Supplication of 'Arafa by Imam al-Husayn (a)
Ziyarah 'Ashura • al-Warith • Amin Allah • al-Jami'a al-Kabira • Al Yasin
Takbir • Tahmid • Tahlil • Tasbih • Tasbih of Lady Fatima (a) • Salawat • al-Yunusiyya • Istighfar
Mafatih al-jinan • al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya • Misbah al-mutihajjid • Iqbal al-a'mal • Miftah al-falah
|Days and Months|
Laylat al-Qadr • 15th Sha'ban • 'Arafa • Ramadan • Rajab • Dhu l-Hijja
The supplication of 'Arafa by Imam al-Husayn (a) (Arabic: دعاء الإمام الحسين يوم عرفة) is one of Shi'a supplications which was composed and recited by Imam al-Husayn (a) on the Day of 'Arafa in the desert of 'Arafat. The du'a is usually recited by Shi'a on the same day. This supplication contains some of the highest theological and spiritual teachings. Considering its valuable content, Shi'a scholars and narrators deem the supplication as being reported from Imam al-Husayn (a); however, there is a disagreement among scholars regarding its ending part and some have attributed that part to some Sufi figures. Because of its importance and significant position among Shi'a, some scholars have written translations and expositions for it.
The supplication of 'Arafa by Imam al-Husayn (a) is the most important Shi'a supplication that is recited on the Day of 'Arafa. This supplication contains some of the highest theological and spiritual teachings and it was first recited by Imam al-Husayn (a) along his companions on the Day of 'Arafa, in the desert of 'Arafat out of their tents. Bishr and Bashir, two sons of Ghalib al-Asadi, have narrated that: during the last hours of 'Arafa, we were with Imam al-Husayn (a). Among a group of his family members, relatives and his Shi'a, the Imam (a) came out of the tent, and with the utmost humility and obeisance, he stood on the left side of the mountain, turned his face toward the direction of Ka'ba, raised his hands toward the sky in front of his face and started this supplication. In the report of al-Kaf'ami, the supplication ends with this sentence:
- "There is no god but You, You alone; there is no partner for You, to You is the kingdom and to You is all praise, and you have power over all things. O my Lord! O my Lord! O my Lord!"
- "O my God, I am needy despite my wealth, how can I not be needy when I am needy...; and it ends with this phrase: You are the watcher (over all things) and the Present (at all times). Verily you have power over all things. All praise be to Allah alone."
In some Islamic countries like: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan this supplication is recited in groups. Sometimes, especially during Hajj period and in the desert of 'Arafat, thousands of people recite this supplication together.
Al-Kaf'ami in al-Balad al-amin and al-Sayyid b. Tawus in Misbah al-za'ir have narrated this supplication. After them, it's been reported by al-Majlisi in Bihar al-anwar and Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi in Mafatih al-jinan. Regarding the two narrators of this supplication, that is: Bishr and Bashir, Ayatollah Khoei writes: these two brothers are the sons of Ghalib al-Asadi al-Kufi. Bishr was a companion to both Imam al-Husayn (a) and Imam al-Sajjad (a) but Bashir has only narrated from Imam al-Husayn (a). Some respected Muhaddiths (experts in the science of Hadith) are not sure about the chain of narration for this supplication; however, according to the well-known principle: "the implication of its content is enough" sometimes the implication and content of a given narration is so much great and in accordance with the principles, that it does not need any explicit mention of a particular chain of narration. It is self-evident that the type of teachings in this supplication, which is rich in Islamic spirituality and wisdom, cannot be said by anyone other than great prophets or Infallible Imams (a).
Authenticity of the Final Part
Since the final part of the supplication has only been narrated by al-Sayyid b. Tawus in his book: Iqbal al-a'mal, and he himself does not mention this part in his other book: Misbah al-za'ir -neither do al-Kaf'ami and al-'Allama al-Majlisi; al-Majlisi doubts its authenticity as being actually narrated from Imam al-Husayn (a). He suggests that it might have been added later by some Sufi figures, either it was added in early manuscripts and the author of Iqbal, al-Sayyid b. Tawus, relied on those manuscripts thus presumed the whole as being original, or that al-Sayyid b. Tawus had only narrated the original supplication –without the final part- but it was added later in the manuscripts of Iqbal; of these two possibilities, the latter seems more likely.
Husayni Tihrani, the author of: Ruh-i mujarrad (the immaterial spirit) and Jalal al-Din Humayi attribute this part to Ibn 'Ata' Allah Iskandarani, the famous mystic in the 7th/15th century, and believe this very part exists in the old manuscript of the book: al-Hukm al-'Ata'iyya. Also, Ayatollah Shubayri Zanjani does not regard this part as being narrated from Imam al-Husayn (a).
Relying on its content and meaning, Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli doubts the non-infallible (Sufi) origin of the final part, and believes that in analyzing the chain of narration for reports, what counts is the certainty about the origin of the report as being from an Infallible Imam, that is, a researcher in the science of Hadith must reach the level of certainty that one particular report has been narrated to us from an Infallible Imam. Sometimes such certainty is acquired by analyzing the honesty, originality and reliability of the narrator, sometimes by analyzing the quality of the content and its richness, and sometimes by considering other textual or contextual indications. Hence, analyzing the chain of narration for any Hadith is important because it is a way to acquire such certainty; technically speaking, it is the way, not the goal.
The supplication of 'Arafa by Imam al-Husayn (a) comprises of different teachings, some of the most important main topics include:
- Knowing God and counting divine attributes, reestablishing the covenant with God. Knowing the Prophets and renewing the spiritual relation with them. Remembering the Day of Judgment and expressing the beliefs in heart.
- Reflecting on and remembering limitless bounties given by God to human beings and thanking and praising God for them.
- Expressing humility and confessing to the sins, making repentance and return from them, asking for forgiveness and a move toward acquiring praised virtues and good deeds.
- Making different requests which starts by sending salutation to Prophet Muhammad (s) and his pure progeny (a) and then asking for forgiveness, the light of guidance, mercy, blessings, abundant Rizq, reward in hereafter and...
Translations and Expositions
Because of its spiritual and rich content, the supplication of 'Arafa by Imam al-Husayn (a) has always been at the center of scholars' attention. There are different books and treatises on its translation and exposition. Some of these works are as follows:
- Mudhhir al-ghara'ib, by Sayyid Khalaf b. 'Abd al-Muttalib. The author is a contemporary of Shaykh Baha'i; he has written this exposition following the demand of his friend in the desert of 'Arafat, on the day of 'Arafa.
- Commentary on supplication of 'Arafa by: Shaykh Muhammad Ali b. Shaykh Abi Talib Zahidi.
- Hidayat al-mustabsirin dar sharh-i do'a-i 'Arafa, written by: Mirza Ahmad b. Sultan Ali Sadr al-'Afadil.
- Commentary on supplication of 'Arafa by Sayyid Majid b. Ibrahim Husayni Kashani.
- The translation of supplication of 'Arafa by Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Sha'rani.
- Niyayish-i Husayn (a) dar 'Arafat, by Ayatollah Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani.
- Niyayish-i Husayn (a) dar sahra-i 'Arafat, by 'Allama Muhammad Taqi Ja'fari.
- The commentary on Imam al-Husayn's supplication of 'Arafa, by Muhammad Baqir Mudarris Bustanabad.
- Qummi, Mafatih al-jinan, p.363
- Al-Khoei, Mu'jam, vol.3 p.320,330
- Ja'fari, Niyayish-i Imam Husayn (a), p.29
- Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.95 p.227
- Husayni Tihrani, Allah shinasi, vol.1 p.272; Humayi, Muwlawi nama, vol.2 p.18
- Shubayri Zanjani, Jur'a-yi az darya, vol.3 p.256
- Miqat-i hajj, num.42, p.184
- Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol.13 p.258
- The material for this article is mainly taken from (دعای عرفه امام حسین (ع in Farsi Wikishia.
- Husayni Tihrani, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn. Allah shinasi. Intisharat-i 'Allama Tabataba'i, 1418 AH.
- Humayi, Muwlawi nama
- Ja'fari, Muhammad Taqi. Niyayish-i Imam Husayn (a). Nashr-i Kiramat, 1378 Sh.
- Khoei, Abu l-Qasim al-. Mu'jam rijal al-hadith.Beirut: Dar al-Zahra li-l-Tiba'a wa l-Nashr, 1409 AH.
- Miqat i hajj mag. No. 42.
- Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir al-. Bihar al-anwar. Beirut: Dar Ihya' Turath al-'Arabi, 1403 AH.
- Qummi, 'Abbas. Mafatih al-jinan
- Shubayri Zanjani, Sayyid Musa. Jur'ii az darya. Qom: Mu'assisa Kitabshinasi Shi'a, 1393sh
- Tihrani, Aqa Buzurg. Al-Dhari'a.