Imam Hussein (A.S.) birthday anniversary
Imam Husain ibn 'Ali (peace be upon him)
Name: Husain ibn 'Ali
Titles: Sayyid-as-Shuhadaa (Leader of Martyrs)
Kuniya: Abu Abdullah
Birthdate: Thursday, 3rd Shaban 4 A.H. in Madina
Father: Imam 'Ali Al-Murtaza (peace be upon him), 1st Holy Imam
Mother: Hazrat Fatima (daughter of the Holy Prophet) (peace be upon them)
(Martyred) Date: Friday, 10th Muharram, 61 A.H.
Place: Kerbala, Iraq
Age: 57 years
Cause: Massacred along with some of his family membersand companions by the army of Yazid ibn Mu'awiya
Buried: Kerbala, Iraq
On the third of Sha'ban in the year 4 A.H. (1) the city of Medina witnessed the birth of a boy in the house of Lady Fatimah (PBUH) and Imam Ali (PBUH); he was later nicknamed the "Master of Martyrs." This newly born baby was the second son of a family whom the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) saluted by the name of "Ahl al-Bayt" (people of the house of the Prophet). They were referred to as Ahl al-Bayt after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) received the verse of Tat'hir (Purification) (The Holy Quran, 33:33). His mother was Lady Fatimah (PBUH), one of the greatest women in history, whose deep knowing, morality, purity, and other great characteristics are well known to all, a mother whose rank and status is described by the Holy Quran in a whole chapter.
His father, Imam Ali (PBUH), hugged his newborn second son in his arms. Imam Ali (PBUH) was the first person who became Muslim, most knowledgeable in religion, and most eloquent in the Arab language. As his exceptional record of self-sacrifice and courage in defending the religion of Allah (SWT) was passed down with the rise and expansion of Islam. He was the one whom Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) constantly announced as his successor by the command of Allah (SWT).
On such an auspicious day, Imam Ali (PBUH) took his son to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), as was the custom of respect, in order for a name to be chosen for his newborn son, just as he had done for his first son. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) named him ?Hussain? by the order of Allah (SWT). Hussain is the Arabic equivalent of Shubayr in Hebrew. Shubayr was the name of the second son of Haroun/Aaron, the successor of Musa/Moses (PBUH).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) once informed Imam Ali (PBUH) about the similarity found between Muhammad and Musa, Ali and Haroun, Shubbar and Hassan, Shubayr and Hussain: "O Ali, your status with respect to mine is equivalent to the status of Haroun with respect to Musa, except there will be no prophet after me."
The Prophet's flower
Hussain (PBUH) spent his childhood with Lady Fatimah (PBUH), Imam Ali (PBUH), and especially with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). The love and affection Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had towards Hussain (PBUH) was so unique that all the companions were aware of it, had frequently seen its manifestation, and had heard of it repeatedly. Moreover, historians have recorded incidents and narrations in this respect. In one account it has been said that the Prophet's prostration took longer than usual in his prayer. People came to the Prophet and asked, "Were you receiving a revelation or order from Allah during prostration?" Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied, "No, my son Hussain had climbed onto my back; I waited until he wished to come down." This is an example showing how the best creature of Allah (SWT) treated Hussain (PBUH) while he was in the best state of worship.
The companions had seen Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) repeatedly put Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) on his shoulders and play with them. At other times he would kiss Hussain (PBUH) and say, "Hussain is from me, and I am from Hussain. May Allah love him who loves Hussain." In other traditions the Prophet would say, "Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) are my two aromatic flowers from this world."
Nonetheless, most people knew that the Prophet's love for his two grandchildren, especially for Hussain (PBUH) was not a usual love of a grandfather for his grandchild. According to the Holy Quran, the Prophet's (PBUH&HP) actions and words are apart from his desires: "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow ..." (The Holy Quran, 33:21) On the other hand, although Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had other adopted daughters and a son, the specific affection and recommendations were only shown towards Hassan and Hussain (PBUT).
Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) recommendations and affections for Hussain (PBUH) were in fact portraying an important fact. He would repeatedly inform people that salvation and prosperity can only be found through the friendship and love of Imam Hussain (PBUH). Umar Ibn Khattab narrates from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): "Hassan and Hussain are masters of the youth in heaven. Whosoever loves them has loved me, and whosoever has animosity with them, is my enemy." In another account the Holy Prophet has also said, "You came to awareness by me; you found the right path and were guided by Ali; you were given blessings through Hassan; but your eternal salvation is with Hussain. Be aware that Hussain is a door from the doors of heaven. Whosoever has animosity towards him can never enter heaven."
In the mirror of Allah's book
Imam Hussain (PBUH) was still a child when several verses of the Holy Quran were revealed either about or referring to him. One of those verses is referred to as the verse of Mubahilah (3:61). On the day of Mubahilah when a spiritual contest between Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and the Christians of Najran was set up to invoke the curse of Allah (SWT) on the liars, Hussain (PBUH) and his family were the only ones accompanying the Prophet. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had orders from Almighty Allah (SWT) through the verse of Mubahilah to take Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) as his children with him.
Hussain (PBUH) was one of the five people in regards to whom the verse of Tat'hir (Purification) was revealed. He, his father, brother, and mother were under the Prophet's cloak when Allah (SWT) revealed to His Messenger: "Verily Allah desires to remove all kinds of uncleanness from only you, O Ahl al-Bayt (people of the house), and to definitely purify you." (The Holy Quran, 33:33) This verse of the Holy Quran is clear proof of the infallibility of this family and their separation from all sins and mistakes.
In another verse, Allah (SWT) commands all Muslims to love those closely related to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): "Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives?" (The Holy Quran, 42:32). When the companions asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who these "near relatives" were, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) replied: "They are Ali, Fatimah and their two children."
Years of youth
Unfortunately, the sweet years of Hussain's childhood were soon over. He was about seven years old when the Prophet departed from this world, after having said his final words about his Ahl al-Bayt. Alas the Islamic world mourned.
The Prophet's burial ceremony was not over yet, when the conspiracies were applied to rob the caliphate. People ignored all the numerous commandments and recommendations the Holy Prophet had made in regards to his successor. The great event of Ghadir had been veiled by negligence and disregard, and despite Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) frequent emphasis on Ali (PBUH) as his successor, his right for Islamic governorship was usurped. Even Fadak, a fertile land given by the Prophet to his daughter, was seized from the Prophet's progeny by the government. The Prophet's basil witnessed the harms and injuries caused upon his mother over the conflicts of allegiance, and as a result, lost his mother at the age of eight because of the crisis. The loss of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imam Hussain?s (PBUH) mother on the one hand, and the oppression upon Imam Hussain?s (PBUH) father on the other hand, in addition to the pressures he faced from the government, were bothering Hussain's (PBUH) clean soul. This period coincided with the three caliphates' era.
During this time Hussain (PBUH), as a Muslim and a follower, followed the path of Ali (PBUH) and was determined to defend truth with any opportunity he received, even though he was in his youth. He would warn people about the alterations made to Islam after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). In the best of manners Hussain (PBUH), his father, and brother would express their objection to the alterations rulers of their time had made to the religion. In one of the cases for example, the third Caliph had exiled Abu Dhar, a close companion of the Prophet, for the ?wrongdoing? of expressing his complaints about the Caliph's deviation from the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Although the Caliph had banned all from bidding farewell to Abu Dhar, Imam Ali, Hassan, and Hussain (PBUT) all went to bid their farewells to Abu Dhar to express their objection. Upon departing, Hussain (PBUH) turned to Abu Dhar and said,
"Dear Uncle, the Almighty Lord is powerful and able. He can change everything that has happened to you. These people seized your comfort, world, and life. Yet, you protected your religion from their deviations; truly you are not in need of this world and the people dependant upon this world. Their world has no value in your eyes, even though they are in great need of your way in life. Strengthen your heart and refrain from greediness and lowliness. Do not fear, and seek refuge in Allah, for perseverance is a sign of faithfulness and greatness."
Hussain (PBUH) supporter of father
Hussain (PBUH) was about 32 when authority over Muslims was handed back to its rightful owner, as people paid their allegiance to Ali (PBUH). After some time, Imam Ali (PBUH) migrated to Kufah with his sons, and therein established the new capital of the Islamic government. During the span of his father's rule, Hussain (PBUH) was a true supporter and close assistant to his Imam and father in all political and military stages. He showed his utmost respect to his father and remained obedient to his commands at all times.
Hussain (PBUH) was trained and raised by the greatest defender of Islam; he had learned courage and bravery from his father; and he was seriously involved in the three wars during his father's Caliphate. In the battle of Jamal, Hussain (PBUH) was responsible for commanding the left side of the army of Amir al-Mu'minin (PBUH). He also achieved the first victory for the army of Ali (PBUH) in the battle of Siffin, where he and his companions freed the Furat (Euphrates) River.(2) Moreover, his role as a witness in the Hakamiyah arbitration between Muawiyah and his father, Imam Ali (PBUH), is clear proof of his active participation in the society.
Hussain (PBUH) a follower of his brother
After the martyrdom of Amir al-Mu'minin (PBUH), Imam Hassan (PBUH), by the will of Allah (SWT) and the recommendations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), became the Imam and leader of the Muslims. He took responsibility in leading the Islamic society and in preaching the religion of Allah (SWT).
As in the case of his father, Hussain (PBUH), like a true follower, continued to obey and respect his brother, while remaining firmly obedient in even the smallest matters. His manners and obedience towards his brother was so exemplary that historians have acknowledged and recorded many of the cases. In one example, they have recorded a narration from Imam Baqir (PBUH) as follows: "Due to the high respect that Imam Hussain (PBUH) held for his brother, he refrained from walking ahead of or talking before his brother, Imam Hassan (PBUH)."
As mentioned, Hussain (PBUH) was always in a state of obedience and support to Imam Hassan?s (PBUH) actions in political and social matters, especially concerning peace treaty with Mu'awiyah. Despite the unfaithfulness of all Muslims towards Imam Hassan (PBUH), Hussain, the son of Ali (PBUT), a known character in the world of Islam, defended Imam Hassan's (PBUH) decision on the peace treaty. Imam Hussain (PBUH) believed peace was the key factor in Islam's maintenance.
After the peace treaty, Hussain (PBUH) and his brother moved from Kufah to Medina, their birth place and city, in which the Prophet's shrine was built. In Medina, they continued to educate, enlighten, interpret, and explain the commandments of Allah (SWT) to the people. Not long after, however, Imam Hassan (PBUH) was poisoned and martyred by the order of Mu'awiyah. As Imam Hassan (PBUH) departed this world, the divine position of Imamate was once again passed to the most deserving. His brother Hussain (PBUH) became the next Imam in Islam.
Imam Husayn was Imam for a period of ten years, all but the last six months coinciding with the caliphate of Mu'awiyah. Imam Husayn lived under the most difficult outward conditions of suppression and persecution. This was due to the fact that, first of all, religious laws and regulations had lost much of their weight and credit, and the edicts of the Umayyad government had gained complete authority and power. Secondly, Mu'awiyah and his aides made use of every possible means to put aside and move out of the way the Household of the Prophet (sawas) and the Shi'ah, and thus obliterate the name of Ali and his family. And above all, Mu'awiyah wanted to strengthen the basis of the caliphate of his son, Yazid, who because of his lack of principles and scruples was opposed by a large group of Muslims. Therefore, in order to quell all opposition, Mu'awiyah had undertaken newer and more severe measures. By force and necessity Imam Husayn had to endure these days and to tolerate every kind of mental and spiritual agony and affliction from Mu'awiyah and his aides,until in the middle of the year 60 A.H. Mu'awiyah died and his son Yazid took his place.
Paying allegiance (bay'ah) was an old Arab practice which was carried out in important matters such as that of kingship and governorship. Those who were ruled, and especially the well known among them, would give their hand in alleging, agreement and obedience to their king or prince and in this way would show their support for his actions. Disagreement after allegiance was considered as disgrace and dishonour for a people and it was like breaking an agreement after having signed it officially, it was considered as a definite crime. Following the example of the Holy Prophet (sawas), people believed that allegiance, when given by free will and not through force, carried authority and weight.
Mu'awiyah had asked the well-known among the people to give their allegiance to Yazid, but had not imposed this request upon Imam Husayn. He had especially told Yazid in his last will that if Husayn refused to pay allegiance he should pass over it in silence and overlook the matter, for he had understood correctly the disastrous consequences which would follow if the issue were to be pressed. But because of his egoism and recklessness, Yazid neglected his father's advice and immediately after the death of his father ordered the governor of Medina either to force a pledge of allegiance from Imam Husayn or send his head to Damascus.
After the governor of Medina informed Imam Husayn of this demand, the Imam, in order to think over the question, asked for a delay and overnight started with his family toward Mecca. He sought refuge in the sanctuary of God which in Islam is the official place of refuge and security. This event occurred toward the end of the month of Rajab and the beginning of Sha'ban of 60 A.H. For nearly four months Imam Husayn stayed in Mecca in refuge. This news spread throughout the Islamic world. On the one hand many people who were tired of the iniquities of Mu'awiyah's rule and were even more dissatisfied when Yazid became caliph, corresponded with Imam Husayn and expressed their sympathy for him. On the other hand a flood of letters began to flow, especially from Iraq and particularly the city of Kufa, inviting the Imam to go to Iraq and accept the leadership of the populace there with the aim of beginning an uprising to overcome injustice and iniquity. Naturally such a situation was dangerous for Yazid.
The stay of Imam Husayn in Mecca continued until the season for pilgrimage when Muslims from all over the world poured in groups into Mecca in order to perform the rites of the hajj. The Imam discovered that some of the followers of Yazid had entered Mecca as pilgrims (hajjis) with the mission to kill the Imam during the rites of hajj with the arms they carried under their special pilgrimage dress (ihram). The Imam shortened the pilgrimage rites and decided to leave. Amidst the vast crowd of people he stood up and in a short speech announced that he was setting out for Iraq. In this short speech he also declared that he would be martyred and asked Muslims to help him in attaining the goal he had in view and to offer their lives in the path of God. The next day he set out with his family and a group of his companions for Iraq.
Imam Husayn was determined not to give his allegiance to Yazid and knew full well that he would be killed. He was aware that his death was inevitable in the face of the awesome military power of the Umayyads, supported as it was by corruption in certain sectors, spiritual decline, and lack of will power among the people, especially in Iraq. Some of the outstanding people of Mecca stood in the way of Imam Husayn and warned him of the danger of the move he was making. But he answered that he refused to pay allegiance and give his approval to a government of injustice and tyranny. He added that he knew that wherever he turned or went he would be killed. He would leave Mecca in order to preserve the respect for the house of God and not allow this respect to be destroyed by having his blood spilled there. While on the way to Kufa and still a few days' journey away from the city, he received news that the followers of Yazid in Kufa had put to death the representative of the Imam in that city and also one of the Imam's determined supporters who was a well-known man in Kufa. Their feet had been tied and they had been dragged through the streets. The city and its surroundings were placed under strict observation and countless soldiers of the enemy were awaiting him, There was no way open to him but to march ahead and to face death. It was-here that the Imam expressed his definitive determination to go ahead and be martyred; and so he continued on his journey.
Approximately seventy kilometres from Kufa, in a desert named Kerbala, the Imam and his entourage were surrounded by the army of Yazid. For eight days they stayed in this spot during which the circle narrowed and the number of the enemy's army increased. Finally the Imam, with his household and a small numbers of companions were encircled by an army of thirty thousand soldiers. During these days the Imam fortified his position and made a final selection of his companions. At night he called his companions and during a short speech stated that there was nothing ahead but death and martyrdom. He added that since the enemy was concerned only with his person he would free them from all obligations so that anyone who wished could escape in the darkness of the night and save his life. Then he ordered the lights to be turned out and most of his companions, who had joined him for their own advantage, dispersed. Only a handful of those who loved the truth--about forty of his close aides--and some of the Banu Hashim remained.
Once again the Imam assembled those who were left and put them to a test. He addressed his companions and Hashimite relatives, saying again that the enemy was concerned only with his person. Each could benefit from the darkness of the night and escape the danger. But this time the faithful companions of the Imam answered each in his own way that they would not deviate for a moment from the path of truth of which the Imam was the leader and would never leave him alone. They said they would defend his household to the last drop of their blood and as long as they could carry a sword.
On the ninth day of the month the last challenge to choose between "allegiance or war" was made by the enemy to the Imam. The Imam asked for a delay in order to worship overnight and became determined to enter battle on the next day.
On the tenth day of Muharram of the year 61/680 the Imam lined up before the enemy with his small band of followers, less than ninety persons consisting of forty of his companions, thirty some members of the army of the enemy that j joined him during the night and day of war, and his Hashimite family of children, brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins. That day they fought from morning until their final breath, the Imam, the young Hashimites and the companions were all martyred. Among those killed were two children of Imam Hasan, who were only thirteen and eleven years old; and a five-year-old child and a suckling baby of Imam Husayn.
The army of the enemy, after ending the war, plundered the haram of the Imam and burned his tents. They decapitated the bodies of the martyrs, denuded them and threw them to the ground without burial. Then they moved the members of the haram, all of whom were helpless women and girls, along with the heads of the martyrs, to Kufa. Among the prisoners there were three male members: a twenty-two year old son of Imam Husayn who was very ill and unable to move, namely Ali ibn Husayn, the fourth Imam; his four year old son, Muhammad ibn Ali, who became the fifth Imam; and finally Hasan Muthanna, the son of the second Imam who was also the son-in-law of Imam Husayn and who, having been wounded during the war, lay among the dead. They found him near death and through the intercession of one of the generals did not cut off his head. Rather, they took him with the prisoners to Kufa and from there to Damascus before Yazid. The event of Kerbala, the capture of the women and children of the Household of the Prophet (sawas), their being taken as prisoners from town to town and the speeches made by the daughter of Ali; Zaynab, and the fourth Imam who were among the prisoners, disgraced the Umayyads. Such abuse of the Household of the Prophet (sawas) annulled the propaganda which Mu'awiyah had carried out for years. The matter reached such proportions that Yazid in public disowned and condemned the actions of his agents.
The event of Kerbala was a major factor in the overthrow of Umayyad rule although its effect was delayed. It also strengthened the roots of The Followers of Ahlu Bayt. Among its immediate results were the revolts and rebellions combined with bloody wars which continued for twelve years. Among those who were instrumental in the death of the Imam not one was able to escape revenge and punishment. Anyone who studies closely the history of the life of Imam Husayn and Yazid and the conditions that prevailed at that time, and analyses this chapter of Islamic history, will have no doubt that in those circumstances there was no choice before Imam Husayn but to be killed. Swearing allegiance to Yazid would have meant publicly showing contempt for Islam, something which was not possible for the Imam, for Yazid not only showed no respect for Islam and its injunctions but also made a public demonstration of impudently, treading under foot its basis and its laws. Those before him, even if they opposed religious injunctions, always did so in the guise of religion, and at least formally respected religion. They took pride in being companions of the Holy Prophet (sawas) and the other religious figures in whom people believed. From this it can be concluded that the claim of some interpreters of these events is false when they say that the two brothers, Hasan and Husayn, had two different tastes and that one chose the way of peace and the other the way of war, so that one brother made peace with Mu'awiyah although he had an army of forty thousand while the other went to war against Yazid with an army of forty. For we see that this same Imam Husayn, who refused to pay allegiance to Yazid for one day, lived for ten years under the rule of Mu'awiyah, in the same manner as his brother who also had endured for ten years under Mu'awiyah, without opposing him.
It must be said in truth that if Imam Hasan or Imam Husayn had fought Mu'awiyah they would have been killed without there being the least benefit for Islam. Their deaths would have had no effect before the righteous appearing policy of Mu'awiyah, a competent politician who emphasised his being a companion of the Holy Prophet (sawas), the "scribe of the revelation," and "uncle of the faithful" and who used every stratagem possible to preserve a religious guise for his rule. Moreover, with his ability to set the stage to accomplish his desires he could have had them killed by their own people and then assumed a state of mourning and sought to revenge their blood, just as he sought to give the impression that he was avenging the killing of the third caliph.
Excellenes of Imam Hussain (as) in Ahadeeth
1. Hassan (as) and Hossein (as) are the leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
2. Hassan (as) is from me and I am from Hossein (as), Allah befriends those who befriend Hossein (PBUH) and He is the enemy of those who bear enmity to him.
3. Whoever wishes to see such a person who lives on earth but whose dignity is honored by the Heaven dwellers should see my grandson Hossein (as).
4. O my son! your flesh is my flesh and your blood is my blood, your are a leader, the son of a leader and the brother of a leader; your are a spiritual guide, the son of a spiritual guide and the brother of a spiritual guide; you are an Apostolical Imam, the son of an Apostolical Imam and the brother of an Apostolical Imam; your are the father of nine Imams, the ninth of whom would be the Oa"im (the last infallible spiritual guide).
5. The punishment inflicted on the murderer of Hossein (as) in Hell would be equal to half of the total punishment to be imposed on the entire sinners of the world.
6. When the Holy Prophet (as) informed Hazrat Fatima of the Martyrdom in store for his grandson, she burst into tears and asked, "O my father! When would my son be martyred?" "In such a critical moment," he replied," When neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive. " This accentuated her grief and she inquired again," Who then, O my father, would commemorate Hossein"s martyrdom?" The Holy Prophet (as) said, "The men and the women of a particular sect of my followers, who will befriend my Ahl-ul-Bayt, will mourn for Hossein and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century."