By Mohammad Zubair Ud Din
History has witnessed numerous incidents which are a blot on the human conscience and humanity. The broad humane and moral values were trampled over and there was the gory dance of barbarism, cruelty, death and destruction. However, the majority of these incidents faded into oblivion with the passage of time. Very few such incidents have survived in the pages history and have come down to us. The battle of Karbala fought in 61 AH (Al-Hijri) of the Islamic calendar stands out conspicuously among all the tragic events human history witnessed for a variety of reasons. The patience with which Imam Hussain (AS) faced all the trials and tribulations in the battle field of Karbala is beyond parallel and mention. One example of the exuberant level of patience and forbearance Imam Hussain (AS) showed can be had from his advice to his ailing son, Imam Zainul Abidin, when he insisted to be allowed to fight. Imam Hussain (AS) advised him to persevere in trials and patiently bear the sufferings. Further, he was advised not to nurture the feeling of revenge against their enemies for it was against the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Needless to mention, Imam Hussain (AS) sacrificed everything in the way of Allah. He sacrificed his sons, nephews, cousins and friends numbering either 72 or 82 for upholding truth and the sanctity of Islamic sharia and thus set an unprecedented and unparalleled example before the mankind till doomsday. This kind of extraordinary patience, courage, forgiveness, forbearance and fortitude has no parallel in human history given the exemplary barbarism, cruelty, unislamic and inhuman treatment meted out to Imam Hussain (AS) and his followers. No wonder the very mention of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) evokes a mixed feeling of grief and mystical bliss.
One irony over the ages has been the attempt of many of the scholars to paint the struggle between Imam Hussain (AS) and the forces of Yazeed as the one for acquiring the political power rather than a struggle between the evil and the truth. However, this inference is bereft of logic, historical evidence and smacks of inherent bias towards the spiritual personality of Imam Hussain (AS) and his mission. A few observations can be made to nullify the claim of so called Islamic scholars whose approach has been largely responsible for drawing the wedge within the Muslim Ummah. And, then there are also some writers from within the Muslim community who exaggerate the historical events surrounding the battle of Karbala and have brought in some fabricated tales which do not stand the test of historical research.
Imam Hussain (AS) and his struggle was for the glorification and purification of Islam. He wanted to purge Islam of all the accretions which had entered the body politic of Islam with the accession of Yazeed to power. Had Imam Hussain (AS) been interested in acquiring the political power , he would have accepted the proposal of Abdullah bin Zubair (RA) to accept his allegiance for the government of Makkah and not taken the dangerous journey to Kufa despite being advised by his well wishers and friends like Abdullah Bin Abbas and Abdullah Bin Umar. More importantly, Makkah was a safer place and people there were not happy with Yazeed. Imam Hussain (AS) could easily have consolidated his position in Makkah and then attempted to dislodge Yazeed from power if his sole aim would have been to acquire political power.
At a little distance from Qadsiya where Hur bin Yazeed arrived with a force of 1000 aimed at following and keeping a close watch at him and his followers, Imam Hussain (AS) delivered a sermon which sums up the aim of his mission-”O people! The Holy Prophet (PBUH)) says that whoever comes across a ruler that perpetrates cruelty and transgresses the Divine limits, breaks the covenant made with Allah, violates the Prophet’s traditions and rules over the people with coercion, if he does not oppose that ruler with word and deed, Allah will not grant him a good abode in the life Hereafter”.
He added: “Look! They have become Satan’s followers and are opposing Allah’s Commandments. Corruption has appeared. They are violating the limits imposed by Allah Ta’ala. They are in illegal possession of booty. The lawful is made unlawful and unlawful is rendered lawful…..”
The fact is that Imam Hussain (AS) wanted to set an unprecedented example before the human mankind not to bow before the evil, no matter in what shape and how powerful it would be. He wanted to reform the unislamic practices which had crept in the body politic of Islam and had he remained silent, the drinking of liquor, music and dancing, right to succession only by virtue of birth and such other un-Islamic practices would have found their way in Islam.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org