‘The Zulfiqar’ wearing Hijab

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By:Shafat Ali

1400 years ago, on a hot summer afternoon- a man in his early 60’s was standing alone in a battlefield against an army of thousands. He was alone, all his soldiers already fallen. He saw barrage of arrows and daggers flying towards him but he stood firm. He knew that arrows and swords don’t kill anyone because the authority to cease ones breaths is with Allah, The Almighty. It’s hard to imagine such kind of valor in today’s world; we only see such chivalry in superheroes of fictional artworks. But this person was the courage personified. When he looked around, there were bodies of his most trusted companions, his children and his brothers on hot desert sand. Their lips scaled from the thirst but even after death, they were radiating this strange ‘noor’- the light of truth and righteousness. And that is what he was fighting for- the sacred cause of truth. The Man straightened his back, his sword shining like a sun, his resolve firm, and courageous; the world had never witnessed this amount of courage before. He went through the Enemy ranks swiftly like the wind. He was The Son of The Lion of Allah. And he lived up to his name.

The stand of Imam Hussain (a.s) against Yazeedhas always marveled me. One cannot contemplate the amount of love and admiration this person had for ‘The Cause’ he was defending. His stand against the terrorism of BanuUmayyah serves as a torch bearer for everyone who fights against injustice in the contemporary world. The Stand of Imam Hussain (a.s) was not for a specific sect or community, it had cosmic implications. The mere stance of standing against the dictator of the time needs an unimaginable amount of courage and selflessness. Imam Hussain knew that there will be consequences, but his stand was for religion of Allah and legacy of his grandfather, everything else was secondary. He was the warden of the truth and key to the doors of heaven. So he took it upon himself to stand against a barbarian who claimed to be the Caliph of that time.

Even in the contemporary world, we can draw some of the most important lessons from the events that happened in Karbala. In our lives today, we encounter numerous such occasions where we see the might taking over the right, we see justice being mutilated and truth muted. The basic human values have gone to the dusty confines of our mind. If we try to take a leaf out of the life of Imam Hussain we will see that we have the opportunity to replicate Karbala every single day in our lives. All it takes is courage, faith and determination to live up to the standards set by a person who faced the army of thousands with a handful of soldiers. The courage to stand up when the world around you is trembling under the leash of injustice! The courage to speak against the falsehood being propagated around you, and this courage just doesn’t spring out of you from nowhere. You have to nurture it in yourself.

You have to nourish your soul with ideas of selflessness and greater causes of sacrificing your desires for a common and greater good of the creations of the Almighty. This Courage is the result of your consent efforts of staying in course of truth despite the turbulences you face in your pursuit. And while in pursuit of truth, if you feel demotivated, remember the Son of Ali ibnAbiTalib. Holding onto truth with come-what-may approach and tolerance towards all without any bigotry, social distinction and feudal hierarchy is what Imam Hussain teaches us. Following Imam Hussain requires utmost adherence to set principles no matter what it takes and not surrendering before the evil at any cost.

The stand of Imam Hussain against the Yazeed is a cosmic event. It does not just concern one sect or one religion. People across races and cultures view the events which happened on Ashura as the important happening in history of Human civilization. People across religions respect the grandson of Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him, for his stand against the injustice and bigotry. Karbala is not just an event in Islamic history, If we would look closely, each and every person who fought alongside Imam Hussain (a.s) is a role model for people of every generation. Karbala, therefore is a way of life.

From what motivated Hurr bin Yazeed al Riyahi’s to shift sides to HussainIbn Ali achieving his martyrdom, the events at Karbala are a complete guide for life. Not only for the followers of Islam but for every human being alive. The visit of the general of Yazeed’s Army to tents of Imam Hussain and How Imam Hussain conducted with him, how he served food and water to his soldiers, is only something a person with greatest moral values can do. They were in a battlefield, still Imam was managing his deen and duniya in most remarkable manner. Imam Hussain said “You can be my enemy but you are my guest right now and as a guest, you have rights over me. You deserve to be treated well. We can be on different shores in terms of faith but for me you are a Human Being and you deserve to be respected and honoured.” Its hard to imagine a person with such moral values today. Only the Son Of Imam Ali has the spine to balance the religion and his moral character so beautiful that even The General of the enemy was impressed and he later fought and died alongside the imam.

One thing that always marvelled me as a kid was ‘why imam Hussaina.s entrusted his most valiant soldier Abbas Ibn Ali, to fetch water for the thirsty and why was He not ordered to fight upfront in the battle field?’ It confused me, and every person who has even the slightest knowledge of military strategies will tell you that they will never allow the Flag bearer and General of Army to leave his command. Then, I imagined Abbas Ibn Ali (a.s) filling up the water for thirsty and not drinking himself. And it hit me then, that this was the most difficult assignment, He was thirsty and He knew that The kids, The ladies and His Imam were thirsty too. So, instead of quenching his own thirst, He slayed his desires and went on with his assignment of delivering water to the thirsty in imam Hussain’s camp.  This was the battle of Son of Ali a.s with his Nafs and it’s always a most difficult battle one can fight. And fighting such battles need the courage and bravery of supreme order. That’s the reason Abbas ibn Ali was assigned with this task.

The events which happened on 10th of Muharram were only a part of the battle of Karbala. Battle of Karbala was actually won in the court of Damascus by The Iron lady of Islam, Zainabbinte Ali. The way he manoeuvred the public opinion and the way he struck on the propaganda machinery of BanuUmayyah like a Zulfiqar was something only the daughter of Ali could have accomplished. She was the reason for the downfall of Yazeed. She was the one who toppled the throne of the dictator. Those who say that Islam confines the women into tight spaces and deprives them of the basic rights have surely not read anything about Zainabbinte Ali. She managed to overthrow a tyrant dictator not by sword, not by might but with her tongue. ZainabBinteAli, stood like a rock in the face of every tyranny and spread her brother’s message, even in prison after being hounded up to Damascus. Yazeed’s seat of power was far ahead of that age and we still don’t find any women of courage remotely close to her in any way. After the Ashura, She was The Hussain, The Abbas for the children, women and for everyone left in the caravan of Imam Hussain. She attending to the sick, She nursed the wounded and guarded the caravan like a true soldier. The way she spoke in the court of Yazeed sent jitters down the spine of everyone listening. She was the Zulfiqar.

Is that the daughter of Ali in Yazeed’scourtyard,

For I see ‘The Zulfiqar’ wearing Hijab.

Karbala has inspired millions across the globe to stand up and fight for what is right and it will continue to inspire the generations to come. Our moral duty is to tell the people about Imam Hussain and Karbala through words and most importantly through our actions. One can not be neutral about the events that happened in Karbala, like most people refuse to comment on these events saying they don’t have the authority to Judge the Son of Muawiyyah or The Son of Ali. For me you can align yourself emotionally or morally either with Imam Hussain or with Yazeed. There is absolutely no middle ground.

The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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