The passing away of the Holy Prophet of Islam in 632AD brought different rulers to the landscape of Islam. However by 680AD, his bloodline and succession was under tremendous threat through the tyranny and new corrupt governance of Yazid allowing little hope for people’s freedom.
Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam, could not follow such open tyranny and refused to follow the emerging Yazid governance.
Travelling from the Holy city of Mecca towards the city of Kufa, Hussain and his caravan of followers were intercepted by the vanguard of Yazid’s army; about 1000 men led by a man called Hurr. Again, Hussain refused to follow Yazid’s governance. The caravan of the Holy Prophet of Islam’s family, only two days away from reaching their supporters in Kufa, were diverted and led towards the desert land of Karbala. They were forced to pitch on dry land with no access to water. With both camps stationed in Karbala, an inevitable standoff ensued. On one side, the legion of 30,000 soldiers commanded by the instructions of Yazid, and on the other side, a 72 man unit including the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam with their families and children.
THE BATTLE OF RIGHT AND WRONG
After a week, a message from Yazid reached Hussain that no one was to leave Karbala unless they swore an oath of allegiance to him and his new government. Hussain would never bow to injustice for he knew if the true message of the Holy Prophet of Islam was to continue for generations after him, social justice was paramount and so, there could never be an allegiance with oppressors of truth.
On the night before the battle, Hussain gathered his men and told them that they were all free to leave the camp in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, rather than face certain death if they stayed with him. None of Hussain’s men defected and they all remained with him. Hussain and his followers held a vigil and prayed all night.
On the morning of battle, Hussain called the soldiers surrounding the caravan to join him for the sake of God and to defend the family of the Holy Prophet. The speech affected Hurr who had stopped Hussain in his initial journey. He abandoned Yazid’s army and joined Hussain with a small band of followers.
In order to prevent random and indiscriminate showering of arrows on Hussain’s camp that had women and children inside, Hussain’s companions went out to single combat.
THE TRAGEDY OF KARBALA
The massacre started. Almost all of Hussain’s companions were killed. One by one outnumbered and brutally killed.
Hussain was alone, one man against thousands. He took them on, fighting them bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds in the process. Thousands of enemy fighters were surrounding him but none dared to move toward him. A bloodthirsty commander shouted to attack Hussain broke the silence with a dog-like scream.
He was attacked from behind. His numerous injuries caused him a momentary stay at which point he was hit on the forehead with a stone.
Cleaning blood from his face, he was hit with an arrow to the heart. Fatigued, thirsty and through further attacks, he fell onto the ground as the women and children looked on. What followed was a merciless killing, yet at no point during the day did he accept the consistent requests made from Yazid’s army to swear an oath of allegiance.
As for Yazid, well, he never achieved what he and his father had planned to achieve, for within three years he died falling off his horse and only a few decades later, his family rule was crumbled and came to an end.
The tragedy of Karbala taught humanity a lesson that standing for the truth and fighting unto death is more honorable and valuable than submitting to the wrongful, especially when the survival of social justice and freedom of society is at stake.