Some of the questions on mourning over Imam Husain (a.s.) i.e. azadari are related to the amazing rewards documented in traditions. The skeptics find it hard to believe how a single tear can erase all sins or how it assures of intercession of the infallibles (a.s.) for a very sinful person. They take exception to traditions like this and scores of other reports like this:
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informed:
When mention of our difficulties moistens a person’s eyes even to the extent of a fly’s wing, all his sins are forgiven even if they amount to the waves of the ocean.
- Kamil al-Ziyarat p 104
The yardstick to confirm any belief / concept as Islamic is to turn to the Holy Quran for answers.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say: O my servants! Who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.
- Surah Zumar (39): 53
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا
Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.
- Surah Nisa (4): 48
إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّـيِّئَاتِ
Surely good deeds take away evil deeds
- Surah Hud (11): 114
Clear verses like these underline that Allah’s Forgiveness is greater than the sin and that (certain) good deeds are more powerful than sins. It goes without saying that the good deeds must be performed with correct belief in Tauheed, Prophethood and Imamate.
In Quranic verses, belief in Imamate is and by itself a good deed as the last verse of Surah Kahf (18) testifies:
…therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds (recognition of Imams (a.s.))…
- Surah Kahf (18): 110
- Tafseer al-Ayyashi v 2 p 353
Hence if good deeds like recognition of Imams (a.s.), shedding a tear on Imam Husain (a.s.) can erase all sins according to traditions, then there is no cause for doubt or skepticism since this is exactly what the Holy Quran has declared repeatedly.
Importance of Tahleel – La ilaha illa Allah
Like the tear shed over Imam Husain (a.s.), there are other very basic actions that guarantee forgiveness of sins and residence in Paradise.
For instance, reciting Tahleel (La ilaha illa Allah) has the most amazing reward as some of these reports indicate
- Reciting La ilaha illa Allah sincerely (once) guarantees Paradise so long as it’s accompanied by Imamate. (Al-Mahasin v 1 p 22-23)
- La ilaha illa Allah erases all sins (Sawaab al-Aamaal under Reward of ‘La ilaha illa Allah’)
- There is a measure (equal) for everything except for Allah, there is no measure (equal) for Him, nor for ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ nor for a tear shed in fear of Allah i.e. no reward can be defined for these actions as there is no measure for Allah. (Sawaab al-Aamaal under Reward of ‘La ilaha illa Allah’)
- Reciting ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ will see a person rising in grades and the reciter will reach new heights, none of his sins will be questioned and for each of his sins equal number of good deeds will be granted and he will be satisfied. (Sawaab al-Aamaal under Reward of ‘La ilaha illa Allah’)
No skeptic who would dare raise objections against the amazing rewards of ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ like erasing of sins and conversion of sins into good deeds. If he is foolish enough to attack ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ it would be seen as a direct attack on Tauheed itself.
Yet when similar rewards are listed for shedding a single tear on Imam Husain (a.s.), it is viewed as innovation or exaggeration!
Licence for sinning?
The ignoramus / skeptic believes that reports for weeping on Imam Husain (a.s.) combined with the Quranic verses assuring forgiveness to the sinner, are a license to perform sins, as the sinner believes that all will be forgiven at the end with intercession.
No right-minded, rational person concludes like this. The obvious conclusion from these reports and Quranic verses is Allah’s reassurance to the broken, hopeless sinner that there is hope for him at Allah’s vast door of forgiveness and mercy.
And Imam Husain (a.s.) happens to be one of these doors, rather one of its biggest doors. And among the ‘good deeds that take away evil deeds’ is a tear shed on Imam Husain (a.s.).
It goes without saying that other factors like sincerity, piety (taqwa), waraa (precautious piety) play a crucial role in the acceptance of deeds as pointed out in the Quran and Sunnah.
Why fingers pointed only at Imamate?
As we have seen it is not just the tear shed over Imam Husain (a.s.) that erases sins and assures of Paradise. There are many deeds like reciting Tahleel (La ilaha illa Allah), the night vigil (Namaz Shab), fasting, reciting the Holy Quran, among other deeds that promise similar rewards.
Then why is it that only the tear shed over Imam Husain (a.s.) is the subject of debate and skepticism?
Iblis has promised to deviate those treading the Straight Path – Sirat al-Mustaqeem.
قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
He (Iblis) said: As You have caused me to remain disappointed I will certainly lie in wait for them in Your Straight Path.
- Surah Aaraaf (7): 16
Iblis has sworn to lie in ambush for the believer on the Straight Path, which is the Path of Ali (a.s.) and his infallible sons (a.s.). Hence skepticism related to Imamate (recognition, weeping, ziyarat, tawassul) is the biggest trap of Iblis. And believers should likewise be prepared for attacks on Imamate with replies from Holy Quran and Sunnah.
It should be noted at the end, that the mourner does not shed tears with the explicit aim to seek forgiveness for sins, his main objective is to offer condolences to the Ahle Bait (a.s.) on the tragedy of Karbala and in this way gain proximity to Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ali (a.s.), Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), the last surviving member of the infallible household (a.s.) to whom all condolences are addressed.