Azadari! Act of Love and its limitations

Azadari - An act of love

Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ

Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of my near of kin” [Chapter.42 Verse.22]

The act of Azadari is a practical implementation of this verse of the Holy Quran known as the verse of “Mawaddat”.

This verse of the Holy Quran orders every Muslim to love the Ahlul Bait (as). Hence the love of the AhlulBait (as) is obligatory.

As per the narrations of the Imam’s (as) there are no fixed ways of expressing ones love towards the AhlulBait (as) and hence any act (which does not go against the clear and specific laws of Islam) done with the intension of expressing love for the AhlulBait (as) is praised and accepted by the AhlulBait (as). Below we quote a couple of narrations of the Imam’s (as) to prove this.

First Narration:

قال أنس : كنت عند الحسين عليه السلام ، فدخلت عليه جارية فحيته بطاقة ريحان ، فقال لها : أنت حرة لوجه الله ، فقلت : تجيئك بطاقة ريحان لا خطر لها فتعتقها ؟ قال : كذا أدبنا الله ، قال الله " وإذا حييتم بتحية فحيوا بأحسن منها أوردوها " وكان أحسن منها عتقه

Anas bin Maalik narrates:

Once I was with Imam Husain (as) when a slave girl came and gave a bundle of flower to Imam Husain (as) as a gift. In return Imam Husain (as) said the slave girl, I have freed you in path of Allah (swt).

Anas then said to Imam Husain (as), “This slave girl gave you a bundle of flower which is of no value and in return you freed her?”

Imam Husain (as) said, “When a (courteous) greeting/gift is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things.” [Chapter.4 Verse.86] Hence the return for the bundle of flowers that she gave was this only that she be freed.

Second Narration:

عن تفسير العياشي، عن بريد بن معاوية العجلي قال: كنت عند أبي جعفر عليه السّلام إذ دخل عليه قادم من خراسان ماشيا، فأخرج رجليه و قد تغلّفتا، و قال: أما و اللّه ما جاء بي من حيث جئت إلاّ حبّكم أهل البيت، فقال أبو جعفر عليه السّلام «و اللّه لو أحبّنا حجر حشره اللّه معنا، و هل الدين إلاّ الحب؟ إن اللّه يقول:

قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ و قال: يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ و هل الدين إلاّ الحب؟

It is quoted in Tafseer Al-Ayashi from Bareed Ibn Muawiya Al-Ijli, he said:

"I was in the holy presence of Abu Ja’far (a.s.), while a slave came walking all the way from Khurasan, he took off his shoes and said, "I have not come from where I travelled, but for your love O! Ahlulbait (a.s.)."

Then Imam Abu Ja’far (a.s.) Said, "I swear by Allah (s.w.t.) that if a stone loves us, it will be raised with us, and what is divine religion besides love?

Surely Allah (s.w.t.) says: “Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you…. And he*a.s.) added:” They love those who migrates towards them, and what is the divine religion, besides love"

[Source: Tafseer Al Ayashi Vol. 1 Pg.167]
http://www.al-shia.org/html/ara/books/lib-hadis/behar27/a10.html 


The above 2 narrations clearly indicate that any action (which does not go against the clear and specific laws of Islam) that is done as an expression of love towards the AhlulBait (as) is considered good and acceptable in the eyes of the Imam’s (as) and hence will considered as acting upon the verse of Mawaddat “Say: No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of my near of kin” [Chapter.42 Verse.22]

This is also very clearly specified in the following narration of Imam Sadiq (as):

عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال : سمعته يقول : إنَّ البكاء والجزع مكروهٌ للعبد في كلِّ ما جزع ما خلا

 البكاء والجزع على الحسين بن عليّ عليهما السلام ، فإنّه فيه مأجورٌ

Abu Abdillah (Imam Sadiq (as)) said:

"Crying and JAZA* is Makruh for the slaves (of Allah) over any matter except crying and Jaza over Husain ibn Ali (as). Verily the one who cries and acts impatiently over Husain (as) will be rewarded."

[Source: Kamil Az Ziyarat Chapter. 32 Hadees:2]
http://www.rafed.net/books/doaa/kamil/k08.html#106

*JAZA - uneasiness, restlessness and acting impatiently. Some examples include wearing black clothes and hitting the chests or things over a tragedy. All acts of Azadari come under this category and hence considered Mustahab.

Here is another narration which talks about beating the cheeks for Imam Husain (as):


 وَ قَدْ شَقَقْنَ الْجُيُوبَ وَ لَطَمْنَ الْخُدُودَ الْفَاطِمِيَّاتُ عَلَى الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ ع وَ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ تُلْطَمُ الْخُدُودُ وَ تُشَقُّ الْجُيُوب

"The family of Fatima (peace be upon her) tore off their collars and slapped their cheeks upon Hussain son of Ali (peace be upon them), upon the likes of Hussain (as), cheeks must [certainly] be slapped and collars must be torn"

[Source: Al-Tahthib, Vol. 8, Pg. 325]


Even the acts which are originally part of culture of the people in a particular area/country will be considered as acceptable and valid and those who do it will be rewarded. This has been very clearly said by Imam Ali (as):

In the famous letter of Imam Ali (as) to Maalik al-Ashtar:

وَلاَ تَنْقُضْ سُنَّةً صَالِحَةً عَمِلَ بِهَا صُدُورُ هذِهِ الاْمَّةِ، وَاجْتَمَعتْ بِهَا الاْلْفَةُ، وَصَلَحَتْ عَلَيْهَا الرَّعِيَّةُ،لاَ تُحْدِثَنَّ سُنَّةً تَضُرُّ بِشَيء مِنْ مَاضِي تِلْكَ السُّنَنِ، فَيَكُونَ الاْجْرُ بِمَنْ سَنَّهَا، وَالْوِزْرُ عَلَيْكَ بِمَا نَقَضْتَ مِنْهَا. وَأَكْثِرْ مُدَارَسَةَ الَعُلَمَاءِ، وَمُنَافَثَةَ الْحُكَمَاءِ، فِي تَثْبِيتِ مَا صَلَحَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُ بِلاَدِكَ، وَإِقَامَةِ مَا اسْتَقَامَ بِهِ النَّاسُ قَبْلَكَ

"Do not discontinue the good practices which the earlier people of this community had acted upon, by virtue of which there was general unity and upon which the people agreed. Do not innovate any line of action which injures these earlier practices because (in that case) the reward for those who had established those practices will continue, but the burden for discontinuing them will be on you. Keep on increasing your conversations with the scholars and discussions with the wise to stabilize the prosperity of the areas under you, and to continue with that in which your predecessors had established."

[Source: Nahjul Balagha - Letter 53]


The same as above is stated by Imam Muhammad Baqir (as):

وبالاسناد الاول عن علي بن مهزيار، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: قال إسماعيل الجعفي: سمعت أبا جعفر محمد بن علي صلوات الله عليهما يقول: من سن سنة عدل فاتبع كان له مثل أجر من عمل بها من غير أن ينقص من أجورهم شئ، ومن سن سنة جور فاتبع كان عليه وزر من عمل بها من غير أن ينقص من أوزارهم شئ


Imam Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Ali, peace be upon them both said:

"Whoever sets a balanced, just tradition, which is then followed by the people, he earns the reward of everyone who acts accordingly, without they losing anything from their rewards. And whoever sets an unjust tradition, which is then followed, he shall bear the burden of those who act accordingly, without any mitigation in the burdens of the followers."

[Source: Al Amali - Sheikh Mufeed, 23th Assembly, Hadees no. 19]

To give an example here, Prophet Muhammad (saww) very clearly commanded us to build mosques and he himself built quite a few under his supervision. So this becomes a sufficient evidence for saying that building a mosque is "Mustahab", a good deed and any one who builds a mosque will be rewarded for the same.

But the mosques that we see today in our era are quite different from the mosques that the Prophet Muhammad (saww) built. The mosques that we build today are influenced by the culture/background/era we live in. For example the mosques in today's era have minarets which were never built by Prophet Muhammad (saww) but still even if someone contributes in building a minaret of a mosque he will be also be surely rewarded as per the reward of a person who builds a mosque.

It will be utterly false to say that building a mosque is a good deed but building the minarets of the mosque is not "Mustahab" because the Prophet Muhammad (saww) and the Imam's (as) never built any.

Similarly in Azadari of Imam Husain (as) it will be utterly incorrect to say that any act of Azadari (be it Qama Zani, Zanjeer Zani, etc etc) are not "Mustahab" because none of the Imam's (as) have done it.


Limitations in Azadari

Now let’s see what’s the extent to which one can go in expressing his love towards the AhlulBait (as). Following is what Quran says about the extent to which Prophet Yaqub (as) went in mourning for this son Prophet Yusuf (as):

وَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا أَسَفَىٰ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَابْيَضَّتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ

And he turned away from them, and said: “How great is my grief for Yusuf!” And his eyes became white with sorrow, and he fell into silent melancholy. [Chapter.12 Verse.84]

قَالُوا تَاللَّهِ تَفْتَأُ تَذْكُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّىٰ تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْهَالِكِينَ

They said: “By Allah! (Never) wilt thou cease to remember Yusuf until thou reach the last extremity of illness, or until thou die! [Chapter.12 Verse.84]

 

فَلَمَّا أَنْ جَاءَ الْبَشِيرُ أَلْقَاهُ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهِ فَارْتَدَّ بَصِيرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Then when the bearer of the good news came, He cast (the shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight. He said: “Did I not say to you, 'I know from Allah that which ye know not?” [Chapter.12 Verse.96]

From the above 2 verses we understand that Prophet Yaqub (as) wept for Prophet Yusuf (as) to such an extent that his eye sight was affected as it required a miracle in the form of the shirt of Prophet Yusuf (as) to cure it. Also the mourning of Prophet Yaqub (as) was such that his other sons got the impression that he would get himself extremely ill or killed because of mourning.
The above verse of the Holy Quran clearly defines the permissible extent for mourning.

In line with the above verse we have the following narration of Imam Ali (as) on hurting ones self:

اولئك اخوانی الذاهبون فحق لنا ان نظما الیهم و نعض الایدی علی فراقهم

"These are my comrades who have departed. We should be justified if we feel eager for them and bite our hands in their separation."

[Source: Nahjul Balagha Sermon 119 or 120 Or 121] (varies from one print to another)

Another narration on putting one's life in danger not for Imam Husain (as) but for the Ziyarah of Imam Husain (as):

Part of long narration from Imam Sadiq (as) teaching a Ziyarah of Imam Husain (as):

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وَليَّ اللهِ ، السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا أبا عَبْدِاللهِ ، أنْتَ لي جُنَّةٌ مِنَ الْعَذابِ ، وَهذا أوانُ أنْصِرافي عَنْكَ ؛ غَيرَ راغِبٍ عَنْكَ ، وَلا مُسْتَبْدِلٍ بِكَ سِواكَ ، وَلا مؤثِرٍ عَلَيْكَ غَيرَكَ ، وَلا زاهِدٍ في قُرْبِكَ ، جُدْتُ بِنَفْسي لِلْحَدَثانِ ، وَتَرَكْتُ الاُهْلَ وَالأوطانَ ، فَكُنْ لي يَومَ حاجَتي وَفَقْرِي ، وَفاقَتي ، يَومَ لا يُغْني عَنّي والِدي وَلا وَلَدي ، وَلا حَميمِي ولا قَرِيبي

"Salam upon You, O'Wali of Allah. Salam upon You, O'Aba Abdillah. You are my protection from the chastisement. This is the time for me to leave You although I am not abondoning you, And I am not replacing You with any one other than You. And I am not giving preference to somone else over you. And have not lost the desire to be near you.

I have put myself in danger and left my family and homeland. Therefore be there for me on the day of my need, poverty and indegence, the day when my parents, my children, my intimate friends, my companions and my relatives will not help me."

[Source: Kamil Al-Ziyarat, Chapter. 84, Hadees. 2]