al-Sha`aa’ir al-Husayniyyah bayn al-masru`iyyah wa al-ittihaam bi’al-bid`ah

Author: Ali al-Fatlawi
Reviewed by: Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani

Ali al-Fatlawi, al-Sha`aa’ir al-Husayniyyah bayn al-masru`iyyah wa al-ittihaam bi’al-bid`ah, Karbala: Imam al-Husayn’s Holy Shrine, 1438 AH/ 2017. 260 pp.

Imam Hussain's mourning against Islam

The book under review is a master degree thesis submitted to al-Mustafa International University, Qom. It deals with various aspects associated with commemorating the tragic martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn. Since the tragic martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn some doubts and controversies have been raised regarding various commemorative rituals that pertain to him and his martyred companions. The present book is an attempt to answer these doubts and controversies from the perspective of Islamic fiqh. The first chapter of the book provides extended definitions of such key terms as rites, rituals, heresy, slender, and fiqh. These definitions make a basis for the rest of the book and the discussions provided therein. Cross-religiously, the book discusses religious rituals as practiced in various Abrahamic religions, i.e., Judaism and Christianity, with concentration on the Levantine regions, and specifically Palestine. Though a short chapter, it pinpoints very noteworthy remarks on the two Abrahamic faiths highlighted therein.

The book also deals with the pre-Islamic rituals of commemorating the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn. Though seemingly strange and incredible to the non-Muslims, it is certain that major pre-Islamic prophets shed tears at receiving the news of the then forthcoming tragedy of Imam al-Husayn or while passing by the martyrdom location of Imam al-Husayn. This being so, in the Islamic world, the Ahl al-Bayt, i.e., the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, Hz. Fatimah al-Zahra, and Imam al-Hasan. It proceeds and mentions various periods of commemorating the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn in the Umayyad and Abbasid periods by the Infallible Imams and their followers and devotees.

Chapter Two of the book deals with the legitimacy of mourning Imam al-Husayn. It proves that commemorating the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn is an evident instance of the rituals devised and endorsed by Allah. The discussion proceeds to cite reasons based on authentic hadiths and the reasonings offered by leading Shii clerics and ulema.

Chapter Three deals with the accusations fabricated against commemorating the tragic martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn. These accusations center around the claim that the Husayni rituals are fabrications and heresies. Among these accusations, the case of cursing the opponents of Imam al-Husayn, including Yazid, are answered.

At the end of the volume, the author offers his recommendations to the readership and Islamic religio-cultural institutes for furthering such discussions in various groups of audience. It emphasizes translation of such related literature into various languages. The book lists over 165 sources in its bibliography.