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History

Ashura and Professor Idris Husayni Maghribi

In his book entitled, “Laqad Shayya‘ani al-Husayn (as)” (Al-Husayn Made Me a Shi‘ah), he writes, “One of the people close to me asked, ‘Who made you a Shi‘ah and what books did you trust and find reliable for your research?’ I answered, ‘As regards who made me a Shi‘ah, I must say that my ancestor al-Husayn made me a Shi‘ah.

The atrocious injustices which were imposed on him at Karbala converted me to the Shi‘ism. And, as regards which books I found reliable while pursuing this, I must say that the books are Sahih Bukhari (the Authentic Book of Bukhari) and the other Sahihs (other authentic Sunni books of tradition). These are the books which made me a Shi‘ah.’

He asked, ‘How is this possible?’ I said, ‘Read the authentic books of Sunni hadith, and do not ignore any contradictions. Note all the discrepancies down and reflect upon them. Count all the inconsistencies you can find in these books and do not bypass anything unless you have deliberated and reflected upon it… This is when you will obtain the object of your desire.’

With all certainty, the people who killed al-Husayn and took his chaste family into captivity are not at all trustworthy. There is no justification whatsoever for their abominable actions. For a free thinking mind liberated from religious bigotry, there is no way of justifying the event of ‘Ashura in the same way that it is unthinkable to interpret pure blood as being natural water.

This pool of blood which flowed was not a river of water. On the contrary, it was the blood of the most honorable people. These people were the ones about whom the Holy Prophet (S) expressed his will and desire that Muslims should love them. This community, the Islamic ummah, is responsible for losing its own credibility.

Whatever they say, they cannot convince me as regards why a certain group of Sunni scholars have good relations with the people on whose hands there is so much blood. I cannot understand why some so-called Sunni scholars maintain good ties with the criminals who shed the blood of al-Husayn for the sake of gaining predominance and rule over the Muslim community [ummah].

After the Holy Prophet’s (S) departure, this community did not assist the Holy Prophet’s children. They even abandoned the sunnah and did not observe or follow the Prophet’s way of conduct. You can say whatever you wish in your endeavors to justify these distasteful actions; you can say what you always say, that the Muslims strove hard in reaching consensus regarding the application of religious law in the first era after the departure of the Holy Prophet (S) when they killed al-Husayn!

And that narratives which are found in Shi‘ah books are all products of wild imagination and do not correspond with the real history of Islam.

However, can anyone ever be found in the world who refutes the fact that Imam al-Husayn (as) was killed in an oppressive manner on direct orders issued by Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah by means of an official fatwa (religious edict) passed by Sharih Qadi? Can anyone in the whole world be found denying the sad reality that Imam al-Husayn (as) was killed by the revengeful swords of Bani Umayyah’s armies?

It is more saddening when we realize that all this barbarism occurred in a community where the thinking of the common man had made considerable advances! It was in this very community where another unparallel event came to pass; this occurred when the caliphate was reduced to a monarchy and sultanate. After that, Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah was tyrannically imposed over the Muslims…

Never and a thousand times never… has anyone had the courage to refute or the ability to justify this heartrending event because history is never negligent as regards the oppression which is committed against the weak? I say so in spite of the fact that the mischief-makers hate to hear this truth.”26

He continues, “Imam al-Husayn’s (as) desire was to free the ummah (Islamic community) from the stiffness it had acquired and to incite a revolution against the depraved kings of Bani Umayyah who depended on repression to rule. This kind of revolution needed self-sacrifice. It was necessary to shed blood in order to bring about a revolution in the people’s hearts and souls.”27

He adds, “Imam al-Husayn (as) was eager for the prominence of the Islamic community and desired to protect its interests. That is why he stood up against Yazid and his misguidance… Yes indeed! Al-Husayn was left forlorn at a time when he was in grave need of help from the people.”28

After briefly recounting the event of ‘Ashura, he reaches this conclusion, “Al-Husayn made me a Shi‘ah.” Then he adds, “I swear upon my soul! This place is a holy place for one who always calls out to the innermost recesses of my conscience and has made all my states and actions sorrowful.

I did not feel satisfied with short accounts about the killings of Karbala; I kept delving deeper until an uprising took place in my heart; a revolution against all the doctrines and teachings which I had inherited from my ancestors. Yes, al-Husayn’s revolution entered my mind and soul…

The people of Sham and Kufah came with their swords but Imam al-Husayn (as) came with his blood; and blood was victorious over the sword. Blood triumphed over deviated history. Therefore, al-Husayn (as) is a light which will never be overcome by the darkness of distortion.

We exalt this event because we know that Imam al-Husayn (as) was killed for standing up for what was right. We also know and are proud that only a drop of his blood burried all of his enemies in the annals of history.

We cry for those negligent people who either killed al-Husayn or abandoned him. We regard those who helped as our role-models and leaders. We take al-Husayn’s (as) helpers to be our examples of self-restraint and we imitate them in our lives… we hate the people who killed Imam al-Husayn (as) while they knew that he was better than their King, and that he was the rightful leader for the Muslims.

We detest those who martyred al-Husayn (as) because of the material rewards which Yazid had promised them. Did not these people have the motivation to distort Islam and the power to forge traditions [hadiths] for the sake of earning rewards from Yazid?

Yes, it was al-Husayn (as) who made me Shi‘ah because of the whole truth of his sufferings and the sufferings of his Ahl al-Bayt. He made me Shi‘ah with his blood; fresh blood shed on orange gravel stones in the land of Taff (Karbala).

He made me a Shi‘ah with the cries of newborn children and the wailing of women. I was shouting out loudly as I remembered that day, while hot tears were falling from my eyes because of the sorrow which I felt deep inside my heart. With a heart torn by deep sorrow, I said,

    ويرثي ربابك دنيا السّجون ودمع النواح وفيض الدما

What did the enemies of al-Husayn (as) achieve, except digging their own graves?! Their crushed bodies got buried in the annals of history in a disgraceful and lowly manner. O Aba ‘Abd Allah! You are the greatest man in the history of mankind! Life has become enlightened by your pure and sweet-smelling blood!

    سطعتَ بريقاً کوَمْضِ الشموس وشاعَ سناك کبر السما

Whenever I read detailed accounts about Karbala, they attracted me from afar. Then, my breathing would quicken. I used to see al-Husayn next to myself covered in blood. I wish I were with him so that I could attain great success.

O how I wish I could disappear into the attraction and captivation I feel for al-Husayn! Yes, there is someone in this place who understands what I percieve. But, is it possible that others might not understand what I understood and that great historical event might not leave an impression upon him?

Yes, Karbala is the place of my entry into history and the time of my admission into proper Islam. How can I not be attracted to this reality like a sensitive [raqiq al-qalb] mystic? Or like the attraction of an erudite person whose intelligence led him to fall in love and perish with reality?

Yes, this is the path I came along and the road I traversed. I have briefly mentioned the sufferings imposed upon Imam al-Husayn (as) and the historical crimes committed against the prophets’ descendants. Now, I would like to end my words.”29

Notes:

26. Idris Maghribi, Laqad Shayya‘ani al-Husayn (as) (Al-Husayn made me a Shi‘ite), pp. 63-65.

27. Ibid., p. 297.

28. Ibid., p. 303.

29. Ibid., pp. 313-315.

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"