Muharram is here again marking the beginning of yet another year in the Hijri Calendar. Whilst the auspiciousness of this great month does not rest on the tragic incident of Karbala where Hadrat Hussein Radiyallaahu anhu, the beloved grandson of our Beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam together with somewhat 70 members of his household were martyred, we cannot ignore this incident. Tragic as it may be its deeper significance and message, if heeded to, has the power to deliver us from the tragic state we as an ummah find ourselves currently in.

So what exactly was Karbala about is the question?

In its essence and real form, Karbala stands out as one of the most outstanding representations of the greatest struggle of humanity— in fact it is a continuation of the struggle of all Divine Prophets and Messengers who were sent by the Almighty to realize justice, in its fullest meaning: “Certainly we sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice.” (Suratul Hadeed, verse:25)

On the tenth day of Muharram 61 years after the Hijra, the choices were starkly clear. On one side stood truth, justice, virtue and unwavering commitment to the Divine message. On the rival side stood greed, falsehood, injustice and insatiable worldly ambition in violation of the divine message.

1376 years later on the day of Aashurah listening closely to the above message of Karbala becomes a dire need. As we recollect and remember this battle amidst pained hearts and tearful eyes we also need to ask ourselves on which side are we.

When we inspect our world today and determine the nature of the various forces at work, we observe innumerable injustices: abuse of power, exploitation, habitual resort to force, fake slogans, crazed materialism, endemic poverty and a list of endless horrors. Across the entire globe, men and women are taking to the streets to protest against injustices of all forms and sorts.

At the level of the soul and spirit, the modern world offers no solutions. In fact, it is the principal villain—consumerism and blind materialism have led to intractable moral crises and a spiritual vacuum in society, while the human being has become alienated from the reality of his own self and his life’s purpose and objective.

More than in any other period, as the ummah plunges deeper into misery and pain with each new day, the need to return to the central message of Hadrat Hussein Radiyallaahu Anhu cannot be ignored. Hadrat Hussein Radiyallaahu Anhu and his companions adhered to the noblest principles with loyalty, honour and the deepest of understanding. The change achieved by their grand struggle began within their souls before it became gloriously manifest on the plains of Karbala. In fact Karbala was the crowning glory. Firm and unshakable belief in Allah Ta’ala, inner strength and nobility of objective elevated these heroes of Karbala to a position of matchless distinction till the end of Time.

As individuals of the ummah today hoping to put an end to the plights of the ummah, our foremost responsibility is to work on ourselves and those around us in order that we also become principled followers who remain steadfast beside the Imams of our Time. From Karbala we learn to be sincere, proactive and concerned members of humanity who make a conscious choice to stand with dignity in defense of truth and justice.

As we purify our hearts with the remembrance of Hadrat Hussein Radiyallaahu anhu during this Muharram we need to remind ourselves and our communities of the great responsibility that we shoulder as Muslims. The grandson of our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam sacrificed all he had in order to safeguard Islam. The measure of our commitment to this path is ultimately reflected in our characters, etiquette and steadfastness. This is the best way we can commemorate Karbala.


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