Lessons from Imam Al-Hussein – 1
By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi
These days are the anniversary of Imam Al-Hussein’s martyrdom along with his family members and companions during the Battle of Karbala, as millions of Shia Muslims around the world mourn and commemorate this occasion in various forms and ways. There are thousands of lessons and ideals, which can be learned and taught from the sacrifice of Imam Al-Hussein, as the day of Ashura illustrates the confrontation between good and evil in its ultimate demonstration. The small army of Imam Al-Hussein faced the army of Umayyad king Yazid Ibn Muawiya, which according to many sources were over 120,000. Nevertheless, Imam Al-Hussein and his companions demonstrated the absolute pictures of sacrifice, courage, mercy and submission to Allah, and the army of Yazid demonstrated the ultimate picture of abjectness, rascality, vileness, cruelty and acrimony.
However, one of the most powerful statements in the history of mankind was given during that battle, when Imam Al-Hussein was left alone before that monstrous army, after his entire family and companions were slaughtered. Imam Al-Hussein stood before that army and said: “if you have no faith, at least be freemen in your life”. These words are worthy of being written with gold ink, as they outline the guideline for any situation or condition that a person might ever face in his/her lifetime. Being courageous, brave, honorable and noble requires nothing but being a free person and no faith or belief.
In addition, one of the most beautiful demonstrations of this statement was illustrated through an encounter between Imam Al-Hussein and a Christian physician, who worked in Yazid’s army. Historians narrate: once Imam Al-Hussein was severely wounded, bleeding and laying on the hot surface of Karbala, everyone was afraid of finishing him off, and sealing the battle, as they all knew the person laying down and wounded was the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. Imam Al-Hussein was the person, who Prophet Mohammad had narrated several narrations and hadith about. In one narration, the Prophet stated: Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein, God loves, whomever loves Hussein. Therefore, everyone rejected killing Imam Al-Hussein and be the person that history will curse for eternity. The commanders of Yazid’s army came to Omar Ibn Sa’ad (Chief Commander of the army) and suggested to him that you will be better off paying the Christian physician to kill Al-Hussein, as he is not from our religion and he would not care, if he is paid well.
Therefore, Omar Ibn Sa’ad approached the physician and tells him about the task required and offers him a very notable prize, if he gets the task done and finishes Al-Hussein off. The Christian physician agrees, takes the prize, grabs a sword and heads toward the spot, where Imam Al-Hussein has fallen and badly bleeds from his severe wounds. Once the Christian Physician approaches the Imam, he looks closely at Imam Al-Hussein’s face and starts shaking and stops on his spot. Imam Al-Hussein, tells the physician with a low voice: “you can ask your question, but I will answer it for you even before you ask it, as I know what you are thinking and what you want to ask. You dreamt of being in a gathering, where the Christ and his disciples were present and sitting in a circle. You approached them and greeted them, and asked to be permitted to join them. Jesus permitted you to sit with them and then told you: Please don’t be the one, who lowers my head before Prophet Mohammad, if you were asked to kill his grandson. O’ brother, I swear to Allah, I am that grandson and Jesus was talking about me in that dream”.
The Christian Physician was shocked and speechless, as he did not know how to respond to what he had heard from Imam Al-Hussein, even before he opens his mouth and says a word. All of the sudden, the Physician shouts: “I swear to Allah’s greatness, I will not be the one, who lowers the heard of Jesus and turned toward the army and Yazid and said: O’ Sa’ad, have you gone mad? You expect me to kill the grandson of Mohammad and son of Fatima? I will not do such an action, and I would rather die defending the grandson of Mohammad”.
The physician waved his sword and attacked the army of Yazid and fought for few minutes and he was ultimately martyred and later on buried by Imam Al-Sajjad in Karbala. However, this story shows that defending justice, honor, courage and good requires no faith or it is not exclusive to a specific belief. All men are equal before their creator, as they all have been granted the power of intellect and will, which enables them to side with either good or evil, and in the case of this hero, he chose to side with Good and became historically immortal.