Lessons from Karbala

The truth about Imam Hussein’s Revolution, Martyr Murtadha Mutahhari

‘Different phenomena vary as to their realities. Similarly, every uprising or revolt is unique as to the truth/s underlying its eruption [and eventual success or otherwise]. In order to understand a particular matter, or a state of affairs, you should know the deeper reasons underling its existing form and the characteristics that gave it that specific appearance. You should also be conscious of the material causes of that matter, or issue, i.e. its constituents or ingredients. In other words:
The forces/causes that produced the revolt or uprising, which signify its truth are called “the causes at work”.
The nature of the revolt and its goals represent “its intents and purposes”.
The actual action plan, implementing it, and all what goes with it represent “its material causes”.
The end result that the revolt has come to produce represents its “overall picture”.  [Applying these parameters], was Imam Hussain’s uprising a result of an angry outburst?

Islam is different from some other movements for change or reform that took place as a result of certain circumstances that in turn led to eruptions.
Dialectics, for example, encourages heightening disagreements, inciting discontent, and showing opposition even for genuine reforms in order to bring things to a head on collision, i.e. an explosive revolution, not a conscious one.
Islam does not subscribe to these types of revolutions. The history of most Islamic revolts or uprisings speaks of the rationale behind such revolts, in that they came as a result of a complete understanding of the status quo they were determined to change. Thus, Imam Hussain’s revolt was not a result of an angry outburst, prompted by the pressures exerted by the Umayyad rule, especially during the reigns of Mu’aawiyah [the founder of the dynastic rule], and his son, Yezid.

Rather, it was a very well calculated move. What substantiates the position the Imam (a.s.) took in this regard was the letters he exchanged with both the men; and the sermons he gave on different occasions, especially that one he addressed the Companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Mina, [in present day Saudi Arabia] with. All this evidence points in the direction of one conclusion. That is, the Imam was fully aware of what he was intending to do, viz. taking on the ruling establishment. His revolt was free from any angry reaction; rather, it was a purely Islamic uprising.’

The Role of Women in the Hussaini Revolution, Anonymous

‘Imam Hussein (a.s.) had a conviction, to the point of certainty, that his women and those of his supporters would be taken captives and would be humiliated at the hands of the regime’s stooges. But he also knew that this outrageous abuse would not be publically approved of. It would serve as a good and effective element in disclosing the nature of the Ummayyad policy and leave it, undisguised, before the masses. Shedding off the layers of humiliation and passivity, the Muslim conscience would be thrown into the center of the big challenge.

The women, on the other hand, played no less effective roles. In captivity they talked to the people, laid the facts bare before them, and unveiled the schemes and plots of the Ummayyad policy, both in Kufa and Syria. Through the speeches, discussions and tirades on the part of the women, Imam Hussein (a.s.) drove home his message. The reader will not remain in doubt as to why Imam Hussein (a.s.) brought with him his women to Karbala’.

Based on these considerations, we ascertain, without the slightest doubt, that the participation of the women in the Husseini revolution was planned and pondered over beforehand.’

The Ashura Uprising, Imam Khomeini (ra)

‘Let the mourning congregations for the Master of the Oppressed and the Lord of the Free – congregations in which wisdom and intellect overcome ignorance; justice overpowers cruelty and oppression; trust rules out treason, and Islamic rule supercedes the rule of tyranny, be held with grandeur, eminence, and brilliance. And let the blood-smeared banners of Ashura be hoisted to mark the dawn of the day where the oppressed avenge the oppressor. Our sons and youth must not think that it is a matter of weeping only or that we are a weeping nation – this is what others want to brainwash you into believing and then repeating, because they fear those tears. They fear them because they are tears for the oppressed and a cry against the oppressor, and these processions stand up against oppression. These lamentation processions are a symbol of our victory; hold mourning congregations throughout, and let speakers read their elegies, and let people cry. Speakers must not condense elegies into a few words; speak at length about the tragedies of the AhlulBayt (as) as was the case before and read elegies, poems and narrations; the excellences of the holy progeny and the tortures inflicted on them must be rendered with such sincerity and passion that the people get ready for field action. They ought to know that our infallible Imams (as) devoted their lives to promoting Islam.’

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