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Imam Husayn (A.S.) and the Renewal of Islam

As the mourning period of Ashura passes, one might pose this important question: "Why the need for this commemoration? And why must we again speak of a revolution that took place some fourteen centuries ago?"

In his revolution, Imam Husayn {a} indeed exemplified the core message of his grandfather Prophet Muhammad {s}, He represented the viable translation of all the values and principles that Prophet Muhammad {s} strived for, The enemies of the Prophet asked his uncle Abu Talib to tell him that if he abandons his mission, he will receive a grand compensation, The Prophet replied, "Oh dear uncle, if they set the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left at the expense of renouncing this mission, I will never do so unless Allah makes this message triumph or I die conveying it1."

The profound principles that the Prophet fought for and established were tampered with and distorted by the Umayyad dynasty, hence prompting Imam Husayn {a} to salvage the faith of his grandfather by recompensing the imbalance and correcting the depravity brought forth by the Umayyad dynasty, In his struggle to rectify the faith of his grandfather, Imam Husayn {a} became the voice of his grandfather and the entire camp of righteousness when he revolted against the Umayyad tyranny.
Imam Husayn's {a} message as he fought for justice and freedom is universal and should not be confined to Muslims only, It is a message that magnifies the vision of all free peoples and nations, Imam Husayn {a} teaches the free and conscientious people of our world how to reject a life girded with humiliation and tyrannical rule, Imam Husayn {a} most powerfully rejected a life of humiliation when he said, "And I have to choose between sacrificing my life and yielding to a life of humiliation, but it is impossible for us (the family of the Prophet) to accept a life of humiliation2." Furthermore, it is Imam Husayn {a} who pioneered the path of sacrifice, and taught us how to sacrifice ourselves for dignity. He demonstrated to us that a nation who fears an oppressor will not live a dignified life.

When Imam Husayn {a} was approached by some who were questioning his motivation, they were blind to his visionary goals, for they were extremely limited in their ability to analyze his presage of the future, The Imam struck their minds and hearts with an Islamic principle from the Prophet --an uncompromising stance against oppression. He made a call to awaken the oblivious nation of his grandfather by quoting the Prophet, "He who witnesses an oppressive dictator, exercising despotism, but does nothing about the situation, not even by either words or actions, it will be the right of Allah to take such person into the same entry [of the tyrant] (Hell-fire)3."

Muslims today owe Imam Husayn {a} a great deal of respect and gratitude. Therefore, it is not fitting that mostly Shiite Muslims commemorate him. Imam Husayn {a} did not rise to save Islam for the Shiites only, but he did so for all Muslims. His sacrifices continue to be radiant sources of inspiration for all free and freedom loving people around the world. The great scholar Mu'in AI-Deen Ajmiri, from the Sunni school of thought, once said, "Islam is Mohammedan in its inception, Husaynian in its survival." Hence, Imam Husayn {a} must be perceived by all Muslims as a genuine Islamic legacy that should be commemorated by all.

We believe that a prophet or messenger only dies physically and his message continues for eternity. We also believe that Imam Husayn's {a} message was immortalized. Only to remember Imam Husayn {a} is enough to charge millions of masses with a will to seek freedom and revolt against oppression. When we commemorate Imam Husayn {a} as a character and an epitome, we will indeed be apt to derive strength and renewal for our own dynamism. As long as aggression persists to suffocate the voice of justice in this world, therein shall be a commemoration for Imam Husayn {a}.


1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 35, Page 87
2. Tuhaf Al-Uqool, Page 58
3. Hayat Al-Imam Husayn, Volume 2, Page 271

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