by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog
As part of a very thoughtful email last month, the Saker wrote, “In your latest contribution you wrote ‘Every day is Ashura, Every land is Karbala’ twice. Did you know that this is my absolute favorite Islamic saying? I also believe that this belief is the real core of the strength of the Resistance in Lebanon, especially Hezbollah.” He was referring to the article (see here) in which I invoked the spirit of that phrase in relation to two case examples of injustice suffered by the people in North Casper, Wyoming, and the people in eastern North Carolina. These were two seemingly very unlikely candidates to be contextualized oddly in an expression that is very much known to be Shi’a Islam in essence.
The Saker also suggested mindfully that I write a short history about the phrase and explain its meaning for the readers of this blog in order to, as he put it, “make it possible for my readers to get a real insight into the Islamic ethos, especially the Shia ethos,” among other reasons. I was grateful about the suggestion and delighted to yield for several specific reasons. First, the phrase is one of the most cherished expressions for me as well and I would never tire of exploring and reflecting on it.
Second, the month of Muharram and its 10th day, the day of Ashura, are right around the corner (in a few weeks) and this essay could serve as a good introduction to this year’s Ashura as a lot of relevant and interesting events are happening all around us.
Third, this month is one full year since I began writing the monthly essays for the Saker’s blog and the article could serve as an appropriate one-year evaluation and reflection piece for me. It will also be a way to pay tribute to the Saker and his wonderful blog. What better way to show my appreciation for the opportunity he affords the global audience to take a mental path less traveled than to propose the most befitting Shi’a cue to the essence of what he actually does: With his digital pen as his weapon and his passion as its ink, he stands against global injustices and tyrant oppressors with extremely limited material resources. So, zero chance that I would not have agreed to write something on the subject!
In this essay, I hope to explore the literature and speeches of the some of the most influential contemporary thinkers and scholars who have interpreted this expression and employed it in a manner that has become a powerful Shi’a Muslim doctrine guiding an effective struggle against injustices and falsehoods in our modern era. A very brief segment about the history of Every Day is Ashura, Every Land is Karbala is presented first.
The History of the Expression and Its Role as a Doctrine
These two verses, کلّ یوم عاشورا، کلّ ارض کربلا [Every Day is Ashura, Every Land is Karbala], are among the most widely used expressions by many Shi’a Muslim sages, activists, and religious scholars in one form or another. Some scholars have traced it back to Imam Ja’afar Sadiq (Peace be upon him), the sixth Imam of Shi’a Twelvers, but no actual valid narration, or hadith, exists to corroborate that claim. A few others have attributed it to the contemporaries and students of that beloved Imam, but no solid evidence exists to support that assertion either.
According to the encyclopedia of Imam Hussain, Daneshnameh Imam Hussain, the phrase کلّ یوم عاشورا، کلّ ارض کربلا may be an adaptation of the verses from a poem by the 13th Century Egyptian poet, Muhammad bin Sa’id Busiri. In one of his long qasideh poems, he wrote, کلّ یوم و کلّ ارض لکربی فیهم کربلا و عاشورا , which is translated, “Every Day and Every Land, due to my grief and sadness for them, is Ashura and Karbala.”
Regardless of its genesis, however, the expression has been referenced and interpreted by very well-known Shi’a Muslim scholars like Martyr Morteza Motahari and Ali Shariyati and it has been referenced and reflected upon by two prominent imams and leaders of the Iranian revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei. In a very significant way, Imams Khomeini and Khamenei, who are also two of the most influential Shi’a Muslim leaders of the world in the 20th and the 21st centuries, have defined and put into practice this expression as a potent doctrine and in a decidedly pivotal and successful way. We will delve deeper into this since it could be quite illuminating and would provide a better understanding of the Shi’a Muslims, the Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution, and Iran’s international politics and stance towards the world’s arrogant oppressors.
Furthermore, it sheds light on why the expression induces “panic attacks” among the most oppressive and corrupt-to-their-core entities, like the British regime, so much so that they invest significant resources on paid religious “scholars” to re-write history and offer utterly compromising interpretations of this expression.
During the early days of the Iranian revolution, Imam Khomeini explained in one of his speeches,
“This expression, ‘Every Day is Ashura, Every Land is Karbala,’ is a really important expression but many misunderstand it. They think it means we should mourn and cry every day. But its true meaning is something quite different. What did Karbala do? What role did the land of Karbala play on the day of Ashura? A handful of people came to Karbala and stood up against the injustices of Yazid. They stood against a tyrant ruler and an emperor of their time. They sacrificed themselves and they got killed but they did not accept the injustice and defeated Yazid. Every place must be like this and every day must also be like this. Every day, our nation must reach this realization that today is Ashura and we must stand up against the injustice. And this very place is Karbala and we must make this place, right here, a Karbala. It is not restricted to one land. It is not restricted to one specific person. The story of Karbala is not restricted to a group of seventy some people and a land of Karbala. All lands must play this role. And all days must play the same role.” (Page 122)
In that speech, Imam Khomeini universalized the day of Ashura and the land of Karbala. He defined Ashura and Karbala in a way that a critical and decisive extrapolation from a specific time and place could be made to all times and all places. It reminded the Muslims in general and the Shi’a in particular about their ongoing responsibility and duty to stand up against falsehood and injustice, just like Imam Hussain, in all places and all the times.
A more direct reference was made on the occasion of the 17th of Shahriver event. The 17th of Shahrivar 1357  was the day when thousands peaceful and unarmed demonstrators were all allowed into then Jaleh Square [later renamed Shuhada/Martyrs Square] from every direction. Once the crowd filled the square, the major streets, alleys, and backstreets were blocked by the Shah’s military force. In a matter of just a few minutes the military rained a heavy fire on men, women, children, the young, and the old. A massive reaping and threshing of the crowd. “Rivers of blood” began flowing everywhere. It was the first time since the start of the uprising that the Pahlavi regime had opened fire on the masses. That day became known as the “Black Friday”.
In a powerful speech delivered on the occasion of the 17th of Shahrivar massacre in Shohada Square, Imam Khomeini made a clear and precise reference again to the Ashura and Karbala expression. In his speech, he qualified the event as follows,
“The bitter memory of 17th of Shahrivar, ’57, and the bitter memories of the days of great hardship that were witnessed by the nation bore in them the sweet fruit of the toppling the palaces of tyranny and arrogance and replacing them with the flag of the republic of Islamic Justice. Is it not so that the instructive mandate of “Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala” should serve as a paragon for the Islamic Ummah? A rising up of the masses in every day and in every land. Ashura was the rising up of the seekers of justice, few in number but fortified with their strong belief and love against tyrannical palace dwellers and arrogant predators. And the life lesson is that paragon must serve as a plan for life every day and in every place. The days that passed us by were the repeats of Ashura. And the squares, the streets, back streets, and the alleys in which the blood of the children of Islam were spilled, they were the repeats of Karbala. And in this paragon there is both a duty and a good news. It is a duty because the oppressed, even if few in number, have a responsibility, they have a duty to rise up, like the Master of Martyrs [Imam Hussain], against the arrogant powers who may have all sorts of equipment, armaments, and great Satanic power. They are charged with that duty. It is a good news since our martyrs are put in the same rank and file as the martyrs of Karbala. A good news that martyrdom is the key to victory. The 17th of Shahrivar is the repeat of Ashura. Shuhad Square is the repeat of Karbala. And our martyrs are reiterations of the martyrs of Karbala. Our enemies are reiterations of Yazid and his cronies. Karbala smashed the palace of injustice with blood and our Karbala destroyed the palace of Satanic rule. Now, it is time for us who are the inheritors of these bloods and those who have been left behind by these young martyrs not to become lethargic. We must strive to bring into fruition their sacrifice with our unwavering wills and hard fists. It is time for us to bury underneath the feet of the martyrs of goodness the remnants of that tyrant regime and the conspirators of injustice who are beholden to the East and to the West.” (Pages 445-446)
This speech was the most clear and definite way Imam Khomeini directly linked the events of the Iranian Revolution to the events of Ashura and Karbala. Another fine and noteworthy point that was raised in Imam Khomeini’s speech was this point: “the oppressed, even if they may be few in numbers, have a responsibility to rise up against the arrogant powers who may have all sorts of equipment, armaments, and great Satanic power.”
The importance of this key point is appreciated only when people examine how a country like Iran which has neither the most “powerful military in the world” to be reassured, nor is she “the most powerful economy” in the world to buy her way in and out of trouble, nor the most populous nation in the world to have many lives to spare sees it necessary to defend the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Yemenis, the Iraqis, the Venezuelans, and all others in any way that she can.
It also explains how Iran mustered the willpower to take over the United States’ Spy Den masquerading as an embassy in Tehran (1979) and arrest and hold 52 spy agents for 444 days. It clarifies how Iran managed to fight an 8-year war alone (with the exception of Syrian help) with almost empty hands and under all sorts of sanctions with a regime (Saddam’s) that that the backing of all powerful governments of the world at that time (1980-1988). It lays bare the SS Bridgeton explosion (1987), the defeat of Israel and world powers in the 33-Day war by Hizbullah forces (2006), the capture of UK officers in Persian Gulf (2006), the capture of RQ-170 (2011), Syrian resistance (2011-present), Yemeni resistance (2015-present), the capture of US Sailors by Iran in 2016, RQ-4 Global Hawk capture (2019), ballistic missile attack on Ayn al-Asad (Lion’s Eye) Air Base (2020), sending oil tankers to Venezuela (2020), just to name a few examples.
The successor to Imam Khomeini, the current leader of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khamenei, too, has interpreted the expression with the same worldview. His most comprehensive explanation and the philosophy related to the phrase could be found in one of his books titled, Four Discourses: Clarification of the Circumstances, the Causes, and the Consequences of the Event of Ashura.  Here, however, I will bring a short segment of one of his speeches in which he has a very concise and pointed reading:
“That they say, Every day is Ashura, Every Land is Karbala, it means the time passes by but the happenings in life as they pertain to humanity, the truths of the creation remain untouched. If in every era, humanity who has a role to play, if they play that role at the right time, exactly when they should play that role, then everything will be reformed. The nations will grow and achieve excellence. The humanity will grow.”
When there is injustice, the role every human being must play to remove the injustice is now, not later. Not when it is convenient but when it is necessary and needed. Not just in places where it is politically correct and materially advantageous to do so but in all places that is right to do so. Not just when and where it costs us nothing but when and where it costs us all worldly things.
Another great Muslim Shi’a scholar, Martyr Morteza Motahhari, who was killed in 1358 [May 1979] by agents of a terrorist organization right after the victory of the revolution, expands on the phrase in this way,
“If we say the prophets are victorious, it does not mean a military victory. If we look at the battle between Hussain Ibn Ali (peace be upon him) with the army of Yazid and Ibn Ziyad from a military perspective, that means on the surface of things and how they appear, then Imam Hussain was defeated and they won. But if we look at the heart of the subject which relates to thoughts and beliefs, that is, Yazid’s establishment represented a movement that wished to destroy the true essence of the Islamic thought and Imam Hussain fought to revive that thought. In this case, we must examine if Imam Hussain reached his goal or not. Was he able to revive a given mindset in the world or not? We see that he could. It is one thousand three hundred years that this movement has gained a new victory every year. That is, every year Ashura is Ashura. And the meaning of Every Day is Ashura becomes this fact that every day, in the name of Imam Hussain, there is a fight against injustice and falsehood, and every day, truth and justice are revived. This is victory. What victory would be greater than this? Yazids and Ibn Ziads disappear but Hussains and Abbasses and Zaynabs remain. Of course, they remain as an idea not as a person. They remain as a guardian and the ruler of their society. Yes, those who are there die. But these who are here remain alive and eternal.”
Martyr Motahhari appraises the expression in terms of its endurance over a millennium and several centuries not just as a worldview but as a lifestyle of choice. Another well-known Muslim Shi’a thinker and sociologist, Ali Shariati defines the phrase in a manner that links it to the school of Intizar, or the expectation of the coming of Imam Mahdi (peace be upon him) at the end of time in a simple but psycho-socially nuanced way:
“What does Every Day is Ashura, Every Land is Karbala mean? It is not that wherever we find, we recite the Ashura prayers! It is to expect. The philosophy of expecting means a philosophy that a justice-seeking intellectual thinker, no matter what the circumstances, is not afflicted with philosophical and historical hopelessness and despair. There are no peoples or groups like Shi’a and no school of thought like the Shi’a school of thought that would fight for thirteen, fourteen centuries; all their leaders are slaughtered; they are poisoned; they are put in jail; they are killed; all their movements are all crushed. But they never succumb to despair! Why and what factor has kept these believers still convinced, still believing, and still hopeful despite protracted periods of setbacks, hardships, and adversities,?! The belief in the inevitability of history based on the philosophy of expectation!
What does a human being with expectation mean? Look at it this way. If you are at home and expecting a guest, if it is an army unit expecting an inspector or a call for readiness or a call for war or the arrival of a commander, if it is a city expecting the arrival of a person of importance, if it is someone who is expecting the coming of guest or a friend, any sort of expectation that you examine, to expect means to be prepared and to be ready. It does not mean to be dormant and sluggish! To expect means to be ready, equipped, and responsible. Therefore, the philosophy of expectation is to believe in the inevitability of history and be reassured, in all circumstances, that standing up for justice and in retaliation for spilt innocent bloods must take place all the time. It is a battle that since the beginning of history has been moved from one hand to the other, from one Prophet of God to the other, from one Shi’a Imam to the other. This battle, generation after generation, is propounded and put before every single individual. And despite all desperate condition, this flag is decidedly victorious in the future.”
Shariati points to a historical and unbreakable link among all Prophets of God, Imams, and true believers throughout all times and all places to the coming of Mahdi (peace be upon him). It is useful to open a parenthesis here and make an important note: this very idea that Shia Muslim Twelvers must always evaluate their time and place on a daily basis and see where they stand in terms of their opposition to injustices and at the same time take the necessary measures to rectify and reform in preparation for the coming of Imam Mahdi (peace by upon him) defines their Waiting and Expectation. This approach stands in stark contrast with notions of passive waiting for a savior or helping create chaos and mayhem to engineer an end of time, an approach that inevitably helps and enables corrupt oppressors of every time and every place. Close parenthesis.
In closing of this essay, I would like to include a video of Maddahi, or religious recital, about Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) by Maysam Moti’ei (here) in which he has woven together several key concepts (discussed in the article) in one neat lyrical package. Since the song does not have any English subtitles, I did a translation of the lyrics (below). والسلام.
The master and the leader is Hussain,
The sereneness in hearts is Husssain.
The whisper of his lovers and devotees,
Nothing but Ya Hussain, Ya Hussain.
Besides you, I have no thought or notion,
My kin, my belonging, my life and devotion.
To the somber recital of the killing field,
Like the pouring rain we weep.
Grieving and mourning you these nights,
Alongside the martyrs we weep.
Our tears the elegy of the Euphrates,
Our Imam “Qati’ul Abarat” killed for tears.
By our Molaa, the leader, we remain,
From Ashura is the zeal that we gain.
O Lovers! Bimsillah!
The path to Al-Quds is from Karbala!
In the battlefields, I shall never abandon Ali,
My Molaa, my Leader, Sayyed Ali.
Every Day is Ashura,
Every Land is Karbala.
O the heir to Hussain’s blood!
Mahdi, the son of Zahra, arrive!
The defender of the oppressed,
The proof from God, hasten and arrive!
 Muhammadi Rayshahri M., Daneshnameh Imam Hussain (Aleyhi-Salaam) According to Quran, Hadith, and History. Vol. 6, Page 89. Digital Copy, Available online at: http://lib.eshia.ir/27254/6/89
 Ruhullah Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Noor, Vol. 10, Pages 122. Available online at: https://farsi.rouhollah.ir/library/sahifeh-imam-khomeini/vol/10/page/122
 Ruhullah Khomeini, Sahifeh-ye Noor, Vol. 9, Pages 445-446. Available online at:
 Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Four Discourses: Clarification of the Circumstances, the Causes, and the Consequences of the Event of Ashura. Digital Copy, Institute for Cultural Research in the Islamic Revolution, the Office of Preservation and Publication of Ayatullah Ali Khamenei’s Works, Enghlab Islami Publication, Tehran, Iran. Book ID#: 978-964-2951-55-0.
 Ayatollah Khamenei, Speech during the joint educational ceremony of the students in Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) University on Farvardin 26, 1388 (2009). Available online at: https://www.leader.ir/fa/speech/5172
 Martyr Morteza Mottahari, “The Battle of Truth and Falsehood.” Cultural and Scientific Foundation of Martyred Teacher Morteza Mottahari, Pages 40-41. Available online at: https://3danet.ir/morteza-motahhari-books-pdf/
 Ali Shariati, The Philosophy of History in Islam, Section 4. Available online at: http://www.shariati.com/farsi/tarikhdarislam/tarikhdarislam4.html
As soon as I saw the link to your previous essay, I went to read it. (I miss too many good posts!) The beauty of your language casts a harsh light on ugliness of their facts. If you practice more to use your beauty to illuminate their horror, you will be loved and adored. Perhaps droned and remembered.
Now I must read this present essay.
Before I go I have a question.
“The King James Bible” was a political project, to provide the English People with a text, which they could read (well, hear, because mostly they could not read) and understand, and use to withstand the Church of Rome. Its translators declared they wished to write a text of the most *beautiful* English language that they were capable.
I have read reports that the Quran, the Recitation, was written by a similar college because thoughtful people noticed the oral tradition of Mohammed’s, the Messenger’s words, was diverging, disintegrating.
KJB is often disparaged in recent decades, mostly because the people, worse the preachers, no longer understand the language. I have read also that the language of the Quran is regarded as antiquated and difficult to understand.
So, my question : Was Quran, also, at least for some of its scribes, intended to be expressed in the most beautiful Arabic language that they were capable?
During the time of Prophet there were hundreds of Qaris who had memorized Qur’an as revealed and re-sequenced by the Prophet. There were also at least 7 scribes who recorded it on velum. Although there are several phonetic differences and interpretations, there is no differences in the actual text. There was also never a disagreement (or war) about the text.
When Indonesian Malay scholars were sent to Cape Town as prisoners of war, in the late 17th century, they wrote it from memory and it is held in a museum there today. Interestingly, as Qur’anic Arabic is 100% phonetic, the Afrikaans language, developed by this community and later usurped by the Afrikaner ‘nation’, was actually originally written in Arabic script as are Farsi and even Urdu today.
There are more than 40 English translations from ‘archaic’ to ‘modern’, the best being one b Sayed Ali Quli Qara’i from Iran who did a phrase by phrase translation. Google and download a PDF if you want…
Middle eastern monotheistic superstitions have been a blight on humanity.
Author is well spoken and well referenced but I found his contentions a bit hollow.
I find much deeper spirituality in the fine art works mosaics, calligraphy, wood work, painting , stone and design of houses of worship than the bluster and politics of the men talking about faith.
Western ‘liberal’ thought questioning basic values of honesty, truth and self-sacrifice are a blot on humanity. There can be no spirituality without God and politics devoid of spirituality is a recipe for disaster.
What will happen when the Mahdi will come after Shia traditions?
“Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” Abu Huraira added “If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): — ‘And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (i.e Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) Before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them.”
@https://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/118; Chapter: The advent (descent) of ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) alayhis-salam
“It is reported that, “Jesus (‘a) will descend, wearing two saffron colored robes.” According to another tradition, “Jesus the son of Mary will descend to a hill of the Sacred Earth that is named Ithbani [or Ithbayt]. Two yellow dresses are on him and the hair of his head is anointed and there is a lance (arm) in his hand by which he kills Dajjal.
He comes to Jerusalem while the people pray the afternoon prayer and Imam is in front of them. Imam comes back, but Jesus prefers him and prays behind him according to the revealed law of Muhammad. Then he will kill the swine, break the crosses, destroy the churches and temples and kill the Christians unless they believe in him”.
Imagine that,Abu Huraira was a worthless scum, a maggot who falsified thousands of Hadith for money and the glory of Bani Omaya, making them up as he went. Even Aisha the infamous wife of our Prophet, who herself falsified numerous hadith, amongst others the story, that muslims used to write the revelations of leafs, that then were eaten by goats (I kid you not! Do the sunni don¨t know, that their Qurran is missing parts eaten by goats, And how can their Isam be complete? Questions, questions!!!) and not to mention starting the rumor, that The Prophet married her, when she was 5 years old (she was actually 21 years old. We know, because history has registered the age of her sister!), and not to mention the fact, that she was the reason 150 000 muslims died during her wars with Imam Ali! She was a psychopath, if there ever was any! Even she shouted at Abu Huraira, asking him how he could quote our Prophet so much, when he only lived in Medina for the last 2 years of The Prophet life, while she herself was The Prophets wife and lived with him! Abu Huraira responded, that it was because she was busy making love to our Prophet!.That is according to our sunni brothers holiest of holy books “The Sahih setheh”. If our sunni brothers would read their own Sahih, they would become Shia!
Quoting this scum is like quoting the Talmud to describe Jesus!
I would think that all Hadiths are fake, even parts of the Quran as you say, but the problem is that many Muslims believe in them and act accordingly. They did smash crosses, destroyed churches and temples and killed Christians all along hundreds of years of Islam, they continue to do so under our very eyes and believe that it is their duty to do it in the future.
Maybe you should watch another movie Ano, where it is you colonising our and plundering our countries, killing our hope for a better life, not to mention millions upon millions of our people. in this movie you start two world wars and kill 170 000 000 people in just a 100 years. Shame on you Ano, read a book and learn something before life has been wasted on you. you are a rapist shouting rape!
Quran is the most authentic book. God preserved it. It is an oral tradition preserved through memorization.
Aisyah is a beloved wife of the prophet and had she fail the test she would have been “replaced with someone more pious, more …. ect”
The event is called Fitnah for a reason. Your blame is unjustified and your name calling is a transgression against yourself
It is toward the quran we all need to turn to, towards the plain and clear verses, and avoid infighting with different interpretation of unclear verses and outside sources.
The fact of the matter is, that your beloved Aisha murdered our Prophet and was the one, who pored the poison down his throat, while he was unconscious. When The Prophet regained consciousness he ordered those present, except his Uncle Abbas, who did not take part in this plot, to drink the same black liquid, but none of them did. Go figure! It is all written in your Sahih black on white!
The fitnah started long before the murder of our Prophet. And if you are in doubt read your Quran, where the revelation tells his wives not to repeat to others, what The Prophet tells them in confidentiality, because The Prophet had told Hafsa Omar´s daughter, that her father and Abu Bakr were plotting to take the throne after his death! But the fitnah was complete, when they gathered in Saghifa and declared Abu Bakr Caliph amongst themselves, while our Prophet had on many occasions called Ali to be the ruler after him. Omar himself tells the story, that during one of these events, where our Prophet asked his followers to make an oath to Ali, a most beautiful man sites beside him and tells him to remember this oath. The man repeats the same word three times; Omar remember this oath, that you made today. Omar remember this oath, that you made today……! Omar did not know who the man was and asked The Prophet, who told him that it was an archangel! Funny though when The Prophet died only 7 people were there to bury him, seven 7!!! I wonder where Omar and Abu Bakr were that day!
It all happened even while The Prophet had gathered all the pilgrims, even those who had left were called back, during his last sermon, where he toke Ali´s hand in his, lifted it up and declared Ali as the leader to be in front of everybody. And only then declared, that the religion of Islam was now COMPLETE!
Funny though our sunni socalled brothers declared day after day, that The Prophet left us his sunna and The Quran to guide us, while their caliph forbid and made punishable repeating hadith, they had heard from the mouth of The Prophet with their own ears for almost a 100 years after The Prophets death! But no worries people like Abu huraira and the jew kab al Ahbar could tell all the hadith, their hearts desired. And this is how Omar, who ran from the battlefield every single time, suddenly is injured with not one or two but 24 blows of the none existing sword during a battle, that he himself admits he ran from! Here is the kicker though; every thing I have mentioned is in their own sahih books, and those books are their holiest books after The Quran! if only a sunni here cold show me, where in their sahaih is written, that The Prophet left us The Quran and HIS SUNNA, in order for us not to go astray from the true path of Islam? Every day of every year of every century, your clergy have lied to you in your mosques, when they tell you sunna and the Quran, because your sahih, your holy books say ETRAT and The Quran. And etrat means Ali! Funny how some verses of the holy Quran suddenly become unclear!
For those who believe in the good vs evil struggle, Ashura was the day that evil triumphed in the world.
The battle has been quite one-sided and in vain since then.
The long defeat, to quote J.R.R. Tolkien.
Jamshyd your words touches on something that many people never explore & that is themselves. To illustrate the point further I prefer to let the Master, Jesus himself guide us. The case I have in mind is the one where Jesus saved a prostitute from stoning by saying “Let he who has never sinned be the first to cast the stone”. The grace of the master is amazing. Here we see him obliterating the customary subject/object division by bringing them to one. Suddenly those who had accused the prostitute realized that they were exactly in the same position as her
“Every day is ashura, every land is karbala” is indeed a powerful saying. But explanations rendered by the various esteemed individuals mentioned in the article, tend to reduce the saying to a mere political slogan. This is not wrong as such , but it is fragmentary & can widen the divide. In my opinion, ‘injustice’ is an outer manifestation of an inner “something” which we all have. Understanding the form and nature of this inner “something” is a fundamental prerequisite for dealing with injustice. Mankind throughout history has tackled the issue of justice/injustice in many ways, some of which are: (I) The Legal system. Equality before the law. (ii) Systems of governance; political,religious, corporate & military. Unfortunately All these systems do not address the question of justice/injustice directly, they do so in a roundabout way by tackling other things in the human psyche like fear, greed, love for comfort etc. This approach though successful in it’s right is divisive (us vs them) and leads to violence / war. This is the area which is dealt with by genuine religious teaching as exemplifies by the Jesus tale I mentioned above and countless examples set by other messengers of god.
According to Zoroastrian-Christian-Islamic doctrine, and contrary to modern psychology, evil is a thing apart from and contrary to the nature and essence of the world and mankind. It is in fact this contrary nature of evil which makes it evil.
According to Zoroastrian beliefs, which were later echoed by Christians and Muslims in some form or another, the world was created perfect. A paradise, if you will. Soon after the creation, however, the world was invaded. By none other than Ahriman, aka the devil, the fallen angels, Iblis-Azazel the Jinn and his crew.
Worshipped as gods by some through the ages, shunned as demons by others, these entities have been wreaking havoc on our world.
According to Zoroastrian beliefs, No Rooz, the New Year, celebrated on March 21st, is the most significant festival of the year, which somehow survived the Islamic conquest of Iran, where no other pagan festivals survived.
No Rooz is significant because it is symbolic of Ahura Mazda’s (God’s) promise to mankind, that although winter will bring cold and darkness and the harshest conditions upon the world, light will eventually prevail. Life will eventually prevail. And that which is contrary to life, ie. evil, will be vanquished.
The Zoroastrian sages of old would all agree, I think, that we are at the peak of winter now.
Spring is coming. Evil ones, beware!
@Jamshyd: “Worshipped as gods by some through the ages, shunned as demons by others, these [supernatural] entities have been wreaking havoc on our world.”
“For we wrestle not only against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in the Heavens.” — St.Paul.
I have long suspected that all three Peoples of the Book must have inherited from Zoroaster their common zeal in the battle between good and evil.
“All things change but one thing does not change / The battle between good and evil does not change”. — TS.Eliot
But it does evolve, and as such one can rest assured that today’s evil people are a far worse lot than their ancestor’s that came before them. You are witnessing the worst a peoples can be since the inception of time, mostly due to technological advances and the need to control the population at all costs.
Trouble is, we never seem to be able to arrive at consensus about exactly which things are good and which are evil. The devil, it has been widely said, is in the details. Indeed!
For me, I think imagining that we’re “wrestling against powers and principalities in the Heavens” is just another way of creatively avoiding wrestling with the very real powers and principalities that rule right here on earth. No holy books or prophets required. But that’s just me.
The concept of good vs evil is a very tricky thing to deal with & yes some learned people refer to it as the Babylon concept of ‘dualism’. It is an illusion which unfortunately defines the very way we perceive reality. In order for the “self / I” to manifest & indulge in an individual / subjective experiencing ,it identifies with a physical body, mind, emotions & related conditioning. Unfortunately this act of identifying abstracts the self into limited confines commonly called personality or ego. It is this ego that assumes ownership of the title I , which in turn give rise to the universe as we know it. Hence when I rises , the other and all manifestation rises. This is dualism. However the “real” self is one or non-dualistic meaning all is the self (manifest & un-manifest). Hence Jesus would say “I and the father are one” or he would say , “the body of man is the temple of god”. The sayings to which the “fathers of the church” gave topsy-turvy interpretations. But the point I want to emphasize is that dualism or binary refers two ends of the same stick. So there cannot be light without darkness or inside without outside or a one sided mountain.Serious spiritual work begins when one stops identifying with the body & mind.
Historically, I believe Zoroaster is the first man we know of to have brought up the idea of a struggle between good and evil.
Zoroaster was born amongst a people who were worshipping a pantheon of beings called the devas. Zoroaster denounced those beings as demons, unworthy of worship and sacrifice; devious, devils, but also divine.
Instead, he drew people’s attention to Spenta Mainyu, the holy spirit, or simply the spirit of the world. He claimed that the spirit of the world was under attack by another spirit, Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit, the enemy. And he called upon the people of the world to choose a side and do battle.
Ignorance of the war puts one in league with the enemy, by default.
The greatest weapon of the enemy is the Lie. The only effective weapon against it is the Truth.
@Disaffected: There is a tale attributed to Zoroaster, which tells of the plight of a cow. The tale is set in a time and place where a certain people were living as cowherds. These people gave their cows kindness, love and protection, and the cows returned that love and kindness in the form of milk, leather, meat, etc. We are told that it was a symbiotic relationship that benefited both species.
But the people in question had some neighbors who looked down on taking care of cows. They mocked it, calling it an unworthy pursuit for a fighting man. These neighbors would routinely raid the villages of the cowherds and slaughter the cows, taking what they needed. This pattern went on, until the situation of the cows became dire, nearing extinction as we would say today. One of the cows cried out to the creator and begged for help and protection. The creator selected a man, Zoroaster, and tasked him with the protection of the cow.
This story, I believe, delineates good and evil very clearly. I will do my best to interpret it here.
We live in a world that is alive, just as we ourselves are alive. Our life is not separate from the life of the world, on the contrary, it is directly and wholly dependent on the life of the world, what we call the biosphere today. We can choose to nurture and protect the biosphere, give it our love and affection, develop a symbiotic relationship with it, and we all benefit. We take care of the cow, the cow keeps living, gives birth, our children are blessed with it as well. Life continues.
Or we can choose to slaughter the cow. The cows go extinct, our children must do without it. Life does not continue.
Good, and evil.
The enemy seeks to end Life, destroy the biosphere, kill the cow.
Only poets can describe the great beauty of Persia, and the great heartedness of its people.
The Way that can be told is not the true Way.
The Name that can be said is not the true Name.
— Dao De Jing of Lao Zi
The Dao De Jing which can be translated is not the true Dao De Jing.
A well-wrought poem (music, art, building, etc) is like an Orthodox Ikon (or Zen Koan), a trick to point your mind in the right direction. Of course, a poem (music, art, building, Ikon, Koan, etc) can lie. Or reveal the truth which its creator was trying to conceal.
We sleep, we eat, we have hot and cold running water, family, friends and apart for many small sufferings ,tears and grievous times, have a reasonable life, some freedom, we write and think and share ideas when we can.
We are preparing for the hard times to come, it is the advent time of what will come, and the light and wisdom that is shared here we must accumulate and store, pack it carefully for times of far greater hardship to come.
Peace is the message of the Christ, love the new commandment given by Him. In this we are united and by evil divided, it is a hard thing to love and be at peace.