Muharram – The month of revival of religion
The advent of Muharram upsets some people, of course unnecessarily, whose main concern is to suppress the propagation of the incident of Karbala. They are disturbed at seeing so many people attending the assemblies (majaalis) of Imam Husain (a.s.) and their primary objective is to curtail the turnout at such assemblies. That is why they declare as innovation (bid’at) the propagation of this incident and ridicule the mourning over Imam Husain’s (a.s.) martyrdom. They protest against this tradition of propagation.
Everyone must understand clearly the importance of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) tribulations in Allah’s way, which became instrumental in reviving Islam. The discussion of these tribulations and sufferings has become an inseparable part of religion. No one has the capacity and strength to restrain this discussion.
No amount of hue and cry against this custom will deny it the authority and legitimacy that it rightfully deserves. Today there are many who don’t acknowledge the belief in Allah’s unity (Tauheed). There are some others who refuse to recognise the finality of Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) prophethood. Similarly we find a number of people who don’t accept Hazrat Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) successor. Does the denial and obstinacy of these people repudiate the truthfulness of Tauheed, Prophethood and Imamate? Never. Those who deny these are in grave loss. Maybe they don’t realise the gravity of the loss in this world, but will most certainly comprehend it in the hereafter. At that stage, repentance will be futile.
The propagation of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) distress has amazing benefits, creating a lasting impact on the minds of his lovers. This is upsetting for many people. This propagation goes against the aspirations of many people, whose sole objective is to wipe out Islam by giving vent to controversies. The discussion of Imam’s (a.s.) ordeal in Karbala repels the people against oppression, making them abhor the oppressors and sympathise with the oppressed ones. The people are able to appreciate the difference between the murderer and the murdered one and they are inclined towards the oppressed party and loathe the oppressor, as it is impossible for anyone to be equally disposed towards both the oppressor and oppressed one. For instance, no one can admire Imam Husain (a.s.) and at the same time approve of Yazid’s heinous crime against the former. Man treads on a particular path and leaves the path that runs contrary to it. It is impossible for him to choose two diverse paths.
There cannot be more diversity in any two things than the path of Imam (a.s.) and that of Yazid. The former invited the people towards goodness and piety, while the latter incited the masses in the direction of corruption and vices. While Imam Husain (a.s.) tread the path of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), Yazid walked on the path of the accursed Shaitaan. Imam Husain (a.s.) embraced the path of excellent traits, protection of religion and a humane disposition, Yazid showed promptness in adopting the path of loathsome vices, destruction of religion and an inhumane character. While one path invites towards nobility, purity and honour, the other route beckons towards immorality, impurity and disgrace. The consequence of treading one path leads to Allah’s satisfaction and His proximity, while the result of adopting the other trail ends in His displeasure and wrath. If Imam’s (a.s.) discussion is enlivened in society, the contrasting nature of these paths will be apparent to all. This is because Imam (a.s.) is a beacon of guidance and leads a life to earn Allah’s complete satisfaction. At the same time, he (a.s.) has exposed the path that leads towards Allah’s anger and dissatisfaction. In the desert of Karbala, one not only sees the two diverse paths but can also see the people who tread on these paths.
The incident of Karbala highlights one important fact – in life one has to be prepared to face difficulties and tribulations. At every step there are trials and ordeals. In Karbala itself, there was an adversity at every moment. But all those who accompanied Imam (a.s.) in Karbala faced these difficulties most courageously and were never negligent of their enormous responsibilities. There is no incident of anyone in Karbala shirking his duty and departing from the realm of Islam by committing an act against the Shariat. On the contrary, we see that an increase in adversity made these individuals more determined and steadfast.
Today, there are no difficulties and tribulations of the likeness of Karbala. Yet we see that there is no commitment to fulfil the obligation that religion has imposed upon us. In fact, whatever little commitment we see is only due to the sustained propagation of the incident of Karbala. Today we find unwillingness among Muslims to submit unconditionally to the decrees of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.). No doubt, we do abide by Islamic edicts, but there are times when our prejudices come into play and we give preference to our personal goals over those of the religion. Often our ego blemishes our actions. How can the one who testifies in the Unity of Allah (Tawheed) let his ego dictate his judgement in matters of religion?
One reason why the level of dedication in Karbala was without any parallel was due to the leadership of Imam Husain (a.s.). And with that leadership and guidance was the unconditional support and co-operation of Imam’s (a.s.) companions. These were the supporters who did not simply believe in the leadership of Imam (a.s.), but actually testified to it from every cell in their body. They had surrendered their personal view and judgement to Imam (a.s.) and had moulded their opinion into Imam’s (a.s.) conviction. Then they saw with Imam’s (a.s.) eyes and reflected with Imam’s (a.s.) mind. At every step they accepted the guidance of their Imam (a.s.) and acted as per his wishes.
The chain of infallible leadership was not terminated by Allah and continues till date. It is our duty that we acquire the light, guidance and leadership from the Imam (a.t.f.s.) of our age. The fact of the matter is that our relationship with this guidance and leadership is weak and this in turn makes our bond with religion feeble and hence, we are unable to observe all religious tenets with steadfastness. Our biggest folly is that we try to observe religious tenets without Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) help and guardianship.
Our Imam (a.t.f.s.) maybe in occultation (ghaybat), but this does not have any impact on his leadership and guidance which continues regardless of whether he is apparent or not. If at this time, (while he is in occultation), we sincerely seek help from him, he will definitely answer our plea for help. If he helps us, then observing the most difficult religious tenets will seem very easy.
The period of mourning is one of the best opportunities to draw Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) attention towards ourselves. Indeed under Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) supervision and care, we can acquire the good fortune of being included among the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.).
We offer our heartfelt condolences to the successor of Imam Husain (a.s.), Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (may our souls be sacrificed for him), and with this we seek the best of taufeeqaat from Allah, the Almighty.