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Every Day is not Ashura, Every Land is not Karbala

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28-January-2017

here is a famous slogan among Shīʿahs that states “every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala.” The statement is said to have been uttered by Imām Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (as). However, this is incorrect. The statement is not a hadith and Imām al-Ṣādiq (as) never said such a thing. In fact, we have no […]

here is a famous slogan among Shīʿahs that states “every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala.” The statement is said to have been uttered by Imām Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (as). However, this is incorrect. The statement is not a hadith and Imām al-Ṣādiq (as) never said such a thing. In fact, we have no credible evidence that an Imam or Prophet ever made such a statement. The message itself also runs contrary to what the existing ḥadīths say in our source-texts.

In one tradition, Imām al-Ḥasan (as) is reported to have said the following to Imām al-Ḥusayn (as) regarding the future tragedy of Ashura:

“There is no day like your day O Abā ʿAbdillāh” (lā yawma kayawmak ya Abāʿabdillāh).

Source:

  • Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Ibn Bābūyah (al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq), al-ʾAmālī (al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq) (Tehran: Kitābchī, 1376 H.Sh/[1997-1998]), 116.
  • Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Shahr-Āshūb al-Māzandarānī, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, 4 vols. (Qum: ʿAllāmah, 1379/[1959-1960]), IV, 82.

In another tradition, Imām Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn (as) is reported to have said the following about the calamity of Ashura/Karbala:

“This is a calamity like no [other] calamity” (hadhihi al-razīyah allatī lā mithlahā razīyah)

Source:

  • Muḥammad b. Nūr Allāh al-Baḥrānī al-Iṣfahānī, ʿAwālim al-ʿUlūm, 10 vols., ed. Muḥammad Bāqir Muwaḥḥid Abṭaḥī (Qum: Muʿassasat al-Imām al-Mahdī, 1413/[1992-1993]), XVII, 447.
  • Muḥammad Bāqir b. Muḥammad Taqī al-Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār al-Jāmiʿah li-durar Akhbār al-Aʾimmah al-Aṭhār, 110 vols., ed. by a committee of researchers (Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1403/1982), XLV, 148.

The Twelver Shīʿī source-texts underline the uniqueness of the tragedy of Ashura/Karbala. If the calamity was unique in history, it makes sense that the actors and the dynamics between them were also unique. As Imam al-Ḥusayn (as) was unique in history, so was Yazīd (la) himself in so far as not every tyrant was like Yazīd.

For our discussion on why Ashura was so unique and why not every tyrant is like Yazid, please follow our next article on the topic.

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One Comment

  1. project humanbeingsfirst.org October 6, 2017 at 6:18 am - Reply

    You failed to understand the idea behind that slogan, whether or not Imam actually said it. Hadith texts are full of fabrication and their signal to noise ratio is poor. Nevertheless, the point behind this slogan is valid, pertinent, and perennial. It is also a point preached unrelentlessly by all the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt. While what you say is also true that Imam Hussein and Karbala are unique and unsurpassed events in recorded history of mankind. Please see this Open Letter to acquire some ma’arifat into that matter of the categorical imperative birth-panged at Karbala and you will easily perceieve the truth of that statement qullo yomin ashura qullo ardin karbala —- whether or not that statement is an actual hadith. It is the summation of the teaching of Prophet of Islam and exemplified by his Ahlul Bayt. It is not only the summation but also the introduction of Islam —- which begins with “la” NO. What is that a No to — if not to false gods in every time. What is a false god? The god that make one silent, make one a coward, make one unable to stand up against tyranny, self interest, cowardice, and the banality of evil which transform us into apathetic bystanders. All lessons of Karbala, and all pertinent to every age and every era —- oppose the yazids of our time and support the husseins of our time! That does not mean that the tyrant of our time is “Yazid”, but being yazid is a character. In the same way the mazlooms of out time are not “Hussein”, but share that characteristic with Imam Hussein’s categorical imperative. This is why Imam Hussein stated in his decision to not give oath of fealty to Yazid by stating: la missliyoula illa missleh (perhaps I have got that slightly wrong), but in translation it means a man like me does not give bayet to a man like you. That is a categorical imperative for all times. And that is the meaning behind that saying. Here is my open letter which you can feel free to publish:

    https://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2017/09/categorical-imperative-and-karbala.html

    Best wishes
    zahir ebrahim
    project humanbeingsfirst.org

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