The Islamic history is the history of sacrifices, the more old it is, the more old the history of sacrifice there is. But the pages of history are unable to present any example of the great sacrifice rendered by grandson of Holy Prophet (PBUH) Hazrat Imam Hussain (as) along with his faithful companions and near and dear ones. This sacrifice was declared the source of nearing to Allah.

Soon after Yazid took the Caliphate, he wrote letters to Governors of all provinces and apprised them of his taking over the power and demanded ‘Baia’at’ (allegiance) from them all. He wrote a similar letter to Governor of Madina Walid Bin Utbah in which he mentioned about taking ‘Baia’at’ from certain people while he also wrote that be strict with grandson of Holy Prophet, Hazrat Imam Hussain (as), and don’t give any relaxation unless he accepts the ‘Baia’at’. But Imam Hussain refused to offer allegiance to Yazid.

Imam Hussain (as) while explaining objectives of his stand against Yazid told the world that Yazid is making fun of the religion by polluting the society with oppression, suppression and evils, therefore it is my Godly responsibility to correct the evil and bad things, and promotion of justice and fair-play and root out all evils.

Imam Hussain (as) delivered different sermons and wrote letters in the course of his journey from Madina to Makkah and then from Makkah to Karbala till the time he attained martyrdom. Only after intense reflection and deliberation on his enlightening sermons and speeches, deep and incisive secrets concealed in them and their universal effects became manifest to the people. Topics like Tauheed, Prophethood, Walayat (Vicegerency), Day of Judgment, Divine Justice (Adl), the proofs and evidences of the existence of Allah, divine transcendence and then finally meeting with the Lord have all been dealt with in his sermons.

It is a task of immense proportions to understand the sermon of Imam Hussain (a.s) and to unravel the secrets and mysteries hidden in it, to experience its excellence, to be influenced by it and then convey it in our own words. Leave alone the lay man, even scholars, intellectuals and litterateurs, whose entire lives have been spent in teaching, reading and writing, are powerless and ineffective in elucidating and interpreting certain portions of the sermon and writing its exegesis. This statement is not an exaggeration but an indisputable fact.

Imam Hussain (a.s) had given so many speeches and sermons to the army of Yazid that finally they were compelled to say O Hussain! We have heard all that you have said. Now pick up your sword and start fighting!.This shows that Imam Hussain (a.s) put forth all his proofs and arguments and had ensured that his voice and message was heard by one and all. He did this so that no wrongdoer could advance the excuse of ignorance on the Day of Judgment.

It was at night when Walid b. Utbah announced the proclamation of Yazid. It was at the governor’s residence where Imam Hussain (a.s) declared:

Surely we are the progeny of  Prophethood, the treasure-chest of messengership, the place of coming and going of angels and the station of descent of mercy. Through us, Allah commences and by us, He terminates. While, Yazid is a drunkard, a killer of sacred lives and an open transgressor. A person like me cannot pay allegiance to a man like him. But wait, till the morning. Only then we shall see and so shall you as to what is the final result and which one of us is worthier of Caliphate and allegiance.

In this short address, Imam Hussain (a.s) draws Walid b. Utbah’s attention to the following points:

(a)          Progeny of the (last) Prophethood (saww)

The reason for saying this is that after a few days the despicable people would argue about the progeny of the Holy Prophet (saww).The fifth member of the progeny of Holy Prophet (saww) (i.e. Imam Hussain (a.s)) has firmly presented irrevocable evidence in the annals of history and has shown that the attributes of the Ahle Bait (as)are divine and heavenly. Infallibility and chastity are the prime requisites to conform to these characteristics and its proof would have to be brought from none other than Holy Prophet (saww) himself. It means that not only are they exceptional but also unparalleled in their attributes and they strive hard in the way of Allah with a striving as is due to Him.

(b)          Treasure-chests of Messenger-ship

We are well versed with divine secrets. We appear like you but are not like you. We are leaders and masters of (past) prophets and the successors. We are the Path of Allah and the inheritors of the past prophets. We are the Proofs of Allah and we bestow the teachings of the Book and Wisdom. Just as our grandfather (saww) persevered in his mission of propagating Islam and purified the people through the verses of the Quran awakening and shaking their intellects, intelligence and mentality being steadfast, we too are like him (saww). It is our responsibility to smash the majesty and power of the kings of Rome, Damascus and Arabia and replace them with divine splendor and grandeur. Even with a handful of followers we shall achieve our aim. Otherwise there would not be any distinction between the light of guidance and the darkness of deviation.

(c)           Place of coming and going (to and fro) of angels

We are that place where angels are constantly arriving and departing. Our silence has given an opportunity to the plunderers of Islam to gather their strength. But it should not happen that at the time of their death they should have any regrets. Angels are our messengers. They constantly bring for us the news of the universe in which corner of the earth, the weak and the oppressed are preparing for a confrontation. We are the people who can give a fitting reply to the hypocrites and the polytheists within the realm of religion. And we will surely do so. Prophet Ibrahim (as)shall declare that he (Imam Hussain (a.s.)) is my son. Prophet Moosa (a.s) shall announce he is my inheritor. Prophet Isa (a.s) shall proclaim that he is my trustee. While the last messenger of Allah (saww) the pride of all prophets shall declare proudly: I am from Hussain?.

   (d) Station of descent of mercy

I am the son of that Prophet (saww) who was a mercy for the worlds. I am the centre of compassion. At the time when the accused Shimr was about to behead Imam Hussain (a.s) at the time of Asr (afternoon) on the day of Ashura, he saw the lips of Imam Hussain (a.s) moving. He thought that probably Imam Hussain (a.s) was cursing him. He bent forward to hear what Imam Hussain (a.s) was murmuring. He heard Imam Hussain (a.s) say, O my Lord! The nation of my grandfather (saww) is ignorant of my great status. Please forgive them.

This can only be expected from the grandson of that prophet who was a source of compassion for both the worlds. On his way to Karbala when Imam (a.s) met Abdullah b. Hurr Jofi, he (a.s) advised him,

You go very far away from here so that my cries for help (on the Day of Ashura) do not fall upon your ears. Otherwise you will be destroyed.

(This is just a small glimpse of his benevolence)

(e) Commencement of the religion of Islam

We are the ones who will put the seal of finalization upon it. If only man who is endowed with wisdom and who discerns everything were to fulfill the demands of his robust intellect! He should have asked, O son of the prophet! How is it possible that you will put the final seal on the history of Islam The phrase, through us, He will terminate is actually pointing towards the Glorious Kingdom, the  Divine Rule the reign for which the entire universe is awaiting and he (a.t.f.s.) is the one who will take revenge.

In this way, in a few words, Imam Hussain (a.s) has expressed the status of Imamat, a position that is only obtained by divine appointment. He has elucidated the spirit and purport behind its context and meaning. He did all this in order to complete his arguments and make the people aware of the secrets of the status of Imamat. He did this so that none would have any excuse on the Day of Accounting. Not only this, but Imam Hussain (a.s) has pulled down the facade of power and leadership from the face of Yazid and exposed his true colors. Imam Hussain (a.s) said,

Yazid is a drunkard. He boldly kills those people whose killing is prohibited. He is openly involved in all sorts of indecencies and obscenities.

Imam Hussain (a.s) said, How can a person like me swear allegiance to a person like him?

Imam Hussain (a.s) is the pride of prophet Ismail (a.s). prophet Ismail (a.s) interpreted the dream of his father (prophet Ibrahim (a.s)) as a command from Allah and was willing to be sacrificed for Allah’s pleasure. Then how is it that Imam Hussain (a.s) would not interpret the words of his grandfather (saww) as a command from Allah? He (a.s) was willing to have himself sacrificed and have his family and children imprisoned, an act matchless in the records of history. If the sacrifice of Hazrat Ismail (a.s) is a reason for greatness and an example of free will, then the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (as) too is an instance of human infinite greatness.

The revolution of Imam Hussain was not solely for changing a government. Imam Hussain was advocating a drastic change in the social set up, the economic and political structures, and refining Islamic concepts from foreign ideas, which had crept into Muslim's minds and thoughts. In other words, Imam Hussain wanted to change the life of Muslims to be in conformity with Islamic laws and ideals. Knowing what Imam Hussain and his companions stood for is a great source of guidance for deprived and oppressed people of every era. Practically aligning oneself with those goals is path of success and deliverance. (The writer is Gold Medalist Shariah and Law International Islamic University Islamabad)