In the Name of Allah
The Philosophy of Martyrdom
by Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi
Why Hussein (a.s.) Is Not Being Forgotten?
The importance of the history of life of Imam Hussein (also Husayn) (a.s.) which has been converted to one of most sensational epics of human history is not only because of arousing most powerful waves of sensations of millions of people around itself every year and creates a ceremony which is more sensational than other ceremonies, but its importance is mostly because that: It has no “motive” other than pure religious and humanly and popular sensations and feelings and this magnificent ceremony that observes in respect and commemoration of this historical incident has no need to preliminaries and advertisements and it is unexampled in its kind in this aspect.
Most of us know this truth, but the point which has not been truly cleared for lot of people (especially non-Muslim thinkers) yet and still is remained like a puzzle in their minds is that:
Why is this historical incident which has several similar examples in “quantity and quality” emphasized so much? Why does the ceremony which is observed in respect and commemoration of this memory set up more magnificent and more sensational from the last year?
Why today that there is no sign of “Umavi (related to Umayya) party” and their companions and heroes of this incident must have been forgotten, the incident of Karbala has become eternal?!
The answer to this question should be sought among the main motives of this revolution; we assume that analyzing this matter is not so hard and complicated for persons who are familiar with the history of Islam.
In more clear way, the bloody incident of Karbala is not a chart of a battle between two political competitors for achieving the throne of leadership or estates or lands.
Also, this incident has not been emanated from the explosion of hatreds of two hostile tribes which begins for gaining tribal privileges.
In fact, this incident is a clear scene of the battle between two doctrines related to individuals and beliefs that its blazing fire has not been extinguished during the adventurous history of mankind, from the farthest times to today; this fight is the continue of the fight of all prophets and reformer men of the world and in other hand it is the continue of the battles “Badr and Ahzab”.
We all know that when prophet of Islam (s.a.) arose as the leader of an intellectual and social revolution, for saving the mankind from all kinds of idolatry and superstitions and saving people from the claws of ignorance and oppression and collected the oppressed and truth-wanting groups of people who were the most important elements of evolution around himself, at this time oppositions of this reforming movement who were rich idolaters and usurious persons pf Mecca as their heads used all of their forces for repressing this voice of freedom and creativity of these anti-Islamic acts was in hands of “Umavi party” and their leader Abu Suffian.
But at the end their organization came to dissolution and kneed in front of magnificence of amazing influence of Islam.
Obviously, this dissolution was not in the meaning of their annihilation and deracination, but it considered as a starting point in their lives, which means they converted their apparent and explicit anti-Islamic acts into gradual and hidden acts, which is the program of any obstinate, weak and defeated enemy, and waited for an opportunity.
Bani Umayya tried to create a reactionary movement and bringing back people to the time of before Islam after the departure of Prophet (s.a.) in order to penetrate in any leading Islamic system and as far as Muslims went farther than the time of Prophet (s.a.) they saw condition more favorable.
Especially, some of “traditions of ignorance” which revived by other than Bani Umayya due to several reasons prepared conditions for an “ignorant revolution”.
1- The matter of racism that Islam had red lined that revived again by some of caliphs and “Arab” race gain superiority to “Mawali” (non-Arab).
2-Different discriminations appeared which was not compatible with the soul of Islam in anyway and “Bait Al-Mal” that had prorated evenly between Muslims converted into another shape and some inappropriate privileges had gave to some persons and privileges of different classes of people revived again.
3- Places and position that had been gave to people according to their abilities and scientific, moral and spiritual values had shared between the relatives of some of caliphs.
During these changes, “Muaviya” son of Abu Suffian found his way into the Islamic government and gained the governorship of one of most important Islamic regions (Shaam) and from that place flattened the road for conquering the Islamic government and reviving all traditions of ignorance by assistance of remaining persons of parties of ignorance.
This wave was so much strong that got a pure man like Ali (a.s.) busy during all the time of caliphate to itself.
The appearance of this anti-Islamic movement was so much apparent that even their leaders were not able to hide that.
If Abu Suffian says that historical sentence with complete obscenity when he was transferring the caliphate to Bani Umayya and Bani Marwan:
“O Bani Umayya! Try and steal the ball of leadership from the field (and pass it to each other); I swear to the thing which I swear to there is no heaven and hell existed! (And the rise of Mohammad had been a political movement)”.
And if “Muaviya” says in his sermon in Kufa after dominating Iraq that:
“I have not come for you to perform prayer and fasting, I have come to rule you; anyone who opposes me I will destroy him!”
And if Yazid says when he is watching the heads of freemen who drank the juice of martyrdom in Karbala that:
“If my ancestors who had been killed in the filed of Badr were here to see my revenge scene from Bani Hashim …!”
All these were proofs of the nature of this “reactionary and anti-Islamic” movement and as it advanced, it became more apparent and severe.
Could Imam Hussein (a.s.) keep silence and stay calm against this great danger which was threatening dear Islam and was raised to its top in the time of “Yazid”? Did Allah and Prophet (s.a.) and all pure arms which had made him grow want that?
Didn’t he have to break the deadly silence which was dominating the Islamic society by an extraordinary devotion and absolute self sacrifice, and show the evil movement of this party of ignorance from behind the curtains of propagandas of “Bani Umayya” and write shining lines on the forehead of history Islam with his pure blood in order that an eternal and sensational epic remains for future?
Yes, Hussein (a.s.) did this and performed his great and historical duty for Islam and change the way of the history of Islam. He destroyed the anti-Islamic cabals of Umavi party and neutralized their last tyrannical efforts.
This is the real feature of rise of Hussein (a.s.) and it clears from this point that why the name and history of Imam Hussein (a.s.) is not being forgotten. He has not been belonged to one age and one century and one time, but he and his goal are eternal.
He drank the juice of martyrdom in the way of truth and justice and freedom, in the way of Allah and Islam, in the way of freeing humankind and reviving human values; Do these concepts ever becoming old and forgotten? No… Never …!
Who Did Win?
Did Bani Umayya and their cruel and secularist soldiers win in this great fight? Or did Imam Hussein (a.s.) and his devoting companions win that who sacrificed all that they have in the way of love of truth and purity and for Allah?!
Noticing to the real meaning of “victory” and “defeat” answers this question: Victory is not the matter of returning safe from the battlefield or destroying the enemy, but victory is achieving the “goal” and preventing enemy from reaching his goal.
By noticing to this meaning, the final result of this bloody fight clears completely. It is true that Hussein (a.s.) and his loyal companions drank the juice of martyrdom after a heroic battle, but they achieved their sacred goal completely from this glorious martyrdom.
The goal was to reveal the nature of reactionary and anti-Islamic “Umavi” movement and weak the public thoughts of Muslims up in order that they get informed about the cabals of these remainents of age of ignorance and residuals of age of paganism and idolatry, which had been achieved successfully.
They finally cut the roots of oppression tree of “Bani Umayya” and removed the evil and disgraceful domination of that usurper government over Muslims which its pride and honor was to revive the traditions of ignorance and corruption and oppression by preparing the preliminaries of extinction of them.
“Yazid” government showed its real face to all people by killing superior men of the dynasty of Prophet (s.a.) especially Imam Hussein (a.s.) the great leader of Islam and the beloved son of Prophet (s.a.), and announced the disgrace of themselves, the claimants of succession of Prophet (s.a.) everywhere.
And this is not strange that we see the motto of “revenge of these martyrs” or “الرضا لآل محمّد” in all revolutions and evolutions which took place after the incident of Karbala that continued until the time of Bani Abbas who used this matter for gaining the power and reaching the governorship and after that chose the way of oppression.
What a victory more than this which they not only achieved their goal, but they became examples of free persons of the world.
Why Do We Mourn?!
They say that if Imam Hussein (a.s.) won, so why don’t we celebrate? Why do we cry? Is this much of crying appropriate for that great victory?
Those who arises this objection, do not know the “philosophy of mourning” and mistake it with cries of contempt.
“Cry” and flowing of tear drops from “eye” which is the gate of the heart of a human has four kinds:
1- Cries of Delight
Cry of a mother at the moment of finding his beloved children after being lost for some years, or cry of happiness of a lover who meets her lover after a lifetime of deprivation are cries of delight.
Lots of parts of epic of Karbala are delightful and sensational and it follows with the flood of tears of delight flows from the eyes of hearer because of those much of braveries, devotions, courage, freedom, and fiery speeches of men and women who were apparently captives; is this cry a proof of defeat?
2- Emotional Cries
The thing that is inside the chest of a human is “heart” and not a piece of “stone”! And this heart which draws the emotional waves of humans vibrates by watching the scene of an orphan child who dies in the arms of his mother waiting for his father to return home and draws the lines of these waves on the face by flowing tears and show that it is a living and full of humanly emotions heart.
If a heart beats by hearing the incident of dying an infant in the arms of his father and his agony in the flood of his blood in the incident of Karbala and throw its fiery sparks out as drops of tears, is this a sign of weakness and inability or the proof of awareness that full of emotions heart?!
3- Cry of Conjunction of Goals
Sometimes drops of tears show the goals; maybe those who want to say that they accompany the belief of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and are compatible with his goal and follow his sect and doctrine express these matters by fiery mottos or by poems and epics; but sometime they might have been made up; but a person who sends out a drop of tear from inside the heart by hearing this heartrending incident expresses this truth more truthfully. This drop of tear is the announcement of loyalty to the sacred goals of companions of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and conjunction of heart and soul with them and the announcement of fight with idolatry, oppression, and expressing the hatred from impurities. Is this kind of cry possible without the knowledge about his pure goals?
4- Cry of Contempt
This is the cry of weak and disabled persons who have failed to achieve their goals and see no more soul or courage for advancement in themselves; they sit down and start crying because of their contempt.
Never cry like this for Imam Hussein (a.s.) because he hates this kind of cry; if you cry it should be the cry of delight, emotions or conjunction of goals.
But more important of mourning, is familiarity with the thought of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and his companions and his sect and doctrine, and practical conjunction with the goals of his holiness and being pure and living pure and thinking right and acting correct.