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Aspects of Imam Husain's (a.s.) Thought

We deem it suitable to mention some of his activities in the field of Islamic thought. These texts testify to his great intellectual capacity, polished by the divine message and set on the right track by Allah, the Almighty.

Nafi' bin al-Azraq, the head of the Azraqis who were among the Khawarij (those who mutinied against Imam Ali (a.s.) after the Battle of Siffeen), once asked him to describe his Lord Whom he worshipped.

"O Nafi'!," Imam Hussein (a.s.) started, "Whoever uses symbolism in religious matters will always remain in confusion, deviated as he stumbles off the right path, sticking to deviation wherever he goes, straying off the right course, and saying bad, and worthless things. O son of al-Azraq! I can describe my Lord with the very words He used to describe Himself: Never recognized by the five senses. Never compared to man.

Very close but not to the point of being touched. Very far but not so far that He can't be detected. He is One and can't be partitioned. Known by His signs. Described by His attributes. There is no god but He, the Great, the Exalted."

At that point Ibn al-Azraq wept and said: "What beautiful words are yours." 18

On his way to Karbala', he assessed the general situation, pointing to the great deviation the ummah had been drawn into, and talked about his determination to win martyrdom, in the following words:

"Life has certainly changed disguises and its good has gone forever. This has continued till the remaining good in it amounts to the thin sediment at the bottom of a drinking untensil. Life is a mean food, a pasture covered with bad grass. Do you not see that the truth is not followed and falsehood not discouraged? The faithful must certainly desire to meet his Lord righteously. I do not deem death other than felicity and life among the unjust other than suffering and boredom. People are certainly enthralled with life. Faith is only something licked by them. They take good care of it as long as it secures their living. But once put to the tests of tribulation, religious men should be rarely found amongst them." 19

With his sharp awareness, he defines the different levels of the relationship with Allah. He says:

"Some people serve Allah desiring (His rewards). It is the worship of merchants. Some people serve Allah out of fear. It is the worship of slaves. And some people serve Allah out of gratitude. This is the worship of the free. It is the best kind of worship." 20

He addressed the people, prior to the battle of Karbala', defining the characteristics of the Ummayyad rule, and analyzing the political and administrative situation from an Islamic point of view He said:

"... O people! the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) had said: 'Whoever witnesses an unjust ruler considering the prohibitions of Allah as permissible, breaking the covenant of Allah, opposing the practices of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.), treating His servant sinfully and cruelly, and had seen all these misdeeds but did not oppose him bywords or actions, Allah surely will punish him as He wills.'

"Certainly these people have come to staunchly obey Satan, and given up obeying the Compassionate. They showed mischief, stopped acting in accordance with Islamic laws, took Muslims' property to themselves, made the haram designated by Allah, halal, and turned His halal to haram. I am more entitled than anyone else (to make the change). Your letters arrived, and your envoys came to me carrying your pledge of allegiance that you will not hand me over to my enemy, nor will you f ail me. Should you stick to your pledge of allegiance, you have surely made the right decision. I am Hussein bin Ali, and the son of Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). I am, myself, with you, and my family is with yours. You find a good example in me. But, however, if you will not hold onto your pledge of allegiance, break your convenant, and throw off my pledge of allegiance, then, by Allah, it is not the first time you do it. You did it with my father, and you have done it with my brother, and my cousin Muslim bin Aqeel. He is certainly gullible who is deceived by you. You are missing your luck and losing your lot. He who breaks his oath, breaks it at his own peril. Allah will certainly compensate me if you leave me." 21

These are only scattered small examples of his great thought which occupies the center of original, serene Islam. Should the dear reader tend to know more about Imam Hussein (a.s.), he can refer to the books which dealt with his life. He will find out himself how deep and great were Imam Hussein's (a.s.) thought and faith. 22

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18. Ahlul-Bait, His Knowledge and Eloquence, Abu Alam.

19. Tuhaf al-Uqool (Treasures of Minds), Ibn Shu'bah al-Harrani, 5th ed., p. 174, Chapter of "What was Narrated about Hussein (a.s.).

20. Ibid., p.175.

21. His address before the battalion of al-Hurr bin Yazid al-Riyahi, Al-Watha'iq al-Rasmiyyah li-Thawrat al-Imam al-Hussein (a.s.) (The Official Documents of Imam Hussein's Revolution) Abdul-Karim al-Qazwini, vol. 1.

22. Al-Watha'iq al-Rasmiyyah, and Hadith Karbala' (Story of Karbala'), Abdul-Razzaq al-Muqarram, p. 134.

Adopted from the book : "Imam Husain bin Ali (a.s.)" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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