Karbala: A Poignant and Evocative Site of Resistance

Karbala: A Poignant and Evocative Site of Resistance
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Mubashar Naqvi

It was afternoon, just before “Asr”, the afternoon prayer, that Hussain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after carrying seventy one dead bodies of his family, friends and followers, including his six months’ infant Asghar, on the 10th of Muharram stood alone in the plains of Karbala, raised his head and looked towards the sky. Blood was trickling down from his forehead wounds wetting his beard, tears flowing out of his eyes when he, like a muezzin from a minaret, raised a call:
Is there anyone who shall come to my assistance?
Is there anyone who will respond to our call for aid?
It is narrated that after turning directions and repeating the call, Hussain (AS) did it four times. History narrates that he was not expecting someone to come and rescue him as those wanted to help him had already sacrificed their lives. He knew that there was no one left. He was also assured that there was no other Hur in the enemies’ army. And yet, meticulously and laboriously, he made sure that his call reverberated in all directions. This call was not bound by time, space, sect, religion or language as after passing one thousand three hundred and seventy eight years; it still echoes, demanding all lovers of humanity to stand up against tyrants, keep side by the oppressed, assist in justice and establish the truth. This call was for all human beings, every generation in every land; it was a call to us where ever we may be, help fighting against Yazidiat which is the face of an ugly oppression, injustice and falsehood.
Let’s come out from the religious brackets, at-least for few minutes, be a human only and remember the sacrifice which Almighty Allah termed a Supreme one. (And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice 37:107) What was the message of this Supreme sacrifice? Definitely, live with dignity and respect as Imam while addressing to the Yazidi forces said “haihat min az-zillah” (we reject humiliation) which indicates that we should not bow before tyranny.
Karbala, the supreme sacrifice has always injected a new zeal, hidden power and revolutionary strength to all oppressed who have been fighting for their fundamental rights, standing with truth and rising voice against oppression.
Hussain Ibne Ali (AS) took a principle stand against Yazid ibne Mawyia’s rule. Yazid, was known for his inhuman and wicked qualities while Hussain (AS) was admired and respected by society at large. When, Imam was asked to accept Yazid’s rule, he refused it by saying;
“I will never give Yazid my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave… I have not risen to spread evil or to show off… I only desire to enjoin good values and prevent evil.”
The Imam sacrificed everyone including the infant Asghar (6 months), Akbar (18), Qasim (16) to Habib ibne Muzahir (90)-everything even the “chaadars” of his sisters but not endorse Yazid’s rule. Once he said
“Death with dignity is much better than life with humility.”
Hussain (AS) being the symbol of resistance against oppression calls all those who are struggling against tyranny, willing to stand with truth and trying to test their patience. Karbala is not just a place; it is a movement, a universal association of committed, devotees of Hussain (AS) making promise to him to stand by the truth, help the needy and serve to the humanity indiscriminately.
The revolutionaries all through the immediate human history have been taking lights from this tallest lamp of Karbala. Imam Khomeini (RA), the architect of Islamic Revolution in Iran attributes all their power to Ashura.
“Imam Hussain (AS) taught us all how to stand up and resist cruelty and the government of tyranny”, Imam Khomeini used to convey the message quite often.”
Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian and essayist said:
“The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Hussain and his companions were rigid believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Hussain, despite his minority, marvels me.”
The present age Karbalas like Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Kashmir etc. have not yielded to Yazids of this time despite unparalleled death and destruction because the people there have imbibed the qualities of Imam Hussain’s revolution in them.
O Hussain (AS), when we are paying homage to you, your family and friends for setting up an unprecedented example of resistance, bravery and commitment with the cause, we assure you we will not surrender in front of oppression will stand with the truth and will be answering to your last call saying “Labaik Ya Hussain (AS)”
Let humanity awaken and every tribe will claim Hussain (AS) as their own. (Josh Malihabadi)

—Mubashar Naqvi is a freelance writer based in Muzaffarabad. He may be reached at: [email protected]


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