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

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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.

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

  1. Salams all. I only saw this now, so I’m answering it. I have the Ziyaret book and I saw this too, and asked a friend of mine, and he said it had to do with NOT Abu Bakr, Umar, and Usman, whom in the branch of Islam, are neither perfect saints, or wicked monsters, just people who made mistakes at times. I think he referred to Muawiyah and Yazid (z). In the spiritual practices, it is also mentioned to “Curse the Yazid in oneself”. I hope this makes some sense.

  2. Salams, (Oops!) I meant to say, “the branch of Islam my friend and I, and others are following” and also, I meant to say (L) and not (Z), after the other two names. I don’t see the editing platform Facebook has, so I don’t know if I can get rid of crap I put in there because I didn’t do a good editing job. I’m interested also that you mentioned the Arabic idiomatic expression, about “the first, second, and third”–I took Arabic, but I didn’t anywhere near master it. I’ve heard a lot of people who are Arabs themselves, and THEY said they didn’t understand all the esoterics of the language. I hope, Allah Willing, we can get the whole issue sorted out between the Shias/Sunnis, and Arabs/non-Arabs in the Middle East and elsewhere, but I’m afraid it needs REAL leadership, or some people I’ve known refer to the Hidden Imam.(S) I think it’s beyond the rest of us.

  3. Thank you Saliha. God bless.

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