Importance of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) Ziyarat and Levels of the Hereafter – Part1
On the occassion of the wiladat of Imam Hussain (as) 3rd Shabaan 1432 AH (2011)
There are several traditions of this nature explicitly outlining the futility of one’s beliefs and actions devoid of love and affection for the infallible Ahle Bait (a.s.) and unaccompanied with the enmity and hostility towards their enemies. Far from granting access to Paradise , such actions and beliefs will drive the person to the depths of Hell. The visitation of shrines of the infallible Imams (a.s.), particularly Imam Husain (a.s.) is a tremendous demonstration of this love and affection. Since love and attachment are most critical, the importance of visitation increases manifold since it is the best proof and evidence for it. Visitation strikes a chord between the Imam (a.s.) and the visitor that takes root in the latter’s heart. It is not just an emotional bonding like one has with one’s father or mother. Rather it is a bonding rooted in recognition that the Imam (a.s.) is Allah’s special representative on earth upon His creatures, obedience and submission to whom is mandatory by divine commandment. Apart from man, every atom on this earth is obedient and submissive to the Imams (a.s.) in line with the divine decree. Man in his ignorance and haughtiness dealt with the Imams (a.s.) most ruthlessly and killed them mercilessly with brute force and animal predisposition.
The oppression on the divine representative is in reality atrocity committed against Allah Himself and stark violation of His explicit commands. Visitation of the oppressed Imam’s (a.s.) shrine is an expression of one’s heartfelt sympathy with him and an explicit action signaling hostility and hatred for his oppressors. Visitation is a gesture that not only shows one’s affection for Imam’s (a.s.) personality but also highlights one’s satisfaction with Imam’s (a.s.) religion, his way of life and his excellent morals. Likewise, the visitation serves as a manifest expression of hostility and dissociation from Imam’s (a.s.) enemies, their beliefs, ideologies, actions and disgraceful traits. Let us see the glorious merits and exalted station of the visitor of Imam’s (a.s.) shrine on the Day of Resurrection. We need to note that all that has been outlined in traditions by the infallible leaders (a.s.) is addressed to us, who possess defective intellects and limited powers of comprehension. These traditions only give us a glimpse of what awaits the visitors of Imam (a.s.) on the Day of Resurrection. Their real station planned by Allah, the Almighty, is beyond our faculties of comprehension and is known only to Allah Himself and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Now that we can appreciate the importance of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) visitation, let us try to decipher the splendid station of Imam’s (a.s.) visitor on the Day of Judgment. Obviously this can only be illustrated by the one who sees the world and the hereafter alike. In other words, the hereafter is as evident for him as somebody sitting in front of him. We have already highlighted in last year’s edition that the visitor’s honor and distinction is enhanced the moment he intends going for visitation. Generally, one does not tend to remember a solitary meeting with anyone much intensity and fervor. However, it is the majestic station of the pure and infallible members of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) that a solitary visitation at their shrine not only remains etched in memory for a long time but also serves to solve one’s problems of the world.
Pangs of Death
It is narrated that death pangs can be very torturous. The agony at the time of death can be compared to a silk cloth being pulled against a thorny bush thereby shredding each thread of the cloth. On the one hand, the dying person experiences the pangs of death, and on the other hand there is remorse on separation from relatives and friends. However, for the visitor (of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine), these difficult stages are made easy and comfortable via the intercession of the Imams (a.s.).
One who wants to get respite from the difficulties of death and hopes for ease and tranquility instead, must visit Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine as much as possible because visiting Imam (a.s.) is like visiting, the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.).
(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat of Ibn Qoolwayh (r.a.), pg. 150, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 101 pg. 77)
Janabe Zahra (s.a.) greets the Visitor
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) relates,
‘Janabe Fatema binte Mohammad (s.a.) calls upon the one who visits Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine. She seeks forgiveness for his sins and his sins are forgiven.’
(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat pg. 118)
When the Ones who are served by the angels (i.e. Ahle Bait (a.s.)) go to the visitors and seek forgiveness for their sins, then it is indeed good fortune for the latter and an honor without any parallel.
Imam Husain (a.s.) visits the Visitor
Ali b. Mohammad narrates, ‘I used to visit Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine every month. But, as I grew older, my weakness got the better of me and I missed performing the visitation in one month. After some days, I set out on foot for another visitation. I reached the shrine in a few days. I recited the namaz and fell asleep. I saw Imam Husain (a.s.) in a dream. Imam (a.s.) had just left his shrine. He addressed me – You were virtuous and affectionate towards me. Why did you turn oppressive? I replied – I have grown old and weak and yet, have come in your presence. There is a tradition narrated from you, I wish to hear it from you. Imam (a.s.) asked, “Which tradition?”
I replied, “It is narrated from you that the one who has visited me in his lifetime, then after his death, I will visit his grave. Imam (a.s.) affirmed, “Yes I will. Even if he is in Hell, I will rescue him from it.’
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 101, pg. 16)
Acclaimed Shiite scholars have explained that this visitation could be at the time of (the visitor’s) death, while he is being laid to rest in the grave.
In the grave, man will experience unprecedented loneliness. He will be akin to a stranger in an alien land. Various types of dangers, the likes of which he had only heard before, will confront him. Terror and dread will surround him. No one is going to visit the inhabitant of the grave. Even if one does visit, he will come at a distance, recite Surah Fateha and depart. The closest and dearest of relatives will not accompany the deceased inside the grave. But the one who has visited Imam Husain (a.s.) will be fortunate enough to have Imam (a.s.) visit him in his grave. After Imam (a.s.) pays him a visit, he will feel no grief and terror. Indeed after Imam (a.s.) says
“Peace be on you”, no difficulty shall remain and there is no comfort that he shall not experience.
After being informed of the noble and blissful consequence of Imam’s (a.s.) visitation, only the unwise will dare to show negligence and forsake urgency and perseverance in this regard.
Safety from Squeeze in the Grave
If someone pinches us even playfully or if our finger is caught in the door wedge, our pain and agony can be intense. The signs of the wound can last for a long time highlighting our discomfort. During the squeeze in the grave, the walls of the grave converge to crush the corpse in the grave.
We can well imagine the condition of the corpse. We know that we will die one day. For a moment, let us try to imagine that we are dead and the walls of the grave are crushing us and squeezing our ribs into each other. A simple attempt to imagine this scenario is enough to freeze us, then what about the actual squeezing! The visitation of Imam’s (a.s.) shrine comes to our rescue even at this difficult stage and salvages us from its perils.
Imam Mohammad Baqer (a.s.) relates,
‘If people knew the significance and merit of visiting the sacred shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.), they would have died with enthusiasm for visiting it and their breaths would have stopped with its craving.’
The narrator inquired, ‘What is the reward for visiting the sacred shrine?’
Imam (a.s.) informed,
‘One who visits the shrine with zeal, Allah will recompense him with the reward of 1,000 accepted Hajj, 1,000 Umrah, 1,000 martyrs like the martyrs of Badr, 1,000 fasting ones, 1,000 accepted charities, freeing 1,000
slaves to earn divine pleasure. He will be secure from difficulties and calamities for the entire year, the least of which is Satan. Allah will station an angel on his front, back, left and right who will safeguard him. If he expires in that year, angels of mercy will participate in his shrouding and burial. They will seek divine forgiveness for his sins. They beseech Allah to pardon his transgressions till the time they accompany his bier to the grave.His grave is made wide and expansive for him till the eye can see. Allah grants him security from the squeezing of the grave. The presence of Munkar and Nakeer does not instil fear in him. A door of Paradise opens up for him inside his grave. His list of deeds is presented to him in his right hand. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be blessed with a brilliance with which the East and the West shall be illumined. An announcer will announce, “This is the one who visited Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine with zeal and eagerness. After that on the Day of Resurrection, there shall be none but he would wish – If only I had also visited Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine.”
(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat, pg. 143, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 101 pg. 18)
The above tradition is indeed incredible and an invaluable treasure for the visitors of Imam Husain (a.s.). Along with security from the squeezing of grave, the visitor is also assured of protection from Munkir and Nakeer. Munkir and Nakeer are called thus for the awe and terror they infuse in the corpse.
The place of resurrection shall be illumined with his light
In the tradition mentioned earlier, we find the description of the visitor’s brilliance. Indeed with his radiance, the east and west will be lit up. Moreover, a special angel on the land of resurrection will introduce the visitors to the onlookers and this will leave such an impact on them, that all shall wish that they had visited Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine. And why should this be surprising? After all, Janabe Jaun (r.a.) was bestowed a special illumination by Imam (a.s.) in Karbala, which illumined the entire battlefield. For, Imam (a.s.) is the centre of divine illumination and brilliance, the one who is associated with him, is also gifted a portion of this light.
The Shade of the Standard of Hamd
Allah has blessed the immaculate Ahle Bait (a.s.) with innumerable distinctions and merits that have no parallel. One of these merits includes the Standard of Hamd. This Standard unfurls 70 times and each round of the flag is more expansive than the Sun and Moon. Allah conferred this Standard
to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who shall entrust it to his standard-bearer -Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibne Abi Taalib (a.s.). All the Prophets (a.s.) and successors (a.s.) shall be below the shade of this Standard.
(Haqq al-Yaqeen by Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) pg. 450)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) relates,
‘On the Day of Resurrection, the announcer shall cry out, “Where are the visitors of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine?” A multitude of people shall come forth, whose count shall only be possible for Allah. They shall be asked, ‘What did you seek by visiting Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine?’ They shall reply, ‘We have visited it out of love for Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and affection for Imam Ali (a.s.) and Janabe Zahra (s.a.). We sought forgiveness (for our sins) by seeking mediation through the oppression and tribulations that they were made to undergo.’ They will be told, ‘Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.), Fatema (s.a.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) are over here. Join them as you share their status with them.’ The multitude of visitors shall gather under the shade of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Standard. The Standard shall be upheld by Imam Ali (a.s.). The visitors shall lead the Standard, rather they shall surround the Standard from all sides and march towards Paradise .’
(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat pg. 141, Behaar al-Anwaar by Allamah Majlisi (r.a.), vol. 101 pg. 21)
Indeed the status of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) visitors is awesome. They shall gather below the very Standard that is the gathering place of all Prophets (a.s.) and successors (a.s.) and shall share the exalted station of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Handshake with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) and the Prophets (a.s.) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) urged Muawiya b. Wahab,’O Muawiya! Never abandon Imam Husain’s (a.s.) visitation out of fear. Don’t you want to be amongst those with whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) will shake hands?’
0(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat, pg. 118)
In another tradition Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informs, ‘If someone performs one namaz behind Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine, he will meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection while everything around him will be immersed in his brilliance. Allah will honor and revere the visitor of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine. He will not permit the Hell-Fire to touch him. The visitor’s station is (not less than) Hauz-e-Kausar. Ameerul Momeneen Ali (a.s.), while he is stationed at the Hauz, will shake hands with him and quench his thirst with the water of Kausar.’
(Kaamil al-Ziaaraat, pg. 123, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 101 pg. 78)
Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) relates, ‘One who wishes to shake hands with 1,24,000 Prophets (a.s.) must visit Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine on 15th Shabaan. Angels and the souls of Prophets (a.s.) seek divine permission to visit Imam Husain’s (a.s.) shrine and will be granted the same. Indeed, fortunate are those who shake hands with the Prophets (a.s.) and with whom the Prophets (a.s.) shake hands. Among the Prophets (a.s.) are the five esteemed Apostles (Ulul Azm) – Hazrat Nuh (a.s.), Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), Hazrat Eesa (a.s.) and Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.).’
Shaking hands with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is a blissful experience for a believer, even if it is in a dream. If it ever happens, the believer will consider himself most fortunate and privileged. Then what about those people who will find themselves being approached by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) and the Prophets (a.s.) for shaking hands?