The universal emblem of RESISTANCE against injustice, oppression; the 7th century revolutionary: HUSSEIN BIN ALI.
"Think not of those, slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Rab they have provision." (3:169) Most Noble Quran.
Image source: IslamOriente, Islamic Poster
Using the hackneyed rhetoric typical of witless despots the so-called Salafist Aqeedah (as it's referred to) has turned the tragedy around, claiming that the incident was "Hussein's fault" because he "revolted against the Caliph of the Muslim State appointed on oath by his father." That father had changed the Islamic structure of governance of appointing leaders based on their spiritual and ethical merits into a monarchical system, designating his son as his successor who was infamous for his scant morals, Tzarist style absolutism and ill repute. But the Salafist Aqeeda's most appalling oversight is the claim of Hussein's "revolt" implying a preemptive armed rebellion which is patently false. Hussein did not start an armed revolt, rather he refused to endorse the usurper, a decision that cost him his life. Not that he wasn't aware of its risks. But fear never got the better of him as his loyalty was too firmly embedded in the principles of the Glorious Quran.
Hussein's intent of coming to Kufa was not war. Logically, would anyone consider taking that many women and children of their family from Medinah to Iraq (which was a huge distance in those days when traveling was cumbersome) if the plan was anything other than relocating? Throughout the annals of history never has there been a period nor an event when women and children were gathered and made to accompany the warriors to the battlefield. Not in the East nor in the West, not anywhere. Neither was Hussein fixated on the traditional tribal pride of the Hashmites vs. the Ommayads. His purpose was not to grab power in the same manner as did Yazid's father. Hussein's intent was plain to perceive - not to establish alliance with what he clearly viewed as a thoroughly unfair governmental system. Under the circumstances, he felt it was his entitlement to maintain his presence in the region close to the capital as an opposition bloc and an outspoken critic of the injustices inflicted by a powerful appropriator. The approach was closest to what's presently interpreted as 'the government and the opposition' at a period when hardcore authoritarianism was the order of the day; a period when, from Europe to Japan, a prince could command a peasant to send his young daughter to his royal chamber to spend the night and the poor peasant had no choice but to bow down his head and obey. In an era such as that, Hussein's decision was an amazing example of a rare revolutionary spirit. Its inspirational strength makes history not only in the place where he lived, but far and wide.
Yazid bin Muawiyah feared the imagery charisma of Hussein's emblematic personality no less than his actual presence. If allowed to live in Iraq, the startling contrast between the beauty of Hussein's humanity and the very unexceptional existence of the king at Kufa would be too glaring for the masses not to observe, the type of scenario that can spell the beginning of the end of an already unpopular ruler. Consequently orders were given that Hussein must not be allowed to stay nor leave but be eliminated. When the belligerent Kufan army brandished their shimmering swords under the hot sun of Karbala, Hussein held up the Quran to them. He tried to avoid confrontation until the end. Eventually they left him with no choice but to opt for a purely defensive battle. The martyrdom of the unforgettable revolutionary Imam was followed by the pre-Islamic practice of beheading, to instill maximum fear of the outcome of disagreements in the hearts of the people. Silent lamentation filled the atmosphere. It was the day when the sun began to set on the Muslim nation, scattering the seeds of discord ensuing treachery, splits and strifes. The decline shows along a lengthy chronological list of events and eras; and tonight we find ourselves at the bottom of that dismal pit, content with our whimsical existence. Let alone aspirations and treading in the footsteps of our great loved ones, how many of us even bother to remember them with a shred of respect?
But let us at least acknowledge that Hussein's name in history is not confined within Shiia Islam only. That would amount to limiting his charismatic courage and stereotyping it by pouring it into a very restricted mold. Hussein remains a universal symbol of resistance against all forms of tyranny, undermining the decadent notion (still prevalent everywhere) of obligatory support for corrupt and deceptive leaders and their administration.