Lesson from the Karbala tragedy

Muslims on Sunday will recall worldwide, including Bangladesh, the greatest of tragedies that they have known , the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SM) in the desert sands of Karabala — which is now a part of present day Iraq –on this day fourteen hundred years ago . The day is called the Ashura, the 10th day in the Islamic month of Muharram when this epic tragedy happened.
The Imam with his handful of companions were besieged by the army of the despotic and very cruel ruler Yazid who only sought the acceptance of his rule by Imam Hussain and his followers as the main condition for sparing their lives. The Imam and his family members and followers were only some 72 in number whereas the forces of Yazid were some twenty to thirty thousand well armed horsemen. Even among the ones in the Imam’s camp, some were only women and children who could hardly contribute to his strength in facing the very mighty enemy. Thus, surrounded on all sides by vastly superior forces, cut off from water and food for days, the small band of the faithful led by the Imam were worn down by the elements and the overwhelmingly powerful enemy breathing down their neck.
They could choose surrender and acceptance of the terms set by the enemy. But this was not to be because they were very deeply resolved in their minds not to compromise with wickedness, despotism and depravity to uphold the glorious tradition of Prophet Mohammed (SM) that the duties of a true Muslim is never to give in to the forces of evil under any circumstances but to struggle to the utmost to uphold truth and justice and have faith in only Almighty Allah. Thus, in order to uphold this most honorable and virtuous Islamic tradition, Imam Hussain and all of his companions decided to embrace certain death and to go down fighting than agreeing to the conditions set by the despicable tyrant.
It was a spectacle of matchless sacrifice and heroism the like of which the world has never seen. Even before the arrival of the Ashura, the Imam’s follower –physically weakened but spiritually invincible– died valiantly in battle one by one knowing the surety of their deaths at the hands of the enemy forces. Then came the day of the Ashura. The family members of Imam Hussain similarly laid down their lives in battle and so did the Imam, finally and most valiantly as the enemy’s arrows pierced the bosom of his remaining infant son whom he made a last desperate attempt to provide a drink of water. The heads of the slain ones in the Imam’s camp including that of the Imam were cut off from their bodies and carried in pikes. The bodies were dragged and trampled by horses to disfigure them. Such were the barbarities and cruelties which have probably no other parallels in human history. So also occurred the saddest of tragedies that Muslims have known.
But did the unique sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers go in vain ? Surely not. For the memories of the great sacrifice at Karbala are revered to this day by the world’s Muslims while there is none to praise or pray for Yazid or his descendants. On the other hand, Karbala has remained an inspiration for Muslims down the ages– to teach them to be absolutely unflinching in not compromising with evil in any form but to be most scrupulously guided always and in all situations by the Islamic quest for truth, justice, kindness, fairplay and complete submission to Almighty Allah. Besides, the very resolute stand taken by Imam Hussain and his companions at Karbala remain as a beacon of light not only to Muslims but also to all members of the human race, regardless of their religious faiths, who believe that goodness and truth must always be upheld and promoted no matter the personal costs.


Top