By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
The 1st of the month of Safar refreshes memories of the immortal saga of the noble captives of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, who despite being in fetters made Islam and all humanitarian values triumph in the court of the tyrant Yazid, thus bequeathing to posterity faith in Divine Promise of the eventual victory of truth over falsehood, irrespective of the intensity of the plots and crimes of the oppressors.
Till this day, the seekers of truth are proud to follow the path of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) granddaughter Hazrat Zainab (SA) and her indomitable nephew Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) – son and successor of Imam Husain (AS) the Martyr of Karbala – in defeating the criminal powers.
Today, 20 days after the epic of Ashura (Muharram 10, the children and womenfolk of the Prophet’s Blessed Household were brought to Damascus, along with the severed heads of the martyrs of Karbala.
With their bold sermons, even in captivity, aunt and nephew ripped off the mask of hypocrisy from the face of the ungodly Omayyad regime, and exposed Yazid in his true heathen colours.
When the noble captives entered his presence, they were shocked see Yazid sitting on a throne while in front of him lay the head of (my father) Imam Husain (AS) in a golden tray. He had a cane in his hand and was showing disrespect to the severed head."
The tyrant was elated at the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS). He openly wished that if only his infidel ancestors who in trying to attack the Prophet had been slain in the Battles of Badr and Ohod were alive this day to witness how he had humiliated the Prophet’s Household. He went on to recite the following couplet as further proof of his lack of faith in Islam: The Hashemites played the game of kingdom; neither any message descended [from heaven] nor revelation.
At this blasphemy, Hazrat Zainab (SA) could no longer bear the sight of the accursed Yazid disrespecting the severed head of Imam Husain (AS) by striking the lips with a cane. As her grief-stricken younger sister Omm Kulsoum flung herself on the severed head of her brother, Hazrat Zainab (SA) started one of her most eloquent sermons that had a profound effect on the gathering. She said:
"All praise belongs to God, the Sustainer and Preserver of the Universe and may His blessings be showered on my grandfather Prophet Mohammad. The holy Qur’an says (in ayah 10 of Surah Roum): "Then evil was the end of those who wrought evil, for they belied the signs of God and mocked at them.”
"O Yazid! You think that you have made our life miserable and existence unbearable and you have made us prisoners, and because we have been presented in your court you feel elated. You think that we have been disrespected and dishonoured by God and that you have been honoured and elevated to this position by Him. This apparent success of yours is the result of your worldly might and this makes you puffed with pride at our disaster. You feel that you have conquered the whole world and feel that you are well set in power and control. Only time will teach you a bitter lesson. (Ayah 177 of) Surah Aal-e Imran points out to people like you who are destined to go to hell, when God says: "Let not those who disbelieve, think that Our giving them respite is good for themselves. We only give them respite so that they may increase in sins and for them is a disgraceful chastisement.”
"O you the son of freed slaves! Is this your justice that the ladies of your household remain veiled and we, the Prophet’s family should be paraded thus? You have insulted our dignity, our faces have been unveiled, your villainous soldiers have exposed us to public view, and all along the journey people have looked at us. We do not have our male companions any more to come to our rescue. O Yazid! Your misdeeds have clearly proved your rebellion towards God and the message the Holy Prophet brought to this world, and this has proved beyond doubt that you refuse to honour the Prophetic Message sent by God. This behaviour of yours does not come as a surprise, for your ancestors chewed the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, mutilated his body, had his liver taken out, sucked it and quenched her thirst for vengeance at the Battle of Ohud. You belong to this clan, which always opposed the Prophet and collected armies from various clans to oppose him. The descendants of such rabble and monsters are the enemies of God and His Prophet, and are expected to be merciless and deadly since violence is part of their nature."
"Remember! Your disgusting deeds are the results of your inherent animosity and malicious nature, which are the cause of so much vice in your character. This revenge is due to this nature and you have borne revenge in your heart ever since the Battle of Badr in which your elders were killed because of their opposition and attack on the Prophet. He who looks upon us with animosity, malice and revenge is clearly an enemy of the Holy Ahl al-Bayt. He who takes pleasure in taunting us proves his infidelity towards the Messenger of God, and besides you take pride in saying that you have killed the grandson of the Prophet and imprisoned the members of his family. You do not consider this as a sin of extraordinary magnitude. On the contrary you say that had your forefathers seen this performance of yours, they would have been filled with pride and would have said, ‘O Yazid, you have avenged us!
"O Yazid! You are happily disrespecting the head of Aba ‘Abdullah al-Husain (AS) by caning his lips. Do you not know that these are the lips the Prophet has kissed on several occasions? On my soul, you have deepened our wounds by shedding the blood of the Chief of the Youths of Paradise, the son of Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). O Yazid! If you have a heart to take into account your nefarious deeds, you would surely wished that your arms be paralysed and severed from the elbow and you would have exclaimed: Would that my parents had never given birth to me. You would have realized that God is displeased with you and the Prophet has become your enemy. O God! Restore us our rights; avenge those who have oppressed us and make Your wrath descend on those who have broken their pledge, killed our kith and kin and our relations and supporters, and have disgraced us. O Yazid, you have done what you wished to do, but remember that you are doomed to perish and you will be cut to pieces. Then (on the Day of Judgement) you will be taken in to the presence of the Prophet and you will be burned with the sins you have committed by shedding the blood of his progeny and dishonouring the sanctity of his family. You will be taken in the presence of the Prophet to a place where his family members will be gathered and you will undergo a horrible punishment and then there will be no escape for you and your accomplices. O Yazid! Do not be inflated with pride after slaying the Prophet’s progeny. Do you know what the Qur’an says about such people who have been martyred (ayah 169 of surah Aal-e Imran)? Think not of those slain in God’s way as deed. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the Presence of their Lord.”