The Tragedy of Karbala and its associated events. Many people have written a lot on this topic but today I will try to bring out some points which are seldom discussed on this very vast and important topic.
I would like to start by discussing a little about the first month of Islamic Calender, “Moharram”. Its really amusing but I would like to say that Muslim are the only society which do not celebrate New Year of the Islamic Calender as how others do. There are people who even avoid saying Happy New Year on the eve of 1st Moharram. And the reason — This months starts with one the most horrific attacks on Prophets Mohammad’s (mpbhahf) family and friends. Their was a huge amount of bloodshed, women were insulted, children were tortured and the house of Prophet Mohammad and his grandson Imam Husain was looted and ransacked.
Now the big question why did that all happened ? For the complete answer we have to go a bit in the history. I do not want to cover this in detail as it can be found on a huge amount of literature available both on net and books. The Tragedy of Karbala happened because Imam Husain stood against the ruler of present Syria and Lebanon which was at that time the capital of The Muslim Empire.
The ruler or the so called Khalifa of Syria Yazeed-ibne-Maawyah sent his commander to ask Imam Husain his support and pledge of allegiance. Yazeed who came to the throne of Syria wanted support from all parts of Arabia as there was an existing discontent over the rule of his father Mawiayaah. Yazid started using all types of ways to get allegiances and alliances. He ordered to change certain islamic traditions for his personal gains, even the interpretations of Holy Quran and Hadith were targeted by his unholy acts. This caused a lot of resentment among the ummah, but due to fear and other pressures inflicted upon the people by his army nobody, even the strongest groups tried to come against him. Yazid knew that to rule he just cannot use power he also need support from the family of Prophet and Imam Husain, and so he sent all sorts of offers to him, he tried to persuade Imam for support, but Imam Husain did not agree to any of his conditions and rejected his unholy rule. He asked Yazid to come to terms with Allah and stop his sinful acts. Then as we all know Yazid out of frustration sent his army of thousands to attack Husian and his family and followers which were around 72 in number at a place called Karbala. Imam Husain’s family included men, women and children. His youngest son Ali Asghar who was six months old was also present.
Yazid tried to persuade Imam Husain now by showing the strength of number, but he did not knew the power of family of Prophet Mohammad. They excepted death over excepting the rule of Yazid and laid their life fighting the treacherous army. The household was looted, ladies and kids were taken as prisoners. The ladies were not allowed to mourn the death, kids were beaten and tied to camel backs. These prisoners were the taken by foot
from Karbala to Shaa’m or the present Damascus in Syria. The people in the towns on the way were told that the prisoners are some rebels, nobody was informed that these ladies and kids belong to the family of Prophet. When this caravan reached Damascus Zainab who was the sister of Imam Husain gave sermons to the public where she told about herself, her family and about the pain inflicted on them.
When the news of the torture spread in the Arab and the Islamic worlds, it brought about a kind of revolution against Yazid. The pressure became so much that in about a year Yazid ordered the release of all the prisoners and accepted their demand to mourn the death of the family, first Ashurkahan aur Imambargah was then made in a house where women and children wept and told about the pains inflicted on the family to the people. Then they were sent to their house in Medina. But this did not stop the anger amongst the people against Yazid and rebellion started from all sides. Yazid was made to step down and all his dirty policies and practices were stopped. Nobody know where exactly he died and got buried.
So in the end even though Imam Husain and his family had to suffer from so many pains and torture but they won this war against tyranny, corruption and malpractices. Islam and humanity both were saved.
Its really amazing how a a small group,of 72 people approx led to the fall of a mighty treacherous king. Ofcorse there were others who acted but they all completed what Husain started by laying down his life.
End of Part I
In Part II we will discuss why people Mourn in Moharram and why do they take out big processions.