The Full Wiki

Remembrance of Muharram: Wikis

Advertisements

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

(Redirected to Mourning of Muharram article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mourning of Muharram
Events
Figures
Places
Times
Customs

The Mourning of Muharram is an important period of mourning in the Shi'a branch of Islam, taking place in Muharram which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is also called the Remembrance of Muharram (Arabic: ذكرى محرم or مناسبة محرم‎). Many of the events associated with the remembrance take place in congregation halls known as Hussainia.

The event marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussain ibn Ali, The grandson of Muhammad the last prophet of Islam, and a Shia Imam, was killed by the forces of the second Umayad caliph Yazid I. The event is marked by arranging 'majalis' (gatherings) to review Islamic teachings and to commemorate Imam Hussain's sacrifice. The mourning reaches its climax on the tenth day, known as Ashura, on which the forces of Yazid killed the 72 individuals who fought, including Imam Hussain and his family and supporters. The women and children left living were made prisoners and transported to Yazid's court in Damascus.

Contents

Etymology

The words Azadari and Majalis-e Aza has been exclusively used in connection with the remembrance ceremonies for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Majalis-e Aza, also known as Aza-e Husayn, includes mourning congregations, lamentations, matam and all such actions which express the emotions of grief and above all, repulsion against what Yazid stood for.

The term majalis has both a grammatical meaning and a meaning which relates to Aza-e-Husayn. In its technical sense, a majalis is a meeting, a session or a gathering.

Background

Shi'a Muslims in Bahrain strike their chests during the Remembrance of Muharram.

The Azadari of Muharram was started by the family of Muhammad (the Ahl-ul-Bayt) after the death of Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. Following the battle of Karbala, Muhammad's granddaughter Zaynab binte Ali and sister of Husayn, began mourning for the fallen and making speeches against Husayn ibn Ali's opponents: Ibn Ziyad and Yazid I. News of Husayn ibn Ali's death was also spread by Imam Zain-ul-Abideen, who succeeded Husayn as the Shia Imam, via sermons and speeches throughout Iraq, Syria and Hejaz.

Zainab and Zainu l-Abi Din informed the people that Yazid had martyred Imam Husayn and seventy-two of his companions including his six month old son Ali Asghar, and that their women and children were taken as prisoners to Syria. When word of mourning reached Yazid he decided to release the captive women and children from the prison in Damascus, out of fear of public revolt against his rule. He sent for Zainu l-Abi Din, informed him of the impending release and asked if he wished for anything further. Zain said he would consult with Zainab. She asked Yazid to provide a place where the people could mourn for Imam Husayn and others of Muhammad's household. A house was provided, and here Zaynab binte Ali held the first Majlis-e Aza of Husayn and started the Mourning of Muharram.

Advertisements

History of commemoration

The mourning and commemoration for Husayn ibn Ali originated in Arab Iraq, as this is where Husayn was martyred. However, they were held in Iran as early as the twelfth century, when both Sunnis and Shias participated in them. In the Safavid period, the annual mourning ceremonies for Imam Hosayn, combined with the ritual cursing of his enemies, acquired the status of a national institution. Expressions of grief such as sine-zani (beating the chest), zangir-zani (beating oneself with chains), and tage-zani or qama-zani (hitting oneself with swords or knives) emerged as common features of the proliferating mourning-processions (dasta-gardani). Mourning for the martyred Imam also took place in assemblies held in buildings erected especially for the purpose, known either as Hussainia or takia, as well as in mosques and private houses. At these assemblies, called either rawze-khani (the recitation of Rawzat al-Shuhada by Hosayn Waeze Kashefi (d. 910/1504-05)) or marsia-khani (the recitation of elegies), professional reciters and preachers would recount the deeds of the martyrs and curse their enemies, arousing the emotions of the mourners who responded by singing dirges at appropriate intervals in the narrative. Theatrical representations of the tragedy at Karbala (ta'zia)—possibly the most remarkable feature of the entire corpus of Muharram ritual—also made their appearance in the Safavid period.[1]

Commemoration of the tragedy at Karbala reached its apogee in the mid-nineteenth century. By then it had spread across a vast area, extending from the Middle East and the Caucasus eastwards to India, Indonesia, and Thailand, and it had even been established in Trinidad by Indian Muslim migrants. In Iran, the memory of Karbala came to permeate social and cultural life, with mourning assemblies and dramatic performances (not all shias agree with the re-enacting of the tragedy of Karbala however) being organized throughout the year, not only in Muharram. The occasion might be furnished by the death of a revered person or the need to fulfill a vow. Gatherings known as sofra (lit. tablecloth), in which the preparation and serving of food played a focal role, were exclusively feminine: the preachers as well as the mourners were all women, and the lives and tribulations of women such as Fatimah and Zaynab were the principal topic of commemoration. Gatherings of this type appear to have originated in the late nineteenth century.[1]

Azadari Movement in Lucknow

The Muharram, 1795: Asaf al-Daula, Nawab of Oudh, listening at night to the maulvi reading from the scriptures during Muharram, c.1795.

Lucknow is known as a seat of Shi'ism and the epitome of Shia culture in India. Muharram which is observed in Lucknow is famous worldwide. The processions of Muharram in Lucknow have a special significance. They were started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs. The Majalises, processions and other rituals that are observed by the Shia community to commemorate the sacrifice of Husain are known as Azadari.

The processions like Shahi Zarih, Jaloos-e-Mehndi, Alam-e-Ashura and that of Chup Tazia have special significance for Shia community, which are taken out with great religious zeal and fervour. These processions which started during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs continued till the year 1977.

Processions Banned The first problem regarding Azadari started in the year 1906. Communal riots took place in the years 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1977. The Government of Uttar Pradesh banned the Azadari processions in the year 1977. The Shia community from time to time has been constantly protesting against the ban imposed on Azadari. Many memoranda were sent to the Government regarding the ban but to no avail. The system of courting arrest was also started later by the late Maulana Syed Kalbe Abid in which thousands of Shias courted arrest on the 10th of Muharram every year, at the Imambara Asifi in the protest of this ban.

Self Immolation On the 10th of April 1997 under the banner of Karvane Furat the Shias sat on a hunger strike to press their demands and attract the attention of the Government but the effort was in vain. Having been irked by the attitude of the Government and seeing that no other option was left for the community, three Shia youth committed self immolation on 13th of April 1997 at Dargah Hazrat Abbas (A.S.), Mohd. Abbas (24 years), Yusuf (38 years) committed self- immolation. They breathed their last on 16th April 1997 in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. On April 16th another Shia youth, Ishrat Altaf, committed self immolation and died.

Noted Shia religious scholar of India Kalbe Sadiq called on the community to observe a peace march on the 18th of April, 1997. A march was scheduled from Imambara Asifi(Bara Imambara) to Imambara Husainabad(Chhota Imambara) in which more than two hundred thousand Shias along with other Ulema participated. Imam Bukhari of Shahi Jami Masjid in Delhi showed his interest in negotiating the vexed Azadari issue and was expected to arrive in Lucknow on the 31st May 1997. On 3rd June he was arrested on the outskirts of the city. Along with him noted Shia Ulema, the Imam-e-Juma of Masjid Asafi, Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad and Sunni Ulama late Maulana Qamar Minai were arrested for organising a meeting and defying Section 144 I.P.C.

On hearing of their leader’s arrest, the Shias stormed the Vidhan Sabha (the provincial assembly of Uttar Pradesh state) and performed Matam. The Government Uttar Pradesh seeing the situation going out of hand was forced to release the leaders without further delay.

Indian Shiite Muslims take out a Muharram procession in Lucknow, India, Jan, 2007. Muharram is a month of mourning when Shiite Muslims recall the seventh-century death of Imam Hussain, grandson of Muhammad.

Police mercilessly beat Shias including women and children on 8th June 1997 in Muftiganj in the Alam procession. Upon knowing of this incident Maulana Kalbe Jawad called an emergency meeting of about 115 Shia Anjumans(associations) of the city. At the meeting it was unanimously decided that if the government did not lift the ban on Azadari by 24th June 1997 (18th Safar) the Shias would defy the ban and take out the Alam procession on the 26th of June 1997. The Administration and the government did nothing they imposed a curfew in the city on the night of 26th June 1997. The Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati issued a strict warning to the Shia community that any attempt to take out Alam procession would force the government to deal strongly with them.

The police sealed all the Shia dominated localities but ultimately Shia’s defied the curfew. The Government to save itself from an embarrassment transferred the then District Magistrate of Lucknow and issued the order for the arrest of Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad under National Security Act (NSA). The Administration on the 28th of June 1997 at 4:00 a.m. arrested Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. He was sent to Lalitpur Jail while his family was incarcerated with the prisoners of TADA. News spread like wildfire in the city and the people again break the curfew. The police mercilessly beat them up. Shia women stormed District Magistrate residence and protested there. Shia youth performed matam at the Vidhan Sabha. People from other parts of the country also started lending their support to the Azadari Movement. There were also various protests and agitations reported from the different parts of the country against the arrest of Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. Indian Shias residing in New York, Syria, Pakistan, Iran and other countries also protested against the Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad’s arrest.The situation went out of control and the Government was left with no other option but to release Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad. Finally he was released on the 8th of July, 1997.

Ban Lifted The Government assured the Shias that the Azadari procession problem would be looked into and solved in three months time and asked for all agitations and protest to be postponed till then.The Shias did so. Upon the expiry of the period of 3 months the matter was not solved and Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad decided again to defy the ban on Azadari on 27th of September. The Administration, finally held rounds of talks between Shias and Sunnis. The Shias were successful in taking out the first Azadari procession in January 1998 (21st of Ramzan) with the permission of the Government. Today the Shias have been given nine processions out of nine hundred that are registered in the festival register of the Shias.

Types of Mourning

Shia Muslims take out a Alam procession on day of Ashura in Barabanki, India, Jan, 2009.

How the event is mourned differs between different branches of Shia and different ethnic groups. The event is also observed by many Sunnis, but to a lesser extent, and as a time of remembrance, rather than mourning.

In the Twelver three traditional schools (Usooli, Akhbari, and Shaykhi), mourners, both male and female, congregate together (in separate sections) for sorrowful, poetic recitations performed in memory of the death of Husayn, lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of "Ya Husayn." Passion plays are also performed, reenacting the Battle of Karbala and the suffering and death of Husayn at the hands of Yazid. They offer condolences to Imam-e-Zamana also known as Imam al-Mahdi whom they believe will avenge the blood of Husayn and bring justice to the world.

Twelver Alevis also mourn, and they keep themselves from eating and drinking ("fasting") the first 10–12 days of Muharram. In this period, the Alevis wear black clothes, do not shave themselves and avoid any type of entertainment and pleasure. Originally, it is also forbidden to bath and change clothes during this period, but today most Alevis do not follow this rule. This is called "Muharrem Matemi", "Yas-i Muharrem" or "Muharrem orucu". But because it is also called "fasting", many people falsely think that Alevis celebrate the Muharram. The definition of the "fast" in this connection is different from the normal type of "fasting".

The only Ismaili group which mourns are the Mustaali, who mourn similarly to the majority of Twelvers.

Tabuiks (funeral biers) being lowered into the sea at a Muharram procession in West Sumatra, Indonesia

For the duration of the remembrance, it is customary for mosques to provide free meals (nazar) on certain nights of the month to all people. These meals are viewed as being special and holy, as they have been consecrated in the name of Imam Husayn, and thus partaking of them is considered an act of communion with Allah, Imam Husayn, and humanity.

Muharram procession: Shia Muslims in Malir, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan flagellated themselves during the Moharram procession to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of Muhammad.

In South Asia, a number of literary and musical genres, produced by both Shias and Sunnis, that have been inspired by the Battle of Karbala are performed during the month, such as marsiya, noha and soaz. This is meant to increase the peoples understanding of how the enemies fought The Battle of Karbala against Husayn and his followers. In Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica all ethnic and religious communities participate in the event, locally known as "Hosay" or "Hussay". In Indonesia, the event is known as Tabuik (Minangkabau language) or Tabut (Indonesian).

Ziarat Imam Husayn Shrine

Many Shia also tend to embark on a pilgrimage to the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala itself, as it is one of the holiest places for Shias outside of Mecca and Medina. Up to one million pilgrims a year visit the city to observe the anniversary of Husayn ibn Ali's death. [1] The shrine is located opposite that of Abbas ibn Ali.

Matam

Zanjir(Chain) used for 'Zanjir matam'

Many of the male and female participants congregate together in public for ceremonial chest beating (matam) as a display of their devotion to Imam Husayn and in remembrance of his suffering. In some Shi'a societies, such as those in Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq, some male participants incorporate knives or razors swung upon chains into their matam.[2].

Taziya

Indian Shia Muslims take out a Ta'ziya procession on day of Ashura in Barabanki, India, Jan, 2009.

One form of mourning is the theatrical re-enactment of the Battle of Karbala. In Iran this is called taziya or taziyeh. Theatrical groups that specialize in taziya are called taziya groups.[3] Taziyas were popular through the Qajar dynasty up into the early twentieth century, but the reinactments slowly declined until they were mostly abandoned in the large cities by the early 1940s. Nonetheless, taziyas continued to exist in Iran on a smaller scale especially in more rural and traditional areas. Reza Shah, the first of the Pahlavi dynasty, had outlawed taziyas. Despite some attempts at since 1979, Muharram processions and various forms of the rawza khani are still more common.[4]

In South Asia where dramatic commemmorations are less significant, ta'zīya came to refer as specifically to the miniature mausoleums used in processions held in Muharram. It all started from the fact that the great distance of India from Karbala prevented Indian Shi'is wish to buried near tomb of Imam Husayn or frequent pilgrimages(ziyarat) to tomb. This is the reason why Indian Shi'is established local karbalas on the subcontinent by bringing soil from Karbala and sprinkling it on lots designated as future cemetries. Once the karbalas were established on the subcontinent, next step was to bring Husayn's tomb-shrine to India. This was established by building replicas of Husayn's mausolem called ta'zīya to be carried in Muharram processions. Thosands of ta'zīyas in various shapes and sizes are fashioned every year for months of mourning of Muharram and Safar; and are carried in processions and may be buried at the end of Ashoura day or Arbain day.[5]

Shia Hadiths

A banner (alam) being carried in a procession during the Remembrance of Muharram in Bahrain.

A series of articles on

Husayn callig.gif
Imam of Islam
Husayn


Life
Family tree · Battle of Karbala


Remembrance
Maqtal Al-Husayn · Mourning of Muharram · Day of Ashura · Arba'een · Imam Husayn Shrine · Hussainia · Majlis-e-Aza · Marsia · Noha · Soaz · Ta'zieh · Tabuik · Hosay · Chehel Minbari


Perspectives
The Twelve Imams · The Fourteen Infallibles

Muhammad said:

Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu' mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of Husayn, a heat that never subsides.[6]

Muhammad said:

O Fatimah! Every eye shall be weeping on the Day of Judgment except the eye which has shed tears over the tragedy of Husayn for surely, that eye shall be laughing and shall be given the glad tidings of the bounties and comforts of Paradise. [7]

Ali ibn Hussein said:

Every Mu'min, whose eyes shed tears upon the killing of Husayn ibn' Ali and his companions, such that the tears roll down his cheeks, God shall accommodate him in the elevated rooms of paradise. [8]

Ali said to Ibn Abbas:

(Once when he happened to pass by Karbala), Isa (Jesus) sat down and began to weep. His disciples who were observing him, followed suit and began weeping too, but not comprehending the reason for this behaviour, they asked him: "O' Spirit of God! What is it that makes you weep?" Isa (Jesus) said: "Do you know what land this is?" The disciples replied: "No." He then said: "This is the land on which the son of the Prophet Ahmad shall be killed.[9]

REASON FOR MOURNING

Zaynab binte Ali Sister of Imam Hussain after Karbala vowed that as long as the people do not recognise the actual cause of Karbala, the followers of Hussain will continue to protest on the streets and in the dwellings as to what happened in Karbala. As per Sunni belief all the battles fought between the family of Muhammad and the Umayyads were political i.e. Battle of Siffin and The Battle of Karbala. Though besides Sunnis several Shias do not know that it's a protest and invitation to people to come and listen to mourners as to what happened in Karbala.
It is believed by many that Hussain's journey to Karbala was to claim his Imamat over the people of Kufa who had written letters inviting him to Kufa. Where as per Shia's belief Husain knew he was to be killed there. He under took this journey to deny his approval or Bait to Yazid becoming Caliph and not to become one himself.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Calmard, J.. "'AZAÚDAÚRÈ". Encyclopedia Iranica. http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v3f2/v3f2a063.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18.  
  2. ^ Ahmad, Munir (2 January 2008) "Pakistan election to be delayed by one month following Bhutto killing, official says" Associated Press from Yahoo News
  3. ^ Chelkowski, Peter (ed.) (1979) Taʻziyeh, ritual and drama in Iran New York University Press, New York, ISBN 0-8147-1375-0
  4. ^ Martin, Richard C. (ed.) (2004) "Taziya" Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World Macmillan Reference USA, New York, p. 691 ISBN 0-02-865912-0
  5. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=A4q58Af5zAoC&pg=PA413&lpg=PA413&dq=taziya+in+India&source=web&ots=257T8R-z6A&sig=J4SYzj-ECvzG-gZ1-y3ifbZqxDo&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA413,M1 Islamic Art in the 19th Century By Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Stephen Vernoit
  6. ^ Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 10,pg. 318
  7. ^ Bihar al-Anwar, vol,: 44;pg,:293
  8. ^ Yanaabe'al Mawaddah, p. 419
  9. ^ Bihar al-Anwar vol. 44,g. 252

Further reading

  • The history of Al-Tabari, Volume XIX The Caliphate of Yazid, translated by I. K. A. Howard, p:164 Husain The Saviour of Islam, by S.V. Mir Ahmad Ali.
  • Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 10,pg. 318
  • Bihar al-Anwar, vol,: 44;pg,:293
  • Yannaabe' al-Mawaddah, pg.: 429
  • Ghurar al-Hikam, Vol: 1/ pg.: 235
  • Bihar al-Anwar vol. 44,g. 252

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message