Karbala and the pledge of Loyalty
The land of Karbala is the land of love. Where every drop of blood of the martyrs speaks of faith and loyalty. The martyrs of Karbala taught us the lesson of love and loyalty and passed away. But they laid the foundations of Islam in the hearts of the believers. Therefore, the incident of Karbala is the flame of faith that keeps those who love the People of Cloak burning at all times and teaches them to fulfill their vows of loyalty in Islam.
Passion of Martyrdom
One must learn the passion of martyrdom from Imam Hussain. He knew that the land of Karbala is thirsty of his and his loved ones’ blood. He was also aware of the infidelity of the people of Kufa. Even then he was ready to say goodbye to this world. Above all, he was ready to sacrifice himself for his grandfather’s religion and for Divine vision of Allah Almighty.
Love of companions
One should learn the method of love and loyalty from the companions of Imam Hussain. When he revealed to them that supporting him will lead them to martyrdom. They still stood steadfast. From time to time, he warmed the hearts of his companions with the passion of martyrdom. He even allowed them to return, but salute to those companions whose feet did not slip in the slightest.
On one occasion, he said to his companions, “Whosoever wants to sacrifice his life in the way of Allah, who longs for death and seeks the Divine vision, join me.” None of them left their Imam and raised their voice for sacrifice. On another occasion he said: “O people, the one who can bear swords and arrows, stay with me otherwise go back.” All his companions were sincere lovers and the lover is always ready to shower all his beloved things and relations. By burning all the ways of returning back, the journey of love begins.
Sultan Bahoo’s point of view
Paying homage to the reality of true love and true lovers, Sultan Bahoo in his Punjabi poetry says:
Explanation: At the time of incident of Karbala almost eighteen thousand religious scholars, theologians and the so-called Muslims with superficial faith were present in the Yazid’s army. The ones fought the war against the people of cloak merely for the love of world and its riches. Sultan Bahoo also refers to the creature of the eighteen thousand worlds. He says, “The Karbala incident proves that the faith is not hidden in the superficial knowledge (shariah, Hadith and Jurisprudence), faith actually means love of Allah and His Prophet Mohammad pbuh.
If the so called Muslims of Yazid’s army possessed the true faith. Then they would not have hanged the sacred heads of the people of Cloak on the lances. Rather all the eighteen thousand Muslims (or worlds) would have sacrificed themselves for Hussain. If the theologians and the religious scholars of that era had a little bit of respect and honour in their hearts for the Holy Prophet pbuh and his Family. Likely if they had any regard for the oath of the Prophet they had never banned the supply of water to his Family. Only the ardent lovers of Allah, who are the true faithfuls, sacrifice their heads but never let their love be dishonored.”
Explanation: If it was this easy to attain true faith then why Imam Husayn, his family and companions sacrificed their lives? Eighteen thousand realms were under the authority of Imam Husayn (ra). Yet, he completely submitted to Divine will. Alas, the love of world blindfolded Yazidis. They were void of faith.
Brutality of Yazid’s army
The intensity of thirst pierces the throat. But the barbarity and cruelty of Yazid’s army is so extreme. That for three days the thirsty and helpless people weren’t allowed to take a single drop of water down their throats. Children along with elders are longing for a drop of water. But the water of the Euphrates River is closed for them only out of fear that the sea of faith and loyalty which is overflowing inside them will burst with the drops of water due to which they’ll lose their lives. In the intense heat and scorching sand, all living creatures except these 72 people were allowed to drink water. But sadly Euphrates River did not have the honor of quenching the thirst of these fortunate lovers of the People of Cloak and Allah Almighty.
جن کو دھوکے سے کوفہ بلایا گیا
جن کو بیٹھے بٹھائے ستایا گیا
جس کے بچوں کو پیاسے رلایا گیا
جن کی گردن پہ خنجر چلایا گیا
جس نے حق کربلا میں ادا کر دیا
اپنے ناناؐ کا وعدہ وفا کر دیا
اس حسینؓ ابنِ حیدر پہ لاکھوں سلام
Explanation: Blessings on Hussain Ibn e Haider for infinite times. Who was invited to Kufa deceitfully and tormented without any reason. His children were kept thirsty and crying, and his head was struck off with a dagger. He performed his duty assigned by Allah Almighty in the plane of Karbala and fulfilled the promise of his Grandfather.
Courage of Ali Akbar
The lover gives his life and turns the land of Karbala red with his blood. Millions of salutations to the courage, loyalty and bravery of this enthusiastic young son of Imam Hussain, Ali Akbar. After all the loyal lovers of Imam Hussain had sacrificed their lives. The son of Imam Hussain was the first martyr among the descendants of Abu Talib was Ali Akbar. He was only 19 years old and very handsome young man. The blood of lion, Ali ibn Abi Talib was circulating in his veins. The passion for martyrdom was on the rise and the sacred blood was eager to show its essence. When he got permission from his beloved and kindhearted father to embrace martyrdom.
Ali Akbar’s arrival in battlefield
As he stepped in the battlefield, the Yazid’s whole army was amazed at the bravery of that brave young man. Hazrat Ali Akbar entered the battlefield like a lion, cast a look at the enemy, waved his brightened sword and said a martial song:
اناعلی ابن الحسین بن علی
نحن و بیت الہ اولی النبی
Meaning: I am Ali, son of Hussain and the grandson of Ali (ra). I swear on Kaaba, we are children of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
As he entered the battlefield he wrecked the ranks of enemy. In only a single assault, he killed several so called brave men. When nobody had the courage to step forward for single combat they attacked all together. Wherever he would turn, rout the enemy. He countered their attacks and killed hundreds of them bathing into dust and blood.
Martyrdom of Ali Akbar
There were continuous attacks of lances and showers of swords from all directions. As a result he had many injuries. Furthermore, he was suffering from a state of thirst and hunger for three days. In addition, his sacred body was bleeding from all sides. He could not succumb the injuries and fell down from the horse. He uttered, “O’ my dear father pick me up.” Imam Hussain approached his valiant son riding, brought him to his camp and put his head in his lap. Ali Akbar opened his eyes and said, “O’ my father! I can see the doors open in the sky, the heavenly houries are waiting with the goblets of sweet drink.” He said that much and gave his life to his beloved Allah.
Martyrdom of a baby, Ali Asghar
History testifies that such cruelty and barbarism was not seen in any of the battles except with the People of Cloak. Ali Asghar, the youngest son of Imam Hussain who was an infant at that time. The one who is neither able to fight nor to defend himself. From whom no one had any threat, was starving as the mother’s milk had dried up. This condition was not bearable. Imam Hussain took his child to Yazid’s army in this condition. Asked for water and begged for mercy on the child’s condition.
Pity for those heartless people whose hearts did not melt with the anguish of a child. Alas for the heartless tormentors who had no soft corner in their hearts? Then an evil heartless man shot an arrow that pierced the throat of Ali Asghar and crossed the arm of Imam Hussain and the little boy gave his life in the hands of his father.
The blood of his loved ones bathed his blessed chest. When all his devoted comrades, brothers, nephews and sons sacrificed their lives to the cause of Allah, now he intend to go to the battlefield himself. There was no companion who would now hold hands and beg to go to the battlefield first. The time had come about which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had already informed. The time had come when Fatima’s flower was ready to lay down his life for the sanctity of Islam. Everyone had tears in their eyes. Immense grief and trauma broke every heart. On one hand little Sakina wants to hug her father. While on the other, sister Zainab’s heart clenches as she looks at her brother’s face for the last time.
Imam Hussain’s last moments with Imam Zain-ul-Abideen
The last descendant of the People of Cloak, Imam Zain-ul-Abidin, who was ill, asked permission from Imam Hussain to go to the battlefield and be martyred. However, Imam Hussain entrusted him with his family and gave him the responsibility of taking them safely to Madinah.
Imam Hussain’s last instructions
He said: “All the devotees and relatives have already given their lives in the path of Allah. Each of them showed a great perseverance and steadfastness while facing troubles and afflictions. Likewise, now it is my turn to present my life to Allah Almighty as a gift. You need to take the helpless members of the People of Cloak back home and take care of the sacred ladies of the family.
Importance of Imam Zain-ul-Abideen not taking part in battle
Imam Hussain said: If you get martyred then who would be entrusted with Divine Trust after me and who would become the custodian of the holy assets of our ancestors? Who would be the guardian of Quran and preacher of Divine Knowledge? Furthermore, who would continue the lineage of Hussaini Syeds? Hence all these expectations are linked with yourself. In fact, you are the forlorn hope and the last source of the light of Prophet-hood that would enlighten the world. The lovers of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would satisfy their craving of having the sacred view of his lustrous Divine Lights by beholding your illuminated and bright countenance. So my dear, all these responsibilities are entrusted to you and you are my only descendant that is why, you are not allowed to go to the battlefield”
Battlefield welcomes Imam Hussain
Imam Husayn entered the battlefield and attracted the Syrians and the Kufis. Warned them of the fate of those who were hostile to the People of Cloak. He tried to warm their hearts with the love of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) for his grandchildren and the greatness of the family of the Prophet (pbuh). But before anyone’s heart melted away from Imam’s speech, Ibn Ziyad pushed their consciences, which had already been bought, to more misguidance and degradation by the greed for more wealth and government positions. The lamp of faith had gone out in their hearts and they were making themselves the fuel of fire of hell.
Battle starts among one and a thousand
Imam Hussain knew that the tyrants would not give up their cruelty and definitely shed his innocent blood. So, the exalted Imam offered them to fulfil their evil desires and send whomever they liked to confront him. For instance, several famous, gallant and peerless soldiers who were saved for the crucial time were sent in the battlefield. As a result, Imam kept killing them like leaves falling from the trees in autumn. In the army of Ibn e Saad, fear was spread seeing, the victor of Khyber, lion of Allah’s brave son’s loyalty, courage and bravery. Troops of hypocrites were slayed like carrots and radishes with Imam’s sword.
So they decided to surround and attack simultaneously. Before Imam Hussain entered the battlefield the merciless and faithless tyrants wanted to sever his sacred head from his celestial body but when he entered no one dared to step forward. Many people went with the intention to kill, but as soon as they look at Imam’s face, their body trembled. Nazar bin Kharasha stepped ahead with that obnoxious intent but out of awe of the great Imam his hands shuddered and the sword dropped. The cursed Khowali Ibn e Yazid or Shible Ibn e Yazid went forward and segregated the sacred head from the reverend body.
قتلِ حسین اصل میں مرگِ یزید ہے
اسلام زندہ ہوتا ہے ہر کربلا کے بعد
Explanation: The martyrdom of Hussain is in fact the murder of Yazid. Islam is enlivened after every battle of Karbala.The intrepid lover of Allah set such a precedent of surrender and submission to Allah’s will. No such incident is there in history nor would ever be there in future. Imam Hussain left this transitory world on Friday 10th of Muharram, 61 Hijri at the age of fifty six years, five months and five days.
Cruelty of Ibn e Ziyad
The evil and polluted Ibn e Ziyad got the sacred head of Imam Hussain and the bareheaded princesses of his family, who were left alone after him, pass through the streets and markets of Kufa and expressed his immodesty and worthlessness in this shameful way. Above all, the sacred heads of Imam Hussain and his brave martyrs were sent to Yazid at Damascus by the devilish Shimr.
The courage and truthfulness of Zainab bint e Ali the incident of Karbala was noteworthy. She narrated the incident of Karbala in the streets of Kufa and Syria. Wherever she went, she told about the persecution of the People of Cloak and their devoted companions. Her speeches and sermons changed the atmosphere in Kufa and Syria and made the people sigh. Tears started flowing from the eyes of the people as they heard the sermon of Fatimah’s daughter. Her sermons at Yazid’s palace had such an effect on the people that it sowed the seeds of remorse in them and shook their consciences to such an extent that they felt ashamed of themselves.
In Yazid’s palace when she saw the blessed head of Imam Hussain, she said in a mournful voice that the hearts of all the courtiers were shaken: “O son of the divorced ones! Is it your justice that you have protected your family and slave girls behind the walls and kept them under curtains while you are making the daughters of the Prophet (pbuh) walk in the markets bareheaded? You striped off their veil and committed dishonor against them and by your command they were carried from one city to another bareheaded.”
When the caravan of the people of Cloak reached Madina with Imam Zain-ul-Abideen, a commotion broke out. Everyone was in deep sorrow. Cries were audible in the streets of Madina. It seemed like last day of earth. People were in tears in Madina. In fact, the tragedy of Karbala is an event that history will never forget. The ground of Karbala is the ground where the blood of the family of Prophet was shed unjustly. The caravan that had come to help the people of Kufa at their insistence, same people of kufa, and seekers of help became unfaithful and thirsty for the blood of the descendants of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). The caravan came without the preparations of war. It faced oppression and persecution. This caravan had children, old people and women.
شاہ است حسینؓ بادشاہ است حسینؓ
دین است حسینؓ دین پناہ است حسینؓ
سر داد، نداد دست در دستِ یزید
حقا کہ بنائے لا الہ است حسینؓ
Meaning: Shah is Hussain. King is Hussain. The religion is Hussain. The one who shelters the religion is Hussain. Above all, he gave his head but did not put his hand in Yazid’s hand. In short, the foundation of the word ‘La Ilah’ is Hussain.
Glory of Imam Hussain
By God! Hussain ibn e Ali is the one who gave shelter to the religion. Hussain ibn e Ali is the one who strengthened the religion. Imam Hussain is the one who showed the practical observance of ‘La Ilah’ in Karbala. He gave his life but did not let his Grandfather’s religion bow down. The test of the religion is to know the true source of ‘La Ilah’ and to persevere in the time of trial. Imam Hussain was the Imam of that time and was the Perfect Spiritual Guide of that time. The Perfect Spiritual Guide is on an elevated rank. There is nothing which he cannot do.
If Imam had ordered Euphrates, it would have reached their tents by its own. Likewise if he had commanded the sky, it would have rained. Furthermore if he had commanded the scorching sand of Karbala, it would have become a storm and would have destroyed the enemies. But he did not took any such measure. However, he endured every trial from Allah with patience and perseverance and remained loyal. However, he considered it his good fortune that Allah had chosen him to test them. He bowed his head before the pleasure of Allah.
What does Sultan Bahoo says about Imam Hussain’s love for Allah?
Sultan Bahoo says about Imam Hussain in his Punjabi poetry:
عاشق سوئی حقیقی جیہڑا، قتل معشوق دے منے ھوُ
عشق نہ چھوڑے مکھ نہ موڑے، توڑ ے سَے تلواراں کھنے ھوُ
جت وَل ویکھے راز ماہی دے، لگے اوسے بنھے ھوُ
سچا عشق حسینؓ ابنِ علیؓ د ا باھوؒ، سر دیوے راز نہ بھنے ھوُ
Explanation: In this piece of poetry, Sultan Bahoo is mentioning the heights of Imam Hussain’s love for Allah. He was the Imam and the Perfect Spiritual Guide of the era. Spiritual Guide can never swear oath to anyone, but the others swear allegiance to him. He had got the power of Kun (if he ordered kun i.e. “Be”, it would have done immediately). If he had ordered the river Euphrates, it would have come flowing near the camps of Imam Hussain’s companions to quench their thirst and if he had commanded the sky it would have rained. If he had said to the sand of Karbala, its storm would have annihilated the Yazid’s army. However, he had the option to submit to Allah’s Will and fight like common human beings, without using any spiritual power. So he surrendered before Allah’s Will and opted for the latter.
Yazid was aware of the high rank and position of Imam Hussain. Even then what made him hard hearted? Further, why he completely destroyed his faith? Firstly, Yazid was a seeker of world, seeker of wealth and worldly glory. Sultan Bahoo in his book ‘Ain-ul-Faqr’ talks about the seeker of world: The world is the devil and its seekers are the devils of the world. Similarly, the world is a lie and the seeker of the world is a liar. Moreover the world is evil and the seeker of world is evil. The world is cursed and the seeker of world is also cursed. To sum up, the world is ignorant and the seeker of world is Abu Jahal.
Imam Hussain was the seeker of Allah. He remained loyal and submitted himself to the Will of Allah. Similarly, the one who gives his life for the cause of Allah is the seeker of Allah. In addition, the true lovers and the loyal ones are the seekers of Allah. The will of the Beloved is a source of satisfaction for the seeker of Allah. Those who kept loyal and faithful are the seekers of Allah. The life of Imam Hussain is a beacon for the seekers of Allah.
May Allah help us all to learn the lesson of Divine love and loyalty from the incident of Karbala.
This is an English translation of Urdu article کربلا اور عہدِ وفا . Mrs Fatima Burhan Sarwari Qadri wrote the original article. Abdul Rafay Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.