Badilisha Lugha: Swahili

Every Mimbar and every Mehrab is a battleground of Imam Hussein

The Majalis of Imam Hussein ('a) and the tears that roll down our cheeks are for the oppressed and each droplet being a challenge to the tyrant. We are not the "Nation of Weepers", but these weeping and wailing have protected the school of Sayyid ash-Shuhada ('a) and these recounting of the tragedy has kept his message alive. Muharram is the month of epic heroism and self-sacrifice, the month in which truth condemned falsehood and branded the mark of disgrace upon the forehead of all oppressors and oppressed governments.

The real tragedy of the Muslims is not that we are oppressed and our lands and harts are occupied, but there are too many Yazids in the world and no Imam Hussein among us. Year after year the sacrifices of the great Imam will be commemorated all over the world; even the rulers of some Muslim countries & communities will participate in ceremonies of "Ashura" to pay tribute to Imam Hussein's principle stand against injustice and oppression. Yet these same rulers & leaders perpetrate corruption, oppression and injustice in their own societies daily. It is this hypocrisy that is at the root of much of the suffering of Muslims today.

The Muslim world is dominated by Yazids who have pledged themselves to the modern-day Pharaohs and before drawing parallels between contemporary problems of Muslims and the tragedy of Karbala, let us be clear about Imam Hussein's sacrifice. He did not struggle for worldly gain or power, but only to reform the community (Ummah) of his grandfather and not to pledge allegiance to Yazid. He preferred to die rather than compromise with injustice and oppression.

Such clarity of vision, purpose and commitment is lacking in Muslims today. There is a long list of tragedies that have befallen upon us that can be cited as our present-day Karbala: Bahrain, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Kashmir, Bosnia, Somalia, Pakistan and Gujarat are but a few. Everywhere Muslims are under attack, they are vilified, tortured, humiliated and killed, yet they are the ones accused of almost every kind of wrongdoing.

We Muslims are in such bad shape today because we have allowed too many compromises and have forgotten the lesson of Karbala. Imam Hussein ('a) had correctly diagnosed the problem confronting Muslims in his time, it was the question of illegitimacy and usurpation of power and authority by people who were totally unfit to lead and rule. He raised his voice against it.

Today, the whole of the Muslim world and even some of the Islamic centers are governed by the likes of Yazid with corruption, nepotism, oppression and injustice. Yet these very rulers and leaders dare to extol the virtues of Imam Hussein ('a) while themselves indulging in Yazidi behavior.

Muharram this year must be an occasion for doing more than shedding tears for the Holy Prophet's grandson Hussein ('a). It is in this month, with the example of 'Ashura before us, which the Islamic world must unite in lifting the standard of truth and justice.