At times a question comes to mind that, was there mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) at the times of the Holy Imams (a.s.) and did they (a.s.) also observing mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.)?

The fact is that the Holy Imams (a.s.) were observing mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) and making arrangement for the same. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) is not the creation of present times but the chain leads up to the Holy Imams (a.s.) and is observed till today,  with the blessings of  the Master of our times (a.t.f.s). We have the good fortune to present some examples, as under:

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Bani Hashim

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) : “After the event of Aashuraa, none of the ladies of Bani Hashim applied kohl (surma) in the eyes nor dyed their hair – rather smoke from cooking fire was also not seen till Ibn Ziad (may Allah curse him) was killed . We (Bani Hashim) were profusely weeping after the event of Aashuraa.”  [‘Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) Pg 145]

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam Zainul Aabedin (a.s.)

The event of Kerbala had such a deep impact on Imam Zainul Aabedin (a.s.) that tears used to continuously flow from his (a.s.) eyes. He (a.s.) used to remember the tribulations that befell Imam Husain (a.s.), his uncle Hazrat Abbas (a.s.), his brothers and relatives, and weep. Whenever water was presented to him tears would flow from his eyes and he (a.s.) would say “How can I drink water when the son of Holy Prophet (saw) was slaughtered, thirsty?”

[Beharul Anwaar Vol 44 Pg 145]

He (a.s.) would also say, “Whenever I recall the martyrdom of the sons of Hazrat-e-Zahra (s.a.), tears flow from the eyes.”

[Khesaal, vol. 1 Pg 131]

Imam Jafer-e-Sadeq (a.s.) says, ‘Whenever my grandfather, Ali Ibn Husain Zainul Aabedin (a.s.), would remember Imam Husain (a.s.), he would cry to such an extent that his beard would be soaked, and due to his wailing others would also cry.” [Beharul Anwaar, vol. 45, p. 207].

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam Baqer (a.s.)

Imam Mohammed-e-Baqer (a.s.) would arrange a congregation for mourning (majlis-e-azaa) of Imam Husain (a.s.) on the day of Aashuraa and wail over the calamities that befell the Chief of the Martyrs (a.s.). In a particular Majlis, a poet named Kumait recited a poem in presence of Imam Mohammed-e-Baqir (a.s.). When he reached the part “And don’t forget the one killed in the land of Iraq”, Imam Mohammed-e-Baqir (a.s.) cried a lot and said: “O Kumait! If I had the provisions, I would have rewarded you. Your reward is the Dua which Holy Prophet (saw) sought for Hassan Ibn Saabit, ‘O Hassan, till you continue defending us Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), support for you from the Holy Spirit (Hazrat Ruh al-Qodos) would continue coming’ ”.

[Misbah-ul-Muttahajjed, Pg 713]

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam Jafer-e-Sadeq (a.s.)

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) said: “When the month of Moharrum would come, smile would disappear from my father’s face — rather effects of sorrow would appear and tears would be seen on the cheeks. On the eve of Aashuraa,, his (a.s.) sorrow would be at its peak and he (a.s.) would continuously shed tears and would say, ‘Today is the day when my grand-father, Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred’.”  [Imam Hasan-wa-Imam Husain, Pg 143]

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.)

It is narrated from Imam Reza (a.s.); “When the month of Moharrum would come, none would see my father smiling. This would continue till Aashuraa. On the day of Aashuraa, his (a.s.) sorrow would become severe. He (a.s.) would be continuously crying and heard saying, ‘This is the day on which Husain (a.s.) had been killed’.

[Husain – Nafs-e-Mutmainnah Pg 56].

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam Reza (a.s.)

Imam Reza (a.s.) would lament to such an extent on Imam Husain (a.s.), that he (a.s.) would say: “The day of calamity on Imam Husain (a.s.) has injured our eyes and has caused tears to pour”.

[Beharul Anwaar  Vol 44, Pg 284]

Debil-e-Khuzaaee — the celebrated poet and lover of Ahle Bait (a.s.) —came in the presence of Imam (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) mentioned regarding reciting poems in honour of Imam Husain (a.s.) and weeping. Imam (a.s.) said, “O Debil! One who cries on my grandfather, Allah will forgive his sins”.

Then a curtain was drawn between the ladies of the house and those present, so that people could grieve on the calamities of Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) then told Debil: “Recite a poem on Imam Husain (a.s.).Till the time you are alive you are our helper and narrator of our praise. Till the time you have strength, do not fall short in helping us.”

Tears appeared in eyes of Debil while he recited this couplet:

اَفاطِمُ لَوْ خَلَتِ الْحُسَيْنُ مُجَدِْلاً وَ قَدْ مَاتَ عَطْشَانًا بِشَطِْ فُرَاتٍ

Hearing this couplet Imam Reza (a.s.) and his family members cried aloud.

[Beharul Anwaar, vol. 45, Pg 257]

  1. Mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)

As per narrations, Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) continuously grieves on the difficulties of Imam Husain (a.s.) in during occultation. He (a.t.f.s.) says:

فَلَئِنْ اَخَْرْتِنِيْ الدُْهُوْرُ وَ عَاقَنِيْ عَنْ نُصْرَتِكَ الْمَقْدُوْرُ وَ لَمْ اَكُنْ لِمَنْ حَارَبَكَ مُحَارِبًا وَ لِمَنْ نَصَبَ لَكَ الْعَدَاوَةَ مُنَاصِبًا فَلَاَنْدُبَنَْكَ صَبَاحًا وَ مَسَاءً وَ لَاَبْكِيَنَْ عَلَيْكَ بَدَلَ الدُْمُوْعِ دَمًا حَسْرَةً عَلَيْكَ وَ تَاَسُْفًا وَ تَحَسُْرًا عَلٰي مَا دَهَاكَ-

“Although from the aspect of time, I was not present at that time and your help was not in my destiny, so that I could fight your enemies and your opponents. Now at this time I will cry over you day and night, and instead of tears shed blood remembering the calamities that befell you and expressing remorse over oppression that you suffered.” [ Beharul Anwaar, vol. 10 Pg 320 ]

From the above points we understand that the infallible Imams (a.s.) were involved in mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) and arranged for condolence gatherings. Not only did they emphasize to the poets for recitation of poems in honour of Imam Husain (a.s.) but also used to pray for them and reward them. As narrated from Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) that the mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) is not only specific to him for the days of Moharrum, but every morning and night he grieves.