Among days of Islamic calendar, the tenth of Muharram is perhaps one of the most important days because of its significance in the pre-Prophet (PBUH) religious history, and secondly, its importance in the post-Prophet (PBUH) Islamic history.
The tenth of Muharram signifies the saving of Abraham (AS) from the fire of Nimrod, the saving of Moses (AS) and Children of Israel from Pharaoh by crossing the red sea, and the Martyrdom of Hussain (AS) in the field of Karbala.
The lines below discuss the events that took place on tenth of Muharram, with special emphasis on the martyrdom of Hussain (AS), what he stood for, and what Muslims need to learn from his example.
Pre-Prophet (PBUH) history:
There are two important events that took place in the Pre-Prophet (PBUH) Islamic history. First one was the saving of Abraham (AS) from the fire of Nimrod, and the second one was the saving of Children of Israel by Moses (AS) from the forces of Pharaoh.
Abraham (AS) was thrown in a humongous fire because he stood against the tyranny of Nimrod who claimed to be God. Abraham (AS) said that there is no God but Allah, and all the idols and Nimrod himself are nothing. Nimrod being in power, arrange for a big fire to be lit and then threw Abraham (AS) in it, who was miraculously saved by Gabriel on the order of Allah Almighty, thus, the right turned victorious over wrong and tyranny.
On the other hand, Moses (AS) freed the Children of Israel from the tyranny and brutality of Pharaoh, who also claimed to be their lord. On the tenth of Muharram, Moses (AS) took the children of Israel and crossed the Red Sea, who by the order of Allah Almighty split into two and gave them way and they crossed. While Pharaoh and his forces were following them in the Red Sea, it came back to normal and all the tyrants drowned. Thus in case of Moses (AS) also, truth and righteousness conquered over evil and falsehood.
The Incident of Karbala:
The tenth of Muharram marks the martyrdom of Hussain (AS); the grandson of Prophet (PBUH); in the field of Karbala. He along with his family and followers all were martyred by the army of Yazid. Hussain (AS) refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, who wanted to be Caliph, but did not deserve it because he was not a good Muslim.
What Hussain (AS) Stood For?
Hussain (AS) stood for the same thing which the Prophets before and Muhammad (PBUH) himself stood for. Hussain (AS) stood against the tyranny of Yazid in the same manner in which Abraham (AS) and Moses (AS) stood against Nimrod and Pharaoh. Hussain (AS) stood against injustice and falsehood in the same way as did his Grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did. Therefore, what happened in Karbala was only are revival of the spirit of Islam, that always requires sacrifice.
The Call of Hussain (AS):
When Hussain (AS) was about to go for his final blow at the enemy, he did two things with his bleeding, dehydrated, and wounded body. First, he made a pray to Allah Almighty, and secondly he made a call.
His pray was:
“O Allah! In You I place my trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. You are my Refuge and Provider in everything that happens. How many grievances are there that weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to respond; during which friends desert me while enemies rejoice.”
This prayer of Hussain (AS) shows his faith on Allah Almighty, and how he relied on Allah only through every thick and thin. This belief on Allah is what made him stand against Yazid and give the sacrifice of which there is no example in human history.
The second thing that he did was to make a call to the people present. He said:
“Is there anyone who will come to assist us? Is there anyone who will respond to our call for help?”
His call at a superficial level was to the people present there to come and support him, although he knew that those who would have helped had already deserted him. However, on symbolic level, his call was to all the generations to come. His call addressed all those who see something wrong happening, and do not dare to help the righteous in fighting the evil.
The message that the martyrdom of Hussain (AS) conveys to all the Muslims is of having faith in Allah Almighty, being patient, and never compromise with evil, tyranny and injustice. Hussain (AS), saw all his family martyred in front him but did not complain to Allah Almighty, rather he stayed patient. Hussain (AS) had only to pledge allegiance to Yazid to save his followers and family from all the aetrocity, but he did not bow down to tyranny and injustice, rather sacrificed all what he had in the way of truth, righteousness and gave a new life to spirit of Islam.
May Allah give us the guidance to learn from the incident of Karbala, and help us develop the characteristics of having strong Faith, patience, and the courage to stand against evil and tyranny! Ameen!
O Allah! In You I place my trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. You are my Refuge and Provider in everything that happens. How many grievances are there those weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to respond; during which friends desert me while enemies rejoice.”
Then, this beloved grandson of the Prophet and the apple of his eye raised a call: “Is there anyone who will come to assist us? Is there anyone who will respond to our call for help?” He turned directions and repeated the call several times. Who was he calling out to? Surely he was not expecting anyone there to come to his aid since those who he had relied upon had already betrayed him? Perhaps it was a call to people of conscience of every period, every generation in every land. It was a call for help against corruption which everywhere in every age rears its ugly head to oppress justice and undermine the truth.
Every day and everywhere
Imam Hussain’s martyrdom at Karbala provides evidence of the moral victory of right over wrong, of virtue over vice, of principle over compromise, of the oppressed over the oppressor, of the denied over the denier; the ultimate victory of blood over sword. A lesson teaching humankind through the inscription of blood on the scrolls of human history, how he conveyed to the world, through his struggle, the meaning of life; that that living is truly of value which offers itself for a cause greater than it’s self; that to die with honor is better than living in subjugation to injustice.
For those conscious of their moral obligations, consistently striving against injustice and oppression; EVERY DAY IS ‘ASHURA AND EVERY PLACE IS KARBALA. The killing of Hussain is in fact the death knell of Yazid, as Islam is revived after every such Karbala”.
Remember Never to Forget
The commemoration of ‘Ashura on the 10th of Muharram every year serves to remind us of the sacrifices of the righteous throughout our glorious history. It reconnects us with our spiritual and moral legacy making us aware of the people, then and now, who bravely stood up for what was right; as well as those who tried to destroy the family of the Prophet and the noble ideals that the family stood for. More than that, it exposes those who watched what was happening, knew what was right; and yet did nothing.
How many are there even today who shy away; not only from mentioning the struggle at Karbala, but from the very memory of Hussain. God forbid that we ever become of those who forget.