That the life and death of Hussain Ibn Ali is a lesson for humanity is a fact no one aware of his sacrifice can refuse. He embodies all that is beautiful about the religion of Islam. Being from a family known for its perseverance, humility and unmatched devotion to the Almighty, it comes as no surprise that he chose to stand up against a ruthless tyrant thirsty for his blood rather than pledging allegiance to someone diluting the true meaning of Islam.
To defend the religion revealed to his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he left behind his life in Madina with his loved ones and trusted companions. The small caravan journeyed on to Makkah, where unable to perform Hajj to protect the sanctity of Ka’abah Hussain was forced to leave. He explained his stance in a letter saying:
“I have not come out to stir emotions, to play with oppression. I want to bring the (Muslim) Ummah back to the path of Amr-bil-Marouf & Nahyi Anil Munker. I want to lead them to the path of my Grandfather and my father Ali Ibn Abi Talib.”
With restoration of Islam to its original glory as the only intention on his mind, Hussain reached Kerbala, where on 10th Muharram 61 AH, he along with his dearest companions, sacrificed his life, setting an example for generations to come.
The world he breathed in had been corrupted by the people in power. The Muslims had strayed from the true message of Islam. To preserve his immense sacrifice and its significance, his sister Sayyaida Zainab, taken prisoner after his martyrdom, gave a sermon laying down what is said to be the foundation of Majlises today. In the marketplace of Kufa, unable to grieve her tremendous loss, she addressed the people who called themselves Muslims yet were unaware of the calamity that had just befallen the progeny of the Prophet (pbuh).
Her sermon, meant to carry forth the message of her brother Hussain, ultimately gave rise to a movement that brought to justice the main culprits responsible for the incredible cruelty witnessed at Kerbala.
The world we live in is no different from that misguided time, when Muslims have once more strayed from the righteous path; handing out labels of non-believers and infidels to anyone they please. Therefore it becomes very necessary for us to remember, and spread the lessons of Kerbala.
Being an example for all mankind, Hussain lives on in the hearts of all those inspired by him. This inspiration has begotten a campaign titled ‘Who is Hussain?’ A group of young people from different communities in London, merged together to help spread awareness about Hussain. According to their website, (http://www.whoishussain.org) their aim is for:
“ Hussain ibn Ali to be a role-model for all, regardless of gender, class, religion, creed or any other superficial factor that divides our common humanity.”
As of last year the campaign has gone international comprising of individuals from all cultures, languages and religions. The movement is purely voluntary and has enlisted various ways in which people can actively get involved. A facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WhoIsHussain) and Twitter account (https://twitter.com/whoishussain), further facilitates the volunteers and spreads awareness about Hussain to those who seek to learn from him. Similarly various other social media platforms like youtube and instagram are being used by the group to share content and recruit people in different countries.
People are asked to share how Hussain has inspired them to be a better person for the society.
Stemmed from this awareness campaign is another movement “Be Hussain” (https://www.facebook.com/BEHUSSAIN) that inspires ‘individuals to be LIKE Hussain in whatever small way they can’. The volunteers have organized weekly food drives for the homeless and worked with disabled and elderly.
This movement is a great initiative that can help significantly in bridging the rifts caused between the different sects of Islam. A collaborative effort that foregoes the cast, creed, culture limits set by man, only thriving on the generous contributions of whoever wills, to help mankind, is one of best ways to commemorate the memory of Hussain.