By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“La youm ka youmak ya Aba Abdillah” (No day is like your day O Aba Abdullah)
These are the words of a brother to a brother. This phrase was not expressed in a moment of joy, nor was it the giving of tidings of joy.
Today the 7th of Safar draws our attention to these famous words, especially since we continue to be in the state of mourning for history’s most bloodcurdling tragedy that occurred on the 10th of Muharram, known universally as the Day of Ashura.
It is the tragedy that occurred in Karbala in Iraq in the year 61 AH (680), when in defence of Islam and all humanitarian values, Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), preferred being martyred in the most heartrending manner, rather than acknowledge the Godless rule of the libertine Yazid.
Imam Husain (AS), whose “kunya” (agnomen) was Aba Abdullah, has been hailed by Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) on God’s commandment, along with his elder brother, Imam Hasan (AS), as the “Two Leaders of the Youths of Paradise”.
Perhaps, the question might arise in the minds of those not well acquainted with Islam: Where was Imam Hasan (AS) when Imam Husain (AS) was martyred in Karbala?
The answer is obvious. He was already martyred a decade earlier in 50 AH in Medina through a fatal dose of poison.
Who killed Imam Hasan (AS) and for what reason?
To any person familiar with events of the early days of Islam, the answer is crystal clear. The Prophet’s elder grandson was administered poison on the orders of Mu’awiyya, the despicable father of the accursed Yazid.
Mu’awiyya, a late and reluctant convert to Islam at the surrender of Mecca in 8 AH, only two years before the passing away of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), was along with his father Abu Sufyan, a staunch enemy of Islam, and had claimed to become a Muslim only to save his life.
It is indeed an irony of Islamic history that this same Mu’awiyya, despite his enmity towards Islam and the Prophet, was within a few years of paying lip to service to Islam, was appointed governor of Syria by the Second Caliph, Omar ibn Khattab, because of ties of pre-Islamic friendship between the two.
On taking charge of Syria, this charlatan left no stone unturned to weaken the Muslim society from within and distort the teachings of Islam. He refused to step down as governor when he was formally dismissed from the post by the Prophet’s righteous heir, the One and Only Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). He next came out into open rebellion by starting armed warfare against the Imam, but when faced with imminent defeat during the last battle of the protracted war of Siffeen, in order to escape alive he had raised on spear points what he claimed to be copies of the holy Qur’an in order to dupe the gullible Muslims despite the earnest appeal of Imam Ali (AS) and his faithful followers that it was a subterfuge.
After the martyrdom of the Commander of the Faithful in 40 AH, Mu’awiyya resorted to a policy of propaganda, terrorism and bribes against Imam Ali’s (AS) rightful successor, Imam Hasan (AS).
The Prophet’s elder grandson, aware of the flimsy faith of many in his own army, and realizing the magnitude of the treachery of Mu’awiyya and the dangers of civil war between Muslims at a time when the Byzantine Empire was looking for an opportunity to attack the Islamic realm and seize Bayt al-Moqaddas, entered into a treaty to avert bloodshed and unmask the hypocrisy of his opponent.
Mu’awiyya, who now took charge of the rule of the Islamic state, on condition that he would stop the imprecation of the Commander of the Faithful, respect the tenets of Islam, and return the caliphate to the Prophet’s grandson without nominating any successor on his deathbed, contrived to martyr Imam Hasan (AS) through poisoning.
The lethal dose of poison, mixed in water, thus rent asunder the liver of Imam Hasan (AS) into pieces that he vomited with blood as death approached.
The tragic sight, brought tears to the eyes of his younger brother, Imam Husain (AS), who started crying. At this moment, the elder brother foretold to his younger brother:
“It is my destiny that I have been poisoned with trickery that would kill me. However, no day is like your day O Aba Abdillah! On that day thirty thousand hordes from those who claim to be Muslims and part of the Ummah of our grandfather will get together to spill your blood and kill you… take your ladies and children as prisoners and to plunder your assets. At that time that God will allow the cursing of the Omayyads, and it will rain blood and ashes from the sky and all creatures, even the wild animals and fishes in the sea will cry for you.”
We therefore mourn Imam Hasan (AS) on this day, as well as on the 28th of Safar, which according to some narrations was the fateful day of his martyrdom.
At any rate, as said earlier, we are in the state of mourning for the Immortal Martyr of Karbala, and that is the reason we do not celebrate any event during the two months of Muharram and Safar.
The 7th of Safar also happens to be the birthday of the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Heir, Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), but we don’t celebrate it out of respect for the martyrdom of his ancestor, Imam Husain (AS), and the tragedy that afflicted the noble ladies and children of his household.
As a matter of fact, history is witness that on the advent of the month of Muharram, smile would vanish from the face of Imam Kazem (AS), although almost a hundred years separated his era from that of the tragedy of Karbala.
On the anniversary of the tragedy of Ashura, the 7th Imam’s grief would reach its peak. He would be incessantly crying and was heard saying: “This is the day on which (Imam) Husain (AS) had been killed.”