In the beginning of the Islamic New Year, Muslims across the globe observe and commemorate a time in history that had impacted the spiritual world in ways more than one. Believer or non-believer, people are touched by the story of Ahul Bayat (family of Prophet Muhammad). Hearing the story of their struggle evokes inspiration and spiritual fulfillment to the human heart. The family had stood with grace and unity against injustice from an oppressive power; unfortunately, most of the Prophet’s family (around 72 (men, women and children/babies)) had been massacred by the embodiments of mortal sin. Their death had not been marked as a failure, but an example of supernatural triumph, one that had inspired the sun to rise above the clouds. Every year, their journey is commemorated by millions and millions of hopeful souls, Muslims and non-Muslims.
The events of Karbala defined the meaning of a justice, forgiveness, patience, true love.
The family was known to stand for what was right against what was wrong– with exemplary grace and piety. Imam Ali (nephew, son-in-law, and cousin of the Prophet saw) on numerous of occasions commanded that care should be shown upon even our enemies.
For example: During 39 and 40 AH, Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan organized bands of murderers and brigands to enter border towns and to carry on loot, plunder, arson and rape. At that time Kumayl was the governor of Heet. Kumayl asked Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib’s (as) permission to organize similar bands and carry plunder in the province of Circiea which was under the control of Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) replied:
“I never expected such a suggestion from a man like you. It is nobler and more moral to guard your people and province than to plunder others. They might be our enemies but they are also human beings. They consist of civil population comprising of’ women and children how call one loot, plunder and kill them. No, never even dream of such a venture.”
The family had displayed forgiveness on numerous occasions within Karbala.
“Fill your heart to the brim with mercy, kindness, and affection towards your subjects. Never act like a voracious ‘animal’ towards them, availing yourself of tearing them apart, for they are your brothers-in faith or your equals in creation. So grant them the same degree of pardon and forgiveness that you hope Allah will grant you, for, you are above them, and he who appointed you is above you and Allah is above him who gave you this position”. ~ Imam Ali
Allah(s.w.t) tells us in the Holy Quran that only those who remain patient will receive reward without measure. Imam Hussain’s patience wasnt out of weakness or helplessness but a demonstration of his steadfastness and bravery. Those who saw Imam Hussein a.s. on the Day of Ashura (10th day of Muharram) reported: “We have never seen a man remaining as composed as Imam Hussein a.s. whereas his relatives and children were slaughtered before his eyes.”
After understanding Karbala, one can understand the true meaning of love: mercy, compassion and trust. Love is God. Real love is an energy that transcends us from this world to beyond. It is the gift of God. It is an energy that is released by the divine essence of compassion, mercy, and justice. Through Karbala, and other struggles bestowed on the preceding Prophet’s (families and companions), love is demonstrated in PURE form. Simply put, this love can not be explained in words, it can only be felt.