Mourning of Shi'a Imams for Imam al-Husayn (a)

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Did the Infallible hold mourning sessions for Imam al-Husayn (a)?

Shi'a historical and narrative sources have mentioned the Imams' mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a). On various occasions, they mourned al-Imam Husayn (a). In the month of Muharram, however, mourning sessions were held daily, and some Imams, like Imam al-Sajjad (a), wore black during this time.

Imam al-Sajjad (a):

“Prophet Ya'qub had twelve sons, God took one of them away from him, his eyes became white and blind for excessive weeping, ... but I saw with my own two eyes that my father, my brother and ... all were killed next to me. How can my sorrow end?!”

Mourning of Imam al-Sajjad (a) See also: Crying blood over Imam al-Husayn (a) by Imam al-Sajjad

Imam al-Sajjad (a) was present in Karbala when his father Imam al-Husayn (a) was martyred. According to the sources, he mourned his father and cried over the martyrs of Karbala, during the rest of his life. Imam al-Sadiq (a) said about Imam al-Sajjad (a) that he cried for his father for forty years. He would fast and when the time of Iftar came and they brought him food, he would say “The son of the Messenger of God was martyred hungry, the son of the Messenger of God was martyred thirsty,” he would repeat these words and weep.

Mourning of Imam al-Baqir (a)

In his book Kamil al-ziyarat, Ibn Qulawayh narrates that Imam Baqir (a) ordered his companions to mourn Imam Husayn (a) on the day of ‘Ashura, and held mourning sessions in his house and ...

Mourning of Imam al-Sadiq (a)

There are many hadiths reporting that Imam al-Sadiq (a) used to ask poets to write an elegy for his great-grandfather and encouraged them to do so. Women in Imam's house used to listen to poets' elegies from behind the curtain and cry. In one of these hadiths, it is narrated that Imam al-Sadiq (a) told a person to recite a poem for him. When he started to recite the poem, Imam said “I did not mean this kind of poetry; rather, I want you to read to me some of the poems you recite at the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a).” That person recited a poem about Imam al-Huseyn (a). After seeing the Imam's crying, however, he did not continue the poem. At this time Imam told him to continue his recitation.

Mourning of Imam al-Kazem (a)

It has been narrated from Imam al-Rida (a), “whenever Muharram arrived, my father was never seen laughing or smiling, and he was like this for the first ten days of Muharram until the tenth day, the day of ‘Ashura, arrived. This day was his day of mourning, sorrow and crying. He used to say, ‘'Ashura is the day when my grandfather, Husayn (a), was martyred.'”

Mourning of Imam al-Rida (a)

Di'bil al-Khuza'i has narrated, “at the beginning of Muharram, I went to Imam al-Rida (a). He was sorrowful while his companions were sitting around him. When he saw me, he said, ‘well-done Di'bil, well-done for the one who helps us with his hands and tongue. Then the Imam hung a curtain between his companions and his family and sat his family behind the curtain to cry over the tragedy of Imam al-Husayn (a). Then he told me to recite an elegy.”

Mourning of the Four Other Imams

Mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) from the time of Imam al-Javad (a) to Imam al-Mahdi (a) has sometimes had an upward and sometimes a downward trend. For example, during the time of Imam al-Javad (a), it was possible for Shi'a to hold mourning sessions for Imam al-Husayn (a). This situation continued until the time of the Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tasim. Afterward, however, it started to decline as there were difficulties for Shi'a to revive Husayni rituals by commemorating Imam al-Husayn (a) and mourning for him.


  • This article is mainly taken from "عزاداری امامان شیعه بر امام حسین(ع)" on Persian wikipasokh.