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Unlike any other, the Muslim New Year begins sadly, with the rememberance of a tragedy inflicted on a noble and courageous family. I am posting below a small article written by me, on the sad story of Imam Hussain, younger son of Hazrat Ali and Lady Fatima and grendson of our Holy Prophet. Mods, please don't move this post. It is being made here intentionally for our Christian and Jewish friends. Thanks ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Savior Of Islam, Imam Husain (a.s.) By Baqar Ever since man first set foot on this planet, the commitment of some honest men to uphold the values of truth and justice, has not been viewed very kindly by others, in particular by those who found their ill-gotten privileges and their barbaric life style under threat. The powerful among them have responded with oppression and tyranny. The sad finale for the righteous in these stories has been one of pain and suffering, of sorrow and pathos. Yet the illustrious name and extraordinary heroism of such people has lived on, their memory etched in the pages of history for all time to come. Such heroism may relate to a religious figure, a freedom fighter or a national hero. But the truth is that such men belong to all humanity. Clearly, the human race owes in no mean measure to these formidable men. Their indefatigable commitment is undoubtedly worthy of an honorable place in our memories. Among these stalwarts, we find one who goes where few have gone before, to the heights of sacrifice and steadfastness, bequeathing to history the pathos and philosophy of an extraordinary sacrifice - a tragic story laced as much with sorrow and suffering as with dedication, commitment, patience, fortitude, singularity of purpose, and astonishingly with a remarkable presence of mind. Our hero in the story is Imam Husain, second son of Hazrat Ali and Lady Fatima, daughter of our beloved prophet. Imam Husain was born on the 3rd day of the 8th month (Shaban) of the 4th year of the Arabic calendar. This would correspond to a date in or around 625 AD in the western calendar. The two brothers, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain were the apple of their grandfather's eye. Imam Husain was only about 7 when the holy grandfather and their beloved mother passed away. The children were then brought up by their father, Hazrat Ali. Along with their father, the brothers suffered the vicissitudes of the times, following in his illustrious footsteps, in thought, word and deed. They assisted and supported him in every possible way, emulating his extraordinary nobility, forbearance and commitment. The historical perspective of the times needs to be placed here before our story unfolds. At the time of Hazrat Ali's tenure in office, a parallel 'opposition' government was in place with the infamous Moavia as its head. Hazrat Ali's seat of government was in Kufa, Iraq whereas Moavia's was in Damascus, Syria. The two armies met in battle in a place called Siffin, but the encounter was a stalemate. Moavia tried his best to bring the name of his opponent to disrepute, but to no avail. The extraordinary difference in their personalities can be seen from the following story. In the course of battle, at one point in time, Moavia's forces took control of the river, and when they did so, they blocked all access to the water, depriving Hazrat Ali's men of much needed water. Hazrat Ali ordered a counterattack and regained control. And when he did, Â he generously allowed the enemy complete access to the waters of the river. In very brief, this illustrates the difference in their character. After the assassination of Hazrat Ali in 40 hijri, his older son, Imam Hasan, became caliph, with his seat of government at Kufa. Moavia was anxious to perpetuate his own dynasty. It would be worth his while to try and pressure Imam Hasan to relinquish his claims. The cunning Moavia did not ask Imam Hasan for allegiance - merely abdication of temporal powers. With little regard for worldly goods, Imam Hasan decided in favor of a truce, under conditions which Moavia would soon show little respect for. In his valedictory speech, Imam Hasan predicted that the temporal authority he was transferring would be short-lived. Among the terms of the treaty, Moavia would have no dominion over spiritual leadership. He would not appoint a successor and the choice was to be left to the people. Some years later, Imam Hasan passed away. It was never Moavia’s intention to honour the terms of the treaty and when his end was close, he decided to go back on his word and appointed his renegade son, Yazid, as his successor. Moavia was aware of the mettle of Hazrat Ali's family. He knew that like his father and brother before him, Imam Husain would have no ambition for worldly gain and he would not be a threat to his son in any way whatsoever. He therefore instructed Yazid to leave Imam Husain alone. But when Yazid finally took charge, he forgot his father's words and decided to press for the Imam’s allegiance. We are now in the month of Rajab, the seventh month of 60 hijri, corresponding perhaps to the early part of 680 AD. Moavia has just passed away. According to his will, and in contravention of the treaty between his father and Imam Hasan, Yazid has assumed the control of the Islamic republic in Damascus. Yazid was a man given to the pleasures of life, completely unfit for leadership of any kind - temporal or spiritual. Imam Husain happens to be in Madina at the time, and receives scores of letters from his father's followers in Kufa, Iraq to come and save them from the yoke of Yazid. Imam Husain responds to their call and heads for Kufa. Before he does so, he sends his cousin, Muslim, to report on the situation. Meanwhile, in Madina, Yazid’s governor in that town summons the Imam and demands allegiance to Yazeed. The Imam refuses. The Imam is now on his way to Kufa, with a stopover in Mecca, where he stays about five months. He leaves Mecca just before the Haj, when he found evidence of men disguised in the haji’s garb, on a mission to kill him. The stopover in Mecca comes to an end. He is on the road again - to Kufa. He will never arrive in Kufa, of course. Three weeks later he would reach his final destination - a place called Karbala. In the meantime, Yazid has appointed an extremely harsh man, by the name of Ibnay Ziad as governor of Kufa. When the Imam’s emissary, Muslim arrives in Kufa, the governor, Ibnay Ziad has Muslim arrested and killed. Two of his sons, both around ten, who had accompanied their father, are also killed. Their story is also one of great bravery and pathos, but for brevity we shall move on. Imam Husain hears of Muslim's death on his way but is undeterred. He has embarked upon his noble task and cannot not possibly justify abandoning it. Shortly before the Imam would complete his journey, he would be intercepted by a division of Yazid's army, led by an officer by the name of Hur. Hur was under orders to take the Imam under escort to Kufa. Imam Husain refused to be intimidated; a compromise was, however, reached whereby the Imam agreed to let Hur accompany him. Arriving at Karbala, Imam Husain stopped and decided to pitch his tents there. Hur's forces also set up camp. This was on the 2nd day of Moharram, 61 Hijri. Very soon, legions of Yazid's forces, totalling tens of thousands, converged on Karbala. Umar-e-Saad, the chief of Yazid's army, asked for Imam's allegiance to Yazid. As in Madina before, the Imam again refused. Fortunately for history, much of our information of the carnage at Karbala comes not from a Shia, but from a chronicler by the name of Hameed ibnay Muslim, appointed to the task by none other than Yazeed hismelf. What followed was one of the most heart-rending tales ever told. In the next few days, all access to supplies (water and food) was blocked. On the 7th Moharram, there was not one single drop of water in Imam Husain's camps. Asked again for allegiance, the prince of peace responded by making three counter-offers : Let me talk to Yazid in person, Let me return to Madina, Let me depart to a distant land. The offers were, of course, refused. The response - 'Either accept Yazid as your master or suffer death'. For over three days, members of his entourage, including women, children and about seventy men had to make do without food and water. On the evening of the 9th Moharram, commonly known as Shab-e-Aashoor, after all negotiations had failed, the enemy staged an attack. Imam Husain sent his brother Abbas to ask for another night of reprieve, so he could spend one more night in worship to his master. They laughed and joked saying that another day would not spare Husain from his final destination, which would (nauzo billah) be hell anyway, but they granted his request. Hostilities resumed the next morning. That was on the 10th of Moharram, Islam's great day of shame. On this day, the grandson of the founder of the faith would be slaughtered along with 18 members of his close relatives, and 50 or more of the faithful. The battle started early in the morning. Battle in 6th century Arabia was often a two-man affair. Each side would send one man to combat. One by one, every single member of Imam Husain's small band of the faithful would ride up to the killing grounds to face the enemy, consisting of many thousands of men. Each encounter was a magnificent show of spirit among the soldiers of Imam Husain. Imam Husain's small band proved too formidable for Yazid's men and they decided to switch to general warfare. A man-to-man combat was getting them nowhere and had to be abandoned. Imam Husain, unfortunately, could not afford to send all his men together - he was short on numbers. This meant that each person on Imam Husain's side had to face the entire strength of Yazid's forces. Hameed bin Muslim has chronicled the extraordinary bravery and steadfastness of Imam Husain's men, even though they had not had a drop of water or a morsel of food for more than three days. By early afternoon, there was hardly anyone left on Imam Husain's side - a count of three included a six month old baby son, an older son, 24 - bedridden with fever, and the Imam himself. The baby son was called Ali Asghar. The child, like the adults, had not had a drop of water for over three days. Imam Husain decided to take the baby to the forward fence to ask for water for the child. Some among the enemy were moved to see the baby’s parched lips. The army commander sensed the danger - the baby’s innocent face could lead to a betrayal. He quickly commissioned a sharp shooter called Hurmula to take aim. The first two arrows missed. The third struck the baby in the throat. It would be difficult for anyone to describe or even perceive what would have gone through the distraught father's heart. Imam Husain had taken the child from the apprehensive mother, who must now be told that the child had been killed, with his throat still dry. The Imam dug a small hole in the ground with his sword and buried the child. A short while later, it will be his turn. He would go to fight, and despite the thirst, the hunger and the mountain of grief, like the rest of his men, he would fight valiantly and die. One of the last things the noble Imam told his sister was : ' Sister, (after I am gone), do not pray for evil to befall the enemy'. As the sun descended over the horizon on the hot and sandy plains of Karbala that memorable day in the year 61 hijri, all male members of Imam Husains' entourage, except one, had been killed. Apart from distraught women and children, the survivors included just one male member, Imam Husain's son Ali, in bed with fever - the fever which effectively saved his life. At final count, the dead included two sons - the six month old baby and an 18 year old, five brothers, several nephews and cousins. In all, 18 members of his immediate family had perished in the space of just a few hours. Apart from these, his small band of the faithful who were killed along with him, included another four or five dozen, all confronting a formidable army of tens of thousands. The survivors - women and children - were then taken prisoner, and on an agonizingly painful journey from Karbala to Kufa and Kufa to Damascus where they were imprisoned for a year or more, before being allowed to return home to Madina. The prisoners were treated in a very inhumane manner. Some were taken on foot and some on the bare backs of camels. Many of the children had to walk tied to one another with ropes. To add to the horror, the severed heads of Imam Husain and his men were taken along with the procession of prisoners, impaled on spears. Yazid's propaganda machine had let out that some rebels had been captured and been suitably dealt with, and the survivors, were being taken to the caliph in Damascus. People had assembled on the caravan route to watch the pageant. It is difficult to imagine the pain and humiliation the noble family must have gone through. After being released, they were arrested again, brought back to Damascus, where most died of grief and deprivation. The graves of Imam Husain and his men are in Karbala, Iraq. The women and children - the survivors of the tragedy - lie buried in Damascus. And despite their immense grief and hardships, as long as Imam Husain's sisters lived, they never prayed for evil to befall the enemy, just as their brother had wished.
asslamoalaikum, There are many arguments from Quran and Sunnah which prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that Imamat/Calphate/Leadership are divine institutions. This is main flashpoint between Shia and Sunni school of thought. Many examples of divine appointment of Imam/Caliph can be sited from Quran and Sunnah whereas Sunni view about caliphate/imamat is quite vague and confused one which finds no support from Quran and Sunnah (ant its proven many times). Even within Sunni schools of thought there are huge differences about the view of caliphate/imamat. One important and dangerous point regarding this basic difference between Shia and Sunnis is that Shia take Imamat/Caliphate as religious issue while Sunnis (though do not say it verbally) take caliphate/imamat as non-religious issue. The reason is the same because Shia take Imamat as "divine" hence take it as part of religion while Sunni take it as result of Shuru (consultation) has can not convince others that its a religious issue. Irrespective of the fact that Shia try to prove Imamat/Caliphate being divine institution from Quran and Sunnah and Sunnis deny this and try to prove otherwise, i would like to draw the attention of just minded Shias and Sunnis that can they place their right hand on their hearts and say that "A person can lead in an incident like Karbala without divine guidance?". The role of Imam is the protection of Islam and how beautifully Imam Hussain (a.s) performed this duty. It is not so because i am Shia hence i am saying that Imam Hussain a.s was definitely divinely appointed and divinely guided Imam who lead true Islam in Karbala. The roles of Imams (a.s) of each time show apparently that they were best of their time. A non divine imam can not be so perfect.
Salamu3alaykum This is a poem I have written I hope you like like, I'm open to any critismsm I'd appreciate your feedback (just be nice :) ) My tears fall from my eyes into an ocean full of more Tears for my beloved master that died Died is and understatement ! If they herd the way he was killed they would be in amazement Of how cruel a person could be To the one that was dear to me But not just me many others Many more father, brothers and mothers They murder him They slaughtered him They thought that they had defeated him They soon came to know his memory did not die It was proven to the world that Hussain was the truth and they were a lie ! Hussain may have died but him message survived After thousands of years his name is still revived As the one that put Allah (swt) desires above his own He is hussain he is the truth he is a lantern for all the youth At the time of his death he was alone He called out "Is there a helper who would help me?" There was no answer to his precious call But now his followers have GROWN We are here to answer your call oh Hussain! We are at your service oh my master! We shout at the top of our voices we are at your service ya hussain!! We now wait patiently for your grandson al Mahdi to come and take revenge for what happened on those lonely desert plains SALAWAT! Wasalam
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