Critics of mourning (azadari) level the following charges in support of their claims:
- Weeping over dead is bidah (innovation). Islam does not sanction it and there is no evidence of mourning from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Sunnah.
- Weeping is the cause of punishment for the person inside the grave.
- Even when weeping is sanctioned it’s for a maximum of three days.
There is a reply to every objection on mourning in a single event – the martyrdom of Hazrat Hamzah – uncle of the Prophet.
1. Prophet is inconsolable
The martyrdom of Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.), the zealous supporter of Islam and prophethood, left a profound impact on Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) wept inconsolably on his separation.
- Al-Mojam al-Kabeer v 3 p 151
- Nasab al-Rayah le Ahadeeth al-Hidayah v 3 p 309
When Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) found the body of Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.) drenched in blood, he wept over him and when he was informed of the mutilation of his body, he cried loudly.
- Al Kamil fi Zoafa al-Rejal v 6 p 409
The behavior of the Prophet of Mercy (s.a.w.a.) on the martyrdom of Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.) serves as an example for the Muslims on mourning.
Ibn Masood says:
We had never seen Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) crying so inconsolably ever before on any other person as he cried on the martyrdom of his uncle Hamzah. He set his body towards Qibla and sat beside it and wailed so loudly voice that he was about to faint.
He addressed the body of his uncle saying: O uncle of the Prophet of Allah! O Lion of Allah! O Hamzah! O the one who did good deeds, dispelled difficulties and adversities! You eased the difficulties of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
- Zakhaer al-Uqbah v 1 p 181
- Al Seerah al-Halabiyyah v 2 p 534
Aren’t these mournful sentences of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) over Hazrat Hamzah’s (a.s.) martyrdom exactly like the elegies Shias recite over Imam Husain (a.s.).
2. Urging Muslims to mourn
Similarly, it is narrated:
While returning from the battle of Uhud, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) heard wailing from the houses of Medina (Ansaar) who were mourning their martyrs. However, he didn’t hear any wailing from the house of his uncle – Hamzah (a.s.). He complained: My uncle Hamzah (a.s.) does not have any one to weep over him.
- Musnad Ahmad v 2 p 40 trad 4,984
- Al-Mojam al-Kabeer v 11 p 391 trad 2,958
- Majma al-Zawaid v 6 p 120
When people of Medina heard these words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), they submitted to his wishes.
After the lament of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that ‘there is no one to cry on my uncle Hamzah’, no woman of Ansaar cried over her dead till she first cried on Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.).
- Al-Istiaab v 1 p 374
- Al Tabaqaat al-Kubra v 3 p 11
The mourning of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his desire to see others mourn Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.) is the ultimate proof from the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
3. Mourning for three days or three centuries?!
The charge that mourning should be for three days only, finds no support in Hazrat Hamzah’s (a.s.) martyrdom.
Here are some reports endorsing the prolonged nature of mourning on Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.):
a. Ibn Athir, among the famous scholars of Ahle Tasannun, records that from that day till now (third century Hijri) women before weeping on their relatives first mourn Hazrat Hamza (a.s.).
- Usud al-Ghabah v 2 p 68
b. Ibn Saad, another reliable authority of the Ahle Tasannun, narrates likewise:
From that day till now, Ansaar first mourn over Hamzah (a.s.) and then weep over their dead.
- Al-Tabaqaat al-Kubra v 2 p 44
c. Another key figure, Ibn Kathir, student of Ibn Taymiyyah, records:
From that day till now, women first mourn Hamza (a.s.) and then weep over their relatives.
- Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah v 4 p 47
Ibn Kathir declares the report to be authentic on the principles laid by Muslim Nishapuri (author of Saheeh Muslim).
4. Comprehensive reply to the skeptics
Traditions and reports related to Hazrat Hamzah’s (a.s.) martyrdom are conclusive in deriving the following points:
- Weeping over dead is Sunnah of Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
- Not only did the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself mourn the dead, he was just as eager to see others mourn the dead. Hence the Ansaar took it upon themselves to mourn Hamzah (a.s.) unfailingly.
- A Sunnah is opposite of bidah, hence if weeping is Sunnah, then it cannot be bidah. In fact, stopping the Muslims from mourning is bidah.
- Contrary to the claims of the skeptics, weeping over the dead is not cause of punishment for the person inside the grave. Would the Holy Prophet legitimize weeping over Hamzah (a.s.) and indirectly punish his own uncle – the Chief of Martyrs? The punishment over mourning relates to the dead from the disbelievers.
- The Muslims mourned Hamzah (a.s.) for years after his martyrdom as recorded by historians. This proves weeping and mourning ceremonies can be organized for as many days as possible. There is no limit of three days or any such period.