There is a book written by Ayatullah Mirza Jawad Maliki Tabrizi (d. 1924) titled المراقبات اعمال السنه (Al-Muraqabaatu ‘amaal il-sanah – Observation of the Yearly Devotions). Al-Muraqaba means to watch over, or to keep an eye over something. In Islamic literature and studies, it refers to being watchful of one’s actions and one’s soul and determine whether his acts are in accordance to the guidelines Islam has laid out. In this specific book the author goes in depth detailing out acts pertaining to every Islamic month of the year, that one should be performing. The book was originally written in Arabic and has been translated into Farsi.
In the section under Muharram, Ayatullah Mirza Tabrizi discusses the event of Karbala and discusses what our behaviour should be in this month, particularly during the first ten days. There is a paragraph in which he describes a prayer or a wish that a believer should make as one of the acts that should be performed during the month, which I have translated into English below. It is of importance because right after he finishes describing the kind of words we should be saying, he discusses the seriousness of uttering such words and explains why we should not be saying them if we do not truly mean them.
I made use of both the Arabic and two Farsi translations to translate the below and like any translation, it does not do full justice to the original.
With honesty and a relevant state (of sorrow), one should say the following words: “O My Master! I wish all these calamities would have befallen me instead you and that I would have scarified myself upon you! I wish my family members and children would have been killed and taken as captives instead of your family members and children! I wish the arrow of Hurmala (la) would have pierced the neck of my suckling infant! I wish my son Ali1, would have been torn into pieces instead of your son! I wish my liver would have felt the pain of thirst! I wish the world would have started to look obscure and dark in my vision due to the intensity of the thirst! I wish I would have been the one to tolerate these wounds! I wish that arrow would have hit my neck! And that it would have taken my life! I wish my family members, sisters and daughters would have had to face the shame of captivity and that they would have been paraded around cities as bondwomen and that your family members would not have had to face humiliation and shame. I wish I would have entered this fire and torture, and that calamities would not have befallen you.”
And surely Allah (swt) is aware of the truth within your heart, and if what you have uttered are your true feelings, then He will accept this consolation of yours by the right of the noblest of the Sadaat (Imam Hussain [as]) and He will place you in the sitting of the truthful ones, in their company and He will make you as one of their close ones. But, seek refuge and be cautious of uttering lies and being proud in your speech. And God forbid that your true state and heart have not confirmed even one ounce of what you had said and thus during the time of actual trial none of what you had stated is carried out except very less of it. And if that is so, instead of being in a position of sincerity and with the truthful ones, you will take the position of falsehood and regret and be placed with the hypocrites.
And thus, if you do not find yourself in a position to console the Imam in such a manner, then don’t express false prayers and bring disrespect to yourself. Instead, say: “O my master, if I was with you, and if I had been killed while in your company, I would have achieved a prosperous and great victory.” And if your internal state does not permit you to even utter these wishes truthfully, then you must go and seek a cure for the illness of your heart that it has been infected with due to the love of this lowly world and reliance upon its life, and finding complacency in its traps. Contemplate on what has been said by Allah (swt) to the Jews and read His words:
[62:6] Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favoured of Allah apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if ye are truthful.