The ongoing Islamic month of Muharram marks a turning point in our history. On an auspicious day of Muharram, Imam Hussain attained martyrdom and thus rescued the Muslim ummah from the clutches of evil. He refused to surrender to Yazid bin Muawiya, who created dictatorial dynasty deviating from the consensual democracy (Shur’a) in Islam. Therefore, the noble sacrifice of Imam Hussain is looked up as the revival of the true Islamic principles of democracy, justice, fairness and mutual consensus in matters of governance.
But while commemorating Imam Hussain’s martyrdom, we must not forget those who stood by him in the harshest times and exerted concerted efforts to fight for truth and justice. One of the most notable, but regrettably forgotten, supporters of the Imam was an Indian community historically traced as Hussaini brahmins. A little known group, which is now small in numbers, the Hussaini brahmins also known as Dutts and Mohiyals, mainly found in Punjab, are traced back to the event of Karbala which occurred in 680 AD. These Punjabi brahmins believe their ancestors fought alongside Imam Hussain in Karbala and they have had a long martial tradition. The story goes on: One of their ancestors named Rehab Dutt travelled from Punjab to Arabia, where he chose to be supporter of the Imam. Later, he fought in the army of Imam Hussain against Yazid. His sons, too, joined him.
But during the fierce battle of Karbala, Hussain, seeing Rehab’s love for him, asked him to save his life and go back to India. As result of this close personal bond between Rehab and Imam Hussain, today’s generation of Rehab Dutt is known as “Hussaini brahmins”. Since the battle of Karbala, this community around 500-member strong has taken the prefix of “Hussaini” deriving their name from Imam Hussain.
Remarkably, it is reported that Rehab along with his family survived the battle of Karbala and safely reached India. They chose to live in western Punjab and thus the Dutt family gradually turned into a well-settled community.
Some historical accounts also recount that Rehab Dutt was an old man who traded in Arabia during the Prophetic era. He had promised Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to stand by his beloved grandson, Hussain, in his fight to uphold the truth.
Thus, the valiant clan of Rajput Mohiyals or the Dutt family from India fulfilled the sacred pledge they had with the Prophet (PBUH). Also, they introduced a fascinating blend of Indo-Islamic tradition through their epithet of “Hussaini brahmins”. One of the popular sayings attributed to the Hussaini brahmins goes like this:
Wah Dutt Sultan,
Hindu ka Dharm,
Musalman ka Iman,
Adha Hindu, Adha Musalman.
(Oh! Dutt, the king who follows the Hindu religion as well as the Muslim faith, and who are half Hindu and half Muslim)
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at: email@example.com...