by Dr. S. Mazhar Nawaz
Muharram, the first in the Islamic calendar, is an especially auspicious month on many levels. The 10th day of Muharram, known as ‘Yawm Al-Ashura’ is the most significant day of this month. “Ashura” is an Arabic word that literally means ‘Tenth’. In the Arabic Society, Ashura was esteemed even before Islam; since the time of Prophet Abraham.
The Day of Ashura, which is the common date of various events concerning the history, is significant not only for Muslims, but also for Judaism & Christianity. It is significant for the Jews, as Prophet Moses was saved from the tyranny of Pharaoh on the Day of Ashura.
On the 10th day of Muharram (Yawn Al-Ashura) Almighty Allah created heaven & earth. Prophet Adam (Alayhi Asalam) was born and his repentance was accepted on this day. The ship of Prophet Noah (Alayhi Asalam) came to rest on Mount Al-Judi. Prophet Ayyub (Alayhi Asallam) was delivered from distress. Prophet Yunus (Alayhi Asallam) was cast onto the shore after being swallowed by a fish for 40 days. Prophet Yusuf (Alayhi Asallam) was released from prison after being slandered by Zuleikha. Prophet Sulaiman (Alayhi Asallam) was given his vast empire, Prophet Abraham (Alayhi Asallam) was saved from the Fire.
Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) younger grandson Hazrat Imam Hussain(RA) was tragically martyred on 10th Muharram. As a result, Muslims all over the world commemorate Hazrat Imam Hussain’s martyrdom and give prominence to this day. It must be remembered that ‘Ashura’ was given significance by the Prophet himself – hence it is pointless to claim that this day is significant due to Hazrat Imam Hussain’s martyrdom which happened three decades after the Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) death.
10th of Muharram, ‘Ashura’ this is the day when Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the Holy Prophet’s grandson, took on the forces of falsehood for the glory of Islam. On this very day, the battle was fought between the forces of truth and falsehood, which would continue to impart not only to Muslims but also to the entire mankind a lesson of sustained struggle against oppression and tyranny till the Day of Judgment.
The incident of Karbala proved to the world that it is the truth which holds sway in fight against the evil forces. Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) decided to live life as a lasting symbol of truthfulness to make the followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) realize that they should have the basic values of good character, including tolerance, endurance, sacrifice, equality, justice and fairness.
The Karbala incident teaches us that right can never be subdued by might. Might vanishes but the right survives. Imam Hussain taught by example on how to stand up and decry whenever a despot rules over us with force and barbarity, even if our power is inadequate. Whatever it takes, the movement must live on. And we should remember that Hazrat Imam Hussain is not just Imam of Muslims, he is the Imam of entire humanity.
Imam Hussain is a role model that all human beings can aspire to, his spirit lives on forever in the human conscience. The way he lived and the way he died show us the value he placed on morality and honour. He taught us the true purpose of our existence, the perfection of our morals and ethics. In his own words he sums it up beautifully: “Death with dignity is better than a life of humiliation”
From centuries Muslims around the world commemorate the tragedy of Karbala. They attend mourning meetings and processions in which the story of Karbala is retold. All these commemorative meetings not only serve to convey the events and message of Karbala but also provide opportunities to learn about Islam in general. But the honest way to pay tribute to Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the leader of martyrs is to follow his values wholeheartedly. The sacrifice of Hussein and his colleagues is not only more relevant today than any other time in the history. This immortal story also reflects the Islamic principles in true form. Remembrance of goodness and sacrifice is the true meaning of Muharram. Let us emulate the spirit of Muharram which embodies humanism which is central to Islam.
The famous Indian poet Kunwar Mahendra Singh Bedi, admirer of Hazrat Hussein says:
Zinda Islam ko kiya toone, hakk-o-batil dikha diya toone.
Ji ke marna to sabko aata hai, mar ke jeena sikha diya tune.
(Hazrat Imam Hussain, You made the Islam alive, you shown, justice & injustice. Every body knows how to die after live. But you taught how to live after death)