The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Mourning

1 Question: What is the philosophy of Azadari (mourning and lamentation) for Imam Husain?
Answer: There is no doubt that the tragedy of Kerbala, when ascribed to the killers, is a criminal and terrible act. However when ascribed to Husain (A) himself, it represents a conscious confrontation and a courageous resistance for a sacred cause. The whole nation had failed to stand up to Yazid. They had succumbed to his will, and deviation and regression towards the pre-Islamic ways were increasing. Passiveness by Husain (A) in this situation would have meant the end of Islam as we know it. Thus Husain (A) took upon himself the responsibility of the whole nation. The greatest tragedy was that one who stood up for the noblest of causes, the defense of Islam, was cut down in so cruel a manner. It is for this reason that the sacrifice of Husain (A) is commemorated annually throughout the Muslim world. Our sorrow never abates as we relive the tragedy. The commemoration of Ashura on the 10th of Muharram every year serves to remind us of the sacrifices of the family of the Prophet (S). It also makes us aware of the people, then and now, who tried to destroy Islam and the family of the Prophet (pbuh) and all that they stood for - as well as those who watched, listened and did nothing.
2 Question: Is mourning for Imam Hussain and other Infallibles (a.s.) recommended?
Answer: Yes, it is recommended and God will reward those who sincerely revive their memories and commemorate their martyrdom?
3 Question: I have a question about matam (Azadari) and the manner our people are holding Muharram rituals.
Answer: The main purpose of mourning during 'Ashura, is to respect and revive the symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (a.s.), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals.
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