Understanding Karbala

Understanding Karbala0%

Understanding Karbala Author:
Translator: Syed A.A. Razwy
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category: Various Books

Understanding Karbala

Author: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
Translator: Syed A.A. Razwy
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum

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Understanding Karbala

Understanding Karbala

Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum

Understanding Karbala

Author(s): Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi

Translator(s): Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi

Publisher(s): Ansariyan Publications – Qum


This text is basically a collection of articles published in different periodicals over the years and a radio speech, but they were arranged by the author himself in this present book form and published originally in Urdu.


This work is being published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The typing errors aren’t corrected.

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword 8

Note 8

Preface to the Second Edition 9

Notes 9

Preface to the First Edition 10

How Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s) saved Islam from Destruction 11

Ideal Islamic State 11

Why Islam became a target of destruction 12

Decadence of Islam 12

The Rise of the Umayyads 13

His Eminence, ‘Ali (a.s) wanted to save Islam 16

Imam Hasan (a.s) stepped forward to help 16

Religion is separated from leadership 17

Evil deeds of Muawiyah 17

Beliefs and acts of Yazid 20

What was the character of this so-called caliph of the Prophet? 20

Qiyamat (Day of Judgment) 21

Wine and Worship 21

Plunder of Medina 22

Siege of Mecca 22

Calamities of Imam Husayn (a.s) 22

Imam Husayn (A.S) Gave The Final Shape To The Separation Of Imamate And Rulership 23

Notes 24

“And We Ransomed him with a Great Sacrifice” 26

The Great Sacrifice 31

(1) Cause of the slaughter 32

(2) The Slaughtered One 33

(3) Tools of Slaughter 33

(4) Method of Slaughter 34

(5) Condition of welcoming death 34

(6) Condition of the slaughtered one 35

(7) Circumstances surrounding the slaughter 35

(8) Consequences of the Slaughter 36

Communal Sacrifice 37

Notes 41

Prophecies Regarding the Tragedy of Karbala’ from Ancient Books 42

Mention of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) in Hindu Scriptures 42

The Karbala’ Tragedy in Zoroastrian Books 44

Command of Old Testament to Commemorate Ashura Day 44

References in New Testament regarding the Martyrdom of Husayn (a.s) 45

Notes 48

Why the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) became Immortal? 49

Notes 53

Effect of Husayn’s Martyrdom on the Principle of Caliphate 54

Notes 60

Azadari and Innovation 61

What is innovation (Bid’ah)? 61

Azadari rituals conform to Divine Will 63

Azadari of Husayn (a.s) is not Innovation 64

Taboot and Ta’ziyah 66

Ma’tam 67

Notes 67

Azadari of Husayn (a.s) from the Islamic Point of View 69

What if Azadari is an Innovation? 69

Azadari Rituals have divine sanction 75

Place of Ibrahim 76

Azadari is Sunnah 78

A Brief Description of Azadari of Husayn (a.s) 80

(A) The Prophetic Sunnah is practical 80

(B) The Practice of the Prophet is Verbal 81

(C) It is the Sunnah of the Imams 81

Weeping for the Dead 82

(A) The Prophetic Practice is Practical 82

(B) The Prophetic Practice is Verbal 82

(C) It is the Practice of the Holy Imams 82

A Strange View 83

Ta’ziyah, Zuljana and Replicas (Mock-ups) 84

(A) How to Detect Polytheism? 84

(B) The Prophet’s Sunnah is Practical 85

(C) The Prophet’s Practice is Verbal 86

(D) It is the Sunnah of Imams 86

Majlis (Mourning Assembly) 87

(A) The Prophet’s Sunnah is Practical 87

(B) The Prophet’s Sunnah is Verbal 88

(C) Sunnah of the Imams 88

Nauha and Marsiya 89

(A) The Prophet’s Sunnah is Practical 89

(B) The Sunnah of the Imam is Practical 89

(C) It is the Sunnah of Ahl al-Bayt 90

(D) The Sunnah of the Imam is Verbal 90

Ma’tam and Mourning Procession 90

(A) Ma’tam 90

(B) Ma’tam is Practical Sunnah of Imam 90

(C) It is the Silent Permission of Imam 91

(D) If it is the Sunnah of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) 91

Act of the People of Medina 91

Leaving embellishment, observing mourning and keeping hair disarranged 92

(A) The Prophet’s Sunnah is Practical 92

(B) It is the Sunnah of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) 93

Black Clothes 93

Silent Sunnah is from the Imam 93

Mourning House (Azakhana) 94

The Imam’s Sunnah is Practical 94

Arena, drums and lashing with chains 94

(A) Watching an Arena is Sunnah of the Prophet 94

(B) Listening to drums is Sunnah of the Prophet 95

(C) Chain Ma’tam (lashing) is also Recommended 95

Azadari is Obligatory 96

Notes 96

Banu Umayyah in the View of the Holy Qur’an 98

First Verse 98

Second Verse 100

Third Verse 100

Fourth Verse 101

Fifth Verse 102

Last Verses 103

Yazid’s Clan 105

Umayyah 107

Harb 108

Affan 108

Uthman 108

Hakam bin Abil Aas 109

Marwan bin Hakam 110

Harith bin al-Hakam 111

Sa’eed bin Abil Aas 111

Utbah bin Rabi, Shayba bin Rabi and Walid bin Utbah 111

Umme Jamil – Carrier of Firewood 111

Uqbah bin Abi Muit 112

Walid bin Uqbah bin Abi Muit 112

Abu Sufyan 113

Hind–The Liver Eater 114

Muawiyah 116

Yazid 117

Notes 118

Who were the killers of Imam Husayn(a.s)? 119

The First Problem 119

The Second Problem 122

The Third Problem 122

Umar bin Saad bin Abi Waqqas 123

Shimr bin Ziljaushan 123

Hussayn Ibn Numair 124

Muhammad Ibn Ashath Ibn Qais 124

Shabath Ibn Rabi 125

Samarah Ibn Jundab 125

Marwan Ibn Hakam 125

Notes 127

Conclusion 129

Appendix 1: Mischiefs of the Daily Hilal 130

Notes 135

Appendix 2: A ‘Revolutionary’ Book: Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid 136

Notes 142

Appendix 3: Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) and the Muslim and Jewish Calendars 144

(Published in As-Serat Vol. VI No. 3 & 4, 1401) 144

Notes 148

Appendix 4: Fasting on Ashura 149

(Published in As-Serat Vol. VIII No. 3 & 4) 149

Notes 150

Appendix 5: The Illustrious Period of the Imamate of Imam Zainul Aabidin (a.s) 151

(Al-Serat, Vol. 5 (1979), Nos. 3 & 4 ) 151

Announcement of his Imamat 151

Uniting the Shia Community 152

Teaching True Islam 153

Notes 155

Translator’s Foreword

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Praise is due to Allah Whose worth cannot be described by speakers, whose bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim (to obedience) cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so.1

By the Grace of the Almighty, the English translation of Karbala’ Shinasi is in your hands.

The late author, Allamah Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi (q.s.) in yet another of his masterpieces has skillfully analyzed and explained the different aspects of the Karbala’ Tragedy.

It is basically a collection of articles published in different periodicals over the years and a radio speech. But they were arranged by the author himself in this present book form and published in Urdu. It was much appreciated by the community in India and Pakistan and had been reprinted a number of times.

We are all aware of the malicious propaganda of the enemies of Islam and humanity to target the Muharram ceremonies and the conspiracy to belittle the Great Sacrifice of Imam Husayn (a.s). This book is a refutation of all objections raised in this connection.

The author, in his typical style has refuted all the allegations in a scholarly manner but at the same time made the text readable and interesting even for laymen.

Translation of Urdu and Persian terms is given in brackets and frequently used terms are also defined in the “Glossary of Islamic Terms” at the end of the book for readers not familiar with Islamic terminology.


Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H.Rizvi

Al-Qalam Translators & Writers Bureau

Email: sayedathar@hotmail.com


1. Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 1

Preface to the Second Edition

The first edition of this book was published in 1982. Since long all the copies are exhausted but there is still public demand for this book. Hence the second edition is being published in 1989 with further corrections and additions.

An article titled, “Who were the killers of Imam Husayn (a.s)” is added in this edition. It was first published in the Muharram issue of Sarfaraz Journal (Urdu) of 1954/1974.

The typographical mistakes remaining in the first edition have been corrected. May Allah not allow more mistakes to remain in it.

Although to remain free of errors is only for the infallibles.

My first writing on “Karbala’ Shinasi” (Understanding Karbala’) was a short article that I had written on the aim of Martyrdom and it was most probably published in the Muharram issue of Sarfaraz Journal of 1946. If before going to the press we are able to locate that article, it would also be included in this book. Otherwise, Insha Allah1 it would be reserved for the next edition. And there is no Tawfeeq2 except from Allah.

Humble Servant: Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi

3 Rabi-at-Thani 1409 AH/14th November 1988


1. If Allah wills

2. Divine opportunity

Preface to the First Edition

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. And blessings and salutations upon His best creature, Muhammad and his Purified Progeny.

The present book is based on my articles on the various aspects of the Karbala’ Tragedy. Most of these articles were written by me before relocating to Africa, and were published in the periodicals of India and Pakistan. When the Bilal Muslim Mission was established in Africa, it became necessary to translate religious literature into English. An important link of this chain is the Bi-monthly “The Light.”

I had also to write articles for the “As Serat” Journal of Muhammadi Trust, London, on occasions related to Imam Husayn (a.s). Afterwards many of these articles were translated into Urdu and published in Urdu Magazines. These articles are also included in this collection.

The most respected Hujjatul Islam Maulana Sayyid Ahmad ‘Ali Abidi is among those contemporary scholars who, keeping in mind the needs of the present age, are performing unequalled services in the field of religious propagation. The respected friend is one of the founders of Noor-e-Islam Organization and the main driving force behind it. This organization publishes books on important religious subjects. It has also started correspondence course in Urdu in co-operation with Dar Rah Haqq, Qom and Usool-e-Deen Organization, Qom.

This honorable friend had requested me to give a book of mine that can be published from Noor-e-Islam. This collection is being published as per this request.

The articles are arranged in such a manner that continuity of topics is maintained. It is hoped that their study would illuminate the various historical, religious and philosophical aspects of the tragedy of Karbala’, and the readers would be able to understand, to a great extent, this supreme sacrifice.

I had no idea that collecting old articles is such a tedious job. I am thankful to the editors of Al-Jawwad (Benaras), Al-Waez (Lucknow), Sarfaraz (Lucknow) and Razakar (Lahore) for providing me copies of the articles from their archives; otherwise this collection would have been incomplete. May Allah reward them with a good reward.

If this collection is liked by the literate people, the future editions will also include articles on other topics, Insha Allah.

Was Salaam

Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi

13 Rajab al-Murajjab 1401 AH