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Ayatollah al-Sistani’s guidelines for preachers during Muharram‎

Ahead of the month of Muharram, Ayatollah al-Sistani has issued his recommendations ‎to Shi’ah preachers and speakers. ‎
RNA – Ahead of the mourning month of Muharram, the top Shi’ah source of emulation ‎Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani has issued his recommendations to Shi’ah ‎preachers and speakers. He urged them to refrain from making remarks that would ‎trigger sedition and disunity.‎

The office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani issued a statement on Sunday, ‎August 25, 2019 as the Shi’ah world is preparing for ten-day mourning ceremonies that ‎will start September 1 for 10 days onward.‎

A part of Ayatollah al-Sistani’s statement reads:‎

In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

We are ahead of the month of Muharram al-Haram and the martyrdom of Imam al-‎Husayn, his Ahl al-Bayt and companions, (a martyrdom) that is reminiscent of the ‎innocence of the Prophet Muhammad’s Ahl al-Bayt in his Ummah. Although they were ‎the chosen the grandchildren of Islam’s Prophet, his heirs and equivalent to the Holy ‎Quran, they were taken away from the positions, they were chosen for by God ‎Almighty and were isolated from the leadership of the Ummah. That was because they ‎did not capitulate to injustice and cruelty, wrongness and immorality and advised ‎‎[people] to justice, righteousness and goodness and that resulted in their massacre.‎

That martyrdom was the highest level of the sacrifices made by the Ahl al-Bayt in the ‎path of God, to raise the name of God and the rule of rationality, wisdom, justice, ‎goodness; the values that have been the cause of all messengers of God. As the Holy ‎Quran says: “Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear proofs and We (also) sent ‎down with them the Code (of shari’ah) – law and justice- and the Balance so that ‎people might conduct themselves with equity and justice.” [al-Hadid: 25]‎

This is the advice of our Imams when they asked the faithful to observe the mourning ‎events, remember, remind and get lessons from the atrocities carried out [against ‎Imam al-Husayn and his Ahl al-Bayt]. All the faithful Muslims in line with the advice of ‎our Imams, from the bottom of their hearts and in solidarity with the Ahl al-Bayt ‎should participate in these ceremonies. The good fate of the believers in this world and ‎hereafter lies in respecting these ceremonies. All Muslim believers must look at those ‎events with love, sorrow and humility as if it happened to their own family members ‎because the Prophet Muhammad and his Ahl al-Bayt are the dearest to God Almighty, ‎more than any other Muslim faithful or his family.‎

Certainly, preachers should narrate these difficulties (that occurred to Ahl al-Bayt) in ‎the month of Muharram to keep them alive, as the slogan and the sign of mourning ‎sessions. They are the beginning of mourning. These speeches would calm down the ‎hearts of the faithful people, increase their faith and encourage them to do good and ‎right that would be sent down to them by God Almighty.‎

The event of Karbala has turned into a reminder of God, zikr, evidence of the motion of ‎the religion (Islam) and protecting Islamic values and teachings in the hearts and minds ‎of the followers of Ahl al-Bayt and other Muslims. It is also an opportunity for Muslim ‎scholars (May God help them) to pay attention to their duty to invite people to God ‎Almighty and remind them of the position the Ahl al-Bayt have in the leadership of the ‎religion and Ummah. This is a respected tradition that should be protected and used to ‎obtain religious objectives and explain the position of Ahl al-Bayt.‎

Some points that preachers, scholars, eulogists and all people active in this arena ‎should pay attention to include:‎

Using the messages of the Holy Quran in their speeches, as God revealed; the Holy ‎Quran is the balance between righteousness and wrongness. God sent the Holy Quran ‎to people as a guide, light and insight. It is a blessed zikr and a wise reminder. The ‎attitudes and approaches of Ahl al-Bayt are all the same and taken from the Holy ‎Quran, their sacrifices were made on the advice of this Book and therefore the Holy ‎Quran should be the main point in mourning ceremonies and everything else comes ‎after it.‎

A speech must contain true principles, strong reasoning with passion and easy for the ‎ordinary listeners to understand the same as the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s tradition ‎that sits in people’s minds easily and eradicates any doubts. A preacher could use the ‎reasoning used by God Almighty in describing the universe and his creation, or use the ‎reasoning and proofs that show the Prophet Muhammad was telling the truth; as the ‎evidence to his mission is stated in the Holy Quran, and historic facts do support them. ‎

A preacher should remind people of the certainty of the Day of Resurrection when ‎everybody’s life will be thoroughly reviewed and justice will be done and each man will ‎receive the results of his evil or good deeds. Preachers could take their examples from ‎the Holy Quran, the Hadith of the Prophet and remarks by the Ahl al-Bayt and Imams. ‎The comments of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib that have been gathered in the book of Nahj ‎al-Balaghah as well as various pieces of supplication in al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah by ‎Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn, Zayn al-Abedin are the best examples that a preacher can read ‎to make people get familiar with them.‎

Preachers should explain divine and humane values that have been shown in in the ‎Prophet Muhammad’s call and the Ahl al-Bayt where the grandchildren of the Prophet ‎have been the imams and the leaders of the Ummah. They must remind people of the ‎values dear to the Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt such as justice, goodness, loyalty, ‎rationality, wisdom and morality as they sacrificed their lives in this path. Poets must ‎try to recite poems in admiration of the Prophet Muhammad, his Ahl al-Bayt and ‎encourage people to follow the path of the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt with passion ‎and use rational and noble causes.‎

Speakers must review and recite the advice of the Ahl al-Bayt to the faithful, which ‎mostly reiterate people to remain committed to their religious duties and learn the best ‎moral points even if needed from the followers of other religions or sects. As Imam ‎Ja’far al-Sadiq said: “Oh Shi’ahs! Be our ornament not shame and disdain, speak with ‎people well and beware of nonsense and foul speech.”‎

Preachers should refrain from making expressions that would trigger animosity and ‎disunity between Muslim sects. They should try to keep Muslims united and increase ‎friendly bonds among them. They should advise Muslims against saying anything that ‎would sow sedition with other Islamic sects, as they are followers of the same religion ‎by testifying to the uniqueness of God and the Prophet Muhammad as his messenger. ‎

Speakers should encourage their listeners to attend religious gathering of the followers ‎of other Islamic sects, participate in their funerals because it was the tradition of the ‎Prophet Muhammad and his descendants. Anyone who acts against this tradition ‎certainly has made a big mistake.‎

Speakers should remind people not to make expressions about religious matters that ‎they do not have information of and do not trust those who claim to be experts in ‎Islamic teachings. A preacher should be well informed of the topic he speaks about.‎

Speakers must have enough information about the current events in the world, what ‎happens in the region and do not speak about these topics if they do not anything ‎about them.‎

A speaker should pay attention to his own deeds and behaviors, if he wants people to ‎heed his advice. He should try to explain matters honestly without any hypocrisy ‎because this is the only way to affect the listeners.‎

Speakers and preachers should pay attention to what they say in mourning ceremonies ‎that are held specially in foreign countries and run these holy gathering in simple and ‎friendly manner. They have to try to keep God Almighty satisfied in their mission.‎

‎“Oh Lord! Accept (this service) from us. You, indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-‎Knowing.”‎

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