Rafed English

Husyan The Sacrifice For Mankind

Husyan The Sacrifice For Mankind

by :

Imam Muhammad Shirazi

The following are some of the sayings of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam on occasions leading to the tragic event of Ashura – 10th of Muharram – 61 H,around 681 CE:‘Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation.’

‘I do not see death except happiness and prosperity, and life with oppressors but anguish.’

‘I swear by God, I shall not surrender as a humiliated person, and shall not escape like slaves.’

‘I have not arisen for the purpose of exuberance, arrogance,corruption, or oppression, but I have done so in order to seek reform in the nation of my Grandfather [Muhammad peace be upon him]. I want to promote virtue and prohibit vice, and I want to go down the path and tradition of my Grandfather [Muhammad peacebe upon him], and the path of my father [Ali ibn Abi Talib peace be upon him].’

Addressing his adversaries on the battlefield, when he was the only fighter left alive, and they started attacking the women and children in the tents:

‘If you do not believe in a religion, and do not fear the hereafter,then be free (from arrogance) in your lives.’

‘O Allah! You know that all there was from us was not in competition to seek power, nor to gain refuse of the world 1, but it was nothing other than to present the signs and essence of Your religion, and to promote reform in Your land, (so that) oppressed members of your servants find safety and security, and Your laws,orders and obligations are acted upon.’

Some of the general sayings of Imam Husayn

‘Say not about your brother in his absence other than that which you would like him to say about you in your absence.’

‘There are those who worship Allah out of desire (for reward), and this is the worship of traders, and there are those who worship Allah out of fear (of punishment), and this is the worship of slaves. Whereas certain people worship Allah out of gratitude, and this is the worship of the free, and this is the best of the worships.’

“(O Allah) ...

How can You be reasoned about with that that is in need of You in its existence?

Does anything other than You have a manifestation which You do not have, so that it can act as manifestation for You?

When were You ever not present so that You may need a guide (evidence or reason) to lead to You?

And when were You ever distant (from anything) so that the signs and the effects were the lead to You?

Blind is the eye that does not see You .... .”

‘(O Allah) ...What did he find he who lost You? And what did he loose he who found You? Truly he has failed who is contended with other than You

Charles Dickens

"If Husayn fought to quench his worldly desires, then I do not understand why his sisters, wives and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore that he sacrificed purely for Islam."

Thomas Carlyle

"The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Husayn and his companions were the rigid believers of God. They illustrated that numerical superiority does not count when it comes to truth and falsehood. The victory of Husayn despite his minority marvels me!"

Dr. K. Sheldrake

"Husayn marched with his little company not to glory, not to power or wealth, but to a supreme sacrifice and every member of that gallant band,male and female, knew that the foes were implacable, were not only ready to fight but to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under a burning sun, amid scorching sands yet no one faltered for a moment and bravely faced the greatest odds without flinching."


in his “A Literary History of Persia” writes:

“As a reminder, the blood-stained field of Karbala' where the grandson of the Apostle of God fell at length, tortured by thirst and surrounded by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at any time since then sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and heedless, the deepest emotion, the most frantic grief and the exaltation of spirit before which pain,danger, and death shrink to unconsidered trifles. Yearly, on the tenth day of Muharram, the tragedy is rehearsed in Persia, in India, in Turkey, in Egypt, wherever a Shiite community or colony exists; ... As I write it all comes back; the wailing chant, the sobbing multitudes, the white raiment red with blood from self-inflicted wounds, the intoxication of grief and sympathy.”

Who was Imam Husayn, and why was he the sacrifice for the whole of humanity?

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam 3 was the grandson of the final Messenger of Allah Almighty to humanity, the holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad sallallahu-alayhi-wa-aalih 4; the messenger who “has been sent as Mercy to the worlds” to paraphrase the holy Qur’an.

His father was Imam Ali alayhis-salam, the commander of faithful, who comes second only to prophet Muhammad in the excellent merits that he possessed; qualities such as piety, sincerity, charity, tolerance, vast knowledge, to name a few.

His mother was Fatima al-Zahra’ alayhas-salam 5, the daughter of prophet Muhammad and, given her immaculate qualities and moral values that she possessed, the leading lady of the worlds.

After the death of his grandfather, father and brother Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn was in charge of protecting Islam, the Almighty’s final Revelation to humanity, from deviation. It was 60 H (around 680 CE). It was the most crucial time in the history of mankind. The forces of evil have been amassing all their forces, skills and expertise for fifty years, and over this period, and through all the devious means, they had managed to achieve considerable gains, but not enough to totally obliterate the teachings of Islam and its Messenger. They needed one final big push, and this task was assigned to Yazid bin Mo‘awiyah. Through threat and brute force, Yazid had managed to quell all the voices of opposition, except for one.

Husayn, the son of Imam Ali, being who he is, and the Imam (leader) of Islam and Muslims had one duty to discharge; the protection of the final revelation to mankind – and at any cost.

And this is exactly what he did. He stood up to protect the torch that was lit to guide mankind to the light of truth.

He left Makkah for Karbala, along with his women and children. He was joined by his devout friends, along with their families. There were also those how did not share his stance to begin with, but when they heard his call they joined in. Even some Christians joined him in his struggle when they heard his message!

At Karbala he, along with his loyal companions of not more than 100,faced the army of Yazid of more than 100,000 (some reports put this figure at several times more).

For the task of protecting this torch he did not hesitate to pay everything he had. For this he gave his life, and those of his brothers, nephews, sons, from his son of early twenties to his infant baby son of few months. This is not to mention his most devout companions who paid similarly.

What Imam Husayn achieved through his sacred movement was to rekindle and revitalise the bearers of that torch, and by offering himself and his family and companions as a sacrifice, he kept alive the message that has been sent not just to the Muslims but to all of mankind. Through his remarkable sacrifices, Imam Husayn managed to change the course of history and the direction that mankind was heading for.

The articles in this work cover some aspects of the aims and objectives of Imam Husayn’s movement, the difference between his strategy and that of his brother Imam Hasan in facing tyranny and despotism, the examples he set, and the lessons that are learnt from the events that led to Karbala, and its aftermath fourteen centuries ago. Besides, the benefits of his movement, the personality of Imam Husayn peace be upon him as reflected by the many hadith and teachings of Prophet Muhammad is also discussed.

The author has written a number of works about Imam Husayn alayhissalam,whereas this book is a collection of lectures delivered by the author. Included in this work is an interview with a Christian scholar on the subject of the Husayni ceremonies, a number of Fatawa or decrees from the most eminent Religious Authorities or Maraje‘, as well as some questions and answers about the annual commemoration ceremonies observed by the Muslims around the world on the occasion of Ashura – the Day of Sacrifice for humanity.

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is the son of Imam Ali alayhis-salam and Fatima alayhas-salam the daughter of the holy Prophet Muhammad sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih. He was the second grandson of the prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, and he was the holy prophet’s third caliph successor, after his father and brother Hasan alayhis-salam.

Like his father and brother, he was the Imam (leader) of the people. [On instructions from Allah Almighty, prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhiwa-aalih announced the twelve Imams 6 who would succeed him in leading the Muslim nation.] Imam Husayn is the father of the nine Imams who followed him in succession.

He was born in Medina on the third of the month of Sha‘ban, in the third year after Hijra – 624 CE.

On the day of Ashura, while suffering from extreme thirst, he was brutally killed and his head severed by the swords of the army of Yazid-bin- Mo‘awiyah on Saturday the tenth of Muharram in the year 61 after Hijra –around 681 CE – in Karbala, Iraq.

His son and successor, Imam Ali ibn 7 Husayn, Zayn-al-Abidin alayhissalam prepared his headless body, after being left in the field for three days, and buried him in the fields of Karbala, where his shrine stands today.

The holy Prophet has said in the praise of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam 8:

"My two grandsons are the delights of my eyes."

"Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the youth in Paradise."

"Hasan and Husayn are both Imams whether they rise up or not."

He was the most knowledgeable and the best worshipper among the people of his time. He would pray one thousand Rak'ahs every night like his father, and on many nights he would carry sacks of food to the needy, to the extent that the marks of carrying heavy sacks were clearly visible on his back after his death. He was very kind, had a great and forbearing personality, and was hard on those who disobeyed Allah.

When a Bedouin Arab came to Imam Husayn seeking help he recited the following poem for the Imam:

Disappointed will not be he who makes a request from you.

For you are generous and trustworthy and your father was the killer of the profligate and the corrupt individuals.

If it was not for the former (members) of your (family) 9, we would still have been in hell.

Then Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, while avoiding eye contact with the man, gave him four thousand gold coins (Dinars) and apologized to the man saying:

Take this for I apologise to you, and rest assure that you have my sympathy For if I were in a different situation and I had more (money) to offer you, I would have given you far more.

Through his courageous revolution, the like of which there has been none in the world, he revived the Islamic Law and the religion of his grandfather, and furthermore he even revived the whole world until the Day of Judgment. He is the leader of the martyrs and the best among people after his elder brother.

Throughout his life the Muslims used to revere and adore Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, and used to see in him what they had seen in his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. Their adoration for Imam Husayn was not just because he was the grandson of the prophet salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, but also because he was the manifestation of the teachings of Islam and the conducts of the Messenger of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, no one could fail to see examples of the highest moral qualities in his behaviour.

The holy Prophet has said in the praise of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam:

"Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn."

Chroniclers and historians have individually remarked that Imam Husayn was the manifestation of the best examples of noble manners and conduct,as well as his vast knowledge, which he inherited from the Messenger of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. His actions spoke before his words.

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam was humbly gracious and generous to the poor and those in need. He used to support what is right and fight what was wrong. People always noticed such attributes in his conduct and behaviour as perseverance, forbearance, and magnanimity. He was the most pious and God-fearing of all people of his time.

In his book Master of the People of Paradise Dr Ahmad Ashur says:

“If you browse through the pages of the Sihaah books you could not fail to come across many tens of hadith about the merit and superiority of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and the love of the Messenger of Allah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih for him.”

In his book al-Fusul al-Muhimmah Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki, quotes Anas ibn Malik who said, “I was with al-Husayn alayhis-salam when a servant entered and in her hand a bouquet of basil. She saluted al-Husayn and gave him the bouquet. Al-Husayn alayhis-salam said to her ‘You are free for the sake of Allah.’ I said to al-Husayn ‘She gives you a bouquet of basil and salute you and you set her free?’ He said ‘This is how Allah has taught us! Almighty He says: “If you are saluted, salute back in a better way or return the same salute” and the better way is to set her free.” 10 At the time of the prophet salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih and the Imams alayhum-as-salam slavery was common in the society. One of the most important values in Islam is freedom and therefore it always aimed to gradually eliminate slavery from society. Therefore Islam encouraged people to set their slaves free, and many rewards are prescribed for setting a slave free. The Prophet and the Imams lead the way in this process in two ways. One was to setexamples for the Muslims by buying salves and setting them free at the first possible opportunity. The second policy of the Imams was to buy as many salves as they could, educate them and then free them into society as free, well mannered, and responsible adults.

In this way, this policy gave a good chance to a slave to attain his/her freedom, set an example for other Muslims to practice, and give less chance to those who wanted to see slavery ripe in society.

In his Chronicles, Ibn Asaakir reports that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam used to receive money (Khums and Zakat) from Basra and other destinations and he used to distribute the money between the poor and the needy there and then. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is best known for his revolt against the status quo. By that time the socio-political situation had deteriorated to an extreme and intolerable state, fundamental measures needed to be taken.

The main aim and objectives of Imam Husayn’s revolt, which are in fact the aim and objectives of Islam at any time and in any place, may be summarised as follows:

• To bring about a responsible community in order to implement and convey the message and teachings of Islam.

• To build an Islamic society which takes Islam as its sole source of reference.

• To rescue the Islamic civilisation from deviation.

This is because the Islamic Ummah (Community) suffered from various diseases in different domains:

• In the social domain it suffered widely from corruption, bribery, cheating, oppression, favouritism and nepotism.

• From the law and order point of view, the criminal was not being prosecuted, and therefore crime was ripe.

• From the ethical viewpoint, they had turned the moral values upside down.

• From the economic viewpoint, the ruling elite and their cronies monopolised the wealth of the nation.

For such reasons, and for the fact that the Muslims had remained indifferent to these issues to the extent that these had become the norm,that Imam Husayn rose against the injustice and corruption that was being conducted in the name of Islam.

In the course of his jihad in the cause of Allah, Imam Husayn was brutally beheaded and his body mutilated, alongside his sons, relatives, and some seventy of his followers. Furthermore the women and children, who were subsequently captured, including Imam Husayn’s sisters Zaynab alayhassalam and Umm Kolthoum alayhas-salam as well as Zayn-al-Abidin alayhis-salam, were taken as prisoners and paraded in towns and villages as villains.

And since then the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam inspired the reform movements against despot rulers all over the world and the Muslims continue to reap the fruit of the event of Karbala and every year during the month of Muharram the memory of Ashura is commemorated with vigour by hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world.

As it was mentioned earlier, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam was the third of twelve Imams who succeeded the holy prophet Muhammad salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih. On instructions from Allah Almighty, prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih announced the twelve Imams who would succeed him in leading the Muslim Ommah (nation). Although at the time of the prophet Muhammad, only the first three Imams were alive, however, the prophet salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih named all twelve Imams who have been appointed as the Ma’soom Imams or leaders 11. The first caliph (successor) of the prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih whom he appointed to lead the Ommah after him was Imam Ali alayhissalam.

The prophet appointed Imam Ali alayhis-salam immediately after his last pilgrimage, in Ghadir Khum, and instructed the Muslims to pay homage of allegiance (Bay‘ah) to Imam Ali alayhis-salam as the Imam and the leader of the Muslims, and commander of the faithful, Amir-ul- Mu’minin, which they dutifully did. Given the number of people present at the time, some reports put the figure at more than one-hundred-andtwenty- thousands 12; it took more than three days for them to pay thehomage of allegiance to Imam Ali alayhis-salam.

The names and titles of the twelve Ma‘soom 13 Imams are as follows (year of birth given in brackets):

The 14 Ma‘soomeen are also referred to as the

1. Imam Ali, Amir-ul-Mu’minin alayhis-salam, (10 BH, 600 CE)
2. Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba alayhis-salam, (2 H, 623 CE)
3. Imam Husayn al-Shahid alayhis-salam, (3 H, 624 CE)
4. Imam Ali ibn Husayn, al-Sajjad / Zayn-al-Abidin alayhis-salam,(28 H, 649 CE)
5. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir alayhis-salam, (57 H, 676 CE)
6. Imam Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq alayhis-salam, (83 H, 702 CE)
7. Imam Mosa ibn Ja‘far al-Kadhem alayhis-salam, (128 H, 745 CE)
8. Imam Ali ibn Mosa al-Ridha alayhis-salam, (148 H, 765 CE)
9. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad alayhis-salam, (195 H, 810 CE)
10. Imam Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi alayhis-salam, (212 H, 827CE)
11. Imam Hasan ibn Ali al-Askari alayhis-salam, (232 H, 846 CE)
12. Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi / al-Hujjah / Sahib al-Zaman alayhis-salam and may Allah hasten his reappearance.

The twelfth Imam, Imam Mahdi alayhis-salam is alive but ‘hidden’ from the views of the general public, and by the will of Allah he will reappear to fill the world with justice, after it has been overwhelmed by tyranny andinjustice. Imam Mahdi was born in 255 Hijra, 868 CE, and he went into occultation when his father, Imam Hasan al-Askari was killed by the Abbasid ruler in 260 Hijra, 873 CE.

Ahl-ul-Bayt, meaning members of the house, as in the Qur’anic verse Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, and thoroughly purify you, O Ahl-ul-Bayt (Members of the House). [33: 33].

It is reported that Rasulollah 15 salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “Hasan and Husayn are both Imams whether they rise up or not 16”.


(The roles of) Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam were planned and devised by Allah Almighty, and in turn by Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih, so they facilitate the salvation of generations to come until the day of judgement. This was not because they were simply two Imams and Caliphs [successors] of Rasulollah, for this is a forgone conclusion, but because these two Imams were two models and exemplars for every single individual who wanted to rescue their peoples and countries from the yoke of tyranny of the despots at whatever time they be and in whichever country.

A hadith is reported that Allah Almighty, via Jibra’el alayhis-salam, sent twelve “envelopes” to Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih each of which was sealed by the Almighty to be distributed to the twelve Imams.

Each of these contained the instructions as to the Imams’ roles and duties, which they needed to execute in turn. This is a short and known hadith that needs at least fourteen sessions to discuss certain aspects of each Ma‘soom and circumstances of the environment he was living in, and how each Imam dealt with the situations he faced. Amongst these Imams are Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam. Here we wish to briefly outline how precise the divine plan was and how perfectly the Imams executed the plan, and this is apart from the fact that they are Ma‘soom, or according to our beliefs Imams and successors to Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-waaalih.

The conclusion that we want to arrive at is whether we can make use of the circumstances and conducts of these two Imams in accordance with the hadith that “al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise up or not”? That they are not only Imams – leaders – for their own times only, but they remain Imams or leaders for generations to come until the day of judgement. There are three topics that we need to consider:

1. How society produces tyrants?
2. The character and psychology of a tyrant,
3. How to counter the tyrant?

Society and the production of Tyrants

Those societies produce tyrants where reformists are few and weak and therefore fail to discharge their duties, while mischief-makers are actively ferocious. And under such circumstances naturally the villains take over the country and rule the people. On this basis Rasulollah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih said, “You should enjoin good and prohibit abhorrent, otherwise Allah shall empower on you the evil amongst you, then you would pray (for this evil to be alleviated) but your prayers would not be answered.”

This is a logical and rational fact, since if the reformist is not proactive in his responsibilities and does not discharge his duties, society would degenerate and gradually turn into a pit of corruption, and under such circumstances who will come to power? Naturally of the wicked and the corrupt ...{however you are like, as such you will be ruled by} Then if a wicked and a tyrant came to power and ruled the country, and you pray to Allah that he is removed, will those facts and circumstances change by this prayer? Of course not, and in the above-mentioned hadith Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is clarifying two natural or universal laws. The universal law of how the tyrants come to power, and the law that prayers (alone) do not remove the tyrants from power. Both are universal laws, and here Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is not outlining a (specific) Islamic law for us, nor is he informing us from the unseen, but any sound thinking individual (and Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is the master of wisdom and intellect) would realise that the society in which reformists fail to discharge their duties, eventually and naturally a tyrant would take over the country, and he would impose his will and his rule over the people. And if a tyrant comes to power, it is natural that he would not be deposed by prayers alone, but by action as well as prayers, for each has its own role to play.

Society of the Shaam province 17 before the Islamic conquest (around 620 CE) was highly influenced by Roman values, and the then Roman society was a corrupt and a decadent society, and perhaps these characteristics were some of the contributing factors to the fall of the Shaam province to the Muslim army that came from Arabia to introduce Islam to the people of the Shaam province. The victorious army headed back to Arabia after the apparent establishment of Islamic rule in the area. However since the Shaami society was influenced by those Roman values, and it had not adequately absorbed the teachings of Islam, it was ridden by ignorance and overwhelmed by corruption in its various forms; social, political, economical, moral and ethical, and therefore in such a society the corrupt had the upper hand and the reformists were a minority, if at all.

Mo’awiyah and his son Yazid were the by product of such corrupt society, as they did not absorb the teachings of Islam, nor did they learn the manners of Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, like Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam had done in the holy city of Medina, where the government of Islam was established, and personally led by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. Thus a society that has not adequately absorbed Islam and the effect of reform is still superficial, would easily be manipulated by the likes of Mo’awiyah, and through fear or deceit would fall back to its old traditions and beliefs, i.e. corrupt Roman values. Hence the like of Mo’awiyah and Yazid managed to take over and hold on to the office of government, through enticement and/or threat.

To reflect the situation above, a poet states in this famous poem, I do not know what happened to the Muslim men Or how Yazid happened to be the king amongst them How many (responsible) Muslims such as Abu Tharr al-Ghefari 18 were there in the Shaami society at the time of Mo’awiyah and Yazid?

Mo’awiyah was fearful of Abu Tharr alone, since the Shaami society did not know the Islamic laws and values, and the former was afraid that the latter would turn things against him by presenting the Teachings of Islam as taught by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih to the public.

It is like introducing Islam to a new city. Will that society be a deeply Islamic one? No. Only on the surface things may have changed, and when anyone comes along and falsely claims to know the way of Islam, they would follow him! And this is what Mo’awiyah claimed in the Shaami society.

A tyrant is born in a society, where the fundamental factor in nurturing him is the established corrupt social order of that society. In other words, whenever you see a tyrant is born in a country, you should know that there are fundamental factors for it, the first of which being the corrupt and decadent social proviso of that country.

On the other hand when a society is rich with reformist and responsible individuals, then it would be a field for growth of prosperity, reform and development, such that it would be impossible for a tyrant to be born in that environment.

The prophet showed the people the Islamic way {and what better is there than Allah’s way} [2: 138], and it is then up to them to adhere to those teachings in order to reach their targets.

Needless to say, by reformist we do not mean he who preaches to the people to enjoin good and refrain from evil in a small religious society, but by reformist we mean he who can change and transfer things and stand up to tyrants.

Character and Psychology of Tyrants

The character of tyrants fall into two categories, we either have a sly and cunning tyrant or a slow-witted and stupid one, and the sign of the first kind is that he is deceitful in war, vile and despicable in peace, while the second is vicious and savage in war and irresponsible and disrespectful in peace. Using Mo’awiyah and Yazid as examples, Mo’awiyah being the son of two devious parents, Abu Sufian and Hind, he is deceptive and disingenuous, and this could be clearly be seen in his wars with Imam Ali and Imam Hasan alayhum-as-salam, where deception played major and important roles in Mo’awiyah’s wars.

The example of the second category is Yazid the son of Mo’awiyah, and his savagery in war, as seen from unspeakable brutality in his war with

Of course his viciousness and savagery was not limited to that battle alone, as he displayed his barbarity and cruelty, and his total disregard for any value when he attacked the holy city of Medina and instructed his soldiers to do whatever they wanted to do. they committed the most gruesome atrocities, ranging from burning, looting, and destruction to killing the young and old, women and children, even the infant babies, as well as raping thousands of women, ...and all that took place in the sacred city of Medina. Yazid also attacked the holy city of Mecca and in particular he ordered to destroy the Ka'bah and the Holy Mosque there, which the army torched by attacking it by mangonel or catapult. It is in this sense that one is considered savage and brutal in war, since the tyrant does not respect even the rules and regulations of engagement, or any other laws, ideas or understanding. And this is the meaning of Taghut (the Arabic word of Tyrant) not respecting nor distinguishing between anything. Hence they say in Arabic the Tughyan of fire (meaning the rage of fire) since the fire does not recognise the laws and values and dose not respect anything but burns everything in its path, and it does so without distinguishing one thing from another. This is the nature of Yazid in war, and in peace he does not hold or respect any value for anything. He did not use to have any respect for anyone nor for any right of the people, he used to keep company with monkeys, drink wine, and regularly commit adultery and incest. This was to the extend that one of them used to say, “we were fearful that it would rain stone on us since Yazid used to commit incest with the likes of his sisters and aunts”.

These are the two categories of tyrants, and there is no third type to them.

Encountering the Tyrants

Allah Almighty foreordained Imam Hasan alayhis-salam to encounter the first kind of tyrant, whereas He foreordained Imam Husayn alayhis-salam to deal with the second type. The reformists throughout the world must therefore follow the example of Imam Hasan alayhis-salam if they were faced with the like of Mo’awiyah, and to follow the model of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam if they were to deal with the like of Yazid.

So the essence of the noble hadith, “al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise up or not” is to point out how Imam Hasan alayhis-salam should fight his opponent, and how to make peace with him.

If Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were not to make peace with Mo’awiyah, that would have been a failure on his part, since Mo’awiyah plays with two faces; one of peace and one war, and Imam Hasan alayhis-salam

needed to be prepared for both tactics. If Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were to engage in battle only, then this would have exposed Mo’awiyah’s conduct in war only and it would not have depicted his conduct in peace.

Similarly if Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were to adopt peaceful measures only, this would not have exposed Mo’awiyah’s conduct in war. Imam Hasan alayhis-salam was careful in his plan to deal with Mo’awiyah, which was not only in accordance with the plan of Allah Almighty, but it was logical too – this is apart from the fact that he was Ma’soom and our belief that he was Imam who must be obeyed. Imam Hasan alayhis-salam fought Mo’awiyah for a period of time to reveal the conduct of Mo’awiyah in war, and he made peace with him to expose Mo’awiyah’s face and conduct in peace times.

If it were not for that, and if the Imam had fought him until death, the peacetime conducts of Mo’awiyah would not have become apparent; such conducts as ordering all speakers across the land to curse and swear at Imam Ali alayhis-salam 19 after every prayer. On many occasions Imam Hasan was present in the Mosque when the speaker or prayer leader, on instructions from Mo’awiyah, insulted Imam Ali alayhis-salam, while it was one of the conditions of the peace treaty between Imam Hasan alayhis-salam and Mo’awiyah that Imam Ali should not be insulted.

Another condition of the peace treaty was that Imam Hasan alayhis-salam and his household as well as the followers of Imam Ali alayhis-salam should not be harassed and intimidated. But in reality they were constantly harassed and tormented, and denied their rights by Mo’awiyah and his regime. In fact it was during this peacetime that Mo’awiyah declared his famous statement in public that, “the treaty of al-Hasan and all its conditions are beneath my feet!”

All of these would not have become apparent if it were not for the peace Imam Hasan alayhis-salam made with Mo’awiyah, it was this act of Imam Hasan alayhis-salam that exposed Mo’awiyah before the masses.

If it were not for a reformist like Imam Hasan, the two faces of Mo’awiyah – his conducts in war and in peace – would not have been exposed.

Therefore Imam Hasan alayhis-salam shall remain a role model for future generations who want to stand up to tyrants such as Mo’awiyah.

The peace of Yazid was wine, aba-qays (his pet monkey), playing with dogs and monkeys, adultery and licentious, despising and disdaining all civil moral values. Chroniclers mention that when Mo'awiyah was very ill on his deathbed, Yazid did not give the slightest care about his father, and in a nearby village he was drinking wine and playing with his dogs. (This is recorded in Morawwij al-Thahab). He was unbothered about the entire situation, to the extent that he was absent from his father’s deathbed, not giving any value to his father, or to his successorship, so the conduct of Yazid during peacetime had become well known to the people.

It was Yazid's war that needed to be exposed. One of the subtlest measures that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam took was to send his cousin and representative Muslim ibn Aqeel alone to Kufa. Some people are very surprised by this action of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. They are also very surprised about another broad measure the Imam took which was inviting his companions to leave him if they wished, rather than gathering them - as military leaders would do in such circumstances. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam invited his companions to leave him up to the eve of Ashura. This may seem very odd at surface. “Does he want to fight a battle tomorrow with the support of only about seventy companions?”

“Yes he does, he knows exactly what he is doing”. In fact if he were to do otherwise, we would have asked, “Why Imam Husayn alayhis-salam went into battle – with say 10,000 companions – when he knew that he was going to be killed in any case?” 20 The Umayyad government was strong and covered a vast area stretching from the former Soviet Union to the middle of Africa. It was this gigantic government that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam decided to stand up against. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam wanted to fight the tyrant Yazid, and we said earlier that Yazid was vicious and barbaric in war, immoral and untrustworthy in peace, such that it is clear and it does not need further clarification. In the process of exposing Yazid lies a lesson that must be noted. How to stand up to savagery and how does viciousness appear? Vicious savagery and brutal barbarity appears when the opponent numbers few, but it does not appear when there is a large and significant opponent standing before it. A poet states in his poem in al-Seyouti and I fear the wolf when I pass it by alone Wolf is savage but when does its viciousness appear? It appears when you are alone on your own, but if you were with a group, the ultimate viciousness of wolf would not become apparent. If Imam Husayn had more than ten thousand fighters with him to fight the Umayyad, the latter would not be able to do what they did with Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and Yazid's viciousness would not have been exposed, even though Yazid would still have killed Imam Husayn and his followers. If Muslim ibn Aqeel had gathered one thousand men with him, ibn Zeyaad would not be able to hang Muslim upside down. It becomes apparent when the number of the reformist opponents is few, but if the number were high, this would strike fear in the heart of the tyrant. You can see how Yazid, twenty days after Ashura and before everyone present in his court, manoeuvred when he realized that many people have gathered around Imam (Zayn al- Abidin) 21 in his support. He said, I did not do this! (i.e. the savage killing of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and his family members and followers).

So Imam Husayn alayhis-salam knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Karbala with so few followers and supporters. This was his plan, so that he could reveal every bit of savagery and brutality of the tyrant rulers. In future generations you the reformist may say that this despot is brutal and I cannot confront him. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam would say to you, if you see any brutality you can stand up against it, since I confronted a brutal tyrant and I resisted him. If it were not for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and the kind of action and stance he took, it would have been said, “perhaps if Imam Husayn alayhis-salam had seen such brutality, he would not have resorted to confronting and resisting”. But this is not the case. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam in a carefully devised plan, and with amazing precision, revealed all the brutality and savagery in the heart of Yazid. In doing so he became the leader and model for all those in future generations who would face a tyrant like Yazid.

Therefore the statement of Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, "Hasan and Husayn are two Imams whether they rise up to lead or not" is not limited only in the sacred sense, and Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-waaalih does not only want to show that they are two pious Imams, with knowledge and wisdom so that we could learn the Islamic law from – even though this is true. Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is also pointing to their distinct role they had to play. Some people are surprised why there are so few hadith about Fiqh 22 from Imams Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam. Their role was not to expand on Fiqh, but facing up to the tyrants of these kinds. Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam had the role of teaching the Islamic Fiqh. Why? Because he was opposed in particular by those who used the tools of Fiqh. So the role of Imam Sadiq alayhissalam was that of a Faqih, and he revealed his Fiqh knowledge. 23 We stated earlier that we need at least fourteen sessions, so that in each session we can talk about the role of each of the Ma'soomeen alayhum-assalam starting from Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, and Fatima al- Zahra alayhas-salam through to the last of the twelve Imams alayhum-assalam.

In these sessions we could prove that how each one of the fourteen Ma'soomeen is a leader and teacher forever. That the role of the reformistin the future generations would be like that of Rasulollah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih, or Fatima al-Zahra, or Imam Ali, or Imam Hasan, or Imam Husayn, or any other Imam until that of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance. Therefore a reformist must follow the example of that Ma'soom whose role is similar to his, and any role or conduct the reformist may need, it should be according to this model, otherwise the reformist would be in the wrong.

We pray to Allah that he guides us to what He loves and pleases.

Allah Almighty states {Think not of those who are slain in Allah's Way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the Presence of their Lord} 25 This noble verse in the holy Qur’an points to the state of those who are killed in the cause of Allah, and it emphasises that their ‘life’ continues even after being killed, and that they remain alive. So he who is killed in the cause of Allah, his life would not be terminated, but he remains alive and receives sustenance (from Allah Almighty).

Also just as there are categories in this material life, e.g. those who are happy and those who are not, such classifications also exist in the hereafter too.

And how can it not be, when we have martyrs who scarified their lives to uphold the Truth and the Oneness of Allah Almighty. With their blood they have led other’s lives out of darkness and into light, so that future generations can receive and adhere to the teachings of Islam.

And what if he who sacrificed himself – as well as being a martyr whom Allah promised eternal life – was also a pillar of faith and one of the Imams of the Muslims and mankind, such as Sayyid-ul-Shuhada Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. What a great martyr he is, and an esteemed station he occupies! Addressing Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, his son and successor Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam states, “and as for the Hereafter, it is luminous with the light of your face”.

The Ma’soom Imam

If we want to get acquainted with the great personality of a Ma’soom Imam, it is necessary for us to refer to some of the hadith that elucidate the station of the Imam alayhis-salam in the view of Allah Almighty, as well as his creative and legislative position.

Commenting about the Qur’anic verse, {and he to whom wisdom is granted receives indeed a benefit overflowing} 26 Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam said; “(This is) obedience of Allah and gaining knowledge about the Imam”.

Also commenting about the Qur’anic verse, {Say: "Do you see; if your water (supply) seeps away, who then can supply you with clear-flowing water?"} 27 Imam Kadhem alayhis-salam said, “If your Imam disappears from you, then who will bring you another Imam?” In another hadith from Imam Ridha alayhis-salam, he said, “... the Imam is the trustee of Allah amongst His creation, His proof and evidence upon His servants, His viceroy on His land, the herald to Allah, the defender of the commandments of Allah ...”

The Ma’soom Imam has been chosen by Allah Almighty to represent Him, since he has a significant position in the sight of Allah. The lofty station that the Ma’soom has attained is beyond our comprehension. Addressing the significance and superiority of the Ma’soom Imam, Imam Ridha alayhis-salam said, “who can attain the full knowledge and understanding of the Imam, or who can choose an Imam? How impossible! The intellects went astray, the minds were confused, the eyes were blurred, the great men were belittled, the wise were bewildered, the eloquent failed to describe one aspect of his characteristics, or one virtue of his many virtues, and admitted their failure to do so, . . .”

So through these noble hadith and many more like them, it is possible for us to appreciate certain aspects of the personality and station of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, and his closeness to Allah Almighty, and his role in leading and guiding the community of mankind. Thus if we wanted to reach the divine mercy, and attain the bliss and felicity of this world and the hereafter, then we must certainly follow the foot steps of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, move according to the course he devised for future generations with his pure blood. Of course the same is true for other Ma’soomeen alayhum-as-salam, but here we are talking about and focusing on Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is distinguished amongst other martyrs and revolutionaries by characteristics that excel all other martyrs; he became the master of all martyrs – from the first to the last – and this is not because he is a Ma’soom Imam, nor is it because he is the grandson, and the beloved one of Rasulollah (the Messenger of Allah) salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, but it is because of the majesty of the aims for which he started his revolution, the immensity of the sacrifice that he offered, and the perfection he achieved in various dimensions. This is why the particular emphasis is made by Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam on establishing and upholding the Husayni Sha’a’er 28, and the salute and visitation of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.

Hadith on the Virtue of Imam Husayn

There are many hadith about the station and position of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is reported as saying, “he who want to see the one inhabitant of the Earth who is most beloved by the inhabitants of the skies, he should look at Husayn”.

Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is also reported as saying, “Truly Husayn is one of the gates to Paradise; he who opposes him, Allah would deny him even the scent of Paradise”.

Perhaps only this hadith is sufficient so as not to mention any more hadith about the station of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. There are many hadith narrated from the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam with regards to establishing the Husayni Sha’a’er. Imam Sadiq alayhissalam is quoted as saying, “He whose eyes fill with tears when we are mentioned to him, Allah would bar his face from fire (of Hell)”. And can you imagine what would be the reward for he who weeps for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, who is Sayyid-ul-Shuhada (Master of the Martyrs) and Qateel-al-‘Abarah (the murder victim who brings tears to the eyes).

Imam Mahdi may Allah hasten his return in his salute – known as Zeyart Nahiyah – to Imam Husayn alayhis-salam declares, “Peace be to he in whose torbah (the soil of the burial site) Allah has made the cure (for every disease), Peace be upon he under whose dome prayers are answered, Peace be upon he whose descendents are the Imams, ... ”

From the above alone, only the first statement is sufficient (his torbah being cure for every disease) to show the divine miracle in the matter, and if this proves anything it points towards the position and station of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.

One other aspect that distinguished the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam amongst other movements throughout history is the distinguished virtue of his companions, who were martyred alongside him, to the extent that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said, “I do not know of companions and family members more faithful and devoted than my companions and family members”

One of the greatest of the martyrs of Karbala is Abul-Fadhl al-Abbas alayhis-salam, the son of Imam Ali alayhis-salam and his mother is Ummel- Baneen. Abul-Fadhl has many virtues and qualities, and has shown many miracles, which point to his station, and closeness to Allah Almighty. Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam has said about al-Abbas alayhis-salam, “May Allah have Mercy upon my uncle al-Abbas ibn Ali, for he favoured his brother over himself, showed extreme courage, and sacrificed himself for his brother, such that both of his hands were cut off. Thus Allah replaced them with two wings, with which he flies with the angels in Paradise, just as He gave Ja’far ibn Abi Talib. In the Sight of Allah al- Abbas has a station and position that all martyrs would envy on the Day ofJudgement.”

Furthermore, al-Abbas alayhis-salam is known as Baab-al-Hawa’edge or the “Gate of Needs” to Allah Almighty, and this in itself is a manifestation of martyrs being alive by their Lord, such that people use their Light after their martyrdom, and the people plead to them to fulfil their needs.

The Day of Ashura

There are days that are turning points in the course of history and in the direction of life on Earth, and one of the most important of those days is the day of Ashura. Just as the 27th of Rajab – the day of Mab’ath or First Revelation to Prophet Muhammad – forever changed the course of history and life on Earth, and just as Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih planted the seeds of Islam and Iman in the hearts of the people, the day of Ashura and the sacrifice of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam returned Faith or

Iman to the hearts of the people and restored the image of Islam which the evil hands tried to distort and destroy.

When the pagans of Quraysh asked Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih to forego his mission and his call for the oneness of Allah in exchange for all that he wished for in terms of wealth and position, Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih replied, “By Allah if they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, for relinquishing this cause, before Allah establishes it or I die, I would not abandon it”.

Just as Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih showed his resolve and steadfastness in his mission, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam manifested his resolve on a number of occasions in Karbala, which would never be forgotten by the passage of time. For example at noontime on the day of Ashura, one of the companions said it is prayer time as it is now noontime, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said, “Yes it is”, and he led the noon prayers, despite the raging battle and the ferocity of his enemies. Thus at the mostpressing and dangerous times Imam Husayn alayhis-salam did not relinquish even one of the obligations of Allah Almighty, and he took this stance to emphasise the importance of protecting the sanctity of the divine obligations, establish and uphold the Islam and its laws and teachings. In the Zeyarat (Salutation) of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam one reads, “I hereby testify that you upheld the prayers, paid the Zakat, enjoined on good, and forbade evil”. The day of Ashura is the day that teaches us how to straighten and perfect our way of life in this world, and how to match it to the Syrah or the way of life of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, who sacrificed everything he had for the sake of Enjoining Good, Forbidding Evil, and upholding the duties of Islam, implementing its teachings, and adhering to Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.

The Torch of Guidance and Ark of Salvation

It is reported that on one occasion Imam Husayn alayhis-salam entered into a room where Prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih was present, and the latter welcome him by saying, "Welcome to you O Aba- Abdillah, the beauty of the heavens and earths". It was said to the Prophet, "How can anyone other than you be the beauty of the heavens and earths?"Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih replied, "by He who sent me as a messenger, Husayn is greater in the heavens than he is on earths. And it is

written on the right of the ‘Arsh “Throne” 29 that, "Husayn is Torch of Guidance and Ark of Salvation", and then Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhiwa- aalih took the hand of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and said, "O people! This is Husayn son of Ali, so glorify him and favour him (over others) Just as Allah has favoured him, for by He in whose hand is my soul, his place is in the heavens, and the place of those who love him is also in heaven, and the place of those who love them is also in heaven."

Imam Sadiq, alayhis-salam said, "My (grand) father is Qateel-al-‘Abarah (the murder victim who brings tears to the eyes). The Imam was asked what is Qateel-al-‘Abarah? The Imam replied, “He (Imam Husayn) is not mentioned to a believer, unless he weeps for him." The Choice of Allah Imam Husayn used to say, "I want to enjoin good, and forbid evil, follow the teachings of my grandfather (Rasulollah) and that of my father Ali ibn Abi Talib, . . .". He wanted to take the Ummah (the Muslim Community) from Evil to Good, and put a stop to Evil, he wanted to rescue the Ummah from the low and miserable state they had settled in to honour and glory, and this after the Muslim Ummah had accepted this deteriorated condition, symbolised by its state of apathy, reliance on worldly matters, its silence to oppression, and therefore the domination of tyrants such as Yazid and his father and their likes over the realm of the Ummah. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam wanted to spread and disseminate the spirit of Iman - commitment and conviction - and Truth in amongst the Ummah so that it could awaken once again; just as it was in the days of Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih. For it was clear to him that the religion (of Islam) was being distorted and deviated and he wanted to restore it afresh.

This is how Imam Husayn alayhis-salam became the Torch of guidance, and Ark of salvation, and this is how he became the Choice of Allah Almighty. It is reported from Imam Ali alayhis-salam that Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “When I entered paradise 30, I saw written on its door with gold, there is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Beloved One of Allah, Ali is Waliy-ullah, Fatima is Amatullah, Hasan and Husayn are the Choice of Allah, and upon he who hates them be the Curse of Allah.”

Adherence to the Choice of Allah, and using the light of this Divine Torch, will bring guidance in this world and salvation in the hereafter. This is because the love of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is associated with good deeds, he is a torch who shows the path of the Truth to those who seek it, and since by his sacred movement he – alayhis-salam – discriminates between the path of Truth and the path of Falsehood. In his well-known declaration on the day of Ashura, he states, “If the religion of Muhammad were not to stand except by my killing, Oswords! Take me”.

Furthermore, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is also the fifth member of the As-hab al-Kissa, about whom the Purification verse was revealed; in the statement of the Almighty:

{Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, Ahl-ul-Bayt (Members of the Household), and to make you pure and spotless.} 31 So by the evidence of the Qur’an, he is from the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-assalam.

Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “To love me and my Ahl-ul-Bayt is valuable and beneficial on seven occasions: whose fears are immense; at the time of death, in the grave, at the time of resurrection, at the (time of evaluating one’s) Book of Deeds, at the time of questioning, and at the time of weighing (one’s deeds of good verses evil)”.

Truly Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is a Torch of guidance, and his light continues to shine upon us with goodness and blessing; for it distinguishes the path of the Truth from Falsehood at all times and ages, this is in addition to the perpetual presence of his light in his Ma’soom descendent – in the manifestation of his grandson Imam Mahdi may Allah hasten his reappearance. In acknowledging the momentous sacrifice Imam Husayn alayhis-salam made, and the colossal trial and tribulation he faced on the day of Ashura, Allah Almighty fashioned the Imams – who are the protectors of Islam – in amongst his descendents.

The Severed Head of Imam Husayn

One of the miracles that Allah Almighty gave to Imam Husayn alayhissalam was that his sacred severed head spoke as it was being carried from Karbala – in Iraq – to Shaam – modern Syria – and back to Karbala where it was buried in the grave where his sacred body had been buried. As reported by numerous chroniclers and recorded in many history texts, in the course of the entire passage of the women and children captives, with which the heads of the martyrs of Karbala were also carried from Karbala to Shaam and back, the sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam used to recite the holy Qur’an, and this phenomenon proved instrumental in guiding the people to Truth. The sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhissalam also spoke in the court of the evil Yazid. When the sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam arrived at the court of Yazid, amongst others, the Roman envoy of the emperor of Rome was also present. After realising that the captives were the women and children of the household of the Prophet of Islam, and the head of the grandson of the Prophet was amongst them, the Roman envoy protested to and rebuked Yazid, and said, “Had we had a descendent of Jesus amongst us we would have honoured him and glorified him”.

In response to this protest Yazid ordered the Roman envoy to be killed immediately. The sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said in a loud voice, “there is no power but that of Allah”. At that occasion and at every other occasion throughout the journey from Karbala to Shaam and back, people were astonished to see and hear the sacred head of Imam Husayn speaking, and they realised that this was no ordinary event but a divine miracle, and Allah Almighty is showing them the realty of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. Such events revealed to the people the reality and the significance of the hadith stated by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-waaalih, “I leave behind two momentous weights, the Book of Allah and my descendents the Ahl-ul-Bayt”

the people realised that the truth is with Imam Husayn alayhis-salam when they saw the miracle of his sacred head speaking or reciting the holy Qur’an.

There are therefore certain duties that we must discharge with respect to the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, some of which are:

1. We must present the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, as well as his principles and aims to the world through modern media such as Radio and Television, books, internet, etc. in the way that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam would want it. We must glorify the Sha’a’er which the Husayniyahs 32 facilitate commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam.

It is also desirable that the days of Ashura are declared public holidays and signs of sadness and mourning being publicly displayed. Imam Ridha alayhis-salam said, “even the Jahiliyyah 33 – the pre-Islamic era – used to regard Muharram as a scared month, thereby forbade war and fighting in it, whereas our sanctity was violated in this month! Our blood was shed, our dignity breached, our women and children were taken prisoners, our tents were torched; and all their contents looted, our dignity were not saved even for the sake of (our grandfather) Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih ..., truly the day of Husayn wounded our eyelids 34, shed our tears, humiliated our revered one in the land of Karb (anguish) and Bala’ (affliction), and you (O land of Karbala) have left us with anguish and affliction until the last day of this life. So for the likes of Husayn the weepers should weep, for crying and weeping destroys the great sins”.

Then Imam Ridha alayhis-salam said, “With the start of the month of Muharram, my father could not be seen smiling, every day his heartache and anguish would increase until the tenth day, which was the day of sorrow, grief and weeping; saying this is the day Husayn alayhis-salam was killed”. Imam Ridha alayhissalam is also reported as saying, “he who does not concern himself with his business and occupation, or seek to sort out his affairs on the day of Ashura, Allah Almighty would see to his needs in this world and in the hereafter, and he for whom the day of Ashura is the day of mourning and sorrow, Allah would make the Day of Judgement the day of joy and happiness, and he would be pleased seeing us in Paradise. He who considers the day of Ashura the day of barakah - blessing and good fortune – and stores food stuff etc. in his house, on the day of judgement Allah would resurrect him and accommodate him at the bottom of hell with Yazid, Obaydullah ibn Zeyad, and Ommar ibn Sa’d – may the curse of Allah be upon them”.

2. Just as Imam Husayn alayhis-salam strived to implement the teachings of Islam and the laws of the holy Qur’an, so too we must follow in his footsteps and implement the teachings and laws of Islam throughout the Muslim land.

3. It is imperative upon us, wherever we may be, to hold programs for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, in the best possible manner, since the survival of Islam until the end of time is the aim which Imam Husayn alayhis-salam died for. Islam shall remain alive by virtue of the blood of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and the blood of those who were brought up in his school, defending Islamic values and teachings, throughout history.

In short, commemorating the memory of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam by holding mourning programs of Ta’ziah in the days of Ashura, giving food on those days, etc. all of such programs help keep the memory of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam alive, and it is such programs that have protected the spirit of Shi‘a 35 and adherence to the holy Qur’an and the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.

Imam Zayn al-Abidin and Ashura

Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam also manifested the essence of this duty by his prolonged grief and weeping for his father. It is reported from Imam Baqir alayhis-salam, “... and he (Imam Zayn al-Abidin) wept for his father for twenty years, and every time he was served food and drink, he wept for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, until on one occasion his servant said to him, "Is your sorrow and grief not going to end?", Imam Zayn al- Abidin, alayhis-salam replied, "Woe unto you! The prophet Jacob had twelve sons, and (when) Allah made one of them disappear, his eyes turned white (i.e. blind) because of his increasing crying for him, his head turned grey because of grief, and his back humped because of sorrow, and all this while his son was alive in the world. Whereas I saw my father, my brother, my uncle, and seventeen members of my family killed around me ...so how can my grief and sorrow end?" It is reported that Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam cried and wept so much for Imam Husayn alayhis-salam that it was feared that he would loose his eyesight. Every time he was given water to drink, he wept such that his tears poured into the water cup, and when he was asked about this, he replied "how can I not to when my father was denied the water that was absolutely free for the beasts and wild animals".

Ahl-ul-Bayt and Ashura

The Ma'soom Imams alayhum-as-salam annually held Azadari or mourning programs commemorating the day of Ashura, and in fact the Imams of the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam encouraged others to continue to hold such programs to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam in various forms and styles of remembrance be it those which are obligatory, or those that are Mustahab or permissible, for this day is like no other day. There has been many hadith from them in this respect; in one narration Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam is asked as to why the day of Ashura became the day of sorrow and grief, lamentation and weeping, rather than the day when Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih died, or the day when Fatima-al-Zahra alayhas-salam died, or the day when Amir-ul-Mu'minin 36 alayhis-salam was killed, or when Imam Hasan alayhis-salam was killed by poisoning? Imam Sadiq alayhis-salam replied, “Truly the day of al-Husayn is the day of the greatest catastrophe, since As-hab al-Kissa (people of the cloak) alayhum-as-salam who were the most honourable of creation in the sight of Allah were five, and when Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih died, Imam Ali, Fatima al-Zahra, Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam remained, and the people sought solace and comfort in them, and when Fatima al-Zahra alayhas-salam died, people sought consolation and comfort in Amir-ul-Mu'minin, Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam, and when Amir-ul-Mu'minin alayhissalam died people sought solace and

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