According to the Islamic calender, June 1st, is the 3 rd of Shaban. It is the Birth Anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS) – the grandson of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). For a huge segment of followers of Islam, he is the third Imam – a spiritual Guide. He is remembered as a symbol of freedom and dignity against tyranny and slavery. He had refused to bow before the tyrant and oppressive regime of his time. He is known for his clarion call for RESISTANCE against Oppression and his remembered for his famous quote: “Dignified death is better than humiliating life.” Our Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi has remarked once that he had learnt from Hussain how he be tyrannized and achieve victory.
To know about this celebrated leader of humanity, we have to look back into the initial period of succession struggle soon after the demise of Prophet of Islam. It would stretch this topic too far if I include the complete history of succession and times of first three rulers or Khalifas of Islam, namely Hazrat Abakar, Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Usman. To make it short, we begin with Hazrat Ali, the fourth Khalifa / Ruler of Muslims and first Imam for many Muslims. He had been selected by the Muslims on great consensus to lead the Islamic Empire. Schism in Islam started the moment Ali accepted this seat. The Governor of Damascus, Hazrat Muawyaih, who was also a close relation of the third Khalifa / Ruler, refused to accept the sovereignty of the fourth Khalifa Hazrat Ali (KAW). Many wars ensued between the central rule and the rebels centered caucus gathered round the recalcitrant governor of Damascus. The governor was never subdued by Central forces and he never surrendered before the central rule. Ali had later shifted the capital from Madina to Kufa, a city of Islamic Military Garrison for strategic reasons of military science. He was martyred in the mosque of Kufa while was praying.
After the death of Imam Ali, the people elected his son as the fifth ruler. Unfortunately, he couldn’t face the crafty maneuvers of Arabian Tribes and to stop the bloodshed among Muslim he gave up the reins of power to the governor of Damuscus. It were but for the evil designs of politics and intrigues of those times that Imam Hasan was also killed by putting poison in his honey.
Now, it was almost as if the coast was clear for rebels. The Governor of Damuscus forced the Muslims to give allegiance to his son Yazid after him. After the death of Muavaih, Yazid asked the Muslims, all over the Islamic empire to recognize him as Khalifa or Leader. He instructed his army to kill if anyone refused to give allegiance to him. Imam Hussain, the rightful successor of Imam Ali, who was also the Grandson of Prophet of Islam (PBUH), was picked up first, singularly, to start the process of Allegiance Submission.
Yazid was an arrogant, unjust and a tyrant ruler who wanted to avenge the insults his ancestors had suffered at the hands of freshly converted Muslims warriors in the initial phase of Islam. Hazrat Ali was the first Muslim and youngest individual when he accepted the doctrine of Islam. He was also the Commander of Muslim Army in many battles where the Non Muslim Arabian tribes were soundly defeated. He was one of the bravest and most feared Warrior and known in history as Sher-e-Khuda. (The Lion of God).
Yazid’s messanger arrived at Madina and summed Imam Hussain and suggested him to submit his will to Yazid. For the reverend Imam, it was meant the end of moral aspects in the religion and the acceptance to the slavery dictatorship of Yazid. He refused the messenger and decided to leave Madina with his family. To avoid confrontation and bloodshed in the holy cities of Mecca and Madina, Hussain travelled to Iraq. He took his family as it was expected that Yazid would take them as captive. He had the inkling of Yazid’s crafty plans to assassinate him. He made his journey through Mecca and deserts of Iraq before he finally stopped at the field of Karbala near Kufa.
Imam Hussain and his small team of followers was killed as Yazid had surrounded this small caravan with thousands of soldiers and well equipped and well fed army. His family was held captive and forced to travel as Humiliated Prisoner through the streets of Arabia. There were imprisoned in a dilapidated prison at Damuscus for a long time.
Many intellectuals wrote about Imam Hussein. Gerhard Konsilman a German journalist said that Yazid used to despise the people, salving and oppressing them and irresponsible sinful person. Imam Hussein by his realistic personality and death defeated the tyrant. His revolt was the ignition for the end of Umayyad density. Konsilman added that the dead Hussein was more dangerous on Yazid than the live Hussein. The martyrdom of Hussein in Kerbala remained the symbol for freedom, dignity and rejection of the tyrants.
The students of Monotheistic Religions would discover many similarities between Jesus Christ and Imam Hussein. Both of them had rejected tyrant and wrongful and gave themselves in the way of freedom, salvation, dignity and righteous aspect of life. Their path is one and their salvation is by following their path of peace and justice. Al Hussein will remain as a revolution against all tyrants and oppressors. He will continue as a symbol for dignity and freedom for all the mankind and not only for the Shias Muslims who shed their own blood in memory of their Imam .
By Naim Naqvi
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