Biography/ Occasion

Ashura: The Brief Story

249-250

 

Just over 50 years of the death of Muhammad (the last Prophet of Islam), the Muslim ruler ship was sliding into corruption under the tyrant Yazid, from the Umayyad family.

Imam Hussain (AS) the son of Imam Ali (AS) and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) took a stand against Yazid’s evil rule. Whilst Yazid was feared and hated for his ruthlessness, Imam Hussain (AS) was loved and respected by society. Yazid realized this, and understood that if he could convince Imam Hussain (AS) to support him, the people would too.

Imam Hussain (AS) had a choice. To support the tyrant and live a comfortable life full of luxury, or to refuse and likely be killed for his decision. What should he do? What would you or I do? For Imam Hussain (AS) he could not live his life as a supporter of tyranny, and the choice for him was simple. Imam Hussain (AS) refused. He said “I only desire to spread good values and prevent evil”

The Journey
Imam Hussain (AS) was forced to migrate under threat of violence.

Having refused to support Yazid, Imam Hussain (AS) knew his life was in danger. Yazid did not allow anyone to oppose him, and adopted a policy of killing those who disagreed with him. Cautious of this, Imam Hussain (AS) decided to leave his hometown of Medina, and take his family Mecca.

Mecca, the capital city of Islam and home to the Ka’ba, Imam Hussain (AS) hoped Yazid would respect the holy city and not follow Imam Hussain (AS) and his family. However, Yazid did not. Forced to leave Mecca, Imam Hussain (AS) set course for Kufa. A city in Iraq where he had received letters of support from. Yazid predicted this and sent a huge army to block Imam Hussain (AS) from reaching Kufa, and force them to the desert town of Karbala.

Once they reached Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) with his family 72 companions were surrounded by Yazid’s forces of up to 30,000 men. Despite being hugely outnumbered and with limited access to water, Imam Hussain (AS) refused to give up. Yazid gave Imam Hussain (AS) a final choice. To either support the government, or be killed.

After receiving the final ultimatum from Yazid, Imam Hussain (AS) realized he would be killed in a matter of days.

Imam Hussain (AS) gathered his companions and urged them to escape. He explained that it was him who Yazid wished to kill, and not them. Again, Imam Hussain (AS)’s selflessness shone through. Having been deprived of water in the hot desert, he urged his supporters to save themselves.

Despite this, Imam Hussain (AS)’s men stayed loyal to him and stayed true to their principles. Within a few days Yazid ordered his army to kill Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions. When the dust settled, Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions were killed. Throughout the forces of Yazid promised him he could leave freely if he chooses to support Yazid, but every time Imam Hussain (AS) refused and was eventually killed, holding firmly to his principles.

The Final Stand

Imam Hussain (AS) stood by his principles and made a selfless sacrifice.

A legacy of hope

Imam Hussain (AS) was victorious through his timeless legacy.

After his death, Imam Hussain (AS)’s family were taken captive. His sister, Zainab, took up the role of leadership and gave an inspiring speech in Yazid’s palace, condemning his actions and his style of leadership.

Zainab(AS) was one of the first to be inspired by Imam Hussain (AS)’s stand and his principles. Despite the sexism that existed in society at the time, she refused to be silent and held Yazid and his ministers to account for their role in the moral decay of society.

Imam Hussain (AS)’s example is that one man can stand against an army, and in giving his life inspire those after him to overthrow the abusive Umayyad dynasty. Just as those who lived in the 7th century were inspired by Imam Hussain (AS)’s stand, so are the millions today who pay homage to Imam Hussain (AS) for his stand and mourn his death. People from all around the world visit the grave of Imam Hussain (AS) in Karbala to pay their respects.

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