"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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Full Name: Amjad Malik
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Lesson of karbala:an eternal fight of right

Barrister Amjad Malik


The message of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet (Peace be Upon him), is held very dear by billions of Muslims across the globe. This message is remembered zealously during the first month of Islamic calendar Muharram.

Imam Hussein was the grandson of the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), a fact that played an important role in his life and contributed to his death at Karbala which Muslims hold it a ‘martyrdom’. His passionate believed that he was the rightful leader of the Muslim community, or ummah, because of his matrilineal descent. The dispute over rightful succession compelled Imam Hussein to challenge the sitting Ummayad caliph, Yazid in the year 680 AD. Tensions increased in what is modern-day Iraq when a large caliphate force met Hussein's caravan on the banks of the Euphrates river (Karbalal). The lopsided battle of Karbala ended with Imam Hussein and his immediate sibling's martyrdom and subsequent beheading. The day has been a source of mourning for shias and Muslims ever since. Ashura – literally, "10th" in Arabic – is the day reserved for commemorating his martyrdom. It falls on the 10th day of the month of Muharram, which is where it gets its name from. The Ashura has left Muslims mourning but with a message.


The interesting beat is the message the struggle of Imam Hussein teaches us that the message is in itself akin to  continuing affirmation of faith by purifying one’s heart and contribution required by the society and nation. The tyranny he fought where human rights we practice day in day out were no way near to be seen or provided to the young and old caught in the battlefield. Those who were captured too were not afforded the prisoners of war status and were humiliated, and  intimated. We fight these battles every day. Battle of our hearts, and minds and livelihood. Modern day challenges force a man to observe patience, practice caution and exercise restraint whilst remembering the good they inherit and the lessons they learn over the time. Around us , many challenges are confronted to individual, society and countries. I would say Muslim world confronted the increasing challenges of the misinterpretation of Islamic narrative, radicalisation, and youth disillusionment forgetting their past and sticking to the literal meaning of the words ignoring the practices of their forefathers which include piety, kindness and humility. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was subject to intimidation, was thrown rubbish over his head and he walked smilingly observed extreme patience and showed restraint at the time of Hudabiya pact when the opposing sides went to extreme to startle the ongoing negations. He observed mercy at the time winning the battle of Mecca not even a single soul lost or home destroyed as a victor.


In modern days Muslim world faces tyranny, uninvited wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Syria , and incitement to hatred and violence sometimes in the form of Rushdie’s ‘Stannic Verses’ and or Sam Bacile’s youtube film ‘innocence of Muslims’ a fiction on prophet’s life and ridiculing it on the name of freedom of thought and expression, and then burning Quran efforts by a priest Terry Jones in united States. Action speak louder than words and byYouTube ignoring the sensitivities of Islamic world as well as western societies applauding Rushdie with knighthood was in itself provocative as would be to if Muslim States were to applaud any anti western entity. On top of it, Drones falling in Asia as a firework and no one is apologetic about it. These are challenges Muslim world need to accept, and find solution by following the footsteps of its spiritual leader. Muslim world observed greater patience as compared to insensitive attitude afforded by the western society.


Winning war is an art of persuasion as well as using the available military might sensibly. The World’s callous and casual approach to treat the root causes is only frustrating and is not vaporising the numbers adding to those breeding  grounds by winning the hearts and minds and tackling the untreatable. Our leaders are devoid of courageous past, as well as dwelled on materialistic  thought to an extent that growing gluttony has sowed the seeds of infertility in their decision making. Hence, their assets may double in the Swiss lockers, but cowardice, backtracking ,insensitive outbursts and less careful attitude towards national interest becomes their asset than a ‘national duty’ of leadership. Only few came to fight hard and fast on the principles of rule of law, discipline and propriety, majority lost the battle of mind.  Someone said to me that route of peace comes through a war, and my polite answer was and  would be how many wars?.


Wanting Peace is not a sign of weakness in any society, War is but an expression of showcasing one’s might by way of fashionable arsenal. Winning hearts and minds is the key. The amount of money people are invoking to frighten the enemies in the areas of breeding ground of those radicalised outlawed outfits same or lesser amount can be invested to de radicalise the region which is infested those with aspirations of self harm and they are presently unfit to adjust in any society due to an extent of their dubious radicalisation. But, are we doing anything about it to snatch the fodder from the hands of their gang masters. I would say not ‘enough’ and that’s where message of the struggle of Imam Hussein vital for those who are willing to waste their life or a life of a human being, that is a lesson of peace, patience and propriety.





Well not going away from the topic, I will wish for a peaceful coexistence of east and west valuing and appreciating each other’s cultures, faith and values. Clash of civilisation is not a myth but a diagnosis of an illness current and present in our modern society. That threat can only be taken away by bridging the gap and having a multi faith dialogue by ancient civilisations. Might is right is good but applying  fairly the principles upon which societies are built is the right course of action .How would a super power of today like to comment on a unilateral drone attack in their back yard by the future super power that is the tragedy and dilemma we are faced with and that is what the world must ponder to resolve to make it a secure and peaceful place.


Observe the month of moharram with grace honour and humility and never forget your Renaissance, your past & sacrifices of your elders. As one scholar rightly said, "Muharram talwar par khoon ki fatah ka mahina hai" that Muharram is month when blood wins on the edge of a sword. Let’s do a good deed by learning the message of Imam Hussein and in his remembrance appreciate the sacrifice acknowledging the message within that ‘saying right in front of the mighty may be difficult but in the end is the only and the right thing to do’. Lesson of Imam Hussein’s struggle at Karbala was that an inner fight in a man must continue forever and in nations a must.


Barrister Amjad Malik is a Chair of the Association of Pakistani lawyers.


5 November 2013

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