Even in the Sunnī sources there are permissible for crying. Where is this order followed in these Sunnī circles? Only a dry Wahhabī tendency has such views and problems, not the majority of Sunnīs whose proofs are available in new books.
Hujjat al-Islām wa al-Muslimīn Dr. Moḥsen Alvīrī, a member of the faculty of Bāqir al-‘Ulūm University (‘a) in Qom, examined the doubts from a sociological point of view and answered them in the “Propagator and Doubts on ‘Āshūrā” conference, which was held in the presence of scholars and students of the Islāmic Seminary of Mashhad.
The Principle of Mourning is Certain, But the Form of Mourning is Different
At the beginning, while he analyzed and responded to this doubt that “the principle of mourning is not legal (shar’ī) and it was not the Prophet Muḥammad and Imām ‘Alī’s way of life (sunnah),” he said “be careful, my view in answering is not theological. First, I say, the essence of doubt and reasoning is incorrect because, in addition to the difference in jurisprudence, the shar’ī sources are also different between the Shī’ah and Sunnī denominations. Although the difference in jurisprudence is accepted, the criteria are still different.”
Second, regarding the holding of the mourning anniversary of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), it should be noted that there is a difference between the decree and following the decree. For example, prayer has one obligatory decree, but it has dozens and hundreds of forms of performance. Thus, the essence of mourning is certain and we have ḥadīths regarding that and even the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣ) wept for his son and mourned and also wept for Ḥaḍrat Ḥamzah. Therefore, the essence of mourning in Islām is certain but the form of mourning is different at any time. This is related to the cultural form that varies depending on the magnitude of the calamity and the time and place.
Dr. Alvīrī discussed the wrong methods of mourning but which is the wrong method? Mourning for Sayyid al-Shuhadā [The Master of the Martyrs] is permissible as long as it does not lead to the abandonment of another decree and does not constitute an example of doing something forbidden (ḥarām), such as harming others, harming the body, and not respecting the rights of people.
This seminary and university professor added that if it is said that Imām al-Ḥusayn’s order to his sister, “Don’t cry for me after my martyrdom,” is a reason for not mourning, we must say that there are many factors involved in the meaning of hadīths. The issuance atmosphere and other matters should be checked. Presuming the authenticity of the hadīth and its indication (dilālah), when a woman is responsible for the survivors after the martyrdom of men and great cruelty, it is wise that one should not mourn at that moment. But on the same day, women cried next to the bodies of the martyrs. Even Lady Zaynab (s) when the conditions were ready, held mourning ceremonies. Thus, this doubt is not true.
Dr. Alvīrī also stated that it is claimed that “lamenting is a satanic practice.” It was said that our shar’ī sources are different from Sunnīs. In our sources, in addition to allowing, lamentation is also mentioned. Even the angels, jinns and dwellers of the heaven and the earth mourn for Sayyid al-Shuhadā. So, if this subject becomes jurisprudence, there is no discussion. In addition, religious scholars accepted this difference and therefore there is no room for discussion.
The faculty member of Bāqir al-‘Ulūm University further pointed to the doubt concerning the “building of ḥusaynīyahs” which they considered as an example of superstition and answered; in any society, intellectual teachings have an effect on the physical space of the society. For example, in 16th century Europe, apartment buildings based on the socialist philosophy and equality spread without any building decoration. Now, in the post-modern era, the houses have become villas and decorated. These changes are the same in Islām. According to the Qur’ān, the Prophet came for self-purification, and it is embodied in the prayer-niche and pulpit, and it is also embodied in the verse of the Qurʼān “and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them.” This is a social and intellectual reconstruction which is directly related to custom. Later, due to various reasons and changing functions, it became a mosque and a school. Later this intellectual reconstruction can be seen in the formation of ḥusaynīyahs and it is completely within the religion, which is created for worshiping rituals and based on the belief of the Shī’ahs. On the basis that ḥusaynīyahs had different functions like a school.
In response to the doubt about “the relation between mourning and patience with the suffering and crying,” Alvīrī says that according to the words of Imām ‘Alī (‘a) who said in the missing of the Prophet: “If it were not for the advice of patience, I would have shed so many tears that I would die,” in my opinion Shī’ah act according to the essential word of Imām ‘Alī. If there was no advice for patience, we would have cried so much for Sayyid al-Shuhadā that we would die. Where did we act contrary to this saying? Where does such a thing come from in this ḥadīth? This ḥadīth does not indicate such a thing at all. The next point is that even in the Sunnī sources there are permissible for crying. Next, where is this order followed in these Sunnī circles? Only a dry Wahhabī tendency has such views and problems, not the majority of Sunnīs whose proofs are available in new books. Even in some parts of the Sunnī sources, the narratives of the Karbalā event are recited and people cry because of this. For this reason, crying for Abā ‘Abdillāh is one of the things we and the Sunnīs have in common, as we do not have any differences in belief in this matter.
Crying has an inner aspect and it is the starting point of love with Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a)
In response to the doubt that “among the methods to keep alive the uprising of Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a) why do you only mourn, why philosophical analysis and book writing are not carried out,” the university professor stated that, first of all, this judgement is not fair because there are so many books and articles that have been written by Shī’ah scholars throughout history. Even if we once went after crying, it was for the purpose of increasing knowledge, which is actually a link between science and knowledge, and the gatherings of crying are also gatherings of science and knowledge.The face of all people is not the same. What is expected from the masses of ordinary people to do intellectual and cognitive work? But the emotional and psychological aspects must be accompanied by feelings.
The next point is that Shī’ah does not only consider crying as the method to continue the message of Karbalā. Crying has an internal aspect. Crying evokes emotion and no matter how much it is implanted in the soul; it will have an effect. Just like the tree of religion, no matter how deep it is inserted into the soul, it will have an effect.
In conclusion, Hujjat al-Islām Dr. Alvīrī said, “How can a drop of tears bring salvation”? I defend the ḥadīth of the book Kāmil al-Zīyārah. This is because if shedding tears and mourning is the ultimate goal, no, it will never lead to forgiveness and salvation. But if that is the starting point of getting acquainted with Imām al-Ḥusayn (‘a), if he/she adheres to the rituals of mourning and following the Imām, yes, this can lead to forgiveness of sins and salvation. It even includes future sins. This is perfectly reasonable and normal. In addition, the evolution of humans was from these movements.