Kerbala – A Lesson for all times, Part 2

Suhaila Alloo

(Mwanza, Tanzania)

Integrity and purity in intentions

Imam Husain (AS) chose his friends wisely who stood by him till the end such as Habib ibn Mazahir and Muslim ibn Awsaja who Imam had full confidence in. However, Imam also demonstrated regard for those he knew had joined him out of self-interest. This he did by snuffing out the candle on the last night allowing those who wished to escape to do so without any humiliation. In this way Imam taught how to test friends but at the same time have regard for others. One cannot deny that Imam knew intuitively who were the loyalists yet by his unmatched wisdom he confined the title of martyrdom to the 72 deserving companions with integrity and purity in intention.


“O tranquillized soul at complete rest. Return though unto thy lord! Well pleased with Him and His being well-pleased with thee.” (89:27-28) Narrated from Imam Ja’far As Sadiq (AS) that this verse suggests that Imam Husain (AS) is the “tranquilized soul” who is the Mutmainnah (satisfied one) i.e. is at peace and perfect harmony with the divine and living or giving his life to please Allah (SWT) and no one else. In Kerbala, Imam Zainul Abedin (AS) depicts a touching act of satisfaction in his illness and amidst the fire when he does a ‘Sajda-e-Shukr’, thanking Allah (SWT) for making them worthy of the ordeal of Kerbala. When was the last time we thanked the lord for health, wealth or even just for this beautiful morning?


The ideal women of Kerbala presented women today with a powerful message: a woman’s actions and her voice have unbelievable empowerment. An unnamed woman from Bakr ibne Waail’s tribe spoke out against the tyrants and gave rise to a generation of women possessing the courage to denounce the regime of dictators. Umme Wahab showed the deep loyalty of a wife to her husband, Abu Wahab and dies alongside him. Umme Farwa holds back her tears, guides her son on the right path and showed the spirit of a mother when telling her son Qasim, “Nothing will make me prouder than to see my son give his life for Islam.” The strength of B. Zainab (AS) who continued this tragedy of Kerbala by her enthralling speeches preaching Islam and criticizing the wrongdoers until the enemy himself, Ibn Zyad had to admit that she spoke eloquently just like her father. She set an example for all women around the world, in terms of standing up for your beliefs and having the courage to speak out against any wrongs. The pious women of Kerbala went through the catastrophe of having their chastity snatched from them and asked not for water, neither food but for their Hijaab. In this way they taught women about the importance if Hijaab in order to keep their dignity and modesty.

Politics versus Sacrifice.

In every aspect of life, religion was the window through which he viewed the world. Imam based his political discourse on religious concepts. As Ayatullah Sayyed Fadhlullah says “He did not believe that politics is a profession. Rather it is a change affecting the reality of the world and of man himself.” This view is profound has the evidence in Imam’s journey to Kufa. When Imam was invited by the Kufians to be their spiritual leader, he was well aware that Kufa was never his ultimate destination. After the tragedy of his brother Muslim bin Aqeel, Imam was sure that the Kufians had broken their vows and failed him and this he makes this statement: “Our Shia have deserted us. Those of you who prefer to leave us, may do so freely and without guilt.” This event shows how correct Imam’s perspective on politics was; a change that affects man and this change had affected the Kufians into deserting Imam. This proves to generations that Imam did not intend to use the tool of politics to defeat Yazid instead through sacrifice was his victory proclaimed over Yazid thus the eternal existence of Islam.

Compassion and Charity

Imam Husain (AS) taught us compassion when he gave water to Hurr and his army and their horses despite them being the enemy. He demonstrated compassion by accepting Hurr’s forgiveness with open arms and warmly welcoming him and apologizing not to have any water. B. Zainab (AS) as well showed compassion by offering condolences to Hurr’s widow, despite having her own grief. Hurr’s act of joining Imam Hussein (AS) is a lesson to all mankind, that when we get a second chance we must seize it. The deep affection he shows for B. Atiqa, daughter of H. Muslim ibn Aqeel, after his martyrdom was a guide on how to treat an orphan.

The victory of the truth

Imam Husain (AS) preached, “Do you not see that the truth is not being practiced and falsehood not being prevented?” This was a plea to everyone to join the side of the truth. After his martyrdom, he proved that the truth is of such an attribute that only some are able to bring themselves to join its elite. To fight for what you believe in requires diligence yet with the enthusiasm of faith, trust on Allah (SWT) and fortifying spiritual power the victory of the truth is inevitable.

In the final hours when Imam Hussein (AS) stood alone and cried, “Who is there who would help us?” he was calling out to future generations to keep this battle going against the contemporary Yazids. One cannot simply shed tears for the love of Imam but also must learn the lessons of Kerbala and apply them to the tyrants of the world today. The post-Saddam Hussein era has seen 1 million men and women going to the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala. This proves that our bond with Imam is unbreakable. With total submission to Allah (SWT) and loyalty to our faith, let us fight for the victory of the truth, the victory of Islam.

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