Kerbala is a miracle & Muharram is a time when the message of Islam is listened to by people. People from all walks of life & all sections of society are drawn to attend majalis for the sake of their love for Imam Hussain (as).At no other time do people spend as much time & are willing to listen to lectures.The main purpose of Imam Hussain(as)s sacrifice was to take people out of ignorance as stated in concisely in Ziarat Arbaeen.It is our responsibility to continue to do our bit for this purpose.
It is human nature to prefer NOT to listen to things, where one is required to think & act contrary to oneself (nafs) & against the pleasures being enjoyed. People usually prefer not to have any responsibility cast on them, where action or change is demanded of them.
It is comfortable to listen to condemnation of others & confirmation/arguments of our beliefs being superior. Use of inappropriate language/terminology, in public, for certain personalities can only fuel further hatred & weaken Islam.Maintaining peace & unity between brothers in Islam ,is also important in many environments. Additionally many arguments used in majalis can easily be countered in logical discussions & hence are not very useful in serious debates. We must remember that in most cases, it is only our Actions /Akhlaq (morals) that will influence others & not the words/arguments as used in lectures.
This condemnation & arguments by itself ,does not lead to improvement in oneself or the society & instead may create a dangerous sense of superiority & complacency at the expense of gathering further knowledge on Islam.It is therefore required to change oneself AND the society for the better.i.e. to be more Islamic.
The number of people attending & extent of compliments received, may be higher ,if the Khatib condemns others & only narrates events /points in theatrical /poetic style without relating it to ones own actions /change areas. ..BUT he will then probably NOT help in promoting the CAUSE of the Ahlulbayt(as)
What about the ‘Message ‘of Ahlulbayt & our actions?
We are hopeful of our salvation through the Ahlulbayt (as) & Azadari by itself is extremely useful for us, in almost all its forms & an Ibadat without any doubt.The Majalis must contain praise for the Ahlulbayt/our aqaed & even the famous historical events/wars which depict their personality. This is especially required for our children who also need to be told.
However ,It is also very important that the Majalis includes the CAUSE and MESSAGE of Ahlulbayt (as). The Ahlulbayt gave everything to ensure Original Islam is spread & is followed.i.e. Allah’s Rules/ Shariat of wajib,haram,mustahab, makrooh acts get known & followed .The aim of all HIS Messengers & Ahlulbayt (as) was to make human beings know & submit completely to HIS will.
The logical consequence / proof of love of Ahlulbayt(as) is to be obedient to them & hence Obedient to Allah swt. Hence we need to be told what the Ahlulbayt said & how to be obedient & obtain the ‘Razaiat’ (Pleasure/Acceptance ) of Ahlulbayt (as) . This is very necessary so that we can live according to what Islam expects of us ,have an improved life here & be saved from the hardships of Barzaq.The majalis can therefore become more useful if this element is included & events/praise/condemnations are also related to ;what WE need to do i.e. to the listeners responsibility.
Ahlulbayt (as) have provided us with a treasure of knowledge which include Morals( Akhlaq) ,Home life improvement ,Avoidance of sin , Social awareness/Need to help others ,Current world muslim affairs etc etc & these topics also need to get dealt with in addition to strengthening of Aqaed.
Majalis by itself for a few days is insufficient for change SO it is important to make the listener aware that he has to continue his knowledge acquisition beyond the Muharram majlis to books, cassettes ,CD’s ,internet etc which are so easily available now

Each country & environment is different & may need a separate mix of content but using SOME part of the majalis for conveying the message of Islam for self / social improvement should not get ignored. The Imam of our time will return soon inshallah & he will need pious people with awareness & Islamic knowledge .There is a heavy responsibility on reciters & sponsors of Majalis (who can influence khatibs) to ensure that the important role of using this miracle of Majalis is appropriately done. An element of this responsibility also falls on the listeners, when they praise/acknowledge/influence the type of lecture/majalis being recited

A Serious look at Majalis – Dhakirin and Amr bil Ma’aruf Wa Nahiy anil Munkar’
Al-Tawhid, A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture Vol. II, No. 1, Muharram 1405 Editoria l
The months of Muharram and Safar offer the yearly opportunity to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn `Ali (A), the grandson of the Prophet (S) and the third Imam of the Shiite Muslims, at Karbala’ on the tenth of Muharram in the year 61. The tragedy and heroism of the event, the resistance and self-sacrifice of the martyrs, are remembered during these days by the Shi`ah and the Ahl al-Sunnah alike, and by the Shi`ah with a special ardour, fervour and enthusiasm. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the ardour and enthusiasm inspired by the martyrs of Karbala’ is something unsurpassed in the history of religions. No individual or group in the history of the world has attracted such sustained admiration and love in the hearts of their followers as the martyrs of Karbala’ and in particular the figure of Husayn ibn `Ali (A), an admiration which has not dwindled in the course of more than thirteen and a half centuries that have elapsed since that event.
Mourning ceremonies are held by Muslims throughout Muharram and Safar, and in gatherings which are called `majalis’ (sing. majlis) elegies are recited and sermons are delivered from the minbar, the Islamic pulpit, in which the sufferings undergone by Imam al-Husayn, the members of his household and his companions are narrated. For the Shi’ah sect, the majlis and the sermons delivered therein are the primary source of religious education for the children, the illiterate and even educated adults.

However, with the general decline and deterioration in the Muslim Ummah, of which the Shi’ah community is a part, the great educative potential of the majlis has slowly eroded, to the extent that not only the great educative purpose that lies behind mourning for Imam al-Husayn has been forgotten, the majalis has become a platform for intensification of sectarian animosities and propagation of misconceived beliefs that conflict with the spirit of the Islamic faith. With the general decline of the Islamic culture there has been a parallel deterioration in the educative level of the sermons that are delivered from the minbar. The spreading ignorance and inertia of the majlis audience has laid diminishing demands on the learning and capacity of the religious speaker, called `dhakir’ in India and Pakistan and rawdeh khan in Iranand Iraq. The lamentable ignorance of the masses and the deplorable negligence or absence of the sense of duty on the part of many dhakirs have converted most majalis into mere sources of nourish­ment of sectarian conceits and delusions. Shi’ism, which implies a voluntary and aware choice to shoulder greater responsibility as member of the Ummah and devoted obedience to the wajib al-‘ita’ah (i.e. those whose obedience is obligatory) Imams of the Household of the Prophet (A), its meaning has gradually degenerated into a mere emotional attachment for the Ahl al‑Bayt (A), devoid of any sense of ethical or social responsibility for the present day condition of Islam and Muslims. We, the self-declared Shi’ah of Husayn ibn `Ali (A), should pause and meditate at the answer given by him to a man who proclaimed to the Imam, “O son of the Prophet, I am one of your Shi’ah.” Husayn ibn `Ali (A) said to him:
Fear God, and do not make such a claim that God, the Almighty, should say to you, “You lied insolently by making this claim.” Indeed our Shi’ah is one whose heart is free from every kind of deception, adulteration, hatred, malice, and corruption. If you are not such then say, “I am one of your admirers and supporters.”
The Qur’an repeatedly calls its audience to meditate about its verses and to draw instruction from them,
What, do they not meditate in the Quran? …. (4:82)
What do they not meditate in the Quran? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts? (47:24)
A Book We have sent down to thee, blessed, that men of understanding may ponder its verses and so remember. (38:29)
Whereas the Holy Book calls the believers to emulate the Prophet (S) as the sublimest model of humanhood, You have a good example in God’s Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the

Last Day, and remembers God oft. (33:21)
the dhakir struggles to project the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A) as supernatural beings to be admired and extolled, not to be imitated and obeyed. He strives to drive home the point that the Qur’an is understandable only for God or the Holy Prophet (S) or the Imams (A), a book of sacred and abstruse meanings opaque to human understand­ing, a book so holy that it is impertinent even to try to understand it.
The Qur’an and hadith lay great emphasis on the duty of al-‘amr bil ma’ruf wa al-nahy `an al-munkar, and it is recognized as one of the most important duties of Muslims in general and the `ulama’ in particular.
Unfortunately this duty is discreetly shunned by the dhakir who is averse to disturb the complacence of his audience and to venture to guide them at the cost of his own popularity. The strategy of con­nivance, though full of perils in the Hereafter, yields immediate returns. The strategy of reducing (seemingly, elevating) the wajib al-ita’ah Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), obedience to whom is obligatory, into holy inimitable metaphysical figure-heads to be admired and implored in supplications for worldly benefits, may serve to attract applausing crowds but does no service to the religion of God and does no justice to the great teachers of mankind, which the Ahl al‑Bayt (A) in fact were. In some cases the attitude goes further than mere connivance, where the dhakir tries to soothe and appease bad religious conscience by proving on his own authority that absence of obedience to the commands of the religion of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) will not hurt the believer as long as he remains their passionate admirer, as if such a thing were possible. When such disastrous attitudes are consciously cultivated among the people, when the mourning assemblies which were original­ly instituted to propagate the message of Imam al-Husayn are held without paying any attention to al-‘amr bil ma`ruf wa al-nahy`an al-munkar and to the sublime goals of Imam al-Husayn and the sacred purposes behind his resistance against the regime of Yazid, it is not strange that those goals should gradually lose their relevance in the Muslim society, and the ahkam should become unimportant for the Muslim masses.

The following sermon of al Husayn ibn ‘Ali (A) delivered during Mu’awiyah’s reign at the time of Hajj in a gathering of eminent personalities of the period, not only shows the kind of issues that should be discussed during Hajj, but also is a good guideline for sermons which are delivered in majalis during Muharram and Safar:
O people! Take a lesson from God’s warning to His friends through His censure on the rabbis, when He says: Why do the bishops and rabbis not forbid them to utter sin, [and consume the unlawful? Evil is the thing they are doing.] (5:63)

And when He says: Cursed were the unbelievers of the Children of Israel by the tongue. of David, and of Jesus, Mary’s son; that for their rebelling and their transgression. They forbade not one another any dishonour that they committed; surely evil were the things that they did. (5:78-79)

God has reproved them because they beheld the open vices and corruption of the oppressors, but did not forbid them from that on account of attachment to their favours and fear of what periled them. Whereas God says: …So fear not men, but fear me …. (5:44)

And He says: And the believers, the men and the women, are friends of one another; they bid to honour and forbid dishonour (i.e. perform the duty of al- amr bil ma’ruf wd al-nahy `an al-munkar), they perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and they obey God and His Messenger. They-upon them God shall have mercy; God is Almighty, All wise. (9:71)

God mentions the duty of al-amr bil ma’ruf wa al-nahy `an al-munkar before all other duties, because He knows that if it is performed and established in the society all other duties, the easy and the difficult, are also established. That is why al-amr bil ma’ruf wa al-nahy`an al-munkar signifies invitation to Islam together with resistance against injustice, opposition to the oppressor, [proper] division of the public funds and booty, collection of alms and their correct distribution.

Then you, O company of men well-known for your learning! You, who have a good name and are known [among the people] for your goodwill. God has given you honour with the people. The illustrious venerate you and the weak respect you. You. are preferred by him over whom you have no merit and over whom you have no power. The deprived seek your intercession in need, and you walk on the road with the majesty of kings and princes. Is it not that you have such honour and dignity because people place their hopes in you to stand for the establishment of Divine duties? If you fail to discharge most of those duties, then you have scorned the duties of leaders. You have forfeited the rights of the weak, though you have obtained your own claims. Neither you had to sacrifice your wealth nor endanger your lives for the sake of Him Who created you. Nevertheless, you desire that God should put you in the Paradise in the neighbourhood of His apostles, and you hope to be safe from His chastisement. Indeed I am afraid that you who harbour such hopes from God shall have to taste His vengeance. Because God had honoured you and raised you in station above others, for there are many servants of God who are not held in such high esteem as God has granted you among the people. God’s covenants are broken before your very eyes, yet you are not dismayed, although you are alarmed if some of your ancestral compacts are endangered; as if the compact of the Messenger of Allah (S) were some insignificant and paltry thing! The blind, the dumb and the handicapped in towns are without protection and mercy, but you neither act as demanded by your high station nor care and have regard for one who attends to them. You have made your own life safe and secure by getting along with the oppressors and showing lenience and connivance in regard to their injustices, which God had com­manded you to oppose and forbid. Indeed if you understand, the calamity that has befallen you is greater than the one which afflicts the people; because you have failed to safeguard the responsibility of the learned. Since the implementation of the laws and running of the affairs lie with the men of Divine knowledge, who are custodians of His [laws regarding the] haram and halal. But you have been wrested of this status. And it was not taken away from you except for your departure from righteousness, and on account of your disagreement regarding the Sunnah, after that it had been made clear and evident to you.

Had you the endurance to put up with adversities and hardships for the sake of God, the affairs of God would have returned into your hands and your lost authority would have turned to you again. But you allowed the oppressors to take your place and handed over the affairs of God into their hands, that they may act dubiously and indulge in their lusts. They got their authority because of your running away from death [which is inevitable] and due to your love of life, which shall [anyhow] depart from you. In this fashion, you submitted the weak into their hands, to be enslaved and exploited, permitting them to run the affairs of the country according to their whims, and to make ignominy their way of life through their [unchecked] desires, following the perverse and disobeying the Almighty. They have appointed a loud-voiced orator for every pulpit in every town, and the country lies open and unprotected at their mercy. Their hands are free to do whatever they like, and the defenseless people are at the disposal of their mercy. Among them are merciless tyrants who oppress the weak, and men of authority who know neither the creation nor the Day of Resurrection. It is surprising and why shouldn’t I be surprised when the country is in the hands of a faithless tyrant and the ruler of the believers is one who has no mercy for them. Indeed God is a judge between us in our disputes and contentions.

My God, You Know that whatever I have said is not for the sake of rivalry for power, nor for the sake of futile vanities of the world, but because we desire establishment of the landmarks of Thy religion, reform in Thy lands, security of Thy oppressed creatures, and the practice of Thy com­mands and the duties laid down by Thee.
And you, [O company of the elect of the Ummah] , assist us and do us due justice. The oppressors have power over you and they act to extinguish the light of your Prophet (S). And God suffices us, and in Him we put our trust. Towards Him do we turn, and towards Him all things shall return.
The present situation in the Muslim world is no better than the conditions that prevailed during the later decades of the life of Husayn ibn `Ali (A). All way-marks of the Islamic culture have been washed away in the deluge of modern paganism. The greater part of the Muslim world is under direct or indirect domination of non-Muslims. The sad signs described in a prediction of Imam `Ali (A) have already come true:
A time will come when nothing will remain of the Qur’an except its script, and nothing of Islam except its name. The mosques in those days will be flourishing with regard to architecture, but desolate with regard to guidance. Those staying in them and those visiting them will be the worst of all on the earth. From them mischief will spring up and towards them all wrong will turn. If anyone isolates himself from it (mischief) they will fling him back towards it, and if anyone hesitates, they will push him towards it . ..

In such conditions how can any discourse about the great struggle of al-Husayn ibn `Ali (A) be unaccompanied with a discussion of the lamentable condition of the Muslim Ummah? Is it not the height of callousness and even hypocrisy to pass by in silence the aims and ideals for which he took a stand against the regime of Yazid and sacrificed everything? Is it not the very extreme of injustice to deprive the Muslim children and adults of the great potential of the majalis which are held in the memory of Imam al-Husayn (A)? Is it right not to use the great devotion of the Muslim masses to the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and their great enthusiasm and zeal during the months of Muharram and Safar-a time when the hearts are softened by the stupendous tragedy of Karbala’ to receive the teachings of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives with Imam al-Husayn to inform and educate our children and adults about the ahkam of the Shari’ah and the akhlaq of the Ahl al-Bayt (A)? The Shiites have admired `Ali and his sons (A), their leaders and guides, for centuries, and wept over accounts of their sufferings. Is it not time that we should start following them in deed, in all walks of our life? After all they are our Imams, our leaders and our teachers, who underwent those sufferings and hardships in order to instruct us and guide us on the Straight Path of Allah? Should we not question our sincerity if we persist in our refusal to be benefited by their efforts to improve our lot, to purify our souls and to guide our intellects?

The majlis should inform and instruct. It should inspire and enlighten. Like al‑Husayn ibn ‘Ali (A), his dhakir, who occupies the minbar of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), should aim at resurrecting the spirit of Islam and the message of the Qur’dn. The majlis should instruct the people in the usul and the ahkam of the Shari’ah and the akhlaq of the Imams (A). If the majalis of Imam al-Husayn (A) do not help our youths and adults to understand Islam profoundly, who else can stop them from falling into the clutches of deviate philosophical schools and from being swept away by the tide of the pagan Western culture? Would it not be more beneficial to discuss the great merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) as ideal human beings and ideal teachers of mankind, instead of discussing them as metaphysical entities to be revered but not to be obeyed, to be glorified but not to be emulated, to be invoked for assistance in worldly needs and affairs and to be ignored in vital matters of our duties, obligations, and responsibilities as Muslims?

Only when our majalis become classes. for dissemination of the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) which lie buried in hadith texts, only when our majalis become platforms of Muslim unity instead of being instruments of division and disunity, only when our majalis and manabir become the seats of the duty of al-amr bil ma`ru f wa al-nahy `an al-munkar, only when the Qur’an is made again the book of our life and the light of our majalis, only then can it be said that our majalis and manabir are doing justice to Imam al-Husayn (A) and to the people whom the majalis were originally instituted to nourish spiritually, morally, and intellectually.

Tehran Muharram, 1405

Methods to be followed by the Mubaligh –
By His Name, The Most High

On the advent of the blessed holy month of Ramadhan for the Hijri year of 1428, Imam Ali Foundation held its annual meeting for Mubaligheen and Juma Imams on Sunday 26 Sha’ban 1428 (9/9/2007). The meeting aimed to address Tabligh issues and new methods to be followed by the Mubaligh in order to encourage and attract people to adhere to their religious obligations, worshiping throughout this month, by reciting the holy Quran and supplications – like the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) who spent their days and nights during this holy month worshiping and supplicating [The Almighty].

Over 150 Alim and Mubaligh attended the meeting. They emphasised on the significance of the holy month of Ramadhan and how to benefit and enjoy its spiritual atmosphere through special supplications – as recited by the Masoomeen (a.s.)

Everyone present stressed the need to increase people’s awareness that terrorism and killing of innocent souls, attacking lives and livelihoods, be they personal or public, terrifying people gratuitously is deplored by all heavenly religions. God and his Messenger (s.a.w.w.) deplore such acts that are against the true teachings of Islam, the religion of love, charity and elevated manners, forbearance and equilibrium.

The representative of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Seestani (long may he live), the scholar Sayyid Murtadha Kashmiri also articulated the qualities of the Alim and Mubaligh. The most important of these are; avoiding all that is against Islamic law no matter how trivial, piety, steadfastness, social awareness and other elevated manners, thus cultivating peoples’ trust and loyalty to the Alim. He also stressed the need for unity among the Alims themselves and to continue their consultations through individual meetings or other forms of communications in order to enhance their success.

He concluded the meeting by conveying the recommendations made by the office of the supreme Mardja’ Imam Seestani (long may he live) in Najaf – urging the Mubaligheen and the eulogists to take note and adhere to them – as follows:

1- Reduce the lectures on the teachings of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to accommodate what people can take; as the saying goes: speak to people according to their aptitude.
2- Diffuse the wonderful words of the Imams (a.s.) that will endear them to the people and refrain from stating what has been purported and has no effect.
3- Avoid relating tales and other baseless stories that insult peoples’ intelligence and refrain from saying that which is not credible.
4- Allocate part of the program to disseminate Shari’a rulings on everyday matters either to do with worship or transactions.
5- Educate people and increase their social awareness by including historical and factual stories that will be a lesson for them now and in future.



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