Thursday, November 9th, 2017, marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (p), 20th…
With the sun at its highest point blazing down upon the barren desert, swords, spears, and arrows surrounded the grandson of God’s greatest creation. Thousands of men targeted a tired and thirsty man as he as he patiently endured the sight of his struggling six-month-old infant who had not had any water for three days. As he looked in another direction, he watched his three-year-old daughter as she was still looking to see if her uncle would return to give her a drink to quench her thirst. At the same time, this incredibly patient man heard the cries of the women that had suffered so much in that one morning. Despite all the trials and tribulations that weighed upon his back, Imam Hussain (p) remained firm in his faith in God and remembered Him until his very last breath, as he knew that “No one besides God can [help] a soul from hardship.”1
The Imam’s Worship on the Night of Ashura
The ninth of Muharram was the third day where there was no water for Imam Hussain (p) and his family. The suffering children were crying. The soldiers of Umar bin Saad were planning to attack Imam Hussain’s camp from behind. They were ready to attack the Imam and murder his entire family including the women and children. Imam Hussain (p) sent his brother Abbas (p) to the aggressors to see what was happening. They told him that Ibn Ziyad had ordered them to attack if Imam Hussain (p) refused to give his allegiance to Yazid. Abbas (p) went back to Imam Hussain to tell him what he had learned. Imam Hussain (p), told Abbas to ask the opposition to “give [them] one more night so they can pray and recite the Holy Quran.”2 Despite the fact that the Imam knew what would soon happen to him, his family, and companions, he only desired one extra day to pray to his Lord and recite the pure words of the Holy Quran.
The Day of Ashura
On this day, Imam Hussain (p) watched his beloved companions as the enemy killed them one by one. In the middle of the battle, one of his companions, Abu Thumama al-Saidi, noticed that it was time of dhuhr (noon) prayers. He approached the Imam and said, “I can see that these [people] have advanced towards you…By God, you shall not be killed before I die defending you… I [would] love to return to God after having performed the prayers whose time has approached.” Imam Hussain (p) raised his head to the heavens and said, “You have remembered the prayers, may God count you among those who uphold the prayers and who remember Him often. Yes, this is the beginning of its time. Ask them [the aggressors] to leave us alone so that we may perform the prayers.”3 The Imam led congregational prayers while being protected by some of his companions. Even though the Imam encountered obstacles from all sides, his heart remained focused on worshipping his Lord.
God-Consciousness in His Final Moments
When the enemy saw how courageous Imam Hussain (p) was in defending his religion and himself, Umar bin Saad called out to his people, “Do you know whom you are fighting? This is the son of [the bravest ones]. Attack him from all sides!”4 When they did so, Imam Hussain (p) valiantly repelled the unchivalrous enemy even though he was just one man against many. Soon after, he became exhausted from the battle, as the heat had taken a toll on him and he had become weak because of the relentless attacks and injuries he suffered. While he was recovering his breath, one of Umar bin Saad’s soldiers took a three-headed arrow and struck the Imam in his chest. To this, the Imam called out “In the name of God, and for the sake of God, and on the creed of the Messenger of God.”5
The Imam fell to the ground. He then looked up at the heavens and made his final supplication. He praised the Almighty saying, “Oh God! You are the great and mighty, independent of all creation… capable of doing whatever You please, forthcoming in mercy, true to Your promise. [You are the] provider of blessings, near to those who invoke [You], subduing His creation, receptive to repentance, able, overpowering, appreciative when thanked, remembering those who remember [You]! To You I call upon out of my want, and to You I seek out of need!”6 Even though the Imam was in a state of intense pain, he made it a priority to remember the Almighty during his final moments.
Bits of Advice
1. Know the right of Imam Hussain: Many traditions point to the incredible reward of visiting Imam Hussain, but the prerequisite in the tradition states, “The one who visits the grave of al-Hussain (p), with proper understanding of his rights, God writes for him the reward for setting free one thousand [enslaved] people.”7 Amongst the rights of the Imam that we need to recognize in order to receive this reward is the unique link that the he had with God, for it teaches us how to also be among the best of worshippers.
2. Put emphasis on our daily prayers: In Ziyarah al-warith8 we say, “I bear witness that you established prayer.”9 As we saw above, the Imam made it a point to make sure that he offered his prayer even during the most challenging of circumstances. As followers of Imam Hussain (p) and understanding what he fought for, we need to put more effort into our prayers by praying on time and cultivating a relationship with God by being more attentive while praying.
3. Spend time in the recitation of the Holy Quran: Taking an example from Imam Hussain (p) when he desired to have just one more night to pray and recite the Holy Quran, we should dedicate some time in our daily lives for the book of God. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) said, “The one who recites the Quran and the one who listens to it have an equal share in its reward.”10 If we do not have the time to sit and recite, then we should listen to a few verses on our phones on our way to work or school. Click here to learn more about “The Importance of Reciting the Holy Quran.”
1. Quran 53:58.
2. Shaykh al-Mufid, Kitab al-irshad, vol. 2, p. 90.
3. Abd al-Razaq al-Muqaram, Maqtal al-Hussain.
4. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 45, p. 50.
5. Abd al-Razaq al-Muqaram, Maqtal al-Hussain.
6. Shaykh al-Tusi, Misbah al-mutahajjid, p. 827.
7. Al-kafi, vol. 4, p. 581.
8. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 98, p. 163.
9. Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-jinan.
10. Sayyid al-Burujudi, Jami ahadith al-Shia, vol. 15, p. 23.