Hamasa-yi Husayni (book)
|Subject||The Event of Karbala|
Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī (Persian: حَماسه حُسینی) is a book consisting of Morteza Motahhari's lectures and notes regarding the Event of Karbala, and in particular, distorted accounts of this events. The book was first published in three volumes, but it was later published in two volumes. Hamasa-yi Husayni is translated into Arabic under al-Malhamat al-Husayniyya (Husayni epic), but the name of the translator is not known.
- Main article: Morteza Motahhari
Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari (1298 Sh/1920-1358 Sh/1979) was a Shiite jurist, philosopher, theologian, intellectual, and author in the 14th/20th century and a student of 'Allama Tabataba'i and Imam Khomeini. He was one of the most influential contemporary Iranian clerics in the interpretation of Islamic doctrines in accordance to today's demands. Prior to the Islamic Revolution, Motahhari's struggles against intellectual currents of Marxism in Iran had a remarkable role in encouraging the youths to turn away from such currents.
He was a founder of Husayniyya Irshad which was one of the most significant sites for the propagation of Islamic doctrines before the Islamic Revolution. Intellectual activities of Motahhari were characterized by his up-to-date accounts of Islamic and Shiite doctrines. Motahhari provided his audiences with convenient and up-to-date versions of Islamic doctrines, which used to be presented in complicated ways that were difficult to understand. His books regarding different religious issues have been published in Persian and a variety of other languages. Motahhari is considered as an influential figure and an intellectual leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
The book was first published in 1360 Sh/1981 by efforts of Muhammad Husayn Haqju as transcripts of the lectures of Motahhari under Faryad-hayi Shahid Motahhari bar tahrifat-i 'Ashura (Shahid Motahhari's cries on distortions of 'Ashura). It was later supplemented with a number of other lectures and notes by Motahhari regarding the uprising of Imam al-Husayn (a) under Hamasa-yi Husayni (Husayni epic). The book was called so because Morteza Motahhari believed that the most telling word about the Husayni movement was the word, "epic" (hamasa), rather than movement or uprising or riot. He says: "the key to the character of Imam Husayn (a) is epic and greatness and passion and strength and force and resistance and truth-seeking. Remarks and poems transmitted from him also suggest his spirit of epic and strength, worshiping God as well as divine and human epic".
Significance of the Book
Prior to this book, the approach to the Event of Karbala was mainly emotional, and as a result, distorted accounts of the event were produced. For example, some people maintained that Imam al-Husayn (a) was martyred in order for the Shi'as to be forgiven by God. In his discussions of conceptual distortions of the Event of Karbala, Motahhari questions this approach, taking it to be influenced by Christian theology, because Christians have the same idea about Prophet Jesus (a) the Christ, taking him to be sacrificed once for all.
In his lectures gathered in this book, Motahhari tried to fight the distortions in the Event of 'Ashura. Of course, some books were already written against the distortions of 'Ashura, such as Lu' lu' wa marjan by Mirza Husayn Nuri and al-Tanzih by Sayyid Muhsin Amin 'Amili, but Hamasa-yi Husayni was more influential such that it impacted mourning ceremonies for Imam al-Husayn (a) in many assemblies, distorted rawdas were discussed. Sometimes, the audiences debated with preachers and orators by appealing to Hamasa-yi Husayni.
A variety of factors contributed to the influence of this book, including:
- Previous books were addressed to scholars and clerics, but Hamasa-yi Husayni was addressed to laypeople and mourners of Imam al-Husayn (a) as well.
- The scholarly and revolutionary character of Motahhari prevented his opponents to be able to challenge his views.
However, after the publication of this book, the epic spirit of the story of Karbala was reinforced among people. Orators, preachers, and other people were influenced by this epic approach to the Event of Karbala for a while.
Structure of the Book
Hamasa-yi Husayni is a collection of lectures and notes by Motahhari about the uprising of Imam al-Husayn (a). His remarks have been organized into 7 chapters in the book, and the book ends with his notes.
Chapter 1 consists of three lectures by Motahhari delivered in Husayniyya Irshad around 1347 Sh/1968. In this chapter, Motahhari maintains that Imam al-Husayn's (a) epic contributed to the identity of the Islamic society.
Chapter 2 consists of Motahhari's lectures under "distortions" in the historical event of Karbala". The issue of distortion is addressed in this chapter.
Chapter 3 is concerned with the "nature of the Husayni uprising". In 1356 Sh/1977, Motahhari delivered this lecture in a series of lectures under "the problem of knowledge" coincident with the eves of Tasu'a and 'Ashura. He considered Imam al-Husayn's (a) uprising to have multiple natures, taking the origins of the uprising to consist in requests for allegiance, invitation by people of Kufa, and the problem of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong.
Chapter 4 consists of a lecture under the "analysis of the event of 'Ashura". The lecture was delivered in 1356 Sh/1977 in weekly meetings known as "jalasa yazdiha" (assemblies of people from Yazd) held in personal houses.
Chapter 5 is concerned with the slogans of 'Ashura. It was held on the Day of 'Ashura around 1352 Sh/1974 in the Jami' Mosque of Narmak in Tehran (this is his well-known speech in which cries very much).
Chapter 6 consists of 7 lectures of Motahhari under "the element of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong in the Husayni movement" which were delivered in Husayniyya Irshad in Esfand and Farvardin 1349 Sh/March and April 1970. In this chapter, the issue of "enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong" in general is also discussed through which social and political issues, including the record of Muslims in the issue of Palestine, are evaluated.
Chapter 7 is devoted to "the element of propagation in the Husayni movement". It consists of 7 lectures under the same title delivered in the Muharram 1392 February of 1972 in Jawid Mosque of Tehran. The issue of "propagation in Islam" is also discussed in this chapter.
The notes include notes written by Motahhari during a long period intended as preparations for lectures or for further consultation.
Some notes are lengthy and detailed and others are very brief. For example, some of them are as long as articles, and others are only few lines. The notes are organized into 8 chapters. They are concerned with the same issues as the ones in the lecture part published in volume 1. The main difference between them is that one is written and the other is oral. Moreover, there are some contents in the written part that are missing in the lecture part.
One of the most important contents of the book is the one regarding the distortions of the Event of 'Ashura and the epic of Imam al-Husayn (a).
Origins of Distortion
According to Motahhari, origins of distortions in the Event of Karbala included the following:
- Hostile motivations
- Mythopoetic inclinations
- Arousing people’s emotions via fabricated stories.
Types of Distortion
After distinguishing verbal and conceptual distortions, Motahhari complains that both types of distortions are found in accounts of the Event of 'Ashura. He takes the conceptual distortion to be more dangerous than the verbal one, because it interprets an account in a wrong way without changing a word in it.
Confronting the Distortions
According to Motahhari, both laypeople and scholars played a role in distortions of the Event of Karbala, and now both groups should confront them and wipe them out. Scholars who know the weak points of society should not ignore the problem and they have an obligation to eliminate such distortions.
Laypeople have two weak points with respect to the Event of 'Ashura: "the turnouts of their mourning ceremonies" and "bringing passion and excitement to their ceremonies". He believes that the most important duty of scholars is to confront these social weak points: "scholars have to struggle with distortions in the period in which the prophethood ended … Scholars have an obligation to reveal the facts to people, even if they do not like it".
Instances of Distortions according to Motahhari
Motahhari takes some common rawdas to be distorted versions of the story of 'Ashura, including the following:
- That 'Abbas (a) brought water for Imam al-Husayn (a) when he was a child. Motahhari says: "since this story is said to have taken place while Imam 'Ali (a) was delivering a sermon, and since the Imam (a) only delivered sermons when he was a caliph, the story does not match the ages of Imam al-Husayn (a) and 'Abbas (a)."
- The glory of the king of Hijaz when he was leaving Medina. Motahhari takes the story to be fabricated because it does not match historical accounts as it does not match the practice of Imam al-Husayn (a).
- Rawda of Layla the mother of 'Ali al-Akbar (a): Motahhari appeals to historical accounts to deny the presence of Layla in Karbala, questioning all rawdas regarding her.
- The wedding of Qasim b. al-Hasan (a): Motahhari takes the story to be fabricated for two reasons:
- The presence of Hashim al-Mirqal in Karbala: according to Motahhari, Hashim was martyred 20 years before the Event of Karbala.
- Rawda for Arba'in: according to Motahhari, given the distance between Karbala and Kufa and between Kufa and Syria and given the events that occurred on this journey, Ahl al-Bayt (a) could not have returned to Karbala on Arba'in.
- Shahrbanu: in this book, Motahhari does not mention his reasons for the fakeness of the story of Shahrbanu, but in his Sayri dar sira-yi nabawi, he says that the story is fabricated because it is not mentioned in reliable historical sources, and it is not intelligible.
Critiques of the book by the Author of Shahid Jawid
In his notes of Hamasa-yi Husayni, Motahhari criticized the book, Shahid Jawid, by Ni'mat Allah Salihi Najafabadi. Salihi responded to Motahhari's criticism in a book under Nigahi bi hamasa-yi Husayni-yi Shahid Motahhari (a review of Hamasa-yi Husayni by Shahid Motahhari). In his responses, he criticized some rawdas that were recited by Motahhari himself.
Hamasa-yi Husayni was translated into Arabic under al-Malhamat al-Husayniyya, but the translator is unknown.
- Ṣiḥḥatī Sarwrūdī, "Taḥrīf shināsī-yi tārīkh-i Imām Ḥusayn", p. 64.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 113-121.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 148-149.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād-i shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 109.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 77.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 79.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 82-95.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 3, p. 251-252; vol. 1, p. 13.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 67.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 91-104.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 74.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 66.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 75.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 77.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 75-76.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 69.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 77, 598.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 70.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 78.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 70.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 79, 589.
- Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 71.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 17, p. 131, 598.
- Motahhari, Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari, vol. 16, p. 107.
- Ṣiḥḥatī Sarwrūdī, "Taḥrīf shināsī-yi tārīkh-i Imām Ḥusayn", p. 66.
- Motahhari, Morteza. Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Ṣadrā, 1379 Sh/2000.
- Motahhari, Morteza. Majmūʿa āthār-i ustād shahīd Motahhari. First edition. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Ṣadrā, 1377 Sh/1999.
- Ṣiḥḥatī Sarwrūdī, Muḥammad. 1383 Sh/2005. "Taḥrīf shināsī-yi tārīkh-i Imām Ḥusayn bā rūykard-i kitāb shināsāni". Nashrīya Iṭṭilaʿ Risānī wa Kitābdārī-yi Islamī 18: (35-80).