Many people think about and remember the great sacrifice of Imam Hussain, the exalted, which he offered more than 1,400 years ago at Karbala in Iraq to sustain the religion of his beloved maternal grandfather Muhammad (peace be upon him. It was a decisive battle between the truth and falseness, virtuousness and wickedness, and standing firm against tyranny. Imam Hussain occupies a high position in human history due to his high moral values, steadfastness and noble character.
Prophet Muhammad had great love for his nephews and had said people’s pedigree is rooted in their sons but I am exceptional in that matter as my progeny will continue from the children of my daughter Fatima. On the Day of Judgment every genealogy will stand finished except mine. Hussain was reared with his maternal grandfather since his very early days and from whom he learnt the pious norms of God fearing, fulfillment of religious obligations and helping the destitute. From his great parents, he learnt bravery, knowledge, wisdom and perseverance.
In short, Imam Hussain was an embodiment of piety and humanity.
The blessed Imam stands tall in the domain of Islam as a holy person. As a result of mubahela (argumentation) when God sent this verse that you bring your sons and I will bring my sons and pray to God. Curse be upon the liars. This was a trial for the prophet to prove the truth of Islam. The holy prophet had taken Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain in the place of their children.
When Christians watched the illuminated faces of the five holy people they refrained from argument and agreed to pay jizya. This indicates the supreme character of the blessed Imam. In addition, he was also part of hadith Kesa when the verse of purity (tathir) was revealed on their behalf wherein God almighty has expressed His desire to take away impurities from them.
The great messenger of God had great affection for his son and had said I am from Hussain and Hussain is from me and that both Hassan and Hussain are masters of the youth of paradise. Being son of Ali and Fatima, he had all the noble characters embodied in him.
Imam Hussain and Yazeed present two different characters in human history. Imam Hussain is an emblem of righteousness and truth who challenged one of the greatest tyrannies of all times.
All historians are agreed that Yazeed was a drunkard, a lover of music, dictator, a rapist, frequently violator of the precepts of religion Islam. They were like two different streams which flow in opposite directions never getting mixed. How can be it possible for a noble person to pay allegiance to an oppressor?
For Imam it was to protect the religion of his maternal grandfather which was a noble cause while Yazeed was bent on destroying Islam from inside. But Imam Hussain never did bai`a in the hands of Yazeed and preferred to sacrifice his life along with his family and companions for the sake of Islam at Karbala in 680 AD.
The supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain has emerged as a great movement for any oppressed nation in the world. It is the name which inspires oppressed people to stand against the tyranny without regard to number and technological know-how.
Nelson Mandela, a great freedom fighter of the 20th century, writes in his memoirs: “After spending 26 years in the prison I was disappointed and reflecting to surrender to the apartheid white government as there was no hope of getting independence. Suddenly, the incident of Karbala circulated in my mind and gave me courage. I postponed the idea of surrender and only in a short period got independence for my people.”
This is a fact that Imam Hussain and Yazeed cannot remain together in one’s mind as they are completely different ideologies and thinking. They will continue till last day of the world representing truth and the helpless while the other representing oppressor and tyranny. By organizing programmes during the month of Muharram we remember the great sacrifice of Imam and pledge to adhere to his principles of dedication, courage and perseverance. These days when there are injustices and oppression everywhere, the mission of Imam Hussain becomes more important to face the tyranny.