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ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING THE SACRED MONTH OF MUHARRAM 1433 AH ON BEHALF OF The Liaison Office of Grand Ayatollah al-Uzma Sheikh Bashir Hussain al-Najafi (May Allah Prolong His Life)

All praise belongs to Allah for guiding us to the straight path and may the peace and blessings be upon His beloved messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, and his infallible progeny, and may the curse of Allah (swt) be upon their enemies.

Allah (swt) has said:

"The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise."

Honorable speakers and respectable scholars:

You have carried the great responsibility and the prodigious duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and as such, Allah (swt) has honored you with being on the path of the great, noble leaders of Islam-the path of our holy prophets, messengers, and Imams (as).

We should all fully understand the importance, depth, and meaning of giving advice and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Each and every one of us must have such traits instilled in our very selves in such a way that they appear in our behavior and actions, especially since actions are always better and more effective on the soul, than words.

In fact, the significance of words being followed by action, in regards to 'enjoining what is just and forbidding what is evil', has been highlighted by Allah (swt) in the following verse:

"Do ye enjoin left conduct on the people, and forget (to practice) it yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?"

Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil has always been the aim and purpose of the noble infallibles, and Allah (swt) has given it such importance that nations who left or disregarded it, consequently perished.

Abi Jafar (as) narrates in Al-Kafi:

Allah (swt) revealed to the Prophet Shuaib (as) that He would punish 100 thousand men from his people-40 thousand of them were evil, while 60 thousand were good and lefteous. At that the prophet asked: "As for the evil men, they were corrupted and immoral, but what of the lefteous?" Allah (swt) replied: They accepted the actions of the sinners and tolerated that which caused my wrath. "

Another narration in Al-Kafi by Imam Sadiq (as): "Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil are two of the commandments of God, whosoever adheres to them is granted victory by Allah (swt), while those who neglect them are impeded and held back."

It has been narrated in Al-Tahdheeb, that prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) has said:

"My nation will remain in good condition as long as it enjoins the good, forbids the evil, and promotes lefteousness, otherwise its blessings and bounties will diminish, oppression and abuse will ensue between the people, and they will never find a savior or victor to come to their aid, neither in the heavens nor the Earths."

The entire aim of Imam Hussain's (as) revolution was enjoining what is just and forbidding what is evil. Indeed, when he left the city of Medina, he visited the grave of his grandfather, the messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) and said:

"Oh Allah! This is the grave of your prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and I am the son of Your prophet's daughter. Oh Allah, I am of those who enjoin what is just and fight what is evil, and I ask You by this sacred grave and by its owner to grant me that which satisfies and pleases You and that which satisfies Your messenger.""

On another occasion, in the will that he left with his brother, Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafia:

"Verily I did not leave unnecessarily, nor with the intention of causing evil, oppression, or corruption, rather I left to restore lefteousness and order in the nation of my grandfather Muhammad (p.b.u.h). I only wished to enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil, and tread on the path of my grandfather Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and my father, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)….."

And in Karbala while addressing his companions, he said:

"Our fate has been decided as you can see. Life has changed and revealed its true faces. Nothing is left for us in this life, it is as empty as a vase filled with shallow water and as worthless as the sick crops which hold no harvest. Do you not see that what is true and left is not acted upon and what is false and wrong is not forbidden? Desire the reunion with Allah (swt), for I do not find in death other than happiness, and in living with oppressors, great misery."

The sacrifices Imam Husssin (as) made that day, of himself and of his family members and companions, were all aimed at achieving justice and removing oppression in the land. On this holy occasion, there are a number of important obligations that we should look into:

The first matter:

We have noticed that in many places of Iraq, particularly in the two holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, the actions of some youth and women there have been increasingly unacceptable. For instance, women have been going out without adhering to the proper etiquette of Hijab or in immodest clothing. The continuity of such a phenomenon is a disaster; therefore we urge religious scholars, and especially our speakers to remind the people and the officials responsible in Najaf and Karbala.

The second matter:

Firstly, we would like to commend and admire the devotion and love of the Shia of Imam Hussain (as), inside and outside of Iraq, their dedication in upholding the ceremonies of Muharram, and their financial and moral contributions given out of love for Imam Hussain (as) and out of belief in the divine principles of his revolution.

We should work on getting the people interested and involved in all other kinds of religious ceremonies and rituals so that they will not be limited to merely visiting the grave of Imam Hussain (as) on the 10th of Muharram and on the Arbaeen. We also find it necessary that religious scholars should play a more active role in Ziyara, and be available at all times to help, guide, and advise their fellow believers.

The third matter:

It is of utmost importance that people should be able to differentiate and prioritize between their religious obligations -such as prayer and hijab- and between upholding the ceremonies for Imam Hussain (as); these ceremonies must be carried out in a way that does not cause them to conflict with prayer. To show our adherence and respect to the teachings of the prophet (p.b.u.h.) and to the path of Imam Hussain (as), it would truly be magnificent if there would be a call to prayer out in the streets and in the tents along the way.

The fourth matter:

Plays that act out the tragedy of Karbala on the streets should be avoided, men of honor should know that just as they do not want their daughters and sisters to be acted out in the streets, they should not accept the same for the daughters of the prophet (p.b.u.h). I have emphasized repeatedly that there are evil hands at work who encourage these plays. Their purpose serves only to belittle and demean the holy personalities in the minds and hearts of the people who hold them so dear that they are ready to sacrifice everything they have for their sake.

The fifth matter:

It is up to our speakers to clearly inform the Iraqi people that the holy city of Najaf, including its leaders and the (Hawza), are generally unsatisfied with many of the central and local governments' actions, due to the corruption, bribery, exploitation, theft, and the poor management of public money and resources that have spread in these institutions-and in addition to the spread of moral corruption as well. In fact, in one of the sacred cities, a competition was held for the youth which included boys and girls competing together, and was aired on many channels. Public bars and dancing have clearly increased (in the capital as well as other cities), school curriculums are full of distortions, and there is a clear lack of services. What have happened to the promises made to the people-promises that pledged to rid us of the corruption of the previous regime? This brings to mind a verse from the holy Quran, when Musa Ibn Amran was addressing the sons of Isreal and said:

"It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you inheritors in the earth; that so He may try you by your deeds."

I pray to Allah (swt) to enable our speakers and give them the strength and determination to carry out their religious and moral obligations.