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Faith

When Faith Meets Courage: Karbala’s Story of Faith, Courage, and Triumph

May we always continue to learn from the legacy of Imam Hussain.

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May we always continue to learn from the legacy of Imam Hussain.

Allah Almighty reserves the secrets of His love for hearts that are truly beautiful. A heart is considered beautiful when it is solely devoted to the Beloved, Allah Almighty, and no other thoughts occupy it.

Imam Hussain (a.s) and his noble family personified this exquisite and beautiful heart, dedicating their entire existence to the love and devotion of Allah. In the face of unimaginable hardship, they stood firm, their faith unshaken, and their courage unwavering. 

Imam Hussain (A.S.) is an exceptional, remarkable, and majestic leader who lights up our path with his timeless wisdom and noble example. The incident of Karbala is not just a mere battle between righteousness and wickedness. Imam Hussain (A.S.) and his companions taught us so many important lessons in scorching  desert of Karbala. Indeed, the entire life of the Ahl -al Bayt (A.S.) is a guiding light for us.

As our Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ mentioned in his Farewell Pilgrimage, ‘I’m leaving among you two precious things and if you adhere to both of them, you will never go astray after me; one of them is the Book of Allah (the Quran) and the other is my Ahl-al-Bayt (family).’  Sahih Muslim, 2408

 May their sacrifice and devotion continue to illuminate our path, guiding us towards eternal bliss and proximity to Allah.

Courage over Silence

Imam Hussain (A.S.) embarked on his fateful journey to Kufa on the 8th of Zul-Hijjah, 60 Hijri, accompanied by his family. En route, he delivered a powerful sermon at Bayzah, urging people to raise their voices against tyranny. He said, 

“Oh people! The Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said: ‘If you see a ruler who is tyrannical and oppressive, legalizing what God has forbidden, breaking God’s laws, opposing the Prophet’s teachings, and ruling with sin and corruption, and you don’t speak out or oppose him, God will rank you alongside that oppressive ruler on Judgment Day.'”

Imam Hussain (A.S.) exemplified courage by refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid, sacrificing everything for justice and truth. His sermon emphasizes the importance of standing up against injustice, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Silence can lead to spiritual death, complicity in wrongdoing, and indistinguishability from oppressors. In contrast, speaking out can inspire others, create a wave of resistance, and honor Imam Hussain’s (A.S.) legacy.

Let us honor Imam Hussain’s (A.S.) legacy by raising our voices against injustice and oppression, no matter the cost.

Desert of Despair Meets Oasis of Hope

On the scorching day of 2nd Muharram, Imam Hussain (a.s) and his caravan were intercepted at the field of Nainawa, also known as Shuqaiqah, by the forces led by Hur.

Imam Hussain (a.s) knew that this army was sent by Yazid bin Muawiya and Ibn-e-Zayad to prevent him from reaching Kufa. They urged Imam Hussain (AS) to pledge allegiance to Yazid, otherwise they would never let him go towards Kufa under any circumstances.

Despite the sweltering heat and the enemies’ menacing gaze, Imam Hussain’s (a.s) heart was filled with mercy. When he saw that his sworn enemies’ soldiers were thirsty and had no water, he told his companions to quench their thirst. Imam Hussain (a.s) provided water to the soldiers and also gave water to their weary horses. Although he knew they were his enemies, who asked him to accept something contrary to his principles, he demonstrated immense compassion.

This exemplifies the noble character of our beloved Hussain (a.s). Salutations upon our beloved Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family. From this incident, Imam Hussain (a.s) taught us to uphold morality and politeness even when interacting with our enemies.

The Forgiving Heart of Imam Hussain (a.s)

Hur took Imam Hussain (a.s.) to the desert of Karbala, and Imam Hussain (a.s.) and his companions pitched their tents there. Hur was ordered by Yazid and Ibn-e-Zayad to cut off Imam Hussain’s water supply if he did not agree to pledge allegiance.

Karbala was a scorching desert where the intensity of the heat was so extreme that even if a container of water was placed on the ground, it would start boiling. Yazid’s army shut off the water supply to Imam Hussain (a.s.) and his convoy, which included children. Despite knowing that they were his enemies, Imam Hussain (a.s.) provided them and their animals with water. However, they had shut off the water supply to Imam’s convoy.

After a while, Hur realized his mistake. At that time, Imam Hussain (a.s.) was engaged in worship. Hur apologized to Imam Hussain (a.s.) for his mistake. Imam Hussain (a.s.) generously forgave him. Hur was the person who had initially hindered Imam Hussain’s (A.S.) journey towards Kufa, stopping the convoy in the blazing desert and cutting off the water supply to him and his innocent children in the scorching heat. When Hur came to seek forgiveness, Imam Hussain (a.s.) didn’t rebuke him for any of his mistakes and didn’t even repeat any of his mistakes. Imam Hussain (a.s.) forgave Hur, following the path of his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (SAWW).

Later, Hur fought on behalf of Imam Hussain (a.s.) and was martyred. From this incident, Imam Hussain (a.s.) taught us that no matter how sinful a person is, if they express shame for their mistakes and ask for forgiveness, we should forgive them.

As Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “If you see someone committing a sin, don’t look at them as a sinner the next day. They may have repented during the night, and you didn’t know.” Hur, formerly the commander of Yazid’s army, was forgiven by Hussain (a.s.) and is now known in history as a companion of Hussain ibn Ali (a.s.).

The Unwavering Commitment to Namaz

In the sizzling-hot desert of Karbala, the Prophet’s family was surrounded by an army of enemies. Food and water were cut off from them, while the enemy’s army had every facility available. Hussain (a.s) was accompanied by 72 individuals, while the Yazidi army consisted of thousands. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s) and every member of his family found contentment in Allah’s pleasure. The members of the Prophet’s family, who were thirsty for several days, remained devoted to worship despite their dire circumstances.

The family members of Imam Hussain (a.s) sacrificed their lives for the survival of the truth. Imam Hussain (a.s) witnessed the martyrdom of his brother Abbas (a.s), his elder son Ali Akbar (a.s), his six-month-old son Ali Asghar (a.s), his nephew Qasim (a.s), and his sister Zainab (s.a)’s sons Aun and Muhammad. He also witnessed the martyrdom of his other companions. A man who had seen almost his entire family martyred—can you guess his pain?

After sacrificing his entire family for the survival of the truth, Imam Hussain (a.s) stood alone among thousands of enemies. His blessed body was riddled with arrows, bearing hundreds of wounds. It was the time of Asr prayer; Imam Hussain (a.s) left everything, placed his sword in its sheath, and prostrated in submission to his Lord Almighty. Though the enemy was over him, Imam’s lips were engaged in saying, “Subhana rabbi al A’la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).

It’s stated in the Holy Quran, “But the believers are more ardent in loving Allah.” The sign of a mu’min (believer) is that he has great love for Allah. This is an existential state whereby you lose sight of everything else and direct your attention solely to the divine. While Imam Hussain (a.s) was in the state of prostration and saying ‘Glory is to my Lord, the Most High’, Shimr ibn al-Jawshan, the accursed, attacked from behind and severed the noble head of Imam Hussain (a.s) from his sacred body. Imam Hussain (a.s) was martyred while in the state of prostration.

Imam Hussain (a.s) conveyed the meaning of ‘La ilaha illallah’ to the world. If you believe in Allah (SWT), then embrace His complete worship and never turn away from His orders under any circumstances. Even in the midst of a battlefield, don’t neglect your prayer.

When Imam Hussain (a.s) fulfilled his prayer obligations in the scorching desert even amidst the tragedy that befell his family, what excuse do we have to abandon our prayers? If you want to see the greatness of Namaz, remember the final prostration of Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), which he performed while standing alone on the battlefield, bearing hundreds of wounds on his body, under the shadow of hundreds of enemy arrows, after sacrificing almost his entire family in the way of Allah SWT.

Imam Hussain (a.s) was martyred while in the state of prostration. The remaining members of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) also did not miss any prayers in that state of immense hardship. When it comes to prayer, we should always remember the teachings of Imam Hussain (a.s) and the Ahl al-Bayt. They have shown us the importance of remaining steadfast in our faith, no matter the circumstances. Their extraordinary example inspires us to strive for excellence in our worship.

When Imam Hussain (a.s) and members of his family did not miss any prayers even in the state of extreme hardship, what excuse do we have for neglecting our prayers? A person who claims to love Imam Hussain (a.s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) should not neglect any of their prayers.

The Courageous Women of Imam Hussain’s Convoy

Women were also present in Imam Hussain (a.s)’s convoy. According to a source (Nafas ul-Mahmoom), there were 20 women accompanying Imam Hussain (a.s), including his wives, three daughters, and his sister Zainab binte Ali (s.a).

The presence of women in Imam Hussain (a.s)’s convoy is evidence that when there’s a time to stand against oppression, everyone should participate regardless of their gender. The women of Imam Hussain (a.s)’s household, considered the most modest women in the world, raised their voices for the sake of truth, delivering the message that it is incumbent upon women as well to play a role against injustice. These women showed the world the distinction between Husyaniatٔ and Yazidiyat. These women ensured that people never forget Karbala.

It’s because of Husayn (a.s)’s sister, who stood against the oppression of her time, that women have learned that standing up and fighting against oppression is not unfeminine. People often say that women are weak. My tribute is to the courageous daughter of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s), who witnessed her family members becoming martyrs in front of  her own eyes. She then endured the heartbreaking sight of her loved ones’ bodies being trampled under the hooves of Yazid’s army, witnessing the distressed condition of the remaining members of her family. She bore the trials with patience from Karbala to Sham.

Syeda Zainab binte Ali (s.a), the courageous sister of Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), unraveled the deceptive plans of the tyrants of her time and ensured the completion of her brother Hussain’s (a.s) mission. The role of Syeda Zainab (s.a) will serve as guidance for women until the end of time.

A Legacy of Love, Sacrifice, and Devotion

“Sayyid al-Shuhada” meaning “ Master of the martyrs” is among the titles of Imam al-Hussain (a.s). In the history of Islam, there are many martyrs whom we deeply respect. However, “Syed al-Shuhada” is a title specifically for Imam Hussain (a.s).

Have you ever thought why Imam Hussain (a.s) was given this title? Because there is no equivalent to the immense sacrifice of Imam Hussain (a.s). The level of love that Imam Hussain (a.s) held for Allah was unprecedented. Despite facing immense adversity, including the loss of water supply, witnessing the suffering of his family and supporters, Imam Hussain (a.s) remained patient and opted to recognize the positive outcomes coming from those challenges. After sacrificing everything for the survival of truth, he did not utter a word of complaint.

Not only Imam Hussain (a.s) but also his family members remained steadfast and resolute, adhered to their purpose. This reflects the divine love that Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family held for Allah SWT.

Imam Hussain (a.s) said, “O Allah SWT, what did he find who lost you, and what did he lose who found you?”

Imam Hussain (a.s) sacrificed everything—his wealth, children, family, and companions—for the survival of Allah’s mission and Allah SWT has elevated their name forever.

Imam Hussain (a.s) and his companions taught us that “Do not hesitate to offer the greatest sacrifices in the way of Allah Almighty. They also encourage us to maintain faith and patience in challenging situations. Indeed, seeking the pleasure of Allah Almighty is the purpose of human life.”

“Return to your Lord in such a state that you are both the aspirant to, and the aspired of, His pleasure (i.e., you seek His pleasure and He seeks yours).‏” QURAN  [89 : 28]

Conclusion

Imam Hussain (a.s), believed in “La ilaha illallah.” When you proclaim “La ilaha illallah,” you are actually asserting your freedom. They revealed to the world that when you place faith in Allah, He becomes your priority.

Imam Hussain (a.s), made the pleasure and satisfaction of Allah his life’s purpose. That’s why, even amidst the scorching battlefield of Karbala, he remained devoted to the worship of Allah. It was the same divine love that led Imam Hussain (a.s) to sacrifice himself, along with his entire family, for the preservation of God’s truth and the establishment of justice in the way of Allah, but he did not pledge allegiance to Yazid. Imam Hussain (a.s) conveyed that one who bows before Allah can endure having their head cut, but they should never bow before a tyrant and oppressor. 

This persistent commitment to divine satisfaction is reflected in the words of Lady Zainab binte Ali (a.s), who endured countless tribulations from Karbala to Sham. Yet, she uttered a single phrase, “O Allah, we are content with Your satisfaction.”

Imam Hussain (a.s) and the Ahlulbayt (a.s) have left a remarkable legacy of faith, resilience, and standing up against injustice. Their teachings guide us to live a life dedicated to the pleasure of Allah and to never bow down to tyranny. May we always strive to follow their noble example.

If you want to learn how to love Allah swt, learn from the people of Karbala.

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