New Dimensions of a Standard Bearer
Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and standard (or flag) are two key words in the bloody battle of Karbala that provide food for thought to every believer and knowledgeable person. When the thought of this brave warrior, on whose shoulder the emblem fluttered, comes to mind, numerous conspiracies lay exposed; conspiracies, plots and designs that were planned much prior to the incident of Karbala in the early days of Islam; conspiracies hatched by Muslims (read hypocrites) as well as non-Muslims; a thousand political games played clandestinely and furtively to upstage and overthrow the massive but genuine and divine Islamic rule. Of these plots and conspiracies
was the hectic frequency of travel by the Jews between Mecca and Medina, notwithstanding the eighty odd battles that took place in a short span of eleven years. Between this world and the hereafter, there appeared a number of question marks on every passing milestone. For instance,
“In the past Islamic battles, were the Muslims always in a minority against their powerful and exceedingly abundant number of opponents? Was Karbala the last image of this series?
In the battles of Islam, especially in the early stages, were the secret machinations, mischief-mongering and evil designs of the Jews, reaching to fruition with all their might? And if this was the case, what was the role played by the defenders of Islam, real and pretenders, to ward off this threat?
As the demise of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) approached nearer, was a fresh conspiracy hatched under a new banner that was unfurled in the furtive and surreptitious precincts of Saqifah?
Did Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) expose these powerful conspiracies and mischievous designs, hatched in the recent past?
Are all the above questions concerned with the standard-bearer of Imam Husain (a.s.) or not?”
While evaluating the first query, the fact that comes to the fore is that if we analyze the Battle of Badr, on the one hand, the infidels had a one thousand strong army comprising of cavalry, archers, infantry, etc. which faced a measly three hundred and thirteen, who had come out in defense of Islam.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was the hero of this battle. Renowned Arab warriors like Atbah, Sheebah and Waleed were put to death by Ali’s (a.s.) sword. When Islam commenced with a battle of defense and endurance, the small number of Muslims were attacked by an exceedingly large number of polytheists. That is, when the infidels threw their entire force against the brave warriors of Islam, the ratio was almost 5:1 (i.e. five infidels against one Muslim). Yet, the Muslims gained victory in the Battle of Badr. The polytheists fled, defeated and disgraced. Now take a glance at the Battle of Karbala. On the one hand, there is Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) while on the other is a ruthless military of thirty thousand. In the earlier battle, there were three hundred enemies of Islam pitted against one brave warrior of Islam, Ali (a.s.). And now, when the standard-bearer of Husain’s (a.s.) little army went to the shore of the Euphrates to fetch water for his thirsty nephews and nieces, thirty thousand shameless hypocrites, the so-called Muslims, obstructed his path. Although, a few thousand were dispatched to hell in the skirmishes earlier, still there were thousands in the waiting between the river and Abbas (a.s.).
That he (a.s.) could not bring water was yet another battle. But in the first battle, the river was won. The need of the hour is a thorough investigation of the powerful fighting abilities of Ali’s (a.s.) beloved son. The need is to evaluate and analyze, compare and judge between the battles of Badr and Karbala; to ponder and deliberate over the desire of Ali (a.s.) as to how Allah the Almighty has fulfilled Ali’s (a.s.) wish; as to the color that the religion of Islam had gained then.
On a fair analysis, one observes that prior to the battle of Badr, Islam was a force to reckon with; but in 61 A.H. (the year of the battle of Karbala ) it had been rendered very, very weak and fragile. When the battle of Badr began, there were 313 selfless soldiers willing to give their lives for the Islamic cause. But now, in Karbala , there were only 72 remaining. During the battle of Badr, the infidels and polytheists were 1500 in number but in Karbala , there was a huge multitude of hypocrites and swindlers in the garb of Muslims, whose emulators, imitators and supporters survive till date. From the battle of Badr to Karbala till date, Allah the Almighty has granted the honor of Islam’s defense to Ali (a.s.) and his immaculate progeny (a.s.). As the conspiracy deepened, the standard-bearer of the Islamic forces withstood the intensified atrocities and tortures inflicted on it and succeeded in protecting the Islamic emblem from being blotted with the evil and unclean marks of infidelity and hypocrisy.
On pondering over the second query, some other facts come to light. That is, in the Battle of Ohad, the massive conspiracy and evil design of the Jews was exposed. A few days earlier, the Mosque of Zeraar was pulled down. It was a mosque constructed by the chief of the hypocrites in Medina , Abdullah Ibne Ubayy, to provide for a congregational center for his followers. Abdullah Ibne Ubayy and Raaheb Aamer were good friends. On the very next morning of Aamer’s son Hanzalah’s marriage with Abdullah’s daughter Jameelah, the Islamic army was preparing for its expedition to Ohad. Both Hanzalah and Jameelah had accepted Islam but their fathers had participated in the same battle on the side of Abu Sufyan. Hanzalah was fighting for the Islamic cause. History chronicles that Hanzalah leapt with his spear towards Abu Sufyan, who hid behind Aamer and screamed, ‘Your son intends to kill me!’ Hanzalah Ibne Aamer, who was given the appellation
‘Ghaseelul Malaaekah’ (the one given the ritual bath by the angels), was martyred in this battle. This role and character is surely the dividing line between a hypocrite and a Muslim. On this side is Hanzalah and in the enemy
camp are his father Aamer and Abu Sufyan. Again, history testifies that during this battle, a time came when Ali (a.s.) confronted the entire enemy military might all alone, a military that was led by none other than Khalid Ibne Waleed!! Unfortunately, today some Muslims claim that Khalid never fled from a battlefield (and some even have the audacity to confer on him the sobriquets like ‘the sword of Allah’). We ask such ignoramuses or biased deceivers, ‘Are you aware as to what happened in the battles of Ohad and Mootah?’
Anyhow, Ali (a.s.) led the Muslims to victory in the battle of Khaibar as well and both these skirmishes were the results of Jewish conspiracies. The plots of Abu Sufyan were intertwined with the conspiracies and designs of the Jews like the two fibers of a rope, which was cut into pieces by Ali’s (a.s.) sword. This same conspiracy reared its ugly head in Karbala in the form of a very strong and seemingly unbreakable cord. The grandson of Abu Sufyan, Yazid Ibne Muawiya, sent his brutal and cruel army of more than thirty thousand hypocrites to fight against the Muslims led by none other than Imam Husain (a.s.), the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and the son of Ali (a.s.).
Again, the time had come for the brave combatant of Islam to crush the history of conspiracy and hoist the banner of Islam. Here was the son of Ali (a.s.), Abbas (a.s.) face to face with a thousand Khalid Ibne Walids. The challenge is to capture the river Euphrates . Yazeed is seized with hypocrisy
and Machiavellianism. It is to be seen whether the attack of the courageous Abbas (a.s.) permits the lion to reach the river or not. Like the battles of Hunain, Khandaq and Khaibar, Abbas (a.s.) single-handedly won the river and protected the honor of Islam. Thus, the evil designs of the Jews were blown to smithereens by the flashing sword of Abbas (a.s.).
A conspiracy hatched in the form of Arbaab-e-Hall-o-Aqd , in which Abdullah Ibne Jarrah, the slave of Huzaifah, Abdur Rehman Ibn Auf, Usman, Abu Bakr and Umar, had all agreed that the Bani Hashim should be deprived of the divine caliphate by all means. The rebellious banner of this conspiracy, which was hatched in the prime of Islam, albeit secretly and clandestinely, unfolded in the unholy precincts of Saqifah-e-Bani Saaedah. The numerous angles and tilts of this Abu Sufyan-like power-grabbing and political deceit thrived in the name of Islam, with destruction of this divine religion being their primary aim. Consequently, the Muslim minds were trained in this conspiracy to the extent that they completely digressed from the true aims and objectives of Islam and started subscribing to a completely different religion. The entire Arabia began addressing the tyrant kings of Bani Umayyah with epithets like ‘Caliph of Allah’s Messenger’, ‘Divine
Shadow’, etc. Things reached to such a state that that Mughairah brought 40
Kufans to Muawiya, who agreed to pay allegiance at the hands of Yazeed for a paltry amount of 440 dirhams. This callous attitude shocked even the shameless Muawiya, who remarked, ‘How cheap are these folks! How inexpensive is this transaction!’ The shamelessness of these so-called Muslims, comprising of Syrians and Kufans, reached to such pits that now they had congregated to kill the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). An intense fight was inevitable, which ultimately ensued. The land of Karbala became the setting for this historical encounter, in which Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) was the standard-bearer of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) small band of faithfuls. When compared to Ohod, the afflictions on the Islamic army in Karbala were manifold. The conspiracy too was far deeper than in the early days of Islam. The standard and the standard-bearer of the Islamic army was the manifestation of the power of divine help and victory, shown to the self -proclaimed pseudo-followers of the Islamic faith by none other than Allah the Almighty.
The war is not yet over. Still, one individual from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) progeny is in occultation. Today, we are uttering, ‘Peace be upon you, O the raised standard!’ The heir of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) is awaiting in the veils of occultation for his reappearance. When this flag is unfurled at the appointed hour, the whole world will come to know that it was because of the sacrifices
made by Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) in Karbala that the real standard of Islam remained untainted from the blemishes of infidelity, polytheism and hypocrisy.