Karbala is a metaphor for courage, fortitude, truth telling. The sacrifice of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Hazrat Rasool-e-Akram, the crown prince of the universe, in front of the Yazidi army was not to make Muslims remember this great martyrdom only on the 10th of Muharram! The sacrifice was for Muslims to remember that this whole battle, this calamity, all these difficulties and all this struggle was for the truth. There was a voice which, while being martyred, told the whole world that it is better to cut one’s own throat than to bow before a tyrant. It was an act in accordance with the teachings of Allah that those who follow the word of Allah and His Messenger are the ones who live even after they lose their lives, while those who seem to prevail in battle are either rendered obscure in history or are rejected and cursed forever.
Sadly, there is a large majority of people today who speak of being tormented by grief in their speeches, but who are unable to understand the message of Hussain’s great martyrdom. They have turned the ten days of Muharram into mere rituals. They host majlises in memory of the Shaheed-e-Azam in every neighbourhood, but when the opportunity arises to show courage, fortitude and truth-telling, they are seen standing at the back of the line. Hazrat Hussain did not teach cowardice, nor did he teach turning away, nor did he teach deception and lying, but today these ills have spread like a contagion among Muslims.
Muslim leaders, especially political leaders, have made expediency their bedrock. They bow their heads before everyone other than Allah because they see their benefit in it. However, all honour and all humiliation is in the hands of Allah. Cowardice has become so ingrained in them that when they have to raise their voice even for their loved ones, they are unable to do so. Hazrat Hussain did not make his sacrifice so that those who take his name prostrate before tyrant rulers and accept earthly gods as their own. The message that was issued from Karbala was that there can never be a better haraam than halal. But today, Muslim leaders and Muslim politicians and even many religious scholars do not distinguish between halal and haraam. Ashura teaches us to avoid all kinds of rituals, all kinds of superstitions, all kinds of shirk, all kinds of haraam and all kinds of cowardice, deception and lies. It conveys the message of courage, bravery, and steadfastness. Most of all, it teaches truthfulness in all circumstances. Muslims should understand the message of Ashura and follow it. That will be the true remembrance of Hussain.
The writer is a research scholar. [email protected]