There have been many deaths and tragedies in Islam, but the incident of Karbala is the one that is revisited every year. The purpose of doing so is to remind Muslims of the importance of many things they take for granted.
The primary lesson that Muharram gives us is to stand up to brutality. The battle of Karbala was not a battle between two groups; it was a battle between the right and the wrong. It was a message of Allah to the Muslim Ummah to stand up against the wrong no matter how strong the wrong side is.
Imagine, on one side, there is an army containing up to 5,000 troops. On the other side, there are only 72 people. Logically, it is clear that 72 men cannot beat opponents comprising thousands of men. A normal person would immediately give up and negotiate a safe passage. But let’s not forget that the leader of the right side is none other than the grandson of our beloved prophet (PBUH) Imaam Hussain Ibne Ali (AS). He knew he was going to give a message to the Ummah forever so he wanted to take decisive action for everyone to remember. He decided not to back down. He decided not to submit before Yazeed.
Imam Hussain and his 71 warriors fought without any resources, without any allies, and even without water. In the end, all of the warriors lose their lives, but nothing stopped them from doing the right thing.
Cut to 2022, Muslims are suffering in different parts of the world. Different Yazeeds in the world continue to oppress our brothers and sisters in Kashmir, Palestine, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere but we turned our back on them. If Imam Hussain (AS) were here today, wouldn’t he be disappointed in us? Muslim Ummah has immense reserves of oil and gas, nuclear weapons, and the ability to devalue the American dollar in real-time. Yet it is scared.
Karbala is living proof that you do not need resources to win; it is the willpower to fight that you need. Unfortunately, we do not live up to their standards. In fact, we do not even try. Every year on Ashura we briefly revisit the tragedy. We mourn but on Muharram 11 we go back to our business as usual.
The people of Kufa were silent when the family of our beloved prophet (PBUH) was suffering. They did not dare oppose Yazeed for their lives. When Bibi Zainab appeared before Yazeed she not only reprimanded Yazeed but also called out the people of Kufa for their silence. She was outraged at how the people of Kufa turned a blind eye to what happened. And I’m sure she would be outraged at us as well.
And we, the Muslims of Kufa, did nothing but condemn. Another tweet I came across in the morning was by former prime minister Imran Khan who tried to give an impression that Kufis are those who won’t protest in his anti-government rallies. India deprived Kashmir of its special status during Khan’s tenure and he did nothing practical for them.
Karbala is not something to be used as a rallying cry for election. It is a series of lessons to learn and implement. In a world full of Kufis, you have to be a Hussaini.