Why Do We Remember Karbala 1400 Years On


ISLAM is guided by the Holy Quran which defines a human value system of character, commitment, courage & conviction. 

The religion promotes  personality empowerment among its followers for a dignified life. The supreme sacrifice in Karbala  by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) the grand son of our Prophet (saww) represents the fulfilment of a responsibility to uphold the sanctity of the said teachings and practices. 

The philosophy of Shahadat stands scripted in history as an enlightenment for all generations to come.  It is an eternal guidance for motivating all humans to stand for righteousness and justice as well as stand against oppression, evil ideas and conspiracies against Islam. 

A sacrifice of 72 martyrs lead by Imam Hussain(AS) was not driven by lust for power, fame and wealth but  for protecting human dignity and value systems as enshrined in the Holy Quran. Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) thus fulfilled a mission visualised by Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa ( Saww ) to uphold and protect Islam and the  defined ways of life in complete compliance with the Holy Quran.

The birth of Imam Hussain (AS) was  a historic moment for humanity. The name ‘HUSSAIN’ was  the commencement of a serial of great honours. Peep into the history books and try to locate if the name “HUSSAIN” has ever been documented preceding the birth of Imam Hussain (AS). Our Prophet (saww )  bestowed this first heavenly honour on Hussain (AS). He later led the movement that would be remembered for generations to come. He bore the responsibility of a torch bearer to enlighten the generations with the philosophy of a grand sacrifice for the cause of Islam. 

Karbala scripted in history books is the finest  examples of commitment, courage, humanity, patience and sacrifice for a cause. Imam Hussain (a s ) did not obey the dictates of Yazid for surrender before a system in power represented by evils, degraded governance, lost values and collapse of justice system.  A journey starting from Medina to Kufa and to the plains of Karbala  represented a saga of a courageous mission of Imam Hussain along with his family and companions. This journey which ended in the battle of Karbala wrought with sacrifices and horrible crimes against Imam Hussain (AS) and his entourage would prove to be the reason for the spread of Islam around the world. 

En route to Kufa, when Imam Hussain (AS)and his companions found enemy forces thirsty, the contingent on the directions of Imam served water to these forces to quench their thirst.  It was a tribute to human values as enshrined in Prophet’s (Saww) teachings and a lesson for all. 

In complete denial of the same water for many days when the caravan of Imam Hussain was surrounded by the forces of Yazid and the water from the river Euphrates was off limits, the martyrdom on the soil of KARBALA  was embraced by  one and all including  6 month old Ali Asgar (a.s) and 16 year old Ali Akbar ( a s ).

The thirst of his contingent and small children did not deter Imam Hussain (AS) from the mission.   The patience and passion was other worldly. 

The sacrifice offered by 72 martyrs in the battle of Karbala included the sacrifice of Bibi Zainab (AS), the grand daughter of Prophet (saww) and daughter of Ali (AS) who courageously bore responsibility of guiding the mission after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s). 

Bibi Zainab ( a.s) was held captive along with her surviving family and companions and were made to travel from Karbala to Syria in chains.  Even in captivity, Bibi Zainab (a.s) gave speeches along the journey.  It was her historic speeches in Kufa and later in Yazid’s court in the Syrian capital Damascus which would help spread the martyrdom and message of Karbala around the world. 

The martyrdom of  3 year old  Sakina ( a s ) too in Yazid’s captivity in Syria did not dampen the spirits of Bibi Zainab ( a s ). 

SHAHADAT- E- KARBALA is scripted in every language and documented in history globally to guide the future generations.  It is not without reason of being enlightened that celebrated personalities like Nelson Mandela, Mahatama Gandhi, Charles Dickens, Sarojini Naidu, Dr Radha Krishnan amongst many others used the precedent of the battle of Karbala in their own struggles as well as quoted it often. 

For over 1400 years, Muslims across the world have been mourning this painful yet honoured and invaluable sacrifice as a guidance and an awakening moment in the history of Islam. Those enlightened  say “Labayk Ya Hussain” (O Hussain We Follow You).

May our lives be guided by teachings of Islam and the Falsafa-e-Shahadat. May all evil forces and conspiracies against Islam meet the immediate fatal end.

Author a noted economist of the state, was formerly President of the J&K Bank. He can be reached at: hussaintafazal@gmail.com

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