Dr. Ibrahim Aayati
I seek refuge in the Hearer and the Omniscient Allah from the accursed Satan.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord, being sustained; Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: that there no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice because of favour from Allah and He kindness, and that Allah does not wastes the reward of the believers. (Surah Ale Imran, 3: 169 -171)
In the first instance I apologies to those respectable hearers who are standing or are sitting on the ground owing to lack of space.
On the eighth night I spoke about ‘the causes which obliged Imam Husayn (P) to rise.’ Today I intend to speak about ‘the reasons of the rising of Imam Husayn (P). It is perhaps necessary to remind that the subject of the speech delivered on the eighth night and that proposed to be delivered today is one and the same, although in the advertisements two different titles have been given to it. Its reason is that the wording of the title was not proposed by me. On the other hand I briefly mentioned the subject of the speech and said that an announcement about it might be made in appropriate words. Consequently Maktab-i-Tauhid published the former title in their advertisement whereas in the advertisement published by’ Anjuman-i-Muhandesin-i-Islami’ the latter title was given. It will be appropriate to say here:
(Your beauty is only one. We mention it differently in our own words but everyone points to the same one beauty).
I pray to Allah that this verse may apply to every step and to every stage of every movement of the Muslim Ummah.
It is necessary to repeat briefly what I said on the eighth night. I do not consider it proper that the hearers who were not present on that night may not pay attention to the point which in my view is very important. I had said that it is very surprising that some scholars and distinguished writers have asked as to why Imam Husayn (P) did not swear allegiance to Yazid bin Mu’awiyyah and resorted to such an instant rising as a result of which he himself and he companions were martyred and the members of his family were made prisoners. The following reply is given to it.
On account of the experience which Imam Husayn (P) had regarding the government of Bani Sufyan and the people of that time and keeping in view the treatment which these people had meted out to his father, the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (P), and his brother Imam Hasan (P), he was certain that if he submitted and swore allegiance to Yazid he would be killed, and if he did not submit, even then he would be killed. Hence he courted martyrdom willfully. (I am ashamed to have mentioned the interpretation).
I explained in detail that night that such a remark is absolutely baseless and totally opposed to the greatness of the sacred movement of Abu Abdullah. J No matter who said this, it is quite baseless and inconvincible. If it is said that there was
For details see Dr Ibrahim Ayati’s book Tarikh-e-Ashuraand Dr.Jafar Shaheedi’s book Bina-e-karbala no chance for Imam Husayn (P) to live and even if he had submitted to Yazid he would have been killed by poisoning or by some other means and seeing no way out he got ready to be killed, what will be the value of Imam Husayn’s (P) action and how is it possible that the world should admit this sacred movement to be the most sacred movement of the History of Islam and basically the best of all religious movements whether they pertain to the period preceding Imam Husayn (P) or after him? The real thing is not this. In fact Imam Husayn (P) assessed the condition of the Islamic society in 60 AB. and came to the conclusion that the Muslims had deviated so much that their reformation and the removal of the dangerous social evils were not possible without such a rising and such a sacred movement. Imam Husayn (P) was feeling that the religion of Islam and the Muslim Ummah could not survive without a bloody rising. It was, therefore, necessary that he should be martyred and his relatives and sisters who may be called the best orators of Islam (of whom one is Zaynab (P), another Umme Kulsum (P), another Fatima bint al-Husayn (P) and another Ali-ibn-al-Husayn (P) should be taken prisoners and be made to pass through the streets so that they might invite the attention of the Muslim Ummah to the disgraceful state of affairs of that time, and save the Muslims for ever from the danger of death and extinction, might keep alive the sacred movement, which existed since the time prior to Husayn bin Ali (P), and might pave the path for such sacred movements in future. I wish that if possible I may also allude to the movements which existed before Husayn bin Ali (P). It will be better if we infer the causes of and the incentives to the movement of Karbala from the speeches and writings of Imam Husayn (P) himself. As I said, the causes for the rising of Imam Husayn (P) had begun to appear gradually during the last part of Uthman’s Caliphate. In this connection I had quoted some reliable historical references and had also explained some extracts from the speeches and writings of Imam Husayn (P), which throw light on the causes which obliged him to rise. Passing systematically through different stages we had reached the stage at which on the 7th of Zil-Haj of 60 A.H. Husayn ibne Ali (P) delivered a speech before the pilgrims of the Holy Ka’abah in which he explained his movement to some extent. I had said that the rising was not such that anyone might have participated in it by giving subscription, or making a speech, or by writing in newspapers or a pamphlet about it and introducing it to the people. There was only one way of participation and that was martyrdom and self -sacrifice. I had finished my address with what Imam Husayn (P) had said at the end of his speech.
He said: “I do not want financial aid from the traders and merchants. I do not need writers. I need only those fighters who are sincerely prepared to sacrifice their lives in the path of Allah.”
Thus in the historical journey which we commenced in the night of the eighth we reached Mecca on the 7th of Zil-Haj. Now, with your permission I shall take one step back. However, taking one step back means, so to say, going two steps forward if Allah so wills. I go back to Madina and quote that sentence in which Imam Husayn (P) himself had stated the object of his rising in more explicit and clear words.
As you are aware Walid bin Utbah bin Abi Sufyan, the Governor of Madina, had pressed Imam Husayn (P) under Yazid’s orders to swear allegiance to Yazid. The incident had taken place on the 27th of Rajab at night in the house of Walid. Imam Husayn (P) did not swear allegiance but said that he would inform him of his final decision in the matter after one or two days. On the following day Abdullah bin Zubayr ran away from Madina on account of fear but Husayn bin Ali (P) stayed on in Madina till the night of 28th Rajab, 60 A.H.
Sayyad Ibne Tawoos writes in his book ‘Luhoof’: “When morning came Imam Husayn (P) went out of his house to find out
what the political conditions were and how the people had reacted to the death of Mu’awiyyah, the succession of Yazid and the demand of Walid that Imam Husayn (P) should swear allegiance to Yazid. In the street he met Marwan bin Hakam. It was the 27th of Rajab. Marwan said: “O Aba Abdullah! I tender you a sincere advice. If you agree to what I say it will be good”. His manner of speech was strangely presumptuous. Imam Husayn (P) said: “What is your advice? Let me hear it.”
Look at the boldness of this impudent man. He said: “O Husayn ibne Ali (P)! I, Marwan bin Hakam order. you to swear allegiance to Yazid bin Mu’awiyyah, to acknowledge his Caliphate, Imamate and leadership and to accept him as the Head of the Ummah, for, in my opinion, therein lies the goodness of your religion as well as your world. If you do not swear allegiance to Yazid, your faith as well as your world will be ruined. “
Imam Husayn (P) said: “We are from Allah and we have to return to Him. ” This sentence is read when a calamity befalls a person. I do not know what the tragedy was.
I think the great tragedy on account of which Imam Husayn (P) recited “We are from Allah ” was the intellectual deviation of the Muslims. They had gone astray to such an extent that Marwan said that the faith and the world of Imam Husayn (P) could remain safe only if he swore allegiance to Yazid! Then the Holy Imam said: “Then good bye to such an Islam. ” This is the sentence which throws more light on the cause of his rising and movement than all those sentences which I quoted in the eighth night. I had said: Imam Husayn (P) said: “I want the people to do good and to restrain from evil. ” It is possible that some one may think that Imam Husayn (P) wanted to ask the green-grocers of Kufa not to weigh less, to instruct the merchants not to charge interest, to ask the preachers of Kufa not to tell false things from the pulpit, not to flatter others and not to waste the time of the people by telling them baseless things. However, the task which Imam Husayn (P) wanted to perform was not this. The problem which was before him was much more important than this. This task could very well be performed by the preachers of the city. What Husayn bin Ali (P) wanted to do was to improve the deplorable condition of the Muslim Ummah and to correct the perverseness of the society by means of an effective rising. This sentence throws light to some extent on the stimuli of Imam Husayn’s (P) rising. He said: “If matters have really taken such a turn that a person like Yazid bin Mu’awiyyah has become the leader of the Ummah and the chief of the Muslims of the world, in other words their Imam, then good bye should be said to such an Islam for I have heard my grandfather, the Prophet of Allah, saying that caliphate is unlawful for the family of Abu Sufyan because they are not fit to become the chiefs of the Muslims and to rule over them.”
However dispute arose between Imam Husayn (P) and Marwan and after exchange of hot words Marwan went away filled with anger.
We come across another instance similar, to this at another place. It is a letter of Imam Husayn (P). The people of Kufa had sent all their letters to the Holy Imam at Mecca in three installments. This point is also worth remembering that all the letters, which the people of Kufa had sent to the Holy Imam and in which they had expressed willingness to assist him and to support his sacred movement, were received in three installments and there was no sundry letters besides those. The first installment was received on the l0th of Ramzan and the second on the l2th of that month. As regards the third installment I have not come across a specific information as to when it reached, although it has been specified that it was sent from Kufa two days after the second installment was sent. As a rule it should have reached Mecca two days after the arrival of the second installment. There is another proof also of this fact but this is not the occasion to mention its details. In any case, however, the third installment of the letters of the people of Kufa must have reached Mecca on the l4th of Ramzan of 60 A.H. Thus in three installments and within six days all the letters, covenants and affidavits were received and in the meantime Imam Husayn (P) also decided to send Muslim bin Aqueel to Iraq. The date of the departure of Muslim bin Aqueel is definitely known. It was the 15th of Ramzan. It means that the Holy Imam sent Muslim to Kufa on the day following that on which the last installment of the letters was received. Now this is a letter which Imam Husayn (P) sent to the people of Kufa through Saeed bin Abdullah Hanafi and Hani bin. Hani Sabi’ie in reply to their letters before sending Muslim bin Aqueel to Iraq. It should be remembered that the first man, who carried the letter viz. Saeed bin Abdullah, is one of the martyrs of Karbala.
In this letter also Husayn bin Ali (P) writes stating the purpose of his movement: “I swear by my life that an Imam is he, whose decision is always according to the Qur’an.” It means that the object of this rising and movement was not to teach the craftsmen of Iraq the religious rules and laws, for the matter was different from that. The condition of the Islamic government and the Muslims of the world had become so deplorable that it could not be corrected except through a rising by a personality like Imam Husayn. (P) He wrote:
Whether the word used is ‘Imam’ or ‘Ra’ie’ (literal meaning shepherd) or ‘Maula’ (as in the Hadith ” Ali is Moula of whomever I am Maula”). or ‘Sultan’ (its meaning in the terminology of religion is the man who rules the Muslim Ummah in the capacity of the successor of the Holy Prophet) his decisions are according to the Holy Qur’an. He should be just. (Al-Qaymu bilqist) He should follow the true faith or make others follow the true faith (both the meanings are correct). He should dedicate himself to Allah. Only that person whose object is only to seek the pleasure of Allah is fit for Imamate. The phrase ” Ala Zatullah” also carries the same meaning as “Fi Sabilillah “. Every act which is for the benefit and welfare of the Ummah is considered to be in the path of Allah. The path of Allah is not limited to offering prayers, fasting and performing Haj. What- ever step is taken for the welfare and advancement of the Muslim Ummah and whatever action brings the Muslims of the world nearer to their Islamic objects and helps them in becoming a power befitting the followers of the Holy Qur’an is the path of Allah and following that path is dedicating oneself to Allah.
In his famous book entitled ‘Tarikhul Umum wal Muluk’ Muhammad bin Jarir Tabari has quoted another brief speech of Imam Husayn (P) which he delivered at a halting place called “Zi Hasam. ” There is some difference of opinion regarding the pronunciation of this name and possibly the pronunciation adopted by me is more correct. It is the place where the vanguard of the enemy arrived and there was a danger of Imam Husayn (P) being besieged by the Iraqi army. Here the Imam delivered a speech wherein he stated the reason for his rising.
He said: “Don’t you see that Truth is not being followed and falsehood is not being avoided?”
And when the condition of the Ummah becomes like this, rising becomes obligatory for a responsible personality like the Doyen of the Martyrs. He said, “Don’t you see yourself? Why do you ask me as to why I don’t swear allegiance to Yazid and why I do not accept this Islamic government and why I do not acknowledge Yazid son of Muawiyyah bin Abu Sufyan as the leader and Head of the Muslim Ummah? In short it is not necessary to ask me this question. Why don’t you see the present condition of the Ummah yourselves? Don’t you see yourselves that truth is not being followed? It does not mean that the people have begun telling lies or while in their homes they resort to excessive backbiting. Such sins have always been committed by the people. But don’t you see how much the Islamic leadership has deviated from Truth and justice, and oppression and lending support to the oppressors have become its business. Don’t you see that truth is not being followed and falsehood is not being refrained from?”
He meant to say that a believer is desirous of meeting Allah or, as it appears to be more appropriate, he meant that in such deplorable circumstances a believer should get up with a strong desire for martyrdom and should get ready to sacrifice his life and to meet Allah.
It is the same thing which the Holy Imam had said in Masjid-al-Haram. As has been quoted by Syed Ibne Tawoos in ‘Luhoof’ and by Ali bin Isa in “Kashf-al-Ghammah’ there also he had talked about martyrdom and self-sacrifice and here also he said: “I consider laying down my life in this path to be a blessing for me and it is extremely painful to me to live with the oppressors arid tyrants.”
Dear hearers! I wish to be brief in saying what I have to say and thus to honour to some extent the promise made to you by the organisers of the Majlis that the Majlis will come to an end by 10 O’clock. Of course, I can also say that wise men are themselves responsible for their words and as I myself had made no such promise it is not obligatory for me to fulfill the promise made by others. However, I have to look after their honour as well. Ibne Athir Jazri, the author of “Usud-al-Ghabah” has also written a book named ‘AI-Kamil fit Tarikh’. Truly speaking both of these books are a valuable capital of Islamic literature. Ibne Athir says in Al-Kamil: ” After having come face to face with Hur bin Yazid Riahi Imam Husayn (P) delivered two sermons -one before the noon prayers and the other after the afternoon prayers. After the afternoon prayers the Holy Imam got up and made a speech. Addressing Hur bin Yazid Riahi and his companions he said: ,”0 people! If you fear Allah and give the rightful persons their rights, it will be the means of Allah being more pleased with you.” Here by the word ‘right’ he does not mean that kind of right which is infringed when a person damages the wall of the house of his neighbour or when he boards a bus earlier than others without standing in a queue and waiting for his turn. Here right means that right which is the basis of all rights. If that right is injured all other rights are injured and if that right is safe the safety of other rights is also ensured. That right is the right of the guardianship and leadership of the Muslim Ummah. And then he said more explicitly: “We, the members of the Holy Prophet’s household and his heirs, are more entitled to be your rulers and your leaders and guardians in the matter of your faith and your world. We are more rightful than the pretenders who wrongly claim this office and who have no concern with it. They are those who treat you cruelly and oppress you (i.e. these people cannot be accepted to be the successors of the Holy Prophet and the guardians of the Qur’an).”
Ibn Jarir Tabari has also quoted a serm6n of Imam Husayn (P) which he delivered at the halting-place called ‘Baiza’. ‘Baiza is a halting place between the Hijaz and Iraq and is perhaps a part of Iraq. According to Ibne Jarir Tabari Imam Husayn (P) delivered this sermon at this place before his own companions as well as those of Hur bin Yazid Riahi. It was quoted later by others as well. I may mention here that on this occasion the Holy Imam explained his object further and informed those present how and why he had decided to rise.
The Imam said: My grandfather and your Prophet has said: “If a person sees a cruel ruler or leader who treats as lawful the things made unlawful by Allah, violates the covenant made with Allah and opposes the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and keeps silent and does not move, his end will be like that of the same tyrant ruler (in the Hell). The allusion was towards Yazid who possessed all these criminal qualities. Yazid was one of those cruel leaders about whom the Quran says: Wa minhum aimmatun Yad ‘una ilan nar. All leaders do not take their people to Paradise. There are some leaders who do take their followers to Paradise i.e. towards advancement and prosperity, but according to the Holy Quran there are some “who push their people into torture, fire and destruction. ” An apt example of such leaders IS Yazid bin Mu’awiyyah (and here the allusion is towards him), who oppressed the people, was accustomed to crime and sin and who violated the rights of the people. After observing that state of affairs the Holy Imam said: “I (Husayn bin Ali) am observing in the government of Yazid, the Muslim (who observes these conditions) who does not endeavour to change the conditions by means of his words and deeds, does not rise against the cruel ruler, does not take any practical step against him or does not oppose him at least with his tongue Allah is entitled to send that Muslim to the place, where he sends the cruel ruler, and to mete out identical treatment to both of them.”
Then the Holy Imam said: “Now in 60 A.H. the Muslim Ummah is also faced with the same situation. You can see that these people (Yazid and his agents) have become permanently subservient to Satan and have ceased to obey Allah. They are committing heinous acts openly and have suspended the penal laws. If a merchant or an ordinary man commits a crime they punish him according to Islamic penal laws, but if their favourites and those who work in their interest commit one hundred crimes they are not administered even one lash. “
As I had said this practice had been started during the second half of the Caliphate of Uthman and protest and rising against the government had also started at the same time. I shall present a list of those protests. As regards suspension of penal laws it does not mean that they did not punish anyone. Even during the time of Yazid the hands of the people were amputated. The adulterers were also punished. I am not aware whether the dacoits were executed or were awarded some other punishment. In any case it is an admitted fact that at that time the entire administration was run negatively as well as positively -on the’ basis of personal policies and interests of the rulers i.e. they let off or punished one at their discretion. Imam Husayn (P) says: “These are the deviations and irregularities which have become the cause of my rising. One of the great misdeeds of Yazid’s government is that the public wealth, which should have been spent for the benefit of the people and to remove their difficulties has been appropriated by the persons in authority for their own benefit. They have made lawful the things which Allah has made unlawful and have made unlawful the things which Allah has made lawful.”
Then the Holy Imam said: “When the state of affairs is this and the order of the Holy Prophet in these circumstances is as mentioned by me, who can be more suitable to change this position than I. I am the son of Lady Fatima (P). I am one of the people of the Cloak. I am one of those about whom the Verse of Purification and the Verse of Mubahila have been revealed. I am the son of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (P). Then who is more suited than me to change the condition in which all the causes and factors of the downfall of the Ummah have gathered together?”
Who is better than Husayn (P) who should come and stage a rising. Ibne Abbas does not enjoy that position. Muhammad bin Hanfiyyah, too, does not enjoy that position. Habib ibne Mazahir is a companion of the Holy Prophet but even he cannot perform the task which can be performed by me. Similar is the case with Muslim bin Ausjah and Hani bin Urwah Muradi. Husayn’s (P) cousin Muslim bin Aqueel and his own brother Abul Fazal Abbas are persons who can lay down their lives for the achievement of the object of this rising but even they cannot become its central figure. Only the personality of Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (P) is the central point of this movement.
In spite of the fact that on the day of Ashura Imam Husayn (P) could see that the enemies were bent upon killing him and also knew that they would achieve their end soon, he was satisfied that events were taking place as he had desired. Still he began one of his sermons with this very subject.
As you are aware Imam Husayn (P) delivered many sermons and made many speeches on the day of Ashura. All these sermons are very eloquent and impressive. It is surprising that these sermons were delivered by an orator who knew very well that after these speeches he would not only be called to account but would be called to account with the aid of thirty thousand spears.
These are the sermons of an orator who was thirsty and did not have even a drop of water to moist his lips. He knew that after some time his women and children were going to be made prisoners by the impudent and stone-hearted enemies. He was hungry and though he complained of thirst his self – respect prevented him from complaining of hunger. Imam Sajjad (P) says: “The grandson of the Holy Prophet was martyred when he was thirsty as well as hungry.”
A hungry and thirsty orator delivers a speech before thirty thousand soldiers of the enemy, whose spears are ready to kill him and whose horses will trample upon his body after some time. Notwithstanding this he delivers a speech and a solid speech, too. In his speech there is eloquence and maturity. He does not betray any weakness or helplessness. As the number of his companions decreases his speech becomes more forceful and he begins speaking more clearly and more explicity. Has the entire human history seen an orator, whose manner of speech should not be affected by any development, who should not get worried in any circumstances and the flow of whose speech should not undergo any change?
In his speech the Holy Imam said: “You accursed! Woe be to you! Have you gathered here to kill me and to earn disgrace for yourselves?
” Are you not those people who had requested me earnestly’ a month ago to come to your rescue and had said that you were not prepared to accept Yazid bin Muwaiyyah as Your ruler? I responded to your request sympathetically and came up to you. What ate you doing now?”
Please pay attention to this point. It is a very strange sentence. The Holy Imam said: “Do you know which swords you are drawing against Husayn, son of Ali (P) and the best and most sincere soldier of Islam? These are the same swords which the Holy Prophet gave in your hands. You are trying to burn and destroy us. You are trying to burn and destroy us with the same fire which we had kindled to burn and reduce to ashes your and our enemy.
The Holy Imam means to say: ‘Yazid bin Mu’awiyyah who has now become the Caliph of you Muslims, is not your friend but your enemy. You have lost the competence to distinguish between your friend and your enemy and consequently you do not know siding with whom is in your interest and support to whom is injurious for you. All of you have joined hands against your friends in order to serve the interest of your enemies although they have never done justice to you nor can you expect it from them in future.
On the day of Ashura he said in his sermon another important thing. It should not be forgotten that when Imam Husayn (P) was delivering his speech on the day of Ashura he was fully besieged by the blood- thirsty enemies and there was none there to support him except a few companions of his. In fact most of his companions had been martyred as a result of the severe attack in the morning and shooting of the arrows and those who remained were badly wounded. In these circumstances he addressed his enemies saying:
By Allah even if Husayn bin Ali (P) had possessed no other attribute on account of which the free people might have loved him, his manner of reasoning in justification of his movement and rising would have been sufficient to acknowledge him as the chief of all those persons who will rise till the Day of Judgment to support Truth and justice and to suppress injustice. He said: “O people of Kufa! Hear me. I have studied the state of affairs of the society carefully and I understand what the matter really is. This illegitimate son of an illegitimate, Obaidullah ibne Ziad bin Abih, has cornered me in such a way that I have no alternative left except to do one of the two things: Either I should unsheathe the sword and start fighting or I should accept abjectness and humiliation.”
I (the speaker) may submit that the Holy Imam’s saying that he should accept abjectness and humiliation does not mean only that he should accept humiliation for himself but it also means that he should open the path of humiliation, helplessness and weakness for the Ummah -the same Ummah which has been honoured and elevated by Allah and His Prophet. It is not, however, possible that Husayn bin Ali (P) should allow this honourable Ummah to be humiliated during the period of his Imamate. He says: “But you should know that my decision is final and irrevocable. I have chosen the path of fighting because we are not going to be humiliated. In other words the Muslim Ummah is far away from humiliation. Allah has made it honourable. That we should be humiliated is not liked either by Allah or by His Prophet or by the believers. It is not acceptable to us, who have been bought up in the pious laps of our mothers that we should open the door of abjectness, humiliation, despair and despondency for ourselves or for the Ummah.”
Here how wonderful is his reference to obedience to the nasty and mean people! The Holy Imam said: “The brave and dauntless persons who belong to me and who are arrayed with me would not like their own humiliation or that of the Ummah. They are not the people who would prefer submission and obedience to the nasty and mean persons, to martyrdom and self-sacrifice.
When Ali bin Al-Husayn (P) (i.e. Ali Akbar (P) read rajaz (epic verses) on the day of Ashura he made the words of his father the title of his rajaz and said: “I am the son of Husayn bin Ali (P). We and the House of Allah are nearer to the Holy Prophet. I shall continue to pierce my spear into your bodies till it becomes crooked. I shall administer you a blow with my sword which will be severer than the blow of my father. This will be the blow of a Hashimi and an Arabian young man. By Allah, the son of a bastard cannot rule over us.”
I quoted some remarks and writings of Imam Husayn (P) that night and some have been quoted by me today. In the end I may mention that in one of the speeches delivered by the Holy Imam on the day of Ashura he also read some couplets. The reasons for the mission of Imam Husayn (P) have become more or less clear. He was perfectly sure of his success at every stage. He was sure that the sacrifices made by him and his companions would bear fruit. He quoted the verses of Farwah bin Museek Muradi. Farwah bin Museek was a distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet. These verses of his are very animating and meaningful. By reading these verses before the enemies, Imam Husayn (P) proved it definitely that it was he, who would be successful and his efforts would bear fruit: “If we defeat the enemy, it has been an old practice with us and we have always smashed the heads of our enemies. But if we are apparently defeated and are killed and they gain the so-called victory, even then the defeat will not fall to our share and we shall not be overcome. Whether we kill the enemy or are killed the victory will be ours in either case.”
We are not cowardly and chicken-hearted. We are chiefs of the brave in the world. If we are killed it will not be because we are cowardly, but it will be because the time of our martyrdom has come.
This is what usually happens: Death attacks one at one time and another at another time. (i.e. if we are going to die today, our enemies will meet death tomorrow).
Just as death has taken the past generations in its arms, it will, in the same way, take us and our companions in its arms.
And then comes a wonderfully unique verse:
If the Kings of the world had lived eternally we, too, would have lived eternally, because we are the Kings of the Kingdom of heaven. And if the noblemen and the most distinguished persons had got permanent life, we would have got it earlier than everyone else.
In short Imam Husayn (P) was fully satisfied with the result at every stage. In the end I wish to draw your attention to another point. It is possible that, from what I have said or what has been said elsewhere, some persons may draw the conclusion that the rising of Imam Husayn (P) and his movement were the only sacred “and armed campaign in Islam and there is no possibility of a similar effort being made till the Day of Judgement. However, that is not the correct position. Examples of movements similar to that of Imam Husayn (P) are found before and after the Holy Imam and will continue to be found in future. As I have said the sacred personality of Imam Husayn (P) is the central point of the Islamic movements.
His rising confirmed the earlier movements and set an example for future.
If someone explains the rising of Imam Husayn (P) by saying that his rising has absolved the Muslim Ummah from the obligation for every movement and effort and now only in his ninth generation Imam Mahdi (P) will come one day and start such a movement and the responsibility of all other Muslims of the world in the behalf has ended, it is not correct. Such a thinking is in fact totally opposed to his aim and object.
I said in the eighth night that during the second half of the caliphate of Uthman the Muslims had deviated a great deal from the right path and the rising also commenced at that time.
I had given my speech the title: “The causes which obliged Imam Husayn (P) to rise” or “The factors responsible for the rising of Imam Husayn (P)”. It will, therefore, be inappropriate if I do not explain that even before Imam Husayn (P) some great personalities had been making efforts with the same object for which Imam Husayn (P) rose and started their movement and these efforts continued even after Imam Husayn (P). If people do not or cannot understand the value of such efforts, it is due to their ignorance.
Abu Zar Ghiffari possessed an extraordinary personality. When he felt that the system of government had deviated from the right path, he, notwithstanding his old age, rose to oppose it. He opposed it severely and criticised the government with harsh words. He made speeches, quoted the Hadith of the Holy Prophet and criticized Uthman in his presence as well as in his absence in the bazars and streets. It can be said that from the historical point of view Abu Zar, a great Companion of the Holy Prophet, was the pioneer of all these efforts and movements. Consequently he was exiled and suffered hardships and at last died in a state of helplessness at a place called ‘Rabzah’, away from his homeland.
When, after Abu Zar and Uthman, the Commander of the Faithful Ali (P) was martyred and Mu’awiyyah was at the helm of affairs, the people resorted to their former practice. When Abu Zar passed away Hajar bin Addi Kindi took his place. While Abu Zar was alone, Hajar had thirteen other companions also from amongst the distinguished Muslims who raised their voice against the malpractices of Mu’awiyyah. These fourteen men were chained and taken from Iraq to Syria. There two of them were let off and the remaining twelve were sent to a place named ‘Marj-al-Azra Mami’. There six of them were executed, four were released on the recommendation of some persons and the remaining two requested that they might be taken before Mu’awiyyah so that they might repent in a regular manner. There one of them apologized and was released, but the other began criticising Mu’awiyyah to his face more severely. Mu’awiyyah said: “This man is’ the worst of them all. Why has he been brought here?” Simultaneously he wrote a letter to Ziad bin Abih, the governor of Iraq. This man was named Abdur Rahman bin Hasan Anzi Shaheed. Mu’awiyyah sent him to Iraq and wrote to Ziad: “Kill this man in the worst manner.” When Mu’awiyyah’s order reached Ziad he said to Abdur Rahman: “The Commander of the Faithful has ordered me to kill you in the worst manner. In my opinion the worst manner of killing is that I should dig a grave and bury you alive. ” This magnanimous person is reckoned to be one of the great martyrs of Islam. He was a companion of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (P). His only offence was that he used to criticize the disgraceful state of affairs which was prevailing at that time. A grave was, therefore, dug and he was buried alive. This is not a concoction and this story can be seen in ‘Kamil’ of Ibne Athir and other authentic books.
When the time of Imam Husayn (P) came he also began acting according to the old practice. In the end, however, his effort adopted a purely unusual direction, which was proper according to the conditions prevailing during his time and was also worthy of him. Hence, he himself and his near ones were martyred and from many points of view his rising acquired a central position among all the previous and later sacred movements in the history of Islam.
I may also say that when I speak about rising, effort and movement from this pulpit and in this very respectable Majlis, it does not mean creation of any disturbance or disorder. 011 the other hand it is to explain those sacred movements which were conducted in the history of Islam by worthy and respectable personalities for the betterment of the Muslims and improvement of their conditions. Imam Husayn (P) did not close and seal the book of rising and movement.
As you are aware just as Imam Husayn (P) rose against Yazid, his grandson Zayd bin Ali (P) rose against Omayyad ruler, Hisham bin Abdul Malik. Zayd bin Ali (P) was killed. His body was sent to the gallows His supporters buried his dead body at night and submerged his grave in water, but the spies informed the enemy about it. His body was, therefore, exhumed on the following day, stripped of its clothings and hanged at the place where the garbage of the city of Kufa was dumped. The body of Zayd bin Ali (P) remained hanged on the gallows for four years. Those people thought that Hisham would stand to gain if the body of Zayd bin Mi (P) remained hanged and the descendants of the Holy Prophet would sustain loss. However, history gave the final judgment that this entire matter was beneficial only for Truth and the Truthful people.
After Zayd bin Ali (P) his son Yahya bin Zayd rose and his dead body remained suspended on the gallows for seven years.
There were various standard-bearers of the risings of the history of Islam which were spread over a long period during the Omayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. The first rising was staged by Abu Zar. On one day the standard-bearer was Hajar bin Addi; on another day it was Husayn bin Ali (P) who became the centre of all sacred movements; on another day it was Zayd bin Ali (P); on another day it was Yahya bin Zayd and on another day it was Husayn bin Ali bin al Hasan bin al-Hasan bin Ali (P) bin Abi Talib (P), who was the leader of the martyrs of “Fakh ” Similarly on one day the standard- bearer was Musa bin Jafar (P) and on other days there were others. If there is a person who does not wish to understand the importance and value of these movements but raises some legal objections also in some cases, it can only be said about him with regret that he is a nincompoop.
Was the action and the rising of Zayd bin Ali (P) right or not?
Was the rising of Yahya bin Zaid according to law or otherwise? It is sufficient to say in this regard that Imam Sadiq (P) declared the rising of Zaid bin Ali (P) to be in order and confirmed it. After his martyrdom Imam Sadiq (P) said: “My uncle Zaid bin Ali (P) adopted the same path as was adopted by the martyrs of Badr during the time of the Holy Prophet. Their object was the same. Zaid bin Ali (P)’s aim was the same as that of the martyrs of Badr.
Now no ijtihad (decree) which is opposed to ‘nass’ i.e. explicit order (text) can be correct nor can ignorance about self-sacrifice and rising being necessary for a nation be in order. All that can be said about such persons is that they stand helpless on account of their ignorance.
I have studied the history of Islam to some extent. As regards the history of other nations I have not studied it thoroughly and cannot, therefore, say anything with certainty. Generally speaking, however, there is no doubt about the fact that not only the Muslims but every other nation (like the Christians, the Jews and others) which exists on the face of the earth is alive only as a result of its efforts and dedicated movements. At the most it can be said that a special situation has arisen in the history of Islam.
It will not be out of place to mention here another point. Although that point is not connected directly with my today’s speech, it will be wrong to ignore it.
That point is this: What is the reason that the tragedy of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (P) has acquired the central position among all the events, movements and armed campaigns of the history of Islam? N o other rising, movement and collective martyrdom has acquired that renown and importance which has been acquired by the event of Karbala. This tragedy is the greatest among all the tragedies of the history of Islam.
According to my counting more than eighty persons were martyred in the battle of Uhud. It was a very great tragedy. The bodies of the martyrs of Uhud were mutilated. Their noses, ears and lips were cut off. Their dead bodies were metamorphosed in such a way that the sisters could not recognize their brothers. In spite of this, however, the tragedy of Uhud cannot equal the tragedy of Karbala.
Another great tragedy was that under the orders of Mansur Dawaniqi sixteen persons from amongst the Hasani Syeds were imprisoned in the Hashimite Jail of Kufa. They died there one after the other but Mansur did not permit the dead body of any of them to be brought out till all of them breathed their last. The dead bodies of those who died remained under the roof of the jail which fell on the bodies of the sixteen martyrs -the descendants of the Holy Prophet. They were neither bathed nor shrouded nor buried. This tragedy cannot also equal the tragedy of Karbala.
O Abu Abdullah! Your tragedy has no parallel in the history of mankind. This is a true and admitted fact. Certainly this is the position. But why is it so? In spite of the fact that the time for my speech has now come to an end I shall say at least in reply to this question that it is definite and certain that a very important cause of the superiority of the movement and rising of Imam Husain (P) was those events which took place immediately after his companions’ martyrdom. On the one hand this rising became universally known by means of the prisoners belonging to Ahl-al-Bayt and on the other hand the killers of Imam Husayn (P) played an important role in making it so known. After the martyrdom of the Holy Imam (P) and the end of the campaign the enemies showed utmost meanness. They cut the bodies of the martyrs to pieces and looted their clothes. They ransacked the tents and set them on fire. They trampled the bodies of the martyrs with the hooves of the horses and raised their heads on spears. They treated the bereaved prisoners harshly and struck their dry lips with batons. These shameful acts commenced from Karbala and continued till their arrival in Syria. And Yazid took part in such heinous activities himself. However, wherever the prisoners belonging to Ahlay Bayt went, they talked about their own success and disgrace of the enemy with such dignity and seriousness as if nothing had happened. At the time when all the people considered them to be defeated and their enemies to be successful they made it known that ,in fact it was they who had been successful and victorious and nothing except disgrace had fallen to the lot of the boastful and shameless enemy.
Speeches were delivered by Imam Zayn-al-Abideen (P) in the outskirts of Kufa and by Lady Zaynab (P) and Umme Kulsum (P) in the bazaars of the city and contrary to the assessments and expectations of the common people they predicted the decline of the Ommayyad government.
On another occasion Zaynab Kubra (P) delivered a speech in the court of Yazid and accused him of heresy thrice in clear words. Imam Zayn-al-Abideen (P) delivered a sermon in Damascus where he introduced himself fully and created difficulties for Yazid. When Imam Abid (P) was in a bazaar of Damascus in the capacity of a prisoner Ibrahim bin Talha bin Obaidullah approached him and said to tease him: “O Ali bin al-Husayn (P)! Tell me who has won.” The Holy Imam (P) said in reply: “When it is time for prayers pronounce Azan and say Iqamat. Then you will come to know who has won”. i.e. although you belong to the family of Tayyam and are an enemy of Bani Hashim, unless you apostatize from Islam you will have to say in Azan and Iqamat: ‘I certify that Muhammad (P) is the Prophet of Allah’. ‘We and not others are the descendants of Muhammad (P). So long as Islam lasts the dignity of ours, the progeny of Muhammad (P), will remain established and cannot diminish. “
I am sure that if Ibne Sa’ad and Ibne Ziad had, even as a measure of self-interest, behaved respectfully towards Imam Husayn (P) and after his martyrdom towards the Ahl-al-Bayt and if they had not prevented the burial of the martyrs and had sent the Ahl-al-Bayt from Karbala to Madina direct, and if the Caliph’s court had not resorted to absurdities, and if the Ahl-al- Bayt had not been able to conduct effective propaganda in their own favour, the picture of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (P) and his magnanimous companions, which has emerged in the world now, would not have taken such a shape and their enemies would not have been humiliated and disgraced in the manner they have been.