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Imam Hussein (a.s.): The epitome of justice and tolerance

Date: 21/11/2012 A.D 7/1/14343 H

By: Amin Dagher

Imam Hussein (a.s.) remains an icon of principles in the Islamic world. He refused to surrender to the unjust ruler Yazid, who destroyed the concept of leadership through “consensual democracy” and began a spiritually destructive greedy dynasty. However, the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (a.s) is looked up as the revival of the faith and justice.

The aforementioned is the introduction of an article published on The article describes Imam Hussein (a.s.) and the significance of his martyrdom.

The writer, Sayyed Hassan Kazim, explains that the best thing you can do as a Muslim or not a Muslim is to reflect on the people who stood up for justice and righteousness and pay homage to the soul of Imam Hussein (a.s.). The article expounds on the concept of realizing the universality of Ashoura, standing up for injustice, and scarifying one’s life for the cause of Allah.    

He gave his head but not his hand of allegiance in the hand of Yazid. The Holy Prophet every now and then insisted his Umma not to forget Hussein (a.s.). This insistence of Prophet Mohammad shows that those who will forget Karbala and the Martyrdom of Hussein (a.s.) will cause compromises in his mission. The so called custodians of Islam or the radicals who are killing innocents in the name of Islam have forgotten Imam Hussein (a.s.) and the basic tenets of Islam just as the zealots who went on massacring thousands in Gujarat in the name of a peaceful religion like Hinduism forgetting the tolerance taught by Rama, the Hindu representation of God. Most important today to tell the people about the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and his mission which will let them realize that the people who every now and then commit the barbaric acts of terrorism and call themselves Muslims are just terrorists and the majority of world's Muslims think these acts as going against all the ideals and principles of Islam. Imam Hussein (a.s) demarcated the truth from the falsehood forever when he said to the ambassador of Yazid,” A person like me would not give the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid.”, which means that the good or the truth cannot be bowed down by the falsehood or evil, no matter how powerful is the tyrant or the dictator. The Imam fought the battle with Yazid on the spiritual plane, he opposed Yazid's might with his nobility of character, confronted power with powerlessness, met multitudes with want of material support and defied oppression with suffering and martyrdom.

It has been more than 1400 years since the battle of Karbala was fought, but even after centuries is remembered with unmatchable enthusiasm. Sayyed Kazim mentions an enthralling anecdote in which he explains how important it is for Muslims to realize that Ashoura is an event for all Human beings; Muslims and non-Muslims as well. He relates: “While I was in my hometown Muzaffarpur in Bihar on the 10th day of Muharram which is called Ashoura, I got in touch with a police officer who was offering flowers at the Karbala there. On being asked the reason behind his attachment with the cause of Imam Hussein (a.s.)'s he replied, “Please do not think that remembering the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (a.s.) is a copyright of Muslims only. Imam Hussein (a.s.)'s martyrdom has given voices to the voiceless. 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. We remember him because he is worth remembering.” In a sermon while proceeding towards Karbala Imam Hussein (a.s.) said to his followers, “O people! The Prophet of Islam has said that if a person sees a tyrannical ruler transgressing against Allah and oppressing people, but does nothing by word or action to change the situation, then it will be just to God to place him where he deservingly belongs. Do you not see to what low level the affairs have come to… Do you not observe that the truth has not adhered and falsehood has no limits? And as for me, I look upon death but a means of attaining martyrdom. I consider life among transgressors an agony and affliction.” About 1200 years later Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech in which he said: “To suffer in solace while they should protest makes cowards of men.” These words of Abraham Lincoln reflect exactly what Imam said some 1200 years ago that oppressors and transgressors from the true path of justice would emerge all the time. If there remains no one on the earth to object over there transgressions, they will go unchecked. One should always point out to these tyrants of the right path of justice. This is the lesson we learn from Imam Hussein (a.s.). Hussein (a.s) was a spiritual superpower that is an icon not only for the Muslims but also for each and every person with whom injustice is being done in whatever form, no matter to which religion he belongs. Nearly each and every revolution of the world got inspiration from the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s.).

The tragedy of Karbala took place some 1400 years back but Karbala has a universal appeal and in today's climate of violence, terrorism and communalism, it is more relevant than ever. While addressing the enemy in Karbala the Imam said one of the most inspiring words ever been said, “If you do not have religion, at least be a free man in your life of this world;” because a free man can differentiate between the good and evil more easily than a biased one. The mission of Hussein (a.s.) did not and could not come to an end just by the martyrdom of 72 individuals, it's everlasting, acting as a catalyst in nearly every age, era and place. Today at the remotest corners of the globe the tragedy of Karbala is remembered. Imam Hussein (a.s.) raised Islam to its purest form by not letting evils to distort, corrupt or insult and destroy a peaceful religion like Islam, a non violent resistance. He taught us not to take life but sacrificing one's life in the path of truth and righteousness.

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