Saturday, December 13, 2008

Everyday is Ashurah; Now Gaza is Karbala

The story of Imam Ali's son Hussein and his death at Karbala is a story that touches the heart of anyone who hears or reads it. It is the story of a man, who like his father and grandfather before him had immense love for God, and God's creation. Whereas Imam Hussein is the grandson of the prophet Muhammad (sa), and was born to the prophet's daughter Fatima, and his first cousin Ali, himself an Imam and successor to the leadership of the Islamic community, Imam Hussein was not a conceited, or spoiled and selfish man, as many might expect that a person of such esteemed lineage might be.

According to Islamic history, Imam Hussein lived a quiet and simple life of service in Medina, aware of the controversy surrounding his family, and the role they might play in the growth of Islam, and in the leadership of the Muslim community established under his grandfather's and father's tutelage and guidance, along with other faithful men.

Unfortunately the rift that had occurred in the Muslim leadership following the prophet Muhammad's transcension of this life had not healed itself, and the assassination of Imam Hussein's father Imam Ali, and his brother Hasan had only worsened the situation. For some, even though the Caliphate continued, the question of legitimate leadership over the Muslim community remained unanswered.

Many Muslims were complaining about the Caliph Yazid's corruption, ill treatment and oppression, and many were also dismayed by the lack of character and lack of respect for Islam demonstrated by Yazid who was known for public drunkenness and debauchery. It was the pleas of the Muslim ummah for relief, for justice, and for Islam that called Imam Hussein to Karbala.

For the sake of brevity we will say that Yazid as Caliph raised a myriad of important questions regarding the legitimate leadership of the Muslim community, particularly since it had been argued and accepted by the Muslim community following the prophet Muhammad's transcension, that succession in the Caliphate could not be based upon blood lineage, even though God's promise to the prophet Abraham was that the prophethood and leadership of the monotheist movement would be the right only of his descendants, which suggests blood lineage succession, qualified by the Islamic character and suitability of any contender for leadership of Muslims. Even if Yazid escaped rejection as a blood heir of the previous Caliph Muawiya, Yazid's public and well known violations of Islamic law, and his open disdain for Islam, and oppression of Muslim people, disqualified him from holding the position of guardianship and leadership of Muslims that was the Islamic Caliphate.

For days before their deaths, Imam Hussein and his family and followers, who had set up camp at Karbala, were surrounded by Yazid's army and prevented from leaving. They were denied food, and water until they grew weak from starvation and dehydration. When Yazid felt finally that they were too weak to fight, he unleashed his entire army against Imam Hussein's family and 72 of his followers and killed them.

The story of Karbala is the story of a power usurping Satanic system of corruption and evil, represented by Yazid Ibn Muawiya, that employed as a tactic to destroy the legitimate authority of God conscience and righteous men over God's community of Muslims, the restriction of their movement, the denial of food and water, and later the denial of care for the wounded, even among the children. These righteous people, the family and supporters of Imam Hussein, were rushed upon in a final assault by Yazid's army, and brutality murdered and left to die on that battlefield. Imam Hussein's surviving family members were paraded to Yazid's capital, where the Imam's sister Zainab was chained and stripped of her Islamic covering.

Contrary to what Yazid had hoped for, a celebrated day of victory and consolidation of his power, the people, when they saw Imam Hussein's flag, and family, and heard Zainab's condemnation of Yazid, and her condemnation of the apathy and cowardice of the Muslim people, and her brother's brutal murder, they wept, screamed and fainted at the realization that the Imam, grandson of the prophet Muhammad (sa), and a righteous man, had been martyred so brutally for their sake, and for the sake of Islam.

The political backdrop of Karbala has lost much of its relevance to today's generation of Muslims, many who live in non Muslim countries, or in Muslim nation/states that are ruled by elected governments and monarchs. The Islamic caliphate has ceased to exist. Yet, the humanitarian aspects of the story continue to haunt the souls of Muslims until today, as we ponder the meaning of Imam Hussein's death, and the humiliating treatment that he and his family and followers suffered before their deaths at Karbala.

As we reflect upon what happened at Karbala, we should also reflect upon what is happening to the contemporary Muslim community today, and ask ourselves “why?” We must look out at the Muslim world, and see if there are any patterns that might suggest that there is a Karbala taking place in our time, and like the Muslims during the time of Imam Hussein, perhaps we are ignoring or failing to respond to the call to stand and to fight against the enemies of Islam, as they attempt to remove any semblance of Islamic authority from this earth, and who routinely deny Muslims civil and human rights that are recognized as the inalienable rights of other people.

Today, there is a place where a legitimate Muslim government was elected. There is a place where that government and the people who voted for them have been isolated and trapped, and are being denied food and water, just like at Karbala. Just as during the time of the Karbala massacre, today the people of the Muslim world complain about the corruption of their governments, their greed, repression and the deprivation of human and civil rights, and their collaboration with the enemies of Islam. In response to the cries of their people against the “Yazid's” of our time, the Islamic movements have competed for the restoration of the right of the Muslim people to Islamic inspired government.

Today, Karbala is in Gaza. Several years ago, this same tragedy played itself out in Algeria. This same story is also playing itself out in Somalia, and anywhere that a legitimate Islamic government, or Islamic movement attempts to establish itself through legitimate elections as a righteous authority over Muslim people, and are met with violence.

As we can see clearly in respect to Israel, and the support it receives from the Arab governments in its persecution and genocide being carried out in Gaza, this is not a matter of conflicting races, or differences in religion. The issue today, is as it was at Karbala is who has the right to authority, leadership and guardianship over the Muslim ummah? Is it Israel? Is it the US, or the UN, or the corrupt Arab governments that have helped and supported the US and Israel as their patrons and who assist them in killing, torturing, and eliminating through slow genocide, the Muslim and Christian people of Gaza?

Today, Gaza is Karbala. Where are the supporters of Abraham's covenant, and the right of the Islamic movements to exist, and to bid for the leadership of the Muslim ummah? Where is the so called “democracy” of the US and Israel? Where is the loyalty and the commitment to Islam of the Arab leaders who are today calling for normalized relations with Israel, while Israel is killing through ethnic cleansing and genocide the people of Gaza? Do they have a right to lead us, to control our wealth, to sell our lives for money and acceptance by the US and Israel as friends and allies?

The time has come for the Muslim people to take the responsibility to end the illegal siege on Gaza. We must act to save the people of Gaza, and to break the siege not only upon Gaza, but upon Muslims everywhere who have been denied rights, persecuted, murdered, tortured and humiliated all for the sake of eliminating the Abrahamic covenant that is the basis of legitimacy for anyone who bids to lead, or to hold any authority over monotheist people, and its heirs.

Today, it is our turn to answer the call of Imam Hussein. Who will go to Karbala? Who will stand with the 1.5 million people of Gaza who are being killed today because they voted an Islamic movement into power? Who will stand for the Qur'an which says that we must oppose those who kill and deprive people of rights, and who would starve innocent people to death because they don't share their opinion or world view?

Today, just as during those days of Karbala, the question is being asked in heaven and earth, who will choose the leaders of the Muslim people? Who are the legitimate leaders of the Muslim people? Who will save the people of Karbala?


Sukaina said...

Thanks for writing on these issues, I happened to find your blog during a google search.

Love is in the Details said...

this is an excellent post. mashaaallah

Love is in the Details said...

And may God have mercy on us, and make us worthy of the return of Imam Mehdi (a.s.)...

Anonymous said...

I hope to share your post on my facebook page. And would luv to be your friend, sis. Find me under the name Omae Umma. Salam!

Final Awakening said...

Please check out this video on Gaza is true Karbala

Final Awakening said...

Please check out this video on 'Gaza is today's karbala'