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By: Sameer Fida Hussain

The battle lines have been drawn. Hussain ibn Ali (a.s) has refused to pledge allegiance to tyrant Yazid ibn Muaviya. In the face of an imminent attack, Hussain (a.s) calls his companions and tells them that it was his life that Yazid wanted and that they can leave. Displaying exemplary loyalty, unflinching and unwavering courage the companions decide to stay. In the ensuing battle Hussain ibn Ali (a.s) along with his 72 associates attain martyrdom in the battlefield of Karbala and thus goes the legend of Karbala.

Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) took stand against the unjust and illegitimate rule of Yazid ibn Muaviya. Mindful of the fact that Hussain (a.s) was respected and admired by everyone, he makes a vain attempt to seek his allegiance in order to dampen the uproar in the society against his inherited rule. Hussain ibn Ali (a.s) had a choice to make —- Allegiance to Yazid would mean a whole lot of luxuries and comforts but its opposite would mean death. Hussain (a.s) choose the latter for he considered a dignified death far better than a life of humiliation. Hussain (a.s) had to make a choice between good and evil, between right and wrong, between truth and deceit and he out rightly refused Yazid ibn Muaviya’s offer. Imam Hussain (a.s) had the responsibility to rescue Islam. The Quran repeatedly states that on the Day of Judgment human beings will be judged based on the deeds and actions that they carried out in this world. It is a general perception that Allah (s.w.t) will hold an individual accountable only for his/her conduct. However, the Quran makes it absolutely clear that an individual will also be held accountable for his/her collective societal obligations.

With an imminent threat hovering over his head, Hussain (a.s) decides to move to the holy city of Mecca with the hope that Yazid’s agents would respect the holiness of the city. On the insistence of people of Kufa, he leaves for Kufa, a city in Iraq, but en-route he is intercepted by a battalion of Yazid’s force and forcibly made to camp down in the desert of Karbala. In Karbala Yazid and his followers inflict all sorts of excesses on prophet’s grandson. On 7th Muharram they stop water supply to Hussain’s (a.s) camps and surround them from all sides. With both camps stationed in Karbala, a stalemate ensues. Yazid uses all tactics to pressurize Hussain (a.s) to yield but Hussain (a.s) refuses to bow in submission before this tyrant ruler. The opposing forces, which vastly outnumbered Hussain’s (a.s) band of seventy two men and their families, were put under strict orders not to let Hussain (a.s) leave. After a few days of this stalemate, on 10th Muharram to be exact, Yazid commanded his forces to kill Hussain (a.s) and his companions. Hussains (a.s) companions fought valiantly and attained martyrdom. One by one the companions, which included the kith and kin of Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), embraced martyrdom. Lastly, when all his men and children had laid down their lives, Hussain (a.s) brought his six month old son Ali Asghar (a.s) and offering him on his own hands, demanded some water for the infant, dying with thirst. The thirst of the baby was quenched by a deadly poisoned arrow from the brute forces. Left alone, Imam Hussain (a.s) got hit by arrows and spears, yet he fought valiantly till his last breath. Fatigued, thirsty and grievously wounded Hussain (a.s) fell to the ground and got martyred as the women and children looked on. The forces of Yazid, having martyred Imam Hussain (a.s), cut and severed his head from his body and raised it on a lance.

Shah ast Hussain (a.s), Baadshah ast Hussain (a.s) – deen ast Hussain(a.s) deen panah ast Hussain(a.s)

Sar dad na daad dast, dar dast-e Yazid, Haq-a-qe bina la-illah ast Hussain(a.s).

In the month of Muharram, Muslims round the globe remember the martyrs of Karbala and pledge to carry forward the mission of Hazrat Hussain (a.s). Muharram commemorations were first held by Imam Hussain’s sister Sayyedah Zainab (s.a) and his son Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s). After the battle of Karbala Zainab bint Ali (a.s) and the other survivors of Hussain’s (a.s) army, most of them women and children, were marched to Damascus, where they were held captive. Zainab (s.a), already in anguish over the death of her brother and other martyrs, was forced to march unveiled. This was an extreme indignity to inflict on the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w). While being paraded in front of Yazid ibn Muaviya, the tyrant ruler asked: Who is this arrogant woman?” Zainab (s.a) rose to answer and said. “Why are you asking them (the women)? Ask me. I am Zainab (s.a), the granddaughter of Muhammad (s.a.w.w). I am the daughter of Fatima”.  Zainab (s.a) delivered a defiant sermon in Yazid ibn Muaviyas court in which she exposed Yazid’s atrocities while honoring the ahl al Bayt and those martyred in Karbala and expounding upon the eternal consequences of the battle.Like other members of her family, Zainab (s.a) became a great figure of sacrifice, strength and piety in Islam. In many ways Zainab (s.a) functioned as a model of defiance against oppression and other forms of injustice. She played an important role in protecting the life of her nephew Imam Zain-ul-abideen (a.s). She spread her brothers’ message to every nook and corner. She kept the mission of her brother alive. She played a significant role in the aftermath of Karbala. Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.w.w) granddaughter, Ali’s (a.s) daughter and Hussain’s (a.s) sister expressed with words the truth that Hussain (a.s) expressed with blood. Even after 1400, years the fluttering of Alam Sharief in the midst of a sizeable number of mourners in the remotest corners of earth is a proof of the triumph of Hussain’s (a.s) mission and Zainab’s (s.a) unflinching sacrifice towards the mission. To invoke Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal (r.a) “Imam Hussain watered the dry gardens of freedom with a surging wave of his blood and indeed he awakened a sleeping Muslim nation”.

Muharram, contrary to the common belief, is not merely a brief chapter in history. It is a philosophy and an illuminating one. The message of Karbala transcends beyond the troubled question of persecutions of sects and minorities. The message of Karbala is stark and clear. The battle of Karbala was not meant to grab land, dukedom or caliphate, rather it was intended to secure and uphold core human values. It was a battle between good and evil, right and wrong and justice and oppression. Karbala is a message of truth and deterrence against the heavy odds. It is a noble mission which teaches us to keep ourselves spirited till the last drop of blood in the body. It is a spirit of never giving up before the wrong and keep sticking to the right.

Qatl-e Hussain (a.s) asal mai margay yazeed hai

Islam zinda hota hai har Karbala Kay baad

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