By Muhammad Bin Ibrahim

As We Mark 40 Days From Ashura

October 22, 2019

NIGERIA/KADUNA- On the 10th of October, year 680 AD (which coincides with 10th of Muharram, year 61 AH), in the field of Karbala (today's Iraq), around the banks of Euphrates, the Grandson of Islam's Prophet, Husain, was killed together with his sons, brothers and companions. Before the killing they were denied even water for days. A child of his, Ali al-Asghar, an infant of about six month old was crying profusely because the breast of its mother could not produce the milk due to hunger and thirst. Husain took the child, moved closer to the side of the killers, raised him up saying: "O People! If you show no mercy to me; have mercy on this thirsty child!" At that moment, someone from the Kufan army shot an arrow at the infant as a response to his request. The infant died immediately.

Robert Durey Osborn, the Major of the Bengal Staff Corps, writes, “Husain had a child named Abdallah, only a year old. He had accompanied his father in this terrible march. Touched by its cries, he took the infant in his arms and wept. At that instant, a shaft from the hostile ranks pierced the child’s ear, and it expired in his father’s arms. Husain placed the little corpse upon the ground. 'We come from God, and we return to Him!' he cried; ‘O Lord, give me strength to bear these misfortunes!" [Islam Under the Arabs, Delaware, 1976].

From there the killers, proceeded without remorse. They showered hundreds of arrows at Husain. After he felt down, they decapitated him and hung his head on a spear, raised it high in jubilation, marched to Kufa, from Kufa to Damascus (Syria) taking his family members (women and children) who were the grand and great grandchildren of the Prophet (sawa) as captives.

Charles Dickens (English novelist) writes: “If Husain had fought to quench his worldly desires…then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.”

Why would the Grandson of the Prophet (sawa) be allowed to be killed so mercilessly? What are the occurrences that led to this inhumane treatment to this man, Husain?

When Yazid was dictatorially installed by his father, Mu'awiya as the ruler of the Muslim Ummah, he requested from Husain a hand of allegiance in order to straighten his leadership. Husain refused, saying somebody of his noble status will never bow to an unjust ruler like Yazid. For this sole reason Husain, his sons, brothers and companions were made to pay for that single act. They were massacred at the desert of Karbala.

Antoine Bara (Lebanese writer) writes: “No battle in the modern and past history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Husayn in the battle of Karbala.” [Husayn in Christian Ideology].

This is why the Shiites, continuously mourn on the 10th of Muharram of every year and 40 days after. They mourn for the remembrance of that tragedy, appreciating  the sacrifice made by Husain which has become the reason for the preservation of Islam and the source of inspiration for all freedom fighters and justice seekers of the world regardless of their religion or tribe.

Edward Gibbon, considered as the greatest British historian of his time writes: “In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of Husain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.” [The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911]

Sir William Muir, the Scottish scholar and statesman writes: “The tragedy of Karbala decided not only the fate of the caliphate, but of the Mohammedan kingdoms long after the caliphate had waned and disappeared." [Annals of the Early Caliphate, London, 1883]

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