Imam Hussain bin Ali, the martyr of Karbala, forever demarcated the truth from falsehood.
Before heading to Karbala for a decisive battle against Omayyid tyrant Yazid bin Muawiya, Imam Hussain said, “Surely the aim of my stand is not inspired by vain exultation and it is also not for the quest of kingdom, neither is it to cause dissension and corruption nor is it to wrong anybody unjustly.” These words of Imam are enough in themselves to prove that his stand was neither for the lust of power nor for any personal gain. It was to safeguard the religion of his grandfather from the clutches of Yazid, who was hell-bent on distorting the real picture of the religion.
As far as the real motive behind his uprising against Yazid is concerned, it can never be defined in a better way than the words of Imam himself when he said, “The purpose of my stand is the reformation of my grandfather’s nation. I intend to enjoin goodness and forbid evil. I want to emulate my grandfather; the Holy Prophet and my father Ali bin Abi Talib.”
Before heading for Karbala, Imam Hussain said, “A person of my type can never accept the allegiance of a person like Yazid.” These words of Imam Hussain also present the real purpose of his stand against the tyranny of Yazid. He presented before us a lesson to differentiate between a just and an unjust system. Imam Hussain’s message is a message of peace and justice. His stand was to safeguard the real Islam, the Islam of the Prophet, the Islam which teaches us to remain peaceful in our approach to the problems of life, but he also gave us a lesson regarding how not to remain just mute spectators the face of tyranny. His message “I prefer death with dignity to a life full of humiliation’’ also teaches us how to speak out against the mighty and powerful despite our material powerlessness.
Karbala- A Never-ending Battle
When we talk about Imam Hussain’s commitment to justice, equality and liberation, we must think of ending all forms of oppression, tyranny and injustice, be it racism, classism or regionalism, because there can never be a just society unless such ills are rooted out forever. The duty of Imam Hussain’s followers is not only mourning and talking about him but also to follow him and his path to seek justice.
What Imam Hussain did is something that is unmatchable as far as the fight for upholding justice and equality is concerned. It was his way of delivering justice when despite knowing that Hur, the brave commander of Yazid’s army, was there to round him up to Karbala, he offered his platoon with water by going thirsty himself. It was his way of delivering justice when he gave a slave named Juan an equal place with his other companions, along with himself, before the battle of Karbala. The real meaning of justice is to give a person or a thing a place it deserves most and Imam did exactly the same. If seen seriously, each and every event of Karbala teaches us how to seek and stand for justice in extremely unfavourable and life-threatening circumstances.
Those who will forget Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussain will cause compromises in their mission. The so-called custodians of Islam or the radicals who are killing innocents in the name of Islam have forgotten Imam Hussain and the basic tenets of Islam.
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.