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Last Updated: 2007/04/08
Summary of question
Is this statement "Everyday is Ashura and every place is Karbala" a hadith? How reliable is its chain of narrators (sanad)?
I have been told by several individuals that this hadith is invalid or that it is not a hadith: “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala”. I have also read on the internet that this is a hadith from Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him). Please give me information about this and please tell me how correct or reliable this hadith is. Thank you.
Concise answer

We weren’t able to find any hadithic proof showing that this sentence: “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala” is a hadith from the infallibles. Yet this concept which is derived from the occasion of Karbala and the line of movement of our imams, is a correct one, containing instructive and valuable points. The reason being that although the incident of Ashura will never be repeated again, but oppression and tyranny are an everyday thing until the appearance of Imam Mahdi (as) and his wiping out all oppression and tyranny. The culture of Ashura will be alive throughout history and time and Karbala will remain the symbol of resistance and struggle against injustice and oppression for divine goals. Our religious leaders have taught us to stand up against oppression and they themselves have also practiced this. Therefore it isn’t true to say that Ashura was a historical incident limited to a specific time and place.

Detailed Answer

We weren’t able to find such a hadith[1] saying: “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala”.[2]

Yet, this sentence is a correct conclusion obtained from the incident of Karbala and the line of movement of our imams and contains some valuable and instructive points; because although another Ashura will never take place, but oppression and tyranny will always continue, until Imam Mahdi (as) reappears and roots out and eliminates all of it. The culture of Ashura will go on forever and Karbala will remain the symbol of resistance and fighting against injustice and oppression. Our religious leaders have taught us to stand up against tyranny, and would do so themselves. Therefore, it isn’t true that Ashura was an incident that took place in a certain time and place and is to be forgotten afterwards.

The sentence “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala” signifies that the battle between good and evil is to go on and isn’t limited to any time or place, and that this battle is linked to the ones before, forming a single chain. The incident of Ashura and Karbala is one of the clearest links of this very long chain. Good and evil are always face to face, and libertarians are responsible for the guardianship of the good and fighting the evil, thus, being careless regarding this battle is considered turning away from religion.

Imam Khomeini, who was the establisher of the Islamic Republic, a true follower of Imam Husein (as) and fought against the oppressors of his time, refers to this statement (Everyday is Ashura and…) as “The Great Statement” and stresses on keeping the message of Ashura alive and putting it into practice saying: “This statement is a great one…our nation must always pay attention to the fact that even today is Ashura and that we must stand up against oppression and that we are currently in Karbala and must act according to it, Karbala isn’t limited to a specific land. The incident of Karbala isn’t limited to a group of seventy-something people in the land of Karbala, all lands must play the same role as Karbala did.”[3]

In reality, with the belief that the rise and martyrdom of Imam Hosein (as) must be the guideline for all Muslim social activities, Imam Khomeini made the rise of Imam Hosein (as) the foundation of his movement. “…what Imam Hosein (as) did, the idea that he had and his way and his victory after his martyrdom and consequently, the victory of Islam. This statement brings forth a responsibility for us, while bringing about good news as well.  The responsibility is that the oppressed, no matter how little in number, must stand up like Imam Hosein (as) against their oppressors, regardless of their number, how armed they might be and the evil power they might possess. The good news being that this statement has considered our martyrs (that stand up as a result of following Imam Husein [as]) as part of the martyrs of Karbala.”

During the imposed war on Iran, the great leader of the revolution stated: “Although the battle of Ashura was the shortest one time wise (half a day), it is the longest battle between good and evil as far as length goes , therefore, whenever one wishes that he/she were one of the companions of the imam (as) and one of the martyrs of Karbala (یا لیتنا کنا معکم‏ فنفوز فوزا عظیما)[4], the battle of Karbala is still going on and the clash of Ashura is continuous (so there still is hope to be able to reach such a rank).”[5]

In other words, as Imam Hosein (as) is the inheritor and successor (wareth) of Prophets: Adam, Ibrahim, Nuh, Musa, Isa, and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them), the followers of Imam Hosein (as) are the inheritors and successors of the red line of Jihad and Shahadah (martyrdom) and will never put down the flag of Karbala, and this is the valuable asset of Shi’ism in its political dimension, as Imam Hosein (as) himself says: “فلکم فی اسوة‏، در کار من برای شما الگو است (there is a good exemplar in me for you)”[6]. This viewpoint of Imam Khomeini, rejects theories that say Karbala and Imam Hosein’s (as) movement were all a personal responsibility that were only for the imam himself and others can’t follow him in it.

One writer even says: “We are certain that if Imam Hosein (as) were to be alive today, he would create another Karbala out of Quds, southern Lebanon, and most Islamic regions, holding the same grounds he held against Mu’awiyyah and Yazid.”[7]

[1] Of course, some quote this statement from Imam Sadiq (as) without any hadithic backup, see: Abbas Azizi, Payame Ashura (The Message of Ashura), pg. 28 and Javad Muhaddethi, Farhange Ashura, pg. 371.

[2] Some have even submitted evidence that this statement isn’t a hadith. See: Ulume Hadith Magazine, no. 26.

[3] Sahifeye Noor (A collection of the late Imam Khomeini’s sayings), v.9, pg. 202.

[4] Ziyarat Ashura

[5] Sahifeye Noor, v.20, pg. 195.

[6] Tabari, v.4, pg304.

[7] Hashem Ma’ruf Al-Hasani, Al-Intifadhat al-Shi’iyyah, pg.387.

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