by: Brother Abdullah Segers

(currently pursuing Islamic Studies at Al-Mustapha Islamic University in Johannesburg)

Why do the Shia give so much importance and become extravagant in the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s)? Annually during the Month of Muharram they openly mourn and praise him.

Is Imam Husain (a.s) greater or more noble to Allah than his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and his father Imam Ali (a.s)?

Imam Husain (a.s) was an Imam and his grandfather was the seal of Prophets and his father was the master of guardians, leaders! Why don’t the Shia remember and give much importance to the Noble Prophet (sawa) and Imam Ali (as) like they do for Imam Husain (as)!?

By responding to this concern, it is imperative to mention that surely the Shia don’t regard anyone superior or above the Noble Prophet (sawa). He is the best of creation without any exception.

Furthermore, the Shia regard Imam Ali (a.s) as the best among human beings with the exception of the Noble Prophet (sawa). This is confirmed by the expression of Imam Ali (as) himself when he (a.s) proudly says, “I am but a shoe fixer” i.e. of the Holy Prophet (saw).

He (a.s) also said, “We saw on the day of Badr how the Holy Prophet (saw) would fight the enemies. At the intensity of the battle he (sawa) would be so close to them (enemies) and at the same time become like a shield to us”.

Imam Ali (a.s) also said, “I would sit with the Noble Prophet (sawa) and he (sawa) would be so humble that just his presence kept me speechless and I would not be able to say anything”.

So the Shia definitely believe that the Holy Prophet (sawa) has no equal among creation and Imam Ali (a.s) was his successor after him who was the best of his household and his companions.

The commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) is a manifestation of this belief. Its veracity becomes clear after mentioning the following two points:-

  1. Imam Husain (a.s) was the last remaining member of the Ahlul Kisaa

The Noble Prophet (sawa) married at the age of 25 years and died at the age of 63 years. After the death of his dear wife, Khadijah al-Kubraa (a.s) he did not marry for at least a year. Thereafter he married many women. He was married to nine women at once. His married life in total lasted for thirty seven years. Khadijah al-Kubraa (a.s) gave him (saw) two sons, namely Qausim and Abdullah. They were pure, noble and radiant, however they died in infancy. She, Khadijah al-Kubraa (a.s) also gave the Holy Prophet (sawa) four daughters namely, Zainab, Umm Kulthum, Ruqayyah and Fatimah al-Zahraa (a.s).

They lived, married and died during the life of the Noble Prophet (saw) with the exception of Fatimah al-Zahraa(as). Then there was the other wife of the Holy Prophet (sawa), Maria al-Qubtiyyah who gave him a son named Ibrahim who also died in infancy.

So the remainder of the Noble Prophet (saw)’s offspring or descendants left was Fatima al-Zahraa (a.s).

Imam Ali (a.s) gave her two sons, namely Hassan and Husain (a.s). They were from the AhlulBayt of the Noble Prophet (sawa). They were close to him like the heart is to the human being, and they were among those who were placed under the cloak.

They were of the AhlulBayt and the Progeny of the Noble Prophet (sawa). Fatimah al-Zahraa, Ali, Hassan and Husain (a.s) were the only four of the Noble Prophet (sawa)’s household left after his demise.

Soon after the death of the Noble Prophet (sawa), Fatimah al-Zahraa (as) died. Thereafter Imam Ali (a.s) died after several years. Then Allah took away Imam Hasan (a.s).

Before the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) the love and affection of the previous four members of the AhlulBayt (a.s) especially that of the Noble Prophet (sawa) fell onto Imam Husain (as).

On the day of Ashura the granddaughter of the Noble Prophet (sawa) Zainab (a.s) so beautifully expresses her feeling on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). She says, “Today is the day my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah died. Today is the day my beloved mother Fatimah al-Zahraa died. Today is the day my dear father Ali (a.s) was killed. Today is the day my brother Hasan (a.s) was poisoned.”

Imam Husain (a.s) on the day of Ashura tells Yazeed, “Do you doubt that I am the son of the daughter of the Noble Prophet (saw)?

So the door of the House of the Noble Prophet (saw) was locked with the killing of Imam Husain (a.s). His martyrdom was the martyrdom for the AhlulBayt (a.s) and his life was the life of AhlulBayt (a.s).

  1. Remembering Imam Husain (a.s) is remembering the Ahlul Bayt (a.s)

The commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) for all people is the core of the remembrance of the AhlulBayt (a.s). Verily the revival of his memory is the remembrance of the AhlulBayt (a.s).

Imam Husain (a.s) was the last of the AhlulBayt (a.s) that remained. Imam Husain (a.s) was innocent and the most prominent during his time. He was not fighting a war. On the contrary he avoided bloodshed through exile.

On the plains of Karbala, this innocent and most prominent human being was the symbol of his grandfather, the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was the one whom the Noble Prophet (saw) openly said, “Husain is from me and I am from Husain”.

This very man was found in the heart of a bloody massacre, where the young and old of his family were killed and tortured.

Yes! The grandson of the Noble Prophet (sawa) died without quenching his thirst. He died with his blessed face being removed from his blessed body. The very same face that resembled that of the Noble Prophet (sawa). The very same face that his mother Fatimah al-Zahraa would stroke gently. The very same face that his father Imam Ali (as) would stare at daily with a smile. The very same face that his brother Imam Hasan (a.s) would use as a mirror.

How cruel and inhumane could the perpetrators treat the only survivor of the AhlulBayt (a.s) of the Noble Prophet?

Imam Husain (a.s) told his followers, “Don’t only know the name of a person, but know what that person stood for”. Imam Husain (a.s) was the symbol of Justice, hope, divine law, truth.

His sacrifice was for Allah (swt). His sacrifice was for his grandfather, the Noble Prophet Muhammad (sawa). His sacrifice was for his father Imam Ali (a.s). His sacrifice was for his mother Fatimah al-Zahraa (a.s). His sacrifice was for his brother Imam Hasan (a.s).

The sacrifice of AhlulBayt (as) was based on truth and justice. This sacrifice was manifested in the grandson of the Noble Prophet (saw), Imam Husain (a.s).

Yazeed was a tyrant, unjust and oppressive. No! He was the direct opposite of Imam Husain (a.s).  

The plains of Karbala calls out to the Noble Prophet (sawa) and his AhlulBayt (a.s).

Therefore we the followers of Prophet (sawa) and his AhlulBayt (a.s) continue to chant:

Every blessed place is Karbala and Every blessed day is Ashura