The message from Karbala

Muslim worshipers gather at Imam Hussain’s shrine on August 19, 2021, on the occasion of Ashura, a mourning day, in Karbala, Iraq. -AFP

As millions of pilgrims flocked to Karbala, southern Iraq, this week to observe the ‘Arabeen’ or ‘seeing.Chehlam‘ – On the 40th anniversary of the massacre of Imam Hussain and his followers 1,400 years ago, this event has taught many lessons that have served Muslims around the world for centuries to this day. Day of Devotion is being celebrated across Pakistan today. [Saturday] with gatherings of mourners in various urban and rural centres.

Together, these events are a powerful reminder of the subsequent resistance of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet (PBUH), who refused to accept allegiance to the Damascus-based caliph Yazid bin Muawiya. Yazid’s desire to suppress Imam Hussain and his followers was so powerful that he sent between 30,000 and 70,000 soldiers to engage a handful of opponents who numbered no more than 72, according to various historical accounts. And yet the decadence shown by Imam Hussain and his small group of followers remained unwavering.

But the carnage that day didn’t just end the clash between two great antagonists and their followers, each armed with a radically different view of the world. Briefly this meeting Karbala Far from a military battle, it was instead a clash between widely opposing ideologies.

As Muhammad Ali al-Budari wrote in ‘Tafhim Karbala’ – abridged and adapted from the original work of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim: “He [Imam Hussain] He wanted to set a clear example of a righteous politician, so that the public could see the rogue and deviant nature of others by comparison. His aim was to make a clear and unclear distinction between the true teachings of the Prophet. [PBUH] And the fabrications that were popularized by the chiefs before and after him. In this he succeeded.”

Even after the massacre of Karbala, the same division of ideas was successfully demonstrated to the full. Imam Hussain’s younger sister, Bibi Zainab, assumed the leadership of the women, children and the only surviving adult male, Imam Zayn al-Abidin, Imam Hussain’s son. Which was very weak. go to war In short, she is still remembered as the heroine of this monumental tragedy.

All of them were captured after the encounter, their tents were burned, they were kept in inhumane conditions and forcibly taken first to Kufa and then to Yazid’s court in Damascus. On the way, many infants and small children fell from the camels and died on the spot. To this day there is no reliable historical account of how many victims started their journey from Karbala and how many survived.

Along the way, the prisoners of Karbala are introduced as family members of opponents who fought Yazid’s army and were killed in battle. Indeed, it was a powerful display of misinformation and censorship at its worst in the early days of Islam.

And yet, the credit for the powerful memory to this day must go to Bibi Zainab. His eloquence throughout his journey from Karbala has been widely cited as a shining example of his determination not only to spread the message of his brother Imam Hussain (R.A.) Stand up as the true leader of the living. Karbala Bibi Zainab is widely celebrated in poetry and literature of all languages ​​as an important figure in the journey to and from Karbala.

Father Christopher Paul Clohessy, a South African Catholic missionary in his widely acclaimed title; ‘Half of my heart – the story of Zainab, the daughter of Imam Ali’ praised Bibi Zainab when she wrote; “In her decisive role as spokesman for her brother’s cause, she became the first to perpetuate the suffering of Karbala by transferring her brother’s creed and convictions off the battlefield and into the palaces of Kufa and Damascus. went, not only completed Imam Hussain. [RA] ‘Jihad’ [holy war] But to be the agent through which Karbala will become immortal.

Clohessy has earned respect for his research on Islam, notably with a title dedicated to Bibi Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. He provides a clear account of the central role of Bibi Zainab in the story of Karbala.

To this day, Bibi Zainab’s sermon in Yazid’s court stands as a unique example of a captive who ignored the threat to her life and rebuked her captor in open court. Clohsey praised Bibi Zainab (RA) for the long-term impact of her words on her immediate environment and beyond: “Zaynab [RA] Meets the needs of the times, carries forward the principles of his brotherhood and changes the course of history, assuring devotees that they can face the future with strength, courage and wisdom.”

The most powerful impact of the Karbala tragedy was seen again this week as between 15 million and 25 million pilgrims passed through the city, according to various accounts. Exactly how such massive construction is absorbed into a city its size can only take so little time remains an unsolved mystery.

Before the final gathering of pilgrims in Karbala on Arbaeen, many set out on foot from the holy city of Najaf, a 100km stretch of road that is increasingly coming alive around Karbala’s monuments. There are roadside volunteers willing to give free foot massages, while wealthy businessmen host rest and dining spots every half kilometer. In contrast to the challenges in daily life for Iraq’s mainstream population, temporary medical camps along the route easily serve any pilgrim in need.

The most powerful message that resonates from Karbala to this day is that truth and righteousness prevail despite the passage of time.

The author is an Islamabad-based journalist who writes on political and economic issues.

It can be accessed by: [email protected] com

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