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Martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) and the decree of Allah

Analysis of History

Islam means the divine religion on which Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) put the seal of his guidance and before departing this ephemeral world clearly explained all his wills.

He declared the Holy Quran and the Ahle Bait (peace be on them) as the guardians of this trust for which we have verse in the Holy Quran justifying it thus:

Surely I am a faithful messenger to you; Therefore guard against (the punishment of) Allah and obey me.

(Surah Shu’ara (42), 107-108)

In view of this, till the end of 60th hijri, the banners of Holy Quran and Ahle Bait (peace be on them) were seen everywhere. However, all the conspiracies that proved fruitful for worldly politics and ruler ship, through the power of sword neither did they follow the footsteps of Ahle Bait (peace be on them) nor followed the Holy Quran.

Both, Ahle Bait (peace be on them) and Quran were present. However, Ahle Bait (peace be on them) were compelled to social isolation and Quran was interpreted based on personal vested interests. The great corrupts of the time were trying their best to neglect the Ahle Bait (peace be on them) and the Holy Quran through the ruler ship of Muawiyah and even till the last phase of his ruler ship, the mindset and nature of the nation had greatly altered. It influenced the mindset of the people to such an extent that a cunning person like Muawiyah was accepted with the title of ameerul momineen.

As mentioned earlier, both the Quran and Ahle Bait (peace be on them) were present. Hence, the question arises, would Allah let Islam exist in the time of such shrewd calamity or would let it extinct?

Divine Will

We will try to understand the divine will and in its context the greatness of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) and his approach.

The enemies of Islam misused the divine will as a tool to achieve their evil aims through corruption and negated its aspect of freedom and free will. They spread the idea of compulsion (Jabr) to achieve their aims to prove that man is forced by divine will and the event of Karbala was its consequence (an attempt to absolve Yazid of his heinous crimes). This misconception has been deviating man since the time of Qabeel. This relieves the heart of the perpetrator and helps him achieve his aims. The truth however remains truth and manifests itself, as the Holy Quran says:

And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).

(Surah Bani Israeel (17), 81)

The justice however requires that man should be free in his actions after being guided and informed of the examination that he is undertaking by way of wealth and children. The path of the Shariah is explained and obedience is wide open before him . He is also being given the role models in “those on whom there is no wrath of Allah”, who withstood the severest of the trials.

We will put forth the meaning of the divine will as per the Holy Quran.

The word Mashiyyat means to intend. In Islamic terminology it implies intention to do or perform an act.

(Mahaasin al-Barqi, vol. 1, pg. 244)

Divine will of Allah the Almighty is of two types:

1. Divine will in world of Creation (Aalam-e-Takween)

2. Divine will in the world of Actions (Aalam-e-Tashreei)

In the world of creation, the will of Allah is binding and man has no role or interference in it. For instance, the creation of the Universe. In the world of action man acts and Allah does not compel him in his actions. For Instance, establishing prayers, fasting, migration, being steadfast on truth and praying to remain on it.

In the world of actions too Allah the Almighty has not severed his relation with man and has said in Holy Quran:

Ask me, I will respond to your call..

Hence Allah has advised not to lose hope and his mercy is all-encompassing. Also Allah has even after giving freedom to man, comforted him by saying:

Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.

(Surah Zumar (39), 53)

Man should never leave hope in the mercy of Allah. Hence the will of Allah influences the world of action too.

Let us understand the divine will with the help of following tradition from Imam Sadiq (peace be on him):

He willed and intended to do a thing while He was not pleased with it.

(Al-Kaafi, vol. 1 pg.151, Trad. No. 5)

The pleasure and wrath of Allah is based on what He orders or prohibits. The world of creation has left its mark in this aspect. The religion of Islam is the religion that Allah is most pleased with and hence He said:

Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam…

(Surah Aale Imran (3), 19)

Since Islam is the religion He is most pleased with, the only one who will quash all the attempts to destroy it, even if all the worldly powers gather, is he who is divinely appointed. Hence when a king whose regime extends to half the world attempts unsuccessfully to harm it, a person of divine attributes quashes his plans.

Martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him)

When we ponder on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) and the divine will, several aspects come to the fore. Firstly the succession of prophets from Hazrat Adam (peace be on him) till Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny), the seal of the prophets and the successors thereafter, entrusted with the divine mission. In the words of Allamah Iqbal, the grandson of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) saved this mission thus:

Imam Husain (peace be on him) engraved the word “ there is no god but Allah” in the desert and wrote a statement of deliverance for us.

Imam Husain (peace be on him) was like the Muhammad of his time as Allamah Iqbal said at another place:



(If you are loyal to Muhammad, we belong to you. Leave the world, rather the pen and tablet belong to you)

The deep connection between the divine will and the pen and the tablet is beyond the grasp of intellect. Were we aware of all the aspects of his martyrdom with regard to divine will this world would not be so filled with injustice and oppression. The divine will is observing how far the man has gone while treading the path of Qabeel. Even now the inheritor of Imam Husain (peace be on him) is alive.

We wish to bring out the aspect of his martyrdom that he explained under the context of the divine will.

When Muhammad Hanafiyah heard that Imam Husain has set out towards Kufa and is leaving Makkah due to the murderers appointed by Yazid, he advised Imam to proceed towards Yaman or any other place. Imam Husain (peace be on him) replied that he will ponder over his suggestion.

The next day when Imam Husain (peace be on him) began leaving Makkah, Muhammad Hanafiyyah enquired about the haste to which Imam replied:

When I left you, I saw Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) appeared to me (in dream) and asked me to leave Makkah and said that it the divine will to see you martyred.

On hearing this, Muhammad Hanafiyah recited the verse of Istirja (Inna Lillah…) saying that death is inevitable. Since this journey will not be a comfortable one, he advised Imam (peace be on him) to refrain from taking the women-folk with him while he was aware of his impending martyrdom.

Imam Husain (peace be on him) replied:

It is also the divine will to see them imprisoned and captivated.

(Al Luhoof, pg. 63-65)

The divine will in the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him), where he was fulfilling the divine task of enjoining good and forbidding evil was evident. There were two alternatives before Imam Husain (peace be on him) and the Muslims. Imam saw two paths at every step, he could either get killed in Madinah or set out from it, attain martyrdom in Makkah or leave its precincts to preserve its sanctity, he could either accept the invitations from the residents of Kufa or go to any other place. Under every condition he carried out the divine will.

The masses too had two alternatives, they could either support Imam Husain (peace be on him) or desert him. If they deserted him they again had two options, to fight against him or to stay away. However baring few exceptions the majority deserted him or fought against him. Some were imprisoned and hence unable to reach to his help.

We have presented some aspects of his martyrdom. However several scholars have penned several books about it barring those unrelated to the divine will and his martyrdom.

This topic requires explanation, a lot can be written about the divine will with respect to aim of creation of man and universe, the superiority of human beings, all of which have been explained in Holy Quran and the traditions.

Today also we, in every prayer, wish to remain firm on guidance and be included among those on whom bounties descend and saved from wrath. It is the divine will that if we wish to improve our hereafter we should imagine ourselves for a while in Karbala and see the contentment on the face of Imam Husain (peace be on him) with divine will. We will be able to understand neither monotheism nor apostle hood if we fail to realize the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him).

The time has now arrived when this world is filling with injustice and Holy Quran is declaring:

And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs.

(Surah Qasas (28), 5)

The reappearance is near, we should be warned if we are not prepared. There is a Husain in occultation under whose controls are all the oceans, the wind and the entire universe, awaiting the divine will to rise. We pray to be enumerated among his slaves.

September 3, 2020