(Persia Digest) - Each year in the lunar month of Moharram, people of the world witness the glorious mourning of the World Shiites for Imam Hossein (AS) and 72 of his companions, children, relatives and loyal and freedom-fighting disciples in the desert of Karbala, in southern Iraq.
The interesting and mysterious point about the mourning is that after the lapse of about 14 centuries since the innocent but magnificent martyrdom of Karbala martyrs, the mourning and weeping take a more widespread and majestic dimension each year; whereas, naturally, the more time is elapsed from the death or murder of someone, its memory and expression of sorrow over the loss would gradually diminish. Thus, essentially with the passage of 1400 years after the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS), his advocates were expected to only read the unfortunate story of his death in history and nothing more. But the question is why after the passage of such a very long time, his followers each year bitterly wail when they hear the story of his killing and beat their heads and chests and express respect for him by feeding others?
The answer is deep-rooted: because the third Shiite Imam (AS) sacrificed his life and those of his children and disciples vigilantly and courageously in order to safeguard the sacred humanitarian and divine values. He sacrificed himself to uphold the path of God and the sublime humanitarian values. Those who have sacrificed their lives in this path would remain everlasting and respectful forever. Imam Hossein (AS) is thus an unmatched and living pattern as well.
Another important point is that Hossein (AS) and his companions, attained martyrdom in the most possible tragic way in order to keep humanitarian and divine values alive. This unique method of murder would always commiserate all freedom-fighters of the world.
Yazid, the son of Muaaviyeh, had unjustly succeeded the Prophet of Islam (S) and publicly announced that Mohammad (S) had told lies and was not a prophet at all! Yazid, used to drink wine in public, binge, and play with dogs and monkeys and ruled on the basis of methods practiced by the ignorant idolaters. He urged Hossein (AS), the grandson of the Prophet (S) and son of Ali (the first Shiite Imam) and Zahra (the Prophet's daughter) to pledge allegiance to him and follow him. Had Hossein (AS) accepted the command, he would have formally helped the annihilation of Islam and all its sublime humanitarian and divine values.
Hossein (AS) did not promise loyalty and tried to leave the domain of Yazid’s rule. But Yazid left him with only two options: Do or die! Imam Hossein (AS) had either to vow allegiance to infidelity and corruption or embrace martyrdom. Hossein (AS) opted for the second and became immortal. Now, after one thousand and four hundred years, no one knows where Yazid's grave is situated but millions of people every year, especially at the time of Moharram and particularly on Tasua (the 9th day of Moharram) and Ashura (the 10th day of Moharram) gather at the shrine of Imam Hossein (AS) and his companions in Karbala and mourn them wholeheartedly.
The innocent but heroic martyrdom of Hossein (AS), during the past centuries, has been a constant lesson of dignity, freedom-fighting and combat against tyranny and corruption. In Iran, not only Shiite Muslims, but even Armenian Christians mourn Imam Hossein (AS) and Abulfazl Abbas (his brave brother).
Hossein (AS) taught the people of the world that dying with dignity and honor is higher than living with humiliation and contempt and under the domination of corrupt persons and evildoers.
Hossein, and the path of Hossein, will remain forever and enlightening.
*Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght
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