The Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) is such a great worship whose reward being mentioned in multitudes of traditions highlight the emphasis of this visitation by the Ahlul Bait (a.s.). The importance of this Ziyaarat is further highlighted by them not only encouraging their followers through their narrations but also visiting Karbala themselves. In fact there are some instances mentioned in traditions, wherein if they were unable to travel to Karbala due to any illness, they have sent others on their behalf and asked them to pray for them at the shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.).
Ibn Qulawayh quotes that Abu Muhammad al-Wahwirdi narrated to me from Abu Ali Muhammad Ibn Hammaam (may Allah have mercy on him) who said that Muhammad al-Himyari narrated to me from Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari (r.a.) who said that he visited Abul Hasan Imam Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Naqi (a.s.). At that time, Imam (a.s.) had high fever. Imam (a.s.) instructed me,
“O Abu Hashim! Send someone from our followers to the holy shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) so that he can pray there to Allah for me.
Abu Hashim narrates that I immediately came out of the house of Imam (a.s.) and met Ali Ibn Bilaal. I narrated to him whatever Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) had instructed and requested him to arrange for someone to visit the holy shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) and pray for Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) there.
Here, Ali Ibn Bilaal also had the same question in mind which is commonly raised by anyone who reads or hears this tradition for the first time.
Ali Ibn Bilaal asked, “I submit to the request of Imam (a.s.) but I believe that his position is superior to the holy shrine and that his status is equal to the master of the shrine (viz. Imam Husain (a.s.)). Hence, the prayers of Imam (a.s.) for himself would be much superior to my prayers for him in the holy shrine.”
Abu Hashim narrates that I informed Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) about it. Imam (a.s.) replied,
“Tell him that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) too was superior to the Holy Kaaba and the black stone (Hajar al-Aswad) but still he would circumambulate the House (of Allah) and touch Hajar al-Aswad”.
After this, Imam (a.s.) said,
“Surely for Allah there are some lands
where He loves to be called unto from there
so that He may accept the prayers of the one who asks Him.
and the Holy Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) is from them.”
[Kaamil al-Ziyaaraat, chapter 90, p. 274, H. 3]
Three important points are evident from this tradition:
▪Firstly, sending someone for Ziyaarat in lieu of ourself is the practice (Sunnah) of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.). Hence if we are unable to go for Ziyaarat then we should try to send some relative, close friend or any other deserving person for Ziyaarat on our behalf.
▪Secondly, Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) ordered for someone to be sent for Ziyaarat on his behalf and hence performing Ziyaarat on behalf of the infallible Imams (a.s.) is also a practice (Sunnah) established by the Ahlul Bait (a.s.).
▪Thirdly, since Allah has declared the Holy Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.) as a place of acceptance of supplications and Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.) asked to pray for him over there, hence whenever we go to Karbala, before asking for our personal needs, we should pray for the early reappearance of the grandson of Imam Husain (a.s.), the Imam of our time, His Eminence Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Since this supplication will not only result in salvation for every believer but it is the most important supplication to the Ahlul Bait (a.s.)
O Allah! For the sake of the blessed land of Karbala, which You have made a place of acceptance of prayers, hasten the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and bless us with the opportunity to perform Ziyaarat of Karbala with him. Aameen, O Lord of the worlds!