Musings on the Philosophy of Karbala

Musings on the Philosophy of Karbala
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By Irfan Ali Najar

Approaching Karbala theoretically is profoundly a deconstructing thought for breaking the chains of power and hegemony and delivering people from corrupt regimes. Karbala conceptualizes almost every complex issue that overtly and covertly affects mankind in general. It stands for every voice which is being muzzled and defines the ethic of resistance (qiyam) against oppression that shows how it is incompatible towards corrupt structures of power.
The historical event of Karbala made an unending success over power composed of deceit and tyranny. The uprising of Hazrat Hussain ibn Ali (AS) created counter history and founded a counter discourse. He as an epitome of freedom, sacrificed himself at the altar of freedom to revive the tradition of the living free.
Ashura, as the quintessential account of history, carved out unique standards for the whole humanity to live a dignified free life. From spiritual to social, political to metaphysical, gnosis to resistance Karbala encompasses everything because it is a complete cynosure in itself. One cannot find a balanced and perfect school of thought better than Karbala in the breadth and length of human history as it proved the ultimate standard of protest and patience. Both these phenomenon together reveal the character of Hazrat Hussain ibn Ali (AS).
A resounding “No” was the rallying cry of Hazrat Hussain ibn Ali (AS) which represented the whole ethic of protest against an illegitimate system. Karbala teaches how to pronounce loudly on the face of tyrants, oppressors, dictators and all other cruel rulers. It is an academy of change and revolution. Karbala is supposed to make the comfortable uncomfortable and the calm people agitated. This presents the purpose in large framework where seeds are to be sown in the bosom of oppressed. Karbala shrinks the space for any individual compromise or collective surrender.
The uprising of Karbala is the reflection of values and spiritual politics where tyranny is not tolerated but revolted against. It is not a single event of history but a continuous mission marching on the earth till all illegitimate rulers, corrupt leaders and oppressors disappear. This is the potential of Ashura which continues to resonate in every oppressed nation by giving speculative meaning to their sufferings.
Karbala is the identity of all oppressed people who are under oppression fighting for their rights and survival. It strengthens the faith of resistance and patience and rescues people from humiliation and leads them towards the heights of dignity and freedom.
Karbala is everywhere where oppression, injustice, deceit and cruelty prevail. (This highlights the ubiquitous nature of Karbala). The present age Karbalas, from Palestine to Yemen to Nigeria to Mynamar to Iraq to Syria to Afghanistan where innocent people are being butchered, houses being bombarded, cities destroyed and countryside’s ruined are all examples . The whole oppression and tyranny in these nations bring the event of Karbala before the eyes where people contextualizing their pain in the frame of Ashura inspiring them to fight for justice and propelling them to be firm and adamant against the Yazids of the time.
The uprising of Karbala has a natural appeal to unite all oppressed people for greater mobilization. It would act as a magnetic pole pulling the downtrodden people to a definite cause and breakthrough. The more it is observed across the world the more it infuses the spirit of Resistance to stand against structural oppression, racism, economic loot, injustice and inequality. Karbala is not a sect-centric phenomenon but it is something that cuts all binary divides among Muslims and reduces gaps and differences.

The author, from Budgam, is a student of political science. He can be reached at: