The Martyrdom of Imam Husain (pbuh)

Dated: October 12, 2016

World Alhlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL) presents its heartfelt condolences to the Imam of our time, Imam Mahdi (atfs) the descendant of Imam Hussain (as) who mourns the horrific, brutal, and treacherous killing of Imam Hussain (as) and the 72 martyrs with him, on the hot desert plains of Karbala in the year 61 AH / 680 CE. WABIL also condoles our leading scholars and all believers on this day of tremendous grief and tragedy.

For Shia Muslims, the most difficult day of the year is Ashura. Our attachment and loyalty to the Prophet (sawaw) runs so deep in our blood and souls that we have clung to the two things that he left behind for our guidance as if we are clinging on for dear life itself - the Quran and the Ahlul Bayt his progeny. But the ruling tyrant Muslim forces of the time took away the divine right to rule bestowed on the Ahul Bayt (as) and rather than preserving the Islam of the Prophet, they set out to change it to suit their whims. It was to prevent the so-called caliph of the time, Yazid son of Muawaiya son of Abu Sufyan, from altering Islam forever that Imam Hussain, the most beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet, set out to save Islam.

However, he travelled with a small band of loyal followers along with his family, including children and women. Imam's intention was to go to the city of Kufa whose inhabitants had invited the Imam to go and live there and rule over the as the rightful leader and guide. The fact that Imam set out with his womenfolk shows his peaceful intentions. However it was during the journey that the Imam came to know that the Kufans had turned traitors and joined the ruling forces, some out of coercion, others out of greed on promises of wealth.

Imam's journey was intercepted on the 2nd Muharram at a distance from Kufa, on the desert plains of Nainawa, now Karbala, near the banks of the river Euphrates. The Prophet's beloved family was denied access to water, something that the Prophet and his progeny never denied anyone. Even the few wells that Imam Hussain and his bother Abbas (as) dug, eventually dried up on the 7th Muharram. The children, including the Imam (as)'s six month old baby Ali Asghar (as) and his four year old daughter Sakina (as) were hungry and thirsty. However, Yazid's plan was not just to starve the small group, but to annihilate them so that he could rule the expanding Muslim empire unchecked and change the faith to suit his corrupt nature. Hence he sent up to 30,000 men to surround Imam's camp and declare war. The Imam knew that martyrdom was inevitable, and he also knew how terrible it would be, but he had  to continue challenging Yazid. As an infallible Imam, his task was to protect the message of the Prophet at all costs, and to be loyal to Allah and His Prophet.

Imam and his followers spent the night of the 10th in prayers and saying goodbye to his women folk, urging his sister Zainab (sa), his wives and daughters how to continue spreading the faith after him. In the afternoon of the 10th Muharram, Umar Ibn Saad, the commander of Yazid's army under the directive of Yazid and his ruthless governor of Kufa Ubaidallah ibn Ziyad, attacked the Imam's camp, massacring each and every member, from his loyal brother Abbas who was ordered by Imam not to fight but try to bring water from the river for the children,to his nephews who were just minors, his 18 year old son Ali Akbar, his 90 year old loyal companion of Imam Ali, Burayr ibn Khuzayr, Hurr the commander of one of Yazid's battalions who defected along with his father and servants and joined Imam, John the Christian, and the most tragic perhaps the six month old thirsty son of the Imam, Ali Asghar. Finally when all had been killed, the Imam, terribly injured by arrows and stabbed repeatedly, thirsty and weary, fell off his loyal horse, and while prostrating to Allah, he was callously beheaded by Shimr.

This makes heart-wrenching reading. We cry and mourn for Hussain who gave the most supreme sacrifice, his life and his family, to save Islam. Today, Shias world over mourn Hussain (as). We hold gatherings to hear accounts of his martyrdom. We cry, wail, mourn, we beat our head and chests as this grief is too much to bear. We spill our blood in anguish at what befell Hussain, wishing and praying that if only we could have been with Hussain (as) and fought alongside him. We take out processions on the streets to protest the killing and so that the world NEVER forgets the greatest tragedy and oppression of all times. So many voices are raised to try and prevent us from doing this. Why is that so? Because when we talk about Karbala, it exposes the crimes of those who killed him,who claimed to be Muslims. We are told that crying and mourning is an innovation and uncivil, but these are fabricated claims.

While we mourn, we must ask ourselves, what is the lesson we take from Karbala? How do we live in the spirit of Karbala everyday? Before Imam was martyred, he called out, 'is there anyone to help us?' He was calling us, asking us to fight oppression, to stay loyal to the faith, and to never leave the real true Islam. It is our duty to strive to answer this call. We must show our loyalty to Imam Hussain by being loyal to Allah, fulfilling His commands and laws, by being the best in humanity and compassion. Imam Hussain's mother had prayed when Imam was born when she had heard of the future killing of Hussain, that Allah raises a nation of people who will remember and mourn her son. We Shias are the result of her prayer: we were born to fulfil her wishes, to worship Allah most truthfully and to mourn Hussain most loyally.

We are told that our Imam Mahdi cries tears of blood on this day, he is so grief-stricken on the tragedy of Karbala. We cry with our Imam, we share his anguish, and we promise that we are with him, ready for his leadership when Allah commands his reappearance, to avenge the blood of Hussain and help establish justice for all mankind.

Abad wallah, ya Zahra (sa), maninsa Hussaina! We swear by Allah, always, Oh Fatima Zahra (sa), we will never forget Hussain (as).

Sayed Mohammad Al-Musawi
World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL)
London, UK

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