Unfortunately, the Sunnī groups are not aware of the religious and intellectual aspects of this occasion, and of course, they are not to blame in this regard. This ignorance is due to the intellectual state of the Umayyad sunnah, which was inherited from one generation to another, and the Umayyad grudges banned everything that showed friendship and dedication to the school of thought of the Ahl al-Bayt, and they considered it to be the reason for leaving and conflicting with their ruling and tyrannical system, and sometimes the punishment for such work was execution and beheading of people.
Ayatollah Khamenei, in his statements at Imām Ḥusayn University (peace be upon him), mentioned the Arba‘īn procession as one of the examples of the strength of the Islāmic world not only the Shī’ahs and said: “Even today, in the complex propaganda-saturated and tumultuous world which has dominated humanity, this movement of Arba‘īn is a loud cry and a unique medium. There is no similar event in the world: millions of people take a walk, not only from a city or a country, rather from different countries, and not only from one specific denomination, rather from various denominations and even from non-Islāmic religions. This is Ḥusaynī unity.” There is no similar event in the world: millions of people take a walk, not only from a city or a country, rather from different countries, and not only from one specific denomination, rather from various denominations and even from non-Islāmic religions. This is Ḥusaynī unity. What you said is true: “Ḥusayn makes us united.”
On this occasion, khamenei.ir examines the opinion of Sunnīs about Ḥusaynī unity in the Arba‘īn procession. In this article, a conversation with Dr. Shaykh Tājuddīn al-Hilālī, a scholar of al-Azhar University in Egypt, professor of jurisprudence at universities around the world, and former Grand Mufti of Muslims in Australia and New Zealand, has been published.
What is the Opinion of Sunnīs Regarding Arba‘īn?
al-Hilālī: One of the essentials of correct religious understanding for a Muslim is to take admonition from the historical events and think about it and use it to strengthen his faith and belief. There is no historical event in Islām that increases our culture of dignity, bravery, resistance and pride more than the martyrdom of Abī ‘Abdillāh al-Ḥusayn because by reviving these occasions, we revive our dead hearts. How good it is to remember this Qurʼānic and true Muḥammadan Islāmic bravery in our lives, for which Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him) sacrificed his life to save Islām from error and deviation in a time when the Qurʼānic principles and foundations of Islām have been destroyed, the Prophetic sunnah has been violated, and a tyrannical and oppressor government was imposed on Muslims. But, unfortunately, the Sunnī groups are not aware of the religious and intellectual aspects of this occasion, and of course, they are not to blame in this regard. This ignorance is due to the intellectual state of the Umayyad sunnah, which was inherited from one generation to another, and the Umayyad grudges banned everything that showed friendship and dedication to the school of thought of the Ahl al-Bayt, and they considered it to be the reason for leaving and conflicting with their ruling and tyrannical system, and sometimes the punishment for such work was execution and beheading of people.
From here, a history full of lies, false justifications, deceit, tricks, and distortions became common among the masses of people, and walls were formed between Muslims and the culture and thought of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), which were equal to the Qurʼān and were the salvation of the nation. Arba‘īn for Shī’ah Muslims and the followers of the school of Imāmate is an occasion on which the pure heads of the martyrs of Karbalā were brought back to Karbalā from Syria to be buried with the bodies of the martyrs, or it is a day of commemoration or follow Lady Zaynab (peace be upon her), the hero of Karbalā, who along with the orphans of Ahl al-Bayt went to Karbalā on this day. They visited the grave of Imām al-Ḥusayn peace be upon him, and it is narrated that on this day, the 20th of the month of Ṣafar, they met with Jābir ibn ‘Abdullāh al-Anṣārī, one of the Prophet’s companions. However, the Event of Karbalā and the Day of Arba‘īn will remain a bright spot in the hearts and souls of all Shī’ah and Sunnī believers until the Day of Resurrection.
How can the Arba‘īn occasion of Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him) become a power to strengthen the dignity and power of the Islāmic world and the resistance of Muslims against arrogant powers?
al-Hilālī: What happened in Karbalā was a clear injustice that was imprinted on the foreheads of all the treacherous people and traitors, distorted the history of Muslims, disgraced the deviants, angered God Almighty, and bought many curses for the oppressors until the Day of Resurrection. But the Event of Karbalā, on the other hand, taught Muslims the greatest lesson of sacrifice, oblation, offering, facing hardships and problems, and patience in the face of God’s calamities and trials. So, a true believer is a person whose faith is strengthened by observing the difficulties in the way of his religion and mission, without looking at the results. If Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him) did not rise up to face and fight against deviation, that invalid crown princeship of Yazīd would be legitimized and no other Muslim would dare to rise up and protest against a cruel tyrant until the Day of Resurrection.
Therefore, the Uprising of Imām al-Ḥusayn was not for rebellion and seeking worldly gains, because the owner of any sin may one day repent of his sin, except for a crime that is committed against the principles of the Qurʼān and the foundations of the Muḥammadan religion. Yes, the uprising of Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him) was a meaningful uprising with noble foundations and deep content. Because on that day, the path of the sharī’ah caravan of his grandfather was exposed to a dangerous deviation, so, it was obligatory for the Imām, as the heir of the Muḥammadan way and the cultured of the House of Prophethood, to rise up and sacrifice his life so that the religion of his ancestor, which God liked for the people, will remain. But if we deliberate on the true meaning of the Ḥusayni uprising, we will see that this uprising is a religious university whose founder is Abi Abdallah al-Ḥusayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet, whose slogan was hayhāt minnā l-dhilla means “never to humiliation!”, “Death in the way of obedience is better than life accompanied by disobedience,” and “I don’t care if I die as a Muslim in the way of God’s pleasure.” This Ḥusayni University has several faculties:
- Faculty of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
- Faculty of Jihād and Martyrdom
- Faculty of Dignity and Jurisprudence
- Faculty of tawallā (solidarity) and tabarrā (dissociation) in the Uprising of Karbalā.
These are the intellectual foundations that require academic research. The results of these researches will take the hands of the Islāmic ummah in the swamp of lowliness and acceptance of monarchical governments and bring them to the field of honour, dignity, truth and light.
It is as if this is still the voice of Imām al-Ḥusayn who speaks in front of the Islāmic ummah and as a mentor and teacher of the ummah says:
O Islāmic ummah, do not be humiliated and raise up that an ummah like you will not be captured;
The pillar of our Islāmic tent is not erected by the prayer of an old man in a ruin.
Our Islām is a light that illuminates our path and is a fire on the lives of our enemies;
Our Islām is that Ḥusayn sacrificed his life to preserve our religion with his hands and tongue;
O world, be a witness that we do not follow anyone other than Muḥammad.
What is Your Interpretation of the Role of Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him) in Realizing Islāmic Unity?
al-Hilālī: There is no doubt that according to the Qurʼānic and Prophetic texts, Islāmic unity is a necessary and vital thing and a shar’ī (legal) obligation, and from the point of view of jurisprudence, if we look at all the shar’ī obligations and tasks such as prayer, fasting, zakāt, and Ḥajj, we can see that all of these have one goal, which is Islāmic unity. In prayer, when we stand for congregational prayer, we all follow the Imām who is the representative of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings of God be upon him). We make an intention to be a follower (Maʼmūn) and follow the Imām in prayer, and after that, we stand behind the Imām in numerous rows. Social, racial and ethnic positions have no place in these ranks. Just as God commanded us to pray, fast, zakāt, and Ḥajj, He also commanded us to unite in Islām, and this command means wājib (mandatory). As He says, “Hold fast, all together, to God’s cord, and do not be divided [into sects]” and “Indeed this community of yours is one community.” One of the worst and most heinous things that God Almighty has forbidden us from is oppression, which God has forbidden to himself and the oppression of servants to each other. Because if oppression continues, it is destructive and if justice becomes common, it will lead to prosperity. The problem of oppression is the basic and main problem of the contemporary world in the context of the Islāmic ummah because today Yazīdis impose an opinion and thought on us that is made and paid for by the arrogant powers, and it is the same in the global and human context. In the meantime, the followers of the Uprising of Imām al-Ḥusayn are seeking to achieve the right and destroy the wrong, and that is why we say that the Ḥusaynī revolution is not only a call for Muslims to unite against the oppression and rebellion of the arrogant.
Rather, it is a global call for all oppressed countries and nations to unite against the oppressors and the arrogant and stand in one line against Yazīd of the White House and the devil of the era. Yes, the Islāmic ummah will not allow his honour and dignity to be trampled on. Muslim ummah will not have a presence in a world where only the powerful can speak unless the Muslims are united and integrated. The Islāmic nation is sick now, but it is not moribund and will not die. Muslims may have differences and conflicts with each other, but they have many possibilities for unity and power, because God, the Prophet, the Holy Book, and the qiblah of Muslims are one, and Islāmic unity will soon be realized. If we examine the opinions of Imām al-Ḥusayn (peace be upon him), we will see that Ḥusayn’s way is the best way of Islāmic unity and even world unity, because the Prophet said: “Ḥusayn is from me and I am from Ḥusayn, and may God love those who love Ḥusayn.” By deliberation on this ḥadīth, the meaning of “Ḥusayn is from me” is clear, but the sentence “I am from Ḥusayn” is related to this verse that He said: “We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations,” which this verse must be understood first to clarify the meaning of the narration.