Oct 21, 2017 09:36 UTC

Condolences to you on the anniversary of a sad occasion. Today is the first of Safar, the fateful day on which survivors of the heartrending tragedy Karbala were brought in chains and fetters to the court of the tyrant Yazid in Damascus in 61 AH.

There was only one grown-up male among these noble prisoners of the progeny of Prophet Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny). He was the 23-year old sick and weak Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the son and successor of Imam Husain (AS), assisted by his brave aunt Hazrat Zainab (peace upon her). Now we have a feature in this regard as follows:

"O people, we have been granted (by God) six things and favoured with seven: We have been granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. We have been  favoured by the fact that from among us came the Chosen Prophet, Mohammad (SAWA), the as-Siddiq (or the Most Truthful One) – Imam Ali (AS) – the at-Tayyar (that is, Ja’far ibn Abi Taleb whom God has granted wings to fly in the heaven on his loss of both his hands in the Battle of Mota), the Lion of Allah and of the Prophet (that is, Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttaleb), the Noblest of Ladies of the world Fatema the Chaste, and the Two Lords of the Youths of Heaven – Imam Hasan and Imam Husain.”

The passage which we recited to you is part of a brilliantly eloquent sermon delivered by Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) to introduce himself and the noble captives of the Prophet’s household to the unsuspecting people of Syria. The people had assembled at the court of the tyrant Yazid, who reluctantly gave permission to the son of his victim to go on the pulpit and address the gathering, while the severed head of Imam Husain (AS) lay in a tray in front of the wine-drinking self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime.

These are the among the tragic events of the 1st of Safar on which after a long wait at the Bab at-Tuma of Damascus, so the streets could be decorated and fitted with mirrors, the Ahl al-Bayt were paraded in ropes and fetters to the court of the tyrant through the marketplace with the heads of martyrs mounted on lances.

Yazid, with a wine goblet in one hand and in the other hand a cane which he blasphemously poked at the head of the Prophet’s grandson, rejoiced at the seemingly miserable condition of the Ahl al-Bayt. He thought he had finally succeeded in fulfilling the wishes of his father Mu’waiyya and his grandfather Abu Sufyan in wiping out Islam. With a crucifix given to him by his adulterous mother Maysoon, dangling from his neck, he said in an exulted tone:

“The Hashemites had played the game of kingdom; neither any message descended [from heaven] nor revelation).

He next uttered more anti-Islamic phrases (as recorded by scholars of all Muslim denominations), by wishing if only his infidel ancestors, who were slain while trying to attack the Prophet of Islam in the Battles of Badr and Ohod, were alive today to witness how he had humiliated the Household of Mohammad the son of Abdullah of the Hashemite clan, they would have commended him.

By uttering these blasphemous words Yazid thus openly admitted that he was not a Muslim. And by doing so, he also exposed as un-Islamic the faulty system of caliphate which had started at Saqifa Bani Sa’da in Medina fifty years earlier in 11 AH, by depriving Imam Ali (AS) of his right of political leadership of the Ummah – as was proclaimed by the Prophet at Ghadir-Khom.

The sermon of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) stunned the filthy tyrant, and as the people of Syria shocked at the unpardonable crime he had committed, started weeping, he ordered the muezzin (or caller to prayer) to recite the Azaan, although it was not yet time for the ritual prayer, nor was the place ritually clean to hold the prayer.

When the muezzin said: "Allahu Akbar", Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) said: “You have made great the Great One Who cannot be measured and cannot be perceived by senses; there is nothing greater than Allah."

When the muezzin recited: “Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah,” which means “I testify there is no god except Allah”, the Imam said: said: “My hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood, my brain, and my bones bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”

When the muezzin chanted: “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasool-Allah,” which means “I testify that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah”, the Imam turned to Yazid and asked him: “O Yazid, is Mohammad your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, then you are a liar, and if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill his grandson and family?”

Suddenly, there was tumult in the tyrant’s court on hearing what the Prophet’s great-grandson had said. The sermon of the Prophet’s granddaughter, Hazrat Zainab (peace upon her) had already shaken the tyrant’s court to its very foundations. Passages from her memorable sermon that meant proclamation of victory for the mission of Imam Husain (AS) in the camp of the despicable enemy, read:

“O you the son of freed slaves (yabna at-tulaqa)! Is this your justice that the ladies of your household remain veiled and we, the Prophet’s family should be paraded thus? You have insulted our dignity… “O Yazid! Your misdeeds have clearly proved your rebellion towards God and the message the Holy Prophet brought to this world, and this has proved beyond doubt that you refuse to honour the Prophetic Message sent by God.

“This behaviour of yours does not come as a surprise, for your ancestors chewed the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, mutilated his body, had his liver taken out, sucked it and quenched her thirst for vengeance at the Battle of Ohad. You belong to this clan, which always opposed the Prophet and collected armies from various clans to oppose him. The offspring of such monsters are the enemies of God and His Prophet, and are expected to be merciless and deadly since violence is part of their nature."

“O Yazid, you have done what you wished to do, but remember, you are doomed to perish and you will be cut to pieces. Then (on the Day of Judgement) you will be taken in to the presence of the Prophet and you will be burned with the sins you have committed by shedding the blood of his progeny and disrespecting the sanctity of his family. You will be taken in the presence of the Prophet to a place where his family members will be gathered and you will undergo horrible punishment and then there will be no escape for you and your companions."

The noble captives through their sermons turned the tables on the tyrant, and although with patience they suffered all the calamities, their bold statements unmasked hypocrisy and in the process universalized and internationalized the genuine teachings of Islam, for the protection of which, Imam Husain (AS) had chosen to drink the elixir of martyrdom rather that acknowledging the illegal and un-Islamic rule of Yazid. That is the reason we continue to commemorate the tragedy of Karbala, discourses on which during the months of Muharram and Safar, strengthens faith and exposes injustice and falsehood in every age and place.