Chapter Eighteen: The tragedy of Karbala
We have given these examples of Non – Muslim people only to show how commemoration days, memorials and anniversaries are celebrated the entire world over and how such remembrances are given universal importance. In our present times too, we see that customs of mourning, celebrations of death anniversaries etc. are still being staged and managed with full sincerity and respect and adulations befitting such occasions and all this in Our Age, which is said to be the Age of Scientific advancement, the Age of Enlightenment! If the Shi’as by upholding the spirit of Universal Brotherhood commemorate in their own way, days of mourning, anniversaries of martyrdom of their Spiritual Leaders and Guides, why should they be vigorously criticized and opposed?
Nasibi propaganda is totally uncalled for and unjustified! The Civilization of our world today, has given every ethnic group, every religious minority, complete freedom of thought, expression in their native language, freedom to practise their religious festivals, rites, customs & practices peculiar to their own creed, culture and religious / social background. No one has any right whatsoever to interfere in their affairs, to castigate them, to impose any kind of restrictions upon them merely because they happen to be different from the main – stream style of living, or do not practice the state -sponsored religion , or for any other reason. Upholding this Universal Right accorded to all people of the world, gives the Shi’as too, absolute freedom to perform Azadari, perform Matam, and bring out Flags, symbols etc. if all this helps them in perpetuating the memory of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s) and his Holy Progeny (as). And upholds the sanctity and sacredness our Imams. Nasibi Mullah’s should know that this is a purely religious matter for the Shi’a and as such, no man made law, can ever usurp this Right from them for this will be constituted as interference in our religion.
Why do these Nasibi express outrage when they see the Shi’a?
Commemorating the tragedy of Karbala by holding religious gatherings, crying profusely at the suffering, thirst and hunger of Imam Husayn (as) and his faithful followers.
We appeal to those with hearts to think about the scenario:
the burning sands of Karbala, thousands of merciless killers surrounding a small band of faithful Muslims with Imam Husayn (as) in their midst who have been deprived of not just food but even water for at least three days, little children withering from thirst in the scorching air of Karbala, even the most valiant warriors, men of grit and courage being sapped of their energy and stamina all because of a drop of water!
What do your hearts say now on reading these few lines which have hardly described the affliction, the pain and agony which those 72 brave souls endured? Words fail to describe the calamities they faced, the hardships they endured and the chivalrous bravery they showed on meeting their death?
Can we even contemplate how each of these valiant soldiers fought against the well – fed, hired killers of the enemy in the most exemplary manner that defies all rules of war ? Children as young as 11 years 13 years old, were fighting against men three times, four times their age, their throats parched dry from thirst, hunger killing them from inside and with the sun in the sky raining down fire on these thirsty, hungry band of soldiers. How long could they last, and how long could they fight? They died… no, they were killed in the most brutal manner, their chests were pierced with lances and spears, they were shot with piercing arrows, and their heads were clobbered with clubs.
When all his brothers, sons, nephews, friends in fact all his army was wiped out, Imam Husayn (as) brought his baby son who was just six months old and who was near death because of thirst, to get some water for him. The Imam showed the pitiable condition of the baby and asked for water for the little one, when instead of giving the baby some water, they shot a three – headed arrow on the baby! Can you imagine the result of this atrocity?
The little baby was pinned to the arm of his father by the sheer force of the arrow! Yet these brave soldiers of Syria and Kufa are considered Muslims! The day was fast coming to an end and now when no one was left of his army,
Imam Husayn (as) fought against this huge army of 125,000 soldiers who had blood in their eyes and a fire of hatred for Imam Husayn (as) and his father, the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (as)! No war has ever been fought the way this war in Karbala was fought! Imam Husayn (as) thirsty for three days, four days, five? Allah alone knows hungry & weak, Husayn (as) who brought dead bodies of his own kith and kin, friends and guests from morn till this time, was now alone, with his heart heavy with grief for all his followers. He faced the merciless tyrants now who were just waiting to pounce upon him and kill him. Yes! This Husayn (as), the grandson of the Prophet (s) fought with the butchers, devils in the garb of humans; but he was surrounded from all sides and was attacked with all sorts of weapons and by the time the sun was about to set, they killed him and his head was severed and raised on a spear! Husayn (as), the grandson of the Prophet (s) gave the truest interpretation of the Verse 107 from The Chapter As Saffat Part XXIII:
And we ransomed him with a Great Sacrifice.
Likewise, all his followers were decapitated and their heads too were raised on the tips of lances! What a prize the enemies won! Trumpets were sounded proclaiming victory, and once the spears carrying the severed heads of the martyrs we taken away, the marauding hordes ran towards the tents of Imam Husayn (as) burning, and looting and plundering them. Terrified women and children, too young and tender of age to have gone to the battlefield ran helter and skelter in search of shelter.
They burnt the bed of Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen (as) the son of Imam Husayn (as) who was then burning with fever, lying unconscious in his bed, too weak and feeble to move!
Narration says, that a man cut off the finger of Imam Husayn (as)’ s dead body only to take a ring from him! Dust rose in the atmosphere and the sun eclipsed! It was as if Nature was in a wrath; the Earth trembled and shook, and there were violent winds blowing all around. Truly the whole scene was terrifying and horrifying.
Next morning, all the ladies and children of the household of the Holy Prophet (s) were roped together and the Fourth Imam Zaynul Abideen (as) was chained in shackles and were all then taken to Kufa to face the Governor, Ubaidullah son of Ziyad while the corpses of the Martyrs lay bare in the scorching sun unattended and unburied! Later, the hapless prisoners were taken all the way to Damascus and presented before Yazeed the devil incarnate.
He is considered the Khalifa of Muslims, the rightful successor of the Holy Prophet (s) by these Nasibi Mullah’s, as has been vouched for in the books of the Hanafi Sect! Historians have recorded that when these ladies and children of the household of the Holy Prophet (s) & Imam Ali Zaynul Abideen (as) were taken to the palace, Yazeed was sitting on the throne sipping wine from a goblet in his hand! The family of the Prophet were made to stand like prisoners in front of 700 Nobles, Ambassadors of neighbouring Countries, Ministers, Tribal Chiefs etc. dressed in their finest clothes & all sitting on high ornate chairs. The palace itself was gaily decorated with festoons, drapes of finest silk and muslin hanging all around.
The whole place wore a festive look and the entire population was made to believe that the Khalifa has won a resounding victory over a Tribal Chief who had rebelled against the rule of the Khalifa. This gathering has been assembled to celebrate this victory! When the party was over, all the people gathered, went home while the members of Imam Ali Zain al-Abideen (as) were taken to prison. It was in this prison that a 4 year old daughter of Imam Husayn (as), Sakeena (as) by name died and was buried in her tattered clothes in the same prison cell.
A true human being on listening to these heart – rending tales of misery and misfortune would cry with tears of blood and at the same time would certainly wonder how could have such atrocities been committed on the household of the Holy Prophet (s) of Islam and by people who were supposed to be the followers of his religion! The wholesale massacre of Imam Husayn (as) and his 72 followers deserves that its memory be perpetuated and mourning for it be held and tears of sorrow, grief and agony be shed for these Martyrs by the whole humanity until the Day of Judgement!
Did not the Holy Prophet (s) of Islam himself grieve? Did he not mourn? So are we to forget the calamities which befell him and his Holy Progeny (s) and pat the backs of the persons responsible for their misfortune and congratulate the killers for the excellent work they did in wiping out the entire family of the Holy Prophet right up to the Eleventh Imam Hassan al Askari (as)? Should we congratulate the murderers on one side and on the other, stifle even the slightest sigh of agony and grief coming out of the hearts of the unfortunate souls!
If this is what Islam teaches, then there is no greater backing of injustice and cold – hearted shameless murderers and killers than this! It is all the more surprising that people who call themselves Muslims in our present age and time, who profess to follow the Holy Prophet (s) of Islam the grand father of Imam Husayn (as) and recite the Shahada every day, tirelessly oppose Azadari for Imam Husayn (as) while Non – Muslims whether they are Christians or Jews, Hindus or Parsees, Sikhs or Buddhist, even Atheists and Communists, like, love, adore, even venerate Husayn (as) and consider him to be a God – Man! How can we call Sipah – e – Sahaba, Jaish – e – Muhammad and all such cut – throats and terrorists of the first order as Muslims, when they are bent upon erasing the memory of Husayn (as) and all that is connected with Husayn & his Holy Family!
Allow us to quote the famous Christian historian Edward Gibbon who wrote in his famous book, ‘The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Page 932:
“The Martyrdom of Husayn (as) is such a tragedy that it inspires a feeling of deepest sympathy and regard even in the coldest of heart. This tragedy of his Martyrdom is revived and recollected every year annually by his followers and devotees in Iran who visit his shrine and present their condolences and feelings in such a sincere manner as if they are ready to even sacrifice their lives for Husayn (as)…”
- Commemorating Muharam
- The rewards for mourning Imam Hussain (as)
- Is Azadari against patience (sabr)?
- Crying and wailing for Imam Hussain (as)
- Reciting elegies for Imam Hussain (as)
- Convening Majlis (Gathering) to remember the dead
- Wearing black attire
- Hitting one’s body in grief
- Putting dust in one’s hair
- Seeking Waseela from the Saints (Awliya)
- Creating and revering symbols (Sha’er Allah)
- Street Processions (Juloos)
- The misuse of Shi’a texts to ‘prove’ that Azadari for Imam Hussain (as) is Haraam
- The stance of Ahlulbayt (as) regarding the commemoration of Ashura
- Refuting common Nasibi objections to Azadari
- Azadari in other cultures
- The tragedy of Karbala
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