Rafed English

"Indeed Husain (A.S.) is the Beacon of Guidance and the Ark of Salvation."

The 3rd of the month of Sha'ban, the day on which the Doyen of Martyrs of Karbala, was born. Here, before starting our special feature on this occasion, we recite a supplication in this regard in the court of the Almighty Creator: "O Allah, I beseech You by the right of him who was born this day, to whom martyrdom was promised before he appeared and was born, for whom the heavens wept and those who are in them and the earth and those who are in it, before he even tread its stony grounds."

The passage that we recited to you is part of a unique supplication found in all authoritative prayer manuals of the past thousand years. It points to the birth of an exceptionally extraordinary person. Otherwise, neither God would have been invoked by the Right of the newborn upon Him, nor would the heavens and earth would have become so emotional this day on being foretold of his immortal martyrdom. Who is this person who seems to have such an electrifying effect on not just human beings but on the forces of nature as well? Was he a Prophet to a particular nation in some remote part of history, or was he born a saint in the full limelight of recorded events amongst the ummah of the Last and Greatest Messenger entrusted with the universal message of Islam for all mankind? The answer is provided by this very supplication itself. Prescribed for the 3rd of Sha'ban, its next part reads: "O Allah, confer on us the best of gifts today, and grant us success in whatever we seek, just as You gave Husain (AS) to Mohammad (SAWA), his grandfather."

Yes, the identity of the person whose birthday we are celebrating today has thus become obvious. He is none other Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The question, however, arises, as to why Imam Husain (AS) was so tragically martyred in Karbala in 61 AH – not in any spontaneous encounter with those masquerading as Muslims but on the orders of the one claiming to be the caliph or political heir of the Prophet? Did something somewhere in the sequence of events following his birth in Medina in 4 AH go completely wrong? An interesting question indeed that requires a brief but analytical glance at the life of Imam Husain (AS), especially the period the grandfather and the grandson were together. In the first seven years of the grandson's life that coincide with the last seven years of the Prophet's life, we never come across any untoward incident. In fact, as borne out by God's Words in the holy Qur'an, Imam Husain (AS) along with his elder brother Imam Hasan (AS) and parents Imam Ali and Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon them), stands supreme as the pivot of faith and the barometer of truth. For instance, if the Verse of Purity, that is, ayah 33 of Surah Ahzaab vouches the spotlessly purity of the Ahl al-Bayt, the Verse of Mubahela, that is, ayah 61 of Surah Aal-e Imran confirms this select group's entry into the field of malediction that overawed the Christians of Najran and made them acknowledge the truth of Islam.
Then there is the Verse of Kinship, that is, ayah 23 or Surah Shura, where God commands Muslims that their love and affection for the Prophet's nearest of blood-kin is an article of faith. Another vivid reference to the exalted position of this unique group, both in this transient world and in paradise, are verses 5-to-22 of Surah Dahr when Imam Husan (AS), his elder brother, his parents and maid Fizza, gave away for three consecutive days to the needy, the orphan, and the freed prisoner, respectively, whatever meagre food they had to break the fasts they had kept for fulfillment of a vow. During this seven-year period, as recorded by chroniclers of hadith, both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, the Prophet explicitly spelled out to his companions, through actions and through words, the prime position of his grandsons, especially that of Imam Husain (AS). He hailed the two as "Leaders of the Youths of Paradise, the Basils of Prophethood, the Imams who should be followed whether they chose to sit in peace or rise up for their rights," etc.

It was his habit to play with his two grandsons, seat them on his shoulders, and even interrupt his sermons in the mosque if something were to befall them. This was all the Will of God Almighty, for Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) who neither errs nor speaks out of desire, as the holy Qur'an says in ayahs 3-to-5 of Surah Najm. This was the reason the Prophet did not raise his head from prostration during an obligatory congregational prayer and kept on reciting Subhan Rabbi al-A'la (or Praised be God the Most High) at least seventy times until the toddler Husain (AS) voluntarily got off the back of his grandfather. Moreover, he said of his younger grandson: "Husainun minni wa ana min Husain", which means "Husain is from me and I am from Husain."

The Prophet also said: "Inn al-Husain Misbah al-Huda wa Safinat an-Najah, which means "Indeed Husain is the Beacon of Guidance and the Ark of Salvation."

It is thus clear that nothing went wrong during the Prophet's lifetime. Then how come, half-a-century later, a libertine and infidel to the very core, like Yazid – the grandson of the Prophet's archenemies Abu Sufyan and Hend the Liver-Chewer – was at the helm of affairs of the Islamic state, and on his orders Muslims brutally slaughtered not only the 57-year old Imam Husain (AS) but almost all male members of the Prophet's household including the 6-month infant Ali Asghar (AS)?

The answer is painful, but nonetheless an undeniable fact. No sooner did the Prophet pass away, a group of his companions disobeyed his orders and in blatant violation of God's commandment in the holy Qur'an revealed on the Day of Ghadeer, that is, 18th Zilhijja 10 AH, they held the scandalous gathering of Saqifa Bani Sa'da to hijack rule of the Muslim state in order to deprive Imam Husain's (AS) father, Imam Ali (AS), of his political authority. The first casualty of this greatest injustice was Imam Husain's (AS) mother, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), who was martyred 95 days after the Prophet's passing away after being deprived of her inheritance of the Orchard of Fadak and crushed between door and wall when ruffians sent by the regime to force her husband to give oath of allegiance, stormed the sacred threshold of her house. The climax occurred at Karbala in 61 AH. To end this radio programme, we refer to the special supplication of the 3rd of Sha'ban, which is actually a petition in the Divine Court by the Avenger of Imam Husain's (AS) blood, the Lord of the Age, Imam Mahdi (AS) – may God hasten his reappearance – and which ends with the phrase that recalls how the Almighty had restored to a fallen angel its wings on the day the Martyr of Karbala was born: "The Angel Fotrus sought refuge by Husain’s cradle, and we seek shelter by his tomb. Being present at his graveside, we await his return. Amen, O Lord of all the worlds.”

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Birthday of Imam Husain (AS) is rightly marked as the Day of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in tribute to the selfless sacrifices of the Pasdaran or IRGC in defence of their homeland, during the 8-year the US had imposed through its agent, Saddam. Even today, the IRGC plays its vital role in various spheres of the society as Iran marches towards the pinnacles of progress.

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