13 Reflections from the Words of Imam Hussain

On the birth anniversary of Imam Hussain, we mention 13 of his sayings that are worth reflecting on.

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On the birth anniversary of Imam Hussain, we mention 13 of his sayings that are worth reflecting on.

Today marks the birth of Imam Hussain. The Imam was the second grandson of the Holy Prophet—the son of Imam Ali and Lady Fatima.

Unfortunately, we only know the Battle of Karbala part of his life. There’s no doubt that he was a brave soldier and a pious Muslim resolute on the path of Allah [SWT] on that day. Beyond this, he was a wise and intelligent man, as expounded by these 13 sayings of his.

Reliance on Allah [SWT]

Imam Hussain had a deep understanding of monotheism. He did not place any emphasis on anyone else independently of God. In this regard, he says:

He who has you has everything, and he who has deprived himself of you is the poorest in the world. Loser is the one who chooses and be content with anyone or anything other than you.”


Putting the Pleasure of Allah [SWT] Above Everything

During our life, we will face challenges where we must choose between our faith and this world. Your employer may withhold a job offer unless you take off the hijab. A client won’t offer you a mega-bucks deal until you drink alcohol with him. People are pressuring you into having music at your wedding. Which one will you choose?

For Imam Hussain, the answer was obvious:

Never will be salvaged the people who win the consent of the creature at the cost of the dissatisfaction of the creator.”

[Maktal Khawarazmi]

Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

Imam Hussain believed enjoining good and forbidding evil is the crux of Islam. If Muslims truly implement this branch of faith, there would be no oppression nor any tyranny:

God attaches primary importance to enjoining good and forbidding evil” as a duty for men and women. For he knows that if it were fulfilled all the other duties, easy or hard, will be accomplished. That is because “enjoining good and forbidding evil” is a call for Islam; it remains the rights of the oppressed and opposes tyrants.”

[Tohafol Okool]

True Faith is Tested During Trials

Imam Hussain believes anyone can perform religious duties when life is going well. True Muslims are those who stick to their faith in hardship and ease:

People are slaves to the world, and as long as they live favorable and comfortable lives, they are loyal to religious principles. However, at hard times, the times of trials, true religious people are scarce.”


Sinning is Never a Means to an End

We justify sins that lead to alleged good outcomes. This is false. Any so-called benefit realised will be short-term and limited to the world. On the Day of Judgement, we will have to account for it. The Imam says:

One who pursues a goal through sinful ways, will ironically distance himself from that goal, and will approach what he was afraid of.”


The Pointlessness of Being Greedy

Our sustenance is pre-written by God. What’s the point of being greedy? Whatever you’re destined to lose will be lost, even if it’s kept in a secure lock in the most secure bank in the world. Imam Hussain rhetorically asks:

If wealth is amassed for one day to be left. Then why a free man becomes so miser on something he has to leave?”


Worshipping God to Gain Something

According to Imam Hussain, real worship of God is when you do it because you genuinely love God, not because you want a reward in return. We should keep trying to improve our acts of worship until it becomes purely for God.

Those who worship God for the hope of gaining, they’re not real worshippers, they’re merchants.”


Always Help People!

When someone comes to us for help, we feel lazy. We can’t be bothered, or we think we have more important things to do. Imam Hussain’s take on this is unique:

Beware that the need of people to you is among the blessings of God to you. So do not scare away the needy people when they come to you, as the God’s blessings will return and go elsewhere.”


Never Oppress Someone Who Has Nobody but God

When someone oppresses us, we can fight oppression through worldly means. We can go to the police or hire a lawyer. Maybe we have it in our physical and intellectual capacity to rectify the situation. But the oppressor should feel afraid when he/she oppresses someone who literally has no resources to fight back except through making a dua to God because God’s response will be terrifying:

Avoid oppressing the one who does not have any supporter against you, other than the Almighty God.”


Obviously, we should never oppress anyone!!

Accepting Constructive Criticism

Nobody likes criticism. It hurts the ego. That being said, criticism is the doorway to self-improvement. We shouldn’t get offended by a loved one who privately tells us our shortcomings because, with that feedback, we can become better Muslims.

One who reveals your faults to you like a mirror is your true friend, and one who flatters you and covers up your faults is your enemy.”


Don’t Hang out with Evil People

We judge people by the friends they keep. Keeping the company of evil damages our reputation but – more worryingly – may influence us:

Associating with corrupt people makes you subject to suspicion.”


Only Sin When You Can Fulfil These Five Conditions

First of all: don’t eat the sustenance of God and commit sin as much you like. Second: go beyond the domain of God and commit sin as much you like. Third: seek a site where God cannot observe you and commit sin as much you like. Fourth: if the Angel of death comes to you to take away your soul, expel him away from yourself and commit sin as much you like. Fifth: If the Angel of Hell was about to throw you into the hell-fire, stop him and commit sin as much you like.”


Good luck!

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

Was Imam Hussain the first to coin this phrase? (albeit using different words).

True believers never do anything for which they have to apologize. Fake believers, on the contrary, keep doing wrong and say they are sorry in the aftermath.”

[Tohafol Okool]

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