The tenth of Muharram is observed by many as the day of Shahaadat-e-Husain (radhiyallahu anhu).
Special gatherings are held wherein the heart-rending incident of the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain (Radhiyallahu Anhu) is mentioned. This aspect is discussed in this article.
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. Allaah 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.” [Qur’an 3:169]
Martyrdom is nothing strange or uncommon to Muslims. The flourishing garden of Islaam has been watered by the blood of the martyrs from the very early days of Islaam. Among those great sons of Islaam, who crowned their life-long efforts for the sake of Deen by finally laying down their lives was Hussain ibn Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), the noble grandson of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). His martyrdom was indeed heart-rending in the extreme.
HUSAIN IBN ALI (RADHIYALLAHU ANHU)
It was on the tenth of Muharram that Husain ibn Ali (Radhiyallahu Anhu) was mercilessly martyred. Before his very eyes scores of his immediate family also tasted from the cup of martyrdom. Finally he joined them. The various details of this tragic incident are too
gruesome to comprehend. One could cry tears of blood.
However, the pages of our history are filled with the blood of the martyrs. How is it that we have remembered the tenth of Muharram but are totally unaware of the heart-rending martyrdom of many other great personalities of Islaam. Did we know that on the first of Muharram the second Caliph of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was also mercilessly martyred.
UMAR FAROOQ (Radhiyallahu Anhu)
While leading the Fajr Salaah, Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was stabbed six times by a fire-worshipper. He fell to the ground unable to continue with the Salaah. Abdur Rahman bin Auf (radhiyallahu anhu) then lead the Salaah and completed it. We also feel the grief of that fateful day. However we have never heard of anybody observing the day of Shahadat-e-Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu).
UTHMAN GHANI (Radhiyallahu Anhu)
Likewise the third Caliph of Islaam, the son in-law of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam); Uthman (radhiyallahu Anhu) was also brutally martyred. When the enemy besieged his house, for 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 Zil Hijjah, the enemy finally broke into his home. When Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was at that time reciting the Holy Qur’ân. However no mercy was shown to him and his blood was spilt onto the pages of the Book of Allaah. He also joined his predecessors in Jannah. This incident can also make one shed tears of blood. But we have never heard of anybody observing the day of Shahadat-e-Uthman.
HAMZA (Radhiyallahu Anhu)
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also witnessed some heart-rending martyrdoms. His beloved uncle, Hamza (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was then ripped open and his liver removed. This was then taken away to be chewed. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was greatly disturbed and grieved over this. So great was his grief that when the killer of Hamza (radhiyallahu anhu) accepted Islaam, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) requested him not to come in front of him as this would remind him of his uncle and bring back the grief. However, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not observe any day as the day of Shahadat-e-Hamza.
The battle of Bir Ma’oona is yet another incident of the great Sahaaba (radhiyallahu anhum) laying down their lives for the cause of Deen. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was requested to send some of his companions to teach the people of Najd. Upon this request Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sent seventy people who were all Huffaaz and qurra (plural of Qari). On the way they were attacked and almost all were martyred. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was once again greatly grieved and for one month in the Fajr Salaah cursed these people who had deceived and martyred his beloved companions so mercilessly. Here also Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) observed no day as the day of their martyrdom.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST
Indeed our hearts bleed when we recount the incident of the Martyrdom of Husain (radhiyallahu anhu). We also experience the grief when we recount the Martyrdoms of Umar, Uthman and Hamza (radhiyallahu anhum) Likewise we are greatly pained when we read or hear of the martyrs of Bir Ma’ oona; Uhud; Badr; Jamal, Siffeen 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 Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu) then what about the rest? In that case almost every day of the year would be spent mourning.
TENTH OF MUHARRAM
It is therefore absolutely clear that the tenth of Muharram is not a day to observe as the martyrdom of Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu). It’s significance lies solely in what has been explained in the Ahaadeeth. Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came to Madinah and found the Jews fasted on that day of Aashooraa. 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 Moosa (Alayhis salaam) and his people and drowned Firoun and his nation. Thus Moosa (Alayhis salaam) fasted on this day as a token of thanksgiving, therefore we also fast on this day.’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) fasted on this day and ordered his companions to do the same. (Sahih Muslim vol. 1
LESSON FROM THE LIVES OF THE MARTYRS
It is therefore clear that the day of Ashura is not a day of mourning. Indeed, our hearts bleed when we recall the martyrdom of Hussain (radhiyallahu anhu). It also bleeds when we hear of the martyrdom of the other great personalities of Islaam. 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 up-liftment of Deen, likewise we should also be prepared to make sacrifices for the protection and spreading of the Deen.