One of the basic aims of Islam is to take people away from all kinds of evil and adorn them with all types of goodness. These may be related to beliefs, manners, morals or actions. They may be either related to one’s individual or social life, worldly affairs or hereafter and spirituality. Since Allah, the Almighty has bestowed them excellence over all other creations, he has conferred upon them the highest status of perfection. This is why Allah the High sent his most beloved creation – Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (peace be upon him and his progeny) in the form of a human and made apparent the ascension of his excellence on The Throne. This is why the Creator of the universe, through Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) established His Proof in such a manner that He did not keep the creation devoid of their reminders. Finally, He sealed these reminders by perfecting and completing the religion with the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be upon him).
The unmatched and unparalleled martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) is that lofty pulpit of guidance which invites people of every era to goodness and righteousness. That is why we read in the Ziyaarat of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) that “Peace be on you, O the chosen one of Allah and son of His chosen one!” These words unfold many streams of profound realities in front of mankind.
This event of martyrdom is not just to cry and lament but it is a lesson, a moral and a complete message. This battle did not end in 61 A.H. but it is still on-going and the only battle in the world which will not face defeat. The army of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) will forever remain victorious. The reason being, the main element or factor for this battle was sincerity to Allah Who can never be overpowered. The one who fought in the battlefield with only one aim – ‘The Divine Word’ should reign supreme – can never be defeated.
The pivotal aim of the event of Karbala was ‘enjoining good and forbidding evil’. Ever since enjoining good was confined to books, people narrate this incident just as an anecdote. One of the primary reasons for existence of so many differences and divisions, groups and sects is belittling this great responsibility. Some people, for their own convenience and liberating themselves from this great responsibility, have pushed it only on the scholars.
Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) did not come only for propagation of religion but they are its protectors as well. They have also mentioned the ways of safeguarding the religion. One such way is enjoining good and forbidding evil. There are many traditions in this regard as well. In traditions, ‘enjoining good and forbidding from evil‘ has been mentioned as the most important duty of Muslims. The exegesis of Islam, and the life and survival of all teachings is due to this responsibility. Here, we are thankful to have the good fortune of narrating the admonishment of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) on enjoining good and forbidding evil with regards to the month of Muharram al-Haraam.
We are narrating from the book Tohaf al-Uqool by Ibn Sho’ba al-Harraani (may Allah be satisfied with him). We should pay attention to the fact that all traditions and narrations of the Infallible Imams (peace be upon him) are a manifestation of divine knowledge. Every word and action emanates from Allah’s knowledge and will. Their knowledge is not due to their thoughts but the essence of reality and truth. Moreover, there is no exaggeration in their words.
If something has been given significance and narrated with importance, or if we have been warned of a few things and their implications, then the reality is exactly as it is mentioned.
Incidents of past nations narrated in the Holy Quran are not just for reading and reaping rewards, rather they are to derive lessons and morals as well. Allah, the Almighty has communicated His laws through these incidents. If we follow them, we will meet the same fate. This is from the divine tradition. Pay attention to the words of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) concerning enjoining of good and prohibition from evil:
“O People, take lessons from the admonishments given by Allah to His friends and vicegerents. They used to wrongly praise their religious scholars. Allah, the Almighty, says concerning this in the Holy Quran:
Why did their followers and scholars not stop the people from eating the unlawful? They used to do such bad actions.
[Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 63]
They did not stop their people from evil actions. They used to perform bad actions.
[Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 79]
In these verses the scholars of Jews are mentioned as to how they remained silent when their religion was being distorted. Their religion perished while they were mere silent spectators. The Holy Quran has reprimanded the silence of such scholars and also criticized those who respected them.
Indeed, the Almighty Allah has reprimanded these people because they used to see oppressors committing evil acts in front of them, but they remained silent due to the benefits and grants they used to receive from them and feared them. Whereas, the order of Allah was:
“Do not be afraid of people, just be afraid of Me.”
[Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 44]
Allah, the Almighty has also mentioned the following characteristics in the Holy Quran:
“Believing men and believing women are the guardians and friends of each other, they enjoin each other to goodness and prohibit from evil.”
[Surah Taubah (9): Verse 17]
Allah, the Almighty has made the importance of enjoining good and prohibiting evil clear by starting the discussion with it. This is because He knew that if this duty is acted upon then all their obligations, easy or difficult, will also be acted upon.
One reason is that enjoining good and prohibiting evil attracts a person towards Islam because
- It negates the oppression of the oppressors
- Distributes public treasury in an equitable manner
- Collects taxes from appropriate places and spends it appropriately as well
O people! You are famous for your knowledge, you are remembered by good actions, your names are among those who distribute bounties and by the Grace of Allah you have a special position and place in the hearts of people. The honourable are afraid of you, the weak respect you and even give you preference over the ones upon whom you do not possess any preference and neither do you have any right upon. You recommend things which others cannot acquire. You walk on the streets like kings and exhibit pride.
Are all these things not because people hope that you will establish the right of Allah? Whereas in reality you fall short in fulfilling most of the rights of Allah and lessen the right of your Imams and belittle them. You have wasted the rights of the weak and acquired those rights that you thought you deserve. Neither have you spent any money in this way nor have you done anything with regards to the aim for which you had been created. You have not even shown enmity with any group for the sake of Allah whereas you are hopeful of Allah’s Paradise, wish for the companionship of His Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and safety from Allah’s punishment. O those who have such wishes from Allah! I fear that His punishment might descend upon you.
You have been given respect and stature by Allah but you do not respect those who possess the recognition of Allah whereas you are respected in the eyes of people due to Allah. You are seeing that laws of Allah are breached and it does not affect you at all but if the laws of your elders are violated then you are deeply disturbed. The laws of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) do not have any significance in front of you. In your cities there is no one to take care of the blind, deaf and the destitute nor do you show any mercy for them. Neither do you work in your house nor do you support others in their work. You lick the shoes of the oppressors and entertain yourself through tricks. Whereas, Allah the Almighty has prohibited you from all such things and asked you to stay away from them but you neglected all these things.
You should realize that you carry more responsibilities and burden as opposed to common people as you possess the status and position of a scholar.
The reason for this is that the responsibility of practically implementing all laws of Islam rests with the scholars who possess the recognition and fear of Allah, who are trustees of the prohibited and permissible of Allah. This position and status has been snatched from you because in spite of being on truth you are not united but divided. In spite of clear Prophetic traditions you still differ.
Had you been patient in the way of Allah and borne difficulties, the affairs of Allah would have turned back to you. They would have been preached through you and returned to you. But you helped the oppressors with your position and gave them to those people who acted on doubtful and used to traverse the path of their desires. You have imposed them since you run away from death and are happy in your worldly life – the life which will leave you one day. You have imposed them on the weak. Some of them have become slaves and others are not capable of fulfilling their daily needs. These people are doing whatever they intend in their country. They are experiencing disgrace by following their desires. They are following the evil and are audacious before Allah. He is like speaker on pulpit who shouts:
The land belongs to them and their hands are open. If you become their slaves, there is none to defend them. Among them are oppressors and tyrants who are strict with the weak. They are like dictators and are aware of neither the beginning nor the end.
All these things are very astonishing and why should I not be astonished? The earth is filled with them and with the oppressed. Those who have been made rulers over the believers do not have mercy in their hearts.
Allah, the Almighty, is going to decide with regards to the differences prevalent among us.
O Allah! You know that none of us have any desire for kingdom or anything from the world. But we desire that the minarets of your religion are raised high and reformation takes place in your cities. Your weak and oppressed servants stay in peace and your obligations, traditions and laws are acted upon. If you do not help us in this and do not act justly with us then the oppressors will gain more control and power over you and they will try to extinguish the light of your Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny).
Allah is sufficient for us and upon Him do we rely. We are attentive towards Him, and we have to return to Him.”
If we carefully read these words of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) and pay attention to the conditions prevalent, it will be very clear to us that we are engulfed in trials and tribulations today since we have not paid attention to enjoining good and prohibiting evil.
Let us remember the time when after the death of Muawiyah, Yazid ascended the mantle of power. The condition of the seekers of truth at that time among the Arabs and those nearby can be summarised in the words of (the famous Urdu poet) Mirza Galib as ‘We neither have the ability to speak nor the power to retaliate’.
There were great efforts to propagate evil and subdue Islamic teachings on all fronts. But such was the arrangement from the side of Allah which will remain till the Day of Judgment. Imam Husain (peace be upon him) was present in the form of Allah’s emissary who possessed the strength to eliminate and negate all their efforts, that too in a manner which nobody could think of at that time. The martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be upon him), enjoining good and forbidding evil reformed the teachings of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) in a manner that none can eliminate it now and destroy it.
The world is filled with the filthy politics of transgressors. There are many who have left enjoining good and prohibiting evil, but the son of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) is still alive, due to whose presence the world exists today. He is the proof of Allah, infallible and cannot be deviated. Treading his path and as per his teachings, the minarets of guidance are shining for all and sundry. Our responsibility is that we stay alert, do not follow our whimsical desires and are attentive towards him so that our end is on goodness. O Husain (peace be upon him)! O Mahdi (peace be upon him)!