By Shaikh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq al-Badr
In the next few days, we are welcoming a great day from among the glorious days of Allaah. It is a significant day with great merit and ancient holiness. In it, Allaah, the All-Mighty destroyed the most oppressive people on earth, those (who committed) the most grievous of crimes. Amongst them was the greatest in insolence and pride, the aggressive tyrant, Fir’aun (Pharaoh). Allaah destroyed him and his people in a single moment, as an example (warning) and a great sign from among His (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) great signs. This great event and sign occurred on this day that we are receiving, the 10th day of the month of Allaah, Muharram.
Up until that day, that insolent, proud tyrant had lived a life of oppressiveness, insolence, pride, deceitfulness, faithlessness, rebelliousness and stubbornness. He called on his people to recognize his divinity, i.e. his tyranny had reached to that level, saying:
“يا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ ما عَلِمتُ لَكُم مِن إِلٰهٍ غَيري”
“O eminent ones, I have not known you to have a god other than me.”
[Surat al-Qasas 28:38]
And he said:
“وَما رَبُّ العالَمينَ”
“And what is the Lord of the worlds?”
[Surat ash-Shu’ara 26:23]
And he said:
أنا ربكم الأعلى
“I am your most exalted lord”
[Surat an-Nazi’aat 79:24]
as well as other words of tyranny, disbelief, heresy and rebelliousness. He was a very lofty dictator who was neglectful of his people.
He saw the miracles (signs) of Allaah, His great blessings and His great bounty, but he did not increase except in distance (from Allaah), reluctance and pride. He even turned those great signs and blessings into a proof of his truthfulness about what he was saying to his people, telling them that he deserved what he claimed; so they believed him.
“فَاستَخَفَّ قَومَهُ فَأَطاعوهُ”
“So he bluffed his people, and they obeyed him.”
[Surat az-Zukhruf 43:54]
Among the things that he was proud of were the great rivers that flowed beneath him. When Allaah, the All-Mighty wanted to destroy this tyrant, He destroyed him in such way as to be an example for those who contemplate, and as a sign for those who receive admonition (warning). Allaah, the All-Mighty permitted His chosen Prophet, Messenger and Kalim (one who spoke to Allaah directly), Musa [Moses (‘Alayhis-salaam)], to go with the believing slaves of Allaah during the night. Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) went out at night towards the Red Sea and the tyrant knew of Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) going out with his followers. He (Pharaoh) ordered that the people should be gathered for him and that his followers be gathered from the cities of various places. When they were gathered, he went out with his soldiers and munitions to follow Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and those with him. When Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and those with him from his people (Bani Israel) reached the sea; when the two parties saw each other- ponder upon this distressed moment-
“فَلَمّا تَراءَى الجَمعانِ قالَ أَصحابُ موسىٰ إِنّا لَمُدرَكونَ”
“And when the two hosts saw one another, the people of Moses said: “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!”
[Surat ash-Shu’ara 26:61]
Meaning that the sea is in front of us; if we enter it we are drowned, and the enemy is behind us; if we stop we will be caught. So where is the escape? Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
“كَلّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبّي سَيَهدينِ”
“No! Indeed! With me is my Lord; He will guide me.”
[Surat ash-Shu’ara 26:62]
Ponder upon this oh believer, upon the great Tawakkul and trust in Allaah, the All-Mighty. Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) said:
“كَلّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبّي سَيَهدينِ”
“No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.”
Somebody might say: “To where?” The enemy is behind them and the sea is in front of them! But victory is from Allaah. Whoever puts his trust in Allaah, He (Ta’ala) will suffice him, even if those in the heavens and the earth plot against him.
“أَلَيسَ اللَّهُ بِكافٍ عَبدَهُ”
“Is not Allaah Sufficient for His servant?”
[Surat az-Zumar 39:36]
“وَمَن يَتَوَكَّل عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسبُهُ”
“And whoever puts his trust in Allaah – then He will suffice him.”
[Surat at-Talaaq 65:3]
Musa’s (‘Alayhis-salaam) reliance and trust in Allaah was great when he came near the sea. There Allaah (Ta’ala) ordered him to strike the sea with his stick- Allaahu Akbar (Allaah is the Greatest)! Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) struck the sea with his stick and the sea split into twelve paths, so that the seabed became land in which there was no mud and no slipperiness. The water, which is fluid, stood between these paths like mountains –Allaahu Akbar!
Then Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and those with him (Bani Israel) went through these paths with the water standing like mountains on their right and on their left and with the dry earth beneath them. Bani Israel went with Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) until they reached the other side of the sea. Pharaoh and his soldiers with their munitions followed them into the sea until they were all gathered in those paths. Thereupon, Allaah the All-Mighty ordered the sea to return as it was, so he (Pharaoh) and all of those with him died a single death, in the way that he was so proud of, as he used to say:
“وَهٰذِهِ الأَنهارُ تَجري مِن تَحتي”
“And these rivers flowing beneath me.”
[Surat az-Zukhruf 43:51]
So Allaah, the All-Mighty drowned him and those with him.
That amazing sign of Allaah occurred on the day of ‘Ashuraa, the 10th day of Allaah’s month of Muharram. It is the day on which Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) witnessed Allaah’s great bounty upon him when He destroyed that evil tyrant on that day. So, Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) observed fast on that day out of gratitude to Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted. Then when our Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to Madinah after the Hijrah (migration), he saw the Jews fasting the Day of ‘Ashura. The Hadeeth is in the Saheehain, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) as he said: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked them about that, and they replied: ‘This is a good day, the day on which Allaah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy’; so Musa observed fast on this day. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘We have more claim over Musa than you.’ So he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) observed fast on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to observe fast (on that day).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Moreover, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned the greatness of this day and the abundant reward for whoever fasts the Day of ‘Ashura. In Saheeh Muslim, there is the Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Qatada (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The fasting of the Day of ‘Ashura is accounted by Allaah as expiation of (sins) the previous year.” What is meant by expiation is: expiation of the minor sins which are lesser than the major sins.
“إِن تَجتَنِبوا كَبائِرَ ما تُنهَونَ عَنهُ نُكَفِّر عَنكُم سَيِّئَاتِكُم”
“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins.”
[Surat an-Nisaa’ 4:31]
It was proven in Saheeh Muslim in the Hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If I will remain alive till next year, I shall also observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (meaning, as well as the 10th, to be different than the Jews).” Therefore, it is Sunnah to fast the Day of ‘Ashura, the 10th Day of Allaah’s month of Muharram, thanking Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted and to fast the day of the 9th in difference to the Jews, as it was the guidance of our Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Then Allaah, the All-Mighty, in His Complete Wisdom, tested one of His slaves with a great trial on the Day of ‘Ashuraa, specifically in the year 61 Hijri. He was a Waliyy (ally) from among His Awliyaa’ (allies) and a great man for whom the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) testified (gave glad tidings) with Paradise. On this day he was unlawfully killed as a martyr for the Sake of Allaah. This martyrdom is a raise in rank and station for him (in status) with Allaah, the All-Mighty. That is al-Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu).
Killing him was unlawful and aggressive, exceeding the limits of morally acceptable behavior. He (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was a martyr for the Sake of Allaah. We believe in and trust is that he was unlawfully killed as a martyr. He will have a high status and a high station in gardens of bliss. Our Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said about him and his brother Hassan (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma): “They are the noblest youth among the dwellers of Paradise.”[Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi and authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jamie’]
In this murder there was a test, a trial and a purification. Afterwards, people divided into different paths (regarding) the murder that occurred:
1- (those who) transgress the limits of Allaah,
2- (those who are) harsh and not concerned with the status of the Awliyaa (allies) of Allaah and those who are the most pure,
3- Those who adopt the moderate path, who are balanced, strong and guided, and they are the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (the followers of the Sunnah and Islamic Monotheism). (They are) the people of the middle path and moderation without negligence, excessiveness or extravagance and without estrangement (alienation, staleness).
* Still, there are people turn the Day of ‘Ashuraa into a day of lamentation and sorrow in which they practice deeds that are not from the religion of Allaah, nor are they pleasing to Allaah, the All-Mighty. The Islamic religion came to make it (lamentation) unlawful, forbidding it and considering it a crime, and clearly showing the punishment for the one who commits it; from wailing to slapping the cheeks, cutting ones garments and calling to the action of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance). (They commit) what is even greater than that and that is Shirk (ascribing partners to Allaah), by seeking refuge with and assistance of al-Hussain (Radia-Allaahu-‘anhu), and asking him to fulfil their needs and remove their difficulties and distresses in matters that should not be requested from or referred to except from the Lord of the Heavens and the earth.
Our Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said about wailing: “If the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Resurrection, wearing garments of pitch (tar) and a shirt of scabies.” [Muslim]
And he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “He is not from among us who slaps the cheeks, tears the clothes and imitates the calls of Jahiliyyah (i.e. follows the ways and traditions of the days of ignorance).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Instead of observing the Day of ‘Ashuraa as a day for giving thanks to Allaah, the All-Mighty, it has, because of this incident, changed into a day of lamentation and sorrow in which acts of Jahiliyyah are practiced, which are not from the religion of Allaah The All-Mighty. Some of them seek nearness to Allaah on that day by shedding some of their own blood, either from their foreheads or from their backs, thinking that this is needed for forgiveness and raising levels (of virtue)! Far away is that deed from the religion of Allaah The All-Mighty, or from being part of His Shari’ah (ordained Islamic law) or from what was ordained or approved by al-Hussain ibn ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu-‘anhuma), and other than him from the noblest of Companions or pious Awliyaa (allies) of Allaah.
* That malevolent (excessive) group met other groups who treat Ahl al-Bait [those of the household of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] with anguish, abasement and contempt and did not recognize their status. They are the Naasibah who declare enmity towards Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); so they made that day into a day of happiness where they spend on themselves buying clothes, food, sweets, adornment and other than that. This is the opposite in comparison to the first group. The first are lamenters (extremists) and they (the second group) are ill-mannered. I do not know of any presence of this group in this age.
* The best of deeds are those that are moderate without negligence or excess. That is the way that Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah is upon; they are the people of the truth and steadfastness as they remain on the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by fasting on that day, thanking Allaah, the All-Mighty. As for what happened to al-Hussain (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) on that day, this is considered among the people of Sunnah, oppression, aggression and a great crime. Al-Hussain (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was killed as a martyr on that day in the Path of Allaah, but we were not ordered, that upon the death of martyrs- not al-Hussain or anyone else, to take that day as an anniversary of mourning, lamentation or other than that. All of these are acts of Jahiliyyah which are not from the religion of Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted. We should thank Allaah, the All-Mighty then, that He has guided us and expanded our chests to the truth and kept us away from the way of malevolence and wrongdoing, and made us into a moderate, balanced community. We should seek nearness to Allaah by loving the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), recognize their status and look after their rights without malevolence, aggression, negligence or excess.
On the occasion of mentioning the story of the unlawful murder of al-Hussain ibn ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) and pointing out the status of the Ahl al-Bait, whose rights and status the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered us to recognize; in order to prove the truth and explain the reality, I would like to point to one of the Imaams, a scholar from among the scholars and one of the revivers (of the Sunnah). Through him, Allaah, the All-Mighty reformed the religion, guided His slaves and renewed the nation. He is the Shaikh of Islam, Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (Rahimahullaah). This Imaam is well known for his great stance, efforts and defense of the religion of Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted. People, who have no morals have claimed that this Imaam hates the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and does not know their status. They have forged lies and false speech, saying that he insults the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), that he does not know their status and that he does not recognize their value.
“كبرت كلمة تخرج من أفواههم إن يقولون إلا كذبا“
“Grave is the word that comes out of their mouths; they speak not except a lie.”
[Surat al-Kahf 18:5]
It is far-fetched that this Imaam or other than him from the Imaams of the Muslims and scholars of the religion should have this quality or be at a level that even the fools among people are not upon, let alone (in addition to) the honored Imaams among people of high position, status and nobility.
Whoever reads the history of this Imaam and his honorable life, and examines his blessed publications, will clearly find the great status and high regard for the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that the Imaam had in his heart, may Allaah show mercy to him. Therefore, there are many places in his books where there is praise for the Ahl al-Bait, explaining their high positions, status and rights and the obligation to love them. He (Rahimahullaah), in his love for the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the greatest of his knowledge of their status, named most of his children with names as those of the Ahl al-Bait. His children (may Allaah bless them) were: ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain, Fatimah, Ibraheem and ‘Abdullaah. All of these names are from the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). In addition to that, there is ‘Abdul-‘Aziz. This is among the proofs and clarification of the greatness of the status of the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the heart of this Imaam. Despite that, the slanderers claim that he hates the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)!
“وسيعلم الذين ظلموا أي منقلب ينقلبون”
“And those who have wronged are going to know to what [kind of] return they will be returned.”
[Surat ash- Shu’ara 26:227]