Rules of Mourning – Jurisprudence on Ashura
Forms of Mourning
Q) What is the rule regarding the tearing open of our garment’s collar and beating of our head and face while mourning Imam Husain (peace be upon Him)?
A) There is no harm if a person beats his head and face, or tears open his garment’s collar while mourning his holiness (peace be upon Him).
Q) In some of the chest beating sessions and the sessions of mourning over the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him), people begin to scratch their faces which results in the flow of blood; what is the rule regarding the mourning conducted in such manner?
A) It is not known if these acts committed with the purpose of expressing extreme grief and sorrow on the oppressions faced by the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him), can be regarded as dishonor. Although, if it results in causing extreme harm to a person, then it is not permissible.
Q) Some of the mourners apply mud on themselves or walk bare footed. What is the rule regarding this form of mourning?
A) Such acts which are committed in an area, where according to the tradition of that place, they are observed as a method of expressing one’s grief and sorrow for the Chief of the Martyrs (peace be upon Him), are not prohibited unless they do not result in causing extreme harm to a person’s body and life.
Q) What is the rule regarding such chest beating sessions in which people move around in circles or leap and jump?
A) It is permissible. But one should be careful that the honor of mourning and commemoration is not hurt.
Q) Is it permissible for a person to beat his chest, with the purpose of mourning Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), while his body is naked waist upwards?
A) It is permissible if conducted away from the sight of Non – Mahram.
Q) Beating our chests, beating ourselves with chains, or banging on our head and face while mourning, in such a way that it turns out to be injurious, for example, it injures the body or makes it red; what is the rule regarding such acts?
A) If the injury is not instant and extreme (Motad beh), it is permissible.
Q) In the chest beating sessions, what is the rule regarding the removal of clothes which can be provocative?
A) If it is provocative, it is a matter of Ishkal; and it is better that one should mourn with his clothes on.
Q) In the sessions conducted for mourning the Holy Infallibles (peace be upon Him), what is the rule regarding the beating of chests or the scratching of faces in such a manner that it results in the flow of blood?
A) Mourning these holiness’ (a,s,), is desirable in any form that does not cause a sudden extreme injury to the body, or does not comprise of actions that oppose the rules of Shari’ah by any means.
Q) What is the rule regarding ‘Harwala’ in the sessions conducted for mourning, while they are assumed to be causing dishonor to the mourning, and may also result in the diminishing of the grief and sorrow of many mourners; please state a principal rule and give us an advice regarding these forms of mourning, along with the answer?
A) Sometimes, it is possible that a person who has is deeply aggrieved, may stand up and begin to walk to and fro, and beat himself while crying out loudly; if a person actually enters such a condition while mourning the hardships faced by the Chief of Martyrs (peace be upon Him), which is undoubtedly the greatest of all sorrows, or if one tries to bring about such condition upon himself (like Tabaki), then it is not possible to regard this condition as a dishonor. In this aspect, there are different methods which change itself from time to time and place to place, and the view of the common people should be regarded as the criterion. What is obligatory is that each one of us should strive on the path of securing the greatness, glory, reality, honor, and holiness of this program, and should express the greatest of all sorrows and grief by themselves. The Almighty will approve of it.
Q) What is your opinion regarding those people who perform Harwala and beat their chests, while mourning, with the intention of being in the season of the Holy Pilgrimage (Hajj) or in the memory of Lady Zainab (peace be upon Her) while she was in the state of Harwala?
A) Such an intention that I am in the season of Hajj and performing Harwala, is not correct; but under the title of extreme grief and sorrow caused by the great oppression, it is permissible.
Q) In some religious sessions or mourning events, in order to express an extreme level of humbleness before the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him), some people imitate the sound of animals like dogs. What is the rule of Shari’ah regarding such an act?
A) Because it is viewed as a means of dishonor, it is appropriate for a person to express his love and feelings in an attractive and honorable form.
Q) To constitute such groups and committees in the alleys and streets where the residents of that locality do not abide by such religious commemorations, moreover, beating chest before them and performing such acts, seems to be an absurd code of conduct and at times, causes the mockery or disrespect of such mourning sessions. What is the rule regarding it?
A) Such groups and committees should be formed in the mosques and Husaini centers of those localities in a suitable and appropriate manner, and honorable preachers and clerics should be invited to such places so that they can preach the true message of Islam before the listeners; in this way, we do not think that it will be mocked and moreover, in the path of preaching the religion, one must not pay heed to the mockeries and ridicules of a group of ignorant and unwise people.
Ethics and Symbols of Azadari
Q) In the commemorating sessions of Ashura, what is the rule regarding events such as processioning with Alam Gardani, Chehl Cheragh Keshi and Nakhl gardaani (Flag, Chandeliers or lanterns and coffins)?
A) It is permissible.
Q) What is the rule regarding the use of Flags?
A) In the sessions conducted for mourning the Chief of the Martyrs, Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), the use of flags which is counted as a homage to the Holy event, with the condition that it should not have the structure of a living being over it as it is Haraam, is absolutely permissible, and is desirable as well.
Q) In the days of mourning, a shrine like object called ‘Nakhl’ is adorned with expensive clothes and sheets in the name of the traditional Azadari; with respect to the Fatwa of grand Ayatollah Boroujardi, who said: ‘The mourning held in the days of Ashura differs from place to place, with respect to the tradition, and all that is considered as a symbol of Azadari in a particular place is permissible’; what is the opinion of your highness?
A) I completely approve of the answer given by our respected and most dignified teacher with respect to the mentioned question. May Allah raise his position!
Q) Is it permissible, in your opinion, to light candles in the commemoration of ‘Shaam e Ghareeban’ of the Leader of Martyrs (peace be upon Him)? Is it not an evidence of heresy?
A) It is permissible.
Q) In some of the sessions of mourning, symbolic objects are designed, like the designing of the replica of Lady Fatima’s grave and the coffin of Lady Ruqayya (peace be upon Her). What is the rule regarding it?
A) It is permissible.
Q) What is your opinion regarding ‘Taziya Khwani’?
A) If ‘Taziya Khwani and Shabih Khwani’ does not involve the usage of musical instruments such as drums, trumpet, bagpipe etc., and false poetries and music is not sung, and men do not wear the dress of women, then it is permissible.
Q) Some people play the role of our Infallible Imam (peace be upon Him) and personalities like Abbas (peace be upon Him) in the events of ‘Taziya’, while such people do not have a glorified past and are given the responsibility of playing the role of such personalities only because they are capable of hosting the program in a better manner. What is your opinion regarding it?
A) It is not a condition for a ‘Taziya Khwan’ to have a bright and dignified past, but if his bad character in the past, or his bad character in the present, specifically, is considered as a humiliation publicly, then such people should not be allowed to host the program. As a principal rule, it is appropriate to conduct the Azadari of the Holy Infallibles (peace be upon Him) in the form of lectures and sessions of mourning, so that the orator and the preacher, while speaking about the sufferings and tragedies faced by these glorified personalities, can also talk about their attributes and distinct qualities, their life history, narrate their Hadith, rules, and propagate the teachings of Islam, eradicate the heresies and doubts, in order to create awareness between the people and guide them towards the teachings of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him)
Q) Lately, it is debated that the sessions of mourning, specially the mourning of the Chief of Martyrs (peace be upon Him), should leave its traditional picture, like hearing Rauza Khwani, and should be changed into the form of exhibition and theatrical display. Moreover, they lay emphasis on this point. What is the opinion of your highness regarding this thought?
A) The mourning and commemoration of the Chief of Martyrs (peace be upon Him) should involve the mentioning of his hardships and sorrows from the authentic books, by the orators and respected clerics, protecting the dignity of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him); and to exhibit it in a theatrical form is generally not void of corrupt and non-permissible actions.
Q) What is the rule regarding the selling, purchasing, printing, distributing, or using of the pictures and posters which have the image of the Holy Infallibles (peace be upon Him) over it?
A) The abovementioned pictures and poster, do not have an authentic base, it is for a person to restrain himself from this act.
Art and Ethics of Azadari
Q) If a person, amidst Azadari, begins to weep loudly with the intention of self-portrayal, or beats himself with heavy chains or his chest in a strong manner, has he committed hypocrisy and his Azadari will become void? What if his intention was to make others cry?
A) Hypocrisy is not permissible in any act; but to enter a state of mourning (Tabaki) with the intention of respecting the holy event, is not considered hypocrisy.
Q) At times, in the programs held for mourning Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), which are usually very crowded, it is seen that the servants and volunteers of Imam (peace be upon Him) behave in an inappropriate manner with the mourners. (Like shouting on them, pushing them, etc.). What is the rule regarding such behavior as per the Shari’ah?
A) The mourners and listeners should be treated with respect and welcomed appropriately.
Q) Is it obligatory to seek permission from the parents for visiting the sessions conducted for mourning the Chief of Martyrs (peace be upon Him)? Is it possible to attend these programs without their satisfaction?
A) The situations mentioned are different.
Q) What is the rule about exhibiting laughter and humor in the month of Muharram, especially on the day of Ashura?
A) It is not appropriate.
Q) What is the rule about conducting the mourning demonstrations and protests on the streets and alleys, resulting in traffic jams?
A) In the regular days of Azadari, it is permissible.
Q) Some of the commemorations and programs are conducted by the different groups of mourners, inside tents and closed areas, near the alleys and streets, while a few neighbors are not satisfied with these acts; what is the rule regarding such mourning sessions and the participation in them?
A) These programs should be held in a way that the neighbors and the passersby do not feel disturbed or troubled by them.
Q) While we are unaware of the satisfaction of the neighbors, what is the rule regarding the creation of noise amidst Azadari, be it loud or not? (Is the satisfaction of most of the neighbors sufficient or every single one of them)?
A) The honor and glory of such a program demands that it should be held harmlessly.
Q) As per the Shari’ah, what is the rule regarding the Azadari conducted late in the nights causing disturbance in people’s sleep and relaxation?
A) On a principal basis, it is not permissible to harm people or trouble them at all, neither in their sleep and nor while they are awake; these programs should be held under the regular and common limitations. And in some cases, like the eve of Ashura, it is not regarded as disturbance.
Q) Is it appropriate for a person conducting mourning sessions for Imam Husain (peace be upon Him) to wish for a large scale participation of mourners?
A) These above mentioned sessions are much more effective for the hearts of the mourners and hold much more positive response for them if conducted on a large scale and with a greater audience turn out. If this issue wouldn’t have been given importance, the enemies of Islam and the Muslims who are either deceived, or who sight the apparent only, or the ones who are westernized, would have denied the tragedy of Karbala from its root. Albeit, we should be aware of this fact that the heavy reward of organizing and participating in the lamentation of his holiness (peace be upon Him), should not be given away by introducing forbidden acts within them, and they should necessarily refrain from all such acts that can cause the humiliation of our sect or the dishonor of our mourning events.
Q) At times, the days of mourning Imam Hussain (peace be upon Him) coincide with a few occasions, like Nawroz; what is the view of your highness regarding the establishment of programs related to these occasions at the time of mourning Imam Husain (peace be upon Him)?
A) It is evident that the believers and the lovers of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him) will refrain from conducting any such programs or exhibiting any such activities that are not suitable for a lover of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him), and will secure the programs and traditions of mourning.
Azadari and Prayer
Q) What is the responsibility of someone who is doubtful about whether he should perform the acts of mourning until late night or should be careful that his morning prayer doesn’t lapse?
A) It is obligatory for a person to make sure that his prayer does not lapse.
Q) If a person does not offer his prayer, nor does he keep his fasts, but performs good deeds for Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), beats himself on his chest and with chains, weeps, and similarly, for a person who does not pay the Khums and Zakat of his wealth; is it permissible for him to spend such a wealth in the path of Imam Husain (peace be upon Him)? Will such a person be rewarded or remunerated?
A) Prayer and Fasting, are acts that are declared obligatory on us, while mourning and weeping on Imam Husain (peace be upon Him) is Mustahab (recommended). A man should offer his prayers, keep his fasts, and mourn as well; and as regards the money on which Khums is due, the payment of its Khums should be made firstly, and only then should a person spend his wealth in the path of Imam Husain (peace be upon Him) and other good deeds; and it is Haraam to spend a sum of money on which Khums is due, for any other purpose, be it for a good cause, until its Khums is paid.
Q) On the day of Ashura, at the time of Zuhr, the mourners prepare themselves to exhibit their grief and sorrow in a loud manner, and on the other hand, the time of Zuhr prayer arrives; what is the duty of the believers in such a situation?
A) In such situations, we should strive to achieve both the motives and virtues together. We should both participate in the program conducted to mourn the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), and offer the Zuhr prayer on its foremost time, as well.
The mourning by women
Q) Is it permissible for women to weep with loud voices in the programs held to mourn the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him), especially Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), in the presence of such men who are non – Mahram for them?
A) There is no objection in it.
Q) What is the rule regarding the women who stand and watch the men who are performing the rites of mourning on the streets? To what extent are the volunteers of the committees responsible for this case?
A) It is not permissible for women to watch the bodies of such men who are not Mahram for them.
A) It is permissible if it does not become the cause of performing a sin.
The orators and eulogists of the mourning sessions.
Q) What is the view of your highness regarding eulogy? What are the qualities that a eulogist of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him) should necessarily possess?
A) If the eulogy of the Holy Progeny of Infallibles (peace be upon Him) is performed with the intention of attaining proximity of Allah, then it is a form of worship and holds great reward for itself. And for this very reason, the eulogist of the Holy Progeny (peace be upon Him) should be pious and should be careful that his poetries do not oppose the reality and are not based on lies, and to all possible extent, he should perform this worship for attaining the proximity of Allah so that he can be rewarded with its benefits, even though there is no objection in taking remuneration for it.
Q) Some of the eulogist pronounce the name ‘Husain Husain’ in such a manner that it causes a sort of excitement and emotion, along with chest beating and weeping, that the audience begins to leap. Is this act permissible?
A) If the eulogy and the wailings are presented in the form of music, it will be Haraam.
Q) Is it Haraam to recite the eulogy with musical rhythms and in the form of music?
A) Yes, it is Haraam.
Q) Is it permissible for a eulogist or an orator to take a sum of money in return of his eulogy or speech in the program held to mourn Imam Husain (peace be upon Him)?
A) Yes, it is permissible.
Q) The eulogists, amidst the supplication of Kumail, Nudba and the Ziyarat of Ashura, recite poetries and wailings. What is the rule regarding it?
A) It is better to recite these supplications without the addition of poetries or anything else between them, but the recitation of authentic eulogies at the instances which are suitable with the supplication do not have any legal objection; although, if this act is performed with such exaggeration that the supplication loses its form, it is not known if the reward of that supplication will be there any more or not.
The narrative sources of Azadari
Q) Does the book ‘Rauzat ush Shuhada’ of Late Mulla Hussain Kashifi, and the book ‘Asraar ush Shahaadat’ of Mulla Aqa e Darbandi, contain an altered and distorted version of the tragedy of Karbala?
A) We do not have any right to accuse the writers of the above mentioned books for altering the tragedy of Karbala. As far as the points mentioned in these books, those which could have possibly occurred, and we do not have any proof against their occurrence, we cannot deny them and accuse the writer for falsification, and the happenings whose non-occurrence have been proved authentically, should not be narrated.
Q) As per the view of your highness, which are the authentic books of ‘Maqatil’, irrespective of Persian or Arabic?
A) Study the books compiled by Late Muhaddith Haaj Sheikh Abbas Qomi regarding this topic.
Q) What is the rule regarding the recitation of baseless or skeptical narrations by the eulogist or the orators?
A) It is not permissible to recite baseless narrations, and the recitation of those incidents whose authenticity is probable, in the form of a probable occurrence, does not hold any objection.
Q) If baseless narrations are recited, what is our duty against it?
A) If you hear a lie from the orators, as per your Shari’ah responsibility, under the title of ‘Nahi az Munkar’, you should remind the speaker himself, and it is the duty of all those who are bound by the Shari’ah.
Assets related to the establishment of Mourning.
Q) In order to establish an association, if we make use of such a property whose owner is not in satisfied, what is the rule regarding organizing and participating in such a session? And what is the rule regarding the situation in which we are unaware of the satisfaction of the owner of that property?
A) If that same property, whose owner is not satisfied, is brought into use, then the discretion of such a property is Haram and the association will be held responsible.
Q) Is it permissible to use a sum of money, which was donated with a specific purpose in Azadari, for any other act of Azadari? (For example, a sum of money has been donated for the purpose of providing food, but is utilized in the purchase of other necessities).
A) To utilize the sum of money donated for a specific purpose, in any other aspect, is not permissible and the person will be held responsible.
Musical Instruments in Azadari
Q) What is the rule regarding the usage of musical instruments like drums, bagpipes, barrel organs, and the likes of them while mourning Imam Husain (peace be upon Him)?
A) It is not permissible.
Q) While mourning the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (peace be upon Him), what is the rule regarding the usage of drums and bagpipes with the purpose of coordinating the mourners?
A) It is a matter of Ishkal (objection).
An excerpt from the book ‘Guftemaan e Ashuraayi’ written by Grand Ayatollah Saafi Golpayegani.
 Non – Mahram are those woman with whom marriage is permissible.