Speaking in the beginning of his advanced fiqh course on Wednesday in the Aʿẓam Mosque in Qum, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi offered important pieces of advice to the preachers on the eve of the month of Muharram. He emphasized the importance of using this opportunity for the promotion and dissemination of the teachings of the Ahl-al-bayt (ʿa).
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated the following in this regard:
“The commemoration of ʿĀshūrā and the mourning ceremonies held for Imam al-Ḥussayn (ʿa) have enormous positive implications for the entire Muslim world. One of such implications is that these ceremonies create a majestic image of the religion in the eyes of the people of the world”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi continued: “the ceremonies of the month of Muharram are a good opportunity for the preachers to strengthen the religious beliefs and convictions of people and to fulfill their religious duty in this regard”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then advised all preachers to try to make the most of the opportunity opened up in the month of Muharram for the promotion of the religion and asserted: “the foundations of the Islamic revolution in Iran was strengthened through the commemoration of ʿĀshūrā and the mourning ceremonies in Muharram. We still remember the great processions and rallies held on Tāsūʿā and ʿĀshūrā in Tehran and other cities during the revolution”.
Stating that the Islamic revolution in Iran triumphed by means of the commemoration ceremonies held for the event of ʿĀshūrā, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi further noted: “these years some groups of clergies are dispatched to various corners of the country with the least amount of financial support to promote for goodness and purity and to spread the teachings of the Ahl-al-bayt (ʿa) among the people”.
His eminence then mentioned the spread of kindness and affection among all people as the third positive implication of the ceremonies held to commemorate the event of ʿĀshūrā and stated: “all political parties and factions hold Imam al-Ḥussayn (ʿa) dear. Even many Sunni Muslims and non-Muslims take part in the mourning ceremonies held in the month of Muharram and this can be a unifying factor for the Muslim world”.
His eminence also added: “The enemies are trying to infiltrate these religious ceremonies in order to transform them into superstitious activities. One of the issues that they are counting on to help them achieve this goal is the issue of Tatbir”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said: “when the foreign based media intend to cover the mourning ceremonies in the month of Muharram, they first broadcast footage of Tatbir which causes a great deal of disgust and abhorrence in the people of the world”.
He further stated: “today the situation is such that the enemies utilize the issue of Tatbir to undermine the event of ʿĀshūrā. There are some other similar activities such as walking on fire and rolling on pieces of broken glass; these are all superstitious activities”.
His eminence then noted: “my dear brothers, you must all refrain from such actions because showing your love and affection towards Imam al-Ḥūssayn (ʿa) through such actions only undermines the true purpose of mourning for Imam al-Ḥūssayn (ʿa). We must all show our love and affection towards the ahl-al-bayt (ʿa) in a rational and logical way so as to prevent creating problems for the religion”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi also added: “The eulogists and preachers should also use the most authentic and reliable resources for the speeches and eulogies that they prepare for the mourning ceremonies in the month of Muharram. That is to say, issues which have no basis in fact and which are myths and superstitions must not be the basis of eulogies and speeches because such things tarnish the great sacrifice if Imam al-Ḥūssayn (ʿa) and they also overshadow the reality of the history of ʿĀshūrā” in a negative way”.
His eminence also expressed his deep sadness because of the fact that sometimes some superstitious and unfounded issues are being stated in the mourning ceremonies which would tarnish the image of the religion.
Emphasizing the necessity of cleansing the mourning ceremonies from anything that could tarnish the face of these important rituals, he stated: “we must not allow the enemies to deprive us of this important possession”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi further noted: “the issue of ʿĀshūrā and the mourning ceremonies held to commemorate is not something which belongs only to the past; what has enraged the enemies is that the memory and the teachings of ʿĀshūrā are renewed every year. The motto of “far from us is humiliation” which is a motto for fighting against the enemies still lives”.
Calling the events of Karbala a “historical current” which must always be a source of inspiration and a good example for the people, his eminence asserted: “the teachings of the event of Karbala which are taught to people in the mourning ceremonies of the month of Muharram directly oppose the illegitimate interests of the imperialists. This is why they have been operating at their full capacity to create deviations in these blessed ceremonies”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then added: “Recently, however, they have started their efforts to undermine the Quran. They have published a book which supposedly discusses the flaws of the Quran! They have filled the internet with free copies of this book and most of the foreign based media are also heavily propagating it”.
He continued: “when I read this book the first time I clearly realized that its author is an uninformed person who has a poor knowledge of the religion of Islam. This is why the issues which he has discussed in his book are all unfounded and his arguments are extremely weak”.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi further added: “those who see their illegitimate interests being threatened by Islam have now decided to cut the roots of the religion and they supposedly intend to undermine the Quran. However, the Holy Quran has its strong roots in Divine revelations and it can wipe out all doubts created about it”.
Emphasizing the fact that the duty of defending the Quran, the religion, and the event of ʿĀshūrā rests with the Islamic seminary schools and Shia scholars, his eminence noted: “the Islamic seminary schools must be alert and to fulfill their responsibility by reacting to the new issues that emerge every day in a proper way. I hope that the preachers can properly inform the people regarding the plots of the enemies and gather them all under the banner of Imam al-Ḥussayn (ʿa). I pray for all of the preachers, eulogists, and the financial supporters of these mourning ceremonies and also for all those who participate in them. I also hope that we can all carry out our responsibilities in this era”.