Etiquettes of Attending Muharram Lectures/ Majalis - Back to Muharrram page
With the advent of Muharram we are in the majalis season. The period of Azadari is magical. It cleanses you, renews your faith in religion and inspires you to greater levels. Utilize this time, start anew, put your best foot forward with the best of intentions. Allah has said “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, and I will run towards you.”
Here is some basic stuff that can help you out. Try and put them into practice.
- When you come for majlis, or whenever you host a majlis, one’s Intention, should be for the sake of Imam Hussain(a.s.) and nothing else.
- Do your best to stay in wuzu. This is highly recommended. Build the habit of wuzu this Muharram.
- Dress appropriately, wear dark colours, refrain from bright ones.
- Include marhomeen in the intention of Azadari. You can make a list of marhomeen and make intention once at the beginning of Muharram.
- Have a separate handkerchief for tears shed on our third Imam. These tears are our weapons, our shifa.
- Carry a notebook to record important points. Writing them down helps you to remember them, you can always look at them later. You will gain a lot of knowledge and tips for your life from the lectures, store this vital information.
- Help other momineen to reach the centre by offering transport both to the majlis and back from it.
- Be aware that Azadaari is the best and easiest way to obtain closeness to Allah swt
- It is not necessary to greet by saying ‘salaam-un-alaykum’. While we are in mourning, try and subdue the vibrancy of your life in any way you can. This is a period of great sadness. Express the sadness, let it manifest itself in your body language, speech, clothes.
- While attending any majalis anywhere, consider it as one’s own and have the same concern for all majalises. Help out wherever you can, be involved as much as possible.
- Another way of expressing our sadness is to serve simple niyaz. Eat simple food, in the very least for the first ten days. You are not being asked to eat dry bread and dates, but let us try and avoid heavy rich foods, like biryani or haleem. Avoid meat for the first ten days, especially on Ashura.
- Take your niyaz with intention of 'shifa' /cure
- Take the niyaz in a way that does not inconvenience others but at the same time do not disregard/takabbur as if you do not need it.
- Cry without shame. Why are you sitting in the majlis? You have come to cry at the tragedies that have befallen the Ahlulbayt. Cry, cry unreservedly, no matter what anyone sitting besides you says or feels or thinks.
- Do not get up in the middle of the majalis
- Do not sleep esp inthe view of the recitor
- The time immediately after the masaib is very important and we should pay attention to it by making duas and not divert our mind to leaving the premises etc.
Take Care that the Community around the premises must not get inconvenienced either due to noise or carparking or waste disposal
- Relevant EXTRACT from I.M.A.M (usa) www.imam-us.org
With the coming of Muharram this year, 1372 years have passed since the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) along with a little over 70 of his close family members and companions in Karbala. Every year, with the coming and renewal of the anniversary of this event, we witness the interaction of the souls whose enthusiasm and interest to commemorate this event increases in different parts of the world, even in regions that one would not expect toremember the holy household of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).
The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) addressed his son, Imam Husain (a.s.), and said, "Oh Husain, you are the tear of every believer; there isn't a time when a believer remembers you except that his tears are invoked."
Therefore, in addition to this being a divine gift that has been placed within the essence of existence and in the depths of the souls of the faithful, the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) - even in the hardest of times - never diverted their attention, care, and advise to the faithful to be committed to this event and its commemoration. The reason the Imams (a.s.) placed such emphasis on commemorating the martyrdom was because they knew the immense effects it would have on enrooting the religion, correcting the faith, and connecting the believers to God Almighty.
Keeping in mind the three core components of the memorial commemorations of Imam Husain (a.s.) namely: the lecturers, speakers and preachers, the caretakers of memorial services and the audience of believers; building upon the former and the latter, it is important to mention the following points which are noted and derived from the advice of the purified Imams (a.s.) and the directions of our scholars and grand jurists since the advent of Karbala:
1. The lecturers on the podium of Imam Husain (a.s.) , 2. Pertaining to caretakers of the gatherings and services & 3. Pertaining to the crowds of believers
1. The lecturers on the podium of Imam Husain (a.s.)
There is no doubt that the phenomenon of standing at the podium and dressing up in the garb of people of religion and knowledge causes one's mind to think of the Honorable Prophet's (s.a.w.) role in admonishing and reforming society. Therefore, qualified lecturers and conscious preachers have always paid attention to the following:
* The act of taking this responsibility is only done for the sake of delivering the message and guiding people to attain nearness to God Almighty. It is to be far away from any of the other influences or incentives which often accompany this position and status.
* A commitment to providing a lecture that invokes the tears by appealing to the emotions and inspires the minds through wise admonition. In other words, mixing the wave of sadness and sorrow over the tragedy with the lessons and reminders which are inspired by the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.). For indeed, the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.) exemplifies many virtuous qualities, much Islamic knowledge, and important events from the lives of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his family (a.s.). Imam Al Redha (a.s.) was asked about the way to revitalize the affairs of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to which he (a.s.) responded, "By learning our knowledge and then teaching it to the people. For indeed, if people knew the merits of our knowledge, they would follow us."
* Moderation and fairness in choosing and proposing issues; taking inconsideration the appropriateness of the discussion with the level and nature of the gathering by using wisdom and good advice; presenting many different opinions and theories andthen focusing on following the best.
* Bringing the attention of the audience to the new movements and missions which aim to present a false image of Islam and Muslims by mixing the truth with falsehood using devious methods that aim to deviate from the correct path. Such methods include taking concepts, which are at the heart of the religion of Islam and its teachings, such as "liberty' and "citizenship" and placing them under the banner of "liberalism" through programs and projects that aim to deviate society into becoming one which is irresponsible, unethical, without a religious identity or noble cultural affiliation. The enemies of Islam have placed all of their efforts and resources into extinguishing the light of the seal of all religions, but were unsuccessful. As a result, armed with money and media, they aim to innovate new types of methods to target Islam and Muslims. Though it should have been more of a priority for them to analyze the reasons for their repetitive failures, and the secret of Islam's resilience and success through its Qur'an and those who carry its message. If they had done so, they would have followed the path of its guidance and happiness rather than wasting their lives in a war they cannot win.
* Tending to the general level of the audience. It is narrated that the Honorable Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "We, the Prophets, have been commanded to speak to people at the level of their intellects." This includes being mindful of the time and place. For it is not necessary that different groups of people share the same pride and esteem for a particular type of speech, ritual, or tradition.
* The importance of emphasizing holding steadfastly onto the Holy Quran and the holy household of the Prophet (s.a.w.). There is no guarantee of being successful achieving this goal during the major occultation, except by holding steadfastly onto the grand jurists, those religious experts who have fulfilled the required qualifications of the Shi'a school. These jurists are those whose jurisprudential qualifications, piety and asceticism have been authenticated by major scholars and all of the Islamic seminaries. For not holding onto them would lead the Muslim nation into division an separation within the community, making it exposed to corruption, loss and deviation even on issues that are not points of contention.
2. Pertaining to caretakers of the gatherings and services
For each group of people there are caretakers and leaders who are hoped to be among those described as people "of strength and insight." They are the ones who represent the nucleus of social activism through their great efforts, adamant activism and unique devotion to the Shi'a school of thought and the faithful - especially during the season of Imam Husain's (a.s.) commemoration. They carry the heavier load in establishing the gatherings, managing them and helping to make them successful. Therefore, the sincere and successful among them have never ceased to be attentive to important matters, such as:
* Being open to all people. For indeed, the revolution of Imam Husain (a.s.) is the revolution of God's Messenger (s.a.w.). For he (s.a.w.) said, "Husain is from me and I am from Husain." This means that the message and the giving is for all without exception. The Messenger (s.a.w.) and his family (a.s.) were not limited to a particular nationality, language, group, or family. But rather, "We did not send you except as a mercy to all the worlds." That is why the gatherings and services should be open to all, in order to make the voice of Imam Husain (a.s.) reach the largest number of people this season - that they may gain from his guidance and sacrifice.
* In addition to catering to the general attendance, importance must be given to specifying the appropriate times and venues that are suitable for women, youth, and children. For it is important to increase the awareness of mothers, educators and women in general. It is necessary to attract the youth and children and have them invest this period of their lives in learning and building their system of belief and knowledge.
* Taking advantage of the large presence of crowds by drawing attention to the beneficial services and useful suggestions that the religious and charitable groups have to offer throughout the year. For example, religious education and preaching programs, as well as various other programs which are important to mention. It is also important to discuss projects, services and programs in areas in which we must invest, areas which help our societies advance - that is if we were interested in being a successful society - just as other developed societies that have advanced before us. For instance, issues of civil rights, voting especially at the regional level, and voting for school boards, city councils and others.
3. Pertaining to the crowds of believers
At the core of the gatherings for the commemoration of Imam Husain (a.s.) are the faithful attendees, their interaction and empathy. They are important to the success of the gathering. Therefore, the most prominent and successful gatherings have always been characterized by the attendance of faithful crowds that have several unique characteristics, such as:
* Sincerity in the intention of the attendee: -The participation in the gatherings of Imam Husain (a.s.) should entail a great deal of sincerity in order to attain nearness to God Almighty. Often, the factor of the group mindset, companionship, flattery, societal expectations, or gaining a reputation, or infamy or other factors may have an effect on the intention - something which the believing followers of Imam Husain (a.s.) try to completely avoid.
* Identifying the intention in attending: -That is by limiting it to two reasons: The first is to express sadness over the tragedy and share in the mourning with Imam al-Mahdi (a.t.f.) for his loss of the Master of the martyrs (a.s.). The second reason is to gain knowledge at the banquet of Imam Husain (a.s.) in order to attain the level of "the great success". For it has been narrated in the advice of Imam Ali ibn Mousa al-Redha (a.s.) that he told one of his companions, "...Oh Ibn Shabeeb... if it would make you happy to share in the reward of those who were martyred with al-Husain (a.s.) then say the following whenever you remember them, 'Oh, I wish I were with them, for surely I would have achieved a great success." With this, the Imam (a.s.) confirms the elevated status of those who were martyred with Imam Husain (a.s.), a status distinguished from all others in history. Secondly, he described the event as a "great success". Thirdly, he connected the believers of every time and place with a historical connection - linking those among them who aspire for great success.
* Cooperation: -Extending a helping hand of moral and material support to those managing the gathering to help in its success; by inviting the general public, encouraging them, and helping to remove barriers that prevent their participation and attendance. This should be done in an effort to introduce them to Islam through the memorial of Imam Husain (a.s.).
* Abiding by the advice of the grand religious jurists and scholars of the Islamic Seminaries in keeping the season of the commemoration of Imam Husain (a.s.) alive and well, and within the religiously legal guidelines. It is important to stay away from anything which might lead to a religious infraction.
We ask God Almighty to grant us success. May God make us all from the servants of Islam and Muslims, and recorded in the book of Imam Husain (a.s.).
May the peace and blessings of God be upon you all.
Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.) in North America