The ongoing month, Muharram-ul-Haram, is one of the most remarkable months in the Islamic calendar. The 10th Muharram, when the holy grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was martyred for the cause of truthfulness and justice, reminds us of a turning point in the history of Islam. The martyrdom of Imam Hussain was meant to rescue faith from the clutches of evil.
Historically speaking, the Karbala revolution was an ideological battle between two characters — one spiritual and the other political. On one hand, Imam Hussain was an epitome of love, peace, wisdom, spirituality and humanitarianism. After the demise of his elder brother Imam Hasan, he became the legitimate spiritual guide of Muslims as an upright heir of the Prophet’s legacy. He respected the agreement of peace signed between his elder brother Hasan and Yazid’s father, Muawiya. Serving the community as a pacifist spiritual leader and a social activist, the Imam left no stone unturned to ensure peace and equilibrium in the society.
Yazid, a corrupt, drunkard, warmonger and a mischief-maker, rose to political power. In his bid to seek mundane pleasures, he wantonly killed innocent civilians, raped and maimed women. Adhering to righteousness and challenging Yazid’s atrocities, Imam Hussain refused to pay allegiance to him. When he received the letter from Yazid, he boldly responded to his ambassador, “A person like me would not take the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid.” Hussain was aware of the fact that he would be martyred in the battle of Karbala, because he had a tiny group of friends and relatives to fight Yazid’s huge army. But he had the courage and conviction to uphold the truth. His martyrdom came as a serious setback to every truth-seeker. Hussain’s martyrdom serves as a reminder to us to take cognisance of the real objective of jihad.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org