His Holiness Dr Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA delivered a radio address in Mumbai on the eve of ʿĀshūra (the tenth day of Muharram, the day Imam Husain AS was martyred) 1381 H. The following is an English rendering of that address.
In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Beneficent.
All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May salawāt (blessings) and salaams be upon His Prophet, Mohammed SAW, the final prophet, and upon his pure progeny and noble companions.
In the history of Islam, the day of ʿĀshūra holds a status analogous to that of the Quran amongst all the divine revelations. Just as without the Quran we would not have gained the precious jewels inherent in the teachings of Islam, likewise, if it were not for the sacrifices made on ʿĀshūra, the light of Islam would have ceased to exist. If the Prophet SAW had not come into this world, the world would not have acquired a religion such as Islam. Similarly, if not for his grandson Imam Husain’s sacrifices, the survival of Islam in this world would have been difficult.
Today is the day of that persecuted Imam’s AS martyrdom, he who raised the voice of haqq (what is true and right) in the barren desert of Karbala more than 1300 years ago, at a time when the clouds of misfortune were raining down upon him. It was a defining moment in time when only the Imam’s answer – yes or no – could determine victory and defeat between haqq and bātil (falsehood).
Imam Husain AS was deprived of food and water for three days. The hunger and thirst of Imam Husain’s companions and kin aggravated his distress in every moment, the martyrdom of the youth [of his kin and companions] made him drink from the cup of death again and again and the wailing of the innocent princes [his sons] tested his forbearance. In such dire circumstances, he had only two paths before him; either to sacrifice himself for haqq or bow his head before bātil.
Glory be to Allah for the path chosen by the martyr of Karbala. He asserted: ‘We shall never bow before bātil. Even if mountains of hardship collapse upon us, our voice is the voice of truth. By shedding my blood, and through the martyrdom of my beloved children and the sacrifices of my companions; the voice of haqq will reverberate throughout the world and the world will keep receiving the Almighty’s message.’
Such is the complete conviction of Allah’s beloved, and what they desire always comes to fruition.
Today, 1300 years of history stand testimony to the fact that the voice of the martyr devoted to haqq, the voice of the ‘leader of all martyrs’ has conveyed the message of truth and justice throughout the ages and continues to do so today.
Verily the effect of Imam Husain’s AS message is that the caravans of his devotees continue to move forward swiftly. The honour of this devotion to him has never been restricted to the people of any sect or faith.
It is true that Imam Husain AS chose martyrdom to defend Islam, therefore it is not surprising that Muslims reinvigorate their hearts by his remembrance every Muharram. However, no era has gone by in which people of different sects and faiths did not derive inspiration from his remembrance.
The manifestation of grief for Imam Husain AS, which is eternal in nature, takes many forms: deeds inspired by true faith, elegies, poetry, prose, speech and other forms of literature.
Verily it is true to say that the grief for Imam Husain AS is succour for hearts, solace for the distressed and comfort for the afflicted. Moreover, this grief provides such invigoration that it causes the strengthening of the roots of humanity and spirituality in hearts.
Where grief is discussed, forbearance is always spoken of. Generally, a person has two options: either bear the burden of grief through forbearance or be swept away by its strong current.
All stages of forbearance necessitate sacrifices. There is no forbearance in which one does not need to make sacrifices. Especially when one chooses forbearance for an extremely noble cause, he will sacrifice the most valuable of his possessions, even his life, for it.
In today’s age, when instances of forbearance are necessary at every step, the teachings of Imam Husain AS do not merely console us, but also bestow hope to our spirits. This hope is imperative for the growth of lofty values.
India is passing through a phase of development, and in such an age where the difficulties of life keep increasing, it becomes more imperative for us to learn from these teachings of forbearance. This is because the teachings of Imam Husain’s AS sacrifices have aided and continue to aid in fulfilling the needs of every age. Moreover, they have been and continue to be the beacon that illuminates our path.
On this occasion, I pray to the Almighty that the remembrance of Imam Husain AS which people through the ages have drawn inspiration from, continues to inspire in the future. May we acquire the strength and courage to traverse the most arduous of paths. May the faith of the followers become more firm, and consequently, may peace prevail in this world.
And the last of our prayers is: All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!