The first and the foremost thing that every person needs to understand is what the bases of the battle of Karbala were. For some it was a battle between two armies for the sake of power, for others it was a battle of a ruler and a rebel. In reality neither of these arguments depict the true spirit of the battle of Karbala, which was to define a way of life for the righteous people, till the day of Resurrection.
CAUSES LEADING TO THE BATTLE:
The battle of Karbala, one of the greatest battles fought in history, was between the grandson of the Holy Prophet ﷺ – Imam Hussein ibn Ali and the grandson of Abu Sufyan – Yazid ibn Muawiya. When Yazid claimed governance of the Islamic state after the death of his father, his first step was to appoint his kin and his henchmen as governors of the various provinces. He assigned them the task to take oath of allegiance from all Muslims and to kill those who refused them.
Yazid ibn Muawiya was well aware of the status of Imam Hussein as the grandson of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the son of the Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib. He felt highly threatened by Imam Hussein and in his fear he sent a special emissary with the letter to al-Waleed (the then governor of Madina) commanding him to get the oath of allegiance from Imam Hussein and his companions. Al-Waleed respected Imam Hussein from the perspective of him being the grandson of the Prophet ﷺ but his associate Marwan feared Imam Hussein and believed him to be a threat to Yazid’s government. He intended to kill the Prophet’s ﷺ grandson as soon as Imam Hussein showed resistance against the oath.
The famous words of Imam Hussein when Marwan insisted upon submitting the oath to Yazid will always be a life-defining guideline for the believers. He said:
THE LIKES OF ME DONOT PAY ALLEGIANCE TO THE LIKES OF HIM (YAZID)
[Imam Hussein ibn Ali]
This declaration of the Imam is a defining statement for not only the Muslims but the entire mankind that a truthful and pious person like Imam Hussein does not follow anyone with a Yazid-like immoral character.
After Imam Hussein’s denial to oath the peaceful land of Madina switched to a hostile environment for him. He was pressurized using all methods to pay allegiance to Yazid till he was forced to leave Madina. He went to Makah along with his entire family which included his sisters, daughters and his 6 month old child, Ali Asghar, with the intention to perform Hajj e Bait ullah. The associates of Yazid did not rest even there and made a plan to murder the Prophet’s ﷺ grandson while he was busy in performing Hajj.
When Imam Hussein came to know of their heinous intentions he decided to convert his Hajj to Umra and leave Makah in order preserve the sanctity of the House of Allah. He set out to Kufa the residents of which were ready to help the Imam but on his way to Kufa he came face to face with an army sent by Yazid commanded by Hurr, a well-known warrior famous for his valor and bravery, who later joined Imam Hussein’s small army and fought against Yazid’s troops with great courage and was one of the 72 martyrs of the battle of Karbala. Hurr did not let the Imam continue his journey even when the Imam offered him that he would not go to Kufa or any other province under the rule of Yazid, rather he would travel to Iraq. Hurr forced Imam Hussein to make camp at a land called Karbala on the 2nd of Moharram. On the 7th of Moharram, the progeny of the Prophet was cut-off from the supply of water and the battle of Karbala began at dawn on the 10th of Moharram also known as Ashura.
THE BATTLE OF KARBALA:
The battle of Karbala was no ordinary battle. It was not fought between two well-armed, highly trained armies of warriors, neither was it fought on the principles that are to be followed in a combat. It was the war of a small, poorly armed, under-trained group of 72 people, which included the infants, youth and adults of Imam’s family and friends, against a well-trained, heavily armed, highly skilled group of thousands which were a representation of Yazid’s power. It was the battle of a small group of people who fought for Allah only, against a group of battalions who had worldly desires in their hearts and who wished to please Yazid in order to obtain worldly rewards from the governor.
Yazid’s battalion though more powerful than Imam Hussein’s army, forgot one factor which turned the war in favor of Imam Hussein – The Help of Allah. Imam Hussein’s soldiers were fighting solely for the love of Allah. They had no other desires in their hearts then to preserve the true spirit of Islam. Their faithfulness to Allah, His Prophet ﷺ and His religion was remarkable and won them Allah’s support & the battle in which victory seemed impossible was won so miraculously that the name of Imam Hussein and his companions shall continue to be an inspiration for people all around the world till the day of Judgment.
LESSONS FROM THE BATTLE:
The battle of Karbala when analyzed carefully raises multiple questions in one’s mind: Why did Imam Hussein take the stand against Yazid? Why did the Imam bring his family along with him? Where did the soldiers of Imam Hussein muster up the courage to battle against such a huge army? How can a small, poorly equipped army of seventy-two battle a well-armed battalion of thousands and still be successful?
The answer to all these questions and many more is a small yet powerful statement – the loyalty to Allah and Islam. It was because of his faithfulness to the Prophet ﷺ and Islam that the Imam decided to confront the immoral and unjust governance of Yazid. His blind trust in Allah, strong faith in His wisdom and a deep love for the Almighty lead to his victory in a battle which was heavily inclined towards the blood-thirsty and in humane Yazidees.
The miraculous victory of Imam Hussein provides for humans a lesson that when a person decides to stand against injustice & immorality and remains steadfast in his purpose, Allah Almighty rewards him with an extraordinary honor. The stand of Imam Hussein against Yazid is a guideline for people who claim to be bearers of morality that if they are true in their claim then they must declare war against people with a Yazid like character.