In praise of Imam Hussain (RA)


Abdul Rasood Syed

THE annals of Islam are replete with countless examples of sacrifices for upholding the spirit and veracity of Islam. But the faith, commitment and fortitude with which Hazrat Imam Husain (RA), his kinsfolk and a tiny contingent of his faithful followers sacrificed their lives at the arid plane of Karbala on 10th of Moharam in 61 A.H in their struggle against the forces of evil and oppression, stand out as a unique and unparalleled example of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice for preserving the spirit, the soul of the Islamic faith enshrined in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. The martyrs of Karbala wrote with their blood an ineffaceable chapter of fortitude and sacrifice that will continue to inspire mankind till eternity.
The celebrated literati, touched by the charismatic personality of Imam Hussain (RA), paid him glowing tribute for his unmatched sacrifice, courage and devotion to the noble cause of Islam. Dr Anne Marie Schimmel, one of the most profound western scholars of Islam, writes “it is from Hussain (RA) that we have learnt the message of the Holy Quran”. Another renowned British historian Edward Gibbon pays tribute to Imam Hussain (RA) in the following words: “In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Imam Hussain (RA) will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader”. (The Decline and fall of Roman Empire, London, 1911 vol: 5 pp, 391-2) Charles Dickens, a famous English novelist, argues: “If Hussain had fought to quench his worldly desires… then I don’t understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.”
Robert Durey Osborn, the Major of Bengal staff Corps (1835-1889) states: Hussein had a child named Ali Asghar nearly a year old. He had accompanied his father in this terrible march. Touched by its cries, he took the infant in his arms and wept. At that instant, a shaft from the hostile ranks pierced the child’s ear, and it expired in his father’s arms. Hussain placed the little corpse upon the ground. “We come from God, and we return to Him! He cried; O Lord, give me strength to bear these misfortunes…Faint with thirst, and exhausted with wounds, he fought with desperate courage, slaying several of his antagonists. At last he was cut down from behind; at the same instance a lance was thrust through his back and bore him to the ground; as the dealer of this last blow withdrew his weapon, the ill-fated son of Ali rolled over a corpse.
The head was severed from the trunk; the trunk was trampled under the hoofs of the victors’ horses; and the next morning the women and a surviving infant son were carried away to Koufa. The bodies of Husain and his followers were left unburied on the spot where they fell. For three days they remained exposed to the sun and the night dew, the vultures and the prowling animals of the waste; but then the inhabitants of a neighbouring village, struck with horror that the body of a grandson of the Prophet should be thus shamefully abandoned to the unclean beasts of the field, dared the anger of Obaidallah, and interred the body of the martyr and those of his heroic friends.”(Islam Under the Arabs, Delaware, 1976, pp. 126-7)
Thomas Carlyle (Scottish historian and essayist) explains: “The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala 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!” Dr Radha Krishnan eulogizes venerated Imam in the words as follows: “Though Imam Hussain gave his life years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.” Mahatma Gandhi comments: “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 (RA), the great saint.” Dr Rajendra Prasad opines: “The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (RA) is not limited to one country, or nation, but it is the hereditary state of the brotherhood of all mankind.” Dr Radha Krishnan writes: “Though Imam Hussain (RA) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”
Mrs Sarojini Naidu writes: “I congratulate Muslims that from among them, Hussain (RA), a great human being was born who is revered and honored totally by all communities”. Allama Iqbal, the great scholar and poet, in his book Rumooz-e-Bekhudi says: “He (Hussein) annihilated despotism till the day of resurrection; the sugar of his blood brought forth the garden of liberty. For truth he rolled in dust and blood and thus he had fortified the foundation of Islam… the secret of Quran we have learnt from Hazrat Imam Hussein’s example”. Quaid-i-Azam remembers Imam Hussein (RA) in the following words: “the world is unable to present an example finer and brighter than the personality of Imam Hussain in as much as he was the embodiment of love and valor and personification of sacrifice and devotion. Every Muslim should learn a lesson from his life and should receive guidance from him.” To cap it all, Let me quote famous lines of one of the greatest poets of Urdu Josh Malihabadi “Let humanity awaken, then every nation will claim Hussein (RA) as their own”.
— The writer is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.