By Shaista Kazmi & Azhar Aslam
Al Hussain o Minni Wa Ana Minal Hussain
“Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain”  Al-Tirmidhi, II, 306.
This Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw), which is agreed by Sunni and Shia traditions, is etched in the memories of thousands of minds. The prophet said that Hussain was from him that is quite understandable as Hussain (AS) was his grandchild. But why did the Prophet say ‘I am from Hussain (AS)’?
We believe that what happened at Karbala provides the answer of this question.Karbala is where Allah’s Deen got its actual meaning revived and forever provided a loud and clear sign and an eternal symbol to direct all posterity towards the true spirit and aim of Islam, by distinguishing between the Haq and batil at the cost of the lives of Prophet’s heirs. Imam Hussain, his family, friends and followers made this possible by their great sacrifice.
Karbala is not just another event in the history of Islam. It is what guards against distortion of Islam’s most fundamental purpose and its single most important aim and message. The real lessons to learn from Karbala are thus those objectives and purpose of Islam, for which Hussain and his co martyrs gave up everything they had.
So what is the most fundamental purpose of Islam, its single most important aim and objective?
It is this, that there is no tyranny of one man over another. No tyranny in any shape and form; Physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, economic, political, social. Tyranny even when disguised in the form of virtue is not acceptable. There is a direct one to one relationship of every human to her Creator. No one is allowed to stand in between.
Imam’s decision of not swearing allegiance to Yazid was not just a reflection of his own righteousness but it was a policy for the generations of humans to come. A policy of freedom and free will… a policy of standing up against tyranny … a policy of standing up again oppression… and a policy of fighting back the enemies of peace. That policy is the greatest lesson from Karbala.
Why do we believe this is the case? We start by looking at the oath of fealty that Yazid sought. And why did he seek this from Hussain Ibn-e- Ali?
It was clear to Yazid that although he had full temporal power being the ruler of the Arab Empire, he had no power over the spirit, mind and intellect of the Muslim people. And it was this that he sought. Who better to seek it than through the agency of obedience from the grandson of the Prophet himself ? If Hussain was to accept him, then he would have a virtual control not only over the bodies but also the spirits of the Muslims.
In other words Yazid sought to occupy and have tyranny over the Muslim heart and mind, not just the body.
It is also reported that Yazid’s oath of allegiance, due to his impertinence and arrogance, asked the swearer to acknowledge that he was the slave (Abd) of Yazid who would dispose off his life, property and offspring in any manner deemed fit. Indeed what Yazid sought was slavery of mind and intellect.
In his own reported words Imam Hussain said, ‘O’People,The Prophet of Islam has said that if a believer sees a tyrannical ruler transgressing against Allah and his Messenger and oppressing people, but does nothing by word or action to change the situation, then it will be just for 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 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 the transgressors an agony and an affliction”.
The dangers of this mental and intellectual slavery are so obvious when one studies the Yazid’s army. They were Muslims, eager to pray. For the ignorant it was already difficult to choose between the right and wrong. For these intellectually slaved ‘Muslims’ it was a battle against a rebel of Islam. Islam was already becoming ritualized.
Huassain however taught that Islam is not just a set of certain acts of worship. Islam does not bind its followers to follow the orders blindly out of ignorance and fear. Kerbala shows us that to follow the principles of Islam, the driving force, must be love and loyalty not the fear or lust.
Imam Hussain’s path was to free the intellect…to get the real freedom… the freedom to differentiate between Haq and batil and the right to exercise one’s free will.
Imam Hussain gave that freedom to everyone, even to his family and his friends, when he said that the enemy needs my head so why you all should suffer. His companions were from almost from all Islamic lands of that time, including Sham (Syria),Lebanon, from Armenia, from Azerbaijan, from Yemen, Abysiniya and Egypt. He did not force men to join him. He said that if you come with me, come out of love for Allah, come out of love for the truth. He exemplified the value of human liberty in that tough time.
For Imam the disgrace was not being hungry and thirsty…it was not being hurt and injured…it was not being massacred…even by snatching away the cover from the women, the enemy could not disgrace the family of Hussain (AS).
The slogan of Imam “hayhaat minna Zilla” WE WILL NEVER BE DISGRACED kept echoing.
So what was disgrace near Imam?
It was the demise of the principle of truth, the bowing down to the corrupt and evil character, to compromise with tyrant ruler.
The disgrace was slavery of mind. Tyranny over intellect.
The lesson of Karbala leaves us with a choice to stand up and get that freedom, which Imam had earned for the humanity or to accept the disgrace.