Extracts From the Instructions of Imam Khomeini Regarding Mourning

Extracts From the Instructions Of Imam Khomeini About Ashura Let the mourning congregations for the Master of the Oppressed and the Lord of the Free – congregations in which wisdom and intellect overcome ignorance; justice overpowers cruelty and oppression; trust rules out treason, and Islamic rule supercedes the rule of tyranny, be held with grandeur, eminence, and brilliance. And let the blood-smeared banners of Ashura be hoisted to mark the dawn of the day where the oppressed avenge the oppressor. Our sons and youth must not think that it is a matter of weeping only or that we are a weeping nation – this is what others want to brainwash you into believing and then repeating, because they fear those tears. They fear them because they are tears for the oppressed and a cry against the oppressor.

People who ask us to cease reciting elegies and holding congregations do not
realise that those who hold these rites are offering Islam the upmost service.
Youth! Do not be deceived by the allegations of treacherous people who want to
take this weapon away from you; let our youth beware of being deceived by this;
these Hussaini rites are what have preserved us, and these people do not
understand this or the reason for it – and they cannot be made to understand.
They do not understand that this elegy builds men nor that it is an uprising
against the oppressor and the tyrant. It is essential to hold on to these
elegies, ceremonies, and processions, despite all the pressure and hardships, do
not give them up – or the efforts of Imam Hussain (as) will be crushed as fast
as lightening.

Indeed, it is these pulpits and these congregations, elegies and lamentation
processions that have preserved Islam for us. Some youth who do not have bad
intentions, believe that we now need to speak the language of the day, when the
truth is that the words of Imam Hussain (as) are the words of the day, and will
always be. In fact it is the Master of Martyrs who has brough forth the final
word for today and left it with us. These elegies, tears, and lamentations have
preserved the Master of Martyrs and his ideology. If instead of these actions,
one wanted to confine himself to a room and recite Ziyarat Ashura and use
tasbeeh (rosary) beads, nothing would have survived.

Let the mourning congregations for the Master of the Oppressed and the Lord of
the Free – congregations in which wisdom and intellect overcome ignorance;
justice overpowers cruelty and oppression; trust rules out treason, and Islamic
rule supercedes the rule of tyranny, be held with grandeur, eminence, and
brilliance. And let the blood-smeared banners of Ashura be hoisted to mark the
dawn of the day where the oppressed avenge the oppressor. Our sons and youth
must not think that it is a matter of weeping only or that we are a weeping
nation – this is what others want to brainwash you into believing and then
repeating, because they fear those tears. They fear them because they are tears
for the oppressed and a cry against the oppressor, and these processions stand
up against oppression. These lamentation processions are a symbol of our
victory; hold mourning congregations throughout, and let speakers read their
elegies, and let people cry. Speakers must not condense elegies into a few
words; speak at length about the tragedies of the AhlulBayt (as) as was the case
before and read elegies, poems and narrations; the excellences of the holy
progeny and the tortures inflicted on them must be rendered with such sincerity
and passion that the people get ready for field action. They ought to know that
our infallible Imams (as) devoted their lives to promoting Islam.

The duty of the men of the pulpit is to read lamentations and the duty of the
people is to participate in the great lamentation processions, avoiding
incorrect practices of course. But let the processions advance, and let the
mourners beat their chests. On the day of Ashura, let the mourning ceremonies be
as potent as before and carried out in the same manner that they used to be
carried out in, and let the content of all processions and ceremonies relate to
Imam Hussain (as). These processions should not turn into demonstrations and
marches, for they are in a sense, political demonstrations; but people should
not think that we want to change them from their previous form and settle for
demonstrations. They must be kept the same, or turned even more forceful. We
have to mourn him (as) every day to preserve this religion and this uprising for
it is owed to Imam Hussain (as).

I pray to Allah to grant us success to observe the Ashura rites as we did before
and in traditional forms; let processions be as forceful as before with people
beating their chests; and reading elegies. Be confident that your life is
dependant on these ceremonies, elegies, congregations, and processions.

Source: The Ashura Uprising, by Imam Khomeini (ra), with alterations to the
order of the text.

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