(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
By Raja Jahangir Ali
IT was on the scorching plains of Karbala nearly 1400 years ago that Imam Hussain (AS) fulfilled the promise of the“great sacrifice” which had ransomed patriarch Prophet Ibrahim's (A.S) first son Ismail (A.S) in antiquity. (37-107)
The commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) and his 72 faithful companions, kith and kin is keeping the true struggle of all righteous as well as oppressed people alive and in motion against tyrants of the time. It is also the best possible challenge and protest against different dimensions of tyranny wherever needed in the world. Imam Hussain (A.S) preferred immortal martyrdom to transient life under an oppressive system so that mankind could live with dignity. Yazid wanted Imam Hussain's hand as token of allegiance, but Imam gave his head in defiance because a compromise with a libertine like Yazid would have distorted not only his grandfather's mission but that of all prophets of the yore.
The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions and male members of his house particularly his 6-month-old baby son Ali Asghar was thus a most remarkable instance in history when blood triumphed over the sword. The tragedy of Karbala has since continued to interact with human conscience inspiring the seekers of the truth and justice against the satanic forces of oppression and tyranny. It has given birth to revolutions and reform movements across the four corners of the world. The message of freedom and liberty preached by Imam Hussain (AS) in Karbala where virtue and vice stood face to face in 61AH (corresponding to 680 CE), presents the greatest lesson for humanity. It was a black day of trial where only a thin line separated heaven from hell. The deciding factors were courage, sacrifice and firm conviction.
While Hur ibn Yazid al Riyahi, one of the top commanders of Yazidi army, sent to arrest Imam Hussain (A.S) succeeded in overcoming the pull and attraction of the mortal world and switched over to Hussain's side at the eleventh hour, Umar ibn Saad the commander in chief of Yazid's army and the son of a companion of the Prophet (Pbuh), on the other hand found the fires of hell irresistible and succumbed to the false promise of the governorship of the province of Ray.
Dark pages of history tell us when it was all over by dusk, Ibn Saad in a most atrocious manner, ordered the trampling of the headless bodies of the martyrs under the hooves of the horses and hoisted their heads on lances. It was clear that Hussain (A.S) was triumphant in his mission to prove the eternal supremacy of truth over falsehood and freedom over slavery. Some 14 centuries past after Hussain's brutal martyrdom, his memory is still alive and millions of hearts beat in every nook and corner of the world with the love of Hussain (A.S) each Muharram. Muslims and non-Muslims alike still recall his supreme ideals and sacrifices which act as a torch of guidance for those who feel the need of reforming and revolutionizing their societies.
Great men of the world, be they national leaders, reformers, saints, poets, or thinkers, aside from their committed deeds, are often remembered and their status evaluated in the light of the words they have uttered on important and decisive occasions, help in measuring their high ideals and sublime thoughts. Likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, successful leaders and revolutionaries of the 20th century have admitted to have drawn inspiration from the revolution of Imam Hussain (AS). How revered are the words of Imam Hussain (AS) who sacrificed his life and that of his kith and kin willingly for the sake of saving the religion of Islam from extinction. However, Hussain's evil adversaries have been thrown in the dustbins of history and only to be cursed whenever their name pops up before the supporters of freedom and justice.
Allah has certified in Holy Quran saying“Your companion (Prophet Pbuh) has neither strayed, nor is he misguided, nor does he speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but revelation send down to him” -Al Quran (53- 2, 3, 4). Not only articles but volumes would be required to record the virtues and excellence of Hussain (AS) whom the Prophet has hailed as a“Beckon of Guidance and Arch of Salvation”. Prophet's famous saying“Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain” also stands out as proof of the divinely guided Imam whose blood revived Islam. Hussain the symbol of Islamic unity and justice was virtue personified. He had the“Seal of Prophet” as his grandfather,“Commander of the Faithful” Ali (AS) as his father, the“symbol of womanhood” Syeda Zahra (SA) as his mother and shared with his brother Imam Hassan the“Leadership of the Youth of Paradise”.
Ten years after the martyrdom of Imam Hassan (AS) whose name had become a byword for patience Imam Hussain adhered to the spirit of the treaty which was reached by his brother with the Umayyads. But Hussain (AS) like his brother and father before him was no factional leader. He was the third divinely ordained Imam. For ten long years he patiently observed the treaty but when Yazid was proclaimed as Caliph forcibly and without following the norms and conditions of the treaty, the Imam felt it his duty to reproach the former by writing a scathing letter. The Umayyad Caliph Ameer Muawiyah died in 60 Hijri and he on his death bed advised Yazid not to press Imam Hussain for allegiance. Yazid however, ordered the Governor of Medina, Walid to force Imam Hussain to swear allegiance to him.
The Imam outright refused and left for Makkah. After learning that assassins had been sent to murder him in the most peaceful sanctuary of Makkah, Hussain left for Iraq after converting his Hajj into Umrah, just before the Hajj ceremonies, to avoid bloodshed in the house of God. On the 2nd day of Muharram, Imam Hussain (AS) and his small group of faithful along with his family including womenfolk and children were intercepted at the plains of Karbala by the Umayyad troops. When pressed for allegiance, the Imam whose martyrdom had been foretold by his grandfather the Prophet (PBUH), refused saying“A person like me cannot extend his hand of allegiance to a person like Yazid.” After announcing this firm and blunt decision he asked his followers and faithful to leave him because it was only his life that Yazid wanted. The faithful group however stood firm and after three days of thirst and hunger died fighting alongside their Imam. Mistaken, the enemy forces had thought that Hussain would be forced to surrender before Yazid as ruler of the Islamic state, should his camp's water supply be cut by capturing the river Euphrates. They proved wrong. The tragedy of Karbala awakened the human conscience. Karbala is the voice against tyranny and oppression. It is the high point of the struggle between truth and falsehood with the blood of martyrs triumphing over the naked sword.
Author is an advocate and can be reached at: Email:[email protected]
Truly appreciating Imam's (as) teachings and utterances, as well as thinking and concentrating on his landmark achievement in the desert of Karbala, led his followers to revolt against the oppressors and tyrannical systems putting dearest thing at stake until truth and justice prevailed.
Imam Hussain (AS) undoubtedly became the saviour of message of Islam which was presented to the world by the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) which says not to yield to any tyrant howsoever callous and powerful, not to suppress the truth and facts which could lead to injustice, social imbalance and deprivation of the rightful and lastly not to decoy or camouflage the truth or falsehood where it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two. To shun these evils, he pronounced his conviction as “Death with honour, dignity is better than thousand-year life with disgrace and humiliation”.
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