Ziarat al Warith

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Ziarat al Warith is one of the most well-known ziarat-texts for pilgrimage to Imam al-Hussain's holy shrine. Reciting this ziarat is a part of rituals Imam al-Sadiq taught Safwan al-Jammal for pilgrimage of Imam al-Hussain. According to some sources, it is recommended to recite this text during Eid al-Adha, and the day and night of Arafa. However, according to narrations it may be practiced any time with the intention of pilgrimage of Imam al-Hussain.

Different Aspects of Ziarat Warith[edit | edit source]

Loyalty[edit | edit source]

Three aspects of loyalty are portrayed in this supplication

1- Salutation: that is “Peace be on you, O heir to Adam, God’s chosen one.”

2- Testimony: that is “I bear witness that you are the pious and devout Imam”

3- Stand: that is “My heart is in submission to your heart and my actions follow yours".

First Aspect: Salutation

This is the first manifestation of loyalty which has three parts:

First: Peace be on you, O heir to Adam, God’s chosen one!

Second: Peace be on you, O son of Muhammad, the chosen one!

Third: Peace be on you, O God’s avenger, the son of God’s avenger!

Among the elements of loyalty are salutation and submission i.e, not disputing and differing with the leadership, both in the mind and in behaviour. Submission means practical obedience and compliance. However, this obedience stems from internal harmony and love for the leader and not from coercion. The relationship of the community with its leaders is that of firmly rooted submission that is visible in behaviour.

This relationship is exhibited at the end of the formal prayer in the form of salutation: “Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be on you, O Prophet.” The fruit reaped by the servant when he soars toward God in prayer is obedience and love for the [God-appointed] leaders. Islam has prescribed the word ‘peace’ as the faithfuls’ salutation for one another. This general greeting: ‘Peace be on us and on God’s righteous servants’ is the closing part on which the worshippers finish their prayers.

Second Aspect: Testimony

Testimony is a declaration of trust, faith and loyalty, and such a testimony must be coupled with submission so that they complement one another.

In this supplication, testimony appears in three parts:

1. Testifying to the message and movement of Hussain: “I bear witness that you established the prayer, paid the zakat, enjoined what is good and forbade the bad and obeyed God and His messenger till you died”

To establish the prayer is not just to perform it, because the latter is only a personal duty stemming from individual obligation, whereas the former carries a message in the life of the believers. Establishing the prayer means to firmly establish worship and the relationship with God in people’s lives. It also involves urging the people to keep up prayer for God’s sake by openly declaring this obligation that has been enjoined on them.

“You enjoined the good and forbade the bad”: When Hussain revolted against Yazid he was not after kingship, power or position, rather, he sought to establish good deeds and uproot evil i.e. establish loyalty to God and destroy taghut.

On the day of Ashura, Hussain addressed the people saying: “Do you not see that truth is not acted upon and falsehood is not being forbidden? Let the believer desire to meet God. [As for me] I consider death to be nothing but a source of bliss and living with oppressors only a vexation.”[1]

At the station of Al-Baydah, Hussain addressed al-Hurr’s companions in these words: “O you people! The Messenger of God has said: Whoever watches an unjust ruler who violates what God declares sacrosanct, breaks His covenant, contradicts the tradition of the Messenger of God and rules the people in a way characterized by sin and transgression, and, does not oppose him by word or deed, God has the right to make him share his doom. Certainly, these people [Yazid and co.] have sworn obedience to Satan, leaving aside obedience to the Merciful; they have engaged in corruption openly and suspended the legal punishments; they have monopolized the treasury and they have permitted what God prohibited and disallowed what He permitted.”[2]

Thus Hussain was not after power and wealth, but he saw that a despot was spreading corruption in the land, wreaking havoc, making permissible what God forbade and transgressing His limits. So, he rose up against Yazid in Karbala, with his faithful group which welcomed his call for bidding the good, forbidding the bad, reinstituting what is right, and extirpating what is wrong.

2. Testifying to the fact that the Imam was immaculate both internally and in his behaviour. God has exclusively endowed the Ahl al-Bayt with this purity. The Most High says: "Indeed God desires to repel all impurity from you, O people of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification."[3]

In addition, testifying that this virtuousness was passed on from father to son and God Most High destined this purity to be preserved within this noble line throughout the eras of ignorance that came to pass in human history Over the different ages God Most High has chosen this blessed line for the office of Imamate in the life of man. "Indeed God chose Adam and Noah, and the progeny of Abraham and the progeny of Imran above all nations. Some of them are descendants of others, and God is All-hearing, All-knowing."[4]

In Ziarat al-Warith, we read: “I bear witness that you were a light in noble loins and pure wombs. The era of ignorance did not soil you by its impurities nor did it clothe you in its garments of darkness.”

3- Testifying to the position which was taken by Hussain with regard to what the nation was experiencing; the leadership role assigned to him by God in the form of Imamate and guardianship over the Muslims; and the fact that God had commissioned him to guide the community. Coupled with this, was the position of his offspring in leading and guiding the Muslims towards God Almighty.

We also read in it: “I bear witness that you are among the pillars of religion and the pivots of believers. I bear witness that you are the pious, the obedient, the chaste, the guided and the guide. I bear witness that the Imams from your offspring are the epitome of piety, the milestones of guidance, the stronghold and proof over the people of the world.”

Third Aspect: Stand

This is the stage for asserting loyalty, which comes after submission and testimony. Here stand pertains to both faith and action. Faith is eloquently described through these words: “I believe in you and in your return, I have firm faith in the rules of my religion, and my heart is submissive to your hearts”, in the supplication of Ziarat al-Warith. The practical part of this stand consists in deference and obedience to them: “And my actions follow yours.”

A compelling indication of the sincerity of one’s stand is one’s submission to the Imams with respect to the rules of religion and the final deeds of one’s life.

The best proof of having trust in the Imams and being sincerely loyal to them is for one to receive from them the rules of religion and take inspiration from them for what one does at the end of one’s life. That unrestricted submission as described above is of the highest type because it is untainted by the least resistance or misgiving in the heart, that is the submission of the heart to the heart: “and my heart is in submission to your hearts.” This is when the hearts get into contact and mutual understanding.

Similarly, one’s stand as regards to action is described thus: “And my actions follow your actions.” This represents complete obedience and submission to the commands of God.

Therefore, the stand means complete faith, unrestricted submission and absolute trust, followed by total commitment and obedience with regard to action. In a special Ziara of Imam Hussain on the day of Arafat, the following section occurs: “I am at peace with the one who is at peace with you, at war with the one who is at war with you, hostile to the one who is hostile to you and friend to the one who is friend to you. [In this way shall I remain] till the day of Resurrection.”

In the special Ziarat al-Arba’een prayer, we read:

“I bear witness that I believe in you and your return, I have firm faith in the rules of my religion and will have till the final call of death, my heart is submissive to your hearts, my actions follow your actions and my support for you is ready till the time God grants permission [for action]. So I am fully on your side and not on the side of your enemy. God’s blessings be on you, both your souls and bodies, on the present and the absent ones among you”.

This is a declaration of total readiness for support, after which comes this beautiful rendition of loyalty: “With you! With you! with your enemy, never!” By repeating togetherness: ‘With you, with you’, the covenant of loyalty is emphasized just as it is through affirming and negating i.e. expressing loyalty to the Imams and repudiating their enemies: ‘With your enemy, never!’

Similarly, the supplication on the first of Rajab conveys this expression of loyalty to the one who stood up in Karbala on the day of Ashura inviting mankind to God, to strive against the forces that were rebellious towards Him and break their arrogance and direct them to serve God alone. It reads: “At your service, O inviter towards God! If my body did not respond to you when you sought help [on the day of Ashura] or my tongue when you called for support, surely my heart responds to you”.

The Groups That Are Cursed in Ziyarat Al-Warith[edit | edit source]

In this supplication three groups of people have been cursed and repudiated:

“May God curse the people who killed you. May God curse the people who oppressed you. May God curse the people who hear about this and are pleased with it.”

The first group consists of those who were directly responsible for killing Hussain: “May God curse a people who saddled and bridled [their animals],and prepared and traveled in order to kill you, O my master, O Abu Abdullah!”[5]

The second group comprises all those who oppressed Hussain and acted unjustly toward him, who facilitated the tragedy, supported and paid allegiance to his enemy and openly opposed him. This group includes all those who made preparations to fight Hussain or facilitated it, abandoned him, supported his adversaries, contributed in their equipment, assisted the tyrant in fighting him, and all the followers of these people.

Different wordings of repudiation and curse on this group are found in both general and special prayers on visiting (ziarat) Imam Hussain’s tomb in Karbala. In the specific Ziarat-e-Ashura we read: “May God curse the people who killed you. May God curse those who prepared the ground for them by facilitating the means for fighting you; I turn to God and to you and repudiate them and their adherents and followers.”

In the general Ziyarat-e-Ashura also we have: “I turn to God and His messenger in repudiation of those who laid down the foundations for injustice and oppression against you and the people of the Household, built their unjust system on it and continued on the path of their injustice and oppression against you and your adherents. I denounce them, taking recourse to God and to you.”

In the second special Ziyarat-e-Ashura which is narrated in Al-Mazar al-Qadim, we read: “May God curse the people who laid down the foundations of injustice against you, prepared the ground for oppressing, molesting and harming you, and perpetrated the same in your houses and among your adherents. I turn to God the Mighty and Sublime and to you, and repudiate them and their adherents and followers.”

This group was large, for it included all those who contributed in fighting Hussain or facilitated the war against him, prepared for it, pledged allegiance to the tyrant for fighting him, mobilized and assisted in any other way in the campaign along with their adherents and followers.

The third group consisted of those that heard about the tragedy and approved of it. This group included those who heard Hussain’s call for help but did not help him, choosing their well-being instead of supporting the Lord of the Martyrs in the battle of Al-Taff. They are those who abandoned him on the day of Ashura.

Their failure to join Hussain and support him, and their preference for this world over the next concealed their approval of Yazid’s actions, otherwise, such glaring negligence and opting for personal peace invariably leads to an approval of injustice. In other texts this group is described as having betrayed Abu Abdillah Hussain and preferred their well-being to supporting him. In the second general ziara we read:

“May God’s curse be on the people who killed you, the people who opposed you, the people who denied your leadership, the people who supported your enemies, and the people who witnessed this but did not martyr themselves [in your defence].” The relevant part of this ziara is ‘and the people who witnessed this but did not martyr themselves.”

In the seventh general ziara, this passage appears: “I bear witness that your killers are in the fire. It is part of my duty to God to profess the repudiation of those who killed you, those who fought you, those who rallied support against you, those who mobilized people against you and those who heard your voice but did not help you.” The relevant part is ‘and those who heard your voice but did not help you.’

The following passage appears in the ziara of the Night of Qadr (destiny) and the nights before the two festivals [of the 1st of Shawwal and the l0th of Dhu al-Hijjah: “I bear witness that those who opposed and fought you, those who abandoned you and those who killed you are cursed on the tongue of the Unlettered Prophet.”

It is obvious from this text that the three accursed groups are: the group which fought Hussain, the group which helped and supported the first, the group which forsook Hussain and neither answered his call nor helped him. Indeed, the battle of Al-Taff was a real one that had ideological, political and cultural dimensions and as such, it required real stances in terms of loyalty and repudiation, both before and now. It does not accept a position of reluctance and indifference today just as it rejected that in the past; it deems such an attitude to be no better than the hostile stand.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Abu Nu’aym’s Hilyat al-Awliya 2: 39.
  2. Tarikh al-Tabari, 6: 229.
  3. Qur’an Ch: 33, Vs: 33.
  4. Qur’an Ch: 3, Vs: 33- 34.
  5. It is taken from the general Ziyarat al-Warith and the special Ziyarat Ashura with slight differences.

Sources[edit | edit source]