Martyrdom Day of Imam Hussain
The Martyrdom Day of Imam Hussain is observed world over on 10th Muharram. In my books “The Testament of Truth” and “Moderate Meditations”, I have thrown ample light in some chapters on the mission of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. I will very briefly write on this very sensitive matter to enlighten the younger educated rational generation.
The sectarian minded and fanatic retrogressive people have marred the real spirit and mission of this great sacrifice. Particularly, the paid agents of the Arab monarchs have distorted the facts to save their monarchies. When Amir Mu’awiya was ill and knew that his death is near, he visited Medina and asked some companions of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) to accept his son Yazid as his successor. He also visited the wife of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), Hazrat Aisha and sought her help in nominating his son as his heir. She refused to accept and acknowledge his proposal and retorted:
“There is no monarchy in Islam. Let the senior companions of the Prophet decide about the future caliph. Had the four earlier caliphs nominated their sons as their heirs or successors”?
The dialogue between Amir Mu’awiya and Hazrat Aisha is recorded by many books of history. Actually, the stance of Hazrat Aisha depicted the political thought of Islam. She was very right and understood the difference between Islamic caliphate and monarchy. The Quran in Surah “The Counsel” in verse no 38 clearly says:
“Who obey their Lord, attend to their prayers, and conduct their affairs by mutual consent…”
Again stressing on the importance of mutual counselling the Quran says:
“Their matters are decided by mutual counselling.”
Yazid was the first monarch nominated by his father. When Imam Hussain was asked by the governor of Medina to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid, he abruptly said:
”Should a man like me take the oath of allegiance of a man like Yazid?”
It was the matter of meritocracy and Islamic Political System and rejection of monarchy. It is pertinent to mention at this point that the Quran observes that the divine government will be given to the men of piety, knowledge and justice. Any government run by the callous, cruel, debauch, dictator, monarch, immoral and immodest person is the government of Satan. It is not the government of Islam.
Yazid was a Satan-incarnate. He was a drunkard and the immoral person of the highest degree. Imam Hussain refused to accept him as a caliph. I deem it necessary to mention for the clear understanding of the tragedy of Karbala that when Imam Hussain left Medina for Mecca and decided to perform pilgrimage, he was told that some soldiers and spies of Yazid had come to Mecca and during his pilgrim performance, he will be assassinated. He performed Umrah and left for Kufa.
From Mecca to Kufa nearly about at 70 places he stopped and addressed the people. He said he had not come out to gain pelf and power. He intends to reform the Ummah and preach the real Islam. He is the grandson of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and it is his religious obligation and responsibility to reform the Muslim community and show them the Way of Allah. On the 10th of Muharram, his sermon shows the real mission of his sacrifice. While addressing the army of Yazid he said:
“I am seeing that your freedom has been contained and curbed. The government exchequer is being distributed among cronies and cohorts as a bribe. The morsels have been snatched from the mouths of the poor people. I am the grandson of your Prophet and invite you to the way of Islam”.
Such was the crux of many other addresses which he delivered at many places on his way to Kofa. Mehmood Abbasi in his notorious book titled “Khalafat-e-Mu’awiya aur Yazid” (The Caliphate of Mu’awiya and Yazid) writes that the battle of Karbala was between two princes and it was a tug of war for throne and crown. Actually, he could not differentiate between the Islamic concept of Caliphate and Monarchy. It was the battle between two principles. Either monarchy or caliphate.
These are the days of mourning but we must not forget the mission of this Grand Sacrifice. When Hazrat Ismael was saved and a lamb got slaughtered as a ransom, the Quran says, this sacrifice was altered into a Grand Sacrifice and postponed for the last Ummah. The Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) cried on the birth of Imam Hussain and told his dear daughter Hazrat Fatima that Gabriel had just informed him about the sacrifice of Hussain. It was destined that Imam Hussain will lay his life with his kith and kin to save Islam. He stood for freedom and social justice. He challenged monarchy. This is the reason the Arab monarchs support Yazidiyat and oppose Hussainiyat. Monarchs are the successors of Yazid.
The Muslims observe the Day of Martyrdom. They moan, mourn, grieve and groan. Dr Iqbal in a couplet says:
“I moan in the woe of the martyr of Karbala;
Will I not get reward from Saqi-e-Kusar?”
To weep on any tragedy is natural. But in his Persian couplet he also says:
“Hussain wrote the name of Allah on desert with his blood;
That is the way to our salvation”.
What is that salvation? Dr Iqbal says that we are ordained to reject monarchy and stand for human freedom and social justice as propounded by Imam Hussain. Moulana Moududi in his book “Caliphate and Monarchy” has also paid great tributes to Imam Hussain for rejecting monarchy and sacrificing for the Islamic political system that is a democratic system. The real fight is between monarchy and democracy. In 21st century, Islamic political thought means Islamic democracy which means the government of educated, honest and pious people by democratic consensus.
In my two English books titled “The Message of Islam” and “The Rational Study of Islam”, I have thrown light on the Islamic concept of state and Islamic concept of democracy. Great Muslim and non-Muslim thinkers and personalities such as Thomas Carlyle, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandhi and Edward Gibbon have paid tremendous tributes to Imam Hussain on his sacrifice for truth, justice, piety and freedom. Poets and saints like Hazrat Moin-ud-Deen Chishti Ajmeeri, Dr Iqbal, Josh, Faiz and Hafeez Jalnandari have also eulogized the sacrifice of the Chief of the Martyrs.
I would like to mention that great modern Islamic thinkers like Dr Iqbal and Dr Ali Shariatti have highlighted the Real Mission of the tragedy of Karbala. They believe that this sacrifice is to redeem mankind from oppression, tyranny, dictatorship and monarchy and to implement the Islamic code of life. From sobbing and groaning, we have to change the order and system to revolution. We have to wage war against the autocratic and monarchic systems. The Day of Mourning has to be made the Day of Revolution. Imam Hussain is above sectarian feuds. He is the asset of humanity. Mourning should not become a cult and traditional riot. This day must be observed by all humans irrespective of their creed, cult, colour and class. Imam Hussain is for all.
I endorse and appreciate the couplet of great Urdu poet Josh Malihabdi who had said:
Let the humans wake up,
every one will say Hussain belongs to me.”
The people who oppose the observance of the Day of Hussain are the agents of the monarchs and their purchased Mullahs. Some people have announced to observe the Day of Yazid on August 14, 2021. On the National Day of Pakistan, such a heinous announcement is treasonous and calculated to create sectarian clashes. These Mullahs are the agents of Israel and India. They must be arrested and trialled according to article 292 and 293 of the constitution of Pakistan for announcement to observe Yazid Day in an Islamic state.