For Love of Imam Hussein (A.S.)

One does not even have to believe in the religion of Islam, or God, to be inspired by the resistance of Imam Hussein in Karbala!
For Love of Hussain (A.S.)
For Love of Hussain (A.S.) An independent film by Presbyterian Pastor John Shuck from Portland Oregon, USA, and Josh Townsley. In October of 2018, John and Josh traveled to Iraq with Caravan 72, sponsored by the Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle for Arbaeen, a 50 mile walk from Najaf to Karbala, Iraq. Presbyterian Pastor John Shuck: “Justice. That is the main take-away from all of this. The courage to stand with the oppressed against the powerful; to take a stand, for truth, to take a stand for justice, to take a stand that requires sacrifice. That is the essence of Imam Hussein, alaihis salam, and true Islam. And true humanity.” (minute 14:45)

“Insaan ko baidar tou ho laine do
har qom pukari gi hamaray hain Hussein
“Let human beings awaken from their slumber
and every nation shall claim Hussein is Ours”
--- Shayar-e-Inquilab (poet of revolution)
Josh Malihabadi

Karbala is a uniting force for Muslims, nay all humanity, if people can only realize its full significance. The significance of a real man, not in mythology or in theory, willingly standing up for the highest ideals of man --- to live in freedom and justice without fear and indignity and no price being high enough for seeking that virtue.
Unlike abstract theological principles like the Biblical Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you have others do unto you”) never put into practice so as to ever become exemplary for all peoples, Karbala is a real exemplary event that defined a real categorical imperative enacted by the courage of Imam Hussein.
Karbala can attract all humanity if some Muslims don't despoil its name with strange behaviors, superstitions, or its minimization. Karbala is the singular categorical imperative to create a just world ---- not by endlessly talking about it in utopian platitudes and moral clich├ęs as virtually all religions and utopian philosophies do, but by fighting oppression in practice in the style of dignity and perseverance of Imam Hussein and his family at Karbala!
Imam Hussein is the inspiration for all humanity to withstand primacy with dignity.
Imam Hussein is the hope of every oppressed that someday justice shall prevail.
And Karbala is that road to justice for any self-respecting people empowered to strive to make that someday happen today.
In a just world, by definition, all peoples of all persuasions can find space for themselves, each according to their own beliefs, traditions and culture. All high minded theories like the Golden Rule easily become a practical categorical imperative and put into practice by all in a just society, but only in a just society where all abide by the same rules enacted by the fiat of just laws in which no one takes undue advantage of another. That can only transpire when tyrants, their special interests, and their systems of oppression to keep the people in bondage of one kind or another, are defeated, and perpetually kept defeated.
This is the straightforward meaning of Every day is Ashura, every place is Karbala ---- for indeed, tyranny is everywhere, and will continue to raise its head everywhere, in every era, and therefore, by the logic of freedom and liberty being a desirable virtue for all (unless one asserts that living in bondage to the ubermensch is virtue), its antidote must also arise in every place, in every era.
Mankind to this day knows of no other exemplary resistance against tyranny among any peoples and civilizations that parallels Karbala.
One does not even have to believe in the religion of Islam, or God, to be inspired by the resistance of Imam Hussein in Karbala!
They were inspired, nay mandated, by their own beliefs to stand up to the tyrannical government and its evil ruler; if you are inspired by your beliefs to strive for justice, if your moral sensibilities do not permit you to become well adjusted to the systems of evil of your time, then, irrespective of what those beliefs and sensibilities are, Karbala shows you how to stand up to evil in an uncompromising template of manhood that is itself the zenith of moral resistance. This resistance template is the gift to all humanity by Imam Hussein.
Witness non Muslims visiting Imam Hussein (as) in Karbala to pay their deepest respects, in deepest humility, to the noble grandson of the noble Prophet of Islam at Arba'een, in the largest human peaceful march and congregation on earth that most Westerners as well as most Sunni Muslims in the world have never heard of:
Becoming familiar with this gift of Imam Hussein as the categorical imperative of Islam rather than the ritual of teary eyed remembrance of their pain and suffering that it has become, automatically begs attention towards the beliefs and ideals of Imam Hussein; and that in turn opens the doors for understanding the meaning of Islam as “deen-ul-haq” (see What does the Holy Qur'an say about Haq - Truth and Justice? The Noble Path of Islam: Denying to Caesar what is not Caesar’s - Surah Al-Asr of the Holy Qur'an).
Therefore, whether or not one believes in Islam as a Divine religion for the Guidance of mankind (non Muslims), whether or not one believes in Imam Hussein as the only legitimate Imam of his time to whom obedience was made obligatory upon all Muslims as per verse 4:59 (majority of Muslims), analyzing the reality of Karbala with an open mind, and without prejudice, opens the Pandora's box of intellectual and spiritual inquiry. Its potential to transform mankind to overcome our collective banality of evil will remain hidden until then. With specious theories upon theories from the fertile imagination of useful idiot philosophers stupidly masking Primacy, or perhaps cunningly, like the controllers in Plato's cave, taking its place as mankind descends further and further into a kind of totalitarianism in which the mind itself is enslaved in complete servitude without the use of the bayonet. “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.”, timelessly observed the German philosopher.
The path to breaking free from the force of that invisible bayonet is tickling higher states of consciousness in man.
Karbala invites towards that tickling, towards that striving.
Karbala inspires. Karbala uplifts the human spirit. Karbala demonstrates how not to succumb to the banality of evil. Karbala exemplifies how not to remain aloof from evil looking from the sidelines; how not to close one's eyes to evil rulers and evil systems of oppression; how not to acquiesce; how not to make excuses of expediency and practicality. Karbala exemplifies the limits for not accepting evil government.
Karbala exemplifies the limits to which a human spirit can resist tyranny without itself becoming evil; the limits to which a real human being along with his family members and close companions can deliberately say “No” to evil rulers knowing fully well what the outcome shall be.
This is the import of Karbala; Imam Hussein knowing fully well that his menfolk shall be killed and his womenfolk taken prisoners for their resistance; the categorical imperative of resistance deemed more important than individual lives.
This single act of Imam Hussein has inspired more rebels throughout world history than any other resistance template (a future essay will survey this history in autobiographical words).
Karbala's significance as an 'uswae-hassana' only seems to be lost on Muslims – those who cry for Imam Hussein and those who make fun of those who cry for Imam Hussein and those who ignore Imam Hussein as the singular role model for continually reforming cultural Islam back to the original religion of peace and justice, the Divine Guidance to mankind – especially today!
It is high time this travesty in misunderstanding Karbala is recognized by the public themselves and its holy narratives liberated from artificial sacrosanctness and antediluvian superstitions which have now become enshrined in the public face of Shiadom. The world public today cannot accept this throwback to the Dark Ages as liberating philosophy of resistance, let alone be attracted to it as a categorical imperative of moral existence!
So come revisit Karbala as the timeless categorical imperative of Islam gifted to all humanity, on how to rise up to systems of oppression without yourself becoming a barbarian in the process. Watch Islamophobes and their Machiavellian concoctions like “militant Islam” scurry for cover.
As we gather to commemorate Imam Hussein's “naizat” in this Muharram, and in every Muharram, let's not forget the categorical imperative that the noble Imam's “naizat” made incumbent upon every human being, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. To strive to live free of tyranny and oppression is surely the most important Haj, the most important prayer, the most important guidance of the religion of Islam to all mankind.
In shared “Gum-e-Hussein” of the captain of “safinah-tun-nijaat” for all mankind,
as-salamu 'alayka ya Sayed-us-Shuhada
Yours sincerely,
Zahir Ebrahim | Project

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