Ka'aba and Imam Hussein (PBUH)
Ka'aba is the oldest, holiest and the most loved place of worship. This symbolic house of God is located in Mecca, in the ancient land of Hejaz. The sanctuary of Ka'aba is encircled by a sacred mosque called Masjid al-Haram.
Masjid al-Haram and the adjoining places of Arafat, Mash'ar and Mina are all located in Mecca and its vicinities. That's why this city has been named as "Haram" (sanctuary) and "Balad al-Amin" (secure land). It is obligatory for all Muslims to observe the respect of this place.
Imam Hussein (PBUH) arrived in Mecca in the month of Sha'aban and stayed there till the period of Hajj pilgrimage. Then he wore the garb of Ihram to perform Hajj Tamattu', but once he found out that the soldiers of the Umayyad regime had come to Mecca to assassinate him, the Imam cut short his Hajj and changed it to Umra Mufrada upon the divine command and bade farewell to Ka'aba on the threshold of the Day of Arafa so that the sanctity of the holy city of Mecca would not be trampled. Hussein respected the Ka'aba for the sake of God. Thus, God put his position superior to Ka'aba.
Ka'aba is just the symbolic house of God whereas the real house of God is the heart of his faithful servants. This is mentioned in a hadith Qudsi which reads, "Neither my earth nor my sky can include me but the heart of my faithful servant includes me."
Another narration mentions that God said to Prophet David, "O David! Build a house for Me so that I reside in it." Prophet David said, "My Lord! You are superior to place and time!" Then God said, "Prepare your heart and empty it for me."
In view of this, human heart is really the house of God if the person is a real faithful and he has expurgated his heart from ungodly attachments.
The heart of Hussein is the real house of God as he has detached his heart from all loves and bonds except the love of God. He evacuated even the love of children, sisters and brothers from his heart and offered them for God either for martyrdom or captivity. Hussein slaughtered every internal and external bond in the way of God and devoted himself absolutely to God. This helps us understand the words of the Prophet when he said, "He who visits Hussein cognizant of his status, it is as if he has visited God at his throne."
Since Hussein (AS) glorified and sanctified God's House, God bestowed every magnanimity and nobility to Hussein's tomb in return. God has granted privileges to the shrine of Hussein as if Karbala is the soul of Ka'aba. God commanded Abraham to invite people to the holy Ka'aba with the words, "And proclaim the Hajj to people; they shall come to you on foot and on lean camels coming from distant places." But God told Prophet Mohammad, "Say, 'I do not ask you any reward for it except love of my relatives." The Prophet, as the main explicator of the holy Qur'an, said, "O people! I leave behind among you two priceless things, the Qur'an and my progeny."
Furthermore, in numerous occasions, he called on the people to love and obey his progeny including Hussein. It is narrated that one day the Prophet had been invited by one of his companions. On his way to the house of the companion, the Prophet saw young Hussein playing. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was laughing and chasing him to take him. Hussein ran here and there to escape. The Prophet took him and put his one hand under Hussein's chin and the other hand on his back, saying, "Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein. God loves whosoever loves Hussein."
Ka'aba is located adjacent to other sacred places like Safa, Marwa, Arafat, Mash'ar and Mina. If Mina in Mecca is sacred due to pilgrims to the house of God, Karbala is sacred because it is the place of martyrdom of the souls who are superior to all martyrs throughout history. If Mash'ar and Mina have gained nobility due to the dream of Abraham in which he received the divine message of sacrificing his son, Ishmael, Karbala is the place where Hussein (AS) practically offered his son to the divine court as he witnessed him being martyred brutally by the hordes of Yazid. Hence, it has got a superior status than Mash'ar and Mina. Hussein's Hajj was the internal and spiritual Hajj. He set out for Mecca with the intention of performing Hajj Tamattu' but as he was informed of the enemy's plot he changed it to Umra Mufrada so that the sanctity of secure and sacred House of God is not violated through bloodshed. He chose his sacrifices, not from among livestock like other hajis, but from among the selected servants of God.
Having offered all his companions and almost all male relatives, Imam Hussein (AS) supplicated to God with these phrases, "Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk (My God! I heard Your call and I have come). I have come to You who are the One with no peer. I am absolutely lonely in Your way and heading toward You. I have detached all ties and bonds from my heart except Your love and have made it the center of Your love. Now, I am not sad at being lonely and helpless or being alone in the face of the masses of the enemy. Neither the martyrdom of my sons nor the anguish of my household has disabled me. Neither the poor sight of my eyes because of thirst nor the big number of enemy has debilitated me."
Imam Hussein (AS) was submerged in the divine love and every cell of his body was uttering Labbayk and replying positively to the call of the Absolute Beloved. Every moment his face was glowing as he was nearing the time of meeting with the Almighty God. In the final moments of his worldly life, he whispered to the Creator, "My God! Now my head is bidding farewell to my body, as my body is bidding farewell to my legs and my hands are no more serving my body and all have set out toward You." Thus, Hussein left the mortal world in the most beautiful state.