(Source: Imam Hussein and The Day of Ashura, Al-Huda Foundation., 1992)

“And think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead, they are alive, (and) by their Lord well provided.” (3:169)

A host of political, social and religious factors made Imam Husayn (a.s) rise to challenge Yazeed bin Mu’awiya. Key factor was the violation of the principles upon which Islamic rule is based. Imam Husayn (a.s) had the following goals in mind when he started his uprising:

1. Paying due attention to the public opinion of the Ummah, and regularly consulting it in the conduct of affairs. Changing of the political conditions, the ruling system and the way of administering civil affairs, the treating the Ummah in accordance with the divine standard set forth by Islam:

“…. And consult them in the matter…” (3.159)

2. Law and principles stand above everyone. They are the standard according to which the ruler is evaluated. The legality of his position, and his right to exercise of power is similarly estimated. Awakening the political conscience of the Ummah and making a powerful oversight body out of it, lest the ruler deviate or neglect Islamic laws.

“…So judge between people with justice and do not follow desire..” (38.26)

” …Therefore judge between them according to what Allah has sent down.” (5.48)

3. Establishment of justice and equity between all the people, regardless of social status in the sphere of rights and obligations

“Surely Allah commands you to deliver trust back to their owner and when you judge between people you that you judge with justice..” (4:58)

4. Assuring the leader is both efficient and righteous so that he can discharge his responsibilities: The Holy Prophet (saww.) is reported to have said: “We are commanded to place people in their right positions”.

5. Equity in economic distribution ought to be firmly instituted:

“Whatever Allah has restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns, it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not be a thing taken by turns among the rich of you and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back and be careful of (you duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in retribution (evil).” (59:7)

Imam Ali (a.s.) is reported to have said: “Even if all of it was my personal property I would have distributed it equally amongst the needy and poor. Then what is the situation when the property belongs to Allah”

6. The right of criticizing, advising, guiding and discussing the policies of the leader should be respected and institutionalised. Emphasizing the legality of militarily opposing the unjust ruler.

“And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoy what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful” (3:104)

The Holy Prophet (saww.) is reported to have said: “The best of Jihad is that of a word of right spoken to unjust ruler”

Imam Husayn (a.s.) witnessed the deteriorating political and social situation and clearly recognized that the general policy of the authorities did not jibe Islamic principles. He was aware of the Ummah’s numerous and painful afflictions, and was determined to exercise his religious duty, being the duly sanctioned leader and central figure capable of restoring Islamic values. To re-educating the Ummah in line with Islamic laws and to rectifying deviation and putting in to practice the Shari’ah. Also, breaking the wall of fear and terror that was imposed on the Ummah and stirring the sprit of revolution and sacrifice in it.

Thus he rose. His revolt is rich in lessons and divinely inspired attitudes. Imam Husayn (as) embodied the sacrifice of self, money, family, social status and the challenge to terror and cruelty. He patiently traversed hundred of miles, moving both night and day. The epic protest he engendered come at the most critical political juncture. In fact, the prophet’s grandson had vowed to sacrifice himself.

Eventually he was killed along with his sons, most of his household and all of his companions. The bodies were mutilated and their heads were carried from Karbala’, to Kufa and finally to Damascus. His womenfolk were taken prisoners and marched across the desert. He himself was expecting all that, but did not budge an inch. He (as) is known to have said, “By Allah, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave”

An uprising led by the noblest and best-respected personality in the entire Ummah is certainly one, which is uniquely distinguished as a movement, abounding with spiritual, moral and religious ideals. Due to the importance of this personality, we are honoured to remark the most outstanding incidents of the dynamic Husayni movement, which stands unequalled in its greatness and fills pages upon pages of history. Such a sublime revolution has to be studied, dissected and fully understood. Lessons should be drawn from it. Here we note that the backward and downtrodden nations must one day follow in the footsteps of Imam Hussein if they are to challenge the despots.

We beseech the Most High and Almighty to make our effort of enduring benefit and to help us in disseminating benevolence and guidance. He is the Hearing and Answering


An excerpt from “Karbala & Beyond”.


Yazeed ordered al-Hussein’s head to be brought to him. He put it in a gold washbowl. The women were behind him. Sukayna and Fatima stood and tried anxiously to steal a look at it as Yazeed kept hiding it from them. When they did see it, they burst in tears. He then permitted people to enter to see him. Yazeed took a rod and kept hitting al-Hussein’s lips with it saying: “A day for a day: this day is (in revenge) for Badr”.  The he cited these verses by al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam:


“To be fair to us our folks never did dare,

 so swords dripping with blood were to them fair;

 We split the heads of men dear to us,

 For they severed their ties and did oppress”.


Abu Barzah al-Aslami said,  “I bear witness that I saw the Prophet (saww) kissing his lips and those of his brother al-Hassan (a.s) and say to them: ‘You are the masters of the youths of Paradise; may Allah fight whoever fights you; may He curse him and prepare hell for him, and what an evil refuge it is!’”. Yazeed became angry and ordered him to be dragged out of his courtroom.


A Christian messenger sent by emperor Caesar was present there; he said to Yazeed: “We have in some islands the hoof of the donkey upon which Jesus rode, and we make a pilgrimage to it every year from all lands and offer Nadhr to it in as much regard as you hold your sacred books; So I bear witness that you are wrongdoers”. This statement enraged Yazeed who ordered him to be killed. The messenger stood up, walked to the head, kissed it and pronounced Kalimah. At that moment when that messengers head was cut off, everyone heard a loud and fluent voice saying, La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).


The head was taken out of the court and hung for three days on the mansion’s gate. When Hind daughter of ‘Amr bin Suhayl, Yazeed’s wife, saw the head on her house’s door with divine light emanating from it, its blood still fresh and had not yet dried, and it was emitting a sweet fragrance, she entered Yazeed’s court without any veil crying, “The head of the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah is on our door!” Yazeed stood up, covered her and said, “Mourn him, O Hind, for  he is the reason why Banu Hashim are grieving. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad hastily killed him”.


Yazeed ordered the heads to be hung on the gates and on the Umayyad Mosque, and his order was carried out. Marwan (ibn al-Hakam) was very happy about al-Hussein (a.s) being killed, so he composed poetry lines  and kept hitting al-Hussein’s face with a rod.  


Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff



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