SHAFAQNA – As we draw close to the Day of Ashura, millions across the world – not all Muslims, will walk that treacherous road that led to the demise of Imam Hussain ibn Ali, the master of the youths of paradise.
While many will mourn, and so they should, one must too ponder over the validity of our collective mourning if indeed our actions are not in line with our grief.
What good can our tears bring if in fact we cannot look beyond the immediate sacrifice of the flesh to understand not only the universality of Imam Hussain’s defiance against Tyranny, but the piety he demonstrated by giving His Lord all of himself without restraint, fear, or doubt.
It is one thing to love God, it is another to love Him beyond and above yourself to the extent that one stand a self-sacrifice to God’s Will on account He is the Master of all that is, was and ever will be.
Imam Hussain walked towards his death for God commanded that he did, and with his martyrdom consecrated the Message his grandfather: the last prophet of God, spoke to the world.
God commands in the Quran for man hold to the rope of Allah, never to disunite … that rope one may posit is Imam Hussain, since Islam was reconsecrated through him.
One may recall those lines Imam Hussain recited as Yazid’s army descended upon his camp.
“I am Hussain, son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. In honour and respect, I am the glowing moon of the Arab land
Didn’t you see and know that my father was the one who killed Umar Ibn Abdud (the champion of the pagans) and he was the one who killed Marhab (the champion of Jews)?
And don’t you know that he continuously used to remove enemies away from the Prophet of Islam, before the pains went away from the newly instated Islam?
Isn’t it an extraordinary marvellous that the one who is farthest in faith from amongst all those with the prophet of Allah, – claims the heritage of prophet?
Swear on God that his prophet testified and recommended and prayed for the ones who were closest to him among others.”
Today … like all those centuries ago the enemy remains very close indeed. So close in fact that many factions have worked to trivialised the mourning of Muharram so that communities would forget whose betrayal was played out in the plain of Karbala.
Maybe remembrance is a lesson in itself.
God says in the Quran that he left us signs, that there are signs all around us if we want to see.
Ashura surely is the greatest of signs!
Was it not the most noble of blood that fell upon the plain of Karbala as men mocked and reneged that which God purified and consecrated?
Was it not the head that bowed before the Lord in Grace and Truth who was severed, to be brought to a self-conceited tyrant?
He, they say was defeated in Karbala has since towered over Islam – his name Hope, his remembrance an allegiance, his ziyarah a promise that for every tyrant that will rise, Hussain’s banner shall fly high.
What is Ashura but Courage, Faith and Steadfastness! Imam Hassan showed humanity how peace is carved and how leaders should behave in the service of those they are responsible for. Imam Hassan, like his father before, Imam Ali, was a selfless and just leader.
They has the ability to see beyond petty ambitions and greed – they embodied fairness, mercy and compassion.
Imam Hussain showed us what true courage in the face of evil is. He taught us that there can never be a compromise with the forces of evil, that an evil should always be challenged and God’s command always uphold.
There is no real victory when victory implies renouncing the laws of God.
In Karbala it is the entire bloodline of God’s prophets which bled … In our Imams, flows the blood of Ibrahim, the father of all nations. And so when Imam Hussain and his brave men fought in Karbala, it was really Islam’s Prophets who stood with him in defiance of absolute treachery and evil.
Imam hussain stood where no other would, or could ever dare stand so that we would remember intransigeance against injustice.
He also demonstrated unity in the Oneness of God, since he kept to God’s covenant and offered what only the House could: Truth beyond all manners of treachery, unadulterated Faith, and Trust in the Divine outside the temporal.
Imam Husain’s sacrifice was for Islam and Islam has been God’s religion from the beginning of time and though people and communities have learned to label faith, such reduction, such branding is what has prevented us to see the message behind the deeds.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna