One Man. A Million hearts.

Zamena Manekia Manji

(Bujumbura, Burundi)

Sitting cross legged across the golden dome under the star lit sky, I gaze at the wonderful masterpiece with a whirlwind of emotions. I watch mobs of people flooding through the shrine, their eyes filled with tears and hope.  I look at a group of men encircling around a Mua’lim, taking turns to recite the Qur’an, their melodious voices filling the atmosphere with peace. I look at another group of people beating their chests, lamenting for the atrocious tragedy of the one buried underneath.  I watch a swarm of men carrying one coffin after the other, each effortlessly circling around the shrine 7 times with the deceased, I watch young children distributing dates and sweets to the pilgrims, each one greatly appreciating the little food they give; rich or poor. I watch in awe as people from all over the World join together as one, under the Golden dome of ‘Husain’.

But who is Hussain? Why is he known as the savior of Islam? Why do millions of people risk their lives and travel to one of the most unsafe countries on earth just to pay their respects to his shrine? Why does his heart rule millions of people today? 

Such questions are bound to surface into one’s mind and we need to grasp the historical facts and circumstances 1400 years ago. Thousands of kings, emperors and leaders had already ruled the World back then and not all of them were saints. A fraction of them were venomous and would stoop to any level for power. Yet, none of the peacemakers took such a bold step in saving humanity. There has to be a reason behind Husain’s sacrifice which has an effect till today, for without Husain, the World wouldn’t have been the same.

Yazid ibn Muawiyah was known to be a drunkard, a womanizer and an oppressor who would behead anyone opposing his system. People were being butchered in masses simply because they loved the prophet and his family. Unlike his ancestors, Yazid openly transgressed all the teachings of the Holy Prophet, caused fear into the hearts of people and sought to demolish every moral act established by the Prophet. Hadn’t Imam Hussain stood up against this cruel regime, Islam would have never existed today. Hence the stand was of utmost importance in order to preserve the morals set by the Prophet, which shaped humanity. 

The dominance of such a tyrant gripped peoples’ hearts with fear and soon, a lot of them fell prey to Yazid’s trap, slowly seeping out of their Islamic values and succumbing to their worldly desires. That’s when Imam Hussain decided to set his government elsewhere as the rightly chosen caliph. He moved out of Madina with his entire family including his youngest children and decided to settle in Kufa.Yazid’s army horrendously massacred the family and comrades of Imam Hussain, who only summed up to 72 against over 20,000 soldiers. They were denied water for three days, their conditions so dire yet each person fought valiantly and achieved martyrdom. Among the fallen Heroes were Imam Hussain’s teenage nephews and his 6-month-old son whose tiny neck was shot with an arrow used to sacrifice cows. His crime? He only asked for water. Gradually they murdered Imam Hussain, severed his head, and the heads of his 72 martyrs including his 6-month-old baby, and paraded them across the dessert. Additionally, they held Imam Hussain’s sisters, wives, daughters and ailing son as captives, causing immense difficulty for them by chaining them and dragging their grieved selves to Syria- to mention a few. Imam’s son, sisters and family then carried on spoke out against the horrendous crimes that took place in Kerbala which eventually led to the downfall of the most tyrannical ruler history has ever seen- Yazid Ibn Muawiyah.

Hussain’s motive was not based on gaining popularity for had that been the case, he wouldn’t have taken the women and young children of his family along with him. It clearly shows he went to make a stand for humanity.

And as my eyes look again at the golden dome, I realize why millions risk their lives to travel all the way to his Shrine- a thousand years have passed and a thousand more will pass, but this legend will forever shine for he is the savior of humanity.

About the author

Zamena Manekia Manji was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, a bookworm with a passion for writing that cemented at the age of 13. She served the community alongside her studies through the years and upon moving to Bujumbra , Burundi - continued doing the same. Over time her writings have evolved from fiction to Islamic, contemporary and historical writings. She has also worked on a number of scripts, ad writings, essays, personal statements for universities, and beyond as with each task, she tries to improve her writing skills. Through her words she hopes to shed some light into Islamic History, Islamic concepts and contemporary issues, slowly doing her part towards building a better and stronger society.

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