MUHARRAM SERIES – Imam Hussain leaves Medina

SHAFAQNA – After Imam Hussain left Medina, he travelled to Mecca where he spent his last Ramadan. As pilgrims readied themselves to perform the pilgrimage, Imam Hussain left the holy city in haste – without performing the Haj rituals … his departure would be his last.

The grand-son of the Prophet Muhammad would never return to the city of his forefathers, he would never again visit his mother’s grave, and pray before the Kaaba.

As Imam Hussain walked away from the Hijaz, little did the people realise what sorrow would soon befall the community.

Now, it has been rumoured by unsavoury characters that our Imam fled Mecca in fear for his life. If fear ever animated Hussain ibn Ali, it was not that of death, but rather that to fail God in his service. We ought to remember that AhlulBayt was not plagued by our shortcomings and imperfections.

We ought to remember how the Prophet Muhammad called upon God to purify his lineage and make it a guidance for those who follow. The House remains untethered by pettiness and sins. The House was our prophet’s legacy, Islam perfected in piety.

Those who still wish to see darkness in AhlulBayt are in fact lost.

Imam Hussain left Mecca for he refused for his death to not be spent in the service of Islam. It is martyrdom in the way of God that our Imam yearned for, for he accepted that his life was never his own to lead – only to offer in service of the Divine.

There are lights which can never be deemed.

According to Luhuf Imam Hussain addressed a gathering before his departure. He said: “Death has marked the human beings in the same manner in which a necklace leaves its mark on the neck of a young woman” [every human being is destined to die].

It is quite clear here that Imam Hussain anticipated death through martyrdom. He most certainly knew that Yazid would not abandon his claim on power for the sake of righteousness.

Interestingly enough Imam Hussain had many supporters to his cause, and members of the community expected that whatever differences there were in between Hussain ibn Ali and Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah would dissipate. Muslim ibn Aqil, his special representative, had sent after all a report from Kufa saying: “All the people are with you and do not recognize the caliphate of anyone else. They are also not prepared to acknowledge anyone as their ruler except you. Hence you should come as early as possible”.

History of course speaks another outcome altogether.

It is martyrdom our Imam foresaw in his wisdom; it is death he warned his followers would taste.

The Imam further noted: “I am keen to see the Prophet of Allah, Ali, Hamza, Ja’far and my mother Fatima in the same way in which Ya’qub was keen to see Yusuf. A site of martyrdom has been selected for me by Allah and I am going there”.

It transpires from this sentence that this was a Divine plan and not one drawn by Hussain ibn Ali.

The Imam said: “I can see as if the desert wolves of Iraq are attacking me between Nawawis and Karbala and tearing me into pieces. They are filling their hungry flanks and empty pockets. It is for them to fill their pockets and to feed themselves to satiety, and for me to fight against this social and religious corruption. This is the plan devised by Allah and it is He who has considered my martyrdom to be the remedy and the means of reforming the present state of affairs. It is impossible to escape from whatever has been destined by Him.

We, the family of the Holy Prophet, are happy with what Allah is pleased with, and like whatever He likes. We bear with patience all the difficulties which He makes us face and He also gives us full reward which is admissible to the patient people. I am a part of the body of the Prophet of Allah and a part of his body cannot remain separate from him. I shall join him in Paradise so that he may be pleased to see me and fulfil the promises made with me. Only he, who is prepared to sacrifice his life for my sake and to meet Allah, should accompany me. God willing, I intend to depart tomorrow morning”.

There are many ways in which people can serve God and defend His religion –  it may be so that charity is needed, or words of truth in the face of falsehood … and there are times which require martyrdom.

Under Yazid the tyrant Islam had been eroded and chipped at by infamy … it was therefore the religious duty of our Imam to offer himself, and alone if need be brandish the sword.

It is impossible courage in the face of absolute falsehood Imam Hussain offered the world, so that from his sacrifice we would learn to follow in righteousness.

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna

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