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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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