The tragedy of Karbala left the Islamic World with valuable lessons to reflect upon. The battle in Karbala took place in 60 Hijri when Imam Hussain (a.s) and his followers sacrificed everything they possessed dear for the sole sake of God. The opposing party, namely the Umayyads with the tyrant ruler, Yazid shed innocent blood on the land of Altaf (Karbala) for fulfillment of selfish motives that neither obeyed nor followed any religious teachings of the Apostle of God. Therefore, there can be many lessons that can be learned from the eloquent portrayal of dignity, sovereignty, patience and love for God that was displayed by the sacrifices of Ahlul-bayt (a.s) and his followers on the battlefield.
The first lesson involves importance that is given to Amr Bil Maroof (Enjoining Good) and Nahi Anil Munkar (Forbidding Evil). We are taught not to waiver from what is right and not panic during discharge of obligations. A believer must be firmly ready to face the consequences of his actions on the Day of Judgment as well as in the Hereafter. This also means that a believer must know and discharge only those duties that are within his capacity to carry out as that is what he will be accountable for. The results must be left to God.
- Karbala sheds light on the importance of learning Fiqh (Islamic practical laws). And this is observed from a scene with Lady Zainab (a.s). Lady Zainab (a.s) asked the Imam of the time (a.s) for edict even as the tents had been set on fire.
- We learn that importance has also been laid on spouse selection and religious upbringing of children. Two events can be described here. Firstly, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) chose Lady Ummul Banin as his wife and the pious marital union resulted in a progeny like Hazrat Abbas (a.s) [brother of Imam Hussain (a.s)]. Secondly, Imam Hussain (a.s) addressed the Ummayad troops; It was the fault of their forefathers that impacted the Ummayad troops’ upbringing and made them fight against the nephew of Allah’s Apostle. Furthermore, adding to the point about spouse selection, husband-wife relations have also been stressed. The Imam (a.s) was heard saying that he did not like a house that was devoid of Rabab and Sakina. Therefore, the wife is to be a ‘peace’ source for the husband.
- It is important to learn ilm (knowledge). This is so that our lives can be led as per our Creator’s will. Ziyarat Arbaeen eloquently describes Imam’s (a.s) sacrifice, “I give witness that the entire purpose of the total sacrifice was saving people from ignorance.”
- The event teaches believers the importance of Ikhlas. This means that the believer must do all of his duties for the sake of Allah only without Riya (showing off) involved. Therefore, the Aqaed (belief) in the Hereafter should be strong and this is when one can truly sacrifice material pleasures for achieving permanent benefits of the Hereafter.
- Having control over emotions has also been stressed. The event teaches us that we should control our emotions when acting for God’s sake. This is not to say that human beings must be prevented from expressing their emotions but rather, a believer must do so without comprising on the actions that are required for God’s sake.
- For women, observation of Hijab (head covering) is undoubtedly another important lesson taught by the events in Karbala. The pious ladies from the family of Ahlul-bayt (a.s) were always witnessed covered from the eyes of non-mahrem until the Ummayd’s dhulm (cruelty/oppression) pulled away their Hijab on the 10th of Muharram.
- Lastly, Karbala teaches us to submit to the will of Allah at all times and in all states. For instance, Imam Hussain (a.s) was seen offering sajda (prostration) of shukr (thanks) in all times of difficulty.