“Ziarat Ashura” and the cursing of “the first, second, third, and fourth”


Sheikh Al-Radhi  (الشيخ حسين الراضي), one of Ayatollah Khoei’s leading and front line students, took it upon himself to dig deeper into the authenticity of modern day “Ziarat Ashura“. For those who may not know what “Ziart Ashura” is: it is a prayer piece that praises Imam Hussain and his sacrifice on the day of Ashura. The word “Ziarat” means “Visit”, and in our Shia doctrine there are several of them which we recite to visit, honor, and remember the heroes of Ahlul Bayt (Prophet’s grandchildren and household).

Ziarat Ashura is normally cited to justify the cursing of the first Islamic Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Omar, and Utham – may God be pleased with them). Because in that Ziarat, a line says: “And may God curse the first, the second, the third, and the fourth oppressor who oppressed Prophet Muhammad and his family”. I personally always skipped this line because I’d like to know whom I’m cursing and damning! Until I came across this book (image above).

Sheikh Al-Radhi, after years of study and obtaining the oldest versions of this Ziarat from Qom (in Iran), he discovered that those original texts did not have this part of damning and cursing anonymous first, second whatever. His book is available, has images of original texts published, and has caused a heated debate over the authenticity of Ziarat Ashura that we recite today.

Lesson learned: do your homework, and don’t believe everything you see or hear without proper research and insight. There is no such thing as blind faith in our religion of Islam – Shia or Sunni.


Sound of tears – Nader Khan


Rising Day

“Day, rise up, let the lights dance
Let those with Heaven & Light, dance

Happy souls, no head and feet, dance
I shall whisper to you, where they dance

Each bit that’s in air and desert,
Adore it, they’re crazed in love, like us

Each bit, happy or sad,
is crazed by this worry-less sunshine”
- Rumi


Three butterflies

All together, we are of three butterflies
We’re but fairy tails, in the world of love

First saw a fire and said
Alas, I’ve discovered love

Second one flew near the fire and said
I’m burning in this love

Third one threw itself in fire and said
Yes, indeed, this is the meaning of love
- poem by Attar

در جهان عاشقان افسانه ایم
اولی خود را به شمع نزدیک کرد
گفت آری من یافتم معنای عشق
دومی نزدیک شعله بال زد
گفت حال من سوختم در سوز عشق
سومی خود داخل آتش فکند
آری آری این بود معنای عشق



Song of the Red Dervish

From Iqbal:
“You created night, I made a candle
You created mud, I made life

You created deserts, mountains, and valleys
I made roads, gardens, and grew flowers

I am the one who makes a mirror out of a rock
I make a delightful drink from poison”

شب آفریدی، شمع آفریدم
خاک آفریدی، جام آفریدم
بیابان و کوه‌سار و راغ آفریدی
خیابان و گل‌زار و باغ آفریدم
آنم که از سنگ آیینه سازم
آنم که از زهر نوشینه سازم
اقبال لاهوری


Far away …

I shall turn my eyes into an ocean,
to a desert, my patience I throw away

In such doing,
My heart into an ocean, I throw away

From my broken sinful heart
a sigh, burning Adam & Eve’s sin away

Happiness is where Beloved is
to that direction, I’m thrown away

(disclaimer: partial translation)

Hafez, relying on this world is a mistake
Why delay happiness, why throw it away?!

دیده دریا کنم و صبر به صحرا فکنم
و اندر این کار دل خویش به دریا فکنم

از دل تنگ گنهکار برآرم آهی
آتش اندر گنه آدم و حوا فکنم

حافظا تکیه بر ایام چو سهو است و خطا
من چرا عشرت امروز به فردا فکنم

Come near …


Listen, my dear, to words I have to say
Fill up the cup, and drink away

On the path of Love, devils roam
trying hard to take you away

Come near and listen to Angels
Don’t let the music die, sing away

Elders speak out of experience
Grow up with them, and listen away

Logical folks can never explain Love
On this path, logic? Throw it away

As you pass through this path of Love
Come near Hafez, and kiss away