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The Role of Imam Hussein (A.S.) in Reviving the Nation

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The primary responsibility for the persistence of the Umayyad rule lies in the nation’s negligence and complacency, not due to any shortcomings or negligence on the part of Imam Hussein (A.S.). Particularly since we know he had objectively prepared the groundwork for the success of his blessed uprising.

The nation’s responsibility can be summarized in two main aspects:

First: The responsibility of the nation when the conscience dies.

Second: The nation’s responsibility when willpower is lost.

Imam Abu Abdullah Hussein (A.S.) strove through his immortal uprising to address these two factors, to awaken the nation to its responsibility and the duty entrusted to it. To shed light on this, we need to first identify the causes of the death of conscience and the loss of willpower, and then attempt to understand how Imam Hussein (A.S.) treated these conditions. Thus, the discussion falls under two points:

The first point: The reasons for the death of the conscience and the loss of willpower.

The Holy Quran has indicated many matters that are considered reasons for the death of conscience and loss of willpower. Let’s address them by explaining each one:

First: The collapse of the moral foundation and the imbalance of its scales.

 At the forefront of indicators of this collapse is rebellion against Allah. This act is considered one of the primary causes leading to the hardening of the heart and the death of the conscience. This is because it violates the covenants and pacts taken upon a person at creation and is an ingratitude for the blessings against the absolute Bestower. Additionally, it represents an abandonment of the responsibility that arises from mankind’s vicegerency on earth. The best example is the story of the Children of Israel in the Surah Al-Baqarah, where the Quran has mentioned several violations and numerous manifestations of rebellion against the Creator, leading them to harden their hearts. On the other hand, Surah Al-Hadid is considered one of the most extraordinary chapters that addressed this disease and phenomenon in the Islamic community.

Second: The love for the temporal world, immersion in its pleasures and delights, eagerness for its adornments, and distraction with wealth and children from the remembrance of Allah the Exalted.

The Holy Quran, as well as the Hadiths from the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), have referred to this cause and its effect on the death of the conscience. Therefore, it is considered one of the main objectives of religion to treat this ailment through methods of admonition and warning, and by elucidating the true role of life and balancing it with the afterlife. The Holy Quran has also pointed to this therapeutic method in several verses by inciting piety and God-consciousness in response to this instinctive desire in the human soul, and through the reward that one can attain in the afterlife and the pleasure of Allah as a substitute for what is in this world.

Reasons for the loss of willpower:

This can occur among those with living consciences who are sensitive to the pains and miseries of people, feel the heat of injustice and tragedy, and understand the truth and its positions with those living consciences. The best evidence for this is the statement of Al-Farazdaq to Imam Hussein (A.S.) about the people of Kufa: ‘Their hearts are with you, but their swords are against you.’

Despite this, they lack free will. Therefore, we need to understand the reasons for the loss of willpower, so that a person is bereft of it. They are:

1 – Fear and a sense of helplessness before tyrants:

This factor is always exploited by oppressors to subdue a nation’s will and establish dominance over it. The Noble Quran refers to this in the story of Pharaoh when the Exalted says, “Pharaoh said, ‘You believed in him before I gave you permission. This is a plot you have concocted in the city to drive its people from it. But you will come to know. I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.'” (Quran 7:123-124).

The same approach was used by the idolaters of Mecca against the Muslims in the early days of the Prophetic mission, until the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “No prophet has been tortured as I have been tortured.”

The Umayyads in general, and Ibn Ziyad in particular, used this method to confront the revolution of Imam Hussein (A.S). They arrested the eminent companion Hani ibn Urwa, murdered him along with Muslim ibn Aqeel, and incarcerated many of the Shia leaders and notables. They closed the doors and paths of Kufa, and threatened its people with an army coming from Syria.

2 – Ignorance and media misinformation:

This occurs when facts become blurred or lost due to the presence of adversarial media, leading to the dispersion and disagreement of the nation regarding the phenomenon of injustice and tyranny. This calls for the loss of will towards the correct position, or the scattering, conflict, and divergence of wills, thereby weakening and dissipating their strength.

One such source of ignorance fostered by tyrants is accusing the other party of unthinkable charges, such as allegations of sorcery and insanity, or questioning their intentions and objectives by asserting that they are merely pursuing their personal desires and inclinations. They might also be accused of rebelling against obedience, breaking the unity of Muslims, causing corruption, and wreaking havoc on Earth. They may even be accused of oppression, tyranny, aggression, and violating human rights and societal norms. These are some of the leading causes of wars and societal collapses; therefore, oppressors and tyrants often resort to these tactics to undermine reformers, prophets, and messengers.

This results in discord within the nation, weakening its will and ability to confront tyranny, injustice, and corruption, leading to a loss of the nation’s collective will. In the era of Imam Hussein’s uprising, the nation had moved past such a stage; these tactics had little effect on the uprising. However, the issue of legitimate rule versus the existing status quo, represented by Yazid bin Muawiyah, was raised during that period. It was a choice between fleeing confrontation as Abdullah bin Omar and Abdullah bin Zubair did or responding to the legitimate duty to respect public opinion by engaging with it.

This disagreement had a negative impact on the nation’s collective will and its practical unity toward the issue at hand. The other three figures who sought to pledge their loyalty along with Hussein (A.S) to Yazid had different views, each having their distinct stance, even though they all agreed on refusing to pledge loyalty to Yazid. Similarly, there was a disagreement in Basra between Yazid bin Masud Al-Tamimi, who responded to Hussein (A.S), and Al-Ahnaf bin Qais, who believed in Imam Hussein (A.S) but asked him to be patient and wait a little longer.

Therefore, the significance of the role of disagreement in undermining the will of the nation is clear. Similarly, the role of misleading media is undeniable, and its importance can hardly be overlooked.

3 – Despair and hopelessness:

This refers to the feeling of incapability to achieve desired goals and objectives, which then results in seeing no merit in resisting tyrants. This is what tyrants often attempt to instill in the hearts of the nation by showcasing their power and invulnerability and asserting their permanence. They may cast doubts on the unity of the nation’s efforts and practical stance, question the intentions of others and their determination to collaborate and support each other, or encourage a spirit of dependency and waiting for others to undermine the united will of the nation.

4 – Buying loyalties and temptation:

Using wealth and positions to contain the conscience’s alertness and exert pressure on it by stirring human tendencies, desires, and inclinations to overcome the orientations of human nature and its requirements. This leads to creating a counteracting factor to the life of conscience, resulting in its suppression, sedation, or disability, which in turn leads to a loss of will and choice. It’s hard for anyone familiar with history to deny the clarity of this approach in the Umayyad era. Just consider what Yazid did when he assumed the caliphate, and what Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad did with Omar bin Saad.

The second point: The methodology of Imam Hussein (A.S.) in addressing these causes:

Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) uprising had a profound influence on the life of the nation’s conscience and the restoration of its will, to move in the right direction. After Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) revolution, we note that the Medina revolted against Yazid a year later and expelled all the Umayyads from it, even though Medina wasn’t prepared to embrace Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) revolution.

A year after that, Mecca also revolted against Yazid, followed by numerous subsequent uprisings, including the appearance of the Tawwabin revolt, which is a direct consequence of Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) revolution.

Therefore, we need to understand the methods Imam Hussein (A.S.) used in this reformist movement and blessed uprising, through which he was able to awaken the nation’s conscience and allow it to reclaim its will. Hence, we say:

What are the causes of conscience death:

Imam Hussein (A.S.) emphasized in his uprising the moral aspect and the importance of commitments, treaties, and covenants that must be observed.

One evidence of this is that he did not use evasion against Yazid’s allegiance, nor did he shirk from it. In Mecca, he moved to Iraq after taking oaths and covenants, meaning his movement was a response to the responsibility ensuing from the nation’s call when they pledged their allegiance to him.

Furthermore, he was honest with his companions when the situation deteriorated due to Kufa and its people breaking their pledge. He accepted that this could result in all or most of them scattering from him.

Also, in his methodology of dealing with the enemy’s army, when he quenched the entire army of Al-Hurr and did not start fighting them, we find this moral approach in the representatives of this uprising. As in the case of our master Muslim bin Aqeel (A.S.) who refrained from killing Ubaidullah bin Ziyad and assassinating him despite having the opportunity to do so.

Indeed, studying the events of Ashura, starting from his sermons to his martyrdom, gives us lessons in values and high morals.

He also addressed the second cause by emphasizing that death is inevitable, and there is no escaping it. He reiterated that the world has multiple faces; it keeps changing and does not stay the same. He also pointed out that Allah will take revenge on anyone engrossed in the world and its desires, and whoever violates Allah’s covenant.

 He used another method in treatment by renouncing the world; he launched slogans and gave concepts indicating this, saying, ‘Death is better than living in disgrace,’ and he also said, ‘I see nothing in death but happiness, and life with oppressors is nothing but misery.’ He and his companions embodied this practically and realistically despite their capability to attain fleeting worldly pleasures. However, they relinquished all that honor in practice and reality.

As for his treatment of the nation’s loss of will:

Imam Hussein (A.S.) addressed the first cause genuinely through patience and resilience in the face of it. This was achieved by breaking the walls of fear, relying on Allah, and seeking refuge in Him without hesitation or wavering in his will. As each martyr from his companions and his household fell, he grew more patient and determined. Every time he heard the cries of the children and felt their thirst, his trust in Allah and his resort to Him increased.

Take note of his sermon on the Day of Ashura, or the words with which he eulogized the virtuous martyrs, as well as his prayer when he fell as a martyr, in addition to the Quranic verses with which he (A.S.) cited from his departure from Medina until his martyrdom.

He addressed the third cause firstly by stirring what exists in the human soul innately, such as the love of freedom, dignity, honor, willpower, pride, loyalty, love of goodness, justice, and rejection of injustice and aggression.

Secondly, by invoking general human emotions and feelings about issues of women, children, hunger, thirst, pain, and suffering.

Thirdly, by reminding them that he is the son of the Prophet’s daughter (PBUH), stirring their emotions and what is in their hearts of love and attachment to the Prophet (PBUH), to whom he (A.S.) has an emotional and spiritual relationship.

In his treatment of this cause, he also adopted the method of warning them of Allah’s revenge on them, due to their oppression of him and their killing of him, either for the miracles they saw from him on the Day of Ashura, as in the case of Ibn Hawza, or through the hadiths narrated from the Prophet (PBUH) and his covenant to him that this is a historical tradition, in addition to his prayers for this revenge to befall.

In treating the fourth cause of the loss of will, he utilized numerous elements:

Among them: illustrating the true meaning of victory and conquest, which doesn’t simply mean a physical or military triumph on the battlefield, or attaining rule and power. Instead, its true essence lies in the triumph of values and morals, and the realization of noble goals in the life and existence of the nation. Imam Hussein (A.S.) succinctly expressed this in his words: “Those who do not join us do not achieve conquest.”

Among them: emphasizing the rewards, blessings, and high ranks with Allah, the exalted, and what the martyrs achieve and receive on their path—gardens of Eden, pleasant dwellings, and satisfaction from Allah. Given that one’s ultimate destiny and eternal life hinge upon this, one should never despair of Allah’s mercy.

Among them: responding to the call of the legitimate situation, the call of duty, and standing alongside truth and justice from the perspective of the vast conflict between truth and falsehood throughout history.

Among them: is his emphasis that this uprising is not embodied in Hussein (A.S.) as an individual, but rather, it is a movement of the nation. The nation will revolt against tyrants and oppressors, avenging Hussein (A.S.) against those who murdered him.

Thus, we find that history tells us about the revolutions that arose after Imam Hussein (A.S.) and the positive impacts they had on the nation, changing its intellectual, spiritual, and cultural reality. The motto of these revolutions and movements was: “The satisfied from the family of Muhammad (PBUH),” meaning a call to the character who is pleasing and chosen by Allah, exalted be He and accepted by the people, which is from the Prophet’s family (PBUH).

Therefore, the uprising of Imam Hussein (A.S.) succeeded in achieving its main and fundamental goal, which was to awaken the conscience of the nation and liberate its will, by addressing the causes of the death of the conscience and the loss of will.

Credit: https://www.wybqalhosin.com/archives/138

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