The Truth about Imam Hussein’s Revolution - Part 2
By: Martyr Murtadha Mutahhari
Looking at Imam Hussein’s revolt from another perspective, i.e. the way he was treating his followers, one can only come out with one conclusion. He was determined not to let the feelings of his companions run high, in a bid to avoid his revolt’s earning any description of an explosive one. Of this strategy was his repeated attempts to appeal to his companions to leave his company, with a view to sparing them the fate that was awaiting them all, i.e. him included. He used to remind them every now and then that they should not expect any materialistic gain in their march, other than definite death.
After he commended his companions, describing them as among the best of friends, he pleaded with them one last time, i.e. on the eve of the 10th of Muharram, [62 AH, 680 CE], to leave if they so wished, making it clear to them that they would be safe, for the Umayyad’s were after his head alone.
You can hardly find a leader who aspires to utilize the dissatisfaction of his people to push them to revolt who talks in the same way Imam Hussein (A.S) was talking to his companions. It is true that he was responsible for outlining to them their religious duty to rise against the despotic rule, in that resisting injustice and repression is such an obligation they have to discharge, yet he was seeking that his companions would discharge their responsibility of their own accord, i.e. without coercion. That was why he reiterated to them to melt away from the battlefield under the cover of darkness because the enemy was not going to pursue them had they taken flight, nor had he wanted to force them to fight.
He further advised them that he would absolve them from their oath of allegiance to him, should they have chosen to forsake him, in that he left it to their own consciences. That is, whichever way they decided, it had to be dictated by siding with the right, i.e. without compulsion, either from him or from the enemy. It would be their own choice alone. However, their decision to remain with the Imam gave the martyrs of Karbala the high regard they are held with.
What Ibn Ziyad did was to burn all the food supplies save that which could sustain his troops for twenty-four hours. He then addressed them in a sermon to the effect that they had no choice but to win the battle, making it clear that if they did not win, the result would be one of two:
They would either be routed by the army of the enemy or got drowned in the sea, should they have chosen to flee. In contrast, Imam Hussein (A.S) left the choice to the small band of his followers to engage the enemy in combat or turn back, for neither the enemy nor he were coercing them to fight.
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