A significant part of our heritage is to celebrate the day the opposer of Allah’s Messenger and his pure Family (may peace be upon them) Umar, ibn al-Khattab, is killed, on the ninth day of Rabi’ul-Awwal. Many Shi’as don’t recognise this ceremony, believing that it is an innovated act that has little to no importance.
Please clarify this holy ceremony and confirm it with the narrations of the Infallibles (peace be upon them), along with narrations and fatwas issued by our noble scholars, old and new. Please mention the sources of all the noble narrations and the solemn Fatwas.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The revival of the ninth day of the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal with joy and happiness is something that the sacred law encourages; our scholars, throughout time, have all put this tradition into practice. It is a great Islamic day of joy – Eid – to such a degree that it has been described in our narrations as “the second Eid al-Ghadeer”. And how can it not be so? It was on this day that the prayer of Al-Zahra al-Batoul (Allah’s blessings be upon her) was fulfilled. Allah made her accursed, villainous killer, Umar, Ibn al-Khattab, killed by the chivalrous hero and the honourable believer, our Master, Abi-Lu’lu’a Fairouz al-Nahawandi (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him, and may He make him dwell in His widest gardens).
Here is the complete noble narration of Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah’s blessings be upon him) that speaks of the virtue and merit of this blessed day:
Narrated of the Sheikh, the jurist, Ali, ibn Mudhahir al-Wasiti, in a coherent and consistent chain of narrators, of Muhammad, Ibn Alaa’ al-Hamadani al-Wasiti, and Yahya, ibn Jurayh al-Baghdadi, who both said:
We quarrelled on the matter of ibn Al-Khattab, and we became uncertain of his matter, so we all went to Ahmad, ibn Ishaq al-Qummi, the companion of Al-Askari (peace be upon him) in the city of Qom, and we knocked his door. An Iraqi girl came out of his house, and we asked her about him. She said: “He is busy with his family because this is an Eid.” So we said: “Glory be to Allah! The Eids for the Shi’a are four: Al-Adha, and Al-Fitr, and the Day of Ghadeer, and Friday.” She said: “Ahmad narrates of his master, Abil-Hassan Ali, ibn Muhammad al-Askari (peace be upon them both), that this is an Eid and it is the best Eid for Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) and their followers.” We said: “Then ask him to give us permission to see him and tell him where we are.” So she went to him and told him where we were, and then he went out to us wearing one of his aprons and holding closely on to a cloak while wiping his face, and we were surprised to see him that way. He said: “Do not be surprised; I have just performed Ghusl for the Eid.” We said: “Is this a day of Eid?” That day was the ninth day of the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. He said: “Yes.” Then he let us into his house, and we sat on one of the furniture.
He said: “Once I went to our Master, Abal-Hassan al-Askari (peace be upon him) with a group of my brothers in Samarra, and we asked him for his permission to let us enter his house on that day, which was the ninth day of the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. Our Master (peace be upon him) had commanded every one of his servants to wear any of the new clothes they have. Between his hands was a vessel and he was burning the wood by himself. We said: ‘’May our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you, O’ son of Allah’s Messenger! Are you renewing a joy for Ahl al-Bayt?” He said: “Which day has more sanctity for Ahl al-Bayt than this day? I have been told by my father (peace be upon him) that Huzaifa, ibn al-Yaman, visited my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) on a day such as this, which is the ninth of the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal, and he said:
Then I saw my Master, the Commander of the Faithful, with his two sons, Hassan and Hussain (peace be upon them both), who were eating together with the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) while the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) was looking at them (peace be upon them) and smiling. He said to his two sons, Hassan and Hussain (peace be upon them both): ‘Eat, may you enjoy the blessings of this day, in which Allah (Exalted is He) shall bring to death His enemy and the enemy of your grandfather. Eat! It is the day in which the following of Allah’s Word is fulfilled: ‘’So such were their houses, fallen down, because they were unjust.
Eat! It is the day in which the spine of your grandfather’s enemy shall be broken. Eat! It is the day in which the Pharao (tyrant) of my Household, their oppressor, and usurper of their right shall be gone. Eat! It is the day in which Allah will destroy all they have strived for and make it go down the drain.
The Qur’an 27:53.
Huzaifa said: ‘O Messenger of Allah…Will there be anyone in your nation and companions who will violate this sanctity?’ He (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) said: ‘O Huzaifa…An idolater among the hypocrites will become their leader, use deliberate pretension with my nation, claim authority, carry a pearl of disgrace on his neck, repel people off the path of Allah, corrupt His Book, change my tradition, claim the inheritance of my sons, nominate himself as a sign, transgress against those after me, make lawful for himself what belongs to Allah and is not lawful (for him), spend them in ways that are not in obedience to Him, reject my brother and my minister, deprive my daughter of her right. She will ask Allah to curse him and He will answer her prayer on a day such as this.’ Huzaifa said: ‘I said: ‘O’ Messenger of Allah, why do you not pray to your Lord to make him die during your lifetime?’ He said: ’O’ Huzaifa, I do not want to go against the decision of Allah (Exalted is He) for what He knows with His knowledge. However, I have asked Allah to make the day in which he will die to be preferred over other days so that this may be a tradition whom my lovers and the Shi’a (supporters) of my Household and their lovers shall follow. He (Glorious is He) revealed the following to me:
O Muhammad, I have known beforehand that you and your Household shall be assaulted by the calamities and trials of the material world and by the oppression of the hypocrites and usurpers after me; those whom you have guided but betray you in return, those whom you have been sincere to but cheat you in return, those you have purified but torment you in return, those you have believed but reject you in return, those you have saved but abandon you in return.
I swear on My Power, Strength, and Authority that I will open for the soul of those who usurp the right of Ali after you a thousand doors of fire from the lowest part of Al-Failouq. I will burn them along with their companions in the deepest part (of Hellfire) to such a degree that Iblees (Satan) will be treated better than them and curse them! And I will make that hypocrite an example on the Resurrection for the Pharaos (oppressors) of the Prophets and the enemies of religion, where all shall be gathered; I will gather them and their allies and all oppressors and hypocrites in the fires of Hell, stabbed, gloomy, humiliated, disgraceful, regretful! I will make them abide there forever. O’ Muhammad, your successor will not achieve the same rank as you unless he faces disasters from his Pharaoh (oppressor) and usurper who transgresses against Me, changes My Words, associates with Me, repels people off My path, nominates for himself a calf to your nation, and disbelieves in Me and My Throne. Indeed, I have commanded my Seven Heavens, your Shi’a and your lovers to celebrate on this day in which I shall take his life. I have commanded them to construct the chair of My Honor in front of the Bait al-Ma’mour and praise Me and to ask forgiveness for your Shi’a and your lovers among the sons of Adam.
I have commanded the Honored Recorders who write down your deeds to stop their pens from writing the deeds of all the creation three days after that day and not to write anything of their wrongdoings in your and your successors’ honour. O’ Muhammad, I have made that day become a day of joy for you and your Household, and those of their Shi’a who follow them. I have sworn on My Honor, Glory, and Height in My position, that I shall grace everyone who celebrates that day with the same reward as the people between the Eastern and the Western horizons, give salvation to his relatives and close family through him, increase his property, free from the Fire in every place of it on a day such as this a thousand of your befrienders and your Shi’a, make their efforts praiseworthy, forgive their sins, and accept their deeds.
Huzaifa said: ‘Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) stood up to Umm Salama, and entered, and she stepped back from him while I was undoubtful about the matter of the old man, who took the leadership after the demise of the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) and brought the disbelief once more, apostatised from the religion, turned up to leadership, corrupted the Qur’an, burnt the House of the Revelation, innovated new traditions, changed the religion, changed the tradition, rejected the testimony of the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him), belied Fatima (peace be upon her), usurped Fadak, made the Zoroastrians, the Jews, and the Christians become pleased with him, angered the Family of the Chosen One and didn’t please them, changed all the traditions, arranged for the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) to be killed, made visible his tyranny, forbade what Allah had made lawful, made lawful what Allah had forbidden, told the people to take the skins of camels as money, hit the face of the Pure Woman, climbed the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) forcibly and unjustly, slandered the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) and was stubborn to him and made a fool of his opinion.
Huzaifa said: ‘Allah then answered the prayer of my Lady (peace be upon her) against that hypocrite, and death came to him on the hand of ‘his killer’ (may Allah have mercy upon him), so I came to the Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) to congratulate him for his death and his return to the place of revenge. Then he said to me: ‘O’ Huzaifa, I remember the day when I came to my Master, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him) while his two grandsons and I were eating with him…By Allah, this is the day in which Allah made The Messenger’s Family happy, and I know 72 names of this day.’ Huzaifa said: ‘I said: ‘O’ Commander of the Faithful! I want you to name the names of this day for me.
Then he (peace be upon him) said: ‘This is the day of rest, the day in which blessings are dispersed, the second Day of Ghadeer, the day in which burdens are toppled, the day that is the very best, the day in which the pen is stopped from writing, the day of progress, the day of wellness, the day of blessings, the day of revenge, the greatest joyful day for Allah, the day in which prayers are answered, the day of the greatest stand, the day in which things come together, the day of Al-Shart (the name of a star), the day in which darkness is removed, the day in which the oppressor is regretful, the day in which the spine is broken, the day in which the suffering is ended, the day in which human beings are pleased with what they have, the day in which the power is presented, the day in which pages are turned over, the day of the Shi’as’ joy, the day of repentance, the day of approval, the day of the greatest Zakat, the second Day of Fitr, the day in which the water on mountain paths flow, the day in which the saliva is swallowed, the day of pleasure, the joyful day of Ahl al-Bayt, the day of prevail over the sons of Isra’il, the day in which deeds are accepted, the day in which charity is given, the day of Ziyarah, the day in which hypocrisy was killed, the day of the known time, the day of Ahl al-Bayt’s happiness, the day of testimony, the day of the enemy’s defeat, the day in which deception is destroyed, the day of awakening, the day of cooness, the day of the testification, the day in which the believers are forgiven, the day of Al-Zahra, the day of informing, the day in which things are good, the day of departure, the day in which things are intensified, the day in which a believer is joyful, the day of Al-Mubahala, the day of magnificence, the day in which deeds are accepted, the day of majesty, the day in which secrets are spread publicly, the day of adherence, the day in which victory is increased, the day of expressing love and affection, the day of making jokes, the day of arrival, the day of purification, the day in which innovations are revealed, the day of asceticism, the day of piety, the day of preachment, the day of worship, the day of surrender, the day of submission, the day of slaughter, the day of ripping.
Huzaifa said: ‘Then I left him and said to myself: ‘If I had not known any good deeds and the things that I perform when I want rewards except for this day, then this day would surely have been my wish.’ Muhammad, ibn Al-Alaa’ al-Hamadani, and Yahya, ibn Jurayh, said: ‘Thereupon, all of us stood up and kissed the head of Ahmad, ibn Ishaq, ibn Sa’eed al-Qummi, and we said: ‘Praise be to Allah who decided for you to inform us so that you could honour us with the merits of this day.” Then we left him, and we celebrated that day.
Bihar al-Anwar, by the great scholar Al-Majlisi, volume 31, page 125, on the authority of Zawa’id al-Fawa’id and Al-Muhtadhir, by Sheikh Hassan, ibn Sulayman
As you see, the Messenger of Allah, and Ahl al-Bayt, and the pure Imams (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all) have celebrated this great day and instructed us to celebrate it accordingly. Their noble Shi’a have followed their instructions and revived this tradition in all generations ‘till this very day, with the grace of Allah.
As for the Fatwas of our jurists, there is a consensus on the recommendation of reviving this day with joy and happiness with one’s family and even fasting this day in thankfulness to Allah (Exalted is He) for His graces and the death of the tyrant Umar, as well as performing other acts of worship whom our Infallible Imams ( Allah’s blessings be upon them) have instructed us to perform, such as performing Ghusl (ritual cleansing), or so on.
The following is a list of statements and Fatwas by our jurists on this issue:
• Sheikh al-Mufid (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him) said:
On the ninth day of it (the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal) is the day of the great Eid, and there is a lot of explanation on this matter in another place. The Prophet (Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) celebrated it and he instructed the people to celebrate it as well.
Mustadrak al-Wasa’el, volume 2, page 522, on the authority of Masar-ul-Shi’a, by Al-Mufid
• The author of the Al-Jawahir encyclopedia, Sheikh al-Jawahiri (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him), said:
As for performing Ghusl on the ninth day of Rabi’ul-Awwal, it has been said that this was the act of Ahmad, ibn Ishaq al-Qommi, because it was a day of Eid – as mentioned in the narrations on the matter that causes happiness for the believers and grief for the hypocrites…And I have found a narration whose chain of narrators on the authority of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) about the virtue and the blessing of this day, and which states that it is a day of joy for them (peace be upon them) to such a degree that one’s mind is amazed. This issue is detailed, and there is a statement on that matter which coincides with this day. Hence we might say that performing Ghusl during this day is recommendable based on its recommendation on events such as this, and especially since this day is an Eid for us and our Imams (peace be upon them).
Jawahir-ul-Kalam, volume 5, page 43
• Sayed Razi-ul-Deen, ibn Tawous – the son ( Allah’s satisfaction be upon him) – said while narrating the noble narration with his chain of narrators:
I have reported it of the handwriting of Muhammad, ibn Ali, ibn Muhammad, ibn Tayy (Allah have mercy upon him), and we have found within the books we have read many narrations that are in agreement to this one. Hence we should glorify and express joy during this day.
Bihar al-Anwar, by Al-Majlisi, volume 31, page 129, on the authority of Zawa’id al-Fawa’id, by Sayed Razi-al-Deen Ali, ibn Tawous
• Sheikh al-Kaf’ami (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him) narrated in his book that this is a noble day, recommending expressing joy and celebrating this day with one’s family and believing brethren, as well as wearing perfume, new clothes, and perform acts of thankfulness and worship to Allah.
Al-Misbah, by Al-Kaf’ami, page 270
• Sayed al-Tabataba’i al-Yazdi (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him) regarded the ninth day of Rabi’ul-Awwal as an Eid and a glorious event in which it is recommendable for a person to perform Ghusl. Most of our scholars carried the same opinion, in addition to all scholars of authority (Maraje’) who commented on the Hashiya of Al-Urwatul-Wuthqa
Al-Urwatul-Wuthqa, by Sayed al-Yazdi, volume 2, page 152
Sayed Razi-ul-Deen, ibn Tawous – the father (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him) – said:
I know that we found a narration with great value concerning this day, and we found a group of Persians and several brothers celebrating this day. They say that it is the day of the death of a person who used to belittle the value of Allah (Glorious be His glory) and His Messenger (Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) and torment him. So far, I have not found conformity in any of the books I have read to the narration that we have narration on the authority of Ibn Babawayh (Allah’s satisfaction be upon him). If anyone wishes to glorify this day due to the secret it contains, and not due to the appearance of it – as a precaution to the narration – then this is a habit we have maintained.
Iqba al-A’mal, by Sayed Ibn Tawous, volume 3, page 113
Moreover, it is no secret that the tradition of our glorious scholars, including great scholars of authority (Maraje’), the old and the new alike, is to glorify this blessed day, participate in its joyful gatherings, and send greetings to one another. A person who rejects this fact is either ignorant or stubborn. Also, by considering this renown and famous practice, there is no room for doubting the legality of expressing joy and happiness on this glorious day. If it were unlawful, then the jurists of our age would have taken a stand to clarify it.
Additionally, I will personally narrate the Fatwa on behalf of the Sayed, the Marja’, Grand Ayatollah Sayed Sadiq al-Hussaini al-Shirazi (may Allah prolong his life), in which he recommends reviving this blessed Eid with ceremonies of joy and happiness.
What remains now is to point out two issues. First, some scholars and researchers – such as the author Al-Sara’ir, Ibn Idrees al-Hilli – have said that the death of Umar (may Allah’s curse be upon him) took place on another day during the month of Dhil-Hijja, and not on the ninth day of Rabi’ul-Awwal. However, we believe that the strongest possibility is that it took place on the ninth day of Rabi’ul-Awwal, because closer and more detailed examinations lead to this conclusion. That is research that is not to be mentioned here.
Second, the noble narration states that Allah (Exalted is He) commands the Angels to stop their pens from writing the deeds of all the creation for three days and not write down anything of their wrongdoings. It does not mean that people are permitted to cross the limits of Allah’s commandments and prohibitions, but that Allah (Glorious is He) shall command the Angels not to record disobedience carried out by His worshippers, as long as they did not intend to cross His limits. Hence, it is only a matter of advanced forgiveness for their deeds. Otherwise, those who transgress against Allah (Glorious and Exalted is He) on these days and commit actions that cause His Anger by assuming that there is no problem doing so, have their wrong-doing recorded and punishment received.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib