Youths reflect the society in which they live. They are the future of the social structure they represent. Youngsters today epitomize uncontrolled autonomy and unwarranted waste of precious time in matters of the world. The picture of an ideal youth today is of a financially well-off and worldly updated youngster desiring a luxurious and easy life. Ethical and human values, spirituality, respect and obedience to divine will, good relations with relatives, respecting elders, etc. are all considered antiquated and outdated today. What does this prognosticate? Whether these valueless youngsters can responsibly shoulder the future social structure? If not, then what is the rectification?
The conditions of the society?s youths are the best measure of its conditions. A keen eye on youth affairs reveals the true character of the society. With this brief introduction, let us now oversee the conditions of the youths during the time of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.). Let us also see how the revolution of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) can act as a rectification for the misguided youths in a society.
Majority of the Muslims agree that the youths contemporary to Imam Husain?s (a.s.) revolution were born during the last days of the second caliph, their upbringing took place during the period of the third caliph and they matured when Moaviyah was in power. At that time those who were in their fifties had not seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) nor benefited from his divine enlightened personality. Those who were in their sixties then, were hardly ten years of age when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) expired. Thus if Ahle Bait (a.s.) are excluded from this group then we can conclude that theirs was an age of childhood play when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) expired. Very few companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were alive then and all of them were in their seventies. People who were in the age group of 30-40 were born either during the ending days of second caliph or during the time of the third caliph. Thus, by the year 60 A.H. an entirely new generation was present in Arabia which was totally unaware of the life of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his position as a best example for humanity.
Influence of the Ruling Class
It is a universal truth that:
?People are on the religion of their kings.?
Considering the inclinations of the then rulers? one can easily fathom the ideology of this new generation. Unlike today the news media did not exist then. All news and information which could contribute to opinion formation was strictly censored and controlled by the oppressive governments. Government officials were totally engrossed in patronizing their superiors and in self indulgence. As a result, the real life of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was never manifested before those youngsters. They had missed the golden era of the Holy Prophet?s (s.a.w.a.) governance. They were brought up witnessing the politics of people like Mugairah ibne Sho?bah, Sa?d Ibn Aas, Walid and Amr ibne Sad Ibn Aas who were the working hands of the government due to their deep influence they exercised. Their only aim was corruption. Cheating and worldly desires were considered highly desirable qualities among them. Their favorite pastime included ostentation, arrogance, tribal bias, racial intoxication and oppression. The high government officials who would naturally be a model for the youngsters consisted of such corrupt and crooked people. During the third caliphate, they were totally engrossed in amassing family wealth. They naturally left a negative impact on the maturing youngsters who were witnessing that these officials are shamelessly indulging in sinfulness and debauchery. For example, Walid ibne Aqbah the step brother of the Caliph was the governor of Kufah. He used to be so engrossed in wine and women that he would be totally out of his senses while coming to lead the morning prayers and would end up reciting three or four units! This shameless person was even involved in an incestuous relationship with his own daughter. History has recorded many instances of his debauchery.
Abdullah ibne Sa?d was the foster brother of the Caliph. He was appointed the governor of Egypt. Abdullah ibne Aasir ibne Kariz was the maternal cousin of the Caliph and he was appointed the governor of Basra. He converted Basra into a base for the Bani Umayyah. Marwan ibne Hakam who was the son-in-law of the Caliph was the worst of the lot. In reality, he was the de facto Caliph. Our readers can easily understand that when such were the faces of the government, what the resulting society and the youngsters were at that time?!
Moaviyah Ibne Abi Sufyan, who was appointed the governor of Syria and Aden by the second Caliph, was given additional responsibilities of the areas of Palestine, Hamas and surrounding islands by the third Caliph. As a result Moaviyah further consolidated his government and reinforced it on the pretext of controlling the influence of Persia and Rome. Till the time of the apparent Caliphate of Ameer ul Momineen Hazrat Ali (a.s.), Moaviyah had consolidated himself greatly in Syria through his cunningness and oppression. This propelled him to make unsuccessful attempts in engaging Hazrat Ali (a.s.). Thus, the passage of time saw the new generation being bought up under the influence of such incorrect and corrupt models, resulting in a politically influenced society.
Thus, prior to the uprising of Imam Husain (a.s.), the youths had become mere toys in the hands of the government. They were totally devoid of any moral values and were even unable to distinguish the truth from falsehood. They had lost their identity. They had lost the opportunity for a successful hereafter by not moulding their lives according to the best exemplar. Human excellence was meaningless for this generation of Muslim youngsters. The entire government machinery was engrossed in extricating any trace of humanity and converting the society into those of brutes, devoid of any insight. Thus, the Syrian history has examples of such pseudo-intellectuals who believed that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not have any close relatives other than the Bani Umayyah who could have succeeded him! The extent and effect of false propaganda can be fathomed thus! This was a great calamity for the younger generation and did not augur good for them. Can any good be expected when the society is made up of such ignorant and character-less youths? Hence, history witnesses that even a great personality like Imam Husain (a.s.) was branded a Khaareji by these misguided groups. This was the ultimate disgrace for those youngsters.
In fact the army was mobilized to fight against Imam Husain (a.s.) with the slogan:
?Come on O army of Allah!
It is thus clear that the enemies of Allah, His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Holy Ahle Bait (a.s.) left no stone unturned in their efforts to turn the people away from the way of Allah.
Dear brothers and sisters! Let us remember that even today whatever reaches our youngsters which is not in accordance with the teachings of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) is in reality a sharp edged sword which is also being used against us! These youngsters will be a source of honor for us only if we equip them with correct belief in light of the teachings of the Holy Ahle Bait (a.s.). Otherwise they will be misguided and end up as tools in the hands of our enemies. Youngsters are vulnerable as their intellect is mostly overpowered by their desires. Training of youngsters is therefore critical and should be expertly performed so that they are able to channel their emotions on the way of guidance. They should realize that they have the potential to bring about a humane revolution in the society. Sociologists therefore attach much importance to factors which can propel a youth movement.
Imam Husain?s (a.s.) revolution is the most effective factor for motivating the youths, provided the true message of this revolution is conveyed to them. Also, there is a need for exposing the increasing attacks on Imam Husain?s (a.s.) aim in light of the teachings of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). It should be borne in mind that Allah, the Almighty has promised to keep alive the aim of Imam Husain (a.s.) eternally. This is the reason why the hearts of believers are always overflowing with grief for Imam Husain (a.s.). Thus, our duty in this regard is to be thankful for this great bounty. Ashura is a light which Imam Husain (a.s.) has granted for the guidance of the world?s youths. It has been lit by the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) and his close relatives and friends. Today, through the mention of these sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) and his successors, we can guide our youngsters to the path of eternal success. Youngsters who are such trained can become a source of honour and a bright future for our society. On the powerful shoulders of such youths we can thus confidently start our last journey after death.
With hopes of eternal benefits through the great sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.), we pray to Allah to hasten the enlightened reappearance of the successor of Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) and make the conditions suitable for him (a.t.f.s.). May we be enumerated among the sincere servants of Hazrat (a.t.f.s.). Aameen.