Imam Hussain (AS) – Day of Ashura
Our Imam is all alone! He looks around him. There lie Habeeb ibn Mazahir, Muslim ibn Awsaja, Zuhair ibn Qain and all his friends and companions. There lie Awn and Muhammad. He looks at Hazrat Qasim’s trampled remains. He looks at Hazrat Ali Akbar, his beloved son, with that dreadful wound on his chest. He looks towards Furaat. Gently he whispers, ‘Abbas, Abbas, I am alone! So very alone!’
Slowly Imam Husayn moves towards the tent of Imam Zain ul ‘Abideen. Zain ul ‘Abideen is lying unconscious on his bed. Lovingly Imam shakes his son by the shoulder. The sick Imam opens his eyes, ‘Father, Father, why are you alone? Where is my uncle Abbas? Where is Ali Akbar? Where is Qasim? Where are all your companions?’ Imam Husayn says, ‘Son, no man, save you and I, is left alive. All of them have died for Islam.’
Imam Zain ul ‘Abideen tries to get up. ‘Where are you going, my son?’ asks Imam Husayn. ‘To fight Yazid’s army!’ replies the young man. ‘No, my son, you are too sick for Jihad. I have come to say good-bye. Look after the ladies and the children. And, my son, when you get to Madina, give my love to Soghra. Tell her that I always remembered her and that in these last moments of my life, I wish I could give her a hug before I get killed. . And also, my son, give salaams to our friends and tell them to think of me when they drink water!’
Imam Husayn then stands in the centre of the camp and cries out, “O Zainab, O Kulthoom, O Sakina, O Ruqayya, O Rubaab, O Fizza my greetings to you! Farewell to you all!” The ladies and children weep and wail as they say farewell to Imam.
Imam walks towards his horse. There is no one to help him mount. Bibi Zainab steps forward. She holds the reins as Imam mounts the horse. The horse moves a few steps and then it stops. Imam Husayn urges the horse to move, but it stands still looking towards its hind legs. Imam turns his head. He sees Bibi Sakina clinging to the horse’s leg, pleading, ‘O horse, do not take my father away from me. Do not let them make me yateemah!’
Imam dismounts. He says, ‘Sakina, you are the great grand daughter of the Holy Prophet! I love you so much that if you tell me not to go, I will not. But then Islam will be destroyed. How will you or I be able to face the Holy Prophet on the Day of Judgement?’ Fighting back her tears the four year old Bibi Sakina can only manage to say, ‘Bismillah, father!’ The four year old holds the reins as her father mounts for a certain death!!
Husayn rides on. He stands on a hill and cries out, “Who is there who will come to my help?”
Of course our Imam is not expecting any of the enemy soldiers to come to his help! To whom is he addressing this plea for help? Our Imam is addressing the plea to all the Muslims, in every age and everywhere, young and old, men and women, grown ups and children urging us all to always fight Yazidism and refuse to disobey the commands of Allah. Every little effort we make to preserve and act according to our Islamic conscience is a response to our Imam’s call with Labbaik! Labbaik!
Imam rides towards the enemy. There is a shower of arrows! Imam ignores the arrows and rides on. He wants to make one last effort to preach true Islam to the enemies of Islam. He stops and turns towards the enemy and begins to speak: “O those of you who do not know me, know that I am the grandson of the Holy Prophet. I am on the path of truth. Yazid personifies falsehood and corruption. He wants to lead you away from Islam.
Do not follow him. Do not kill the grandson of Allah’s messenger. Allah will never forgive you! Remember that when you see a ruler who does what has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, who indulges in sins, who oppresses the people he rules, and you do nothing to stop such a ruler, before Allah you are as guilty as he is. You know my ancestry. My parents did not raise me to submit myself to an evil tyrant. I am your Imam. You have surrendered the freedom of your mind to the evil ways of Yazid.
If you do not care for Islam, do, at least, care for the freedom of your spirit!!”
Umar Sa’ad cries out, “Do not fall victims to Husayn’s oratory! Kill him!”
From all directions the soldiers advance towards Imam Husayn with their naked swords! Imam says: “You are determined to fight me Then fight you I shall! I do not fear death. Death to me is sweeter than dishonour. Now I shall let you witness the valour of the son of Ali ibn Abu Taalib!”
Imam Husayn takes out his sword and begins to fight. Thirsty, tired, wounded, grieving, our Imam fights as no one had ever seen any one fight! Where ever he turns to, the soldiers flee as rabbits do at the sight of a lion! Umar Sa’ad sends all his best warriors against Imam. They all perish. No one dares come near our Imam! Imam stands on his stirrups. Casts his eyes to where Hazrat Abbas lies, and murmurs, “Abbas did you see the battle of your brother, the thirsty, the broken hearted brother?”
And then Jibra’eel appears and says, ‘O Husayn, Allah is pleased with your bravery. The moment has now arrived for you to save Islam with your life!” Husayn looks at the sky! Yes, it is the time of Asr! Husayn returns the sword into the sheath. Lowers himself on the horse-back. Whispers to the horse “Take me to where my mother Fatimah is waiting for me! But, O my faithful horse, go past where my Akbar is lying so that I may see my beloved son just one more time before I die.”
Seeing that Imam has sheathed his sword the enemy come from all sides. Some throw stones at him, some hit him with swords. Arrows are shot at him! Suddenly the horse stops! “My son, my son!” cries out the soul of Fatimah Zahra. Imam Husayn falls from the horse! But his body does not touch the ground. It is resting on the blades of the arrows. He performs his Asr prayers lying on this musallah of arrows! Now he goes in to his last sijdah and says: “O Allah! All praise is to You and You alone!”
Someone is moving towards where our Imam is in sijdah on the arrows. He is holding a dagger in his hand. The earth trembles! The sun goes into eclipse! Jibraeel cries out “oh Husayn has been killed, Husayn has been killed!!!!”
Bibi Sakina falls on to the ground unconscious! Bibi Zainab runs to the tent of our fourth Imam. ‘Oh Son! What has happened?” Imam Zain ul ‘Abideen staggers towards the curtain of his tent. Lifts it up, and pointing his finger at a head mounted on a lance. He cries out in a trembling voice: “Assalaamu ‘alaika, Ya ‘aba ‘Abdillah!!!”