Thursday, November 14, 2013

When skies wept blood

Hussain. Fifty-four, curly-headed, light-skinned, medium-height Hussain. History tells us he had a face and smile like his grandfather- it washed away your worries. It's the year 680, and Hussain stands alone on the plains of a deserted land far away from his home. His refusal to pledge allegiance to a tyrannical ruler brought him here. He has just lost his loved ones- one by one. First his most faithful companions- loyal friends who stayed by his side knowing full well the end in sight. Then his family-he used a piece of cloth to gather pieces of Qasim, his teenaged nephew, trampled under the enemy's horses' hooves. He held on to the speared chest of his eighteen-year-old Akbar and asked to listen to his beautiful voice one last time. He wept over his brave brother Abbas- watched as the flag he carried with courage fell with his cut hands. He held his six-month-old baby in his arms, tiny neck pierced with an arrow.

Now- Hussain stands alone, throat dry, heart torn. In the distance, he can hear the whimpers of the women and children from their tents. He can make out the voices of Sakina, his daughter; Zainab, his sister; Rabab, his wife. He knows they are thirsty, heart-broken and will soon be in the hands of the most merciless of people. So far he has sacrificed some of the closest to his heart for the sake of goodness, and soon he will sacrifice himself too. But before he gives his own life, he has one last message to leave. Hussain cups his hands around his mouth, and calls out in a loud, clear voice:

Is there anyone who will come to assist us? Is there anyone who will respond to our call? 

He repeats this four times- facing all directions. Who is this call for?

It is for us. A call to be carried forward over the generations. A call to fight against injustice in every time and space. To make sure that love and humanity prevail, even if it means having to make a sacrifice.

The Tragedy of Karbala is not simply an unfortunate event in history. It is the most important revolution. It is the only entirely self-less sacrifice by ultimate love against ultimate hatred. It is the only event that has been remembered from the beginning of time, and will continue to be remembered to the end. It is the only event in history that the sky turned red for, stones bled, and the snakes and the fishes in the sea mourned.

Today, millions around the world will be mourning Hussain- remembering his story, re-telling it in poems and eulogies and plays, re-enforcing his message, keeping it alive for yet another year. Some will choose ways to mourn that you will not like- hitting themselves with chains or swords to feel Hussain's pain. Whether this is appropriate or not is another story. To ignore the brutal killing of Hussain and his followers, the meaning of his sacrifice, and to instead focus on criticizing the way he is remembered in some places is distasteful. To reduce Hussain's sacrifice to mundane discussions is disrespectful.

As long as there are hearts in this world that continue to be moved by the fate of his loving self at the hand of his hateful oppressors, goodness has prevailed and Hussain and his message live on forever.


  1. Hussain’s love is not restricted to color, language or race
    It is a connection which only, with Zahra’s invitation takes place!

    Beautiful article Ghadeer. May Allah reward you for your efforts.

  2. Thank you for this post Ghadeer. I did not know of Hussain. Now I do. Have googled and found and will read more. An inspirational man.
    Anna :o]

  3. Thank you for remembering and reminding.

  4. May Allah give us all the patience, fortitude and faith of Hussain (AS). He did not stand for any sect. He stood for humanity.

  5. :'/ I too, did not know of Hussein, though I think I may have seen his 'remembrances' (is that the right word?) on the news recently. This piece is beautiful, if tragic :/

  6. This is so lovely. I can feel the love and faith reverberating through the words. I'm bereft of speech.

  7. As humans, we've though parted ways in lines of faith, but it's beautiful to realize that we're all seeking the same things.

  8. Tis a lovely piece of made it come alive.

  9. The lesson for me is,no matter what,if u have lost all ur family,ur kids in front of u,u r bathing in blood,you are in pain,tears,hurt, you are in a battle field n after losing everything u got,u still bow down ur head and Offer ur Asar Sallah, to save onething the dignity of islam, we get ill and dnt offer our sallah ,


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