“O son of Shabeeb! Muharram is such a month that the Arabs of the age of ignorance (pre-Islāmic) too respected its sanctity and forbade oppression and blood-shed in it.
But these people (the Umayyads) did not honor the sanctity of this month nor of their Prophet.
In this month they killed the son of the Prophet and imprisoned the women-folk after looting and plundering their belongings.
“Verily Allāh will never ever forgive this crime of theirs.”
[Nafasul Mahmum Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala’ Chapter 3, Section 2, Tradition 1]
Let us get ready to participate in the greatest event ever in the history of mankind
Kullu Yamin Ashura wa Kullu Ardhin Karbala
Every day is the Ashura and every Land is Karbala &
and every Mimbar and every Mehrab is a battleground of Imam Hussein (AS)
The Majalises of Imam Hussein (AS) and the tears that roll down our cheeks are for the oppressed and each droplet being challenge to the tyrant. We are not the “Nation of Weepers”, but these weeping and wailing have protected the school of Sayyidush-Shuhada a.s. and these recounting of the tragedy has kept his message alive. Muharram is the month of epic heroism and self-sacrifice- the month in which truth condemned falsehood and branded the mark of disgrace upon the forehead of all oppressors and oppressed governments.
Insaan ko baidaar to ho lainay do, Har Qaum pukaaray gi hamaray hain Hussein
(When humanity wakes up from its slumber, Every nation will cry out: Hussain is ours!)
The real tragedy of the Muslims is not that we are oppressed and our lands and harts are occupied, but there are too many Yazids in the world and no Imam Hussein among us. Year after year the sacrifices of the great Imam will be commemorated all over the world; even the rulers of some Muslim countries & communities will participate in ceremonies of “Ashura” to pay tribute to Imam Hussein’s principle stand against injustice and oppression. Yet these same rulers & leaders perpetrate corruption, oppression and injustice in their own societies daily. It is this hypocrisy that is at the root of much of the suffering of Muslims today.
The Muslim world is dominated by Yazids who have pledged themselves to the modern-day Pharaohs and before I draw parallels between contemporary problems of Muslims and the tragedy of Karbala, let us be clear about Imam Hussein’s sacrifice was about. He did not struggle for worldly gain or power, but only to reform the community (Ummah) of his grandfather and not to pledge allegiance to Yazid. He preferred to die rather than compromise with injustice and oppression.
Such clarity of vision, purpose and commitment is lacking in Muslims today. There is a long list of tragedies that have befallen us that can be cited as our present-day Karbala: Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, Somalia, Pakistan and Gujarat are but a few. Everywhere Muslims are under attack, they are vilified, tortured, humiliated and killed, yet they are the ones accused of almost every kind of wrongdoing.
We Muslims are in such bad shape today because we have allowed too many compromise and forgotten the lesson of Karbala. Imam Hussein a.s. had correctly diagnosed the problem confronting Muslims in his time, it was the question of illegitimacy and usurpation of power and authority by people who were totally unfit to lead and rule. He raised his voice against it.
Today, the whole of the Muslim world and even some of the Islamic centres are governed by the likes of Yazid with corruption, nepotism, oppression and injustice. Yet these very rulers and leaders dare to extol the virtues of Imam Hussein while themselves indulging in Yazidi behaviour.
Muharram this year must be an occasion for doing more than shedding tears for the Holy Prophet’s grandson Hussein a.s. It is in this month, with the example of ‘Ashura before us, that the Islamic world must unite in lifting the standard of truth and justice.
This remembrance of tragedy of Karbala in theory has two components.
One is mourning, in the belief that tears shed for Imam Hussein a.s. have spiritual power to purify the soul.
And the second component certainly is, as keeping the memory of the revolution of Hussein a.s. alive involves recognition of the nature of corruption in governments/communities and the need to oppose it.
May our participation in the Azadari of Karbala be our source of Salvation