I spent my childhood in Kolkata where my father was posted. I look back to the yearly rituals of remembrance acts of Muharram like Majlis (assembly), Juloos (procession), Azaadari (mourning of Muharram), Tazia (replica of the tomb of Husain) and Alam (flag).
When I was kid, my mother used to tell us about the tragedy of Muharram and the sacrifice of Imam Hussain bin Ali. We were not allowed to listen to songs and watch movies during this month. Women from our community do not wear makeup, jewelry and colorful clothes. Everyone prefers to wear black clothes that is a symbol of mourn. As a kid me and my siblings used to think why people still mourn to his day when the events took place 14 centuries ago. I remembered how I used to try crying during mujlis on seeing my mother’s tears but always failed. When I would tell this to my mother, she would always teach me that it’s not necessary to cry; you just sit seriously there and listen to what is discussed and to do what is told. Often my father used to tell me that you don’t need to force yourself to mourn, you just need to understand the motive of Karbala, the aim of Imam Hussain’s mission, and just be aware of their message. The mourning will come naturally.
Time passed and we are all grown up and know now why this day is so important in the history of Islam. I read, learnt from my father, from the different discussions of Islamic scholars and understand now what Imam Hussain a.s did to save the original Islam. I realized how true my father’s words were. Whenever I think about Karbala, keep myself in Imam Hussain’s place, tears start flowing automatically from my eyes.
I don’t want to go in details of this tragedy today as you have read it in the previous post on my blog last year. Read it here. In today’s post I only want to elaborate the lessons we should learn from the mission of Karbala.
What Imam Hussain did for Islam
When Imam Hussain (a.s) realized that the ailment of the Muslims had reached such a stage that no hope of cure remained. Dishonesty had become their faith, treason their loyalty, wealth their sole beloved and selfish gain their only aim. Now it was almost impossible that a divine government could be established among them. He stood up for justice, raise his voice against oppression. He said ‘ No’ to the so-called Caliph of the Islamic State, Yazeed who was like the ISIS of those times.
He accepted all the tortures, he lost his beloved son, brother, nephew even his only six month old child as the result of his refusal. His refusal resulted in the massacre at Karbala, where only 72 people faced-off against the army of Yazeed. There were innocent kids included in that 72 people. His sacrifice was the ultimate level of tolerance and non-violence in which after losing every one of his companions and his family members he stood firm on the path of righteousness.
Before heading to Karbala for a decisive battle against Omayyid tyrant Yazid bin Muawiya, Imam Hussain said, “Surely the aim of my stand is not inspired by vain exultation and it is also not for the quest of kingdom, neither is it to cause dissension and corruption nor is it to wrong anybody unjustly.” These words of Imam are enough in themselves to prove that his stand was neither for the lust of power nor for any personal gain. It was to safeguard the religion of his grandfather from the clutches of Yazid, who was hell-bent on distorting the real picture of the religion.
What lessons we learn from Karbala
There are many lessons we learn from Karbala. The most important is that we should not tolerate tyranny and stand up for what is right. We should never compromise with lies and injustice. Imam Hussain a.s martyrdom give voice to the voiceless. We should be righteous even if we are weak and alone. To learn to say “no” against wrong even if we have to go through any bad consequence.
We should always be just and always help the oppressed and the vulnerable. Doesn’t matter if the person is from some other community. At same time you should stand up for justice even if the oppressor is from your own relation or community. Imam Hussain said “Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression themselves“.
We should do right things, be kind to everyone as Imam Hussain a.s treated everyone kindly and with love: even his enemies. If we are a true follower of Imam, we should follow him in every way.
When we talk about Imam Hussain’s commitment to justice, equality and liberation, we must think of ending all forms of oppression, tyranny and injustice, be it racism, classism or regionalism, because there can never be a just society unless such ills are rooted out forever. The duty of Imam Hussain’s followers is not only mourning and talking about him but also to follow him and his path to seek justice. These sacrifices were not just for one particular sect of Islam, but for humanity as a whole.
Note- I have been reposting some great writer’s posts of Muharram on my blog every year but this time I have tried to write some words myself. Hope my readers would read it.