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Friday, November 23, 2012

THE BATTLE OF KARBALA - I


Introduction: Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was born on the 4 A.H. in Madinatul Munawwarah. His mother, Hazrat Bibi Fathima
radi Allahu anha) was the favourite daughter of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and his father, Hazrat Ali Murtuza (radi Allahu anhu) was one of the most talented and outstanding personalities of early Islam. Brought up by this ideal couple under the fostering care of the Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) soon distinguished himself as a promising scholar, warrior and Saint. The ideal training which he received from his parents and maternal grandfather made him one of the noblest sons of Islam. Even in his early teens, he was noted for his piety, nobility, chivalry and scholarship.
The two brothers, Imam Hassan and Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhuma) commanded great respect of all classes of Muslims for their sterling traits. They were shown great consideration even by the successive Khulafaa of Islam. It was during the Caliphate of their father, Hazrat Ali (radi Allahu anhu), that trouble arose which led to the division of the Muslim Caliphate into two - one led by Hazrat Ali and the other by Hazrat Ameer Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhuma). After the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Imam Hasan, who succeeded his father, abdicated in favour of Hazrat Ameer Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhuma) in the larger interest of Islam. He was soon poisoned to death.
Government under Yazid: Hazrat Ameer Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhu) nominated his son, Yazid, as his successor. Yazid ascended the throne of Damascus in April 683 A.C. He was a tyrant who revelled in vicious pleasures of life. Yazid did not follow the examples of the four rightly guided Khulafaa. Yazid was an alcoholic, indulged in fornication, used to ignore the Fard Salaah and made interest common. He also married women with whom Nikah (Marriage) was not permitted according to the Holy Quran. He also carried dogs on his lap and did not care about Tahaarah (Cleanliness). Yazid spent of his time hunting and did not care much about the administrative responsibilities of the Islamic State. He hated and took delight in persecuting Muslim divines.
Yazid tried to obtain the allegiance of four notable Muslims, including Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu), through force and intrigue. But Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu), who had inherited the virtuous and chivalrous disposition of his father, was not a man to be won over by force or favour. He remained adamant and refused to acknowledge such a vicious and dissolute person as the Caliph, who was supposed to be the spiritual as well as the political head of the Islamic world.
Support from Kufa: Immediately after the accession, Yazid ordered Waleed ibn Utaba, the Governor of Madinatul Munawwarah, to force Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) for the oath of fealty to him. Meanwhile, Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) received messages from the citizens of Kufa imploring him to free them from the tyrannical Ummayad Rule. He received hundreds of such letters from the residents of Kufa offering him their allegiance. The kind-hearted and virtuous Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) considered it his duty to respond to the call of the oppressed. He sent his cousin, Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (radi Allahu anhu) as his emissary to Kufa. Thousands of Kufis rushed to swear fealty to Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) on the hands of Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (radi Allahu anhu). The report sent by the Muslims of Kufa were highly heartening. He invited Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) to come to Kufa.
March to Kufa: But the Kufis were soon won over through force and favour and turned their backs on Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (radi Allahu anhu), the emissary of Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu). He was made Shaheed by the Kufis. In the meantime, Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu), along with his family members, relations and companions left for Kufa. When he approached the borders of Iraq, he was surprised at the absence of the promised Kufi soldiers. A few stages from his destination, he learned of the tragic end of his emissary.
March to Karbala: He was then confronted by a strong detachment of the Umayyad army under the command of Hur, who, under the orders of Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, forced Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) and his party to march towards Karbala, a place about 25 miles north-east of Kufa. The small band of 72 souls, which included respectable ladies, men and children, encamped on the western bank of the Euphrates at Karbala surrounded by a powerful Umayyah army of 4 000 soldiers commanded by Amr bin Saad. A showdown seemed imminent as Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was determined to shed the last drop of his blood for the sake of truth and righteousness.
Now started a period of trials and tribulations for the descendants of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). For days the vicious army of Ibn Saad surrounded their tents cutting off their water supply with a view to reducing them to hunger and thirst, thus forcing them to surrender. For four days commencing from the 7th to the 10th of Muharram, not a drop of water entered the mouth of Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) and his companions. Faced with the dire catastrophe which would have made the stoutest heart shudder and the strongest feet to shudder, Hazrat Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) and his companions did not wince at all.