“The evil is dominant and the good can be likened to leftover drops in a drinking bowl. The righteous conduct has become rare and the wrongful behavior is raging. A believer is obliged by his faith to seek truth in all circumstances. Living under a tyrant is disgrace and dying at the hands of an oppressor is true martyrdom”.
- Hadhrat Imam Hussein (ra)
These ringing words of uncommon courage spoken by that grandson of the Holy Prophet (sa), addressing his small band of followers and family members who accompanied him, on the eve of the great tragedy of Karbala, in spiritual defiance of Yezid ibn Muawiya, the accursed- the oppressive ruler of the day- reverberates through Islamic history as the golden standard of religion, politics and morality for all times.
As the Holy Prophet (sa) had established the State of Islam in Madina through the famous “Covenant of Madina”- with all peoples/communities expressing their trust (Bai’at) in a just ruler bound by principles of law and a working process of consultation (Shura) with the governed; Islamic political order assured the dignity of man, ensuring the freedom of expression and participation in public affairs both by the elders and the ordinary and the young citizens. It is this egalitarian system of Islamic values and political order that was sought to be defiled and overturned into a dynastic authoritarian order by that licentious prince Yezid in the times of Imam Hussein (ra), setting up that encounter between the despot and the saint. As a man who led a life of pious rectitude engaged in spiritual and academic pursuits in Madina, Imam Hussein (ra) was a conscientious and upright visionary of Islam. Rather than seeking to compromise in the pursuit of chance gains of this life, he thought no sacrifice is great in confronting evil; in upholding foundational Islamic values of justice and resistance to oppression, and chose to embrace the eternal life of a martyr than be a mute spectator to the erosion of values. Beyond tragic history, the episode of Karbala and the enduring legacy of Imam Hussein (ra) offers powerful opportunities for reflection for all believers in confronting evil that exists around us.
In his Friday Sermon of 21 September 2018 (11 Muharram 1440 AH), Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius reminds the Muslims about the fatal flaws that have crept into the community practices surrounding this great legacy; the ultimate futility of empty ritualism and spiritual corruption they are indulging in; and the important lessons the great Imam’s life offers for all of us in these turbulent times.
Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:
Every year, during the month of Muharram, many Muslims mourn the death of Imam Hussein (ra).
(1) Especially on the Darga issue. During the Muharram, the Darga trade works very well. People foolishly throw their money and waste their time in the Dargas and thus fall into the greatest sin, that is, the Shirk. They come to pray in front of five fingers cut from a plain iron sheet and they place all that in front of them and they also lit an earthen lamp. Do Muslims pray earthen lamps? So where has their faith gone? They bring sugar, and also kill a black cock and come to leave all that in the Darga. All these practices do not form part of Islam. All this is non-existent in Islam. There are people who make promises during the Muharram to give a red and green cloths in the Darga, if they succeed in their intended projects / works / promises (especially for childless parents who make such promises).
(2) The ‘Ghoon’ issue. This practice does not have its place in Islam. It is absolutely forbidden for one to participate in such practices in whatever form it may be. For example, give money, raise flags, collect money, beat Marfa (i.e. the drums – a sort of music), raise/ pull the ‘Ghoon’ etc., or give money when the participants of the ‘Ghoon’ are going from door to door. This is what is called (in Mauritius) : “Ramasse Pavillion” (lit. meaning collect flags, in other words money).
By indulging in such practices , they have forgotten the true aim of the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (ra); they altogether forgot the purpose for which he sacrificed himself as well as his family (in the way of Allah)! Did Imam Hussein (ra) ever fight for power? Imam Hussein (ra) was never thirsty for power.
In the Islamic world today, there are states/ countries which are still being ruled by monarchies (for example, Saudi Arabia etc.). In some of these states, the king buy the silence of his people with money so that they do not denounce any injustice, corruption, torture etc. which are being done in those countries. But among these nations, there are some who submit (i.e. turn a blind eye to all injustices and so on) but many also rise and expose their lives and die while fighting against injustices and corruption.
This was the case for Imam Hussein (ra). Despite their few number (i.e. he and his group/ family), Imam Hussein (ra) and his companions and family fought so as to re-establish the good principles of Islam, and to make the people comply to them completely. It is with this aim in mind that Imam Hussein (ra) fought and sacrificed himself and his family (the Ahle Bait) – [in the way of Allah]. The true Muslim should never take such events in history as an ordinary occurrence and he should never manifest happiness at such tragedy. Each of us should learn a lesson in the sacrifice of Imam Hussein (ra).
There are in some places, in great Majlis (meetings, councils, programmes), many talks are delivered [especially on the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (ra) etc.] and while some of the speeches are based on truths, many also are invented also – their sources are unknown, so much so that one does not know which and which to believe. And after the Majlis, the congregation only affirms that they were deeply touched and sad by what they heard and that is all!
Is that only the aim of listening to the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (ra)? To feel sad [and do nothing else which is Islamic]? Or to distribute Malida (a cake preparation) or take water from the dead (i.e. in the Dargas/ tombs or special ‘Ghoon Darga’)?
The important lesson which we need to take from the life of Imam Hussein (ra) is that whenever injustice or corruption or evil appear in society, we need to rebel against it, even if we are few in number! Allah is with the one who fight to restore His established Laws. Therefore, you need to do it because Allah is with the one who struggle/ fight to establish His Law on earth. Imam Hussein (ra) is a striking example (and model) for us all....