Villiany has many faces. None more dangerous than of virtue.
In Muslim world Hussain and Yaaziid are more than two persons and two historical figures. They have come to symbolise two world views, two opposing poles. Literally they represent Virtue ( Hussain) and Villian ( Yaziid). However like many facts of Muslim History this one too has fallen victim to controversies and disputes and has been used to serve multitude of personal and vested interests throughout the history.
A dispassionate view of the narratives that have been developed by various passionate individuals over several centuries show, layers upon layers of exaggeration and distorted facts. The consequences of these have been tragic and profound. I shall list what I consider to be the most important ones.
1. The division of Muslims between Sunnis and Shias have led to innumerable personal tragedies and traumas.
2. The division of Muslim world into Sunnis and Shias is one of the major factors that contributed to the decline of Muslim power and occupation of Muslim lands by Imperialism.
3. The Golden era of first forty years of Muslim rule has been made controversial. Rather than celebrating the republican spirit of the times, which could inspire not only the Muslim world but the whole world to methods of governance not yet seen even in the so called democratic world, the era has been reduced to description of mere personalities and narratives with no historical basis.
4. The real consequence of Karbala has been lost. Because, it is unsexy, and does not provide fodder for those who sit on mimbars and imamabargahs, spitting lies and hatred. That consequence was not just the death of Hussain and his family. It was but how the republican community of believers had been turned into hereditary kingdom.
It was how the moral rule of God as established by the authority of the prophet had been turned into a temporal empire ruled by Worldly kingship. How Muslim democracy’s growing plant was trampled under the boot of Yaziidiyaat.
History tell us that along with Husayn ibn Ali, Abdru Rehman ibn Abu Bkr, Abdullah Ibn Zubayr and Abdulah Ibn Omar also left medina when Muyawiyaa had come to ask for their acceptance of Yaziid. Let us also not forget that after kerbala Abdullah ibn Zubayr openly led the defiance against the rule of Yaziid. Let us not also forget that Yaziid’s armies, including Syrian Christians slaughtered the companions of the prophet and their sons and defiled both Medina and Mecca, in the process fracturing Hijr e Aswaad into three pieces. This defilement of the holy cities and murder of thousands of Muslims is no less a tragedy and was a direct consequence of kerbala.
5. Most importantly how two of the greatest companions of the Prophet Muhammad, both of whom he loved dearly, Ayesha and Ali, have been made into controversial personalities. How we have lost and damaged the knowledge and great forces of their persons, who could have provided Muslim Women and Muslim Men with role models, the likes of which no other civilization could provide or match. Alas. While Shias and Sunnis may have won, Muslims and Humanity at large lost out.
Muslim world is at kerbala again. But this time we face Yaziidiyat, posing as of Hussainiyaat. The Yazidiyaat of sectarianism and tribalism. The Yazidiyaat of Mullahs , Imams and Sufis. The Yazidiyaat of worldly kings. What are Muslims going to do to wrest back the heriship of the Prophet?
I quote my favourite passage from Barnby Rogersons’ book ‘The heirs of the Prophet’.
If one looks to find the true heir to the Prophet Muhammad, look not for thrones or though the dynastic list of the kings, look not to the triumphant progress of a great conqueror or at the beaming smiles and promises of a popular politician.
Look out for one who journeys towards God.