Destiny Draws Towards Karbala

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There is no doubt that the place and time of one’s demise or martyrdom has been decreed by Allah Ta’ala and one will somehow reach that place at the destined point in time.

There are many narrations in which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) mentioned the martyrdom of Sayyidush Shuhada Sayyiduna Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ in Karbala, from the early days of Hazrat Imam Hussain’s life. And therefore there was no doubt that even though Sayyiduna Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ was born and brought up in Madinatul Munawwarah and eventually resided there, due to circumstances, he would eventually be drawn towards Karbala as that is where his martyrdom was to take place.

Some deviant people argue that Sayyiduna Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ left for Karbala in pursuit of power and Khilāfat (Ma’āzAllah). On the contrary, it was his piety, fear of Allah Ta’ala and steadfastness that drove him towards Karbala.

While still in Madinatul Munawwarah he received the news of the passing away of Hazrat Sayyiduna Ameer Mu’āwiya رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ and of the letter that Yazeed wrote to the governor of Madinah, ordering him to get everyone to pledge allegiance at the hands of Yazeed, starting with Hazrat Imam Hussain, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Zubair and Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ.

Hazrat Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ was fully aware of the fact that Yazeed would become a vicious enemy if he refused to pledge allegiance to him. However, he could not allow himself to pledge allegiance to a vile and unworthy person, which would have justified the immorality of Yazeed, thereby destroying the Islamic social system. He therefore left Madinatul Munawwarah with a sorrowful heart on 4th Shabaan 60AH, heading towards Makkatul Mukarramah {Khutbāt-e-Muharram}

While he was in Makkah Shareef, the people of Kufah wrote many letters to Hazrat Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ, inviting him to Kufah so that they could pledge allegiance to him. They mentioned in their letters the passing away of Hazrat Ameer Mu’āwiyah رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ, the rise of Yazeed and how they had no Imam under whose leadership they could defend the truth. {At-Tibri}

The refusal of the Ahle Kufah to pledge allegiance to Yazeed and their request to Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ to accept their pledge of allegiance made it compulsory upon him to accept their request even though they were extremely unreliable. When a nation is not prepared to pledge allegiance to an immoral tyrant and requests a person who is worthy of such a position to accept their allegiance, it becomes compulsory upon that person to accept their allegiance, otherwise he would be answerable in the Court of Allah Ta’ala for forsaking that nation to be destroyed at the hands of a tyrant. 

Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ therefore had no choice but to accept the call of the Ahle Kufah even though great companions of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), such as Hazrat ibn Abbās, Hazrat ibn Umar, Hazrat Jābir, Hazrat Abu Sa’eed رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ etc., did not agree with his decision as they did not trust the Ahle Kufah. The love that these great companions possessed for Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ  and the knowledge that they had with regard to his martyrdom, was causing tremors in their hearts as he prepared to leave for Kufah. The only way that he could reject the invitation of the Ahle Kufah was if he had a valid reason according to Shariah. So while he had great respect for the opinions of the noble companions, he also knew that he did not have a valid Shar’i (lawful) reason not to leave for Kufah.

He therefore decided to send Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ (the son of Imam Hussain’s paternal uncle who was very reliable) to Kufah in order to assess the situation. If the Ahle Kufah proved to be unreliable and disloyal, then a lawful reason would be found and if they remained true to their promise then the companions would have consolation. {Sawānih-e-Karbala}

Hazrat Muslim ibn Aqeel رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ then travelled to Kufah together with his two sons to assess the situation, and within a week, one thousand people had pledged allegiance to Imam Hussain at the hands of Hazrat Muslim ibn Aqeel. When he saw that the conditions were pleasant, he wrote a letter to Imam Hussain stating that he should depart for Kufah as soon as possible as the situation was favourable and the Ahle Kufah were steadfast on their promise.

When Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel’s letter reached Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ, he now had no lawful reason for rejecting the request of the Ahle Kufah and prepared to leave for Kufah. The noble companions explained to Imam Hussain that these very people had betrayed his father, Hazrat Maula Ali رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ and his brother, Hazrat Imam Hasan رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ. Imam Hussain replied that he was seeking goodness from his Lord and therefore, it would be seen how the situation unfolds. In spite of many efforts by the noble companions of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to stop Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ from leaving Makkah, he  left for Kufah on 3rd Dhul Hijjah 60AH along with 83 people, including his family, associates and servants. {At-Tibri}

During the journey, when Hazrat Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ reached a place called Tha’labiyyah, he was informed that Hazrat Muslim ibn Aqeel رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ had been martyred and that the Ahle Kufah who had made claims of allegiance to the Ahle Bayt, had forsaken them and turned against them. Hazrat Imam Hussain then gave the people  who were travelling with him the chance to return to their homelands and assured them that they would not be blameworthy if they returned during these turbulent times. Most of the Arabs who had joined him from Makkah immediately scattered but the people who remained were mostly those who joined him from Madinah.

Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ continued to travel further until he reached Mount Dhi Hasham where he met Hurr ibn Yazeed At-Tamīmi with an army of 1000 people, who arrived with the intention of capturing Imam Hussain and taking him to Ibn Ziyād. Imam Hussain made it clear that he will not allow Hurr to capture him and take him to Ibn Ziyād in Kufah. An argument ensued after which Hurr advised that if Imam Hussain did not wish to go to Kufah then he should travel on a path that neither went towards Kufah nor towards Madinah, until Hurr could receive further instruction from Ibn Ziyād. Imam Hussain preferred this advice and began to travel on the west of Qādisiyyah and Hurr and his army accompanied him.  {At-Tibri}

As Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ continued to travel further, the soldiers of Hurr stopped him and said that they should stop at that point as the River Euphrates was not far from there. Imam Hussain asked, “What is this place called?” The people answered that it was called ‘Karbala’. As soon as he heard this, he dismounted from his horse and said, “This is Karbala, the place of Karb (anguish) and Bala (affliction and torment). This is the place where our rides shall sit, the place where our luggage shall be placed and the place where our men shall be killed.” {Noor-ul-Absār}

The day he stopped at Karbala was a Thursday and it was the 2nd of Muharram 61AH. {Khutbāt-e-Muharram}

It is clear that destiny had taken Imam Hussain رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ on a journey from Madinah to Karbala. It is also clear that it was his fear of Allah Ta’ala and steadfastness on Shariah that made him leave for Kufah. And it was his total submission to the Will of Allah Ta’ala that made him remain patient after stopping at the place that was foretold to be where he would be martyred. SubhānAllah!

May Allah Ta’ala grant us an atom of the steadfastness on Shariah and submission to the Will of Allah Ta’ala, which the Ahle Bayt possessed, Allahumma Ameen.

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