Helping Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)
Allah the Almighty has created mankind to attain perfection, and for that He has made such provisions that if humans tread the path shown by Him then they can easily achieve success in this world and the hereafter. However, from the time of Hazrat Adam (a.s.) till date, a majority of people have neither made the Divine Laws their way of life nor have they acted upon the Divine doctrines. Instead, they have gone ahead and chosen the path of deviation and doom by regularly martyring the Divine representatives, Prophets and Imams. These heinous crimes notwithstanding, it has been Allah’s tradition to provide guidance and stop corruption and transgressions from growing. It is for this reason that, at times, when the transgressions of certain nations reached its peak, Allah involved them in wraths and at times forgave them after accepting their repentance.
This process continued till Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) came as a Mercy for the world and triggered an unparalleled revolution in 23 years. That said, the teachings of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.) has had a bearing only on a few and a majority have fallen prey to the machinations of Shaytan, who readied his entire progeny in their hearts, these wretched people arrived in Karbala to extinguish the flame of guidance. However, the Absolute Power (Allah), had decided to make the deceptions and temptations of Shaytan so obvious and clear for the seekers of truth that no one can ever obscure it till the Day of Judgment.
The basis of this revolution was kept on natural elements so that even if a cursory glance is taken at it, one cannot but accept the truth. This generates such a spark against oppression and unrest that it stifles every move of the devil. It is for this reason that in the battle of Karbala, the foundation of the great revolution was laid and it was in this battlefield that the announcement of this great revolution was made, a revolution that will cleanse the world of all injustices and oppressions and unfurl the flag of justice. The article in front of you is a small effort to give a bird’s view on the foundation of this revolution. So that those waiting for the great revolution can be reminded that without remembering the revolution and mission of Imam Husain (a.s.) and without having adapted the characteristics of the Companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) no person can join this great revolution. The reasoning for this is the saying of Imam Husain (a.s.) which he has narrated from his grandfather the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.). Addressing his Companions at Karbala, Imam Husain (a.s.) said:
“Certainly my grandfather has informed me, that my son Husain will be martyred away from his home, lonely and thirsty in Karbala. Thus, whosoever helps him, has undoubtedly helped me and his son — Al Qaem (a.s.).”
(Fawaaid al-Mashaahid, page 66)
This means that the Companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) are themselves the Companions and Helpers of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). Apparently, the ones that fought alongside Imam Husain (a.s.) at Karbala, have put their foot forward to help Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.).
The Characteristics of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) Companions
The loyal Companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) sacrificed the most precious thing — their lives — for their blessed leader and got themselves included in the company of the Chief of Martyrs (a.s.). Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) says:
“The chiefs of the best of created beings is my son Hasan and his brother Husain, who will be oppressed after his brother. He will be martyred in Karbala — the land of calamity and sufferings. Know that on the Day of Judgment he and his companions will be included in the list of the chiefs of martyrs.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 36, page 253)
Before Imam Husain (a.s.), the title of Chief of Martyrs belonged to Hazrat Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib. But following Aashura 61 AH, the title in general has been used for Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam’s companions too, due to their proximity with Imam (a.s.), have gained the honour and status of leadership. It is for this they find their names in the list of leading martyrs.
This is because they have laid down their lives with love, recognition and sincerity while helping their Imam (a.s.). Consequently, they have earned a grand position. Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), too, with regards to helping Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and fighting their enemies, says:
“Whoever loves us and helps us with his speech and fights our enemies along with us will (on the Day of Judgment) be with us at our level. And the one who helps us with his speech but doesn’t wage a war with our enemies along with us, will be at a lower level.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 27, page 89, tradition 39)
The upshot of this tradition is that to fight the enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and sacrifice our lives while helping Imam is a source of earning a grand position and status and the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) are the greatest of them all.
Those living during the occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) should pray to Allah to grant them such an insight that they understand that even if they were not present during the era of Imam Husain (a.s.), they should have the divine favor to be always ready to tread that path.
Helping Imam Husain (a.s.) in this day and age
Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred in the year 61 AH — 1373 years have since passed but still, we can help Imam Husain (a.s.) and by this way we will be enumerated among the helpers of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). One way of helping Imam Husain (a.s.) for those who weren’t present in Karbala is to inundate one’s heart with the love of Imam (a.s.). Through the deep-rooted love for Imam (a.s.) achieve this divine position.
Jaabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, a faithful companion of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), had witnessed the era of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) Imamate. Yet, he didn’t have the good fortune of being a part of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) army. Jaabir, though, had the honour of visiting Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave on the day of Arbaeen in that year itself. As he was blind, he requested Atiyyah Kufi to place his hand on the blessed grave of Imam Husain (a.s.). Then he wept so much that he fell unconscious and when he regained consciousness he said ‘Ya Husain’ thrice. Then he said:
“A friend who doesn’t answer his friend!”
Then he addressed Imam Husain (a.s.), sent salutations to the souls of the martyrs (a.s.) and said: “I swear by that Allah who raised Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with the truth, I am with you in what you have entered.”
Atiyyah asked Jaabir, “We have traversed the deserts neither have we wielded our swords even as their heads have been separated from their bodies and their children have been separated from them. Their women have lost their spouses. Then how are we associated with them?
Jaabir replied: Oh Atiyyah, I have heard my beloved Messenger (s.a.w.a.) say, ‘Any person who loves a nation, will be raised with that nation and any person who likes the work of a group will be a party in their actions.’ Then he adds, “I swear by that Allah who raised the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.) with the truth, certainly my intention and the intentions of my friends are the same as the intentions of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 101, pg 196)
By quoting Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) Jaabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari has stated one of the laws of Allah — Love — is a sincere and voluntary action which takes forth a person to his beloved with regards to those who were not with Imam Husain (a.s.) in Karbala. Irrespective of the era they are living in, they can be with Imam Husain (a.s.) through their intentions and love to an extent where they can gain the reward of fighting alongside Imam (a.s.). This means in this world and hereafter they can count themselves in the list of companions of Imam Husain (a.s.). The essential point here is that we yield this divine law. We need to wholeheartedly believe in this divine tradition and harbor positive thoughts about Allah’s promise so that through these pure intentions we include ourselves the list of faithful and helpful companions of Imam (a.s.).
To further fortify this belief we will quote one more tradition of Imam Sadeq (a.s.), who wasn’t even born in the year 61 A.H. Instead, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) was approximately five-years-old during this journey. Regardless of this, Imam Sadeq (a.s.) would include himself and all his Shias in the list of martyrs at Karbala. He would say:
“I don’t consider myself to be missing from the list of martyrs at Karbala. Neither do I consider my reward less than theirs. My intentions are such, that had I found that day I would have most certainly helped Imam Husain (a.s.). Similarly, our Shias will be enumerated among the martyrs even if they die on their beds.”
(Mikyaal al-Makaarim, vol. 2, page 228)
In the same context, Imam Raza (a.s.) told Ibn Shabeeb:
“O Son of Shabeeb! If you want to be happy that you are rewarded in the same way as the faithful companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) who were martyred alongside him then whenever you think of them say, How I wish I would have been with them, I would have gained grand success.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 44, page 286)
Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) and the slogan of his companions
One of the prime responsibilities of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) during the era of his reappearance is to seek revenge from the enemies of Imam Husain (a.s.). This issue is of such importance that it has been declared as one of the basic cries of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). In one of the holy salutations of Naahiya we address Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) thus:
“Peace be upon the Imam of the world who is in occultation and cannot be seen; the one who is present in the cities and concealed from the eyes but present in the thoughts; the treasure trove of good people, the possessor of Zulfiqaar; the same who will make himself apparent from the veiled house of Allah and will cry for seeking revenge for the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.). And he will say, I am the one who will avenge the blood of the innocent. I will annihilate every oppressor and tyrant and I am that Qaem who everyone was waiting for. Peace be upon Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), his son and his chaste family.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 102, page 193-194)
A slogan usually highlights the objective of a person. Imam-e-Zamana’s (a.t.f.s.) cry of avenging the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) underpins how important this is in the eyes of Allah and Imam (a.s.). One of the qualities of the companions of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.), while obeying their Imam (a.t.f.s.), is that they too will stand up to avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) and carry the desire of sacrificing themselves in this cause.
Describing their qualities Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says:
“They will wish to sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah. They will raise the cry of ‘Revenge for Husain (a.s.)’. Through them Allah will aid the true Imam (a.s.).”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 52, page 308, tradition 183)
As if this cry ‘Revenge for Husain (a.s.)’ is the manifestation of Imam-e-Zamana’s (a.t.f.s.) revolution. From this perspective, to become a loyal companion of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.), it is obligatory upon us to gain more and more knowing of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his loyal companions so that we may know what is the value of the blood of an innocent in the eyes of Allah. Allah has ordained to avenge the blood of Prophets, Imams and good people at the hands of this Imam (a.s.). Thus, it is required from us that we learn the virtues of knowing, love, sincerity, self-sacrifice from the loyal companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) to lay down our lives in the way of Imam (a.s.).
The Status of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) companions
Till the time they were alive, the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) made sure that none from the Progeny of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) entered the battlefield. Furthermore, they chose to sacrifice their and their children’s lives to protect Imam Husain (a.s.) and his children. Along with it they endlessly kept affirming their loyalty and expressed their love in deed. We will cite a few examples for us to understand the extent of the intention, faith and recognition required for those who want to help their Imam (a.s.).
When the eve of Aashura arrived, Imam Husain (a.s.) gathered his companions and after praising Allah, he said: I don’t know any other companions better than you and I am not aware of any other Ahle Bayt (a.s.) better and good than mine. May Allah reward you all on my behalf. The darkness of the night has shrouded you all therefore consider this as your way out. Grab hold the hand of any of my Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and go away in the darkness of this night. Leave me with this wicked nation as they only have work with me and no one else.
The brothers, sons and nephews of Imam (a.s.) said: Why should we do such a thing? So that we may remain alive after you? We swear by Allah, we will never do such a thing. The luminous moon of the Bani Hashim — Hazrat Abul Fazl al-Abbas (a.s.) — first, followed by others addressed the Imam (a.s.).
When it came to the companions, Muslim Ibn Awsaja (a.s.) said: We will not desert you when the enemy has surrounded you. We will not turn our faces on you nor will we go away. Nay, By Allah! I pray that Allah never shows me that day. I will not do such a thing except that I will break my lance in their chests. And till the time I have a sword in my hand, I will fight them. If I am left without a sword then I will fight them with stones and I will not separate with you till the time I sacrifice my life at your feet.
After Muslim, Saeed Ibn Abdullah Hanfi stood up and said, “Nay, I swear by Allah! O son of Messenger (s.a.w.a.)! Till the time Allah comes to know that we have guarded and protected the will of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) with regards to you. And if I come to know that I am martyred at your stirrup and then I am given life again and then even if my body is chopped into pieces and consigned to the wind by the wretched ones, I will not leave you till the time I sacrifice my life at your feet. I will not be killed more than once and I know after this there will be greatness and honour earned. Then why should I do such a thing (of leaving you)?
Then Zuhair Ibn Qayn (a.s.) stood up and said, “I swear by Allah! O Son of Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! I wish that I am killed a thousand times and brought to life again so that you (a.s.) and your Ahle Bayt (a.s.) are saved.”
For more on this one can refer Lohuf; pp. 91-93
Did you pay attention to the words? How the loyal companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) were telling their Imam that how they wished they were killed thousands of time for him and his Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and this martyrdom is for us. Who in today’s world can honestly say that he is willing to sacrifice his life and wealth for the Ahle Bayt (a.s.)? Most certainly they had endless love for Imam (a.s.) in their hearts. Such were the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.). They proved it on the day of Aashura by preferring to lay down their lives before each other. For example when Imam Husain (a.s.) asked Saeed Ibn Abdullah Hanfi to stand in front of him so that he could perform his Zohr prayer. No sooner had Imam (a.s.) stood up with his few companions to say his prayers, Saeed stopped the arrows coming in Imam’s (a.s.) direction on his chest till he collapsed. He was even cursing the enemies of the Imam (a.s.) and would say, “O Allah! Convey my salutations to Your Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and make him aware of my wounds. I seek the reward of helping the son of the Messenger.” Then he departed from this world. In some narrations we find that he turned towards Imam Husain (a.s.) and said: “O Son of Messenger! Have I fulfilled my promise?” Imam (a.s.) replied: “Yes. You will be in front of me in heaven.”
Other than this, you can find in books related to Karbala filled with sincere words and love of the loyal companions which testifies for their love, recognition and loyalty in the best possible way.
Helping Imam Husain (a.s.) through Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.)
One of the signs of helping Imam Husain (a.s.) is love and attachment of his Ziyarat. This attachment is a tell-tale sign that wants to give him this goodness. Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says:
“If Allah wishes goodness and betterment for someone, he puts in the heart the love of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his ziyarat.”
(Kaamil al-Ziyaaraat, Chapter 55, tradition 3)
It is possible that someone, despite having the passion, may not get the honour of visiting the blessed mausoleum of Imam Husain (a.s.). But this fervor and attachment is a sign of love and connect and a mark of helping Imam (a.s.) wholeheartedly.
Anyway, the ziyarat of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grave is one of the rights of Allah over His creations and it is their responsibility which is not fulfilled by merely praying day and night. Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says:
“If someone among you does a thousand Hajj but foregoes the ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) then he has neglected one of the rights of Allah. He will be asked for this negligence.” He then added, “To honour the right of Imam Husain (a.s.) is obligatory upon all Muslims.”
(Kaamil al-Ziyaaraat, Chapter 78, tradition 4)
Visiting the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) is the right of Allah, The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ahle Bayt (a.s.). To be neglectful of this is counted as denying the right of Ahle Bayt (a.s.). A companion of Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says: What is the status of the person in your view who has the resources to visit the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) but he doesn’t?
Imam (a.s.) replied,
“In my view such a person has disobeyed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and us, the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and has deserted us.”
To turn away from the right of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) is a great sin and warrants punishment in hell. One man asked Imam Sadeq (a.s.), “If a person doesn’t visit the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) without any excuse…then what is the ruling on him?”
Imam (a.s.) replied,
“Such a person is from hell.”
(Kaamil al-Ziyaaraat, Chapter 4, tradition 3)
In another tradition Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says:
“If the people understood the significance of visiting the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) then they would have died in happiness and their souls would have been void of regret.”
These are a few things through which we can help Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Zamana (a.s.). In the end we pray to Allah, to count us among the helpers of Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam (a.s.) and hasten the reappearance of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.).