Martyrdom of Imam Husayn ibn Ali
The Great Sacrifice
A poet says:
پھر آج عشق کے لیے جاں فدا کرے کوئی
وفا بھی جھوم اٹھے یوں وفا کرے کوئی
Meaning: (I wish) there should be someone who would sacrifice his life in passionate love of Allah in such a way that loyalty itself would feel honoured.
Sacred Birth of Husayn ibn Ali
The exalted Husayn ibn Ali has graced Islam. He was born on 5-Shaban, 4th Hijri. The Holy Prophet gave him the first ever food of his own sacred saliva. After that he called Adhan in his ear and then prayed for him. On the seventh day, Holy Prophet performed his Aqiqah. On 10th Muharram, Imam Husayn put the dream of great sacrifice into reality. Thus, he fulfilled his promise in the form of greatest martyrdom.
Rule of Nature
Allah has bestowed some with supremacy upon others. Prophet Mohammad has supremacy over all other Prophets and Messengers, the Quran over the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, the umma of Prophet Mohammad has supremacy over all other ummas, the month of Ramadan over other months. Similarly, Makkah and Madina have supremacy over all the cities and Laylat al–Qadr over all nights. Likewise, Ashura has excellence over other days. On the day of Ashura, Allah made Prophet Adam His vicegerent and descended him to the earth. On the same day, Noah’s Ark found the shore and the fall of Doomsday will be on the same day.
The Grandeur of Husayn ibn Ali
We can judge the grandeur of Imam Husayn by the facts that he is the grandson of the Holy Prophet and Khadijah-tul-Kubra. He is the darling son of Amir al-Muminin Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima al-Zahra. On the basis of his lineage and family, his stature is the greatest of all human beings of the universe. The Holy Prophet expounded about him:
- Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. O Allah! Whoever loves Husayn, make him your beloved. Husayn is the special one among the grandsons.
Another Hadith says:
- One who likes to see a man of Paradise or (according to another tradition) leader of the youth of Paradise, he must behold Husayn ibn Ali.
Abu Huraira narrated that:
- Imam Husayn greatly resembled the Holy Prophet.
Flowers of umma-Hassan & Husayn
Anas ibn Malik says:
- I used to visit the Holy Prophet many times and have seen Hassan and Husayn wobbling on his abdomen. The Holy Prophet used to say: “They are the flowers of my umma.” (Al-Nasai)
Love for Husayn is Love for Prophet Mohammad
Abu Huraira also narrates the following tradition:
- The Holy Prophet said:
One who loves Hassan and Husayn, in fact loves me. On the other hand, one who fosters malice for them in fact has it for me. (Imam Ahmad)
Abu Saeed al-Khudri narrated:
- The Holy Prophet said: “Hassan and Husayn are leaders of the youth of Paradise. (Tirmidhi)
Abu Rafay states:
- When the Holy Prophet was on death bed, Fatimah, beloved daughter of Prophet Mohammad, took her two sons to the Prophet and humbly requested:
“These are your sons. Bestow them some inheritance.”
“I gave the legacy of steadfastness and sovereignty to Hassan and my legacy of strength and generosity is for Husayn.” (Imam Tabrani)
Unmatched Youth of Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali was brought up under the affectionate supervision of Prophet Mohammad, the sacred lady of Paradise Fatima al-Zahra and Ali ibn Abi Talib. He performed twenty five hajj on foot. His grandeur and status is unmatched. He offered his prayers, fast, performed hajj, spent in the way of Allah, and had done other good deeds excessively.
After the sacred death of Prophet Mohammad, Husayn ibn Ali stayed in Madina. Afterwards he moved to Kufa along with his father Ali ibn Abi Talib. He accompanied his father in the battles of Camel, Siffin and Khawarij. He then engaged himself with his brother Imam Hassan. When Imam Hassan gave up his caliphate for Ameer Muawiyah, Imam Husayn moved to Madina again with his brother Imam Hassan and lived there till the death of Ameer Muawiyah.
Yazid’s Ascention to throne:
Ameer Muawiyah made people swear allegiance to his son Yazid, while he was still alive. The entire Islamic world had taken allegiance to Yazid except Imam Husayn, Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdul Rehman ibn Abi Bakr. Yazid was an epicurean, corrupt, depraved and evil person. After the death of his father Ameer Muawiyah (in the month of Rajab, 60 Hijri) he took over the throne. Right after ascending the throne, Yazid first of all tried to take allegiance from these eminent persons. Abdul Rehman ibn Abu Bakr had died. Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas were compelled to pledge allegiance to him as all the common Muslims had taken it. Now only Imam Husayn and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr were left.
Yazid’s cunningness in taking Pledge of Allegiance:
Yazid felt insecurity from Husayn ibn Ali and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr because he knew that if anyone of them claimed caliphate, the majority of the people of Makkah, Madina and Iraq would pledge their allegiance. In this regard, he consulted Marwan ibn al-Hakam who opined him to call both of them and ask them to take his allegiance and if they resist even a little bit, murder them. Yazid wrote a letter to the governor of Madina Waleed ibn Utba ibn Abi Sufyan to take oath of allegiance from them immediately on his behalf.
Imam Husayn and Waleed ibn Abi Sufyan
Waleed called Imam Husayn and requested him to take oath of allegiance to Yazid showing him the letter. He replied:
- Waleed! I plainly refuse to pledge allegiance to Yazid. As, I am an obedient slave of Allah, how can I obey an enemy of Islam. Moreover, I have been brought up by sacred parents, I cannot follow an evil person. Similarly, I cannot open the way to the molestation of Islam for the coming generations by swearing allegiance to Yazid who is the violator of the religious rules and a dishonest person towards the Trust of Allah.”
When Imam Husayn went back after refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid, Marwan ibn Hakam tried his best to tempt Waleed with every possible incentive to martyr Husayn ibn Ali. When he refused, Marwan ibn Hakam threatened him of deposition. Waleed ibn Utba was well aware of the sanctity and prestige of the sacred family of the Holy Prophet. So he replied to Marwan:
- I know, I will get a big reward on forcing the grandson of the Prophet to pledge allegiance to Yazid or murder him but I don’t need such wealth. I would better be dismissed rather than becoming the fuel of fire in the Hell by murdering Husayn ibn Ali.
Imam Husayn’s Address to the Citizens of Madina
Imam Husayn came out of his sacred room and graced at the pulpit of his Grandfather. He addressed the citizens of Madina:
- O believers of Allah and followers of the Holy Prophet and Quran! I have received a letter from Yazid in which he has forced me to accept his caliphate but as I know, he is a debauchee, sinner, adulterer as well as a trespasser and the enemy of Islam. Therefore, I would sacrifice everything but never swear allegiance to such a transgressor.”
After the address, darling son of Fatimah bint Mohammad came back to his private room.
Imam’s Migration from Madina
There came a night when Imam Husayn decided to leave Madina and ordered his dear sister Sayyida Zaynab bint Ali to make the preparations, as it was impossible to stay in Madina without taking allegiance to Yazid and he was not willing to do so at any cost. Then, the day came when the people of Madina witnessed the caravan of sacred Progeny of the Holy Prophet leaving their city. It raised a great turmoil and upheaval among them.
An Account of Tragic Incident at Karbala
If we rove our eyes at sad incident of Karbala, we will find out that true essence of Islam is reflecting in the essence and attributes of Leaders of Martyrs, Imam Husayn ibn Ali. The role of exalted Imam Husayn as seeker of Allah, Leader of the era and the holder of Divine trust is the perfect manifestation of the wonderful and unparalleled traditions of Islam. Such a spectacular presentation of submission to Divine will, ardent Divine love and protection of the truth has never been seen before and will never be seen until the Day of Judgment.
The Karbala is a battle between humanity and Satanism and it is a paragon for all the seekers of Allah till eternity. Before that battles were fought between Muslims and disbelievers. The most tragic aspect of the tragic incident at Karbala is that the umma of Prophet Mohammad brutally martyred and beheaded his grandson.
Complementary words of Iqbal:
Allama Iqbal says
عجب مذاق ہے اسلام کی تقدیر کے ساتھ
کٹا حسین کا سر نعرہ تکبیر کے ساتھ
Meaning: The incident of Karbala is the most tragic and strange event in the history of Islam. When, the so called Muslims brutally beheaded Husayn ibn Ali with the slogan of Takbir.
After the incident of Karbala, the world was acquainted with the true meanings of honesty and perfidy, loyalty and betrayal, victory and defeat, truth and falsehood, good and evil. Husayn ibn Ali set noble examples of courage, valour, steadiness and sacrifice through his action and behaviour. Whereas, Yazidis practically demonstrated that when the love of material world darkens the heart, all the traits of humanity disappear from humans. Then they neither remember the favours of benefactors nor the commands of Allah. Incident of Karbala took place nearly 1379 years ago, but it is such a tragic event that it cannot be removed from the hearts of the entire Muslim umma. After the Rashidun Caliphate, this vexatious and dejected event is one of the most influential events in the religious and political history of Islam.
Was Husayn ibn Ali aware of his Martyrdom?
The sad news of martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali spread among the Companions of the Holy Prophet even several years before the actual incident took place. The Holy Prophet had revealed the news of martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali since his childhood. Umm-e-Fazl bint al-Harith, who is the wife of Abbas and aunt of the Holy Prophet, narrates from Umm al-Muminin Aisha bint Abi Bakr and Umm al-Muminin Umm-e-Salma that the Holy Prophet said:
- This son (Husayn ibn Ali) of mine will be murdered (martyred) in the land of Taf (another name of Karbala) after me.
Gabriel gave him the soil of that place; the Holy Prophet embraced the soil, shed tears and said:
- O Umm-e-Salma (the day) when this soil would turn into blood, apprehend that my son has been killed.
Umm-e-Salma kept that clay in a bottle and looked at it daily. On the day when incident of Karbala took place, Umm-e-Salma saw the bottle; she noticed that the clay had turned into blood. So she perceived that Imam Husayn has been martyred.
It is also important to note that out of all the Umm al-Muminin, Aisha bint Abi Bakr was very dear to Prophet Mohammad, but he gave the soil of Karbala to Umm-e-Salma because he knew that Umm-e-Salma would be alive at that time.
Significance of Martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali
Around fourteen hundred years have passed but there is no decline in the remembrance of martyrdom of exalted Husayn ibn Ali. History testifies that the significance of his martyrdom is ever rising, while Yazidiat has become a symbol of evil and mischief in every section.
ہر عہد میں خوشبو ہے تیری موج نفس کی
ہر عصر میں جلوہ ہے تیرے رنگِ قبا کا
دنیا میں جدا ہے تیرا انداز سے شہادت
جان دینا تھا گو شیدا صدا اہل وفا کا
Meaning: The fragrance of your soul prevails in every era. Every age carries the colour of your cloak. No doubt, the way you embraced martyrdom is distinct and peerless in the world. It is not wrong to say that only faithful could lay down their lives for the Beloved. Beginning and Extreme Limits of Sacrifice
Muharram and Dhul al-Hijjah-The Months of Sacrifice
The first month and the last months of Islamic calendar (Muharram and Dhul al-Hijjah) are the months of sacrifice. The events that took place in these months display extreme limits of the sacrifice. Prophet Ishmael and the darling grandson of Prophet Mohammad, Husayn ibn Ali both completely submitted to the will of their Beloved (Allah) and graced Islam. Both sacrifices took place on the 10th day of the month, both are dear sons of two exalted Prophets. One of those esteemed personalities is stationed at the level of utmost patience and the other’s sacrifice is the greatest of all. The former fulfilled the dream of his father; on the other hand, the latter fulfilled his promise. The former built the Holy Ka’aba and the latter protected it.
سجدے تو سب نے کیے تیرا نیا انداز ہے
تو نے وہ سجدہ کیا جس پر خدا کو ناز ہے
Meaning: Millions of people daily prostrate in front of Almighty Allah. But the way exalted Imam Husayn ibn Ali prostrated in front of Allah is distinct from others. It is so pure and perfect that Allah Himself is proud of him.
The Foundation of Battle of Karbala Was Laid Down Centuries Ago
The foundation of battle of Karbala was laid down centuries ago when Allah ordered Abraham to sacrifice his dear son Ishmael, and when Abraham offered his son for sacrifice, Allah Almighty stopped him and said:
وَ فَدَیۡنٰہُ بِذِبۡحٍ عَظِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۰۷﴾
Meaning: And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. (As-Ṣaffat: 107)
Therefore, the sacrifice which has been decided in the court of Allah Almighty since pre-eternity was declared as the substitute of Ishmael’s slaughter. Moreover, Allah has given superiority and magnificence to this sacrifice over all the sacrifices. Sacrifice is practical demonstration of ardent Divine love. The more intense and sincere the love is the greater the sacrifice would be. So, if your love is intense then your sacrifice will be accordingly greater. Great sacrifice of Husayn ibn Ali stopped the sacrifice of Ishmael and laid the foundations of Bani Ishmael, from which Prophet Mohammad belongs to. That is why, the Prophet said:
- Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn.
The Battle of Karbala-Perfect Submission to Divine Will
The sacrifice of Imam Husayn is one of the greatest lessons of submission to Divine will. He was stationed at the highest spiritual level of Faqr. His utmost submission to the Divine will shows that Faqr of Prophet Mohammad was his distinct character. He had Divine autonomy but his eyes were on Divine will.
If he used his Divine powers, fire and stones would have fallen from the sky and the Yazidis would have been destroyed. If he ordered the sand of Karbala merely by the motion of his eyes, it would have swallowed the Yazidi devils. The river, which was thirsty for quenching their thirst, would have come into his foot.
منہ سے اک بار لگا لیتے جو مولا پانی
دشت غربت میں نا یوں ٹھوکریں کھاتا پانی
کون کہتا ہے کہ پانی کو ترستے تھے حسین
ان کے ہونٹوں کو ترستا رہا پیاسا پانی
Meaning: Restlessness in the water of Euphrates is just because Imam Husayn and his sacred companions did not take it. Who could say that Imam Husayn was deprived of water? In fact, he chose of submission to Divine will despite having Divine authority. He selected to endure all the hardships against all odds. Such is his grandeur and esoteric status that the river water would have travelled to him had he ordered so.
Role Model for the Future Generations
Instead, Imam Husayn remained steadfast on Mohammadan Faqr and completely submitted to the Divine will. And as such, he set an example for the generations to come on patience, loyalty, sacrifice and submission. He not only succeeded himself but left an example for the seekers of Allah to follow and gave them the courage to never surrender to evil but instead remain steadfast on the path of righteousness. Had Imam Husayn not confronted the evil and demonstrated the ultimate bravery and sacrifice, there would not have been seekers of Allah in the generations to come who would follow the path of Faqr with perseverance and steadfastness. Hence, the believers who truly regard Imam Husayn as their leader must be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to benefit from Mohammadan Faqr as Imam Husayn did.
In today’s materialistic age, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is working hard to spread the message of Faqr throughout the world. Hence the seekers of Allah who want to follow the footsteps of Imam Husayn, must take oath of allegiance on the sacred hand of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. This is so that they can gain the contemplation of Ism-e-AllaH Zaat and invocation of ‘Hoo’. This will enable a seeker to cross the esoteric stations and eventually gain gnosis of Allah.
This article was published in Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) titled as شہادت امام حسینؓ ذبحِ عظیم (Shahadat Imam Husayn Zebh-e-Azeem) in the issue of September 2019. It was originally written by Mrs. Memona Asad Sarwari Qadri and translated in English by Faiza Gulzar Sarwari Qadri. If you wish to read it in Urdu then please visit the link