Words and Photographs Dawood M.
Header Yousuf M.
“Hussain”; a proper noun comprised of two syllables.
Is that all?
We all realize the description does not end there. We all sense the worthiness of what it connotes. We all believe that it carries the nucleus of existence.
If it wasn’t for Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, we could have never apprehended what the name truly means. To us, and to all humankind.
For instance, He TUS adamantly states; “Hussain nu ehsan zarra zarra par che, agar sagla Hussain ne yaad karta thai jai, to aalam ma amaan amaan qaim thai jai”.
How is Hussain AS and his remembrance related to every being? How is it allied with peace? What does humanity owe to Him AS?
To comprehend the aforementioned statement, let’s recollect what the word “Hussain” reminds us of, and regardless of what we are, and what we believe, let’s just remember the events of history related to him as regular human beings.
Around 1400 years back, a tragic event transpired in the deserts of Iraq. Upon continuous pleas of the people, a man departed from his homeland, together with his family and children, to serve their call. On being gratuitously stopped on his way, he was forced to set up his camps in the middle of a desert.
Fostering humanity and considering the desert conditions, he chose to present water to his presumable opponents and their horses, regardless of their intentions.
Days progressed, so did the suppression on himself and his family. He was starved of food and water. A river flowed in front of his eyes, yet, he was prohibited to obtain any of it. He remained silent; the thirst kept increasing. He was not afraid; he simply did not want violence.
His endurance could have lasted further, given that his children were not slaughtered in front of him. He saw an arrow ripping the neck of his six-month-old, owing to nothing but his desire for a drop of water. Later, he was beheaded.
In an attempt to torment his distressed family, his head was lifted on the spike of a spear and his body was trampled on by horses in a macabre manner.
Who was he?
A human being who faced enemies of humanity. He had no side. Humankind was in danger, and he appeared as a saviour. When cruelty struck, he responded with benevolence. Hatred soared and his kindness stood firm. Hostility swelled, but his endurance did not weaken.
He saved humanity from extinction.
In a world chock-full of violence, his remembrance fosters peace. In a time when tolerance is drying up, the spirit of his actions cultivates endurance. At a point where evil is dominant, he reminds mankind of moral values.
In fact, his actions set up solutions to all turbulence mankind is presently encountering. His stance of avoiding unwarranted bloodletting is a cure-all for wars. His act of forgiveness and generosity, upon the one who initially led the enemy troops, is the answer to all conflicts. His sacrifice, in essence, is the amendment for all differences.
Yes, what he did, matters to all beings.
Conversely, in the days preceding the month of Moharram, I am accustomed to being asked; “when is ‘your’ Moharram starting?” The word ‘your’ usually becomes quite unsettling. It exhibits a slim understanding of a great purpose. The tragedy of Karbala does not advocate an individual, a faction, a sect, or a nation. Forever, it has been in the interest of all living. History often falls victim to the tags of religions and ideologies. Therefrom, the countless attributes which can be acquired from it go astray. Karbala is one evident example.
At times, its large notion is egotistically confined within one’s own subjective limits in favour of personal advantages. And amidst this, its crux is forgotten; love for humanity. Legend has it; seven brothers belonging to a Hindu sect, sacrificed themselves in Karbala fighting by the side of justness and piety and creating a robust example of harmony remembered hitherto.
For the reason aforesaid, millions from all walks of life and all corners of the globe gather in Iraq for the Arbaeen.
The Arbaeen walk is a congregation which dwarfs every other assemblage on the planet. People converge to mourn the tragic event of Karbala and to pay their salutation to those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of humanity. Despite the imminent security concerns, pilgrims walk a stretch of 80 kilometres from Najaf to Karbala. In the course of the walk, volunteers give away food and drinks to those undertaking the pilgrimage and also cater their own residences to rest. Over 50 million meals are served per day, equating to about 700 million meals for the duration of the pilgrimage, funded, not by dint of any charities, but by the labourers and farmers who starve and save all year round to serve the pilgrims. It is all done out of love and humanity; morals which Hussain AS and his remembrance implants within mankind.
In the words of the English historian Edward Gibbon: “In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hussain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader”.
People go to Karbala, not to marvel at the city’s landscape — lush with date palms, or to admire the monuments, or to visit ancient historical sites. They go to mourn.
Hence, not because Hussain AS is the grandson of the Prophet SAW, not because of his supreme prestige, not because of the obligations of any sect or religion;
I remember him because I am human. And that is what humanity owes to him.
We repeatedly hear Mufaddal Moula TUS stating; “khuda tamne khusho khurram rakhjo aik Hussain na ghum siwa koi gham na dikhawjo”. The two clauses of this sentence evidently advocate the relation of peace and love i.e. humanity, with Hussain AS and his remembrance.
In essence, as the words of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS elucidate;
Hussain is not just a word, it is an expression of love and peace which humanity will never forget.
السلام علیک یا ابا عبدالله حسین