The tragic martyrdom of Husain – may Allah be pleased with him – was indeed a great tragedy. The grandson of the Prophet, the coolness of his eyes, one of the two chiefs of the youth of Jannah (Paradise), was cold bloodedly murdered.
Another 10th of Muharram dawns upon the Muslim Ummah, with some members of the blessed Ummah adding to it all the ingredients of a festival – the pomp and glory, the huge preparations, the cooking festivities, the khichra and the sharbat, the maleeda as well as the Ta’ziya. And the already torn Muslim Ummah undergoes yet another divide and strife. Debates heat up, labelling prospers, hating thrives. Some are overcome with joy, engaging in cooking, eating and dressing up, while others are so overwhelmed that they beat themselves up to bleeding. Supposed narrations are fabricated; the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – is himself said to have said things that he never said, and all this is done in the name of love for him; and all those who refrain from doing things he did not do are labelled as deviant and rude.
And thus, the name of Husain – may Allah be pleased with him and his parents and grandparents and offspring – is maligned. It is (mis)used to do the exact opposite of what he lived and died for; and again, all this is done in the name of extreme and uncontrollable love and loyalty for him!
So what had Husain and his parents and grandparents lived and died for? His grandfather, the honourable Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – had denounced all the rituals of Jahiliyyah – the times of ignorance. He had invited the stray humanity to a clearly simple and simply clear way – to worship Allah alone, in the simplest and most straightforward way that he had come with; not to associate anything or anyone with him; and not to let either joy or sorrow overwhelm one, for this life is just a path, and favours and calamities are both from Allah – Who alone is to be thanked for the former and asked for help upon the latter. He taught us that it was the way of the believers to thank Allah for His favours and to persevere patiently during tougher times. Husain himself – may Allah be pleased with him and his family – is reported to have narrated from his grandfather (the Prophet) that “there is no man who suffers a calamity, and when he remembers it, even if it is old, he says, ‘Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’oon (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return),’ but Allah will give a reward equal to the reward He gave him on the day he suffered the calamity.” It is, therefore, the Sunnah (way) of Husain and his parents and grandparents to stay steadfast in the face of all calamities, new as well as old, and to seek reward from Allah and to remember His ultimate Greatness and our return to Him whenever we remember those trials.
But this great calamity that befell the Muslim Ummah on this tenth day of Muharram, many centuries ago, caused the ignorant people to go two deviant extremes. One of them claims that all the blessings of Allah had been awarded to His beloved people on this very day – that all the Prophets, from Aadam through Nooh, Ibraheem, Isma’eel, Ya’qoob and Yousuf to Younus, were especially blessed by Allah on this very day – and fabricates baseless narrations to prove this day to be one of joy. It also commends the cooking of special meals and arrangement of festivities to gloat over the death of the one most beloved to our beloved Prophet, may Allah send upon him and his family peace and blessings and bless us to love and follow him truly. The other makes it a day of mourning and commends the slapping of cheeks and rending of garments,which are rituals of the very Jahiliyyah that the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family – had denounced, and again fabricate narrations in the name of the beloved Prophet, may Allah guide us all to his true path.
The tragic martyrdom of Husain – may Allah be pleased with him – was indeed a great tragedy. The grandson of the Prophet, the coolness of his eyes, one of the two chiefs of the youth of Jannah (Paradise), was cold bloodedly murdered – at a time when he had finally realised that the evil-doers had cheated him after pledging allegiance to him, and that his cousins and friends were indeed correct when they had advised him against his plans and feared dire consequences; thus, he asked to be left free to go back, or to join the army defending the borders of Islam, or to join Yazeed. But he was denied everything other than imprisonment, and therefore, he fought the wrongdoers until he was slain to die the death of a brave martyr – a death that brought him honour from Allah and His worshippers. The evil-doers murdered him for worldly and political desires, thus this horrendous murder brought shame upon them, and continues to bring shame upon all those who (mis)use this tragedy to further their own political agendas and to deepen the splits among Muslims.
They label this war as the ultimate war between Islam (submission to Allah) and Kufr (disbelief), implying that to fight all tyrant rulers is the root and basic purpose of Islam, thus furthering their Takfeeri agendas and playing their dirty game of bringing the well-meaning Muslims face to face against each other, thus directing them away from the actual purpose of spreading the word of Allah and guiding all humanity to His straight path.
And sadly, most well-meaning but ignorant Muslims fall in this pit, forgetting that the rest of the companions of the beloved Prophet – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – could not have slacked behind in a war fought for the very ideals of Islam, nor could they have advised Hussain against it, nor could Hussain himself had finally changed his views about it, nor could any true Muslim refrain from revolting against the tyranny of the ruler if it had meant Kufr. They forget that they are actually missing the very lessons that the bravery of Husain and his martyrdom teach us – lessons of unity in the face of all that befalls the Muslims as an Ummah, and bitter lessons regarding the unimaginable results of disunity and disharmony; they forget that they are again serving the very purpose of those who sought to divide the Muslims by setting them one against the other, and whose hidden evil plans were finally discovered by Hussain when it was too late, and that he had still tried to avoid the war to the best that he could. They forget that celebrating ’death days’ or marking days for yearly mourning was not the way of Husain’s grandfather – our beloved Prophet – may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – for he did not mark or set aside for mourning the day his beloved uncle Hamzah – may Allah be pleased with him – the greatest of all martyrs, was slain in a most inhuman way. They forget that not a day of the year or the month has passed in Islamic history but many of the bravest lions of Islam have laid down their lives in Allah’s way. If the death of each one of these great lion-hearted brave souls was to be commemorated with wailing and striking oneself, then by Allah, the Muslims would forever wail and strike themselves, every single day of the year!
But Islam, the Book of Allah and His Prophet – may Allah guide us all to his true path – declare that those who are martyred in Allah’s way are in fact alive, though our physical eyes and minds fail to comprehend their beautiful, heavenly life. Allah further teaches the followers of His beloved Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – Sabr (patience), strength, fortitude, perseverance and steadfastness. He gives the glad tidings of the most beautiful rewards to those who seek help with Sabr and Salaat (prayers).