Badilisha Lugha: Swahili

The Everlasting Stand

What you are about to read is a story of a great man whose uprising has no like in the chronicles of history. A revolution with goals most sublime; a victory most profound; and at its core, a pronouncement of reform over conquest. The story of Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet of Islam, and his ‘Everlasting Stand’.

There are many tales of heroism and stands of bravery yet none as significant and eternal as that of a man who lived in a world much like our own but in an age long ago.

When virtue is overrun by vice, with people taking sides and resorting to force as a means for implementing their corrupt ideas, the call for change cannot be greater. A change whose goals transcend the plight of nations and encompasses the renaissance of all peoples.

Fourteen hundred years ago an exceptional man faced a similar situation. He was denied his basic rights of freedom, justice and equality. At a time when power had been usurped away from its rightful leaders and the faith was under great threat of derailment by the actions of a tyrannical regime adamant to spread corruption in society, one man rose up against the oppression and injustice. He strived to restore freedom, peace, and equality; ideals which the faith perfected but were undermined by those who hijacked religion and acted in its name. He fought in a short yet bloody battle to revive the heart and soul of the nation. This man put forth all that he had and all that he loved for the sake of this cause. He led a revolution that would one day become a symbol of hope for the oppressed and a figure of fear for the oppressors.

On the night preceding the great sacrifice, Hussain urged his companions to part his company as they had already shown their loyalty and obedience but they remained steadfast and chose to remain. On the plains of Karbala, a desert landscape about 100 kilometers south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad,

Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, stood bravely with seventy-two men confronted by an army of thirty thousand, all armed to the teeth. And in those early hours of the afternoon, it took the massive military force little under four hours to completely and utterly annihilate and massacre that small group of men. The small camp of Hussain was destroyed. All the men were brutally slaughtered. The women and children were then shackled and taken captive, paraded on a humiliating display around the empire; a cruel form of victors’ justice was enacted. And there, a heart rendering battle for the sake of righteousness was concluded. However, this tragedy would soon be recalled in the books of history as the everlasting stand against oppression. A narrative which would awaken the minds and hearts of millions; a narrative of a man who stood up against a tyrannical regime with all that he had, became victorious over the sword in the most profound way and wrote with his pure blood the most glorious of all epics of heroism and sacrifice.

One must ask why. Why did one man enter a small and bloody battle; a battle which he knew would result in a most devastating and brutal end? A battle that would leave his beloved family with no protection in the face of a ruthless and vicious enemy? And why do millions around the globe commemorate a tragedy that took place fourteen centuries ago on a scarcely populated desert?

People tried to convince Hussain that one person cannot make a difference and that sacrifice is futile. However, Hussain triumphed through tragedy. The Tragedy of Hussain is a reminder not only for Muslims, but for all mankind to rise up and seek positive change in the face of resignation.

The Epic of Hussain was no ordinary tragedy and Hussain was no ordinary revolutionary. For oppressed communities worldwide the tragedy of Hussain forms a model, a benchmark. Hussain’s struggle signifies a lesson that we should never submit to tyranny, oppression and falsehood. Silence in the face of transgression is synonymous to the acceptance of injustice. Hussain’s heroism set a firm standard against despotism forever. It sent a message to all corners of the world that although he was finally massacred in battle, he and his most loyal companions were victorious. It was in the name of Hussain that the oppressive regime against which he stood was toppled some 70 years following his death, and it is in the name of Hussain that millions of pilgrims visit his burial site in Karbala every year to pay their respects.

The day Hussain was martyred on the plains of Karbala was the day he was reborn, for the revolution he inspired set loose an everlasting cry for righteousness and justice which has been instilled in the hearts of millions for 1400 years.

We today are responsible for a great trust - Hussain’s Legacy. A treasure which provides for every seeker delightful wisdom and resolute strength. In Hussain’s legacy lies the perfect model for every oppressed society in how to overcome the evils of tyranny and oppression. We invite you to make a difference today by joining millions worldwide in commemorating the death of this great hero and the values for which he stood. By commemorating the death of Hussain, we send a message to the world that our stand in defence of righteous values is indeed an ‘Everlasting Stand’.