even agree with its existence. Others forbiddingly say that it is not permissible to participate in such actions such as the head and body bleedings. This view is strongly supported by the late Grand Scholar SheikhMouhammad Jawad Mognya: " The customs and traditions adopted by most of the floaters are certainly not acceptable to become a main source of beliefs and doctrine because the majority of such traditions are not acknowledged by religion to which they belong. Even though some scholars that did encourage and endorse such practices, don't really represent the religion itself. This includes different practices carried out by these ordinaryShi'ites in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran such as wearing the coffins, beating their heads with swords on the tenth day of Muharam. Having said that, this shameful habit is an innovation in the religion and the school of thought. In addition, these traditions have been established by ignorant people without being authorized by a scholar or an authority. Moreover, it is also common to depict such innovations in other religions and beliefs, in which there is a number of traditions that are instantly not endorsed by the doctrine that they belong to in the first place. This wave of traditions is undoubtedly followed by total silence by some people who fear insult and harm to their life, these people did not dare to illegitimate these acts in a sense. Contrary, only a small number of scholars had the will to stand clear against such practices. Among these scholars the Grand Scholar Sayed Mohsen Al-Amine who composed a special book in prohibiting these practices and thus called his book: "Al Tanzi'hLe'ama'l Alsha'abih".
•Consequently, there is an urgent need to reorganize these rituals?
We call for the necessity to re-examine the reorganization of these rituals particularly in presenting its readings through tools that are consistent with the goals and objectives of this anniversary. As a result, Ashura becomes a leading school from which we derive lessons in facing injustice and corruption with contemporary elements. Furthermore, achieving internal reform in the course of calling for the good and forbidding the evil, this is the main objective that theshaariah law wants from society which is rightfully based on unity and cooperation among its members.
•How do these rituals become a lighthouse in calling for good and forbidding evil?
It is surely, when we compete for the interests of people and the nation through which we seek to enhance brotherhood among all citizens. This definitely places us amongst those commanding good and forbidding evil.
•What values should be advocated by these rituals in order for it to be on the path of Imam Hussein?
When we don’t insult others through our traditions and practices, then we shall be among those practicing the values and principles that Imam Hussein upraised for. This in turn makes us also along with what Imam Al-Baqir said about his trueShia: "They are a blessing for him who is theirneighbor them. And they are peace for him who associates with them. When they become angry, they do not do wrong."
•How do Muslims benefit from the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein?
When we maintain regularity matters and appeal to institutions of governing and maintaining order then we would certainly be from those following the footsteps of Imam Hussein. In addition, when we also call for better wages and achieve social justice and equality between the ruler and the people ruled in obtaining health and education insurance then we'll be among those seeking the path of Imam Hussein.
Alwatan NewsPapaer - 6-12-2011
Translated by Mohamed Wehby