Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.
In the Name of Allah The Compassionate Most Merciful
Prayers be upon the Mustafa Mohammed (s.a.w.w) and his immaculate household (a.s.).
On Thursday, 11 Dhul-Hijjah, 1439, we had the honour to visit the leading Marja’iya Sayyid Al-Sistani (long may he live). We requested him to give us, and the speakers of the Hussaini Minbar in general, some of his paternal recommendations on the occasion of the forthcoming holy month of Muharram. He kindly enlightened us with these words filled with spirituality, passion for the religion, and for the preservation of the status of the Hussaini Minbar in accomplishing its critical message. He (long may he live) elaborated on two points:
Regarding the role of the Hussaini Minbar, especially during the days of the holy month of Muharram, he (long may he live) said the message of the Minbar is summarized by mentioning the events that happened to the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) as well as propagation of religion and its consolidation in the hearts and minds of Muslims - by conveying Quranic knowledge and eliminating doubts with clear and convincing proof. In addition to educating believers on piety, virtues and ideal values. This is exactly the role Allah (s.w.t.) allocated for the messenger (s.a.w.w.), who was the first in Islam to ascend the Minbar. The holy Qur’an has explained his role to us. The Almighty the Exalted says: ((It is He Who has sent amongst the illiterate a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error)) Holy Qur’an 62:2. This verse indicates that the prophetic message – of which the Minbar is an active mean of its propagation – focuses on consolidating the religion by self-purification, cleansing it from the various levels of obscurity and mental and moral illnesses and presenting and instilling Qur’anic knowledge and wisdom in peoples’ hearts with words and action.
The sublime goal of the reformist movement of Sayyid al-Shuhada (a.s.) was, and is, to preserve and consolidate the religion in the face of the Umayyad approach, which was based on the destruction of the pillars of Islam and its values - evident from many historical references. Imam Hussain’s (a.s.) movement countered that dangerous approach, and his mission and sacrifice was for the highest goal; to preserve religion from demise and deviation. I believe that without the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (a.s.) in that magnificent way, at that difficult juncture, there would be no sign of Islam today. The Umayyad’s plan was sophisticated and close to reaching its goals. As the Hussaini Minbar is a continuation Hussain's day, its role and duty is centered around the religion and its consolidation, defence and its education.
The best way to preserve and consolidate the religion today is to confront the doubts raised around it and its authentic knowledge and moral values. However, several things should be considered:
The speaker dealing with dispelling doubts has to be well versed and armed with experience and abundant information on this subject, otherwise, by his response he could do more harm than good. The Minbar is one of the most important means available to dispel doubts about true belief. The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), in addition to addressing the knowledge and religious teachings, used the Minbar to dispel the doubts from the minds of some Muslims - due to their proximity to the Jahiliyah era - some of whom were influenced by ideas alien to the Islamic community. Thus, the importance of the role of the Hussaini Minbar because it is the extension and continuation of the message of The Mustafa (s.a.w.w.) and The Murtada (a.s.), requiring the speaker of the Minbar to be worthy, competent, eligible and knowledgeable.
Doubts are of two types; some are popular and widespread and some are limited in mention. It is appropriate, rather necessary, to deal directly with the common doubts among people to dispel them. It is unwise to review and explain to the public the doubts that are not widespread. The speaker should compile a sound religious speech which will dispel such doubts from peoples’ minds - without the need to mention and comment on them.
It is obvious there a speech for every occasion. So, the speaker must consider the intellectual and cultural level of the audience, either directly or by an intermediary so as not to present knowledge which is incompatible with the mental levels of the listeners. Attention should focus on shaping the doubts and explaining the answer in a comprehendible manner. It has been narrated from the holy prophet (s.a.w.w.) who said: "We, the prophets, are ordered to speak to people according to their levels of comprehension."
It is essential to make maximum use of the knowledge from the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) via reliable methods and sources. It has been reported from them (a.s.) that "if people knew the advantages of our words they would [surely] follow us." The advantages of their words include an integrated intellectual system as diverse as the holy Qur’an, containing thought provoking masterpieces of wisdom, virtues and ethics – dispelling doubts and enlightening the Muslim individual and making him confident of his faith and religion.
This is due to the fact that they (a.s.) are the second to the Qur’an in authority. This is manifest in the Hadith Al-Thaqlain and other narrations. Therefore, the Hussaini speaker should pay attention to this aspect in his speech, as well as paying attention to conveying the calamities of the Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) and what happened to them in the tragedy of Karbala, because this has a great impact on keeping this issue alive in peoples’ souls.
We ask Allah (s.w.t.) to grant the all speakers success to perform their roles in the best way and to support them in consolidating the religion and purify the souls of its followers – He is All Hearing and Answers Prayers.
Sayyid Monir Al-Khabaz