Thar Allah

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Thār Allāh (Arabic: ثارالله) is a title of Imam al-Husayn (a). There are different interpretations of this term. A well-known interpretation is that God will revenge for Husayn's (a) blood. According to hadiths, God calls all people to avenge for Imam al-Husayn's (a) blood. Finally, guardians of his blood will avenge for him.

Literal Meaning

"Thar" literally means blood, revenge, murderer, and enemy. Its verb form means to kill a murderer in order to avenge the victim.

Al-Jawhari takes "thar" in the phrase, "Ya tharat fulan", to mean the murderer (that is, O the murderers of such and such a person). Most of the lexicographers have cited his view.

The best-known use of such a phrase is "Ya tharat 'Uthman" which has occurred both in hadiths and in Hassan b. Thabit's poems. Ibn Athir has pointed to two meanings of this phrase:

  • "Thar" might mean murderer ("O murderers of 'Uthman"); thus the murderers of 'Uthman are addressed in order to be threatened.
  • The original form of the phrase is "Ya ahla tharat 'Uthman" where "ahl" is omitted, and "thar" means avenge ("O the avengers of 'Uthman"). Thus, avengers of 'Uthman are addressed in this phrase.

Al-Zamakhshari has construed these two meanings as cases of using an infinitive as a subject or an object noun. He has also appealed to the phrase, "Ya la-tharat al-Husayn", and interpreted it as "O the bloods of Husayn, this is the time of avenging you". The term, "ya la-tharat" might be a shortened form of "Ya Al Tharat" (O family of the bloods).

In Hadiths

In Shiite hadiths and texts, "Thar Allah" is a title of Imam al-Husayn (a). In some ziyarahs of Imam al-Husayn (a), including Ziyarah Ashura and Ziyarah al-Warith, it appears in phrases such as "Al-salam 'Alayk ya Thar Allah wa ibn Tharih" (Peace be upon you, O "Thar" [blood] of God and the son of His "Thar"). A prominent Shiite poet, ibn Rumi(d. 283/896-97) used the phrase in a long poem he composed for the elegies of Yahya b. 'Umar, a great grandson of Imam al-Husayn (a) who was martyred in 250/864-65 at the command of the government of that period.

In some hadiths from Shiite Imams (a) concerning the manners of ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a) in which the phrase "Thar Allah" is used, the meaning of the phrase is explained. According to these hadiths, Imam al-Husayn (a) is "Thar Allah on Earth", and God is the avenger of his blood who calls everyone to avenge for him. Finally, guardians of Imam al-Husayn's (a) blood will avenge for him. As these hadiths imply, Imam al-Husayn (a) himself will avenge for his own and his family's blood from his enemies after raj'a. Moreover, according to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the verse 33 of Sura al-Isra', "and if anyone is killed unjustly, we have given his heir authority", is about Imam al-Husayn (a), and his heir is Imam al-Mahdi (a) who will start an uprising to avenge his blood. Also, according to other hadiths, when the angels were saddened by the Event of Karbala, God gave them the good news that Imam al-Mahdi (a) will avenge for Imam al-Husayn (a).

According to Lexicographers and Scholars of Hadiths

In general, scholars of hadiths and lexicographers have mentioned 5 meanings for "Thar Allah":

  • "Thar" is an infinitive (avenging), and the word "ahl" (people who have the right) before "Thar" is elliptical. Thus, "Thar Allah" means: a person for whom God will avenge.
  • "Thar" is an object noun, that is, a person who is killed and has avengers. Thus, "Thar Allah" means: someone whose avenger is God.
  • "Thar" means blood. Thus, "Thar Allah" (God's blood) is used metaphorically similar to phrases such as "'Ayn Allah" (God's eye) and "Yad Allah" (God's hand).
  • "Thar" is a distorted form of "Tha'ir", meaning: a person who avenges for the sake of God.
  • "Thar" means an avenged blood. Thus, "Thar Allah" means a blood whose guardian or avenger is God.

Mirza Abu l-Fadl al-Tihrani has examined these 5 meanings. He rejected the first meaning because of its commitment to ellipticity and being contrary to the apparent meaning of the phrase. He took the second meaning to be improbable because it was not mentioned by lexicographers. He also rejected the third meaning because "Thar" does not mean blood simpliciter; it should refer to a blood which is to be avenged. With respect to the fourth meaning, he maintains that it is not plausible to claim that the phrase has been distorted, because there are accurate copies of such supplications. Moreover, "Thar" is used as meaning "Tha'ir", thus it does not need to be taken as a distorted form thereof. Therefore, he takes the fifth view to be the most accurate.

'Ali Akbar b. Muhammad Amin al-Lari wrote an essay for the exposition of the hadith of "Ya Thar Allah wa bna Tharih" and discussed some issues about "Thar Allah". He has also elaborated some arguments for the infallibility of Ahl al-Bayt (a).

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from ثارالله in Farsi Wikishia.