‘Ashouraa’ comes from the number ten which is the number of the days that the plight of the Imam lasted ,and Karbala’ is the name of the battlefield which means calamity, after that things will no more be the same , religion has been restored and ‘Ashouraa’ will not stop inspiring revolutionaries and people seeking justice on this earth.
For a long time the Saga of ‘Ashoura’ which is the mourning of the death of the Holy Prophets’ Grand Son has been misunderstood , people would rather look at it in a shallow way seeing in it a commemoration that has an occult meaning and an incomprehensible practice and ritual . People in this are more subject to prejudice than to anything else . Spiritual existence and the experiences of spiritual life are difficult to understand , they are individual in as much as they are universal and are connected to both the individual and the universal. The Saga of ‘Ashoura’ is nothing but the story of a man , not any man , it is the story of a particular person , or some exemplary person and religious leader , at a certain stage of his spiritual enfoldment that required from him and from those with him, to go through a trial and engage in a certain war where his spiritual being was strongly involved and in this instance his physical being as well . ‘Ashoura’ is the story of a man facing particular challenges and bound to confront the greatest of difficulties . Now this is not an average story and the difficulty or challenge is not an average one . The battle that the grand child of the Holy Prophet had to engage in could not be avoided by someone like him , though some others might have escaped it by any means . The grand Child of the Holy Prophet was no ordinary person and the challenge he faced was not an ordinary one since the inheritance of the spiritual message and the actualization and preservation of this message had befallen to him regarding the high noble qualities he enjoyed and the unquestionable spiritual level he had reached . This is al Hussein Bin ‘Ali Bin Abi Taleb whom you should know and who is worthy of your salutations and veneration , come meet him outside the books of history, come meet him outside all prejudice and ignorance , come , get acquainted with the real hero he is .
After the Holy Prophet passed away , the Mekkan upper class who fought the Holy Prophet during his lifetime took over again when Mo’awiya usurped the khilafa from Imam ‘Ali –spouse of Fatima and father of Imam al Hussein -and started ruling the state under the banner of Islam. It was a take over and a set up that Imam ‘Ali chose not to confront in a war because he wanted to avoid schism and bloodshed at any price . The ending of Imam ‘Ali’s rule- one of the closest companions of the Holy Prophet and his son in law -was not to remain without consequences , especially that Mo’awiya appointed his unqualified depraved son Yazeed as his heir to the khilafa. After Imam ‘Ali died killed by a poisonous dagger , his son Imam al Hussein dedicated his life to praying and teaching and spreading the word of Islam , he was an embodiment of spiritual knowledge and divine qualities, he lived quietly within his community in Hidjaz until the son of Mu’awiya Yazeed- who succeeded to his father- insisted on having him recognize him as the legitimate khalifa over muslims.
There was no way for depraved Yazeed to give up on this recognition on behalf of Imam al Hussein of the legitimacy of his rule ; and- on the other hand – how can the Holy Imam admit of the corrupt Yazeed as supreme legitimate ruler of all Muslims ? A big ethical , social , religious , political and existential issue the Imam was confronting at all levels because Islam involves directly all these levels from social and political to religious and ethical , the Holy Imam had to fight at all these frontlines without neglecting any of them, he knew that -given his own position- presenting concessions on the political level to an unfit person will cause all the other levels to deteriorate and will cause Islam the Holy religion founded by the Holy Prophet- his grand father – to be totally exposed. No, the Holy Imam was to act according to his deep faith and real conviction and true commitment to what real Islam is and true religion is and this even at the cost of not only his own life but that of his kith and kin as well , the encompassing Islam challenged this way by the unfit ruler shall be defended and rescued from falling into the forbidden .
Equipped with this kind of determination, the Holy Imam headed to the Battlefield “Karbalaa’ accompanied by his family members and some close friends , they were not many but they were determined to win the battle of Islam, the Islam that cannot and will not coexist with corruption and falsity nor defeated by them , the pure Islam as defended by the Holy Prophet , the wholesome Islam that cannot be separated nor partitioned . The war of authentic Islam was won against its enemies , the blood triumphed over the sword as they say , the price for this was the death of the Holy Imam in the battle and that of his entire family except few.
This dimension of the religion that does not exclude anything or anyone has been given its full due by the Holy Imam, and every one is invited to do the same for the society to be up to the religion and the religion to be up to all challenges that can in no way defeat it .
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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