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Article 3 -Imam Hussein (A.S.): The Global Hero of the Struggle Against Oppression and Injustice -2024

Imam Hussein (A.S.): The Global Hero of the Struggle Against Oppression and Injustice

(Part One)

Imam Hussein (A.S.), through His (pbuh)’s stand against tyranny and corruption during the event of Ashura in Karbala, became a symbol of courage, justice, and resistance against oppression. By sacrificing his life and that of his family, he demonstrated to the world that human and ethical values are so important that they must be protected, even at the cost of one’s life.

The unique characteristics that Imam Hussein (AS) exhibited, particularly on the day of Ashura, grant him the honour of this great title. Here, we briefly highlight some of these features:

Unparalleled Courage

 The first anhd foremost trait of Imam Hussein (AS) was His (pbuh) unparalleled bravery in fighting against oppression and tyranny. Despite being fully aware of the dangers and consequences of resisting the tyrannical rule of Yazid, He (pbuh) chose to make His (pbuh) stand against despotism and injustice public, with immense self-sacrifice and dedication.

In his will to His (pbuh) brother Muhammad Hanafiyyah and in letters sent during His (pbuh) journey from Medina to Karbala, He (pbuh) clearly stated that His (pbuh) uprising was not for seeking power or causing corruption in society but for reforming the Ummah of His (pbuh) grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and reviving the principles of enjoining good and forbidding evil, fully aware of all the risks and hardships involved.

Upon leaving Medina, He (pbuh) wrote on a piece of paper and entrusted it to the Hashemites:

«بسم اللّه ِ الرَّحمنِ الرَّحِيمِ مِنَ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلیٍّ اِلی بَنی هاشِمٍ اَمّا بَعْدُ، فَاِنَّهُ مَنْ لَحِقَ بی مِنْکُمْ اُسْتُشْهِدَ، وَ مَنْ تَخَلَّفَ لَمْ يَبْلُغْ مَبْلَغَ الْفَتْحِ وَ السَّلام»

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. This letter is from Hussein bin Ali to the Hashemites. After praising Allah, I state that whoever joins me in this uprising will attain martyrdom, and whoever does not will not achieve victory.”

During His (pbuh) journey to Kufa, He (pbuh) met Farazdaq, a famous poet of that time. Farazdaq told Him (pbuh) that the hearts of the people of Kufa were with Him (pbuh), but their swords were against Him (pbuh). Imam Hussein (AS) replied to Farazdaq, saying that whatever Allah wills shall happen.

On the day of Ashura, before the battle began, He (pbuh) delivered a sermon to the enemy army, reminding them of the injustices and wrongdoings of Yazid’s government, declaring that under no circumstances would He (pbuh) pledge allegiance to a regime founded on oppression and corruption. This response and sermon reflected His (pbuh) full awareness of the dangerous circumstances and the likelihood of His (pbuh) martyrdom in this struggle.

Advocacy for Justice and Human Rights

 Undoubtedly, the primary reason for Imam Hussein’s (AS) historic struggle, as observed in His (pbuh) letters and remaining documents, was the violation of moral and religious principles and values such as justice and human rights by the despotic ruler of that time. He (pbuh) consistently emphasized that human values must be placed above personal and worldly interests.

In one of His (pbuh) important letters addressed to the nobles and chiefs of Basra, He (pbuh) wrote: “O people! You have seen what Yazid bin Muawiya does. He drinks wine, ignores divine laws, and oppresses the people. I seek to reform the affairs of my grandfather’s Ummah and aim to implement enjoining good and forbidding evil. So if you are also seeking justice and human rights, support me.” Similarly, in a letter to the people of Kufa, He (pbuh) clearly referred to human rights and the necessity of reform, stating: “O people of Kufa! You know that we are the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (PBUH) and we have the duty to revive justice and human rights. Yazid bin Muawiya acts against the principles of Islam and disregards the rights of the people. I ask you to respond to the call of truth and join me in fighting against oppression and tyranny.” In the closing part of this letter, he said: “By my life! No one can be an Imam unless He acts according to the Book of Allah, practice justice, adhere to the true religion, and restrain themselves within the boundaries of Allah’s will.”

In a letter to the governor of Basra, Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, He (pbuh) explicitly pointed out the tyranny and oppression of Yazid’s government, urging him to abandon this tyranny and respect the justice and rights of the defenceless people, and not to partake in Yazid’s sins. All these documents clearly illustrate Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) vision of justice and reform.

Unmatched Patience and Perseverance in Facing the Hardships of Struggle

The third trait that makes Imam Hussein (A.S.) deserving of the title of the champion of the struggle against oppression and corruption is His (pbuh) extraordinary capacity to endure numerous hardships, which are rarely found in history.

One of the greatest afflictions He (pbuh) endured on the day of Ashura was severe thirst. Yazid’s army, led by Umar bin Sa’ad, cut off the water supply from the Euphrates to the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) and the companions (pbut) of Imam Hussein (AS). This thirst was especially excruciating for the children and women of Imam (pbuh)’s caravan. On the day of Ashura, when Imam Hussein (A.S.) took His (pbuh) infant son, Ali Asghar (A.S.), in His (pbuh)’s arms, He (pbuh) cried out: “O people! You have killed my followers and family members, and only this infant remains who is writhing from thirst. Quench his thirst with a drop of water.”

The unbearable thirst, numerous wounds, the martyrdom of His (pbuh) children, brothers, and loyal companions, and the captivity of all the women, children, and survivors, are tribulations that only a great and exemplary hero in the fight for righteousness can withstand.

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