Understanding Karbala

Understanding Karbala

By Waseem Reza

In the sandy desert of Karbala, the doyen of martyrs Imam Hussain (AS) offered peerless martyrdom to safeguard Islam virtually fourteen centuries ago. He even offered his six month old son to uphold justice and human values. He preferred death to dishonor, martyrdom to the tolerance of cruelty; he preferred sacrifice to bearing oppression and eventually gave his head not hand to set an example for the world that give away everything but never buckle before a tyrant but never follow dictates of an oppressor.
When we go through the tragic history of Karbala, we come to know that the main purpose of the uprising of Imam Hussain (AS) against Yazeed was to launch a comprehensive reformative campaign to weed out evils from the nation (Ummah) of his great grandfather.
As in the inheritance testament, the Imam wrote to his brother Muhammad bin Hanfia, he says “I am not leaving (From Madeena) as a rebellion, oppressor and transgressor, instead my purpose is to reform the nation of my grandfather. The only methodology to do this reformation is Amar bil Maroof (inviting towards non value- and Nahi anal Munkar) (for weeding from evils) , that is, I wish to reform the nation by the method of these two things. It is not that I am the first person adopting this method to reform a nation; before my great grandfather and father have adopted these methods only. I also desire to follow their character of doing Amar bil Maroof and Nahi anal Munkar for reforming the nation.
Now, it becomes crystal clear that the objective of the initiative of Imam was not to wage war against Yazeed to grab power rather to revive and revamp the values practiced and preached by the revered Prophet(PBUH) during his holy tenure but Yazeed waged a full-fledged war against Imam to follow and thwart his reformative campaign, and thus we can say that it was a war between right and wrong. Imam fought to give eternal life to values, to illuminate the candle of Islam, to water the garden of human values and to nurture the blossoms of moral values.
The Imam time and again declares Amar bil Maroof and Nahi anal Munkar as the sole objectives behind his movement during his journey, when he bids farewell at the grave of his grandfather, he says:-
“O Allah, this is the grave of your Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and I am the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I am encountering an affair which you know better than me. O Allah, I love known values and hate evils”. In this context, it can be said that Karbala was a war of values: justice fighting injustice, morality at war with immorality.
In the tumultuous and turbulent circumstances of the contemporary times, numerous Yazeeds have come to the fore yet again. Hooliganism and waywardness again rule the roost with moral values trampled down. Wanton destruction is caused to the Islamic principles under the banner of countering terrorism; blood of innocent Muslims is spilled over. The catchy slogans of democracy are chanted to bombard Muslim nations deep rooted conspiracies are hatched to brand Muslims as terrorists and blasphemous books are written to distort the impeccable image of the seal of prophets. On the 10th of Muharram, it is a clarion call for Muslims all across the globe to fathom and understand the movement of Karbala. The day we understand this unprecedented movement, we shall succeed the in breaking the shackles of servitude.

—The Author hails from Srinagar and is the seminary student of Al Mustafa (S) International University Qom, Iran and Director of Wilayat Times. He can be reached at [email protected]

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