The following sayings are related to the pious Imam, the Prophet’s grandson, the martyr Abu Abdillah Al-Hussain bin Ali (peace be upon them).

Imam Al-Hussain’s sermon
Regarding enjoining good and forbidding evil(1)

O people, take lessons from the matters that God has cited as warnings for His disciples when he dispraised the rabbis in His saying:

Why did the men of God and rabbis not forbid them from following their sinful words and their consuming of unlawful gains?(2)

The unbelievers among the Israelites, because of their disobedience and transgression, were condemned by David and Jesus, the son of Mary, for their disobedience; they were transgressors. They did not prevent each other from committing sins nor would they themselves stay away from them. Evil was what they had done!(3)

God dishonored them because they did not forbid the wrongdoers from doing evil and committing sins while they were among them, for they had desired for gaining more gifts from the wrongdoers and they had feared
them. God says:

Do not be afraid of people but have fear of Me.(4)

The believers, both male and female, are each other’s guardians. They try to make others do good and prevent them from committing sins.(5)

(1) This sermon is also related to Amirul Muminin (peace be upon him).
(2) The Holy Quran, Sura of Al-Ma’ida (5) Verse (63)
(3) The Holy Quran, Sura of Al-Ma’ida (5) Verses (78-9)
(4) The Holy Quran, Sura of Al-Ma’ida (5) Verse (44)
(5) The Holy Quran, Sura of At-Tawba (9) Verse (71)

God has begun with enjoining good and forbidding evil because He has known that if these two matters are carried out thoroughly, all the other obligatory duties, including the easy and the difficult, will be carried out thoroughly. This is because enjoining good and forbidding evil is advocacy to Islam, restoration of the grievances, opposition of the wrongdoer, (just) allotment of the booty and the spoils, and taking the alms to put them in their proper places. You are the company that are famous for knowledge, mentioned in goodness, renowned with advice, and respected by people through God. The masters stand in awe of you, the weak honor you, and those whom you have not done favors and who do not need you prefer you to others. You intercede for settling people’s needs when they are deprived. You walk in the ways withgravity of kings and dignity of celebrities. You have attained all these just because you are expected to fulfill the rights of God; yet, you omitted most of His rights when you disregarded the rights of the Imams, threw away the rights of the weak, and sought only your claimed rights. You have not spent any wealth, risked your souls for their Creator, or opposed your clan for sake of God. You are looking forward to gaining Paradise, the neighborhood of God’s apostles, and the salvation from His punishment. I anticipate you, who hope God, will suffer a form of God’s retribution because you, through the favors of God, have attained such a rank by which you are preferred to other. You are respected among people by means of God. However, you notice that the traditions of God are omitted, but you do not move for it, while you may move when any of your fathers’ traditions is violated. The traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) are broken. The blind, the deaf, and the chronically ill are left without help in the cities. You neither behave mercifully nor do you use your positions. You do not aid those who assume such deeds and you achieve your safety from the wrongdoers (or the unjust rulers) by means of flattery and cajolery. God has warned you against all these conducts but you are negligent while you will be responsible more than the others because you enjoy the positions of scholars. Had you only felt of so! Moreover, the courses of affairs and rulings are under the control of the scholars who are the keepers of the legal and the illegal affairs of God. This standing is surely seized from you just because you have gone in different direction away from the right and disagreed about the Sunna after the clear exposition of the evidences. If you tolerated the harm and bore the burdens for God’s sake, all the affairs of God would arrive at your hands, emanate from you, and devolve upon you. But you have made the unjust rulers occupy your positions and handed over the affairs of God to them. They are acting suspiciously and pursuing their passions. Your escape from death and adherence to this life, which will sooner or later leave you, gave them a free hand on doing so. Thus, you forsook the weak ones some of whom were enslaved compulsorily and others were suffering under the control of the straits of livelihood. The unjust rulers therefore are rolling in royalty with their own opinions and disgracing others by their own passions as they follow the examples of the evil and dare the All-omnipotent (God). In every country, they are assigning an eloquent orator on the pulpits of God. Lands are vacant for them as their hands are prevailing everythingand people are taken as their slaves because they lack the power to defend themselves. They are either a transgressing tyrant or a domineering, coarse to the weak, and obeyed who does not acknowledge the Initiator the Recreator. How strange this is! I should astonish at such affairs when the lands are prevailed by tyrannical cheaters, wrongful bribers, or unmerciful governors. God is the judge in our question of disputation and His judgment will pass over our controversy.

O Allah, You know that it was not a matter of conflict for power or request
of the worldly wreckage (that made me say so), but it was just for showing
the signs of Your religion and spreading betterment on Your lands so that
the wronged servants will be secured and Your ordinances, traditions, and
laws will be acted.

Because you had not supported or treated us fairly, the wrongdoers
overcame you and wrought towards extinguishing the illumination of your
Prophet (peace be upon him and his family). God is sufficient protector for
us. Upon Him we depend, to Him we refer, and to Him will be our return.(1)

(1) As a commentary on this sermon, Mr. Ghaffari says that the sermon seems to be addressed at certain celebrated individuals who burdened the responsibility of the Islamic umma. It also seems that the sermon was said in Mina, not Medina, after Muawiya’s death.

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