O HUSAYN, WE SALUTE YOU
by sunni wal jamaat Imam Saadullah Khan
We bid farewell to the old year by celebrating Prophet Ibrahim’s commitment to Allah displayed through his willingness to sacrifice his patient son, Prophet Isma’il; we welcome the new year by commemorating the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s beloved grandson, Imaam Husayn. (O Allah, Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim.)
Imaam Husayn is the son of Fatimah, the daughter of the Best of Creation. The holy Prophet said of her, “she is among the leaders of the women of Paradise”. He confirmed her unique status in the following words, “Fatimah is part of me, her flesh is my flesh, her blood is my blood”.
Imaam Husayn is the son of ‘Ali who was to the Prophet “similar to what Haroon was to Moosa” and “the mawlaah (friend/leader) to whomsoever the Prophet is the mawlaah”. Indeed, ‘Ali is like the sun, Fatimah like the moon and Husayn a star in the galaxy of heroes.
Together with his brother Hasan, Husayn is considered as “leaders of the youth of Paradise”. We shall never forget how the holy Prophet descended from his pulpit to embrace and seat besides him one of them before resuming his Khutbah, nor how he prolonged his prostration in order not to discomfort the other who had climbed on his back. The holy Prophet beseeched the Almighty; “O Allah, I love Hasan and Husayn, do love them and love those who love them”.
Allah attests to the purity of these five – Prophet Muhammad, Fatimah, ‘Ali, Hasan and Husayn – in the holy Qur’an (Surah 33 verse 33), while the holy Prophet confirmed, “Allah is at war with those who are at war with them and at peace with those who are at peace with them”. We respectfully salute them as Imaam Shaf‘ie suggests, “O family of the Prophet of Allah, Allah has made love for you obligatory upon all Believers; suffice it as a matter of unparalleled honor that no sallawaat (salutation) is complete without saluting you.”
The tenth of Muharam marks a significant day in the Muslim calendar; it is the day on which, among other events, Allah saved Prophet Moosa from the tyrannical Pharaoh. We thus fast (a recommended fast) in thankfulness to Allah; a fast considered second only to the obligatory fast of Ramadan. Subsequent to that, a significant event occurred on that day in 61 AH, an event that serves as a milestone in the history of the faithful… the martyrdom if Imaam Husayn at Karbala. A martyrdom at the hands of those who claimed to act in the name of Islam yet unremorsefully and shamelessly were prepared to obliterate its true exponent; those who (like so many of us) are prepared to kill for Islam yet are unable to live by it. Yes, Imaam Husayn was martyred at the hands of those who would kiss the Black Stone because the holy Prophet kissed it, yet cut off the precious head of that dear grandson of the holy Prophet, a head which the Prophet so often stroked and kissed with affection.
Imaam Husayn’s martyrdom at Karbala provides evidence of the moral victory of right over wrong, of virtue over vice, of principle over compromise, of the oppressed over the oppressor, of the denied over the denier; the ultimate victory of blood over sword. Karbala teaches humankind through the inscription of blood on the scrolls of human history how Imaam Husayn explained to the world by his death, through martyrdom, the meaning of life; that that living is truly of value that offers itself for a cause greater than its self, that to die with honor is better than living in subjugation to corruption and injustice. The lesson is not only in that he was prepared to fight for what is right, but that he was willing to die for it; selflessness, not selfishness; humility not ego.
The great spiritual master, Khaja Mu’inuddin Chisti said; “Husayn is king, truly the king is Husayn, the manifestation of Faith is Husayn and the protector of Faith is Husayn. Husayn gave his head (was prepared to die) but not his hand (in allegiance) to Yazid. In reality, among the securers of the foundation of LA ILAHA ILLALLAH is Husayn.”
The memory of Imaam Husayn excites the spirit, the very name of Imaam Husayn evokes the tradition of resistance against tyranny and inequity. His colossal struggle and monumental martyrdom is so poignant that it continues to serve as a beacon of light to all faithful freedom fighters.
In the words of Moulana ‘Ali Gouhar, “The killing of Husayn is in fact the death knell of Yazid. Islam is revived after every such Karbala”. For those consistently striving against injustice and oppression, EVERY DAY IS ‘ASHURA AND EVERY PLACE IS KARBALA.