To organise gatherings in Muharram especially on the occasion of Aashura to remember Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu and his sacrifice is recommended and rewarding as long as the narrations mentioned are authentic.
Aa’la Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan RadiyAllahu states, ‘When the remembrance of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu is kept free of unauthentic and fabricated narrations, it is indeed rewarding as is mentioned in a narration:
’Mercy descends when the pious are remembered.’
Hazrat Allama Amjad Ali Aazmi Rehmatullah Alaih states, ‘to hold gatherings to remember Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu in Muharram is permissible as long as the traditions and stories mentioned are correct. These kind of stories teaches us patience and to submit ourselves to the Will of Allah. It also inspires us to be steadfast on the principles of Islam under all circumstances. We should also remember the companions of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam and their glorious history in order to distinguish our gatherings from that of the Shias.’
Hazrat Sa’ad bin Obadah RadiyAllahu Anhu narrates that he came to RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam and enquired, ‘Ya RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, my mother has passed away. Which charity is best for her?’ RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam replied, ‘Water.’’ Thus Hazrat Sa’ad RadiyAllahu Anhu dug a well for the people and announced that this well is for my mother. (The reward of this goes to my mother.) [Ashatul Lam’aat]
It is clear from the above narration that the well was for the mother of Sa’ad. This means the reward of the good deed goes to the mother of Sa’ad and the well is attributed to her. Thus it is clear that any good deed presented to the deceased can be attributed to him. So when we say that this ‘niyaz’ is for Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu or this food is for Imam Hussain means that the reward goes to Imam Hussain. This kind of food does not become unlawful in any way as is a misconception with some minorities as we see that the water from the well for Hazrat Sa’ad’s mother was drank by the people of Madinah.
Some people also question the general custom of Muslims to make ‘Khichda’ on this day. It is reported the arc of Nooh Alaihis Salaam rested at the Mount of Joody after the mighty flood on the day of Aashura. Hazrat Nooh Alaihis Salaam mixed all the seven type of grains and cereals in a large pot and cooked it, this dish was later called Khichda. Thus it is reported that to make Khichda on this day is a sunnah of Nuh Alaihis Salaam. Moreover Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya RadiyAllahu Anhu narrates that whosoever mixes seven types of grain on this day will get a reward for each grain and will have a sin forgiven. [Tafseer e Roohul Bayan]
Where there are many desirable practices in the masses regarding Muharram and Aashura, there are some acts which are disliked and have no basis in Islam. It is a duty of every Muslim to know these acts and stay away from them.
‘Taziyadari’ is one such practice which was widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent which had evolved from the Shias. In this a replica of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu is erected and people surround it as a mark of respect and pray. All sorts of offerings are made at the site, like flowers, money, food, etc.
Another such ritual initiated by the Shias is the extensive mourning, which is prohibited in Islam in the first place. Men, women and children gather to mourn the deaths of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu and the Ahle Bait. They hit their chests, pull their hairs and cry collectively. Some even go to the extent of hitting themselves with chains and swords which often results in injuries and bleeding. Islam strictly prohibits all these acts. If mourning was allowed then the death of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam would be more worthy of it.
Aa’la Hazrat states, ’Taziya is prohibited; it has no root in Islam. And whatever happens around it is also unlawful. The food presented there, though it does not become Haram, eating it would support the custom and hence should be avoided. Music and dance is Haram.’ [Fatawa Razvia]