“The best of Jihad is that of a word of right spoken to an unjust ruler.” (Prophet Muhammad PBUH)
Late summer is here and so is this year’s day of Ashura. While rains have been moistening the homeland, tears have been moistening the eyes. Today, the whole Muslim Ummah remembers the Battle of Karbala. It stirs our memory and emotions. It moves our hearts like nothing. Today, we mourn and introspect. We comprehend and spread the statement of the day of Ashura: stand for the truth and justice; be patient and never give in to suppression and falsehood. The story dates back to 680 CE (Muharram, 61 AH). It was on the 10th of October. Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of our Prophet (pbuh) and son of Hazrat Ali (RA)—the fourth Muslim Khalifa—stepped onto the turf of Karbala, a field in central Iraq, on the banks of Euphrates river, southwest of Baghdad. A bunch of believers with firm faith and courage accompanied him on this endeavour. They were 72 in number. This group included the young as well as the old. The underlying motives that led to this battle were many. Notable among them were Yazid’s greed for power and prolonged reign. He wanted to establish his rule in the sovereignty. His rule was not based on the core Islamic and human values but on personal purposes.
Hussain’s (AS) words of bravery still resonate in the ears of each Muslim man and woman, the youthful and the old: “By God, I’ll never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave.” And that is our message on this day of the Aashura.
Had this rule been allowed to get established, it would have meant a compromise over the principles of humanity, justice and righteousness. Slavery, injustice and fallacy was the order of the day in his existing rule. Hussain (AS) decided to stand against this. He did not bow down before the mighty tyrant. He stood for truth, rectitude and religion. The battle of Karbala gives us the same message—stand for justice, truthfulness and righteousness, come what may. These 72 fighters kept the Islamic flag flying high. They acted with patience, bravery and faith in Allah. They showed the whole world how a bunch of believers can combat and overcome a huge army of 40 thousand disbelievers. They sacrificed their lives in the battlefield but upheld the principles of Islam. This is the reason why even non-muslims acknowledge Hussain’s capabilities. Gandhi once said, “I learned from Hussain (AS) how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” Today, the whole Muslim Ummah is in disorder and discord. We have no concrete direction. There is none who stands for us. We are the most tyrannized today. Rectitude, righteousness and candour seem long gone. We are smaller and set apart. Today, we need leadership like Hazrat Umar (RA) and warriors like Hussain and Hassan (AS). There are these messages in the entire ballad of the Battle of Karbala. We necessitate to be patient and not get astray. We need to possess faith in what has been promised by Allah. Patience pays. Likewise, we need to differ from the oppressors. We demand to believe in and strive for peace and not vengeance. We should blow out the thirst of those who are breathless. No matter how badly the world treats us, let’s not give up. Let us fight with a pen, a tongue, a hand and by whatever means we could. Stand for the right. Denounce the wrong. Hussain’s (AS) words of bravery still resonate in the ears of each Muslim man and woman, the youthful and the old: “By God, I’ll never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave.” And that is our message on this day of the Aashura.