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In the Name of God بسم الله

Understanding Karbala

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Salaamun alaikum,

I am attempting to learn about Karbala and struggling to understand what the official Shia position is amongst the Salafi propaganda out there. I figured this forum would be a good place to start to get a better understanding. I am a revert so forgive me if I am a litlte blunt at times or incorrect in my understanding..

From my own reading it appears Yazid wanted the allegience of Imam Hussain (A) as soon as possible and the Imam abstained. The chiefs of Kufa invited Hussain to be their Imam and went back on their oaths as soon as ibn Ziyad started the brutal crackdown in the city. Hussain was eventually boxed in at Karbala and surrounded by the troops of Umar ibn Sa'd. I have read narratives that the Imam did not want to fight and was happy to return realising he had been deserted, nevertheless the opposing army wanted to fight and eventually martyred him and his companions (عليه السلام).

It seems to me that the immediate people to blame for the death of Imam Hussain (A) were the people of Kufa and Yazid & Co. It is most unfortunate that some of the Shia chiefs at the time invited Imam Hussain to Kufa and their guilt is evident by the later Tawwabun movement. Do you know if these Tawwabun did not join Hussain out of laxness or were they genuinely unable to escape Kufa when it was put under lockdown?

I am personally uncomfortable with what I hear about the Imam being a "necessary sacrifice for Islam" as it reminds me too much of how modern day Christians make Isa (عليه السلام) out to be, that he was sent to this Earth with the sole purpose to be murdered for the sins of the world. Isa's (عليه السلام) mission was much loftier than that despite being opposed by the chiefs of his time who tried to assasinate him. Maybe "unintended sacrifice" is better as surely Imam Hussain went to Kufa because of the letters sent to him - he was doing his duty as an Imam. I cannot imagine him going there with the sole purpose of being brutually massacared..

It seems these me that these narratives distract the reader from the true causes behind Karbala which was basically the failure of the Ummah to support their Imam (I am not just talking about the Kufans either!). To play devil's advocate you could say this is to distract the attention away that some of the Shia chiefs invited Imam Hussain to Kufa.. However at least this is admitted in the Shia narratives (like Nafsul Mahmoon) unlike the Salafi's who tried to make out the people of Sham to be the good guys for not getting involved (they conveniently forget Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan destroyed any support for the Ahl al Bayt in Sham).

Finally as a question which I appreciate may be tricky for some people to answer, would Imam Hussain (A) of gone to Kufa if it wasn't for those letters, and/or would he have attempted an uprising? Let's not forget, a Muslim is never meant to throw themselves into destruction. This is why Imam Ali (A) (on the Prophet's (S) advice) did not launch an uprising against Abu Bakr because he very few supporters and was asked to save himself and his followers. In the same way, Imam Hasan drew up a treaty with Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan when his followers betrayed him, went to the side of Muawiyah and left him outnumbered. I struggle to understand the idea that Imam Hussain (A) would not act upon this Sunnah and put him and his family in such a situation, unless he had good reason to believe he would be supported (eg, by an 18,000 army of Kufans).

No doubt Imam Husasin (A) sacrificed himself but he had to, he had no choice.. may he rest in peace. What is everyone's perspective on this?

As a side note does anyone think that these blood letting rituals only cheapen the image of Imam Hussain (A) and the Ahl al Bayt? Every Muslim I have met (including myself) avoids Shia Islam because of these acts. I did not judge the Shia by their rituals but only by the Prophet and their Imams so I saw the light, but they are doing a big injustice in directing people away from the Ahl al Dhikr through such rituals. This may seem slighty off topic but I believe these rituals are to do with the "blood sacrifice" of Imam Hussain (A), again please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks jzk

Edited by ali47
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