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Monday, February 16, 2009

Imam Hussain Part I--(By Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

In my plight for the real truth in terms of Islam and especially the Shiah sect I have become very much interested in a very important religious and historical figure, none other than the Islamic prophet, Muhammad’s Grandson called ”Imam Hussain” and what Happened to him and his family at a place called “Karbala”. I read the written version of a speech delivered (ironically) by a famous Sunni scholar and translator-commentator of the Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

As the original version is too long I have tried to summarize the text but have found it very difficult to cut pieces out. So I have decided to post the different part in separate sections so as to make it all an easier reading.
The whole speech can be found here.

Imam Husain And His Martyrdom

Sorrow as a Bond of Union

Karbala is one of those wonderful events in our (the Muslim) religious history about which all sects are agreed. More than that, in this room I have the honor of addressing some people who do not belong to our religious persuasion, but I venture to think that the view I put forward today may be of interest to them from its historical, its moral and its spiritual significance. Indeed, when we consider the background of that great tragedy, and all that has happened during the 1289 lunar years since, we cannot fail to be convinced that some events of sorrow and apparent defeat are really the very things which are calculated to bring about, or lead us towards, the union of humanity.

How Martyrdom healed divisions

When we invite strangers or guests and make them free of our family circle, that means the greatest outflowing of our hearts to them. The events that I am going to describe refer to some of the most touching incidents of our domestic history in their spiritual aspect. We ask our brethren of other faiths to come, and share with us some of the thoughts which are called forth by this event. As a matter of fact all students of history are aware that the horrors that are connected with the great event of Kerbela did more than anything else to unite together the various contending factions which had unfortunately appeared at that early stage of Muslim history. You know the old Persian saying applied to the Prophet:

Tu barae wasl kardan amadi;
Ni barae fasl kardan amadi.

"Thou camest to the world to unite, not to divide."

That was wonderfully exemplified by the sorrows and sufferings and finally the martyrdom of Imam Husain.

Commemoration of great virtues

I think it would be good to sit together, even people of different faiths, - sit together and consider the great historic event, in which were exemplified such soul-stirring virtues as those of unshaken faith, undaunted courage, thought for others, willing self-sacrifice, steadfastness in the right and unflinching war against the wrong. Islam has a history of beautiful domestic affections, of sufferings and of spiritual Endeavour, second to none in the world. That side of Muslim history, although to me the most precious, is, I am sorry to say, often neglected. It is most important that we should call attention to it, reiterated attention, the attention of our own people as well as the attention of those who are interested in historical and religious truth. If there is anything precious in Islamic history it is not the wars, or the politics, or the brilliant expansion, or the glorious conquests, or even the intellectual spoils which our ancestors gathered. In these matters, our history, like all history, has its lights and shades. What we need especially to emphasize is the spirit of organization, of brotherhood, of undaunted courage in moral and spiritual life.

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