Imam Sajjad, Imam Hussain And Hazrat Abbas (Alayhem Assalam)
The valour, humility, and sacrifices from some of the best people in history to stand against injustice
The story of Karbala is not just a historical tragedy. It’s a movement that has changed the course of history as we know it. The story of Karbala has become central to the Islamic call for justice and goodness to defeat the ills of oppression, tyranny, and hypocrisy. In this article, we’ll be outlining three heroes from that tragic event whose words and actions saved the message of the Prophet Muhammad ( saw ) and Islam itself.
Imam Hussain (as)
After the betrayals and assassinations of his father, Imam Ali (as), and brother, Imam Hassan (as), Imam Hussain’s (as) refusal of allegiance to the tyrannical Yazid was followed by further discord. In his travels to Makkah, Imam Hussain (as) planned to avoid conflict with Yazid, and delivered a powerful sermon to the people, in which he said, “You have taken lightly your duties as leaders. You have neglected the rights of the oppressed and the lowly, but have assiduously pursued what you regard as your personal rights.” (The Sermon of Mina).
Growing up in the house of the prophet, Imam Hussain (as) was highly regarded for his just nature, compassion and morality. From his youth up until his adult life, Imam Hussain (as) lived with humility and in remembrance of his beloved grandfather, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Imam Hussain (as) was steadfast on the path of true Islam – the Islam that does not prioritize rulers or dynasties. His call for justice and unity of the ummah was central in all of actions.
Imam Hussain’s (as) actions on the field of Karbala was a perfect representation of true Islam. Along his journey to Kufa, Imam Hussain’s (as) caravan was intercepted by the army of Yazid. Instead of fighting, acting in bitterness and in emotions of betrayal, the Imam (as) offered water to the horses and soldiers of the opposition. This is one true example of the man Imam Hussain (as) was. His selfless acts of kindness were unfortunately returned with Yazid’s army cutting off the supply of water, leaving Hussain (as), his family, and his companions crying out in thirst for days.
Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as)
Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) is the son of Imam Hussain (as) and the fourth holy Imam. Narrations have reported that the Imam fell severely ill in Karbala. However, he did stand for the cause of Imam Hussain (as) in other ways. Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) was taken as captive along with the women and children to the court of Yazid in Damascus. In spite of his illness, he delivered an eloquent speech of truth that highlighted the injustices and wrongdoings of the leadership of the time.
Years after his release from imprisonment, he compiled a book of sayings from his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (saw), regarding the rights of all things, peoples and positions in Islamic law and theology, Risalat Al-Huquq. It was through his literary works and sermons that Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) kept his father’s and grandfather’s message alive. Imam Zain Al-Abideen’s (as) Imamate is a miracle from Allah (swt) that fulfilled the promise of 12 successors to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Hazrat Al-Abbas ibn Ali (as)
Abbas (as), the half-brother of Imam Hussain (as), is highly revered and known as one of the bravest companions of Imam Hussain (as). Abbas (as) demonstrated the highest level of loyalty and bravery for Imam Hussain (as) in his plight against tyrannical rule. Al-Abbas (as) was entrusted by Imam Hussain (as) to bear the flag of the Ahlul Bayt (as) while caravanning and riding into battle. His bravery was especially evident in his task to fetch water from the Euphrates river.
Imam Hussain (as) made it clear to Abbas (as) not to fight, only defend himself if necessary and fetch water for the children in the tented camps in Hussain’s (as) army. Faced with a difficult fate, Abbas (as) filled his hide with water for the children, picked up the river water with his hands, but did not drink any – he followed the exact instructions given to him by his brother. While on the way back to the camp, Abbas (as) was struck by arrows of the opposition, one of them piercing the hide of water meant for the children of Al-Hussain (as).
Learning and understanding the plights of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (as) is a practice that we should all strive to implement in our lives. As mentioned earlier, we cannot look at modern day struggles and not compare these issues to the plight of the Imams, especially Imam Hussain (as). We often hear the saying, “every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala” – this figurative saying also has a literal meaning, in which tragedies occur around the globe daily. Children do not have access to water, and human beings are denied their basic rights. Yet, there are people who are motivated by the tragedy of Karbala and are ready to sacrifice what they have to make a difference for their brothers and sisters in the name of Islam and the Ahlul Bayt (as).