Thursday, 7 December 2006

Commemorating Shuhada On The 10th of Muharram ?

The tenth of Muharram is observed by many people as the day of Shahadah of Saiyidina Hussain RA. Special gatherings are held wherein the heart-rending incident of the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain RA is mentioned and dramatised. This aspect is discussed in this article.

It is an undisputed fact that to lay down one’s life for the cause of Deen is the ultimate sacrifice.

Hence being the ultimate sacrifice, martyrdom naturally has the highest honour as well. Allah Ta'ala describes the martyrs as "living" in the verse:

"And say not to those who have been slain in the Path of Allah that they are dead. Nay, they are alive and receive sustenance by their Master." (Surah Al-Imraan: Ayat 169 )

Martyrdom is nothing strange or uncommon to Muslims. The flourishing garden of Islam has been watered by the blood of the martyrs from the very early days of Islam. Among those great sons of Islam, who crowned their life-long efforts for the sake of Deen by finally laying down their lives, was Saiyidina Hussain RA, the noble grandson of Rasulullah SAW. His martyrdom was indeed heart-rending in the extreme.

It was on the tenth of Muharram that Saiyidina Hussain RA was mercilessly martyred. Before his very eyes scores of his immediate family also tasted from the cup of martyrdom. Finally he joined them. His noble head was then severed from his body. The various details of this tragic incident are too gruesome to comprehend. One could only cry.

However, let us also remember - that the pages of Islamic history are filled with the blood of the martyrs. How is it that we have only remembered the tenth of Muharram, but are totally unaware of the heart-rending martyrdom of many other great personalities of Islam.

Did we know that on the first of Muharram the second Caliph of Rasulullah SAW was also mercilessly martyred. While leading the Subuh Solat, Saiyidina Umar RA was stabbed six times by a fire-worshipper. He fell to the ground unable to continue with the Solat. The noble companion - Abdur Rahman bin Auf RA then lead to complete the Solat and finished it. Saiyidina Umar RA was then carried to his house. The wounds however proved fatal and on the first of Muharram he bade farewell to this temporary world. The Muslims were shattered upon the martyrdom of Saiyidina Umar RA. Even until today we feel the grief of that fateful day. However we have never heard of anybody observing a "Day of Shahadah of Saiyidina Umar".

Likewise the third Caliph of Islam,the son-in-law of Rasulullah SAW, Saiyidina Uthman RA was also brutally martyred. When the enemy besieged his house, for days and days he was unable to even get any water from the well which he had purchased and gifted to everybody to use at liberty. On Friday the eighteenth of Zulhijjah, the enemy finally broke into his home. Saiydina Uthman RA was at that time reciting the Holy Quran. However no mercy was shown to him and his blood was spilt onto the pages of the Book Of Allah. He also joined his predecessors in Jannah. This incident can also make one shed immense tears.

Rasulullah SAW also witnessed some heart-rending martyrdoms. His beloved uncle, Saiydina Hamzah RA was martyred in the battle of Uhud. After he was martyred, his body was defiled and severely mutilated. His ears and nose were cut off. The body of the beloved uncle of Rasulullah SAW was then ripped open and his liver removed. This was then taken away to be chewed. Rasulullah SAW was greatly disturbed and grieved over this. So great was his grief that when the killer of Hamzah RA accepted Islam, Rasulullah SAW requested him not to come in front of him as this would remind him of his uncle and bring back the grief. However, Rasulullah SAW did not observe any day as "The Day of Shahadah of Saiyidina Hamzah".

And also, the Battle of Bir-Ma’oona is yet another incident of the great Sahabah RA laying down their lives for the cause of Deen. Rasulullah SAW was requested to send some of his companions to teach the people of Najd . Upon this request Rasulullah SAW sent seventy people who were all Huffaaz and Qurra (plural of Qari). On the way they were attacked and almost all were martyred. Rasulullah SAW was once again greatly grieved and for one month in the Subuh Solat, Rasulullah SAW cursed these people who had deceived and martyred his (SAW) beloved Companions so mercilessly. Here also no day was observed as the day of their martyrdom.

Indeed our hearts bleed when we recount the incident of the Martyrdom of Saiyidina Hussain RA. We also experience the grief when we recount the martyrdoms of Saiyidina Umar RA, Saiyidina Uthman RA and Hamzah RA. Likewise we are greatly pained when we read or hear of the martyrs of Bir-Ma’oona; Uhud; Badr and all the other battles. Nevertheless, despite our grief, we will refrain from all things alien to the Shariah. Let us consider that if we observe the day of the martyrdom of Saiydina Hussain RA, then what about the rest? In that case almost every day of the year would be spent mourning.

It is therefore absolutely clear that the tenth of Muharram is not a day to observe as the martyrdom of Saiyidina Hussain RA.

The significance of the Tenth of Muharram lies solely in what has been explained in the Ahadith. Abdullah ibn Abbas RA narrates that Rasulullah SAW came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting on the day of Aashura. Hence he enquired of them:

"What is the significance of this day on which you fast?"

They replied:

"This is a great day. On this day Allah Ta’ala saved Musa (AS) and his people and drowned Fir'aun and his nation. Thus Musa (AS) fasted on this day as a token of thanskgiving, therefore we also fast on this day."

Rasulullah SAW remarked:

"We are more worthy of Musa (AS) and closer to him than you."

Thereafter Rasulullah SAW fasted on this day and ordered his companions to do the same. (Sahih Muslim: Volume 1: Page 359)

It is therefore clear that the day of Aashura is not a day of mourning. Indeed, our hearts weep when we recall the martyrdom of Saiydina Hussain RA. It also bleeds when we hear of the martyrdom of the other great personalities of Islam. However we have not been taught to perpetually mourn. Yes, we have been taught to take a lesson from the lives of the martyrs. Just as these great personalities selflessly sacrificed their lives for the upliftment of Deen, likewise we should also be prepared to make sacrifices for the protection and spreading of PURE Deen.

No comments: