The Battle of Karbala (Mir Anis)

The Battle of Karbala (Mir Anis)
 Mir Anis is a classical master of Urdu poetry whose elegies on the struggles between Imam Hussain, prophet’s grandson and the usurper, callous monarch Yazid are immortal. Today is the 10th of Muharram signifying the epic Karbala battle and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. The mourning for Hussain and his family is not complete without a reference to Anis and his peer Dabeer. Luckily I found a Marthiyaa of Anis, that has been translated into English David Matthews, published by Rupa Co.
he sun had run his journey o’er the night;
Unveiled, the Dawn revealed her glorious face.
The King who rides the heavens saw her light
And called his brave companions to their place.
‘The time has come at last; to God give praise;
Arise! In fitting prayer your voices raise.Brave hearts! For strife and slaughter dawns this day;
Here the blood of Muhammad’s race will flow.’
Zahra’s darling, honoured, seeks the fray;
The night of parting fades ‘neath union’s glow.
‘We are those for whom the angels weep;
To live this day we sacrificed our sleep.
This morning brings an evening ever blessed;
We who depart for Paradise will slake
Our thirst by Kausar’s spring, and there find rest.
May God exalt our names for honour’s sake.’
Unequalled, each of them to joy gave birth.
‘Let martyrs rise in glory from this earth.’

At this the faithful friends rose from their beds,
And donning glorious raiment combed their hair;
Then tying turbans on their noble heads,
They faced the peerless Lord and gathered there.
Wrapped in coloured cloaks, their fear grew less;
Rose perfume, musk and civet filled their dress.
Brave warriors dwarfing heaven with their height,
In battle Solomons, in Sheba lions;
The bravest fighters bowed before their might;
No pangs of hunger pained these stalwart scions.
For their great hearts the world was less than nought;
To the vastness of the sea they gave scant thought.
Their dry lips sang the praise of God; and light
Shone on their faces; fear was put aside.
No grief or panic clouded o’er their sight;
They joked and laughed and shared their skills with pride.
Their charming accents gladdened every ear;
Each word they uttered was a joy to hear.
Beyond compare the figures of their speeches;
Each point they made with rare magnificence.
Their rhetoric the art that knowledge teaches;
Their dry tongues shed the honey of eloquence.
Arabian poets marvelled at their art.
Lips like pistachios gently prized apart.
Laughing voices, faces like the rose,
Their bodies smelt as sweet as Joseph’s cloak;
Devout, abstemious; their saintly pose
In Heaven’s slaves would servitude provoke.
Such rubies are not found, such pearls are rare.
‘They are angels’, cried the Houris, ‘born of air.’

There was no water for the heavenly crowd;
Before the prayers they washed in shining sand.
Their faces gleamed like sunrays through a cloud.
Sons of the Father of the Dust, this band
Became as radiant as the silver moon;
Their faces mirrors in a hazy noon.
The kinsmen of the King stepped from their tent,
Fatima’s darlings all of beauteous face;
Qasim the fair and Akbar heaven-sent,
Aqil and Muslim, Ja’far’s valiant race.
Their countenances lit the sky around.
The flower of eighteen suns stood on the ground.
That morning ‘neath the shadow of the stars!
If Moses, who called God on Sinai,
Had seen their light that with the vision jars,
He would have swooned. Celestial majesty
Was echoed by the birds’ song in the bowers
Of the desert valley filled with fragrant flowers.
That dancing brilliance wafted by the breeze!
The russet satin sky was put to shame.
Rosy dew-drops hung on swaying trees;
Diamonds were abashed and pearls found blame.
Each bush was crowned by glittering diadems;
The leaves of every tree wore precious gems.
How fine the art of the Creator’s pen!
On every leaf embellishment was shown;
A skill beyond accomplished poets’ ken,
Which to the simpler mind remained unknown.
All stood in awe of the Lord of Servants’ craft;
Enamelled richness o’er the valley laughed.
The light, the fresh, cold desert and the sky!
The pheasant, quail and peacock made their call;
The sweet-voiced birds intoned their plaintive cry;
The morning breeze brought coolness to the soul.
Red petals clothed the trees and sought their arms
Then gathered in the- ditches round the palms.
The desert and the morning breeze that blew
Amid the branches swaying in the bowers,
Scattering on the blooms rare drops of dew;
One nightingale addressed a thousand flowers.
The primroses of Zahra’s garden drank
The dew, collected on the rosy bank.
The ring-doves gathered round the cypress tall;
The pigeons cooed: ‘The Lord alone holds sway!’
Then came the cry: ‘Our God is blessed by all.’
The birds pursued their worship in their way.
Not only flowers sang their adulation;
The tongues of thorns gave praise in exultation.
Lifting up its hand, the ant cried out:
‘Oh Cherisher of the weak, who rule our fate!’
‘Eternal One! Almighty!’, came the shout,
‘There is one God, and He alone is great.’
The deer called in the woods, the birds in the air;
The jungle lions roared within their lair.
And here amid the thorns the Prophet’s flowers
Imparted fragrance to the desert lands;
The house of Fatima faced its last hours
In the garden planted by Muhammad’s hands
This garden cut down in those ten sad days,
By traitors wasted, cruelly set ablaze.
Ah God! The autumn and the flowers of spring!
Muhammad’s sons could scarcely hold their breath.
Like bridegrooms they had dreamed of joy to sing;
But their red garlands were the blooms of death.
Awake all night, their eyes were drunk with sleep.
Their perfumed smiles caused closed bud’s’ hearts to leap.

The glory of that russet-coloured tent!
A fresh sky o’er the earth had been unfurled.
To the canopy no pole’s support was lent;
This ancient house! Faith’s pivot in the world.
For Allah’s loved-ones dwelt beneath this sky
Like stars in the empyrean on high.

The desert land smiled mocking at the skies;
The seventh heaven thought it dwelt above.
Its curtains were the veils of beauties’ eyes,
And heaven plucked its stars from it with love.
The morning thought the sun a wretched sight
When it compared it to that desert’s light.
Then suddenly the dawn’s white light came in;
To lead the prayer the King came from his throne.
All stood behind the Lord of Men and Jinn;
Ali Akbar called the prayer in Hasan’s tone.
The eyes of everyone were filled with tears.
As if the Prophet’s voice fell on their ears.
The birds fell silent; trees in ecstasy
Rocked to an’ fro; their buds and fruit sang praise.
The towns and deserts joined in harmony,
And ocean-beasts emerged to hear their lays.
The darling of Shabbir to all lent weight;
O’er land and sea they cried: ‘Our God is great!’
The women of the King wept hitter tears;
While Bano of renown stood silently,
Zainab repeated blessings with her prayers:
‘My muezzin, I give thy life to thee!
They call in praise of God; oh, hear their joy!
As beautiful as Joseph is my boy.

He reads from the Quran; what majesty!
His grandsire once for speaking held the prize.
Ah, may his voice remain eternally!
The strains of David, who was called The Wise!
Those melodies like petals of a flower!
A nightingale chirps in the Prophet’s bower.

Let someone take these blessings on my part;
May God protect him from the evil eye!
His eloquence would capture any heart,
Although for two long days his throat is dry.
In foreign lands misfortune strikes Husain.
Three days of hunger torment him with pain.’

‘Make ready for your worship!’, came the cry.
‘The King of all Creation leaves his seat.
In ranks of light the Leader passes by;
Salvation’s path bows down to touch his feet.
His radiance in the highest heaven will reign.’
The Quran became a prayer-mat for Husain.

The company’s prayers were verses from that age;
Like bismillah the King stood at their head;
The ranks were lines of writing on the page,
And proudly stood behind the one who led.
The dawn blinked at the whiteness shown between
The rows of words that Ali once had seen.

They magnified the Lord in glorious tune;
All heaven’s angels blessed them for their sake.
In faith their faces shone bright as the moon;
In fear of God their limbs began to quake.
Their necks were bowed in humble adulation.
Like the crescent moon they folded in prostration.

Haidar’s scions, Muhammad’s noble kin,
Eighteen brave young men stood in one place;
All peerless, righteous, humble, free of sin,
The friends of the Imam in wisdom’s grace.
Theirs the praise of God in all directions.
Theirs the beads that told their benedictions.
They stood, then bowed; their prayers flew to the sky;
To the One Existing Lord they showed devotion.
Prostrate upon the ground, their time passed by;
Their hands, their arms, their feet betrayed no motion.
But of their own dire plight. they made no word.
They prayed beneath the shadow of the sword.
They raised their heads and pointed to the air;
The gates of heaven received their adulation.
Their hands, the pinions of the bird of prayer,
To the trembling sky sped on their supplication.
In humble pose they fell upon the ground;
In Gabriel’s domain their words passed round.
The prayer of the King of Men was now complete;
His thirsty friends came forth to shake his hand.
One kissed his cheek, another touched his feet;
What stalwart spirits had this hungry band!
His soldiers pledged their faith with every breath;
Embracing on the feast-day of their death.
Here one fell upon the ground in thanks;
Here the Quran was read in doleful strains.
Praise of the Prophet echoed in their ranks;
Here power to the Almighty ‘mid their pains.
Husain cried out: ‘Have pity on our plight;
On us who thirst and hunger in our flight!’
Here sad laments and pleading supplication;
But there oppression, cruelty, wicked deeds.
Umar, son of Sa’ad cried, ‘Keep your station!
Watch the river, guard the banks and meads !
Husain is without water for two days.
Let him not drink a drop until he pays.’
The Celestial King gave orders from his place,
When arrows suddenly began to fall.
Towards the evil foe he turned his face.
Weighing his sword Abbas obeyed his call.
Like moths around the torch of the Imam,
They rallied to protect Husain from harm.
To Ali Akbar he made this behest:
‘On treachery our evil foe is bent.
Life of my soul, go where the women rest,
And lead them from the forecourt to the tent.
Through negligence let no child come to grief;
For Asghar’s neck is the target of the thief ‘

The Sky-Throned King had thus addressed his son,
When Fazza cried from the porch: ‘Behold our plight!
Oh Lord, now where may Ali’s daughters run?
The children have been crying through the night.
Suffocated by the heat they weep,
But now in the morning breeze they go to
Baqir rests, Sakina is in a swoon;
This feverish heat our babies has oppressed.
In tears they sleep, their faces like the moon,
Weak from hunger. Where to give them rest?
Theirs is no fault. Why do these arrows rain?
They seek the coolness of the breeze in vain.’

Hearing her voice, the Heavenly Lord arose;
‘Neath shields his comrades took him to the porch.
He cried: ‘We part for battle with our foes.
Prepare the horses. Light our righteous torch!
May our hearts rejoice in Paradise today;
Make haste to force this issue in the fray.
With these brave words, the King of Land and Sea
Went over to the women. In the ranks
His men prepared. Abbas, renowned and free,
Paced to and fro, a lion with armoured flanks.
The lightning of his face flashed on the sand;
His shield aloft, his sword gripped in his hand.
Solomon’s crown was humbled by his helm;
The wings of Huma were envious of its plumes.
His gauntlets would fair Victory overwhelm;
God save us from his anger when it looms!
When a brother wards off tyranny and wrong,
Will not his brother’s heart feel safe and strong?
The King beheld the womens piteous state;
Their hair hung loose, their faces pale and white.
Zainab made a prayer: ‘Oh God Most Great!
Save Fatima’s darling in this awful fight.
May Bano’s crop be green and fresh with sap;
And may she nurse new offspring in her lap.

At Karbala the traveller is undone!
An assault upon a Sayyid, loved by all!
In foreign lands can battle e’er be won?
Have mercy on these babes so frail and small.
They die of hunger; thirst has plunged its sword.
They are Your Holy Prophet’s family, Lord!
Neither Ali nor the Prophet has been kept
To lead this house so cruelly laid to waste;
For Fatima we mourned, for Hasan wept;
Husain alone remains in kingship placed.
Have mercy! Spare the Refuge of our band!
Our company is lost without his hand.’
Drawing near, the Lord of Heaven spoke:
‘Be not thou troubled. All thy prayers are heard.
Our cursed foe all faith and pledges broke,
And now they will learn justice at my word.
This is no time, my sister, for thy tears.
Bring forth the holy relics. Cease thy fears.’
Zainab brought the clothes the Prophet wore
When he went to Heaven on that night.
Husain put on his turban, and once more
He donned the cloak to which he had the right.
Those holy garments fitted perfectly;
The scarf of Fatima, his legacy.
The glorious turban-flaps hung down unfurled;
Like jasmine-perfumed locks they graced his race,
And on his shoulders rested black and curled.
Cathay and far Khotan renounced their place.
Musk and ambergris could not compare
With the scented spikenard twisting in his hair.
The Prophet’s fragrance wafted from his train.
No bridegroom knew such perfume from a bride.
Haidar, Fatima, Hasan, Husain.
The scent of the Holy Five on every side
Was squandered on the vale; the swaying flowers!
In Paradise Rizwan rocked in its showers.
The King of Time had donned this fine array;
His sister, blessing him, began to weep:
‘Ah Haidar, Hasan! Where are you today?
We roam abroad; where does our mother sleep?
My sweetest Joseph now from us will part;
I die; ah, may the Prophet bless his heart!’
The box of arms was opened by the King;
Zainab, chaste and holy, beat her breast.
The armour wrought in heaven began to sing
The prayers inscribed upon the Leader’s chest.
The beauty of its jewels shone out afar
And every link was like a gleaming star.
When Zulfiqar, the mighty sword, appeared,
The King of Heaven kissed its hilt with love.
He weighed it in his hand, and Glory cheered:
‘I bow to thy magnificence above.
May victory be thy lot, may triumph flow,
And may thy strike fall squarely on thy foe!’
He fixed the sword that he alone could wield;
The crescent moon grew frantic in the sky;
Up to his shoulder mounted Hamza’s shield,
Whose dignity increased when raised on high.
The mark of Prophethood was its proud gain
>From being on the shoulder of Husain.
The Lord of High and Low in arms was dressed;
The Sayyid’s standard stood before the hand.
The women, hair dishevelled, were distressed;
His sister clutched the pole with trembling hand.
With swords bound to their waists, on battle bent,
The sons of Zainab came before the tent.
Those rosy-cheeked young boys with valour trod.
Their cloaks tucked in and sleeves rolled up for war.
The might of Ja’far and the Lion of God;
In stature small, hut valiant all the more.
They rubbed their eyes upon the flag and sighed.
In ecstasy to clasp the pole they tried.
They eyed the standard, looked with hopeful eyes
Towards their mother, praising loud the King;
Then taking counsel, sure to win the prize
Quietly said: ‘From thee we ask one thing.
Who carries Ali’s emblem to the fray?
Who bears our grandsire’s standard there today?

For when the King takes counsel, let him know
We have the right, although we dare not ask.
Politeness tells us that we should be slow
In coming forward for this glorious task.
We love and serve the Master of Creation,
But also hope to gain our reputation.

Great heroes in the Prophet’s army fought,
But Ja’far gained the greatest honour then.
On Khaibar’s field all great distinction sought,
But Ali took the standard of his men.
We may be thirsty, but we fight like lions.
Of Ali and of Ja’far we are scions.’

Zainab answered: ‘What is this to you?
Can I advise or sway the Lord of Men?
Please know your place. Accept that which is due.
I shall he angry if you speak again.
Now stand aside, clasp hands and show respect.
Ali Akbar stands alone through your neglect.
Move aside. Go by the standard. There!
Make sure our Heavenly Master does not see.
You come and drive me mad. Now is that fair?
Your behaviour is not good. Please let me be!
You cry, but I can do no more nor less.
As far as I’m concerned that’s childishness!
You’re babies. Still you crave the highest place.
Well, find a way of putting on some years.
But I admit there’s courage in your face.
No one can match you from amongst your peers.
This issue must be weighed up carefully.
No one receives what is not meant to be.
The standard was not made for hands so small.
You are the youngest, though you think you’re wise.
Before the Prophet’s Grandson you must fall.
This is your duty; here your glory lies.
You wish to fight, but what can be attained?
Today in death alone is honour gained.
What if your forebears won that rich reward?
Do you think it good to steal their reputation?
Real qualities are those shown by the sword.
Let Haidar guide you; aim at Ja’far’s station.
You do have Ali’s blood, but do not boast.
Be worthy of that title midst the host.
How did the Winged Ja’far gain renown?
The standard was the Prophet’s gift he took;
And when he drew his sword and brought it down,
The lands of Syria and Turkey shook.
And when he lost his life that Son of Kings,
Instead of arms God gave him jewelled wings..
For three whole days their army faced defeat;
Then Ali bore the standard to the field.
The Lion of God put Marhab to retreat;
The foe within the fortress would not yield.
Put he broke down that door of infamy
As if it were a leaf plucked from a tree.
Now, Ali’s noble son, in ambush caught,
Beholds our mother’s garden laid to waste.
And you forget to ask why I’m distraught.
Incensed by rank and honour you make haste
To win for your own name a reputation.
For me you spare such scant consideration.’
The rose-faced boys in deference clasped their hands:
‘Oh, Sister of Husain! Control thy wrath.
No further talk of standard on these sands,
But thou wilt see our worth when we go forth
To rout the foe, then sleep where martyrs fall.
You will say we were the bravest of them all.’

Her loving sons thus spoke; she drew her breath,
And then as the tears welled up within her breast,
She cried: ‘You give me tidings of your death;
But wait and by your mother’s hand be blessed.
You scorn your mother’s words before you part.
Why do you plunge this dagger in my heart?’
The King drew near to Zainab and thus spoke:
‘My sister, didst thou hear what thy boys said?
They are the lions which fearsome spirits broke.
13y such unequaled hearts are armies led.
Compared to the bravest ones who passed before,
Their frown is different and their courage more.
Just ten years old! What purpose they display!
Such stubbornness in ones so young is rare.
May dearest fortune smile on them today.
At whose breast were they suckled? 13y whose care
Were they brought up to grace the Prophet’s name?
But they are young. How can I meet their claim?
The bearer of the standard is thy choice.’
‘The King of Heaven must choose.’ Zainab replied.
‘Thou wert declared our mother with one voice’,
Answered Husain, ‘the day that Fatima died.
So now must thou decide; for thee to say
Which one will hear the standard to the fray.’
Zainab answered: ‘I can do no more.
For thou art Leader of the Strong and Weak,
And after the Quran thy word is law.
But if it is thy will that I should speak,
Then I would choose the brave Abbas. For me
In valour no one stands as high as he.
He loves thee; he is thine obedient slave;
A younger brother who will give his life
For thee, and fight with strength among the brave;
A worthy son in time of war and strife;
A lion-hearted general, good and fair.
With his great courage no one can compare.’
The King who has no equal found his voice,
As tears came to his eyes: ‘To thee my thanks.
My sister, thou hast uttered Ali’s choice.
Go call Abbas, the terror of the ranks.’
Akbar called his uncle reverently:
‘The King awaits. My aunt has chosen thee.’

Abbas came in the presence of the King.
‘Go to thy sister’, said Husain. ‘She chose. ‘
Zainab placed the standard in the ring.
Taking the flag the Lord of Heaven arose:
‘Here is the standard thou alone mayst lift.
For thee the Holy Ones reserved this gift. ‘
He clasped the pole and to his Master bowed,
Then filled with glory touched his sister’s feet.
She blessed him, saying: ‘Brother I have vowed
My life to thee. Protect me from the heat
Of battle. Go and bring us peace today,
And guard thy brother in this awesome fray.’
Abbas addressed his sister: ‘While my head
Remains upon my neck, be not distressed.
Though a hundred-thousand swords on us be sped,
They will not pierce this shield,-my stalwart breast.
The sons of the Lion of God to action rise;
They fight with lions and tear out their eyes.’
To Ali’s tomb he turned his noble face:
‘Behold each atom has become a sun!
Ah, Lord of Dust! Have mercy on thy race.
Before Husain to martyrdom I run.
My head will fall to save thine only peer;
My blood and sweat are shed upon Shabbir.’
Hearing this, Abbas’s wife drew nigh.
At first, she looked with coyness at her spouse.
She blessed Husain and Zainab with a sigh,
And said: ‘These sufferings my grief arouse.
But such reward that you have now bestowed
Makes great the honour which we are not owed . ‘
Zainab laid her head upon her breast,
And said: ‘I pray thy womb may e’er give life.’
She answered: ‘May my Lady’s name be blessed.
Let children be thy fortune as a wife.
May Ali Akbar pass his wedding night
Here ‘neath the stars that make this heaven bright.
May destiny ensure their safe return.
Let the cry go up in Yathrib for the Lord.
May dear Umm al Banin with honour burn.
My joy on Ali Akbar’s bride be poured.
May henna red his hands and feet adorn.
May his wedding greet the shadow of the morn.’
The little girl, Sakina came and said:
‘Where is my uncle? Tell me, why this throng?
Let me place my blessings on his head.
May he be saved by God from harm and wrong.
He takes the standard; may his fame be mine;
For he is Ali’s glory, Ali’s sign.’
‘Come, my dear’, Abbas smiled through his tears.
‘You’re thirsty, and I did not stop to think.’
Sakina answered: ‘No, allay thy fears.
Thou hast the standard now, but we must drink.
Go, fill my water-skin. No other boon
I crave from thee. Bring water. Bring it soon!’
Hearing her words, the Sayyid women cried.
Qasim came near and called to the Imam:
‘The Syrian army masses with its pride
And fast approaches, bent on doing harm.’
Husain replied: ‘No cause for fear this day!
Abbas will bear our standard to the fray.’
Standard in hand, Abbas to action fell.
The barefoot women ran with hair disheveled.
The Lord cried: ‘Brood of Mustafa, farewell!
We part. ‘Tis time the scores were duly levelled.
This is the morning of the night of sorrow.
Our fading stars unite to greet the morrow.’.’
Grief-stricken, Zainab fell before Husain;
And Bano, stumbling, fell before her son;
Trembling, Kulsum fell, her heart in pain;
Sakina, Baqir fell down one by one.
The garden was despoiled, no gay flowers danced;
The standard like a funeral-bier advanced.
The celestial Lord Abbas with firm intent
Strode out; the soldiers said their last farewell.
The King of Both Worlds left the women’s tent,
But Zainab’s piercing shrieks he could not quell.
His heart was pained; tears washed his eyes anew,
As when a sun-flower’s face is washed with dew.
Just like Muhammad, mounted on his steed,
Husain attached his quiver to the rein.
The tongues of men and Jinn cried out: ‘Indeed,
The Prophet’s horse descends to earth again!
His graceful movement shames the mountain-quail;
His face that of a bride beneath her veil.
Behold the way his eyes flash, stern and bold!
How proudly struts and sways the noble horse!
His limbs were fashioned in a perfect mould.
He stops and pricks his ears up in his course.
His neck the fairies’ hands would fain caress.
Swift as Huma he sports his comeliness.’
The wind began to blow; the horse advanced
With joy towards the desert, gaining strength;
The cavalry took their reins; their horses pranced
The standard, like a cypress fair in length,
Came forth to Iram’s garden midst its bowers-
To Karbala, the land of desert flowers.
The five pronged emblem’s radiance robbed the sight;
Its gleaming was reflected on the sand;
It lit the high empyrean with its light�
A bridegroom’s face veiled in a golden strand.
The emblem and the sun shone in both ways,
Entangling in the air their brilliant rays.
God’s chosen army of magnificence!
The infamous enemy flags began to droop.
Brave Hashimites with rare munificence,
Adornment of the earth, an honoured troop.
Each one the seed of Ali, each in price
Was dearer than the groves of Paradise.
Those eight young boys, fair-faced, straight-backed and wise
With awesome strength and grit were Haidar’s scions.
Black locks entwining their narcissus eyes,
With little knives they were a match for lions.
Their moon-like breasts for arrows were the snare
They came like bridegrooms to a place of prayer.
The houris from their windows in delight
Called out: ‘Bless the Imam and bless his sword.
The earth this day presents a wondrous sight,
For he resembles Mustafa, our Lord.
The banner of Ahbas goes forth unfurled.
The company of the Prophet rules the world
For when the Holy Prophet left his place,
We thought the world bereft of beauty’s charm.
But let the old bent sky now hide his face!
Ali Akbar lives to he Husain’s right arm.
Just see his comely looks and know his worth.
Muhammad in Heaven; his shadow on the earth.

Suddenly arrows rained upon the horde.
Husain advanced and pleaded with his foe.
His thirsty friends came to protect their Lord;
They struck the Syrian force and laid it low.
With swords held high, the fight w as underway
All strove like Malik Ushtar in the fray.
The King’s companions, bent on Holy War,
Raised cries; the earth began to shake with fear.
Fierce lions against foxes to the fore!
The cursed foe in panic to the rear!
To north and south fell lightning on the flanks
And pierced the black clouds of the Syrian ranks.

Now Ali’s grandsons fought with might and main.
Their daggers had the force of Zulfiqar.
On shield and shoulder savage blows would rain.
The wounded, dead and dying lay afar.
They proved themselves to be the Prophet’s scions;
Nursed by the milk of Zainab, they were lions.

Those tiny little hands, those wrists so white;
Their speed created havoc in the field.
The enemy bowmen broke their ranks in fright,
And pleaded with the Prophet’s men to yield.
In them Muhammad’s strength was manifest.
‘Twas Zainab’s milk that fed their lion-like breasts.

Qasim, Hasan’s son, so bravely fought;
Surrounded, he roared like an angry beast.
Three days of thirst and hunger were as nought.
With unveiled face no bridegroom to his feast
E’er ran so hard as he attacked his foes
And dealt the Syrian Arzaq hefty blows.
The sword of brave Abbas flashed with such power
That Gabriel sought protection from his Lord
The son of Sa’d there faced his final hour
‘Midst shieldless corpses scattered-by the sword.
As lions spring to gain the river banks,
Abbas swam through the waves of serried ranks.
The guards of the Euphrates lost their heads
And like the river’s current flowed away.
Black-hearted foes were tossed into its beds;
Their life-breath burst like bubbles in its spray.
Abbas, dry-lipped, took water for his men,
As if the Prince of Arabs fought again.
Ali Akbar seized his victims with a frown,
Like a hungry lion pouncing on its prey.
The proud were vanquished, mighty men put down;
His adversaries o’er the desert lay.
Their heads were severed; no one dared to pass
Beyond the lines defended by Abbas.
On both sides swords rained down till past midday.
The earth and skies resounded with the crash.
With folded wings the angels looked away.
No more the shouts, no more of swords the flash.
The shields were spent; the spears now joined the fight;
By afternoon the army was in flight.
Husain brought back the corpses of his nation;
No martyr’s head was severed by the foe.
May no man suffer such dire tribulation!
He cried: ‘Alas! Where do their spirits go?
The weight of mountains has been thrust on me.
Such fine array men’s eyes will no more see.’

‘Mid dead and dying stood the lone Imam.
The Prophet’s cloak was soaked in crimson gore.
L)ejected, anxious, thirsty, in alarm,
He heard their victory drums; the enemies’ roar
Proclaiming slaughtered martyrs broke his heart;
It pierced his spirit like a poisoned dart.

Only he who grieves can understand.
The garden of life’s toil now wasted lay.
No rest from lamentations cruel hand
The lamps were out that once burnt bright as day.
Scattered limbs exposed to seering heat;
On Ali Akbar’s corpse there was no sheet.

The King of the Age moved slowly to the tent;
He could not bring his thirsty lips to speak.
Lifting the flap, he cried: ‘My heart is rent!
My sister, it is Asghar that I seek.
Now bring him from his cradle to the door.
I long to see his moon-like face once more.’
Muhammad’s women ran to him unveiled,
And Zainab brought the baby in her arms.
He took the child, by pangs of love assailed,
And kissed him, overcome by infant charms.
The knife of grief cut through Husain’s sad breast;
His holy knee afforded Asghar rest.
He cradled Asghar in his warm embrace.
Outside in ambush lurked black Kahil’s son,
Who fired a three-pronged arrow from his place;
It’s target was the neck of the little one.
The baby writhed in pain; the Leader cried;
The tiny child was slaughtered by his side.
The baby died, and in the earth about
A little grave w as fashioned by the sword.
The child was buried, and Husain cried out:
‘Oh Holy Ground, he mindful of thy ward!
This love of Ali, keep him in thy care,
Ali’s pledge and Fatima’s treasure rare!’
He spoke and donned his shining arms once more;
His eyes were bloodshot, and his face was red.
Clothed in the Prophet’s cloak, now went on w war,
With Hamza’s shield alone to fight he sped;
With Zulfiqar, that sword of might and fame;
Muhammad’s armour graced his noble frame.
Was it Rust clothed in armour or his steed?
The fiery, faithful horse was swift and fleet.
A bridle, gold and silver, was its lead;
Elixir was the dust raised by its feet.
The blood of Duldul far pulsed through its veins;
Submissive when the Master took its reins.
The days of summer heat defy description.
My tongue burns like a candle if I try.
God save us from the blast of its inception!
The field was red, and yellow burnt the sky.
Cold water was the wish of this poor band,
As flaming winds poured fire upon the sand.
The vehemence of the sun, its cruel glare!
The face of day was burnt and black as night
The Alqama dried up; its banks were bare;
Its bubbles burst and from the heat took flight.
The spring of life was dry; its work was done.
The Euphrates steamed and boiled beneath the sun.
Four-footed creatures sheltered in the lake;
With fish the salamander made its home;
The deer were languid, cheetas would not wake;
The molten rocks became a waxen foam.
The red flew from the rose, green from the glade;
In wells the water dropped in search of shade.
There was no tree that still bore flowers or fruits;
The date-palms were on fire like the chenar.
No smiling rose drew moisture from its roots;
Thorns grew on branches burnt as black as tar.
No limb could stir, no beating heart would race;
All nature bore a pale, consumptive face.
The beasts cowered in the places that were wet;
Birds hid themselves within the forest trails.
The pupils of the eye were bathed in sweat,
And would not peep outside their eyelash-veils.
If one glance came to stand upon the street,
A thousand blisters formed upon its feet.
The lions would not emerge from their wild dens;
Dust hung, around the hazy sun’s wide girth.
Gazelles all sought the refuge of the fens.
The firmament caught fever from the earth.
>From pain of heat it uttered mournful sound.
Seeds roasted if they fell upon the ground.
The whirlpool on the water spun with flame;
>From burning bubbles sparks of fire would leap;
The tongues of waves were dry; no solace came
To crocodiles which languished in the deep
The rivers blazed as if on Judgement’s Day,
And roasted fish upon their billows lay.

The mirror of the sky was scorched with heat,
And lightning dashed for shelter in the cloud.
Hot-tempered men could scarce stand on their
For morning’s camphor cried the sun aloud.
The dome of elemental fire burnt red,
And clouds to even colder regions sped.
In that great heat the King of Nations stood;
The standard’s shade, the Prophet’s arms no more.
His sighs were flames, his tongue was hard as wood,
His lips were grey, his hack was bent and sore.
Three days deprived of water, now he stuttered;
His tongue tripped over every word he uttered.

The enemy riders let their horses drink;
They led their camels to the watering-places;
The birds refreshed themselves upon the brink,
And water-boys rushed moisture on their faces.
A pious act to care for bird and beast!
Husain, so thirsty, looked upon their feast.
A golden parasol for Ibn Said!
His servants fanned him as he sat; and now
The ground was splashed with water by his guard.
But for Husain no shade to cool his brow.
The blazing sun beat down upon his back;
His blessed countenance was burnt and black.

The son of Said called: ‘Lord of Heaven, think!
Give me allegiance, for I mean no harm.
A cooling draught shall I give thee to drink.’
Husain replied: ‘Ah wretch, respect Islam!
The son of Ali takes no gift from thee.
>From thy hand water is but dust to me.
For if I asked, then Abraham would come
And fill my cup from the fount of Salsabil;
Woulds’t thou give me to drink, oh filthy scum?
With avaricious tyrants would I deal?
Thy very shadow causes flowers pain.
If thou art cut, no blood pours from thy vein.
And if I called, Jamshed would give his cup;
The Prophet would tell Gabriel to bring
A draught from Kausar’s spring for me to sup;
On earth the angels would my victory sing.
At my command the world would cease to be.
Iraq and Syria sink beneath the sea.’
He spoke and gazed on Zulfiqar’s bright blade.
The son of Sa’d fell back, alarmed and shy.
>From enemy ranks an arrow-charge was made;
The sound of war drums sped across the sky.
The horsemen massed; their spears were poised for war-
Black flags adorned the black-faced army’s roar.

The clamour of the drums, the trumpets’ cry!
The angels’ ears were deafened by the din.
And from its senses all the earth did fly,
As armoured soldiers with their spears moved in.
With shields upon their heads came this vile band,
Like rain-clouds swooping on the desert sand.
Intoning martial verses, Ali’s scion
Advanced with Gabriel’s hand upon his shoulder.
Onward he advanced�a male lion�,
With sleeves rolled up; each step he took grew holder
The bride of battle was in splendour wreathed;
Husain’s intrepid sword was now unsheathed.

The flaming sword was wrenched out of its cover,
As moonbeams fly, as perfume leaves the rose,
As a comely maiden taken from her lover,
As breath departs the breast, as red blood flows.
When thunder roared and all the air did swell,
Laila swooned and from her litter fell.
Husain swooped like an eagle from on high,
As lions in the jungle pounce on deer.
The heavens flashed; the clouds began to cry;
His horse rushed down like water swift and sheer.
The sharp sword cut the foe with thunderous crash;
They fell like mountains ‘neath the lightning’s flash.

The sparks flew from the sword that cut and thrust,
Heads were severed in the wind that blew.
It beat upon the armour, raising dust.
The wings of Gabriel stretched out and flew.
Those wings were like a charm that all men saved,
For on them Ali’s name stood out engraved.
The foe on whom the sword fell split in two;
The blade came down again to make him four.
The path it took was the one Death pointed to;
However hard its task, it craved for more.
No rider in his saddle could be found;
The armour’s chains lay scattered on the ground.

Its strike beheaded that tumultuous horde;
Assembled ranks were shattered by its flight;
Each body’s castle fell beneath the sword,
And houses crumbled ‘neath its torrent’s might.
Whoever struck the scimitar fell dead;
Its lustrous sharpness made the streams run red.
Ah God, the river and the sheet of flame!
Fire on water, water set ablaze!
The sword sped onwards, whispering God’s name;
Its current woke the still pools from their daze.
It quivered and the evil spate was snared.
With Zulfiqar’s keen sharpness nought compared.
The centre, flanks and wings, both left and right
Of the murderous army by Husain were crushed.
The earth v. as spinning as the sword took flight.
>From lifeless bodies all the spirit gushed.
Their souls left like those guests that part in haste;
The market closed; the city was laid waste.
The horsemen bore the sword’s almighty speed;
It cut them through and split their horses’ girth.
It thirsted after blood and did its deed.
And bloody corpses choked the heavens and earth.
No need it had for grindstone or for flint;
>From land to sky all space shone with its glint.
This sword of autumn spoiled the garden’s bloom.
Torn from its scabbard now it craved no home.
Faithful has for faithlessness no room.
Do those exalted with the lowest roam?
Straightness in its curve, and sharp its tongue;
The power to cut upon its breath was hung.
It struck the breast, the heart was bathed in blood;
The fingernails of Death plunged in the flesh.
The cry ‘God save us!’ poured out in a flood.
It cut down honour, then it struck afresh.
Ten steadfast men could not brook its attack;
Its flaming fire turned all their faces black.
Ranks collapsed on ranks where’er it struck,
Now this way, that way, dashing through the air.
‘Where has it gone?’ ‘Which warrior did it pluck?’
The cries came: ‘It is here!’ ‘No, it is there!’
The archers could not find the way to go.
If heads were severed, bodies did not know.
Those by the water washed their hands of life,
And hands of headless riders lost the reins.
A hand was struck; a heart was plunged in strife.
No hands were left to grab their horses reins.
They fain would hide their faces in their hands;
But, shamed, their feet took off across the sands.
Ah, how they feared the Lion of Creation!
The stream of the Euphrates turned to bile.
Their cruel hearts were racked with consternation;
They could not run, nor could they stay awhile.
‘Run!’, came the cry, ‘before it is too late.’
The river of God’s wrath was in full spate.
Although the watery fish were armour-clad,
They hid themselves in fear, mouths open wide.
In whirlpools spun the shields; the waves were mad; .
The crocodiles sought corners dark to hide.
The river would escape the sword’s white heat.
But bubbles formed like blisters on its feet.
Divine destruction was the sword’s swift blow.
‘God help us!’, came the cry. ‘What can we do?’
Through helmets, then through breastplates it would go,
Then on through saddles, slicing steeds in two.
And when the sword into the ground was thrust,
The Earth cried: ‘Save me, Ali, Lord of Dust!’
The bowmen, pressing hard, died in the fray.
Their arms hung loose; their bow strings still were taut.
The horn was cut, their arrows flew away;
One step onto the field and they were nought.
The bird of vain imagining took flight;
The notches on their arrows gaped in fright.
All those who were in archery renowned
Could find no place of refuge but the grave.
And those whose target-shot was always sound
Groped blindly for the life they could not save.
Those archers of perdition, sore misled,
Mistook the arrow’s notches for its head.
The lines fell upon lines, and flanks on flanks;
Riders fell on riders, steed on steed.
For five that fled, ten fell among the ranks,
And heralds were despatched with awesome speed.
The army broke and tyranny was dashed.
So rare to see a foe so cruelly lashed.
The Lion of Karbala was now enraged.
To Karbala for refuge wolves had fled.
What war in Karbala the sword had waged!
At Karbala fell many a severed head.
The villages became abodes of ghosts.
Mounds of corpses towered above the hosts.
The Warrior King struck panic in his foe,
And turmoil broke beneath the ancient sky.
The bowstrings looked for refuge in the how;
For help the bow to arrow-heads made cry.
The ruthless sword drove on, and everywhere
The enemy sought a respite from its glare.
>From twanging bowstrings arrows sped like rain;
Hurtling from the Syrian cloud they poured.
The piebald horses, chestnut steeds in pain
Whinnied as the sweltering hot winds roared.
The hatred of the desert was. on fire;
Husain alone withstood its clamorous ire.
Water-carriers came and called their wares:
‘The market-place is brisk!’ ‘Come cool your hearts!-
The wicked, mindful only of their cares,
Rushed to the water-boys like poisoned darts.
A blazing fire consumed the world of pain.
All drank their fill except the Lord, Husain.
Such thirst assailed him ‘neath those burning skies;
He masked his face and cried in desperation.
The sun’s sharp glare assaulted his poor eyes,
But still he leapt and fought with exultation.
Rare beads of sweat poured down his holy face;
Pure pearls cascaded on the battle-place.
But those who slaked their thirst just slunk away.
The sword of Ali led the fight alone.
It flashed upon the scalp in full array.
Stopped by neither shields nor iron nor stone.
The blade of the Creator knew no thirst;
In front of it the helmets’ blisters burst.
The enemies were confused, and could not tell
An arrow from a bow, such was their plight.
The archers seeking refuge fled to Hell;
Their quivers shuddered as they took to flight.
No sooner had they tried to grip their bow,
Their heads were off; their bodies were laid low.
The horses jostled riders when they saw
The sword flash by; in fear they jumped and leapt.
Not one in thousands stood this battle raw;
Among the ranks there was no order kept.
>From every side the shout of ‘Scatter!’ ‘Flee!’
Swords turned their faces from the misery.
>From the stamping of the horses sand flew up;
The firmament filled like an hour-glass.
The dark-blue sky became a dusty cup,
And blackness spread o’er valley, hill and pass.
The glow that lights the world was lost from sight;
The afternoon at once had turned to night.
The prowess of the Lord against his foes!
With sunlight on his swarthy face he strode.
His dry cracked lips were petals of the rose;
Like Ali borne by Zuljanah he reode.
Came clamour from the battle, fierce and harsh:
‘Run off!. An angry lion stalks the marsh.’
‘Husain! Make haste to save us!’, came the cry.
‘Husain contests the banks; the swamp he takes.
Husain fights with the wrath of God on High.
The world is his; in him God’s spirit wakes!
Husain saved Noah from the dreadful flood.
May we be saved by Ali Akbar’s blood!’
The name of Ali Akbar reached his ears;
His heart was pierced; he pulled his horse’s rein.
And as he stopped, his eyes were filled with tears;
He addressed the spot where his dead son had lain:
‘Life of my soul! They call you from afar.
The battle ends; I lay down Zulfiqar.’
Ibn Said cried out and slapped his knee:
‘Ah shame! His victory becomes defeat!
Behold! the hero! Such brave men as he
Should never lead themselves to base retreat.’
Then one of Ibn Sa’ds strong men cried out:
‘This prize is mine! I’ll put Husain to rout!’
He was gigantic, ugly, fat and dark,
And larazen-bodied with a waist of iron;
Of Death his quivered arrows bore the mark;
His shield had smashed the teeth of many a lion.
His heart was evil and his soul corrupt;
At his every step a mountain would erupt.
Another giant like him in form and height,
With brushy, beetling brows and dark-blue eyes.
Stood by his side, depraved and full of spite.
In battle he slew foes of wond’rous size.
One boasted of his club and one his sword.
They girded up their loins to slay the Lord.
To paint this awesome fight I need resolve;
To gain my enemies’ praise the power of speech;
A sword-sharp tongue its hardness to dissolve;
A pen of steel its forcefulness to teach.
To draw the battle-ranks amassed for war
The inkpot needs the flash of Zulfiqar.

The anguished soldiers stood, their faces white;
The bravest of them trembled, for they feared
Husain might bring his sword into the fight.
Could Marhab stand his ground if Ali dared?
Could Antar keep his head in such a fray?
Who has defeat or victory today?
A voice from Heaven cried out: ‘In Allah’s name!
Oh Lord! Oh Darling of the Arab race!’
The King was mounted, mindful of his fame;
His sword rose up and showed its gleaming face.
The shameless giant pressed onwards like a flood,
But Zulfiqar was thirsty for his blood.
In battle stalwart soldiers staked their lives,
And evil frowned upon the earth beneath;
Their thunderous shields, their lightning-flashing knives
Were drawn against the horse that gnashed its teeth.
It beat its hooves; those cowards sought retreat.
The earth-supporting cow shook on its feet.
The selfish giant came brandishing his spear
Against Husain, lout little served his might.
At once the sword was raised into the air;
The tyrant’s arrows from its strike took flight.
They might have hit a rock; their heads were dashed:
The string that fired them broke; the bow was smashed.
The tyrant raised his club in fresh attack;
The Scion of the Dusty One saw red.
He beat his hands in wrath; the giant fell back,
As lightning struck upon his angry head.
Defeat for evil! Victory for the just!
His head now severed fell upon the dust.
Confused and scared he tried to run away,
And groping took his sword in his left hand.
But Death’s cold hand will always find its prey.
And Zulfiqar sliced through him on the sand.
A miracle the way the sharp sword flew!
The rider and his horse were cut in two.
The second giant approached; the King called out:
‘Hast thou not seen the power of Zulfiqar?’
The wretch came on, regardless, with a shout.
But Death already called him from afar.
Summoned by the voice that knows no laws,
Another victim for the lion’s jaws.
The King of Faith towards his rival turned,
As if a hungry lion had joined the fray.
With nonchalance the enemy’s sword was spurned.
The sky was split; the heavens spun away.
The giant sank in the saddle without a sound;
His mighty horse was pressed into the ground.
The peaks of Qaf sped from the fairies’ sight;
The Jinn were lost; the lions strayed from home;
The denizens of the deep dashed to the light;
The hawk and partridge fled where pythons roam.
The mountains huddled, hiding, from the roar,
And eagles fell from eeries where they soar.
A voice came from the sky: ‘All hail, Shabbir!’
This sword was made for him. Shabbir, all hail!
All hail! To him was battles honour dear.
Nursed at his mother’s breast, how can he fail?
God gave him mastery o’er all creation.
For he alone could fight to save his nation.
But now enough! No more, Husain! No more!
‘Tis time to rest. The horse pants from the heat.
The time for prayer draws nigh. The battle’s roar
Is over now for thee. No more! Retreat!
No one can fight thus, thirsty in the throng.
Attend to thy dear kin, and soothe their wrong.’
Sheathing his sword, the King; cried: ‘I obey!’!’
The Day of Judgement came upon the world.
The enemy stood like animals at bay.
Their arrows fixed, their standard’s flag unfurled.
Husain stood helpless. See and you will know
Your helpless Lord alone before his foe!
Ten thousand arrows dashed upon his chest;
A hundred at one time sought out their prey.
The spears transfixed his side and pierced his breast;
Ten stuck for every four he pulled away.
The Shadow of the Lord was filled with spines,
Like needles in the backs of porcupines.
>From all directions arrows poured like rain;
Assassins rushed with spears and daggers bared.
Such pain befell Husain. Such pain! Such pain!
The one who on the Prophet’s lap was reared.
No one to pluck the arrows from his chest.
No one to lift him to his place of rest.
Midst thousands, one afflicted stood, alas!
The noble son of Fatima, alas!
Shabbir was struck by tyrants’ spears, alas!
And arrows pierced his holy skin, alas.
That ragged, angry army, honour’s bane,
Poured out its bristling quivers on Husain.
Those who had fled from battle now returned;
One took a stone and aimed it at his head.
The blow struck home; his fevered forehead burned;;
Then to his throat a three-pronged arrow sped.
He touched his forehead, clasped his throat and sighed.
The arrow flew out from the other side.
This arrow had three heads, so it is told;
It pierced the Lord, not stopping in its track.
His breathing stopped; his eyes wide open rolled;
He tried to pull the shaft out from his back.
His final breath emerged�an angry flood�;
The palm placed on his wound was filled with blood.
A’var Salami, an enemy of the King,
A foe of true Islam, now played his part.
He split his forehead with a mighty swing;
Sinan, the son of Uns, speared through his heart.
Another plunged his stomach with a hook.
The grave of the Prophet’s Refuge sighed and shook.
Husain falls from his mount�calamity!
His holy foot falls from the horse’s girth.
His side is gaping open�misery!
He swoons; his turban drops upon the earth.
The Quran has fallen headlong from its stand.
The Ka’aba’s walls have crumbled into sand.
Far from the wastes came Fatima’s pure voice:
‘Muhammad! See our family despoiled!
Now who will save our friendship and rejoice?
Against what tyranny our Leader toiled!
Full nineteen-hundred wounds were on him thrust;
Ah Zainab! Come! Husain writhes in the dust.’
Now Zainab moved the curtain of the tent
And came with unveiled face and heaving breast.
Her limbs were trembling and her back was bent.
She cried: ‘Ah Karbala, where is thy guest?
From- thirst I suffer; guide me with thine eyes,
And bring me to his corpse, to where it lies.
The whole world is in darkness at my feet.
For Allah’s sake, stay with me at my side.
Where lies our Sayyid writhing in the heat?
Ah mother, lead me to the place he died!’
Her sighs consumed her blazing heart with flame.
A voice was heard: ‘Who moans and calls my name?’
Who called: ‘Oh sister! Do not come this way!
The time for thy departure is at hand.
For Allah’s sake, go home! Lost is our day.
May Ali save the ship of this poor band.
Let not Husain be left in this cruel waste.
To drape his corpse let Fatima make haste.’
Her head uncovered, Ali’s daughter walked
To the place where Ali’s darling son was slain.
She ran, though by the evil enemy balked,
And reached the spot, clutching her breast in pain.
Ignoring every danger, she drew near,
And saw her brother’s head stuck on a spear.

Then Zainab, overcome with sorrow, cried:
‘Ah Sayyid! Let me bless thy blood-soaked face.
My brother’s throat was slit. See how he died!
Dids’t thou forget thy sister’s healing grace?
Our house is robbed; the promise was not kept.’
His moving lips took God’s name as she wept.

‘Thy sister greets thee, brother. Answer me!
Hear the cry of Haidar’s daughter’s strife.
With thy dry tongue give answer! Hear my plea!
Should Zainab cling to this accursed life?
For Death alone can end this separation.
No one is left to give me consolation.
My brother, can I bring thee back once more?
What can I do? Where can I tell my woes?
To whom can I recount the pain I bore?
Our city is now ruled by evil foes.
The world has been destroyed beyond belief.
How can I live within this house of grief?
Why did this wretched waif not die before?
Come tell me how the dagger ripped thy breast?’
A voice cried: ‘Do not ask the pains I bore!
For all that came to pass was for the best.
Now from all tribulations I am free,
But ah! the wound to be apart from thee!
For even now the foe is bent on plunder.
Give nought but thanks to God for thy dear life.
When tyrants come to set our home asunder,
Take care of poor Sakina in her strife.
Protect my daughter in thy warm embrace;
Let no one look in anger on her face.’
Enough, Anis! Your very limbs are quaking.
This monument you built with glory rings.
Such verses written while your hands were shaking
Will fire the world and please the hearts of kings.
Their harvest is this gathering of mourning
The spring-like pleasure of the autumn’s dawning.




By Muhammmad hayatuddeen

In the name of Allah, God of Muhammad, the last messenger of jihad, of awareness, of courage, of ability and liberty.

God of Ali, the Harun of Muhammad, a true example of the infallible training of the best of all creatures, the destroyer of the forces of kufur at Badar, Uhud, Khandaq, Khaibar, Hunnai, Jammal and at Siffin, who was throughout his life oppressed and yet leader of mankind.

In the name of Allah, the Creator of the house of Zahra in whom the salvation of humanity was placed, that small house which was as large as the universe but whose door was broken and was eventually set on fire.

In the name of Allah, God of Fatimah, leader of the women of both worlds, whose children are the leaders of the youth of paradise, whose husband is the distributor of paradise and hell, but whose ribs were broken and whose child Mohsin was caused to be aborted.

In the name of Allah, God of Zakzaky, a true example of an enlightened soul, a revolutionary and representative of the awaited Qaim. God of those martyred in September 1996 who gave their lives in defense of the honor of their Prophet and religion. God of Abubakar that three-year-old boy who was martyred in those blessed hands of his mother, whose sister and mother were fatally wounded by police in Zaria. God of Muhammad Baqir that three months old boy who was martyred on the back of his blessed mother.

In the tradition of Zakzaky who is my mentor, whose thoughts, understanding of Islam and whose ideals, wants, courage, and protest I emulate, I begin in the name of God of those oppressed throughout history.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the best of all creatures and on his pure and infallible progeny, the manifestations of the Beauty and Glory of the Most Exalted Being, treasurers of the secrets of the Holy Qur’an which displayed the Oneness of Allah and His Beautiful Names, those known and unknown.   

As we mourn the tragic event of Karbala, I offer my heart felt condolences to the best of all creatures, to Imam Ali, to Sayyida Fatimah, to the master of our time, the Imam of guidance, to Sheik Zakzaky and to the enlightened members of our time and to all those who knew and weep over this tragic event.

May God, the Blessed, the Exalted, His angels, Prophets, friends and martyrs pour their damnations on the cursed tree, their supporters, and admirers from the day of Ashura to the end of time.

On the 10th of Muharam, 61 AH, Imam Hussain (AS), his brother Abbas, his sons Ali Akbar and Ali Asghar (ten month old boy) Qasim, the son of Imam Hassan, the children of Sayyida Zaynab, and a host of Imam Hussain’s companions were brutally murdered by the forces of Yazid son of Muawiyya son of Abu Sufyan, the leader of major wars against the holy Prophet and Islam.

The tragic event of Karbala was primarily the direct result of jealousy, hatred, arrogance and above all the unrepentant unbelief of the cursed tree (the Banu Umayyad) for the Noblest Prophet and Islam. The Banu Umayyads were the political over-lords in Makka before the commissioning of the Holy Prophet and naturally they saw him as a rival and a threat to their power, position and prestige.

This jealousy, this hatred, arrogance, unrepentant polytheism and extreme desire for revenge was transferred from Abu Sufyan to Muawiyya down to Yazid. This became obvious from the statement of Yazid when the blessed head of Imam Hussain was presented before him. He declared thus: ‘I wish those of my clan, who were killed at Badar, and those who had seen the Khazraj clan wailing (in the battle of Uhud) on account of lancet wounds, were here. They would have hailed me with loud cries and said, ‘o Yazid! May your hands never stupefy’, for we have killed the chiefs of his (the Prophet’s) clan. I did so to revenge for Badar, which has now been completed. The Banu Hashim only played a game with sovereignty. There has come no message nor was anything revealed. I would not belong to the Khandaq family, if I had not taken vengeance upon the descendants of Ahmad for their deeds’.

At the time Prophet Muhammad emerged at the center of the world, in Makka, the entire world was in absolute darkness. In the east, in Persia, they were worshiping fire. In the west, in Rome, they believe in the Trinity. The religion brought by Jesus (AS) was completely distorted. And in Makka they had three hundred and sixty gods placed in the Ka’aba. And in other parts of the world the objects of worship were stones, animals or gods carved out of woods. No region and anybody knew God, Exalted is He.

The world was in absolute darkness. Disorder, oppression, exploitation, and injustice were the order of the day. The world was on the verge of collapse. It was at this critical stage of the world condition that God Exalted is He, sent His most beloved Prophet to save the entire world from destruction. He came with the message that “There is god except Allah”. This message contradicted the entire philosophy of worship that was current then not only in Makka but throughout the world. He told them that the Creator of the heavens and earth, man and woman and the entire realms of existence both the visible and invisible was the true object of worship and nothing else.

The ruling class in Makka received this message with shock. How could Muhammad who came from a noble family, who was known as Al-Ameen (the trusted) bring such a message that contradicted the religion of their fore-fathers? Or was it a plot by Banu Hashim to permanently retain their leadership position as the most respected family in Makka? Why should the last Prophet of God, whom they have heard so much about from the Jews, emerge from the family of Banu Hashim?

This, they believe was impossible and must not be allowed. They thus immediately responded to this liberating message with anger, insult, scorn and persecution.

Prophet Muhammad and his followers were persecuted for thirteen years not because they did not believe he was the Prophet of God but because they knew that their power, position, prestige and influence were in jeopardy if he was allowed to succeed. This jealously and this envy was to have a devastating impact in the entire history of Islam.

The Prophet’s family was not exempted from this persecution. They were forced to move to the valley of Abu Talib where they were exiled and ex-communicated for three years. Nobody was allowed to sell or buy from them. Many died of hunger and nobody was allowed to help them, to marry from them nor were they allowed to marry from other families.

The extensity and ferocity of persecution that Prophet Muhammad, his family and followers were subjected to never deterred them from the path of truth and honor even at the expense of their lives.  Ammar, one of the most distinguished companions of the Prophet lost both his parents at the dirty hands of their enemies but he never wavered in his determination. Mus’ab Ibn Numayr, (the most pampered and the best dressed youth then) was severely brutalized by his parents because he had chosen the path of truth and honor. Bilal and scores of other poor and oppressed followers of the Prophet were severely persecuted by the Quraish aristocrats.   

This determination and commitment of the Prophet and his companions so frustrated the Quraish aristocrats that they resolved to finally put an end to his life. It was at this point that, God the Blessed and the Exalted, commanded the Prophet to migrate to Yathrib (Medina)

At Medina, the Prophet was received not as political refuge but as a leader with absolute power. It was a city whose major communities, the Aws and the khazraj were in constant war with each other. This war was always triggered by the Jews whose only interest was to dominate and exploit the two communities.    

At Medina, the Prophet was not only struggling to establish a new society on the basis of exclusive worship of God alone but was struggling to protect it from enemies both within and without. The polytheist of Makka led by Abu Sufyan from the clan of Banu Umayyad, did not leave the Prophet alone. They imposed the battles of Badar, Uhud and Khandaq on him and his followers. Several other battles were fought between him and others that were opposed to the new religion.

Meanwhile, internally the Jews were at work trying to frustrate the formation and protection of the emerging Islamic society. They tried to regenerate the old enmity between the two warring factions in the city that was replaced with love and brotherhood by the Prophet. The Prophet had to take decisive actions against these treacherous neighbors by expelling them out of the city and finally out of the region right after the battle of Khandaq.     

The Arab societies before the emergence of the most Noble Prophet were fundamentally idol worshippers with about three hundred and sixty of them placed in the Holy Ka’aba alone and with many in their various homes and localities. In addition, it was a society characterized by constant warfare between the components families, outright injustice, oppression and exploitations of the poor by the powerful and the rich.

It was a society characterized by extreme level of moral decadence. Alcoholism and fornications were the order of the day. Not even the ‘distinguished’ were free of this moral decay but were its champions and custodians.  And above all, it was fashionable and heroic to commit infanticide against female child since giving birth to a girl was considered disgraceful and abominable.

This was Makka and the Arab world then. It was also what was obtainable in other parts of the world. The Prophet therefore had an enormous task of re-shaping and re-directing the entire world from the worship of idols, trinity and other objects of worship to that of monotheism, from taking pride in family and blood relationship to that of brotherhood, from injustices, exploitation and oppression to fairness and justice, from indulgence in social vices to building up of a noble personality and a decent society subjecting itself to the absolute worship of Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted alone.

Within twenty three years the Noblest Prophet of God was able to achieve this. With the conquest of Makka the headquarters of opposition to the rule of Allah and the leadership of the Prophet were finally removed. And Abu Sufyan, his wife who chewed off the liver of Hamza and mutilated the bodies of the martyrs of Uhud and their son Muawiyya in addition a large number of people, had no alternative but to submit to the power of Islam and the leadership of Prophet Muhammad.  

With the defeat of Makkah and other centers of opposition to Islam and the Prophet, delegates from all over the Arabia and other parts of the world began to converge in Medina acknowledging and paying their allegiance to the power of Islam and leadership of the Messenger of Allah.

For the first time in several centuries a society based on the worship of God, the Blessed, the Exalted was formed. A society that was characterized by unity of faith, compassion, brotherhood, equity, fairness, justice, moral values. In this society, the only basis for measuring the position of man was not from which family he came from or what material wealth he possessed, rather as the Qur’an says: Surely the noblest of you in sight of Allah is the most pious of you (Q49:13).

Now that the enemies of Allah, His Prophet and Islam were defeated and could not directly confront Islam they ceased all oppositions openly and based on their strategic assessments resolved to join Islam and pretend to love and obey the Prophet. In this connection, the greatest danger posed to Islam was not by those who refused to join Islam but the hypocrisy of those that wear the attire of Islam and are its enemies behind a thick mask.

It was the activities of these enemies headed by Abu Sufyan that was to have a devastating and damaging impact on Islam that led to the massacre of the family of the noblest Prophet of God at Karbala.   

Meanwhile, the Noblest Prophet was very apprehensive over the new danger facing Islam and its consequence after his death. He had declared on several occasions and based on divine command, ‘I am leaving behind me two weighty things- the Book of God Exalted is He and my holy progeny which if you both follow would never go astray’. The adherence of his Ummah to the legacies he was leaving behind was the only guarantee that they have against going astray. 

The Prophet knew and was worried that because his followers will abandon what he was leaving behind him new actors were soon to emerge after his death. These actors will wear religious costumes and would be talking about God, Prophet, Qur’an, heaven, hell, good deeds, sins, spirituality, turning away from the allurement of this world and will destroy Islam by preaching “Islam”. Under the pretext of observing and honoring religious rites, in the name of glorifying religious personalities and under the guise of seeking blessings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, they were going to hide the true essence of the Qur’an and its true and authentic teachings by preventing people from following those firmly rooted in knowledge-the holy progeny.

The Prophet knew that his Ummah were soon to be divided into seventy three sects of which only one will have the honor of entering paradise. Was it not because of this that he said on his death bed, bring to me a paper and ink so that I will write for you those things which if would all follow and adhere to would never go astray”? Did those followers around him complied with his orders? No! One of them bluntly refused and prevented others from complying. He told the Prophet that the Qur’an was enough for them since perhaps he knows better than the Prophet himself. What an unfortunate Thursday as Ibn Abbas would recall and cry.

The Prophet knew that soon after his death the house of Fatimah, his beloved daughter, would be attacked and set ablaze and her ribs will be broken which will bring down her pregnancy, that Imam Ali would be brought into his Mosque handcuffed, that the testimonies of Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, Hussain will be denied despite the fact the Most Exalted God had removed all abomination from them and purified them with a thorough purification.

The Prophet knew that his companion Abudhar would be killed not during the conquest   of Cyprus and not with the sword of polytheism, but he would die alone and hungry in exile, in the desert of Rabadhan, following the instruction of his ‘Caliph’. He knew that Ammar, his distinguished companion, would be killed unjustly by the soldiers of Muawiyya at the battle of Siffin.

The Prophet knew that on the tenth of Muharam, on Ashurah day, his son Hussain, his children and companions would be massacred while thirsty and hungry. The Prophet knew that on Ashurah day Imam Hussain’s head will be severed from his body and would be placed on top of spare, his hands would be cut and his body mutilated. The Prophet knew on this day Zaynab, Sayyida Fatima’s daughter, Imam Hussain’s wives and children would be taken as prisoners and spoils of war. A war neither by the armies of a Caesar, by the judgment of a Christian priest nor that of a Jewish Rabbi, but by the armies of “Islam” under the instructions of Yazid, that renegade son of renegades whose house had served, for twenty years, as the center of plots against Islam and the Prophet.

Ironically, upon their victory at Karbala, on Ashura day, to show their appreciation to God for ‘saving’ Islam from dangers of those that “rebelled against the religion of Muhammad, sinned against God, revolted against the “Caliph” of God’s Prophet and have split the Muslim community”, they instituted the festival of “CIKACKI” (THANKS GIVING).

Anyone who is familiar with the Qur’an and the Prophet knew that they were not afraid that Islam would be destroyed neither by the polytheist, nor idol worshipers nor the materialist. They knew that Islam would always be victorious against these groups. They however, knew that the most dangerous enemies of Islam are the hypocrites. Was a whole chapter titled the “hypocrites” not revealed in the Qur’an?

The Prophet knew that this hypocrite who wears the attire of Islam in an oppressor, an idol worshiper, human, money and power worshiper, who is an agent of oppressors, who is the guardian of ignorance, whose slogans as always is tawhid, who preaches Islam only to destroy Islam, who in order to please the deities he worships persuade people to accept those oppressors ruling over them, who steals their wealth and leave them at the mercy of poverty and wretchedness.

This hypocrite portrays the God of Islam Who rewards only toleration of oppression, exploitation, ignorance, weakness, poverty, backwardness of the people. It is no accident that the Qur’an and the Prophet speaks with more anger and hatred about this type of Muslims who have hypocritically accepted Islam than about those have openly rejected it.

The Prophet then was not afraid of the Ummayads led by Abu Sufyan who had Lat, Hubal, and Uzza in their hands. He knew that as long as they defied Islam openly they would be defeated. Were they not defeated at Badar, Uhud, Khandaq and Hunnai? Yes, he knew that as long as they had Lat and Hubal in their hands while shooting their arrows at Qur’an, at him and the Muslims they would never be victorious.

Before the fall of Mecca, they were on the other side of the “bridge” holding Lat, Hubal, and Uzza and were swearing with them. They were then easily recognized as the enemies. But soon after they crossed to this side of the “bridge” and at Siffin they swore to Allah and became enemies in friend’s attire. Formerly, in Badar, Uhud, Khandaq and Hunnai they were shooting at the Qur’an, but in Siffin they raised the Qur’an on top their spears and flags. And in Euphrates, at Karbala, they were easily able to get their revenge against Imam Ali who had defeated them at Badar, Uhud, Khandaq, and at Hunnai.

The Islam as we have it today was turned into mockery not by its enemies but by those who killed the family of Prophet Muhammad with swords engraved with the slogans of monotheism, by those rulers who were known as builders of mosques, as religious leaders, as protectors and propagators of Qur’an and reporters of the traditions of the Prophet.

The Prophet knew that throughout history and in all places ‘descendants’ of Umayyad will be present who will claim to be defenders of the Qur’an and Sunnah but who will use the same to destroy Islam. Yes, they will cry out that the Sunnah was being destroyed through the introduction of innovations into the household of Islam by a certain section of the Ummah. And of course, they must be declared kafirs. As they struggle to “protect” the Sunnah and remove all those innovations, they destroy the unity of Islam thus allowing its enemies to insult and ridicule our Prophet and religion.

Today the ‘descendants’ of Banu Ummayads are not only fighting against Islam but are also agents of the World Kufur and Imperialism in its war against Islam. The new slogan is now ‘war against terror’. It is either you agree to be a servant of America or you are declared an extremist and a terrorist. They are now preparing to help their Sunni ‘brothers’ in Iraq against the Shias whom they believe were responsible for the murder of Saddam Hussain and hundreds of others that are being killed daily.    

Sadly enough, we have not seen this kind of solidarity being given to the Palestinians whose suffering and anguish dates back to the days when the International Zionist massacred and sent them out of their land in 1947. This kind of solidarity was surprisingly denied the members of the Islamic courts in Somalia who were bombed and killed by the Ethiopian soldiers and American war planes. 

Oh Allah! I call You by Your most mighty name Al-wahid (the one) and I call You oh Allah, by Your name, Al-samad (the Everlasting Refuge), and I call You, oh Allah, by Your single name, Al-Azim (the Majestic), and I call You oh Allah, by Your Exalted name Al-kabir (the Great) by which all Your pillars stand firm,  to pour Your damnation upon those that laid the foundation of the tragedy of Karbala, those that participated in the event of Karbala, those that supported and are happy over the event of Karbala from the day of Ashurah to the end of time. Oh! Allah shower Your best blessings upon Imam Hussain, his family and companions that were the victims of the worst injustice imaginable.

Oh Allah! hasten the reappearance of our leader, the rightly guided, and the guide who will take revenge over the tragic event of Karbala and honor us with his company. Oh Allah! Put us among those who will help him, serve him, ever ready to follow his orders, ever ready to obey him and become martyrs in his presence. Oh Allah! If death comes in between us and him, raise us from our graves wearing our shroud and with guns in our hands so that we become his soldiers in his fight against the forces of kufur, injustice, oppression and exploitation and until You grant him complete victory. All these are not beyond Your powers, oh the Blessed, the Exalted. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon Muhammad, the best of all creation, and his pure and infallible descendents.

Muhammad Hayatuddeen

Great Interview with Christian Antoine Bara about Imam Husayn (AS)

Great Interview with Christian Antoine Bara about Imam Husayn (AS)

Antoine Bara: You Shi’a do not appreciate the value of ImamHussein!


Quotations about Imam Hussain (A.S.) by Non-Muslims

Quotations about Imam Hussain (A.S.) by Non-Muslims

Mahatma Gandhi (Indian political and spiritual leader): “I learnd from Hussein
how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”

Thomas Carlyle (Scottish historian and essayist): “The best lesson which we get
from the tragedy of Cerebella is that Husain and his companions were rigid
believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not
count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain,
despite his minority, marvels me!”

Edward Gibbon (English historian and member of parliament): “In a distant age
and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the
sympathy of the coldest reader.” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London,
1911, volume 5, p. 391-392)

Charles Dickens (English novelist): “If Husain had fought to quench his
worldly desires…then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children
accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for

Antoine Bara (Lebanese writer): “No battle in the modern and past
history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as
provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Husayn in the battle of
Karbala.” (Husayn in Christian Ideology)

Dr. K. Sheldrake: “Of that gallant band, male and female knew that the
enemy forces around were implacable, and were not only ready to fight, but
to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under the
burning sun and scorching sands, yet not one faltered for a moment. Husain
marched with his little company, not to glory, not to power of wealth, but to
a supreme sacrifice, and every member bravely faced the greatest odds
without flinching.”

Ignaz Goldziher (Hungarian orientalist): “…Weeping and lamentation over
the evils and persecutions suffered by the ‘Alid family, and mourning for its
martyrs: these are things from which loyal supporters of the cause cannot
cease. ‘More touching than the tears of the Shi’is’ has even become an
Arabic proverb.” (Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, Princeton, 1981, p.179)

Edward G. Brown (Professor at the University of Cambridge): “…a reminder of
that blood-stained field of Karbala, where the grandson of the Apostle of
God fell, at length, tortured by thirst, and surround by the bodies of his
murdered kinsmen, has been at anytime since then, sufficient to evoke, even
in the most lukewarm and the heedless, the deepest emotion, the most
frantic grief, and an exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger, and death
shrink to unconsidered trifles.” (A Literary History of Persia, London, 1919, p.227)

Sir William Muir (Scottish orientalist): “The tragedy of Karbala decided not
only the fate of the Caliphate, but also of Mohammadan kingdoms long after
the Caliphate had waned and disappeared.” (Annals of the Early Caliphate,
London, 1883, p.441-442)

“Though Imam Hussain gave his life years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”Dr. Radha Krishnan

Mahatma Gandhi
“My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain (A.S.), the great saint.”

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
“Imam Hussain’s (A.S.) sacrifice is for all groups and communities, an example of the path of rightousness.”

Reynold Alleyne Nicholson
“Hussain (A.S.) fell, pierced by an arrow, and his brave followers were cut down beside him to the last man. Muhammadan tradition, which with rare exceptions is uniformly hostile to the Umayyad dynasty, regards Hussain (A.S.) as a martyr and Yazid as his murderer.”
[A Literary History of the Arabs, Cambridge, 1930, p197]

Rabindranath ***************ore
“In order to keep alive justice and truth, instead of an army or weapons, success can be achieved by sacrificing lives, exactly what Imam Hussain (A.S.) did

Dr. Rajendra Prasad
“The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S.) is not limited to one country, or nation, but it is the hereditary state of the brotherhood of all mankind.”

Dr. Radha Krishnan
“Though Imam Hussain (A.S.) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”

Swami Shankaracharya
“It is Hussain’s (A.S.) sacrifice that has kept Islam alive or else in this world there would be no one left to take Islam’s name.”

Mrs. Sarojini Naidu
“I congratulate Muslims that from among them, Hussain (A.S.), a great human being was born, who is reverted and honored totally by all communities


Research Seminar



Research Department

Islamic College for Advanced Studies
(ICAS) Jakarta

Jakarta, 12 April 2008


First Problem: The Void of Meaning of Life

In line with the dominance of materialistic-positivism since the 19th century the prevailing view nowadays is that life is blind, irrational, and purposeless as the poet A.E. Housman lamented (quoted from John Cottingham, On The Meaning of Life, Routledge-London, 2003):
…. nature, heartless, witness nature,
Will neither care nor know
What stranger’s feet may cross the meadow
And trespass there, and go
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
If they are mine, or no

That vision leads modern men to find themselves stuck in the corner of emptiness, without knowing why they live and must die soon. In the words of T.S. Eliot’s stark reminder:

O dark, dark, dark. They all go into the dark
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees
Industrial lords and petty contractors
All go into the dark . . . . .
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral …
(Cottingham, 2003)

Second Problem: The Void of Faith and Reason

The next acute problem in the modern-postmodern world is the growing appearance of skepticism in various forms and diverse levels. According to Wittgenstein, our basic religious and moral commitments can make no claim to truth. He points out that there is no rational criterion of correctness of religions. He denies that any commitment entail a belief that certain things are true.

The idea of Wittgenstein is the path to total skepticism about the possibility of human knowledge. Another consequence of this idea is the emergence of relativism, pragmatism, and nihilism. According to post-modernism, there can be no overarching reason, no one true way of looking at things. We see now how rejection of metaphysics, conducted first by modernist thinker, has led contemporary thinker (postmodernist-relativist advocates) to attack the notions of reason and truth as well as faith.

Therefore, the skepticism on God’s existence and spiritual dimension of human being naturally has brought about the deeper skepticism, which is more directly dangerous, namely the void of faith and reason, the skeptical thought about human ability to know and understand reality. This condition generates contemporary men in the threat of despair, hopelessness, and disorientation in life. Let us listen to the voice of desperation from Richard Rorty below:
There is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves; no criterion that we have not created in the course of creating a practice; no standard of rationality that is not an appeal to such a criterion, no straight argumentation that is not obedience to our own conventions (Richard Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism,Minneapolis, 1982)

Third Problem: The Void of Wisdom and Love in Faith

It is horrified that one mode of reaction to the void of faith is the appearance of irrational fundamentalism. Karen Armstrong points out that one of the most startling developments of the late twentieth century has been the emergence within every religious tradition of a militant piety popularly known as ‘fundamentalism’. (Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, New York, 2001). Its manifestations are sometimes shocking. Some fundamentalist (a small minority – according to Armstrong) commits such acts as terror, but they all have nothing to do with rationality, wisdom and humanity (love).

In one perspective, this movement is a response to secularism and the dominance of materialism, but in other perspective fundamentalism is another branch of skepticism, which is mainly disseminated by relativist-postmodernists. It is understandable, therefore, when Armstrong argues that fundamentalism emerge as a response to the spiritual crisis of the modern world. She explains that fundamentalism is a radical form of religious expression in resisting the assaults of modernity. In fact, they have absorbed the pragmatic-instrumental rationalism of modernity (and post-modernity).

For Seyyed Hossein Nasr (in his work Islam and the Plight of Modern Man, Chicago, 2001), what so-called fundamentalism are those who are caught between traditional values and modernism. This group, in fact, under the influence and pressure of modernist view (mechanistic-instrumentalism, priority of quantity), has suffered spiritual crisis like modern-contemporary man. Both live in their rim of existence, and depart from their axis of existence. They are ignorant of the innermost nature of human being, as a spiritual being. Nasr quotes the poet Farid al Din ‘Attar as follows:

Come you lost atoms to your Center draw,
And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw:
Rays that have wandered into Darkness wide
Return, and back into your Sun subside
(Mantiq al-tayr)


The survival of the present-day world, which is in serious danger, is not because that we lack humanistic teachings. Rather, we lack faith in human ability to attain and apply those teachings.

The above description would like to signify the deep-serious problem of our civilization at the present. The present-day condition of man is stuck in huge threat and misery about the prospect of the world, about the nature and ability of human being. Contemporary-modern men don’t have trust both in God and themselves as homo sapientia (wise being, rational being). They neglect God as well as their nature of humanity. God and man have been death.

The phenomena of blasphemy of religious traditions such as blasphemous cartoon of the Holy Prophet two years ago in Danish daily and others sacrileges toward other religions could be considered as the blasphemous thought and action toward God and man all together. They have ignored themselves as homo sapiens, their character as human being, rational animal.

That is total skepticism. They lose faith and reason. They lose truth and wisdom. They lose the sense of love and humanity. They do not only reject their spiritual dimension but also rational dimension as well as human and love. They do not only wipe out the Light but they also remove the Eye, which is means for perceiving the Light.

That is total skepticism. This condition is deeply critical and dangerous for our civilization. The current world suffers from the void of sincere love, real faith, actual commitment. We have come to the deadlock condition in which humanity and moral values have been neglected while cunning and hypocrisy have been considered as civilized manners.

For that reason, the world at the present requires the fresh blood (spiritual energy) to revive the heart. We need necessarily the bright spirit to revitalize optimism and hope for mankind nowadays and the future. We deeply are in need for awakening of human conscience in overcoming moral decadence, human disorientation, corruption, treachery, hypocrisy, insincerity, deceit, deception, despair, meaninglessness, and hopelessness.

We need a comprehensive-existential model to generate our optimism to the human capability in order to attain and apply the truth, real knowledge, wisdom, and love. We should be willing to study the perfect person who has performed successfully the proper way of life as human being.

We are required to open our minds and hearts to take into account the real religious man who has true faith, wisdom, actual commitment, and faithful love. We should be ready to start loving the person because all levels of his existence has revealed all noble abilities and characteristics of human being as vicegerent of Allah (Khalifatullah).

The person we mean in this research is Imam Husain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. Imam Husain, the king of martyrs (sayyid ash-shuhada), sacrificed himself and his relatives as well as his companions for saving Islam from decadence and destruction, for keeping humanity from disgraceful humiliation and lasting-historical blunder. Imam Husain appeared to bear a great responsibility to protect Islamic teachings and everlasting mission for mankind once Muslim community (ummah) at his time became skeptic, hopeless, and void of human dignity. On his way to Karbala, Imam Husain said:
“This world has changed and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden…People are certainly the slaves of this world; religion is but a slaver on their tongues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the truly religious ones will be but a few.”

The characteristic of the great sacrifice of Imam Husain is the way how he takes all his companions and relatives in his path. He released them from his allegiance and told them that all of them could leave him and go away wherever they liked so that their lives could be saved. In brief he persuaded his companions to leave his suffering path for their survival. But, in fact, his companions stood up and reiterated their faith and commitment to the Imam’s path. From this occasion, Muhammad Iqbal, an eminent poet-philosopher from Pakistan, says:
“The end of it is Husain and the beginning is Ismail”

Iqbal means that by according freedom of action to his companions and relatives, Imam Husain performed the same duty that Prophet Ibrahim (as) had performed by seeking the opinion of Ismail (as). Ibrahim (as) could have sacrificed his son without taking the opinion of his son. But by this action the son was free to express his willingness for slaughter, for the sake of God’s willing. In the same manner, Imam Husain also, by according permission to them all to leave Karbala and the companions expressed their determination to voluntarily lay down their lives, made this even a model of an authentic martyrdom, a great sacrifice.

ImageMuhammad Iqbal: “ Imam Husain is the chief of the lovers of Allah”

We can say that the path of Imam Husain is the path of love in faith and commitment. This is the main characteristic of Imam Husain’s course and teachings. He says,
“Some people worship God to gain His gifts; this is the worship of the merchants. Some worship Him to avoid His punishment; this is the worship of the slaves. Some worship Him solely to show gratitude towards Him; this is the worship of the free!”

That is why Annemarie Schimmel points out enthusiastically that Imam Husain is the Imam of the lovers and the hero of freedom. Once delivering a speech at an university in United States she, a well-known international researcher on Islamic teachings, stated explicitly
“Never expect to teach Muslim about freedom and human rights. Since they have Imam Husain, the Prophet’s beloved grandson, who sacrifices himself for saving his faith and community from oppression and humiliation of tyrant.”

ImageAnnemarie Schimel: “Imam Husayn is the mystical model for those who want to pursue the path of love through suffering and sacrifice.”

In deeper study we would find that the martyrdom of Imam Husain has been a model of suffering love as well as a model of mystical path. According to Schimmel, the theme of Husain as the mystical model for all those who want to pursue the path of love looms large in the poetry of Sufis. Shah Abdul Latif calls the martyrs of Karbala as signs of divine love. For him, suffering is a special gift for the friend of God. He says:
The earth trembles, shakes; the skies are in uproar
This is not a war, this is the manifestation of Love

Daniel Rudman (see the essay “Mysticism and Imam Husayn”) is one among scholars who undertake in depth the research of Imam Husain’s martyrdom. He says that an important facet of Islamic mysticism is the relationship between action and thought. For the Ultimate is not relegated to the interior so must be the person who seeks it. A mystic (Sufi) must not be confused with an ascetic. In this regard, the actions of Imam Husain are filled with spiritual significance.

Referring to Seyyed Hossein Nasr work, Rudman says, spirituality implies not only the essence of transcendence but also the experience of immanence in the very light of this transcendence. Because the Divine Oneness implies not only transcendence but also immanence. Nasr unveils two important aspects of the mystic and mysticism, the reliance on knowledge and symbol for God as light. The interplay between action and thought is rooted in the tradition. These specific components, Rudman says, are exemplified when examining Imam Husain.

Therefore, according to Rudman, as we will explore the events of Karbala and Imam Husain, mysticism will also be revealed. The spiritual dimension of mystical martyrdom is very important when exploring Imam Husain. Due to the pervasive nature of the subject, it is impossible to ignore one form of esotericism for the sake of another. Therefore, universal and Islamic mysticism will all be found in Imam Husain as all manners are ultimately dependent upon each other.

In relation to above-mentioned prolog, here we could state that one of the important message of Imam Husain is that he really manifests the ability of human being to embrace the truthful faith, real knowledge, and sincere love. Through his path (teachings and action) Imam Husain attempts to unveil the human ability to be committed to the faith and reason as well as the sense of humanity. Rudman continues his research result:
By conveying equal appreciation for pleasure and pain, Husain shows that he is cognizant of true reality. Only the Sufi is able to fully understand that all earthly manifestations are part of the supreme unity. In addition, as mysticism declares that man is able to have knowledge of God, Imam Husain identifies this faculty within all people. Husain demonstrates to Nasr’s assertion of wisdom as a primacy mystical path toward he realization the Divine.

Contradictory to skepticism view, Imam Husain teaches us that there is the latent ability in all of mankind to achieve knowledge on reality including Ultimate Reality, knowledge of the Divine. Imam Husain provides us with great optimism and real hope that we, homo sapiens, have ability to manifest faith, wisdom, love, and universal human values completely in practice through all different level of our existence.

Contrary to the contemporary world, which is void from demarcation of the truth from the falsehood that has brought about obscurity and relativism, Imam Husain path serves also to identify the truth and the falsehood. Abu Zaynal Abidin (see the essay “An Everlasting Instruction”) explains that Imam Husain teaches us how to signify the truth and distinguish from the falsehood. When Imam Husain is asked to pay his oath (bai’at) of allegiance to Yazid, he presents a rational exposition, worthy of consideration. He first introduces himself and then Yazid, and then he says:
“My example (who is utterly submissive to Alah) cannot give has hand to the like of Yazid (who is an open sinner)”

In short, the way of thought of Imam Husain can be described below:
Premise 1: I am manifestation of truth
Premise 2: Yazid is a manifestation of falsehood
Premise 3: A manifestation of truth cannot unite with a manifestation of falsehood
Conclusion: Hence, I cannot agree to pay the oath of allegiance to him

Rather than saying “I will not pay the oath of allegiance to Yazid”, Imam Husain says “Anyone like me does not (cannot) pay the oath of allegiance to anyone like Yazid”. By this statement, Imam Husain demonstrates his school of thought, namely, the path of rationality, necessity, clear-methodical thought, and universal-objective criterion.

Another important and obvious lessons from Imam Husain is that the universality of his teachings and path. His messages transcend the barriers of caste creed, race and religion. Murtadha Mutahhari (see the essay “The Truth about Hussain’s Revolt: Hussain – The Universalist”) declares that advocates of human rights, sociologist, reformers, theologians, all included, will find “delightful wisdom, sweet instructions, and a meaning suited to their mind”, in his martyrdom in Karbala. Muthahhari says,
Imam Husain messages is certainly not an exclusive preserve of any particular group. It embraces the entire human race. It was not a power struggle. Imam Husain persistently and explicitly expounded, “What matter to me is to ‘correct not conquer’ “ – an affirmation that he would die in the firm belief that a despot’s idiosyncrasies could never be an effective instrument of religious policies.

It is very clear what Muthahhari says is true. Look at Mahatma Gandhi, Gibran Khalil Gibran, Antonie Bara, Edward Gibbon – just to mention some non-Muslim scholars- , they are among those who admire sincerely the great sacrifice of Imam Husain. They study this tragedy and succeed to take meaningful messages and everlasting lessons from it. Gandhi says,
“I learnt from Hussein how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”

Mahatma Gandhi: “ImageI learnt from Hussein how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”

(When Gandhi initiated a historical march to protest against the oppression of the British colonialist, he took 72 people with him as a symbol of emulation and admiration for Imam Husain’s revolt to protest against Yazid’s oppression)

Meanwhile Khalil Gibran declares, “Husayn is the light that illuminates all religions”, a Christian scholar Antonie Bara states explicitly, “Imam Hussein belongs to the whole world. He is the conscience of religions”. He wrote a book “Hussain in Christian Ideology” based on his research of Imam Husain movement. In that book, he says,
“No battle in the modern and past history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Husayn in the battle of Karbala”

ImageKhalil Gibran: “Husayn is the light that illuminates all religions”

Edward Gibbon, English historian and member of parliament, acknowledges what Bara stated above. Gibbon wrote,
“In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, volume 5, p. 391-392)

The last quotation leads us to infer that the sacrifice of Imam Husain really awakens human conscience in all levels of his existence, in transcendent and immanent dimension, in thought and action realms, in faith and reason faculties, in spiritual and discursive path, in esotericism and exotericism, and in divine will and human freedom. The path of Imam Husain is able to accommodate those demands, which are extremely required by our world today. The path of Imam Husain is the victory of Islamic conscience, deepest human conscience over might of evil, over the blind skepticism.


As a summary, we can assert that the sacrifice of Imam Husain in Karbala at Ashura is:
1. The Path of Meaning of Life
2. The Path of Faith and Commitment
3. The Path of Reason and Knowledge
4. The Path of Identification of the Truth
5. The Path of Love
6. The Path of Humanity
7. The Path of Morality-Character Building
8. The Path of Wisdom
9. The Path of Freedom
10. The Path of Actual Mysticism
11. The Path of Islamic Conscience

Comeback to our concern about the world’s current condition in the above-mentioned prolog, through this research in depth we necessarily expect that we could revitalize our belief and faith in our innermost ability of human being, homo sapiens, God’s vicegerent. Since as we said in the above:
The survival of the present-day world, which is in serious danger, is not because that we lack humanistic teachings. Rather, we lack faith in human ability to attain and apply those teachings.



The Martyrdom of Imam Husain is The Greatest Sacrifice that always inspires humankind for defending faith, truth, justice, freedom, morality, and humanity


1. To understand in depth the reasons and aim objectives of the great sacrifice of Imam Husain in Karbala at Ashura
2. To discover the great and lasting messages of the martyrdom of Imam Husain
3. To elaborate deeper meanings of the martyrdom of Imam Husain
4. To apply the messages of and lessons from Imam Husain’s sacrifice for fostering social justice, moral values, humanity, freedom, and spirituality.
5. To introduce and publish the results of scientific research and seminar in part of program of awakening of human conscience at the present

The Awakening of Human Conscience:
The Everlasting Lessons from the Sacrifice of Imam Husain for Our Civilization Today


There are 17 topics that can be categorized into three groups of studies, they are:
I. Historical-socio-cultural Studies
II. Religious (Tradition) – theological- moral Studies
III. Philosophical- sufistic -ethical Studies

I. Historical-socio-cultural Studies
1. Descriptive-historical Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy
2. Socio-political Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy
3. Socio-cultural Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy
4. The Genealogy Study of The Great Sacrifice of Imam Husain from The Prophet Ibrahim
5. The Effect of Imam Husain’s Martyrdom for Saving Islam from Distortion and Destruction
6. The Imam Husain’s Martyrdom in Indonesia Literary and Tradition

II. Religious (Islamic Tradition)–theological-moral Studies
7. The Spirit and Core Messages of The Quranic Teachings in relation to the Martyrdom of Imam Husain
8. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain in the Perspective of the Doctrine of Amar Ma’ruf Nahy Munkar
9. The Characteristics of Imam Husain as the Greatest Martyr (Sayyidus Syuhada) and the Saviour of Islam
10. A Theological Study on the Karbala Tragedy
11. The Movement and Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Great and Lasting Lesson for Morality (Human Character Building)

III. Philosophical-sufistic-ethical Studies
12. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Supreme Sacrifice for Maintaining the Idea of Holy and Authenticity in faith: A Phenomenological –existential study
13. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Great Sacrifice for Humanity and Civilization
14. A Psycho-sufistic Interpretation on the Holy Sacrifice of Imam Husain
15. The Imam Husain’s Martyrdom as a Necessary Decision in the Perspective of Human’s Responsibility (Amanat, Truth) as God’s vicegerent (khalifatullah)
16. The Teaching and Meaning of Islam (total submission) and Martyrdom in the Perspective of Mysticism
17. The Philosophical Account and Judgment on Moral Teachings and Messages of the Martyrdom of Imam Husain as


I. Historical-socio-cultural Studies

1. Descriptive-historical Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy

This topic is introduced to explain historical background the Karbala tragedy in comprehensive and systematic manner.
· To describe in details the historical context of the Karbala tragedy
· To describe and elaborate each important event and occasion from the death of Mu’awiya, Yazid force to ask Imam Husain to give allegiance (bay’at), the journey Imam Husain from Madinah to Makkah
· To explore each important event and lesson from Imam Husain’s journey from Makkah to Karbala (8 Dzulhijjah to 10 Muharram 61 H)
· To elucidate important-historical even per minute the massacre of Imam Husain and his companions and family in Karbala
· To analyze the great-everlasting messages and sermons of Imam Husain during his journey (Madinah to Makkah and Makkah to Karbala)

2. Socio-political Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy
This subject is arranged to study social-political background the massacre of Imam Husain and his companions and relatives in Karbala.
· To investigate the political condition during Mu’awiya reign in which human rights were violated and denied as well as terrorism spread in the Muslim community
· To analyze in political perspective why Mu’awiya had a strong sense of hatred towards the family of the Holy Prophet as well as having much effort to harm them for twenty years
· To explore why Mu’awiyah appointed his son, Yazid, as his successor to take the Islamic caliphate
· To elaborate the practice and ways of paying oath of allegiance (bay’at) to Yazid
· To discover the reasons why Imam Husain moved to Makkah from Madinah as well as from Madinah to Kufah (in fact, to Karbala) though he has known the betrayal of Kufah people indicated by the death of his deputies (Muslim bin Aqil and Hani)

3. Socio-cultural Analysis of the Karbala Tragedy
This theme is designed to focus on socio-cultural background and context of the massacre of Imam Husain and his companions and relatives
· To explore the way of thought and mental attitude of the majority of Muslim community when Mu’awiya and Yazid forced them to pay oath of allegiance (bay’at) to Yazid.
· To explain the meaning and implication of allegiance to the tyrannical rulers. There is a famous poem that reflects the cruel situation: “I do not know what happened to the Muslim men; or how Yazid happened to be the king amongst them”.
· To expose character and psychology of tyrants as denoted by Mu’awiya and Yazid
· To discover the lessons from Imam Husain movement how he taught the Muslim people not to be surrendered disgracefully by slavery of rulers
· To explore the idea of freedom and dignity of mankind that was initiated by Imam Husain and his companions and relatives in their age

4. The Genealogy Study of The Great Sacrifice of Imam Husain from The Prophet Ibrahim as
This topic is presented to undertake a genealogical study of the great sacrifice of Imam Husain that has a chain of holy sacrifice to the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim as.
· To describe in systematic way the holy chain of great sacrifice from the Prophet Ibrahim as through his descendant the Prophet Ismail as.
· To explain what Iqbal means by his poems: “The end of it was Husain; while its beginning was Ismail”
· To explain the meaning of the verse of the Holy Quran ..” And (remember) when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.” (QS 2:124)
· To explore the relation and spiritual chain of the family Ibrahim AS and the Promised Last Apostle Muhammad SAW and the Twelve Imams
· To elaborate the fact that the martyrdom of Imam Husain was prophesied by the scriptural books of Hindu, Zoroaster, Jew (The Old Testament) and Christianity (The New Testament)

5. The Effect of Imam Husain’s Martyrdom for Saving Islam from Distortion and Destruction
The purpose of this topic is to study the effect of the martyrdom of Imam Husain in preserving the authentic Islamic teachings and the true spirit of Islam as well as the dignity of Islamic history
· To explore the questions what the benefits of the martyrdom of Imam Husain for Islam and humanity
· To elaborate the main aim and objectives of Imam Husain’s revolt in the context of rescuing Islamic teachings and civilization from the deviation
· To bring up the fact that by the time Imam Husain’s revolt the Islamic community suffered from various disease in different domains (oppression, nepotism, injustice, and violation of human rights in social domain; corruption, bribery, cheating, moral disorientation, and indifference/passivity of the community in ethical domain; distortion of the sunnah, fabrication of hadith, the ruling king’s misleading propaganda, and deviations of Islamic laws and doctrines in religious domain)
· To reveal the reasons why Imam Husain took his wife (Saribanu), sister (Zainab al-Kubra), children (Ali Zainal ‘Abidin Al-Sajjad, Fatimah, Sukayna, Ali Akbar), brothers (Al-‘Abbas, Ja’far), nephews (Al-Qasim, Abdullah) to go to Karbala
· To analyze the speeches of Lady Zainab and Ali bin Husain Al-Sajjad in some events in the court of Yazid and Ibn Ziyad, as well as in front of Kufa and Damascus people

6. The Imam Husain’s Martyrdom in Indonesia Literary and Tradition
This issue covers the description and explanatory account on Imam Husain’s martyrdom in Karbala at Ashura in literary and tradition of Indonesia’s regions and provinces.
· To describe in depth the Ashura processions that become part of the Aceh culture
· To analyze the content and meaning of Hamzah Fansuri’s literary about Imam Husain’s martyrdom
· To elaborate the “Tabuik” tradition in Pariaman, West Sumatera as well as in Bengkulu
· To analyze the Java’s literary and tradition concerning Ashura processions
· To study the great epic of Imam Husain in other regions of Indonesia such as Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku archipelagos

II. Religious (Islamic Tradition)–theological-moral Studies
7. The Spirit and Core Messages of The Quranic Teachings in relation to the Martyrdom of Imam Husain

This subject is presented to study in depth and comprehensive manner the supreme martyrdom of Imam Husain in accordance with the Quranic teachings
· To reveal the spirit and core messages of the Holy Quran for mankind
· To explain the Quranic teachings about the doctrines of amar ma’ruf nahi munkar and jihad in relation to the Imam Husain’s revolt
· To analyze the accordance of Quranic doctrine of shahadah with the Imam Husain’s martyrdom
· To analyze the concordance of Quranic teachings about the doctrine of ummat-imamat with regard to the Imam Husain movement
· To search and identify the verses of the Holy Quran that have correspondence with the great epic event of martyrdom of Imam Husain

8. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain in the Perspective of the Doctrine of Amar Ma’ruf Nahy Munkar
This topic is presented to study the Imam Husain’ revolt in the perspective of the doctrine of amar ma’ruf nahy munkar in elaborative way and explanatory description
? To analyze the speech of Imam Husain, Wa innama kharajtu li talabi-l islahi fi ummaati jaddi…. ”I have not arisen for the purpose exuberance, arrogance, corruption or oppression, but to reform my grandfather’s (The Prophet Muhammad P.B.U H.) Ummah. I want to promote virtue and denounce the evil (amar ma’ruf wa nahy munkar), and take the course of my father (Imam Ali bin Abi Thalib) and grand-father”
· To expose the social-moral-religious conditions by the time Imam Husain rose against despotic, invalid ruler Yazid
· To explore systematically the reasons why Imam Husain had strong determination to go to Karbala although he knew that he would be killed
· To find out the root causes of the rise of Imam Husain since the beginning Umayyad caliphate
· To explain why Imam Husain rejected Ibn ‘Abbas idea to cancel his journey to Karbala and to escape the troops of Yazid

9. The Characteristics of Imam Husain as the Greatest Martyr (Sayyidus Syuhada) and the Saviour of Islam
The purpose of this subject is to elaborate and give explanatory description the characteristics of Imam Husain as the Greatest Martyr and the Saviour of Islam
· To describe a brief biography of Imam Husain as well as his sayings
· To explore the meaning of the remark of the Holy Prophet, “Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. Allah loves him who loves Husayn. Husayn is the son of the Prophet and father of the Imams”.
· To elaborate the characteristics of Imam Husain as the grandson of the Holy Prophet, the son of Imam Ali bin Abi Thalib, and the third Imam of Ahlul-Bait
· To explain the characteristics of Imam Husain’s revolt: the main purpose, the method, and the way of communication (organization building)
· To elaborate the characteristics of Imam Husain’s relatives and companions (including al- Hurr Riyahi) who committed to accompany the Imam’s martyrdom

10. A Theological Study on the Karbala Tragedy
This topic is presented to analyze the Karbala tragedy from theological standpoint and background
· To explain the unique position of Imam Husain (as a successor of the Holy Prophet) in saving Islamic teachings
· To explore the root causes of indifference attitude (apathy, being passive) of the Islamic community towards injustice, terrorism, corruption, oppression, and distortion of Islamic teachings conducted by Mu’awiya and Yazid
· To analyze the saying of Iman Husain, “Some people worship God to gain His gifts; this is the worship of the merchants. Some worship Him to avoid His punishment; this is the worship of the slaves. Some worship Him solely to show gratitude towards Him; this is the worship of the free!”
· To expose why some companions of the Holy Prophet such as Abdullah ibn Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas did not pursue the path of Imam Husain’s revolt although they knew Imam Husain was on the right path
· To explore the teaching of taqdir and ikhtiar (free will) in relation to the Karbala tragedy

11. The Movement and Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Great and Lasting Lesson for Morality (Human Character Building)
This subject focuses on taking profound lessons from the movement and martyrdom of Imam Husain in Karbala for morality and instruction of human character building
· To explore in depth the reasons of the rise of Imam Husain along with his relatives and companions in moral perspective
· To expose the prevailing morality in Muslim society by the time the dictatorial kings of Mu’wiya and Yazid occupied Islamic caliphate
· To explain the meaning of Imam Husain’s remark: This world has changed and its good has turned tail. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? People are certainly the slaves of this world; religion is but a slaver on their tongues.
· To expose those who acknowledged the true path of Imam Husain but they in fact surrendered to Yazid troops (Ibn Ziyad) to battle against the Imam and his companions and relatives.
· To expose the causal factors why Kufa people betrayed Imam Husain
· To bring up the defection of a professional soldier al-Hurr bin Yazid Riyahi to move from the side of Ibn Ziyad and Yazid to the side of Imam Husain as the victory of Islamic conscience over the force of evil, as the victory of human dignity and character over the slavery and humiliation

III. Philosophical-sufistic-ethical Studies

12. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Supreme Sacrifice for Maintaining the Idea of Holy and Authenticity in faith: A Phenomenological–existential study
The purpose of this subject is to delineate the significance of the martyrdom and sacrifice of Imam Husain for sustaining the idea of holy and authenticity in faith and religious belief.
· To bring up the importance of keeping the idea of holy and authenticity in faith and reason for religious people
· To explore, through phenomenological-existential approach, how Imam Husain taught us to be concerned with authenticity, sincerity, and dignity as human being as well as religious man; for example, an event of the Imam’s sermon on the night of Ashura in which Imam let all his companions to leave him.
· To reveal the profound messages and lessons that we can take from the sacrifice of Imam Husain in the term of authenticity what called ‘religious experience’
· To identify the self-sacrifice of Imam Husain and his companions and relatives as one of the supreme and real religious experience on which we should pay attention
· To signify the importance of sacrifice, suffering love, and holy commitment for supporting religious belief and life

13. The Martyrdom of Imam Husain as a Great Sacrifice for Humanity and Civilization
This topic is designed to elaborate the importance of the martyrdom of Imam Husain as a supreme sacrifice for maintaining human values and dignity.
· To discover and bring up the characteristics of Imam Husain’s revolt as the universalist-humanist ones
· To explain the reasons behind the rise of Imam Husain in the perspective of humanity
· To explore and identify the self sacrifice of Imam Husain as one of the supreme endeavour for mankind and civilization
· To explain the remark of Mahatma Gandhi, “.. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of Hussain the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission to save Islam. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle ..”
· To provide the reasons why Gibran Khalil Gibran says, Husayn is the light that illuminates all religions

14. A Psycho-sufistic Interpretation on the Holy Sacrifice of Imam Husain
The purpose of this subject matter is to present an interpretation of psychological-mysticism about the holy sacrifice of Imam Husain
· To describe the self-sacrifice of Imam Husain as the spiritual journey
· To explore and identify the process of Imam Husain’s revolt in the term of purification and perfection of the soul
· To explain in depth psychological-sufistic interpretation on a famous saying of Imam Husain: Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation.
· To bring up and identify the self-sacrifce of Imam Husain as a mode of real annihilation of ego and the self
· To bring up and identify the path of Imam Husain is the real model of Islamic mysticism, the actual Islamic mysticism
· To elucidate the meaning of Imam Husain’s saying, (O Allah).. I have left the entire world for the sake of You and I have orphaned my children so that I see You

15. The Imam Husain’s Martyrdom as a Necessary Decision in the Perspective of Human’s Responsibility (Amanat, Truth) as God’s vicegerent (khalifatullah)
This topic is presented to elucidate the fact that the Imam Husain’s martyrdom is a historical necessity in the context of human’s responsibility as God’s vicegerent
· To analyze the Imam Husain’s statement of rejection to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid
· To study the prevailing moral-socio-political-religious situation by the time Imam Husain’s revolt would be necessary
· To elaborate deeper the way and process of making decision Imam Husain pursued such that the martyrdom must be a historical necessity in the perspective of his responsibility as the Imam, religious leader
· To analyze the profound sermons and speeches of Imam Husain concerning his fulfillment of the true function of spiritual leader, the path to respond the reality
· To bring up the Imam Husain’s martyrdom as the path of identification of the truth for defending human responsibility and dignity

16. The Teaching and Meaning of Islam (total submission) and Martyrdom in the Perspective of Mysticism
The purpose of this subject is to understand in depth the martyrdom of Imam Husain as the holy sacrifice in the perspective of mysticism, particularly Islamic mysticism
· To reveal the greatest insight provided by mystical approach into the historical and immortal contribution of Imam Husain
· To introduce and define the meaning of mysticism as the path of love and the path of knowledge as well as the universal qualities of a mystic (Sufi)
· To identify the mystical qualities and characteristics of Imam Husain
· To delineate the generic meaning of Islam as a total submission and its relation to the practice of the self-sacrifice of Imam Husain in Karbala; relationship between being Muslim (submission to God) and being martyr (submission to God trough self sacrifice)
· To explain the remark of Annemaries Schimmel, Imam Husayn is the mystical model for those who want to pursue the path of love through suffering and sacrifice. He is the imam of the lovers.
· To explore the remark of Antoane Bara, Imam Hussein belongs to the whole world. He is the conscience of religions
· To establish Imam Husain is an exemplification of the real Islamic mysticism and a great mystical figure; to explain the Imam Husain’s saying, (O Allah).. I have left the entire world for the sake of You and I have orphaned my children so that I see You. So if I am cut into pieces fro the love of You, my heart would lean to none other than You

17. The Philosophical Account and Judgment on Moral Teachings and Messages of the Martyrdom of Imam Husain as
This topic is presented to study and explore moral teachings and messages of Imam Husain in philosophical explanation and assessment.
· To study the sermons and speeches of Imam Husain concerning moral commitment and teachings
· To explore the way of thought of Imam Husain in ethics. What are the principles of moral values that Imam Husain puts forward? How does he take moral decision?
· To study in ethical judgment the reasons behind Imam Husain’s decision to rise against despotic ruler Yazid through the practice of self sacrifice, being martyr
· To provide philosophical account on the significance and worth of the exercise of self-sacrifice for mankind
· To scrutinize the possibility of applying Imam Husain’s moral view becomes an established school of thought in ethics at the present-day world


Each writer is provided with the list of references, which are required for undertaking their research. There are two kinds of references:
(1) References that are available in ICAS library (one book is sent to each writer, i.e, the work of Antoane Bara, The Saviour; Husain dalam Kristianitas, Citra-Jakarta, 2007). The writers deserve to use this collections once they visit to ICAS library
(2) References in softcopies (the committee sends all writers a CD that contains 10 books and 60 essays; some of them are printed and sent to writers)

1. List of References (available in ICAS library)

Arabic and Persian edition
1. Abd al-Husain, Ayatullah, An-Nahdah Al-Husainiyah, al-Dar al-Islamiyah, Beirut,1988
2. Al-Aqqad, Abbas Mahmud, Abu Ash-Shuhada Husain bin Ali, al-Majma’ al-Alami li at-Taqrib baina al-Madhahib al-Islamiyah, Teheran, 2004
3. Al-Ghifari, Abd ar-Rasul, Karamat al-Imam al-Husaini, Lebanon, al-Dar al-Islamiyah, 2002
4. Ash-Shushtary, Syeikh Ja’far, Masa’ib al-Imam al-Husain, Lebanon, al-Dar al-Islamiyah li At-Taba’at wa An-Nashr wa at-Tauji’, 2005
5. Farhi, Sayid Ali, Nahdatu Husain, Qum, 1343 H
6. Hamdani, Ahmad Sabri, Adab Husain; Hamasatuhu, Qum, Muassasat an-Nashr al-Islamy
7. Ibrahim, Muhammad, Barasy Tarikh Ashura’, 1366 H
8. Majmu’at min al-Bahithin, Dirasat wa Buhuth Mu’tamar Al-Imam al-Husain,
9. Majmu’at min al-Bahitsin, AL-Imam al-Husain, Suriah, 1424 H
10. Nuruddin, Sayyid Hasan, Ashura fi al-Adab al-Amily al-Mu’asir, Lebanon, al-Dar al-Islamiyah, 1988
11. Qummi, Syeikh Abbas, Waqi’atu Karbala, Qum, 1382 H
12. Rohnamo, Zainal Abidin, Zendegony Imam Husain, Teheran, 1376 H
13. Syahdi, Sayyid Ja’far, Qiyamu Husain, Qum, 1343 H
14. Syamsuddin, Mohammad Mahdi, Thaurat al-Husain fi Wijdan ash- Sha’bi, Beirut, Dar at-Ta’aruf li al-Matbu’at, 1981
15. —————————————–, ‘Ashura’, Al-Dar al- Islamiyah, Berut, 1982
16. Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi Misbah, Båriqah min Samåi Karbala, Beirut, al-Darr al-Ma’arif, 2003

English Edition
17. Ali, S.V. Mir Ahmed, Husain; The Saviour of Islam, Ansariyan Publications, Qum 2005
18. Al-Jibouri, Yasin T, Karbala and Beyond, Ansariyan Publicatiosn, Qum 2002
19. Qummi, Syaikh Abbas, Nafasul Mahmoom, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, 2005
20. Rizvi, Sayyid Saeed Akhtar, Understanding Karbala, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, 2006
21. Zakir, Tears and Tributes, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, 2004

Indonesian edition
22. Bara, Antoane, The Saviour; Husain dalam Kristianitas, Jakarta, Citra, 2007
23. Jalali, A. H, Tragedi 10 Muharram; Sebuah Narasi, Jakarta, Al-Huda, 2007
24. Labib, Muhsin, Husain; Sang Ksatria Langit, Penerbit Lentera, Jakarta, 2004
25. Munfarid, A.N, Karbala, Mitra Zaman, Bandung, 2005
26. Thawus, Duka Padang Karbala, Jakarta, 1999

2. List of References (Softcopies)

10 Books

1. Abd Al- Razzaq al- Muqarram, Maqtal_al-Husain: Martyrdom epic of Imam al-Husain
2. Abu Muhammad Zaynu’l Abidin, An Everlasting Instruction-Imam Husayn’s Journey to Makka
3. Ali Husain Jalali, Karbala & Ashura
4. Daniel Rudman, Mysticism and Imam Husayn
5. Dr. Ibrahim Ayati, A Probe Into the History of Ashura
6. Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, The Martyr of Karbala
7. Imam Muhammad Shirazi, Husain-The Sacrifice for mankind
8. Imam Husain-Quotes about and by him
9. Muharram (from hujjat-workshop)
10. Ziyarat_Ashura_Commentary

List of 60 Essays
8 Essays in Bahasa Indonesia:
1. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Imam Husain dan Kesyahidannya
2. Annemarie Schimmel, Karbala dan Imam Husain dalam Kesusastraan
3. Husein Rahasia Kekekalan Semua Agama
4. DR. Asqar Furuqi, Imam Husain dan Air di Karbala
5. Nasihat-nasihat suci Imam Husai A.S
6. Peran Imam Husain Melestarikan Ajaran Islam
7. Revolusi Imam Husain a.s
8. Rute Imam Husain dari Mekah ke Karbala

52 Essays in Englsih:
1. Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, A Fiction- The Fast of ‘Ashura
2. Dr. Ali Shariati, After Shahadat An excerpt from Jihad and Shahadat
3. Antoine Bara, Imam Hussein belongs to the whole world
4. Martyr Murtada Mutahhari, Ashura – History and Popular Legend
5. Ashura – Martyrdom of Imam Husayn
6. Mullah Bashir Rahim, Dhakiri
7. Did Imam al-Husain (AS) Know He Would Be killed
8. Lynda Clarke, Elegy (Marthiya) on Husayn- Arabic and Persian
9. Every day is Ashura and every land is Kerbala
10. Mulla Bashir Rahim, From Ibrahim to Husain, Mina to karbala
11. Mahatma Gandhi, I learnt from Husayn how to be wronged and be a winner
12. Husain (as) In the Eyes of Muslim and Non-Muslim Scholars
13. Hussain – the Universalist
14. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar, Karbala’, an Enduring Paradigm of Islamic Revivalism [1]
15. Bashir Rahim, Karbala- The Islamic Conscience
16. Karbala- The Everlasting Stand
17. Annemarie Schimmel, Karbala and the Imam Husayn
18. Ramzan Sabir, Karbala – Chain of Events
19. Jahane Rumi (Shah Ast Hussain)
20. Iqbal, Islam and Karbala
21. Iman Hussein Revolution, Reasons and Motives
22. S.J Hussain, Imams – Clear and Coherent Policy
23. Imam Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him)
24. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Imam Husain And His Martyrdom
25. Imam Husain (AS)- A brief Description and Analysis
26. Hussain in the eyes of Humanity
27. Dr. Mahmoud. Ayoub, The Excellences of the Imam Husayn in Sunni Hadith Tradition
28. Annemarie Schimmel, The Encyclopedia of Religion
29. H. E. Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, The Connotations of Ashoura
30. Mulla Bashir Rahim, The Cause
31. Zakir, The Betrayal in Kufa An excerpt from Tears and Tributes
32. Tawil of Karbala
33. Some Traditions on Imam al-Husain (AS)
34. Significance of Ashura
35. Sheikh Al-Ameeni ,Our Husayn (a), Mourning him and his Karbala
36. Sheikh Al-Ameeni ,Our Husain, Mourning him and his Karbala
37. Seyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, Martyrdom of Imam Husayn and the Muslim and Jewish Calendars
38. Bashir Rahim, Karbala-The Cause
39. Karbala, the Islamic Conscience
40. Allama Tabatabaei, Were the policies of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (by Allama Tabatabaei)
41. Too many Yazids and no Imam Husain in the Ummah today
42. The-tragedy-of-KarbalaI-I
43. Zakir, The Youths of Karbala
44. Shaheed Murtadha Mutahhari, The Truth about Hussain’s Revolt
45. The Tragedy of Karbala
46. The Massacre of Karbala
47. The Martyrs of Karbala-The Kind of Men They Were
48. Shaykh Al-Mufid, The Journey of Imam Husayn
49. S.H.M Jafri, The Imam Husayn’s Concepts of Religion and Leadership
50. Mulla Bashir Rahim,The History and Philosophy of Aza of Imam Husayn (a)
51. The Great Tragedy of Karbala
52. The Glorious Message of Ashura


There are 21 participants who take part in this research. They are:
1. Prof. Dr. Jalaluddin Rakhmat
2. Prof. Dr. M. Amin Abdullah
3. Prof. Dr. Mulyadhi Kartanegara
4. Prof. Dr. Husni Rahim
5. Prof. Dr. Ridwan Lubis
6. Prof. Dr. Amsal Bachtiar
7. Dr. Abdul Hadi W.M
8. Dr. Haidar Bagir
9. Dr. Seyyed Mohsen Tabatabaei
10. Dr. Anies Baswedan
11. Dr. Yudi Latif
12. Dr. Ihsan Ali Fauzi
13. Dr. Alef Theria Wasim
14. Husein Shahab, MA
15. Husain Heriyanto, MHum
16. Muhsin Labib, MA
17. Ibrahim Muharam, MA
18. Husein Al-Kaff, MA
19. Musa Kazhim
20. Edwin Arifin, MA
21. Gerardette Philips, MA


Advisor: Seyyed Mohsen Tabatabei (Director of ICAS Jakarta)
Chairman: Husain Heriyanto (Head of Research Department of ICAS Jakarta)
Secretary: Aan Rukmana
Supporting staff: Ai Fatimah Nur Fuad, Ahmad Samantho, Syamsul Bima, Saifuddin


The research seminar (workshop) will be held on Saturday, 12 April 2008.
The venue (3 alternatives):
(1) Campus of ICAS Jakarta
(2) Campus of Paramadina University, Jakarta
(3) Campus of State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatulah, Jakarta


12 – 30 November 2007: Searching and collecting references, books, and papers through buying, borrowing, browsing, copying, and bookbinding

7 – 17 November 2007: Arranging the draft proposal of the research seminar

7 – 30 November 2007: Holding discussion and meetings with several scholars, lecturers about the topics, timetable, list of writers

21 Nov. – 22 Dec. 2007: Doing research in depth along with arranging the final proposal of the research seminar as well as Term of References (TOR) for each topic of paper (17 topics) along with its expectation, scope, purposes

17 Nov. – 22 Dec. 2007: Seeking the writers’ confirmation to take part in research

22 – 26 Dec. 2007: Printing and bookbinding of the proposal

26 – 29 December 2007: Sending official letter calling for papers to writers

2 Jan. – 25 Feb. 2008 Monitoring the activity of writing papers including providing writers with references are required

25 February 2008: The Deadline of submission of papers

25 Feb. – 8 March 2008: The collection and selection of papers

2 Feb – 29 March 2008: Organizing all preparations are required in holding the seminar (bookbinding of collection of papers, printing brochure, banner, the venue)

8 March 2008: Sending invitation letter to selected writers for participating in workshop

12 April 2008: Holding the workshop

14 April – 10 May 2008: The submission of revised and improved papers

12 – 31 May 2008: The process of editing and proofing of collected papers in preparation of publishing books as well as seeking cooperation with publisher

June 2008: Publishing the book entitled The Awakening of Human Conscience: the Everlasting Lessons from the Sacrifice of Iman Husain for Our Civilization Today.*** (Prepared by Husein Heriyanto & Ahmad Samantho