Companions of Imam Husayn

One other aspect that distinguished the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam amongst other movements throughout history is the distinguished virtue of his companions, who were martyred alongside him, to the extent that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said, “I do not know of companions and family members more faithful and devoted than my companions and family members”

One of the greatest of the martyrs of Karbala is Abul-Fadhl al-Abbas alayhis-salam, the son of Imam Ali alayhis-salam and his mother is Ummel- Baneen. Abul-Fadhl has many virtues and qualities, and has shown many miracles, which point to his station, and closeness to Allah Almighty. Imam Zayn al-Abidin alayhis-salam has said about al-Abbas alayhis-salam, “May Allah have Mercy upon my uncle al-Abbas ibn Ali, for he favoured his brother over himself, showed extreme courage, and sacrificed himself for his brother, such that both of his hands were cut off. Thus Allah replaced them with two wings, with which he flies with the angels in Paradise, just as He gave Ja’far ibn Abi Talib. In the Sight of Allah al- Abbas has a station and position that all martyrs would envy on the Day ofJudgement.”

Furthermore, al-Abbas alayhis-salam is known as Baab-al-Hawa’edge or the “Gate of Needs” to Allah Almighty, and this in itself is a manifestation of martyrs being alive by their Lord, such that people use their Light after their martyrdom, and the people plead to them to fulfil their needs.

The Day of Ashura

There are days that are turning points in the course of history and in the direction of life on Earth, and one of the most important of those days is the day of Ashura. Just as the 27th of Rajab – the day of Mab’ath or First Revelation to Prophet Muhammad – forever changed the course of history and life on Earth, and just as Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih planted the seeds of Islam and Iman in the hearts of the people, the day of Ashura and the sacrifice of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam returned Faith or

Iman to the hearts of the people and restored the image of Islam which the evil hands tried to distort and destroy.

When the pagans of Quraysh asked Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih to forego his mission and his call for the oneness of Allah in exchange for all that he wished for in terms of wealth and position, Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih replied, “By Allah if they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, for relinquishing this cause, before Allah establishes it or I die, I would not abandon it”.

Just as Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih showed his resolve and steadfastness in his mission, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam manifested his resolve on a number of occasions in Karbala, which would never be forgotten by the passage of time. For example at noontime on the day of Ashura, one of the companions said it is prayer time as it is now noontime, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said, “Yes it is”, and he led the noon prayers, despite the raging battle and the ferocity of his enemies. Thus at the mostpressing and dangerous times Imam Husayn alayhis-salam did not relinquish even one of the obligations of Allah Almighty, and he took this stance to emphasise the importance of protecting the sanctity of the divine obligations, establish and uphold the Islam and its laws and teachings. In the Zeyarat (Salutation) of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam one reads, “I hereby testify that you upheld the prayers, paid the Zakat, enjoined on good, and forbade evil”. The day of Ashura is the day that teaches us how to straighten and perfect our way of life in this world, and how to match it to the Syrah or the way of life of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, who sacrificed everything he had for the sake of Enjoining Good, Forbidding Evil, and upholding the duties of Islam, implementing its teachings, and adhering to Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-as-salam.

The Torch of Guidance and Ark of Salvation

It is reported that on one occasion Imam Husayn alayhis-salam entered into a room where Prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih was present, and the latter welcome him by saying, "Welcome to you O Aba- Abdillah, the beauty of the heavens and earths". It was said to the Prophet, "How can anyone other than you be the beauty of the heavens and earths?"Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih replied, "by He who sent me as a messenger, Husayn is greater in the heavens than he is on earths. And it is

written on the right of the ‘Arsh “Throne”29 that, "Husayn is Torch of Guidance and Ark of Salvation", and then Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhiwa- aalih took the hand of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and said, "O people! This is Husayn son of Ali, so glorify him and favour him (over others) Just as Allah has favoured him, for by He in whose hand is my soul, his place is in the heavens, and the place of those who love him is also in heaven, and the place of those who love them is also in heaven."

Imam Sadiq, alayhis-salam said, "My (grand) father is Qateel-al-‘Abarah (the murder victim who brings tears to the eyes). The Imam was asked what is Qateel-al-‘Abarah? The Imam replied, “He (Imam Husayn) is not mentioned to a believer, unless he weeps for him." The Choice of Allah Imam Husayn used to say, "I want to enjoin good, and forbid evil, follow the teachings of my grandfather (Rasulollah) and that of my father Ali ibn Abi Talib, . . .". He wanted to take the Ummah (the Muslim Community) from Evil to Good, and put a stop to Evil, he wanted to rescue the Ummah from the low and miserable state they had settled in to honour and glory, and this after the Muslim Ummah had accepted this deteriorated condition, symbolised by its state of apathy, reliance on worldly matters, its silence to oppression, and therefore the domination of tyrants such as Yazid and his father and their likes over the realm of the Ummah. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam wanted to spread and disseminate the spirit of Iman - commitment and conviction - and Truth in amongst the Ummah so that it could awaken once again; just as it was in the days of Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih. For it was clear to him that the religion (of Islam) was being distorted and deviated and he wanted to restore it afresh.

This is how Imam Husayn alayhis-salam became the Torch of guidance, and Ark of salvation, and this is how he became the Choice of Allah Almighty. It is reported from Imam Ali alayhis-salam that Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “When I entered paradise30, I saw written on its door with gold, there is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Beloved One of Allah, Ali is Waliy- 29 ‘Arsh is the symbolic “Throne” of Allah in the heavens, just as the Ka‘bah in the holy city of Makkah is referred to as the “House” of Allah.

30 . . . during one of many Me’raaj (Ascension to the heavens) that Rasulollah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih made.

ullah, Fatima is Amatullah, Hasan and Husayn are the Choice of Allah, and upon he who hates them be the Curse of Allah.”

Adherence to the Choice of Allah, and using the light of this Divine Torch, will bring guidance in this world and salvation in the hereafter. This is because the love of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is associated with good deeds, he is a torch who shows the path of the Truth to those who seek it, and since by his sacred movement he – alayhis-salam – discriminates between the path of Truth and the path of Falsehood. In his well-known declaration on the day of Ashura, he states, “If the religion of Muhammad were not to stand except by my killing, Oswords! Take me”.

Furthermore, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is also the fifth member of the As-hab al-Kissa, about whom the Purification verse was revealed; in the statement of the Almighty:

{Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, Ahl-ul-Bayt (Members of the Household), and to make you pure and spotless.}31 So by the evidence of the Qur’an, he is from the Ahl-ul-Bayt alayhum-assalam.

Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “To love me and my Ahl-ul-Bayt is valuable and beneficial on seven occasions: whose fears are immense; at the time of death, in the grave, at the time of resurrection, at the (time of evaluating one’s) Book of Deeds, at the time of questioning, and at the time of weighing (one’s deeds of good verses evil)”.

Truly Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is a Torch of guidance, and his light continues to shine upon us with goodness and blessing; for it distinguishes the path of the Truth from Falsehood at all times and ages, this is in addition to the perpetual presence of his light in his Ma’soom descendent – in the manifestation of his grandson Imam Mahdi may Allah hasten his reappearance. In acknowledging the momentous sacrifice Imam Husayn alayhis-salam made, and the colossal trial and tribulation he faced on the day of Ashura, Allah Almighty fashioned the Imams – who are the protectors of Islam – in amongst his descendents.31 The Holy Qur’an, 33: 33.

The Severed Head of Imam Husayn

One of the miracles that Allah Almighty gave to Imam Husayn alayhissalam was that his sacred severed head spoke as it was being carried from Karbala – in Iraq – to Shaam – modern Syria – and back to Karbala where it was buried in the grave where his sacred body had been buried. As reported by numerous chroniclers and recorded in many history texts, in the course of the entire passage of the women and children captives, with which the heads of the martyrs of Karbala were also carried from Karbala to Shaam and back, the sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam used to recite the holy Qur’an, and this phenomenon proved instrumental in guiding the people to Truth. The sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhissalam also spoke in the court of the evil Yazid. When the sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam arrived at the court of Yazid, amongst others, the Roman envoy of the emperor of Rome was also present. After realising that the captives were the women and children of the household of the Prophet of Islam, and the head of the grandson of the Prophet was amongst them, the Roman envoy protested to and rebuked Yazid, and said, “Had we had a descendent of Jesus amongst us we would have honoured him and glorified him”.

In response to this protest Yazid ordered the Roman envoy to be killed immediately. The sacred head of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam said in a loud voice, “there is no power but that of Allah”. At that occasion and at every other occasion throughout the journey from Karbala to Shaam and back, people were astonished to see and hear the sacred head of Imam Husayn speaking, and they realised that this was no ordinary event but a divine miracle, and Allah Almighty is showing them the realty of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam. Such events revealed to the people the reality and the significance of the hadith stated by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-waaalih, “I leave behind two momentous weights, the Book of Allah and my descendents the Ahl-ul-Bayt”

the people realised that the truth is with Imam Husayn alayhis-salam when they saw the miracle of his sacred head speaking or reciting the holy Qur’an.