By: Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy
Excerpts from a discourse by His Eminence Shaykh Yahya Al-Ninowy
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim
“Among the believers are Men, who delivered their promise to Allah” (Ayah 23/Surat Al-Ahzab)
If history has taught us anything, it has certainly delivered a message with unequivocal resonance; Haqq and freedom are not something that is given. Haqq and Freedom are things people take, and people are as free and on the Haqq as they want to be.
Islam, the religion of Haqq, justice and freedom for all, came into a place and time where oppression was the rule, slavery was a tool to humiliate the weak, killings a way to solve problems. A society fueled by feuds, raging by violence, and merely being born in the wrong family could mean eternal slavery, oppression, and stripping of any and all rights.
The Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, emerged as the voice denouncing those ways while striving to ensure justice and equality. By endangering himself, he -sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, gave us one of the most precious monotheistic gifts, namely the collective duty of self-criticism. Speak the truth though against yourself. Support the Haqq, denounce the Batel or at least: Stand with the Haqq, abandon the Batel.
Stand up to oppressors and tyrants in thoughts, words and actions.
The Seerah of the Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of Haqq over Batel, of Justice over Tyranny, of Freedom over Slavery.
If the Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, has taught us anything, then among the many, he taught us an important lesson. One that the Qur’an amplified numerously: It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather a profoundly faithful few, who are keen to uphold the truth and sacrifice for it.
The truth requires no violence to be advanced and spread, untruths do. The truth offers all people life, hope and opportunity, untruths robs them of all that.
The epitome of Prophetic household upbringing after his parents and brother is no other than Sayyiduna al-Husayn. He, embodying his Prophetic upbringing, walked that path of Haqq.
He did not call people for a revolution, but a renaissance. He did not ask them to kill themselves or others (under the disguise of Jihad) so he can assume a position they sacrificed for, but instead he called them all to learn and live as he gladly gives his life and the life of his own children for them. So they can have a better life and a brighter future.
He was the example of the sun that burns itself illuminating the way for other planets and, they have on them, to give the ultimate sacrifice to enlighten the path of the truth, as the truth and only the truth shall enable you to see and set you free.
In a very famous Hadith, the Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, says: “Husayn is from me and I from Husayn”. The meaning entailed by this Hadith is not that I am Husayn’s grandfather, as this is an obvious fact. The meaning sheds light that Husayn is like me, Husayn’s line is my line, Husayn’s message is my message, Husayn’s principles are my principles, Husayn’s mission is my mission, the vision of Husayn is my vision, those with Husayn are as if with me, the sacrifice of Husayn is my sacrifice, the blood that was shed from al Husayn is my blood. Al-Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn.
The Ayahs and Ahadith about Ahl ul Bayt al-Athar including their Master Al-Imam Al-Husayn are numerous, that most of you know.
We are already in Muharram, and in the atmosphere of the day of Ashura. A day where Musa (as) was saved, and a day related to Adam and Noah, and many others (as). If the Hadith is authentic, to our Ummah, it is also the day where the Beloved of the Beloved demonstrated the highest of nobility, and offered the ultimate of sacrifices. It is not strange, when you realize that he is the grandson of our Beloved Prophet, the son of Amirul-Muminin Ali, brother of Al-Imam Al-Hasan, and a beloved son to Master, the Lady of Ahl ul Jannah Sayyidatina wa Mawlatuna Fatimah-Azzahra, sallallahu ala sayyidina Muhammad wa aalihi wa sallam.
There was a noble reason that demanded the martyrdom of Imam Husayn. The simple and obvious reason is simply to preserve The Original Authentic Bid’a-Free Muhammadan Islam as revealed by God. Haqq, Truth, Justice, Equality, Freedom and Liberty are all precious Islamic values that demanded precious sacrifice. That, to my mind, is the supreme significance of martyrdom.
But the highest honor must still lie with the symbol of all such values, the symbol of the Book of Allah, the symbol of the Prophets, and the the living Nur (light) of Sayyiduna Muhammad, who faced fearful odds and refused to surrender to the merchants of slavery; economic, political, religious, and social slavery that sought to deceive the masses by slogans of freedom and religion while it robs them of all of it in addition to their dignity, honor and even humanity. All in the name of God. Al-Husayn was a “revolution” against the merchants of name of God.
Rather than allow a stigma to attach to sacred things, he and his children paid with their own lives the penalty of honor, freedom, dignity and Haqq. The beginning of the battle offered by Sayyidi al-Imam al-Husayn was when he went from city to city, hunted about from place to place, but not surrendering to the enemies of light. Then was offered the choice of an effectual but dangerous attempt at departing Makkah 2 days before Hajj towards Karbala (Ninowah) in Iraq, or living at ease for himself while closing an eye on the ongoing distortion of the way of God and the Prophetic Sunnah and their values. He chose the path of danger and hardships with duty and honor, and never swerved from it eventually giving up his life and the young lives of his children and his nephews freely in the absolute bravest of ways ever known to humanity. That briefly is the story.
What is the lesson?
There is ofcourse the physical suffering in martyrdom, and all sorrow and suffering claim our sympathy, —- the dearest, nearest, purest, closest to our hearts, souls and minds. The one who the Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam himself used to interrupt his speeches to pick him up, delay his prostration mid-Prayer to honor and not bother him, the one whose face not only is honorable, but it is the face where The Prophet’s honorable lips, face, and body touched, loved, and saw himself in. It is that very same honorable face that Yazid bin Mu’awiyah and his cronies humiliated after massacring their bodies followed by decapitation and placing the heads on the spears dragging the heads throughout the lands for the whole world to see and kicked around.
But there is a greater suffering than physical suffering. That is when a valiant soul seems to stand against the world; when the noblest motives of Islam are reviled and mocked; when the truth and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah seems to suffer an eclipse. It may even seem that the martyr has but to say a word of compliance, do a little deed of non-resistance; and much sorrow and suffering would be avoided; and the insidious whisper comes: “Truth after all will never die”
But the whole battle is for man’s keeping hold of Haqq, liberty, justice, equality and Freedom. And that can only be done by the highest examples of human’s conduct – spiritual striving and suffering enduring firmness of faith and purpose, patience and courage where ordinary mortals would give in or be cowed down, the sacrifice of ordinary motives to supreme truth in scorn of consequence. The martyr bears witness, and the witness redeems what would otherwise be called failure. It so happened with Al-Imam Al-Husayn, the Master of the youth of Ahlul Jannah. For all were touched by the story of his martyrdom, and it gave the deathblow to the tyrant politics of Yazid bin Mu’awiyah and all the tyranny and oppression it stood for. And Imam Al-Husayn being alive, more alive than ever, not only externally but living profoundly deep in our hearts, in our souls, and in our mind.
How we should honor the sacrifice of Imam Husayn (RAA).
1.Expressing sorrow should be manifested by sincere intentions of repentance, believing that if you were with them, you would have been on the side of Imam Husayn, even if it costs you any and everything, and a plan of action to improve yourself spiritually and be more observant of The Creator subhanahu wa Ta’ala, every day. To look for al-Husayn today and where he is and stand behind him and with him.
2. Increasing the recitation of Qur’an, and try to teach your fellow family, friends, and non-Muslims about the non-violent revolution of Imam Husayn, and don’t limit it to Muharram only, but it could be a great start. The non-violent revolution of Imam Husayn (RA) was to restore the Islamic principle of non-violence in fighting political & religious tyranny.
3. Increase your Istigfaar per day, and increase your Salawaat on the Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam. Don’t limit it to Muharram only, but it could be a great start. But try to live Muharram and Ashura with Ahlul Bayt, with al-Imam al-Husayn, with Zaynab al-Kubra, with Ali al-Akbar, with al-Qasim, with Abdullah the 6-months old martyred infant, and remain with Zayn al-Abidin, he is my love.
4. Learn the Sirah of Sayyidina al-Husayn, try to benefit from it, spread it, hold lectures on it, learn lessons, Love it and live it and don’t limit it to Muharram only, but it could be a great start.
5. Be generous to your family: bring them water (and remember on this day Yazid’s army prevented Sayyiduna al-Husayn and all his family members including women and children from drinking water despite the Euphrates river being footsteps away from them) bring them food and remember the things that happened, be thankful for your bounties and learn to show thankfulness through actions like al-Husayn.
6. Be thankful to Allah Ta’ala, and ask Him to gather you with al-Husayn and the lovers of al-Husayn in this Dunya, and Akhira.
7. Be on the Haqq, Justice & Freedom side, and check yourself.
Make the month of Muharram a month of Allah Ta’ala in your life, a month of Sunnah, a month of Al-Husayn in your life, in a step to eventually make every month a month of Al-Husayn, Grandfather of Al-Husayn, Father of Al-Husayn, Mother of Al-Husayn, Brother of Al-Husayn, and those who love and follow Al-Husayn. This is your chance to drop the rest and follow the best.
Courtesy: ISRA International
About the Author
Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni Al-Ninowy is a Syrian-born American Muslim scholar. He is the Founder and Director of Madina Institute, an Islamic seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, with campuses in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sudan, Malaysia, Mauritius, India, and Sweden. He is a Sayyid, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), through his grandson Imam al- Husayn ibn ‘Ali by way of Imam Musa al-Kadhim. He studied under his father Sayyed Yahya and many senior scholars of Aleppo. He also graduated from Al-Azhar University, Egypt, in the fields of Hadith, Aqidah and Ihsaan. In addition he also holds a degree in Doctor of Medicine. Sweden. Dr. Al-Ninowy is considered to be a Muhaddith, and a scholar of Hadith sciences. He has authored books in Usul, Creed, Hadith, and Sufi sciences.