Weeping for al-Husayn (a)

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Weeping and mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a)

Weeping for Husayn (a) involves shedding tears in response to the injustices suffered by Imam al-Husayn (a), the third Imam of the Shia, and his companions. Hadiths passed down from Imams (s) of the Shi'a encourage the act of weeping for al-Husayn (a), emphasizing the potential rewards such as the forgiveness of sins and attaining entry into heaven. Additionally, certain hadiths assert that angels and past prophets (a) have also shed tears in sympathy for the tribulations faced by Imam al-Husayn (a).

Shia scholars maintain that the recommendation to weep for Imam al-Husayn (a) is rooted in the desire to perpetuate the principles of seeking freedom and resisting injustices. Furthermore, it is believed to serve the purpose of expressing one's deep love for Imam al-Husayn (a) and reaffirming allegiance to his ideals. These ideals encompass a commitment to martyrdom, with the conviction that such dedication contributes to the preservation and continuity of Islam.

In addition to mourning for the Imam (a) by weeping, Ahl al-Bayt (a) also recommended the practice of feigned weeping, citing divine rewards associated with this expression of grief.

Virtue of Weeping for al-Husayn

Weeping for al-Husayn (a) involves shedding tears over the injustices inflicted upon him, his companions, and the tragedies they endured during the Event of Karbala.[1] Numerous hadiths, transmitted from the Prophet (s) and his Household (a), emphasize the virtue of this practice.[2] These hadiths not only recommend weeping for the sufferings of Imam al-Husayn (a) but also promise various rewards for engaging in this act of grief.[3]

Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, a Shia scholar of hadith, records the account of Rayyan b. Shabib, who mentioned visiting Imam al-Rida (a) on the first day of Muharram. Reflecting on the tribulations faced by his great-grandfather, al-Husayn (a), the Imam (a) conveyed, "O son of Shabib! If you weep for al-Husayn, and tears fall on your cheeks, God will forgive the sins you have committed—be they minor or major, small or large."[4]

Imam al-Sadiq (a) is quoted as stating that 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) grieved over the tragedy of his father for twenty years, shedding tears whenever food was presented to him.[5] Some accounts even assert that not only humans, but angels, prophets (a), the Earth, the sky, and creatures of the land and sea were moved to tears in mourning for al-Husayn (a).[6]

Moreover, in the book Kamil al-ziyarat, Imam al-Sadiq (a) is quoted affirming that shedding tears for Imam al-Husayn (a) carries a divine reward, even if it were as small as the wing of a fly. It is emphasized that God does not bestow anything less than heaven for this expression of grief.[7]

It goes without saying that the prerequisite for attaining these significant rewards lies in possessing profound belief and understanding of Imam al-Husayn (a), his objectives,[8] and adhering to divine guidelines regarding what is permissible and prohibited.[9]

Reason for Recommendation of Weeping for Imam al-Husayn (a)

Morteza Motahhari, a Shia scholar, contends that the emphasis on weeping for Imam al-Husayn (a) serves the purpose of perpetuating his uprising, promoting the ideals of freedom-seeking, and resisting injustice. According to his perspective, the recommendation by Shiite Imams (a) has played a crucial role in fostering a dynamic revolutionary movement, transforming Imam al-Husayn's (a) name into a rallying cry for a revolution against injustice.[10]

Furthermore, the act of weeping for Imam al-Husayn (a) and the martyrs of Karbala serves as a reaffirmation of allegiance to Ashura and the culture of martyrdom, symbolizing a continuous nourishment from this profound school of thought. Additionally, such expressions of grief signify a deep emotional connection to Ahl al-Bayt (a) and represent a covenant of friendship and love for Imam al-Husayn (a).[11] Imam Khomeini maintained that the practice of weeping and mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) has been instrumental in preserving Islam.[12]

Inducing Tears and Feigned Weeping

Imams of the Shi'a (a) not only recommended personal weeping in mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) but also advised inducing tears in others and even feigned weeping, citing divine rewards for these actions. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq cites a hadith from Imam al-Rida (a) stating: "Whoever recalls our [Ahl al-Bayt's] tragedy, weeps, and causes others to weep, his eyes will not shed tears on a day [the Day of Resurrection] when all eyes are weeping."[13] Additionally, both Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a) were quoted asserting: "Whoever weeps in the mourning of Imam al-Husayn (a) or induces weeping in others, even if it is just one person, we guarantee paradise for him. Similarly, a person unable to weep genuinely but feigns weeping will also receive the same reward."[14]

As per Shaykh 'Abbas al-Qummi, a scholar from the fourteenth/twentieth century, feigned weeping in the context of mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) does not involve riya' (seeking the approval of anyone but God), as weeping for Imam al-Husayn (a) is considered an act of worship, and it is impermissible to engage in acts of worship with the intention of seeking approval from anyone other than God.[15] Feigned weeping, in this context, refers to adopting the outward expression of genuine mourners in order to join them in their grief, whereas riya' involves pretending to possess virtue for the sake of gaining approval from others.[16]

See Also


  1. Group of authors, Tārīkh-i qīyām wa maqtal-i jāmiʿ-i Sayyid al-Shuhadāʾ, vol. 2, p. 323.
  2. Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 130; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 44, p. 278.
  3. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 14, p. 501.
  4. Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 129-130.
  5. Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 4, p. 165.
  6. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 218, 220.
  7. Ibn Qūlawayh, Kāmil al-zīyārāt, p. 100, hadith, 3.
  8. "Salvation and going to heaven for a sinner by crying over Imam Hussain (a)" (Persian).
  9. Makārim Shīrāzī,Payām-i Imām Amīr al-Muʾminīn (a), vol. 14, p. 334.
  10. Muṭahharī, Majmūʿa-yi āthār, vol. 25, p. 338.
  11. Muḥaddithī, Farhang-i ʿĀshūrā, p. 382.
  12. Khomeinī, Ṣaḥīfa-yi Imām, vol. 8, p. 527, 529.
  13. Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 73.
  14. Ibn Nimā al-Ḥillī, Muthīr al-aḥzān, p. 14.
  15. Qummī, Muntahā l-āmāl, vol. 2, p. 1060.
  16. Qurashī, Qāmūs-i Qurʾān, vol. 3, p. 30.


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