‘’ With the advent of the month of Muharram, my father Imam Kadhim (A.S.) would never be seen laughing; gloom and sadness would overcome him for (the first) ten days of the month; and when the tenth day of the month would dawn, it would be a day of tragedy, grief, and weeping for him.’’

The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu’mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of Husain (A.S.), a heat that never subsides.**

Every Muharram Shia Muslims all around the world mourn the death of Imam Hussein (as) and his loyal companions. Indeed the magnitude of the tragedy of Karbala is at times hard to comprehend, for not only was the prophets blessed grandson killed, alongside his companions, but his body was left to rot on the same field which held the blood of his martyred body. And not forgetting his companions, who, though given permission to leave him, never did, were also killed by his side, and also reached the status of martyrs. The event of Karbala truly inspires a feeling of odd emotions within the heart of the Muslim when he learns about it. For on the one hand he feels immense grief at the suffering of Imam Hussein (as) and his companions, while on the other hand the inspiration which stems from the event is enough for any Muslim to want to make himself a better follower of the religion. But if anything is to be taken from the event of Karbala it is the message of Imam Hussein (as), and it is for that reason that the pain of the event is still afresh in our minds even to this day.

As previously mentioned it is still hard to comprehend who was killed on the sandy plains of Karbala. Imam Hussein (as) was purified by Allah (sawt), and was given the title of the master of the youths of paradise, alongside his brother Imam Hassan (as).1 And yet he was left alone on the plains of Karbala to fight for the justice which was so absent, and so needed, during the reign of Yazid.

But the tragedy of Karbala has as much to do with who was killed, as to how he was killed. Before, and during the battle, they were denied water, and blocked from river streams. Many of them died from the thirst alone or were greatly weakened from it. While alive, and when dead, they were shot with arrows, beheaded, and mocked. And their bodies were mutilated during, and even after death, whilst their decapitated heads were taken as banners of victories by the forces of Yazid. When Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, ask me why I carry so much animosity in my heart towards Yazid, I reply because every time I hear the name of Yazid I remember the death of Aba Abdullah (as). I remember how no mercy was shown to him and his companions, and I remember how his sisters in Islam were taken as captives after the battle and humiliated.

But if I could focus this post on one thing it would be about the lesson(s) of Karbala, and the reason why I remember it yearly*. During the time of Yazid the banners of Islam were being taken down and replaced with the elements of pre-Jahilya Islam. The ugly head of an oppressive monarchy was taking shape, the status of equality was being thrown away, the oppression of a state was being instilled, and the law of Allah (sawt) was being used as a disguise for the laws of those whose iman was absent, and who were devoid of any sincerity. And yet, when so many Muslims were willing to accept this, the Imam of the time in full knowledge of what was occurring was not. And for that, for trying to establish the Islam of his grandfather he was slaughtered- brutally, and alongside his companions.

The event of Karbala should inspire Muslims all around the world to stand up against oppression in any way they can, but also to inspire them to never forget their deen. For prior to the event of Karbala when the Imam was given time to ask for anything he wanted from the forces of Yazid, he didn’t ask for mercy, for food, or even water, but asked for time to pray. Even though the Imam, and his companions, were assured heaven, they still wanted to pray, they still kept the pillar of salat alive, they still practiced Islam, and as Muslims. 2

My dear brothers and sisters allow us to never forget the lessons of Karbala, and allow us to never forget our religion. May the event inspire us to be better Muslims, and to be strong believers in justice, and firm enemies to injustice, and oppression. For the Imams death was for something sacred. It was for justice, for Islam, for Allah (sawt), and many more reasons. To forget the tragedy would be a wrong done, but to not learn from it would be the worst crime of all.

As-Sallamu-Alaykom my dear brothers and sisters,
1 See Holy Quran 33:33, and see on this site, ‘’ reply to Osama Abdullah on Surah 33:33 (revised)’’. For the title of youths of paradise see Tirmidhi, volume 5, p660 (special thanks to Brother Hussein for this reference, and assistance on the reference of Tabari).

2 The history of Tabari, Volume 2, pages 320-360. See also Kitab al-Irshad section on Imam Hussein (as). See for the destruction of Islam by Yazid ‘the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a)’ by Syed Maududi

* Shia Muslims may differ as to why they remember the event; I only produced the reasons why I remember, and the reasons given from my Muslim brothers and sisters.

** For quotes see 40 azadari hadith

*** I am quite aware that this post is a week or so late, and for that I sincerely apologize. My dear uncle returned to his Lord this month and my family had to make the travel to the states and therefore I was quite busy.

2 Responses to “The Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (as)”

  1. Muhammsd KH. Says:

    great essay brother. I hope Muslims neever forget his sacrifice, and learn from his lessons and learn from his actions.

  2. bfoali Says:

    Thank you for the kind words, and may Muslims never forget the lesson(s) of Karbala.

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