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Spiritual Meditations ( 10 Dec 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The martyrs of Karbala

By Sadia Dehlvi

We are in the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the lunar Muslim Hijrah calendar. According to authentic prophetic traditions, Muharram is one of the four sanctified months mentioned in the Quran, the others believed to be Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Rajab. Muharram literally means, “one that is sacred”. This does not mean that other months have no sanctity, because the month of Ramzan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. However, these four months were specifically termed as sacred months.

Muharram is a time for prayer, obligatory fasting and seeking blessings from God for it is associated with many events in Islam. The 10th of Muharram is said to be the day when Adam was forgiven after he fell into error and, weeping in repentance for 300 years, he said, “Oh Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if you do not have mercy upon us, surely we will be the losers”.

Noah’s Ark came to rest successfully on the shores of Mount Judi after six months on the sea on the 10th of Muharram. On this day, Abraham is believed to have been saved by the fire of Nimrod. Centuries later, on the same date, the Red Sea parted for Moses and his followers, saving them and drowning the oppressive Pharaoh along with his army.

However, for the followers of Prophet Mohammad, the 10th of Muharram marks martyrdom of his beloved grandson Imam Hussain. Love for the ahl-e-bait, those from the House of Prophet Mohammad, is one of the requirements of Islam. Of his family members, including Imam Ali, Bibi Fatima and their sons Hasan and Hussain, the Messenger had proclaimed, “I am at war with those who fight with them, at peace with those who remain in peace with them”. About his beloved grandson Hussain, Mohammad said, “Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain. Allah loves him who loves Hussain, a descendant of my progeny”. There is no bigger tragedy in Islamic history than the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, members of his family and companions at the battleground of Karbala in Iraq. The tragedy that took place in 680 AD remains fresh in the minds of Muslims. Of this revolt, Imam Hussain said, “To reform the nation of my grandfather, the Prophet Mohammad”. This implied putting an end to all forms of corruption and deviation from the path of righteousness.

— Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. She can be contacted at

Source: Asian Age