Karbala and lessons for today’s politics
By Syed Areeb Uddin
10th of Muharram, also known as “Ashur” marks the great demise and tragic death of the Imam and custodian of the household of the Prophet “Hussain ibn-e-Ali (A.S)”. The incident that took place on the eve is of immense sanctity and due to that it is remembered every year and will continue to be remembered and mourned till the end of times. The incident of Karbala carries great history of oppression, bloodshed and cruelty that was suffered by a small group of men, women and children by a tyrant monarch Yazid. The story not reflects the crumbling and coercion only rather it is in actual a tale of liberty and uprising. Karbala even before the incident was known to be harming the Prophets and their families but by the martyrdom of Hussain it became a symbol of re living and hope!
Seeking into the matter, we come across the fact that Imam Hussain already knew about his fate and had always been welcoming to death. He knew it since long that he will be brutally murdered in the land known as Karbala yet he opted to walk to death himself rather than death approaching him, after all there is nothing more dearly to God other than the life given off on His will and sacrifices made for the supremacy of His glorious name. It was not possible for the Imam to pay allegiance to someone who had charges of being a trespasser of the boundaries of shariah and was a despot ruler. He just couldn’t bear the leadership of Islam going into the hands of people who didn’t care about anything other than social power thus he decided to stand tall against the forceful call of showing loyalty though he knew that it is amongst the very first orders of Yazid to make Hussain give baiyah or else will be murdered. This behavior of the Imam clearly shows that nothing should be more worrying to one except restoring the sacredness and striving in the name of the Almighty, further it echoes that this life is of no worth. Rather value must be added by spending and dedicating it to noble causes. Secondly, force and power are nothing greater than ones own self respect and autonomy. One must fight for his rights not considering a zilch about how much difficulties one will have to face on its way as Islam has always been debating that imposition always leads to distraction and distancing from God, one can build up his spiritual being only by his free will. Allama Iqbal seems to have said this in more clear words:
“ae tair-e-lahoti us rizq se mout achi – jis rizq se aati ho parwaz me kotahi”
Looking into the point that hundreds of letters flew to the Imam from the people of Kufa complaining about Yazid and requesting to restore the caliphate by declaring him self as the Amir-ul-Mominen. From this we realize that it was actually a people’s call that Hussain left Madina to respond to as he is also quoted to have said while his departure that mind it, I’am not going to secure any position rather to settle up disputes and reinstate a “true” Islamic polity. This shows that it was for no worldly apprentice rather it was to help the believers come out of the bars of worship and to rescue the religion of his grandfather!Meanwhile we see that his family and very few of the devotees stood beside him in every hardship or hard decisions that he made about the journey. The actual
motivating factor for those who stood by was the character and towering personality of Hussain ibn Ali (A.S). Lessons of group management are best learnt from such luminaries who keep their people mobilized and facilitated in all ways legally possible. Only then it is seen that people live and die for their peers. Of course, the other reasons for that include the good will of God and the fruits of the here after.
Moving on towards the battle field, one sees exemplary attitude of diplomacy and humanity from the Imam. He was of the view that fighting would bring us to no conclusion, rather discussions and dialogues should be opted to reach a better solution though he was not able to carry out such measures as he was surrounded and murdered without being heard or anything being said. Apart from the Imam we see his family members and friends showing rock like determination and admirable patience towards the entire befalling wrath. Women also took notable part in the whole occurring, from the accompanying of the Imam by bibi Zainab till the sermon she gave at Yazid’s place one can figure out how importance Islam has given to freedom of speech and fighting for one’s rights that at such a crucial stage even women along with their small children should strive and support the right leaving aside whatever it takes away from them. While the battle was about to start Imam demanded for just two things water and that the young ones may be kept safe. It reflects how sage the Imam was in making these two demands, water indicates life and letting the young ones live expresses for the coming generations to keep going as in life on earth to keep going. Simply it could be put in this way that in such a turbulent situation still what Imam demanded was nothing for himself rather he demanded for the life to continue peacefully on earth!
Immense courage, bold decisions, diplomacy, pertaining to peace, speaking only intelligent and meaningful is the other of the virtues that are apparent from the happenings. Daring to speak with fearing God alone against false hood and catalyzing the process leading to world piece seems to be the only aims in the sight of Hussain while he fought! We see that the world today is under stresses of stories like the great game. Or monarchs and dictators are being a curse to their nations. Accountable are being blamed for everything volatile happening across the length and breadth of the world. Corrupt politicians or chiefs of any body are the responsible of the drowning state of that specific program and all these scenarios could be well witnessed around in Pakistan. Oppression to be seen in different parts of the globe like Kashmir, Cairo, Israel Palestine conflicts etc are all related to the same problems of knowing the rights and getting them or of sovereignty/independence. Also at some places what’s making things go wrong are the dictators who are imposters of their own wish or of the wish who are safeguarding their interests, providing them with concerns and supporting to maintain their realm keep on going!
Best teachings could be derived from the incident of Karbala for the ongoing situations of the country. Incidents like the recent Nato attacks or the usually occurring drone attacks are a blow to the self esteem and independence of Pakistan. Same were the circumstances at the time when the Imam thought to raise voice against it and blessed history with the example that it’s better to die of dignity rather than living in suppression. They were just a hundred people in front of the lakhs of armed men sent by Yazid yet Imam defended his view point and maintained the dignity of his view that was backed up by several others who requested him to come to Kufa. More important it is to know what made the Imam fill with immense power of mind, soul and body. That was nothing else other than a firm belief in the Almighty and His word that only His group will triumph in the long run. Also for a believer death comes as mercy serves as the foremost reason for lying down of life and striving till the last of breaths. Same should be done by the government today, not to fear in at least speaking and declaring their rights and declaiming their independence to the U.S and many other forces that have been and continue to harm Pakistan in one or the other way. Tough conviction on God could give enormous command in the battle filed as well as on the tables!
The sole aim of the Imam was to fight against oppression and restore justice and bring upon liberty both spiritual and social as both go parallel in the caliphate system. His life and times should be studied and pondered over for gaining pride in every piece of work and all his works serve as a beam of illumination for all leaders, freedom fighters and social figures which could eventually bring world peace at large.
That is what I think is the elaboration of what Faiz said:
“Insaniyat ko zara bedaar to hou lene do, har qoum pukare gi humare hain Hussain”
*The writer is a dentist by profession, an author and social activist by interest. Also he is the great grandson of Hazrat Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim Thattvi (R.A).
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