SHAFAQNA – Alone before the multitude, backed only by a handful few – those righteous souls who vowed to never accept humiliation, and never relent in their stand for Truth, Imam Hussain rose a few last words.
It needs to be said that his last declaration was not a desperate attempt, as some have theorised, to escape death … Imam Hussain offered Guidance to those who wished death upon him, hoping they would repent – if not for his sake, for their own.
An Imam of true Grace, Imam Hussain never once thought of himself, not even when death was at his throat.
He said: “O people of Iraq! Listen to me and do not make haste to kill me so that I may tell you what I must, and appraise you of the reason for my coming to Iraq. If you accept my excuse, believe in what I say, and behave towards me fairly, you will level for yourselves the path of prosperity, and then you will have no reason to kill me. And even if you do not accept my excuse and deviate from the path of justice, you must ponder over the pros and cons of the matter before you kill me, and should not undertake such a delicate task rashly and without deliberation. My supporter is the Almighty Allah Who has revealed the Qur’an. Allah guards His deserving slaves”.
When the Imam’s speech reached this stage, he heard the wails and lamentations of his sisters and daughters … Thereupon he said to his brother Abbas and his son Ali: “Go and silence these women, because hereafter they will have to weep much”.
As their cries softened to a whisper he continued:
“O people! Identify me and see who I am. Then you will come to your senses and reproach yourselves. You should reflect carefully whether it is permissible for you to kill me and to disregard the reverence due to me.
Am I not the son of your Prophet’s daughter? Is the wasi (vicegerent) of your Prophet and his cousin and the first person, who expressed belief in Allah and confirmed what was brought by His Prophet, not my father? Is the Doyen of Martyrs Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib not the uncle of my father? Is the martyr Ja’far ibn Abu Talib who has two wings and flies with Allah’s angels not my uncle?
Have you not heard that the Holy Prophet has said about me and my brother: “These two sons of mine are the chiefs of the young men of Paradise”. If you think that whatever I am saying is true so much the better. I swear by Allah that I know Allah hates the liars, and I have never told a lie. And even if you do not believe in my words and refute me, there are still some companions of the Holy Prophet amongst you who, when asked, will apprise you of the facts.
Ask Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari, Abu Sa’id Khudari, Nahl ibn Sadi, Zayd ibn Arqam or Anas ibn Malik, so that they may tell you that they have heard these words from the Holy Prophet about me and my brother. Is this tradition itself not sufficient to restrain you from killing me? If you are doubtful about this tradition can you doubt even this that I am the son of your Prophet’s daughter? I swear by Allah that between East and West there is no son of the daughter of a Prophet except me either amongst you or amongst others.
You should tell honestly whether I have killed anyone from amongst you so that you may take revenge! Is it that I have appropriated your wealth and you are claiming it? Have I injured you for which you have risen to compensate?”
None came forward to give a reply to what the Imam had said.
He was, therefore, obliged to call some of them by their names and addressed them in these words: “O Shabath ibn Rabie, Hajjar ibn Abjar, Qays ibn Ashath and Yazid ibn Harith! Did you yourselves not write letters to me saying: “The fruits have become ripe and the lands are green and fresh and the soldiers of Iraq are ready to sacrifice their lives for you and you should, therefore, proceed to Iraq as early as possible?”
Tabari writes that in reply to the Imam they said: “We did not write any letter and are not aware of what you are saying.” Truly speaking it is the height of meanness and foul play that the same persons who invited their Imam by means of a large number of letters and had signed those letters, were replying to him with utmost impudence that they had neither written any letters to him nor invited him!
It is then that God revealed the liars from the faithful. It is on the edge of annihilation that the hypocrites revealed themselves, to forever live in shame.
How many Muslims today claim themselves righteous, when in fact their heart covet the unlawful and the forbidden? How many leaders today claim morality, and immunity when in fact it ignominy they implement, and their greed they serve?
Such falsehood can never harm the righteous for their witness is God, and He is the Discerner.
The Imam continued as follw: “By Allah I will not swear allegiance to these people like weak and mean persons and will not flee the battlefield like slaves while fighting against the rascals. I seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of you people and of every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of Judgment.”
It is then that Umar ibn Sad drew his bow to release the first arrow. As he did ne cried out: “You should bear witness before Ibn Ziyad (the governor) that I have started the battle earlier than everyone else”.
I will spare readers the pain of further details … the very idea that swords were drawn against our Imam, and against the Holy household of the Prophet Muhammad, when he commanded all to follow his family’s guidance is difficult to comprehend – let alone bear.
I will offer here a white page, so that you may ponder over the immaculate character of our Hussain, the son of Ali and Fatema – forever the martyr among all martyrs.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna