Students of the so called historical method argue that in terms of immediate history, nothing was achieved as a result of the events on `Ashura, i.e. Muharram. They say that it was a tragedy, but its overall effect on the political events of the period was negligible.
This is their conclusion and when they are asked why the Islamic books of history, written by scholars many centuries ago, devote more space, more pages, more words, to that event than to any other in the history of Islam, why there are more books devoted to that event in Islamic history than to any other, they shrug their shoulders and mumble something about the Shi`i influence on the writing of history. Yet, many of the writers are not members of the Shi’a. The famous Islamic historian Tabari devoted nearly two hundred pages to the story. No other event receives as much attention from him. He most certainly was not a member of the Shi`a.
Cosmic Nature of the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A)
The fact is that these petty scholars with their tendentious criticisms are concerned only with the narrow details of political history. They do not perceive the cosmic nature of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A). For them, history is the restricted study of immediate cause and effect in political developments. But real history is about something far more important than that. Real history concerns men’s relationship with God and how that relationship affects men’s relationships with each other. Real history attempts to show the cosmic significance of events, not their narrow immediate political results.
The tragedy of Karbala’, the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A), is one of those events of cosmic significance. Its lessons concern not just one group of men and their relationship to the world, but all mankind. It is a moral paradigm. It teaches sacrifice and opposition to injustice: it teaches integrity of purpose, love of family, gentleness, and bravery. In fact, in the account of the tragic journey and martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A), there are lessons in all the moral virtues. Perhaps the one that strikes most of us most forcefully is our own inadequacy in comparison with the enormous sacrifice Imam Husayn (A) made on behalf of mankind.
Sacrifice of Imam Husayn (A) and Will of God
He watched as, one after another, his followers went to their deaths; as, one after another, his kinsmen went to their deaths; even his baby son was slaughtered in his arms as he gave him a farewell hug.
Bravery of Imam Husyn (A)
The Paradigm of all Unjust Deaths
Steadfastness in the way of Right Path
In the real sense of cosmic history, the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A) is a mighty triumph, a wondrous victory. Who would know the name Yazid today except for the fact that he was responsible for the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A) ? Otherwise he would just be another of the thousands of despots, tyrants, and bullies that have abused their authority, another footnote in the history of man. However, because his tyranny and wickedness was responsible for the good, the noble, the pure Imam’s martyrdom , he, by killing the Imam, the human model of goodness and bravery, has become the human model of injustice and wickedness.
The Victory of Truth over Falsehood
The first beginnings of the majlis, the sessions held in honour of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (A). are to be discerned in the first gatherings of the surviving family of the martyred Imam. Very soon these gatherings of grief developed outside the family to include others.
Not long afterwards there was the majlis of the Kufan penitents, the tawwabin, when they gathered at his graveside to lament, to grieve, to prepare for martyrdom in the battle that was to come, to try, in some small way, to make them worthy of the sacrifice Imam Husayn (A) had made for them and all mankind.
The triumph of the martyred Imam is such that every year on `Ashura, in places all over the world, the faithful gather together to remember the Imam.
A Threat for Tyranny
The Importance of a Global Platform
“I would like to invite towards good and shun the evil.”
Historical records tell us that while in Makka, Muslims from different countries used to visit Imām al-Ĥusayn (A) day and night, and listen to what he had to say.
Opposition against Falsehood
Seeking Refuge in Allah
“In it are clear signs and whosoever enters therein is safe” (Quran, 3:97)
Seeking refuge in the Divine sanctity, however, should transport us to a loftier meaning: one who really seeks refuge in Allāh is safe from all kinds of polytheism and oppression. It is not necessary for us to limit our understanding to the physical and tangible import of the verse.
The safety referred to in the verse, however, is a legislative direction which creates responsibilities on the Muslim nation. In other words, Almighty Allah commands us to observe security in His house. No one is allowed to shed blood in there; no animal is to be injured, etc. But if some like Hajjāj bin Yūsuf al-Thaqafī, out of their disbelief, were to transgress the limits, they can endanger the lives of the like of the selfishly motivated ‘Abdullah bin Zubayr who despite having sought asylum in the holy precincts of the Ka’ba was killed therein.
However, the safety can also refer to seeking the shelter of ‘one’s spirit’ in Almighty Allah. This meaning can also be understood by looking at some recommended supplications to be recited near the Ka’ba:
O Allāh, surely You said ” and whosoever enters therein he/she would be safe”; therefore, save me from the punishment of Hell Fire.
Therefore, one who seeks the protection of his spirit from Almighty Allah would undoubtedly be safe from every calamity that would ruin his spiritual life. If his physical life were to be sold for an exalted aim, he would never lose. Instead he would attain a lofty station and eternal salvation.
If the leaders who govern Muslim nations of the world today were to understand and apply this lofty concept they would never assist terrorist and tyrant regimes whose evil nature is more apparent than ever today. Every concerned Muslim should try to understand and heed to the call of Imām al-Ĥusayn (A) which still echoes in the hearts and minds of the truth-seeking human beings:
Indeed you know that the Messenger of Allah (s) said during his lifetime:
“Don’t you see that what is true and right is not acted upon and what is false and wrong is not forbidden?…”
“Is there any protector who defends the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allāh?”