ISLAMABAD: Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)’’s martyrdom on the 10th of Moharram several centuries ago marks the victory of truth over falsity.
The secondson of Hazrat Fatima (sa) and Hazrat Ali (as) Imam Hussain (as) was born on 3rd Shabaan, 4th year of Hijri (10.1.626 AD).
When the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was given the news of the birth of his second grandson, he arrived at the house of his daughter, took the little baby in his arms, said the Azan and Iqamah (in his ears (prayers’ call).
People around the Prophet (PBUH) saw tears in his eyes. Hazrat Fatima (sa) asked what was the reason for this, he told her that this boy of hers will achieve martyrdom, but consoled her by adding that God will create a nation who will mourn Imam Hussain till the Day of Judgement. Another famous Hadith (saying) of the Prophet (PBUH) at the same time became synonymous with the name of his grandson Imam Hussain.
“Hussian-o-Minni wa Ana Minul Husayn”. Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain.
The story of Karbala’ begins with the birth of Imam Hussain (as). The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had shown affection and love for his grandson as any grandfather should show,but there was something more positive and profound in this love.
Several times when Imam Hussain (as) entered the mosque as a small child the Holy Prophet will put him in his lap and tell his companions that this is Hussain, look at him and remember him. The Prophet’s insistence to remember Imam Hussain shows that those who will forget this event will cause trouble in Islam.
Once a man asked Imam Hussain (as) what is the best thing to do. Imam replied,” Belief in God”. He asked again, what is the best means of deliverance from destruction, Imam said, “Trust in God”. The man asked, what man’s ornament is, Imam replied,” knowledge associated with intelligence”.
The man insisted, if this be not available, what then, Imam replied,” Wealth accompanied with generosity”. What if this is out of reach, Imam said, “Poverty allied with patience”. What if this be not practicable?, Imam smiled and said, let the lightening consume the man to ashes. He then gave whatever money he had with him to fulfill his needs.
It was in the month of Rajab 60 Hijri that Amir Moawiya died and his son Yazid succeeded his father on the throne of the Arab Empire with Damascus as its capital.
The very first thing Yazid did was to write a letter to his Governor in Madinah informing him of his succession to the throne of his father and ordering him to take the Oath of Allegiance from Imam Hussain (as).
Yazid realized that although he had full temporal power and is the virtual ruler of the Arab Empire, but he had no spiritual strength unless the grandson of the Prophet accepts him. People in Makka and Madinah would still regard Imam Hussain (as) as their leader. Walid Ibne Ataba the Governor of Madinah receives this letter on 26th of Rajab 60 Hijri.
It was dusk and people were getting ready for Maghrib prayers. Walid immediately sent a messenger to Imam’s house and called him to the palace. Imam realized the seriousness of the situation and took his brothers and sons with him.
When they arrived at the gate of the palace Imam asked to stay outside and wait and only enter the gates when they hear Imam speak loudly. After these instructions Imam entered the palace. There was Walid sitting in his high chair with Marwan Ibnul Hakam by his side. Imam asked, “What is the matter that I was called at this hour”.
Walid mentioned Yazid’s accession to the throne and the demand for Imam’s oath of allegiance. Imam replied that this is not the matter which can be done in the solitude of the palace, let this matter be brought before the people of Madinah next day in the mosque of the Prophet.
Imam stood up to leave while Marwan who was listening to this conversation did not like it and warned Walid that if he lets Imam Hussain (as) go he will lose him.
Then the Imam after hearing this told Walid loudly, ”A person like me would not give the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid who has violated all tenets of Islam”. As Imam said these words loudly, his brothers and sons entered the palace and they all left safely.
Imam realized after consulting his friends and relatives that the life of peace for them in Madinah was over.
The Imam, after leaving Madinah in the month of Rajab, stayed in Makka for about five months. It was in the month of Zilhijja 60 Hijri when he noticed that there were Yazid’s soldiers in Makka in the garb of Ahram to kill the Imam inside the Masjidul Haram. Imam changed the rituals of Hajj into Umra and decided to leave Makka. The date was 8th of Zilhijja 60 Hijri.
When people saw the Imam leaving before completing the Hajj they began to ask questions as to why he was leaving in such a hurry. Some doubted his motives, saying that he might be leaving Makka for Iraq to confront Yazid and take power into his hands. To quell these doubts he left a letter with his brother Muhammad-e-Hanafiya which clearly states his purpose of leaving Makka.
He wrote in the letter, “I have not come out to stir emotions, to play with discontentment, to provoke dissension or to spread oppression. I wish to bring the Umma (nation) back to the path of Amr-bil-Ma’arouf and Nahyi Unil Munker (preaching for good and warning against sins). I wish to bring them back to the path of my grandfather the Messenger of Allah and of my father ‘Ali Ibne Abi Talib”.
The momentous journey of Imam Hussain (as) begins from Makka towards an unknown destination which eventually ended at Karbala’.
On reaching Karbala, the Imam said this was the place of Kerbin-wa-bala, (the place of torture and pain). The Imam ordered to dismount. “We have reached our destination.” Tents were pitched near the River Bank. The date was 2nd of Muharram 61 Hijiri (3rd October 681 AD).
Hurr’s soldiers surrounded the Imam’s camp. but no one knew what was going to happen until two days later on the 4th of Muharram that another contingent of 4000 men arrived from Kufa. The next day Shimr arrived with another 10,000 men to fight an army of about 40 people, among them were men of over 80 and children of 13 and 11 and even a 6 month old baby, the youngest son of the Imam who was only a month old when Imam left Madina in the Month of Rajab 5 months ago.
Shimr ordered the Imam and his entourage to leave the River Bank and pitch their tents away from it. Imam’s brother Hazrat Abbas (as) and others refused, but Imam told them to move the tents. The tents were moved about 200 yards away from the River Bank and the river was immediately occupied by the soldiers of Yazid newly arrived from Kufa.
Next day 7th, All water supply was stopped for the Imam’s party and soon the cry of thirst heard from the children in the camp. ~Whatever water they would have stored was finished within a day and by the 8th there was no water left in the camp. In the scorching heat of the desert even a few hours without water was impossible yet for three days these people were without water.
On the afternoon of the 9th, Yazid’s army moved forward in a formation of attack. The Imam was informed and he sent Hazrat Abbas and ‘Ali Akber to enquire about this. The reply was that orders were from Kufa to commence fighting and finish off with the family of the holy Prophet. The Imam asked them to give them a stay of one night for they all wished to spend their last night in meditation and prayers to God.
The night was dark and horrible, flickering lights from the Camp of the Imam was showing few people busy in prayers. The sound of their prayers in unison was coming out of the camp as if Honey bees were busy to build their nest. Whereas on the enemy side music and dancing had gone on all night. Many soldiers from Yazid’s army saw this difference and realized in awe who was on the path of God and who was not.
Some soldiers slipped away from Yazid’s camp towards the Imam’s camp knowing fully well that if fighting started the next morning they would surely perish. About 30 such people moved to Imam’s camp. Imam held a meeting of his battered and thirsty companions and told them that the enemy wanted only his life. They have no animosity with anyone else.
When no one moved Imam asked that the candles should be put off, in case some of them were ashamed to show themselves running away from the Imam. The Imam also said that he was taking away the burden of the Oath of allegiance from them and made them free to go. “Take few of my relations with them” But when the candles were lit again, all were there, no one moved.
One of the older companions named Muslim Ibn Awsajah came forward and declared that they were all one solid rock to fight for the Imam. If they were killed 70 times and then were made alive again they would still prefer to achieve martyrdom with the Imam rather than live with the oppressive rulers like Yazid.
Morning appeared and before Sunrise ‘Ali Akber gave the Azan and all of them completed their morning prayers behind their Imam.
Imam made his brother Abbas as the flag bearer of the tiny army of 70 persons in all when all of a sudden two more soldiers defected from Yazid’s army. One was Hur who was the leader of the contingent who brought the Imam’s party to Karbala’ and also his son. Both of them arrived with their hands tied to apologize to the Imam for what they had done and asked his permission to fight for them and become first martyrs.
Imam did not give orders to commence fighting until arrows came from the enemy camp. Then Hur went out to fight. Overwhelmed by the numbers on the other side, he soon died. His son went and he also died. And one by one all were martyred including Imam Hussain (as).
Imam Hussain (as) sacrificed the whole family but refused to bow before falsehood. A lesson for all the generations to come. His martyrdom buried the falsehood forever.