Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.
In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent
All praise is to God, Lord of the worlds, and peace and salutations upon Muhammad (pbuh&hp) and his purified progeny (p)
To the believers - brothers and sisters:
The holy month of Muharram is upon us, and it is a time in which the legacy of sacrifice and redemption for the sake of belief is enlivened. It emphasizes the symbols of the highest degree of devotion, and represents what it means to give for the sake of divine principles and the loftiest human values. Moreover, the greatness of this sacred month is elevated because it commemorates the [unparalleled] sacrifice of the infallible Imam, who is the proof (hujjah) of God, the fifth of the hallowed ashab al-kissa (people under the blanket), who are known to all Muslims and whose remembrance is perfumed in the Quranic verse of tatheer (purification), the verse of imprecation (mubahila), the verse of mawadah (love for the prophetic household), the verse of dahr (time) and others, and about whom the Messenger said, “Hussain is from me, and I am from Hussain”. Therefore, the great days of Ashura are a time for performing many types of worship and religious acts to seek closeness to God Almighty:
1. Embody the ethos of Imamate, which is an extension of the [divine] position of the prophethood, and declare fealty to the Ahl al-Bayt (p), whose way we have been commanded to adhere to; as has been narrated from the Messenger (pbuh&hp), “my [holy] household is like Noah’s ark, whoever rode upon it is saved, and whoever abandoned it is drowned.”
2. Ashura is a revival of the order of the Prophet, as has been narrated on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq (p), “[Continuously] revive and uphold our legacy for God is merciful with those who do so. On that day when all other hearts will die, the hearts of those who sit in a gathering where our legacy is being revived and upheld will never die.” This act is fulfilled by decrying and mourning their misfortunes and lauding their great virtues and spiritual stature, which [for each of them] reflects [in every way] the life of the greatest Prophet, who himself showed distress and grief over al-Hussain before his death. Furthermore, it involves following the sunnah of the Ahl al-Bayt, who established gatherings of mourning and grief for what happened to Hussain and the people of his household on the day of Ashura.
3. Learn and seek enlightenment from the light of the sciences (i.e., knowledge) of the Ahl al-Bayt, and benefit from the depth of their heritage and the breadth of their generosity. As it was reported by Saad al-Iskaf who said, “I said to Abu Jaffer - meaning Imam al-Baqir (p) - should I sit and recite and mention your rights and your merits?” He said, “Would it be that for every thirty cubits there was a marker like you.” Moreover, our master Imam al-Sadiq (p) once said to Fudhayl ibn Yasser, “Are you gathering and conversing?” So, Fudhayl answered, “yes”, so he then said, “these gatherings are loved, so revive our legacy, because God has mercy on those who revive our legacy.” Also, Imam al-Ridha (p) said to Abd al-Salam al-Harawi, “may God have mercy on a servant who revives our legacy”, Abd al-Salam said, “how does one revive your legacy?” Imam answered, “they learn our sciences and teach them to the people, because if people knew the merits of our words, they would follow us." This is in addition to other texts that emphasize the need to benefit from the heritage of the Ahl al-Bayt and integrate into their school of (i.e., way) thought, belief, values and ethics.
4. Raise Muslim generations so they are attached to the holy household of the Prophet and unwavering in this devotion. They should participate in the gatherings of their remembrance and the occasions of their joys and sorrows, and insist on being steadfast on their principles and values. They should strive to connect young and old, men and women, with the bright constellations that are the heroes of Karbala, each of whom had a prominent role in advancing society and humankind to the elevated positions of spiritual and moral perfection.
5. The blessings of the Hussaini pulpit are particularly magnificent in these days during which the whole world is experiencing the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the preachers of the Hussaini pulpit persist in connecting the communities of believers with their Lord in these circumstances, particularly given there is no way to surmount the current challenges (i.e., via scientific or technological interventions) and ward off the imminent danger except by trusting in God. The recourse is to follow the spiritual paths and the [divine] plans that connect man with the spiritual world, and remind us that the material world with all its manifestations of tyranny and human pride is incapable of overcoming the divine might and the heavenly power in every part of existence. Whereas the importance of the gatherings of remembrance during Ashura is underscored and the threat they pose to the many tyrants and their dark methods to subjugate people and destroy the noble values in their souls, and their efforts to exert any means by which the march of mankind to deny base desires and evil whims is distorted. Many of Ashura’s enemies continue to attempt to discredit this great occasion, or they put obstacles in front of its memorial. They deploy agents or certain ignorant people to falsely discredit these great gatherings and deny their intellectual and spiritual content, and reduce them to mere triviality or the enactment of some strange acts with the aim of belittling the importance of this memory and making it look like any other ordinary event, which are fleeting and have no bearing on the march of human society towards perfection.
Therefore, it is necessary for every person who possesses awareness and the ability to reform, and for every Muslim who cherishes the sanctity of the Prophet and the people of the household of the Prophet, and who is capable of exerting effort to revive this great legacy, which encompasses the history of the prophets, the achievements of the righteous reformers and the heroes of humanity, to uphold this hallowed practice and continue to follow their bright path.
We ask God to grant us success to achieve what He loves and is pleased with; indeed, He is All-Hearing and All-Responding.
Peace be upon al-Hussain, Ali bin al-Hussain, the children of al-Hussain, and the companions of al-Hussain