Husyan; The Sacrifice For Mankind

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Husyan; The Sacrifice For Mankind

Author: Imam Muhammad Shirazi

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Husyan; The Sacrifice For Mankind

Husyan; The Sacrifice For Mankind



The SacrificeFor Mankind

Author: Imam Muhammad Shirazi

Translated by Z. Olyabek

Table of Contents

Some of the sayings of Imam Husayn 4

Some of the general sayings of Imam Husayn 4

What they said about Imam Husayn 5

Charles Dickens 5

Thomas Carlyle 5

Dr. K. Sheldrake 5

Brown 5

Sir Muhammad Iqbal 5

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti 5

Antoine Bara 6

Mahatma Ghandi 6

Foreword 7

Chapter 1: Imam Husayn - a brief biography 9

Chapter 2: The Distinct Roles of Imams Hasan and Husayn 13

Introduction 13

Society and the production of Tyrants 13

Character and Psychology of Tyrants 15

Encountering the Tyrants 16

Exposing the Savagery of Tyrants 18

Chapter 3: A Glimpse from the Ray of Imam Husayn 20

The Ma’soom Imam 20

Hadith on the Virtue of Imam Husayn 21

Companions of Imam Husayn 23

The Day of Ashura 23

The Torch of Guidance and Ark of Salvation 24

The Severed Head of Imam Husayn 25

Conveying the Voice of Imam Husayn to the World 27

Imam Zayn al-Abidin and Ashura 28

Ahl-ul-Bayt and Ashura 28

Chapter 4: Upholding the Husayni Sha‘a’er 30

Introduction 30

Benefits of the Husayni programs 30

Husayni Programs vs. Ploys of Colonialists 31

The significance of the mourning programs 31

Recommendations for the Husayniyahs 33

Chapter 5: Benefiting from Ashura 34

Chapter 6: Fatawa on Ashura Ceremonies 41

Introduction 41

Fatwa of al-Imam al-Sheikh Muhammad 43

Husayn al-Naa’ini 43

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Imam al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Shirazi 44

More Fatawa from Imam Muhammad Shirazi 45

Husayni Ceremonies 45

Imam Husayn and Events of Ashura 46

Chest beating 47

Tatbir 47

Play Acting 49

Working on Ashura 50

Husayni Shrine 50

Zeyarah 50

Query on Ashura 50

With thanks 51

Fatawa 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Behjat 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Abtahi 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Mirza Jawad Tabrizi 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Muhammad Sadiq Rouhani 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Langaroudi 51

Fatwa of Ayatollah al-Udhma Sayyid Sadiq Shirazi 52

Historical background / evidence for Ashura practices 55

On the legality of Tatbir 56

Haram Forbidden 56

Conducts of members of the Ahl-ul-Bayt 57

Chapter 7: Husayni Ceremonies- Interview with a Christian Scholar 61

Interviewer: Jasim Safar 61

Introduction 61

The Interview 61

Notes 64

Some of the sayings of Imam Husayn

The following are some of the sayings of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam on occasions leading to the tragic event of Ashura - 10th of Muharram - 61 H,around 681 CE:‘Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation.’

‘I do not see death except happiness and prosperity, and life with oppressors but anguish.’

‘I swear by God, I shall not surrender as a humiliated person, and shall not escape like slaves.’

‘I have not arisen for the purpose of exuberance, arrogance,corruption , or oppression, but I have done so in order to seek reform in the nation of my Grandfather [Muhammad peace be upon him]. I want to promote virtue and prohibit vice, and I want to go down the path and tradition of my Grandfather [Muhammad peacebe upon him], and the path of my father [Ali ibn Abi Talib peace be upon him].’

Addressing his adversaries on the battlefield, when he was the only fighter left alive, and they started attacking the women and children in the tents:

‘If you do not believe in a religion, and do not fear the hereafter,then be free (from arrogance) in your lives.’

‘O Allah! You know that all there was from us was not in competition to seek power, nor to gain refuse of the world1 , but it was nothing other than to present the signs and essence of Your religion, and to promote reform in Your land, (so that) oppressed members of your servants find safety and security, and Your laws,orders and obligations are acted upon.’

Some of the general sayings of Imam Husayn

‘Say not about your brother in his absence other than that which you would like him to say about you in your absence.’

‘There are those who worship Allah out of desire (for reward), and this is the worship of traders, and there are those who worship Allah out of fear (of punishment), and this is the worship of slaves. Whereas certain people worship Allah out of gratitude, and this is the worship of the free, and this is the best of the worships.’

“(O Allah) . .

How canYou be reasoned about with that that is in need of You in its existence?

Does anything other thanYou have a manifestation which You do not have, so that it can act as manifestation for You?

When wereYou ever not present so that You may need a guide (evidence or reason) to lead to You?

And when wereYou ever distant (from anything) so that the signs and the effects were the lead to You?

Blind is the eye that does not seeYou . . .”

‘(O Allah) . What did he find he who lostYou ? And what did he loose he who foundYou ? Truly he has failed who is contended with other thanYou

What they said about Imam Husayn

Charles Dickens

"If Husayn fought to quench his worldly desires, then I do not understand why his sisters, wives and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore that he sacrificed purely for Islam."

Thomas Carlyle

"The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Husayn and his companions were the rigid believers of God. They illustrated that numerical superiority does not count when it comes to truth and falsehood.

The victory of Husayn despite his minority marvels me!"

Dr. K. Sheldrake

"Husayn marched with his little company not to glory, not to power or wealth, but to a supreme sacrifice and every member of that gallant band,male and female, knew that the foes were implacable, were not only ready to fight but to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under a burning sun, amid scorching sands yet no one faltered for a moment and bravely faced the greatest odds without flinching."


in his “A Literary History of Persia” writes:

“As a reminder, the blood-stained field of Karbala' where the grandson of the Apostle of God fell at length, tortured by thirst and surrounded by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at any time since then sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and heedless, the deepest emotion, the most frantic grief and the exaltation of spirit before which pain,danger , and death shrink to unconsidered trifles. Yearly, on the tenth day of Muharram, the tragedy is rehearsed in Persia, in India, in Turkey, in Egypt, wherever a Shiite community or colony exists; As I write it all comes back; the wailing chant, the sobbing multitudes, the white raiment red with blood from self-inflicted wounds, the intoxication of grief and sympathy.”


Sir Muhammad Iqbal

“Imam Husayn uprooted despotism forever till the Day of Resurrection. He watered the dry garden of freedom with the surging wave of his blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation. If Imam Husayn had aimed at acquiring a worldly empire, he would not have travelled the way he did’. Husayn weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily he, therefore, became the bed-rock of the Muslim creed; la ilaha illa-Allah (There is no god but Allah).”

Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti

“He gave his head, but did not put his hand into the hands of Yazid. Verily, Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha ilia Allah. Husayn is lord and the lord of lords. Husayn himself is Islam and the shield of Islam. Though he gave his head (for Islam) but never pledged Yazid. Truly Husayn is the founder of "There is no Deity except Allah."

Antoine Bara

in his "Husayn in Christian Ideology" writes:

“No battle in the modern and past history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Husayn in the battle of Karbala.”

Mahatma Ghandi

“I learned from Husayn how to be wronged and be a winner.”


Who was Imam Husayn, and why was he the sacrifice for the whole of humanity?

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam3 was the grandson of the final Messenger of Allah Almighty to humanity, the holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad sallallahu-alayhi-wa-aalih4 ; the messenger who “has been sent as Mercy to the worlds” to paraphrase the holy Qur’an.

His father was Imam Ali alayhis-salam, the commander of faithful, who comes second only to prophet Muhammad in the excellent merits that he possessed; qualities such as piety, sincerity, charity, tolerance, vast knowledge, to name a few.

His mother was Fatima al-Zahra’ alayhas-salam5 , the daughter ofprophet Muhammad and, given her immaculate qualities and moral values that she possessed, the leading lady of the worlds.

After the death of his grandfather, father and brother Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn was in charge of protecting Islam, the Almighty’s final Revelation to humanity, from deviation. It was 60 H (around 680 CE). It was the most crucial time in the history of mankind. The forces of evil have been amassing all their forces, skills and expertise for fifty years, and over this period, and through all the devious means, they had managed to achieve considerable gains, but not enough to totally obliterate the teachings of Islam and its Messenger. They needed one final big push, and this task was assigned to Yazid bin Mo‘awiyah. Through threat and brute force, Yazid had managed to quell all the voices of opposition, except for one.

Husayn, the son of Imam Ali, being who he is, and the Imam (leader) of Islam and Muslims had one duty to discharge; the protection of the final revelation to mankind - and at any cost.

And this is exactly what he did. He stood up to protect the torch that was lit to guide mankind to the light of truth.

He left Makkah for Karbala, along with his women and children. He was joined by his devout friends, along with their families. There were also those how did not share his stance to begin with, but when they heard his call they joined in. Even some Christians joined him in his struggle when they heard his message!

At Karbala he, along with his loyal companions of not more than 100,faced the army of Yazid of more than 100,000 (some reports put this figure at several times more).

For the task of protecting this torch he did not hesitate to pay everything he had. For this he gave his life, and those of his brothers, nephews, sons, from his son of early twenties to his infant baby son of few months. This is not to mention his most devout companions who paid similarly.

What Imam Husayn achieved through his sacred movement was to rekindle and revitalise the bearers of that torch, and by offering himself and his family and companions as a sacrifice, he kept alive the message that has been sent not just to the Muslims but to all of mankind. Through his remarkable sacrifices, Imam Husayn managed to change the course of history and the direction that mankind was heading for.

The articles in this work cover some aspects of the aims and objectives of Imam Husayn’s movement, the difference between his strategy and that of his brother Imam Hasan in facing tyranny and despotism, the examples he set, and the lessons that are learnt from the events that led to Karbala, and its aftermath fourteen centuries ago. Besides, the benefits of his movement, the personality of Imam Husayn peacebe upon him as reflected by the many hadith and teachings of Prophet Muhammad is also discussed.

The author has written a number of works about Imam Husayn alayhissalam,whereas this book is a collection of lectures delivered by the author. Included in this work is an interview with a Christian scholar on the subject of the Husayni ceremonies, a number of Fatawa or decrees from the most eminent Religious Authorities or Maraje‘, as well as some questions and answers about the annual commemoration ceremonies observed by the Muslims around the world on the occasion of Ashura - the Day of Sacrifice for humanity.

Chapter 1: Imam Husayn - a brief biography

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is the son of Imam Ali alayhis-salam and Fatima alayhas-salam the daughter of the holy Prophet Muhammad sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih. He was the second grandson of the prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, and he was the holy prophet’s third caliph successor, after his father and brother Hasan alayhis-salam.

Like his father and brother, he was the Imam (leader) of the people. [On instructions from Allah Almighty,prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhiwa-aalih announced the twelve Imams6 who would succeed him in leading the Muslim nation.] Imam Husayn is the father of the nine Imams who followed him in succession.

He was born in Medina on the third of the month of Sha‘ban, in the third year after Hijra - 624 CE.

On the day of Ashura, while suffering from extreme thirst, he was brutally killed and his head severed by the swords of the army of Yazid-bin- Mo‘awiyah on Saturday the tenth of Muharram in the year 61 after Hijra -around 681 CE - in Karbala, Iraq.

His son and successor, Imam Ali ibn7 Husayn, Zayn-al-Abidin alayhissalam prepared his headless body, after being left in the field for three days, and buried him in the fields of Karbala, where his shrine stands today.

The holy Prophet has said in the praise of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam8 :

"My two grandsons are the delights of my eyes."

"Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the youth in Paradise."

"Hasan and Husayn are both Imams whether they rise up or not."

He was the most knowledgeable and the best worshipper among the people of his time. He would pray one thousand Rak'ahs every night like his father, and on many nights he would carry sacks of food to the needy, to the extent that the marks of carrying heavy sacks were clearly visible on his back after his death. He was very kind, had a great and forbearing personality, and was hard on those who disobeyed Allah.

When a Bedouin Arab came to Imam Husayn seeking help he recited the following poem for the Imam:

Disappointed will not be he who makes a request from you.

For you are generous and trustworthy and your father was the killer of the profligate and the corrupt individuals.

If it was not for the former (members) of your (family)9 , we would still have been in hell.

Then Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, while avoiding eye contact with the man, gave him four thousand gold coins (Dinars) and apologized to the man saying:

Take this for I apologise to you, and rest assure that you have my sympathy For if I were in a different situation and I had more (money) to offer you, I would have given you far more.

Through his courageous revolution, the like of which there has been none in the world, he revived the Islamic Law and the religion of his grandfather, and furthermore he even revived the whole world until the Day of Judgment. He is the leader of the martyrs and the best among people after his elder brother.

Throughout his life the Muslims used to revere and adore Imam Husayn alayhis-salam, and used to see in him what they had seen in his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. Their adoration for Imam Husayn was not just because he was the grandson of the prophet salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, but also because he was the manifestation of the teachings of Islam and the conducts of the Messenger

of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, no one could fail to see examples of the highest moral qualities in his behaviour.

The holy Prophet has said in the praise of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam:

"Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn."

Chroniclers and historians have individually remarked that Imam Husayn was the manifestation of the best examples of noble manners and conduct,as well as his vast knowledge, which he inherited from the Messenger of Allah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. His actions spoke before his words.

Imam Husayn alayhis-salam was humbly gracious and generous to the poor and those in need. He used to support what is right and fight what was wrong. People always noticed such attributes in his conduct and behaviour as perseverance, forbearance, and magnanimity. He was the most pious and God-fearing of all people of his time.

In his book Master of the People of Paradise Dr Ahmad Ashur says:

“If you browse through the pages of the Sihaah books you could not fail to come across many tens of hadith about the merit and superiority of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam and the love of the Messenger of Allah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih for him.”

In his book al-Fusul al-Muhimmah Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Maliki, quotes Anas ibn Malik who said, “I was with al-Husayn alayhis-salam when a servant entered and in her hand a bouquet of basil. She saluted al-Husayn and gave him the bouquet. Al-Husayn alayhis-salam said to her ‘You are free for the sake of Allah.’ I said to al-Husayn ‘She gives you a bouquet of basil and salute you and you set her free?’ He said ‘This is how Allah has taught us! Almighty He says: “If you are saluted, salute back in a better way or return the same salute” and the better way is to set her free.”10

In his Chronicles, Ibn Asaakir reports that Imam Husayn alayhis-salam used to receive money (Khums and Zakat) from Basra and other destinations and he used to distribute the money between the poor and the needy there and then. Imam Husayn alayhis-salam is best known for his revolt against the status quo. By that time the socio-political situation had deteriorated to an extreme and intolerable state, fundamental measures needed to be taken.

The main aim and objectives of Imam Husayn’s revolt, which are in fact the aim and objectives of Islam at any time and in any place, may be summarised as follows:

• To bring about a responsible community in order to implement and convey the message and teachings of Islam.

• To build an Islamic societywhich takes Islam as its sole source of reference.

• To rescue the Islamic civilisation from deviation.

This is because the Islamic Ummah (Community) suffered from various diseases in different domains:

• In the social domain it suffered widely from corruption, bribery, cheating, oppression, favouritism and nepotism.

• From the law and order point of view, the criminal was not being prosecuted, and therefore crime was ripe.

• From the ethical viewpoint, they had turned the moral values upside down.

• From the economic viewpoint, the ruling elite and their cronies monopolised the wealth of the nation.

For such reasons, and for the fact that the Muslims had remained indifferent to these issues to the extent that these had become the norm,that Imam Husayn rose against the injustice and corruption that was being conducted in the name of Islam.

In the course of his jihad in the cause of Allah, Imam Husayn was brutally beheaded and his body mutilated, alongside his sons, relatives, and some seventy of his followers. Furthermore the women and children, who were subsequently captured, including Imam Husayn’s sisters Zaynab alayhassalam and Umm Kolthoum alayhas-salam as well as Zayn-al-Abidin alayhis-salam, were taken as prisoners and paraded in towns and villages as villains.

And since then the movement of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam inspired the reform movements against despot rulers all over the world and the Muslims continue to reap the fruit of the event of Karbala and every year during the month of Muharram the memory of Ashura is commemorated with vigour by hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world.

As it was mentioned earlier, Imam Husayn alayhis-salam was the third of twelve Imams who succeeded the holy prophet Muhammad salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih. On instructions from Allah Almighty,prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih announced the twelve Imams who would succeed him in leading the Muslim Ommah (nation). Although at the time of the prophet Muhammad, only the first three Imams were alive, however, the prophet salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih named all twelve Imams who have been appointed as the Ma’soom Imams or leaders11 . The first caliph (successor) of the prophet Muhammad salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih whom he appointed to lead the Ommah after him was Imam Ali alayhissalam.

The prophet appointed Imam Ali alayhis-salam immediately after his last pilgrimage, in Ghadir Khum, and instructed the Muslims to pay homage of allegiance (Bay‘ah) to Imam Ali alayhis-salam as the Imam and the leader of the Muslims, and commander of the faithful, Amir-ul- Mu’minin, which they dutifully did. Given the number of people present at the time, some reports put the figure at more than one-hundred-andtwenty- thousands12 ; it took more than three days for them to pay thehomage of allegiance to Imam Ali alayhis-salam.

The names and titles of the twelveMa‘soom13 Imams are as follows (year of birth given in brackets):

1. Imam Ali, Amir-ul-Mu’minin alayhis-salam, (10 BH, 600 CE)

2. Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba alayhis-salam, (2 H, 623 CE)

3. Imam Husayn al-Shahid alayhis-salam, (3 H, 624 CE)

4. Imam Ali ibn Husayn, al-Sajjad / Zayn-al-Abidin alayhis-salam,( 28 H, 649 CE)

5. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir alayhis-salam, (57 H, 676 CE)

6. ImamJa‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq alayhis-salam, (83 H, 702 CE)

7. Imam Mosa ibnJa‘far al-Kadhem alayhis-salam, (128 H, 745 CE)

8. Imam Ali ibn Mosa al-Ridha alayhis-salam, (148 H, 765 CE)

9. Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad alayhis-salam, (195 H, 810 CE)

10. Imam Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi alayhis-salam, (212 H, 827CE)

11. Imam Hasan ibn Ali al-Askari alayhis-salam, (232 H, 846 CE)

12. Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi / al-Hujjah / Sahib al-Zaman alayhis-salam andmay Allah hasten his reappearance.

The twelfth Imam, Imam Mahdi alayhis-salam is alive but ‘hidden’ from the views of the general public, and by the will of Allah he will reappear to fill the world with justice, after it has been overwhelmed by tyranny andinjustice. Imam Mahdi was born in 255 Hijra, 868 CE, and he went into occultation when his father, Imam Hasan al-Askari was killed by the Abbasid ruler in 260 Hijra, 873 CE.

Chapter 2: The Distinct Roles of Imams Hasan and Husayn


It is reported that Rasulollah15 salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih said, “Hasan and Husayn areboth Imams whether they rise up or not16 ”.


(The roles of) Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam were planned and devised by Allah Almighty, and in turn by Rasulollah sallallahu- alayhi-wa-aalih, so they facilitate the salvation of generations to come until the day of judgement. This was not because they were simply two Imams and Caliphs [successors] of Rasulollah, for this is a forgone conclusion, but because these two Imams were two models and exemplars for every single individual who wanted to rescue their peoples and countries from the yoke of tyranny of the despots at whatever time theybe and in whichever country.

A hadith is reported that Allah Almighty, via Jibra’el alayhis-salam, sent twelve “envelopes” to Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih each of which was sealed by the Almighty to be distributed to the twelve Imams.

Each of these contained the instructions as to the Imams’ roles and duties, which they needed to execute in turn. This is a short and known hadith that needs at least fourteen sessions to discuss certain aspects of each Ma‘soom and circumstances of the environment he was living in, and how each Imam dealt with the situations he faced. Amongst these Imams are Hasan and Husayn alayhum-as-salam. Here we wish to briefly outline how precise the divine plan was and how perfectly the Imams executed the plan, and this is apart from the fact that they are Ma‘soom, or according to our beliefs Imams and successors to Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-waaalih.

The conclusion that we want to arrive at is whether we can make use of the circumstances and conducts of these two Imams in accordance with the hadith that “al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise up or not”? That they are not only Imams - leaders - for their own times only, but they remain Imams or leaders for generations to come until the day of judgement. There are three topics that we need to consider:

1. How society produces tyrants?

2. The character and psychology of a tyrant,

3. How to counter the tyrant?

Society and the production of Tyrants

Those societies produce tyrants where reformists are few and weak and therefore fail to discharge their duties, while mischief-makers are actively ferocious. And under such circumstances naturally the villains take over the country and rule the people. On this basis Rasulollah salla-llahualayhi- wa-aalih said, “You should enjoin good and prohibit abhorrent, otherwise Allah shall empower on you the evil amongst you, then you would pray (for this evil to be alleviated) but your prayers would not be answered.”

This is a logical and rational fact, since if the reformist is not proactive in his responsibilities and does not discharge hisduties, society would degenerate and gradually turn into a pit of corruption, and under such circumstances who will come to power? Naturally of the wicked and the corrupt . {however you are like, as such you will be ruled by} Then if a wicked and a tyrant came to power and ruled the country, and you pray to Allah that he is removed, will those facts and circumstances change by this prayer? Of course not, and in the above-mentioned hadith Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is clarifying two natural or universal laws.The universal law of how the tyrants come to power, and the law that prayers (alone) do not remove the tyrants from power. Both are universal laws, and here Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is not outlining a (specific) Islamic law for us, nor is he informing us from the unseen, but any sound thinking individual (and Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih is the master of wisdom and intellect) would realise that the society in which reformists fail to discharge their duties, eventually and naturally a tyrant would take over the country, and he would impose his will and his rule over the people. And if a tyrant comes to power, it is natural that he would not be deposed by prayers alone, but by action as well as prayers, for each has its own role to play.

Society of the Shaam province17 before the Islamic conquest (around 620 CE) was highly influenced by Roman values, and the then Roman society was a corrupt and a decadent society, and perhaps these characteristics were some of the contributing factors to the fall of the Shaam province to the Muslim army that came from Arabia to introduce Islam to the people of the Shaam province. The victorious army headed back to Arabia after the apparent establishment of Islamic rule in the area. However since the Shaami society was influenced by those Roman values, and it had not adequately absorbed the teachings of Islam, it was ridden by ignorance and overwhelmed by corruption in its various forms; social, political, economical, moral and ethical, and therefore in such a society the corrupt had the upper hand and the reformists were a minority, if at all.

Mo’awiyah and his son Yazid were the by product of such corrupt society, as they did not absorb the teachings of Islam, nor did they learn the manners of Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih, like Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn alayhum-as-salam had done in the holy city of Medina, where the government of Islam was established, and personally led by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih. Thus a society that has not adequately absorbed Islam and the effect of reform is still superficial, would easily be manipulated by the likes of Mo’awiyah, and through fear or deceit would fall back to its old traditions and beliefs, i.e. corrupt Roman values. Hence the like of Mo’awiyah and Yazid managed to take over and hold on to the office of government, through enticement and/or threat.

To reflect the situation above, a poet states in this famous poem, I do not know what happened to the Muslim menOr how Yazid happened to be the king amongst them How many (responsible) Muslims such as Abu Tharr al-Ghefari18 were there in the Shaami society at the time of Mo’awiyah and Yazid?

Mo’awiyah was fearful of Abu Tharr alone, since the Shaami society did not know the Islamic laws and values, and the former was afraid that the latter would turn things against him by presenting the Teachings of Islam as taught by Rasulollah salla-llahu-alayhi-wa-aalih to the public.

It is like introducing Islam to a new city. Will that society be a deeply Islamic one? No. Only on the surface things may have changed, and when anyone comes along and falsely claims to know the way of Islam, they would follow him! And this is what Mo’awiyah claimed in the Shaami society.

A tyrant is born in a society, where the fundamental factor in nurturing him is the established corrupt social order of that society. In other words, whenever you see a tyrant is born in a country, you should know that there are fundamental factors for it, the first of which being the corrupt and decadent social proviso of that country.

On the other hand when a society is rich with reformist and responsible individuals, then it would be a field for growth of prosperity, reform and development, such that it would be impossible for a tyrant to be born in that environment.

The prophet showed the people the Islamic way {and what better is there than Allah’s way} [2: 138], and it is then up to them to adhere to those teachings in order to reach their targets.

Needless to say, by reformist we do not mean he who preaches to the people to enjoin good and refrain from evil in a small religious society, but by reformist we mean he who can change and transfer things and stand up to tyrants.

Character and Psychology of Tyrants

The character of tyrants fall into two categories, we either have a sly and cunning tyrant or a slow-witted and stupid one, and the sign of the first kind is that he is deceitful in war, vile and despicable in peace, while the second is vicious and savage in war and irresponsible and disrespectful in peace. Using Mo’awiyah and Yazid as examples, Mo’awiyah being the son of two devious parents, Abu Sufian and Hind, he is deceptive and disingenuous, and this could be clearly be seen in his wars with Imam Ali and Imam Hasan alayhum-as-salam, where deception played major and important roles in Mo’awiyah’s wars.

The example of the second category is Yazid the son of Mo’awiyah, and his savagery in war, as seen from unspeakable brutality in his war with????

Of course his viciousness and savagery was not limited to that battle alone, as he displayed his barbarity and cruelty, and his total disregard for any value when he attacked the holy city of Medina and instructed his soldiers to do whatever they wanted to do.they committed the most gruesome atrocities, ranging from burning, looting, and destruction to killing the young and old, women and children, even the infant babies, as well as raping thousands of women, . and all that took place in the sacred city of Medina. Yazid also attacked the holy city of Mecca and in particular he ordered to destroy the Ka'bah and the Holy Mosque there, which the army torched by attacking it by mangonel or catapult. It is in this sense that one is considered savage and brutal in war, since the tyrant does not respect even the rules and regulations of engagement, or any other laws, ideas or understanding. And this is the meaning of Taghut (the Arabic word of Tyrant) not respecting nor distinguishing between anything. Hence they say in Arabic the Tughyan of fire (meaning the rage of fire) since the fire does not recognise the laws and values and dose not respect anything but burns everything in its path, and it does so without distinguishing one thing from another. This is the nature of Yazid in war, and in peace he does not hold or respect any value for anything. He did not use to have any respect for anyone nor for any right of the people,he used to keep company with monkeys, drink wine, and regularly commit adultery and incest. This was to the extend that one of them used to say, “we were fearful that it would rain stone on us since Yazid used to commit incest with the likes of his sisters and aunts”.

These are the two categories of tyrants, and there is no third type to them.

Encountering the Tyrants

Allah Almighty foreordained Imam Hasan alayhis-salam to encounter the first kind of tyrant, whereas He foreordained Imam Husayn alayhis-salam to deal with the second type. The reformists throughout the world must therefore follow the example of Imam Hasan alayhis-salam if they were faced with the like of Mo’awiyah, and to follow the model of Imam Husayn alayhis-salam if they were to deal with the like of Yazid.

So the essence of the noble hadith, “al-Hasan and al-Husayn are two Imams whether they rise up or not” is to point out how Imam Hasan alayhis-salam should fight his opponent, and how to make peace with him.

If Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were not to make peace with Mo’awiyah, that would have been a failure on his part, since Mo’awiyah plays with two faces; one of peace and one war, and Imam Hasan alayhis-salam needed to be prepared for both tactics. If Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were to engage in battle only, then this would have exposed Mo’awiyah’s conduct in war only and it would not have depicted his conduct in peace.

Similarly if Imam Hasan alayhis-salam were to adopt peaceful measures only, this would not have exposed Mo’awiyah’s conduct in war. Imam Hasan alayhis-salam was careful in his plan to deal with Mo’awiyah, which was not only in accordance with the plan of Allah Almighty, but it was logical too - this is apart from the fact that he was Ma’soom and our belief that he was Imam who must be obeyed. Imam Hasan alayhis-salam fought Mo’awiyah for a period of time to reveal the conduct of Mo’awiyah in war, and he made peace with him to expose Mo’awiyah’s face and conduct in peace times.

If it were not for that, and if the Imam had fought him until death, the peacetime conducts of Mo’awiyah would not have become apparent; such conducts as ordering all speakers across the land to curse and swear at Imam Ali alayhis-salam19 after every prayer. On many occasions Imam Hasan was present in the Mosque when the speaker or prayer leader, on instructions from Mo’awiyah, insulted Imam Ali alayhis-salam, while it was one of the conditions of the peace treaty between Imam Hasan alayhis-salam and Mo’awiyah that Imam Ali should not be insulted.

Another condition of the peace treaty was that Imam Hasan alayhis-salam and his household as well as the followers of Imam Ali alayhis-salam should not be harassed and intimidated. But in reality they were constantly harassed and tormented, and denied their rights by Mo’awiyah and his regime. In fact it was during this peacetime that Mo’awiyah declared his famous statement in public that, “the treaty of al-Hasan and all its conditions are beneath my feet!”

All of these would not have become apparent if it were not for the peace Imam Hasan alayhis-salam made with Mo’awiyah, it was this act of Imam Hasan alayhis-salam that exposed Mo’awiyah before the masses.

If it were not for a reformist like Imam Hasan, the two faces of Mo’awiyah - his conducts in war and in peace - would not have been exposed.

Therefore Imam Hasan alayhis-salam shall remain a role model for future generations who want to stand up to tyrants such as Mo’awiyah.

Throughout history and the future, tyrants like Mo’awiyah will come when there will be a need for reformists like Imam Hasan alayhis-salam, and as for tyrants like Yazid, we will need reformists like Imam Husayn alayhissalam