Lessons from Kerbala

Embodying the true lessons from Imam Husain

The writer, Ayyad Dilawar Padhani is in Marketing at his family optical practice.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Marketing and related support services.  He has been rendering community services from a very early age.

Lessons from Kerbala:

A celebrity can be understood as someone who is idolised, someone people follow and support, and one whom others adore and love. People loved the Ahlulbayt (as), people knew the message of the Holy Prophet to side with his family, what then can we say regarding Imam Hussain (as) being a celebrity? What can we say about the outcomes at Karbala? And the Lessons from Kerbala?

His virtues were known everywhere, from when the Holy Prophet (saw) kissed his neck out of the grief of his slaughter, to extending his sajdah when Hassan and Hussain climbed his back during the sajdah then proclaimed publicly to love his grandchildren, the event of Mubahela, to various announcements such as the two brothers being the leaders of the youth of paradise and Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain.

Imam Hussain (as) was perhaps the most famous person living in his time in the Islamic world, the grandson of the founder of Islam, yet he only managed to find 72 people to come to his mission of reformation.

What made these 72 people accept to embark on this mission? And what made all the other thousands of people at that time unable to see or support the lofty stand by the Imam against the distortion of Islam and oppression?

  1. Critical thinking – being united with the ummah is important, however, what use is unity if you are against the grandson of the Holy Prophet? Furthermore, thinking individuals such as Hur, realised his mistake through the innocent cries for water of Hussain’s children and repented by switching sides and giving his life first.
  2. Detachment from the material – having things and owning things is not a bad thing, however, having these things own you is the issue. If worldly possessions, as the word itself suggests, ‘possess’ us, then we are no longer in control, and when we have to choose between Hussain and Yazid in our own lives, we may make the same mistake as the 30,000 or so people made 1400 years ago.
  3. Courage to stand against even the powerful – the oppressive government at that time was in power and had huge resources but this did not stop the Imam due to an awareness of his priorities, and knowing that the values of Islam mattered way more than his and his life.

Some qualities which identify the people in Yazid’s army include:

  1. Worldliness – chasing this world often leads to blindness to the bigger picture. We have been informed through a divine messenger of the existence of a hereafter, and that this world is a transit, nobody invests extravagantly at airports or hotels, and it would not make sense to do so. When we forget that this world is similar to that, we fall into the trap of defending our material attachments, and perhaps we will fight and be against someone like the Imam.
  2. Haram in their bellies – one of the things Imam Hussain (as) mentioned about the reasons his opponent fought him was that they had haram food in their bellies and that they had not obtained it in a pure way. Doing this numbs our conscience and when right and wrong are as clear as Hussain and Yazid, we may not be able to see it.
  3. Propaganda (not analysing the news they received) –  lots of hate was spewed about Imam Ali (as)  the father of Al-Hussain, from the pulpits for decades. This caused lots of people to hate Imam Ali wrongfully. Which then showed at the land at Karbala. We must educate ourselves regarding history, and present affairs so as not to be deceived by the news, media, and propaganda.

Much like at the airport, when we are in transit, we need a roadmap to our flight gate. In this world, we should adhere to the deen and look for the correct gate to reach our purpose.

Finally, I would like to discuss what more Imam Hussain (as) is.

On the global landscape today, Hussain is a unifying entity.

Hussain is for all of humanity, and various leaders and independence seekers around the world have sought courage and strength from the story of this man. Examples include Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who have been quoted as saying ”But suddenly I thought about Imam Hussain (as) and Karbala movement and Imam Hussain (as) gave me strength to stand for the right of freedom and liberation and I did.”

He is the oppressed who have the courage to speak out. As a minority himself, Imam Hussain (as) reminds us that being alone, or having very few supporters should never discourage us from speaking about the truth, especially because our rewards lie with the Almighty, one who is always watching.

He inspires change in our personal spiritual lives as well whereby many people who may not be able to bring considerable change in their obligations and responsibilities as a Muslim throughout the year, the love and tears for Hussain (as) often soften our hearts towards making incremental improvements in our lives. Scholars are often heard recommending the remembrance of the sacrifice of Hussain (as) even to those who may have already reached a certain level of spirituality, as the lessons from Kerbala are deep and many.

Hussain (as) fought for the deen of Islam, the system and way of life, which include prayers, hajj, charity, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion to others, inviting others to do good, and discouraging evil. The sacrifice of Hussain is alive so long as we carry his message in our practical lives.

We hope and pray we can embody the true lessons from Kerbala has left for us, and follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (saww) and his Progeny which includes the Hussain (as) discussed in this article.

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