"Peace on you, O Aba Abd-Allah! Peace on you, O son of the Prophet of Allah! Peace on you, O chosen one of Allah and son of His chosen one! Peace on you, O son of the Commander of the Faithful and the Chief of the Legatees! Peace on you, O son of Fatemah, the Leader of the world’s womankind. Peace on you the avenger of whose blood is Allah… and whose blood remains unavenged!
What you read is the opening passage of the famous Ziyarat-e Ashura that the faithful recite on the 10th of Moharram every year to salute in the proper way the Chief of Martyrs, while commemorating history’s most bloodcurdling tragedy. Imam Husain (AS) needs no introduction. The passage which we recited is proof of his immaculate pedigree – exalted by God Almighty and protected from any uncleanness, as ayah 33 of Surah Ahzab says:
“We have desired to remove all uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt and keep you thoroughly purified.”
Moreover, on the Day of Ashura, while addressing the hordes ganged up against him, Imam Husain (AS) himself said in the following in an eloquent speech:
"Am I not the son of your Prophet's daughter? Is the wasi (or vicegerent) of your Prophet and his cousin and the first person, who expressed belief in Allah and confirmed what was brought by His Prophet, not my father? Is the Doyen of Martyrs Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib not the uncle of my father? Is the martyr Ja'far bin Abi Talib who has two wings (in paradise) and flies with Allah's angels not my uncle? Have you not heard that the Prophet has said about me and my brother: "These two sons of mine are the chiefs of the young men of Paradise".
The Imam continued his address till he said: "By Allah I will not pledge allegiance to these people like weak and mean persons and will not flee the battlefield like slaves while fighting against the rascals. I seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of you people and of every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of Judgment".
Yet despite his impeccable credentials, he was martyred in the most cruel and brutal manner by persons who very well knew his prime position as the pivot of Islam.
Why? The answer is simple. Imam Husain (AS) refused to acknowledge the illegitimate rule of the impious and ungodly tyrant, Yazid ibn Mu’awiyya, who was masquerading as caliph of Muslims, even though he openly rejected any belief in Islam. Then, who made him the ruler, and how come the majority of the so-called Muslims of those days yielded to his Godless rule?
These are good questions indeed, which are also relevant to our own times, when persons pretending to be puritanical Muslims and hailed as such by the Zionist-controlled western press, are behaving in the manner of Yazid and the Omayyads by seizing control of Muslim lands, massacring Muslims, and desecrating the holy shrines of the Prophets of God – as happened to the mausoleums of the Prophets Jonah, Seth and Georges, in Iraq over a year ago.
This is the reason we continue to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) in order to keep our faith and conscience alive. Our tears for the Imam, his sons – 18-year old Ali Akbar and 6-month infant Ali Asghar – his brothers, including the valiant standard-bearer Abu’l-Fazl al-Abbas, his nephews, and his steadfast companions, are not signs of sorrow, but proof of the inspiration we receive by contemplating on the magnitude of the tragedy of Karbala.
At the same time, there is no desire for vengeance in our hearts, because the message of Imam Husain is one of love, affection, courtesy, unity, and brotherhood – not just among Muslims but fraternity with the followers of other creeds as well.
Of course, there is the Avenger for the sacred blood of Imam Husain (AS). And He is God Almighty as we read in the Ziyarat-e Ashura. His instrument of bringing to justice the killers of the Prophet’s grandson and those who endorsed, and still continue to endorse his killing, is the Awaited Saviour of mankind. When Imam Mahdi (AS) appears, along with Prophet Jesus (AS) establish the global government of peace, prosperity and justice, all traces of corruption and oppression will vanish from Planet Earth. In the meantime, we continue to commemorate the martyrdom of the Chief of Martyrs and salute him with a worthy salutation on the Day of Ashura, as was taught to us by his grandson, Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (AS), who was present in Karbala as a 4-year old boy.
Here are some thought-provoking passages:
"O Aba Abd-Allah, your martyrdom was a great calamity and the cause of great distress for us and all followers of Islam! It was a tremendous calamity that befell the heavens and which affected all the denizens of the heavens! May Allah’s curse be on those who instituted a regime of wrongdoing and injustice against you Ahl al-Bayt! May Allah’s curse be on those who sidelined you from your rightful station and withheld from you the status that Allah had assigned you! May Allah’s curse be on those who slew you, and may His curse be on those who paved the way for them making it possible to wage war against you! Before God and you, I repudiate them, their supporters, their followers and those who befriend them!
"O Aba Abd-Allah! I make peace with those who are at peace with you and will make war against those who are at war with you, till the Day of Resurrection. May Allah’s curse be on the clan of Ziyad and the clan of Marwan! May Allah’s curse be on the generality of the Umayyads! May Allah’s curse be on the son of Marjanah! May Allah’s curse be on Umar ibn Sa'd! May Allah’s curse be on Shimr! May Allah’s curse be on the lot who saddled and harnessed their mounts and patrolled the land for the battle against you! Dearer than my father and mother, your martyrdom has caused me great sorrow! I beseech Allah, who has honoured you with your station and honoured me through you, to enable me to avenge your blood with the God-aided Imam from the Family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Family! O Allah, make me eminent with You in the world and the Hereafter through Husain, peace on him!”
The revolution of Imam Husain (AS) was thus a humanitarian movement spearheaded by one of the great leaders of all time. The principles and laws of Islam demanded that the grandson of the Prophet of Islam take the appropriate action to warn the Ummah of the evil situation which it was in, and to stand in the way of the deviating ruler. As he himself had remarked when he left Medina for the last time, "I am not rising (against Yazid) as an arrogant person, or a mischief-monger. I have risen (against Yazid) as I seek to reform the Ummah of my grandfather. I wish to bid the good and forbid the evil."
Karbala, therefore, is that high water mark in history when the veil of hypocrisy was ripped from the faces of those masquerading as Muslims by Imam Husain (AS). Karbala invites us to contemplate on the various dimensions of the epic of the Prophet’s grandson. For instance, Imam Husain (AS)