Imam Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib
Imam Hussain (AS) Birth
In the House of the Holy Prophet, which presented the best image of both the worlds - the heaven and the earth - a child who benefited humanity as if he was a Divine Impression reflecting the earth, was born on one of the nights of the month of Sha'ban.
His father was Imam Ali, the best model of kindness towards his friends and the bravest against the enemies of Islam, and his mother was Hazrat Fatimah, the only daughter and child of the Holy Prophet, who had as universally acknowledged, inherited the qualities of her father.
When the good news of his birth reached the Holy Prophet, he came to his daughter's house, took the newly-born child in his arms, recited adhan and iqamah in his right and left ears respectively, and on the 7th day of his birth, after performing the rites of 'aqeeda, named him al-Hussain, in compliance with Allah's command.
'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas relates:
"On the very day when Imam Hussain was born, Allah ordered angel Gabriel to descend and congratulate the Holy Prophet on His Behalf and on his own.
While descending, Gabriel passed over an island where the angel Futrus had been banished due to his delay in executing a commission assigned by Allah. He was deprived of his wings and expelled to the island where he remained for several years praying and worshipping Allah and asking for His forgiveness.
"When the angel Futrus saw Gabriel, he called out, 'Where are you going, O Gabriel?'
To this he replied, 'Hussain, the grandson of Muhammad is born, and for this very reason Allah has commanded me to convey His congratulations to His Apostle.'
Thereupon, the angel said, 'Can you carry me also along with you? May Muhammad recommend my case to Allah.'
Gabriel took the angel along with him, came to the Holy Prophet, offered congratulations to him on behalf of Allah and himself and referred the case of the angel to him.
The Holy Prophet said to Gabriel, 'Ask the angel to touch the body of the newly-born child and return to his place in Heaven.' On doing this, the angle re-obtained his wings instantly and praising the Holy Prophet and his newly- born grandson, ascended towards the Heaven.
Hasan and Hussain, the two sons of the Holy Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hazrat Fatimah, our Lady of Light, were respected and revered as the 'Leaders of the Youths of Paradise' as stated by the Holy Prophet.
Imam Hussain (AS) Upbringing
Event of Mubahala
In the south of Arabia, there is a place called Najran. There lived the Christian tribe of Najran who staunchly believed that Prophet Isa (a) i.e. Jesus was the son of God. The Prophet invited them to accept Islam. In response to that, a delegation of their priests and elders came to Madina. They wanted to discuss religion with the Holy Prophet Prophet Muhammad (s).
Their argument was that Jesus was born without a father, so he was the son of God. The Holy Prophet explained to them that just as Allah created Prophet Adam without a father or even a mother, in the same way He created Jesus without a father.
Hence Jesus was a servant of Allah as was Prophet Adam. The Christians did not agree with this simple truth. They stuck to their belief that Jesus was the son of God. The Prophet asked them to wait. Then came the following Revelation (message from Allah):
"O Messenger! If they dispute with you in this matter after the knowledge has come to you, then, say, 'Come, let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our souls and your souls. Then let us earnestly invoke and lay the malison (curse) of Allah on those who lie". (Quran: Sura Ale lmran - verse 60)
It was then agreed that the Christians seek MUBAHALA with the Prophet. The meaning of MUBAHALA is that both of them invoke from Allah that he, who speaks the truth may survive and he, who is untrue may perish.
On the day of Mubahala, the Prophet of Islam took with him his grandsons - Imam Hasan (a) and Imam Hussain (a), his daughter Fatima Zehra (a) and his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali (a). But on seeing the radiant faces of these sinless members of the household of the Prophet, the Christians got scared. They decided not to seek Mubahala any more but accepted their defeat. They agreed to pay tribute and returned home.
The Prophet, before going for Mubahala, was commanded by Allah to take with him his sons, his women and his souls. The Holy Prophet obeyed this command as under:
In place of his sons, he took with him Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain. In place of women, he took Fatima Zahra . In place of his souls, he took Imam Ali.
This is how he showed to the world who the true and real members of his Ahlul Bait (People of the House of Prophet) were.
The Holy Quran says:
"Say, I do not ask for return of this (messengership) from you except that you love (my) relatives." (Sura As-shura - Verse 23)
Leading to Karbala
The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be Upon him and his progeny, had openly prophesied that the faith of Islam would be rescued by his second grandson Hussain, when Yazid, son of Mu'awiayh, would endeavour to destroy it.
Yazid was known for his devilish character and brutish conduct. He was known as the most licentious of men. The people having known and understood the character of Yazid, formed a covenant by which Mu'awiyah could not appoint Yazid as his successor.
This undertaking was given by Mu'awiyah to Imam Hasan from whom Mu`awiyah had snatched power. Mu'awiyah violated this undertaking and nominated Yazid who succeeded his father.
Immediately as he came to power, Yazid began acting in full accordance with his known character. He started interfering in the fundamentals of the faith and practiced every vice and wickedness freely with the highest degree of impunity and yet held himself out as the successor of the Holy Prophet, demanding allegiance to himself as the leading guide of the faith.
Imam Hussain (AS) Prosecution and Struggles
Paying allegiance to Yazid was nothing short of acknowledging the devil as God. If a divine personality like the holy Imam Hussain had agreed to his authority, it would be actually recommending the devil to humanity in place of God.
Yazid demanded allegiance from the Holy Imam Hussain, who could have never agreed to it at any cost. The people fearing death and destruction at the hands of the tyrant had yielded to him out of fear. Imam Hussain said that come whatever may, he would never yield to the devil in place of God and undo what his grandfather, the Holy Prophet had established.
The refusal of the Holy Imam to pay allegiance to this fiend, marked the start of the persecution of the Holy Imam. As a result he had retired to Medina where he led a secluded life. Even here he was not allowed to live in peace, and was forced to seek refuge in Mecca where also he was badly harassed, and Yazid plotted to murder him in the very precincts of the great sanctuary of Kaa'bah.
In order to safeguard the great sanctuary, Imam Hussain decided to leave Mecca for Kufah just a day before the hajj (pilgrimage). When asked the reason for the mysterious departure from Mecca foregoing the pilgrimage which was only the next day, Imam Hussain said that he would perform this year's pilgrimage at Karbala, offering the sacrifice not of any animals, but of his kith and kin and some faithful friends.
Imam Hussain (AS) Departing to Kufa
The people of Kufah getting tired of the tyrannic and satanic rule of Yazid, had written innumerable letters and sent emissaries to Imam Hussain to come over and give them guidance in faith.
Although Imam Hussain knew the ultimate end of the invitations, he as the divinely chosen Imam could not refuse to give the guidance sought for. When the Holy Imam with his entourage had reached karbala, his horse mysteriously stopped and would not move any further. Upon this the holy Imam declared:
"This is the land, the land of sufferings and tortures." He alighted from his horse, and ordered his followers to encamp there saying: "Here shall we be martyred and our children be killed. Here shall our tents be burned and our family arrested. This is the land about which my grandfather the Holy Prophet had foretold, and his prophecy will certainly be fulfilled."
Imam Hussain (AS) on the 7th of Muharram
On the 7th of Muharram water supply to the lmam's camp was cut and the torture of thirst and hunger started. The Holy Imam's camp consisted of ladies, innocent children including babies and some male members of the Holy prophet's family; along with a small band of some faithful friends of Imam Hussain who had chosen to die with the Holy Imam, fighting against the devil for the cause of Allah.
Imam Hussain (AS) on the 10th of Muharram / Ashura
At dawn the Imam glanced over the army of Yazid and saw 'Umar ibn Sa'd ordering his forces to march towards him. He gathered his followers and addressed them thus:
"Allah has, this day, permitted us to be engaged in a Holy War and He shall reward us for our martyrdom. So prepare yourselves to fight against the enemies of Islam with patience and resistance. O sons of the noble and self-respecting persons, be patient! Death is nothing but a bridge which you must cross after facing trials and tribulations so as to reach Heaven and its joys. Which of you do not like to go from this prison (world) to the lofty palaces (Paradise)?"
Having heard the Imam's address, all his companions were overwhelmed and cried out,
"O our Master! We are ail ready to defend you and your Ahl-ul-bayt, and to sacrifice our lives for the cause of Islam."
Imam Hussain sent out from his camp one after another to fight and sacrifice their lives in the way of the Lord.
Lastly, when all his men and children had laid down their lives, Imam Hussain brought his six-month old baby son 'Ali al-Asghar, and offering him on his own hands, demanded some water for the baby, dying of thirst. The thirst of the baby was quenched by a deadly poisoned arrow from the brute's forces, which pinned the baby's neck to the arm of the helpless father. At last when the six-month old baby also was killed, Imam Hussain addressed Allah:
"O Lord! Thy Hussain has offered in Thy way whatever Thou hath blessed him with. Bless Thy Hussain, O Lord! with the acceptance of this sacrifice. Everything Hussain could do till now was through Thy help and by Thy Grace."
Lastly, Imam Hussain came into the field and was killed, the details of which merciless slaughter are heart rending. The forces of Yazid having killed Imam Hussain, cut and severed his head from his body and raised it on a lance. The severed head of the Holy Imam began glorifying Allah from the point of the lance saying, 'Allahu Akbar'.
"All glory be to Allah Who is the Greatest!"
After the wholesale, merciless and most brutal slaughter of the Holy Imam with his faithful band, the helpless ladies and children along with the ailing son of Imam Hussain, Imam 'Ali Zain-ul-Abideen, were taken captives.