The Relevance of Ashura Today

PAIGAMBAR-e ISLAM  Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (saww) pursued Almighty’s mission tirelessly in the face of hostility, road blocks, taunts and unending conspiracies. The holy objective was to lay down a strong footing for imbibing an urge and commitment among the human beings for adopting an Islamic value system and ethical identity across the globe through the centuries and down the history till the day of resurrection.  

Fourteen and half centuries earlier, in the era of slavery when human exploitation, pagan practices, illiteracy and economic disorder were the order of the day, a divine Book— Quran-e-Majeed was revealed to the last Messenger of the Almighty. Consequently Islam took its roots slowly and steadily and gradually Islamic Doctrine on account of their divine character started catching the imagination and attention of the people. The holy mission travelled down the history lanes holding substantive applicability in modern times. The original times were difficult and hostile but the determination to carry forward the divine mission by the holy progeny (Ahle-bait) of Prophet(saww) and pious Sahaba (ra) was equally much stronger in proportion. 

The historical fact is that Islam did not limit itself to a set of prayers and obligatory worships  or mournings ( Azadari) only but became a way of life, a social and economic ordering of the Islamic community. The said order painfully landed in troubled times also with widespread degradation of human & moral values, wrong doings in governance, spread of falsehood and diminishing social systems under misguided evil minded rulers. 

Imam Hussain (a s), the beloved grandson of our Prophet (saww) refused to accept a system led by evil represented by Yazid, degraded governance, lost values and collapse of justice system. Thus  a journey started from Madina To Makkah to Kufa and to the plains of Karbala. This was a beginning of a saga of a courageous mission through ravines and deserts destined to offer a most valued and glorified sacrifice. The supreme sacrifice was embraced for a cause to stand against the tyrant, misguided and oppressive regime of Yazid. 

The decision to leave Madina with the entire remaining family of Ahle-bait (a s) and willing Sahabas (a s) was aptly captured in the Imam’s own words to Mohammad renowned as Ibn Hanafiyah. An extract in English translation reveals: 

“I have not risen to spread evil or to show off, nor for spreading immorality or oppression. But I have left for the betterment of Ummah of my grandfather and I desire to propagate to do good and forbid against evil, thus following the footsteps of grandfather and father Ali bin Abi Talib”.

It is in this background a sacrifice was offered by the close family members of our Prophet (saww) known in the words of Allama Iqbal as “Zibh-e-Azeem” (Supreme Sacrifice) on the 10th of Muharram, year 61 AH corresponding to October 10th, 680 CE against the evil regime of Yazid. The uneven battle Karbala led to victory of blood over sword. 

The sacrifice offered by 72 martyrs led lady Zainab (sa), the grand daughter of Prophet (saww) and daughter of Imam Ali (a s ) to take the centerstage and carry forward the mission of martyrs. Her fiery and powerful lectures in Kufa and later in the court of Yazid in Damascus while in chains testifies to the commitment of noble progeny to the glorious cause. There were visible indications of this heavenly scripted sacrifice given the amount of attention and affection of Prophet(saww)  gave to Hassnain Kaimain (a s). The Prophet (saww) had been always hinting at an extraordinary event of the future concerning Imam Hussain (a s). 

A room in a sprawling Istanbul Museum in Turkey has dedicated wall size thick glass covered shelves for portraying original personal items of Prophet (saww). One such personal item amongst a good number of other personal memoirs in this heavily safeguarded glass case which attracts the attention of daily visitors is an item marked in English as “Soil Of Karbala” (what we know here as a Sajda Gah ). The presence as such is evidence of the valued significance of the soil of Karbala in this dedicated glass case for safeguarding personal belongings of our Prophet( saww ). 

A renowned  jurist in his presiding address in Srinagar on “Hussain Day”on 16th August 2018, revealed that Prophet (saww) had once passed through Karbala’s barren lands. He (saww) sat at a particular place, collected some amount of soil and carried it to Madina. Prophet (saww)  handed it over to Umul Momineen Jinab-e Umm-e -Salma for safe keeping as he knew that she would be his only surviving wife at the time of Karbala massacre. He (saww) did reveal to Jinab-e Umme Salma, that on a day in future, when this clay turns red, that will be the day when my grand son Imam Hussain( a s) will have embraced  martydom in Karbala for the sake of Islam. It happened as such on 10th of Muharram in the Hijri year 61.  Jinab-e Umme Salma (sa) breathed her last after the tragedy of Karbala. 

Another distinguished take away of this heavenly mission fulfilled in extreme oppression,  barbaric and in human actions of the enemies of Islam was the miraculous survival of Hazrat Ali ibn Hussain known by title Hazrat Zainul Aabideen al Sajad (a s) a 23 years old ailing great grandson of our Prophet (saww). He was the only surviving male family member of the Imam’s household and became the torch bearer for safeguarding Islam in its heavenly objectives and through him continued the tradition of Imamat. 

Karbala tragedy is unparalleled in its character and future implication. The apparent winners of the battle (Yazidiat) lost the war and Imam Hussain emerged as victor and inspiration for generations to come.

The story of Karbala is scripted in every language, documented in history books globally to guide the future generations. Imam Hussain ( a s) was embodiment of love, valor, and personification of sacrifice and devotion as Thomas Carlyle, famous Scottish philosopher and historian writes:    

“In the history of Islam, especially the life of Imam Husain stands unique, unapproached and unapproachable by anyone. Without his martyrdom, Islam would have extinguished long ago. He was the savior of Islam and it was due to his martyrdom that Islam took such a deep root, which it is neither possible nor even imaginable to destroy now.” 

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