We come to terms eventually with every calamity. Not this one. Never.
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2017.
Our lament for the martyrs of Karbala is unlike any other grief. Although innumerable tragedies and calamities have befallen since then, whether they are atrocities or natural disasters, at some point they are relegated to the annals of history. Not Karbala. We mourn Karbala as though we had seen it with our eyes.
As the poet eloquently expresses above, “We come to terms eventually with every calamity. Not this one. Never.” Such is the musibat of Karbala and such is its significance. Its occurrence was inscribed in the divine Tablet (lawh-e-mahfuz) and its remembrance will continue till the end of time. As Syedna Taher Saifuddin emotionally expresses, in the iconic marsiya “Ya Sayyeda Shohadai” - I will weep through the ages - Tulaz-zamaane-bukaa’I, Ya Sayyeda Shohadai.
The remembrance of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain SA is not a ritual. Those who treat is as such have lost the point. They have lost the core narrative. The remembrance of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain has deep seated significance and importance in our tradition.
Imam Husain recompensed for the debt of those before him and those who will come after him – awwaleen aakhereen nu dayn adaa’ kidu. This fundamental aspect of Imam Husain’s sacrifice is expressed by the zikr we often hear in waaz:Imam Husain sees Rasullulah SA looking very worried, and asks Rasullulah what is troubling him. Rasulullah answers that “the debt” is immense and Aqa Husain, young in age at the time, volunteers for the ultimate sacrifice and settling of this debt. It is because of Imam Husain’s sacrifice and his doa that we are on the path of Truth today, that we are believers in Haqq, and that we are Mumineen today.
It is also by the virtue of Imam Husain’s SA remembrance that we unite every year in Ashara Mubaraka and particularly Aashura. The remembrance of Karbala and Imam Husain is a magnetic force that brings us together in mourning and reflection. It is an occasion to rejuvenate our souls with the ‘ilm of Aal-e-Mohammed that flows with the barakat of Imam Husain’s remembrance.
On a very basic human level, the remembrance of the tragedy of Imam Husain and his Ahle-Bayt and Ashaab - the remembrance of their sacrifice, their stance for Haqq in the face of tyranny, their resolve, their acceptance of Allah Ta’ala’s will, their forbearance - gives us strength and conviction to face our own calamities. We remember Syedna Burhanuddin’s RA profound words of doa “Husain na gham siwa koi gham na dikhawe.” While there is no solace for the grief of Karbala, in and of itself is solace for all grief.
We offer praise and thanks to Allah Ta’ala for tawfeeq and guidance by which we remember Imam Husain and garner sawaaab. We remember Aqa Husain and understand the philosophy of his remembrance. We reflect on his sacrifice and draw strength to face our own difficulties and calamities and to make the right choices in our lives.
It is because of our Awliyaa’ Kiraam and our Dai-z-zaman TUS that centuries after the tragedy of Karbala, we continue to remember Imam Husain in this manner. The heartfelt mourning and remembrance of Imam Husain SA by Syedna Burhanuddin RA and Syedna Qutbuddin RA echoes in the voice of their successor Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS. By the wasila of Imam Husain may Allah Ta’ala grant him longest life and Nasr-e-Aziz and Fath-e-Mubeen. May Allah Ta’ala ordain the ne’mat of Imam Husain’s remembrance for us. May that ne’mat continue in our children and our children’s children for generations to come.