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Thursday 21st of January 2021
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THE ISLAMIC MESSAGE

THE ISLAMIC MESSAGE

Islam is a philosophy of life. It gives reasons and a set purpose for living. Furthermore, it defines the best ways to secure progress and happiness. This is done by elevating the spiritual side and satisfying the material needs of people.

Islam considers man as a viceroy of God on earth. This status is a fine one, but it is also critical for the requirements must be satisfied. Thus, he is in an envied position, and consequently his acts and behavior are expected to conform with the high level he is occupying.

The Islamic concepts and laws are inseparable parts of the Islamic ideology. They are the practical expression of Islam in society and life in general. These concepts and laws are essentially concerned with harmonizing people's relationships among themselves, with other beings, and above all with the Creator.

The basic Islamic outlook to this life is that of an introductory course. This worldly life is viewed as a prelude to another eternal life. Therefore, this world is a preparatory stage for people in order to attain the spiritual level, which permits them to enter Paradise. The other side of the picture is the horror of Hell for people who misuse the powers at their disposal. Hence, success and failure are not measured with this worldly or materialistic supremacy. The Islamic measure differs from materialistic standard by accounting for the life hereafter. The satisfaction of God is the sublime aim, which surpasses all other inclinations and wishes. This is by no account neglecting materialistic supremacy, but putting it in its rightful place. It is with the satisfaction of God that Muslims seek materialistic supremacy.

WHO IS IMAM HUSSAIN?

Imam Hussain's life and status in the Islamic history are formidable. Indeed, it is not of obscurity but because of the vitality and the significance of his contributions. The following account is only a very brief record of his qualities.

He was one of two sons of Imam Ali and Fatimah, the daughter of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.t.). His father, Imam Ali, needs no introduction. The least known of him as to be acknowledged by the far and near and by his foes and admirers. He was openly declared by the Prophet as the Commander of the faithful's. Needless to mention his knowledge, bravery, steadfastness, brotherhood to the Prophet, justice and piety.

Fatimah was the dearest daughter to her father (p.b.u.t.). Al-Turmudhi narrated through Usamah ibn Zaid that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, "The dearest member of my family to me is Fatimah". She was declared by the Prophet as the master of all women in the whole world. She and her husband were members of the family who were signified for their qualities and roles. They are examples of interest to Muslims, men and women. Their role was an extension of the Prophet's role in the sense of leading the great cultural transformation from the darkness of an infidel's culture to the brightness of heavenly light.

Historians recorded the birth of Imam Hussain as an exciting event for the Muslims at Madina and especially to the Prophet of God. He was even concerned with the name given to his grandson, 'Hussain'. And the news flared up in the sky, the Muslims congratulated each other for the new child whom the Prophet considered as his own son. Thus the Prophet once declared, "Hussain is of myself and I am of Hussain. O, God be pleased with those who please Hussain". This statement was not accidental or the result of emotional strains as it is wrongly claimed sometimes. This declaration came from a responsible wise leader, the Prophet of God who would never commit a mistake during the performance of his Prophetic task. He was delivering the Islamic Message and informing people of those who will act as springs and guardians for this Message in the future. Emotions and sentiments are not loose in a Muslim's life, but are controlled by Islamic concepts and ideals. There is always a criterion for like and dislike which evolves from the deeply rooted Islamic concepts. Although Abu Lahab was the Uncle of the Prophet, his infidelity made him cursed till the Day of Judgment. The Prophet of God made another statement, which leaves no doubt of Imam Hasan's and Imam Hussain's role. He (p.b.u.h.) said, "Hasan and Hussain are the masters of youth in Paradise". This was presented as a credential to the Muslim nation in order to hold firm to their leaders.

At a certain time the Muslims at Madina felt the Islamic Message's glory and good results. So that they intended to reward the Prophet for his effort in guiding them. The gift they presented to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was some gold, which they had collected. The Prophets answer came in the following verses, which were revealed during this incident. "Say: 'No reward do I ask of you for this except being kind to those of kin" (23/42). AI-Kashaaf narrated that when this verse was revealed, people asked the Prophet "O Prophet of God, who are these of kin which this verse makes their respect obligatory upon us?" The Prophet answered, "They are Ali, Fatimah, and their two sons". However, this did not imply disrespect for other Muslims, companions or the rest of kin to him. Looking objectively at the message of the verse it will indicate first of all reluctance to accept material reward. If a reward was not suitable then it cannot be restricted to material only. Hence, the verse was indicating respect to some specific people, not because they are his relatives as such. But the real reason behind this respect was to safeguard the Islamic Message. The role they assumed to play in the Islamic history required such respect in order to enable them to perform their task.

Al-Hakim narrated through Abu Saaid Al-Khidri that the Prophet said, "He who dislikes us, we the family, God will place him in Hell". This implies those who dislike Islamic conduct and life.

Jabir narrated that the Prophet in his speech after performing the last pilgrimage, said, "O people I am leaving the book of God and my family (Itrah) for guidance. If you hold fast to them, surely you will never go astray". This Hadith was narrated through some twenty different sources of trusted chains of narrators. Muslim in his Sahih quoted some of them.

Another striking Hadith obtained through Abu Dhar where he quoted the Prophet saying, "O people, let my family act as a head of a body of you, and as eyes of a head among you".

The last few Hadiths are impressive in many respects. First they were narrated by different sources of different inclinations which add to them extra weight. Secondly the same content of all indicates the consistency of the event.

Imam Hussain as already stated, was one member of the family of the Prophet. He was brought up in the Prophetic guidance where he received the direct concern of the Prophet. The ideal atmosphere where he had grown up with his grandfather, father, mother and elder brother was the highest level ever attained.

Thus he acquired wisdom, generosity, bravery, and piety. He occupied outstanding posts during his father's reign in the Islamic State. During the terror and corruption which swept the Muslim World at the hands of the Umayads, he was the sole hope of the Muslims to restore the establishment of the Islamic laws which would bring them prosperity, peace and happiness of the two worlds. He never failed the Muslims, but acted as expected of a great ideological leader and discharged his duty to the best.

WHO IS YAZID?

Yazid was the son of Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan, from the family of Umayyah, one of Quraish's families. Abu Sufyan was acting as the chief adversary in the infidel's campaign against Islam. Muawiya's mother, Hind, ate the liver of Hamza, the Uncle of the Prophet because of her burning hatred and beast hood. Muawiya too was an active opponent to Islam. Indeed, Abu Sufyan's family was performing the strategic, financial and boosting morale in the infidel's campaign against the Muslims. Their efforts, wealth and diplomacy were of great burden on preventing the spread of Islam among Arab tribes.

Time had lapsed and Mecca was suddenly besieged with enormous forces of the Muslims. The unbelievers at Mecca were struck with seeing the Muslim fighters who had caught them unprepared. Thus, the infidels had no choice but to abandon their arrogance, which had prevented them from accepting God's sovereignty. During this incident, historians recorded some peculiar stories about Abu Safyan's family. However, there is one thing certain that they accepted Islam unwillingly, and they were treated in a special way for that. For instance, they were given extra donations in order to gain their hearts towards Islam. But whether this generosity had any influence to produce a change in their materialistic thinking is a different matter. Indeed subsequent events revealed no change in their way of thinking and life.

Yazid was brought up in a family whose atmosphere was electrified with emotions of its dead who fought Islam. Besides seeing those Muslims who killed them receiving full honor and respect by the whole society. Not to mention the wasted wealth, injured pride and stripped privileges of their family. However, Yazid had some unique qualities in the adverse sense. He was known as a playboy during his youth. Historians recorded him being drunk, committing adultery and in general leading a very corrupt life. Some even quoted Yazid saying, "The family of Hashim staged a play to get a Kingdom. Actually there was neither news from God nor a revelation". Even if we discarded this extreme, there is no escape from facing the rest of his shameful deeds and horrifying crimes. Not to mention his illegal claim to rule the Muslim World, or misusing Muslim's money, or intrusion upon people's dignity and lives.

ORIGINS OF DEVIATION

How did Muawiya ascend the ruling stage, and even dare claiming the succession of the Prophet? What happened to the Muslim World to be silent at the assumption of power by an ignoble person like Yazid? Indeed, it is astonishing to witness the indifference and irresponsibility shown by the vast majority of Muslims. Islamic values and ideals were as if totally alien to the society. What has happened to the dynamic forces, which had awakened the world? The Prophet's voice had not yet died away regarding the responsibility of Muslims. He once said, "He who sees a cruel governor, violating God's laws, breaking His Covenant, acting in contract to the Tradition of the Prophet, doing mischief and intruding upon people's rights, then does not try to change that governor through action or speech, God has promised him a suitable place in Hell".

We all may wonder over the causes of deviation, which led to this deplorable situation. We know for sure that Islam is a perfect and practical religion. Islam is no doubt assured of guiding the Muslims to a stable and prosperous life. However, the question of deficiency in the Islamic Massage, or the way it was conducted by the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has no place. Therefore, the only possible errors are confined to the subsequent status of the Muslims, their handling of affairs, and their conformity to the Islamic laws; besides the natural obstacles encountered in the sequence of events.

This topic is so large that it cannot be dealt with in this short review. Nevertheless, it is inevitable to have a few glances at it. It is well known that the Islamic State extended its borders to vast areas embracing huge populations. The short time of conquest made its cultural assimilation near to impossible. Besides the language difficulties and primitive means of communications and propagation. Many Arab tribes had even fought against Islam after the Prophet's departure to the next world, who were under the political influence of Islam.

It is needless to say that any real and thorough cultural transformation needs time as a basic factor. A complete transition from one culture to another might require generations before the new culture is firmly established. The second factor in determining any cultural change is the presence of the ideological leadership. The kind of leadership, which has a deep insight into the message and potentially ready to sacrifice for its success. Naturally, the ideological leader is expected to conform by the message's orders otherwise, the aim of his presence would not be realized.

The Muslims had elected Abu Bakr as the successor to the Prophet. The confused moves and events, which accompanied the procedure of election, was sadly recorded by all historians. This is by no means an objection to or doubting the ability of a respected companion in the category of Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him): But careful observation lead to the conclusion that Abu Bakr himself remarked that there were other people who were more able than himself for the task.

It is indeed eye-catching in Islamic history the many incidents and Hadiths which encourage Muslims to follow and proclaim the leadership of Imam Ali after the Prophet. For instance, in Tafseer Abi Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisabouri Al-Thaalabi who died in 337 A.H. gave a commentary on the following verse:

"Your guardians are God, His Prophet, and the believers who pray and give alms while prostrate to God. Regarding those who disobey God, His Prophet and the believers, the party of God are the victors " (5:58,59) He quoted Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari stating, "I heard the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) With these ears or would be deaf, and saw him with these eyes or would be blind;" the Prophet once said, "Ali is the leader of the best believers, and the killer of unbelievers, victor who supports him, and weak who doesn't " Abu Dhar added, One day we were praying with the Prophet, a beggar had entered the mosque. The beggar was requesting people for help but none helped him except Imam Ali. While Imam Ali was offering his prayer, he donated his silver ring by pointing his finger to the poor man and the latter took it filled with joy. After this incident the Prophet prayed humbly to God and said, "O God, my brother Moses asked You, O my God, expand my breast; ease my task for me; and remove the impediment from my speech, so that they may understand what I say; and give me a Minister from my family, Aaron, my brother; add to-my strength through him, and make him share my task, that we celebrate thy praise without stint, and remember thee without stint. And You answered: 'Granted is thy prayer, O Moses'. "O God I am your servant and Prophet. Expand my breast; ease my task; and give me a Minister from my family, Ali, my brother; add to my strength through him, and make him share my task". Abu Dhar concluded: "By, God, as soon as the Prophet completed his prayer the trustworthy Gabriel came with the following verses: "Your guardians are God, His Prophet and the believers who pray and give alms while prostrate to God . . .!" (5:58, 59). Ibn Sinan narrated this incident in Sahih Al Bukhari. Ibn Abbas narrated this story in Asbab Al-Nizol by Imam Wahidi. All interpreters of Kanz Al-Umaal held the same opinion of the cause of the revelation of this verse.

On different occasions, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told Imam Ali, "You are to me as Aaron was to Moses, but there is not Prophet after me".

The consistency of narrations leave no room for doubt that Imam Ali was chosen by God and His Prophet to be the ideological leader after the Prophet's departure. A noteworthy point is the number and variety of people who confirmed the authenticity of these stories. Perhaps the most outstanding occasion, which sank into people's memories, is the Prophet's speech during his last pilgrimage. In a large congregation of Muslims he declared, "He whoever I am his master, Ali is his master too. O God assist whoever supports him and disgrace those who have enmity towards him". Indeed, these are only a few quotations, which Imam Ali had from God and the Prophet.

Hence it can be safely concluded that Imam Ali's exclusion from his assigned duty marked the first major mistake. The inevitable consequences were a slow deviation, which ended up in a turbulent stream of events, which no one was able to exercise control over.

Abu Bakr's reign lasted two years or so, which was an eventful epoch. The dangers besieging the Muslims were so great that the very existence of the Muslim community was put between two brackets. But that danger was eliminated by the many sacrifices of Muslims in lives and substance.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab was appointed by Abu Bakr as the Caliph, and the former ruled for ten years. His reign is particularly important because of the vast changes and events, which took place during his time. The conquest of vast areas brought enormous wealth to the Muslims. But the way this wealth was handled had created complex problems, which forced Umar to admit their grave consequences. Indeed, he tried to reform the laws but it was too late to act for he was murdered. Umar ibn Al-Khattab was the first person in charge of Muslim affairs to start uneven donation of rations among Muslims. He used to prefer some people to others for various reasons, which generated social classes and sparked off enmities and rifts in the Muslim society. The laws were not in conformity with the Tradition of the Prophet or even with Abu Bakr's procedure. Umar was sad when he saw the unrest and rifts in the Muslim community and declared, "I was informed that people have distinct gatherings. When two sit together they talk of the different groupings and separate entities. By God that is harmful to your religion, honor and unity". Realizing the causes of this social phenomenon he added, "I used to allure people in order to gain their goodwill by preferring some to others. But if I lived this year, the distribution of wealth will be even among all people as the Prophet end Abu Bakr used to do."

A rather serious measure taken by the Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab was his appointment of six nominees to the Caliphate post. This, it is believed had induced a desire in every one of the nominees to ascend one day to this powerful and honorable position. Thus it was a matter of time for everyone and they were engaged in preparing the ground for their ascent.

Uthman ibn Affan was chosen by Abdul Rahman ibn Auf to be the next Caliph, after being turned down by Imam Ali. Imam Ali refused to accept the Caliphate post because Abdul Rahman ibn Auf put a condition, which meant retaining the status quo and preventing any radical change.

The vast majority of Muslims resented Uthman's policies. His monetary policy was the focus point of resentment, because he donated large amounts of money to his relatives while the rest of the people were left empty handed ( Muroj Al-dhahab 2/241 by Al-Masaudi Al-Ansab and Al-Ashraf [5/25, 28,48,52] by Al-Baladhiri). Indeed, the governors who were assisting in administering the country had neither ability nor piety. It is believed that they were appointed because they were of kin to him. For instance, Al-Waleed ibn Aqabah ibn Abi Muaeet was appointed to govern Kofah. Al-Waleed was reputed to be a drunkard and people were very dissatisfied with his behavior. People's pressure was tremendous that Uthman had to yield and finally replaced him by another one. The new governor was Saaid ibn AI-As who had the famous statement "Iraq is Quraish's garden, we take or leave of it whatever we like" (Muroj Al-dhahab 2/346 by Al-Masaudi). Muawiya was governing Damascus and Jordan during the reign of Umar, Uthman added to his state Hams, Palestine, and Jazera. Egypt's governor was Abdullah ibn Abi Sirah. All the previous governors are Uthman's relatives.

The most striking feature of this bunch of rulers was their contempt for people's rights and dignity. They simply looked at the whole Muslim country as their private property, as it is shown in Al-Waleed's statement.

Moreover the principal treasury at Madina was not utilized in its rightful ways. Many Muslims like the treasurer's trust, Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu Dhar and similar distinguished companions objected strongly against Uthman's monetary policies. Uthman's reply to those people was, "We take from the treasury whatever we want in spite of some people's objections".

These policies were not only foreign to Islamic conduct and ideals but caused tremendous sufferings and hardships to the majority of Muslims. Responsible Muslims played their role in warning Uthman against these deviations but their advice was in vain. Thus, the situation reached its danger point one day and exploded which resulted in Uthman's murder. This act of violence as I believe could have been avoided by using some peaceful method.

The chaotic conditions and the deterioration of the Muslims material and social status forced them to rethink their past, present and future. Perhaps it was like a film passing in their minds, reminding them of events which were connected with their presence. It is normally the last incident and last speech, which remain alive in people's memories. Indeed, it was the Prophet's famous speech in Khum during his last pilgrimage, which was recalled. Muslims remembered that significant event where there were more than one hundred thousand Muslims present and the Prophet went briefing the Islamic message to them. In the middle of that anxious crowd, listening carefully to every word i.e. (p.b.u.h.) uttered, and watching every sign he made. The Prophet took Ali ibn Talib's hand and raised it while saying "O, people whoever I am his master, then Ali is his master too. O, God, assist those who support him and disgrace those who do not".

Thus the Muslims found their way out suddenly after the cloud of events disappeared. They hurriedly went to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.) calling him to perform his assigned duty. But the abnormal situations existing at the time did not make his task easy. Indeed, the very acceptance of his duty during such situations was not healthy. Imam Ali's reply to the Muslims was negative. He (p.b.u.h.) said, "Leave me aside and seek someone else". We are heading at a subject which has many facets and various colors, neither the hearts would rise to, nor the minds would be firm upon. The horizons are black and gloomy while reason is rejected. You should know that my acceptance means what I know will be applied and obeyed. I shall not conform to one's ideas or listen to others rapprochement. On the other hand, leaving me aside means I am one of you, listening and conforming to whom you have appointed for your affairs. "I am better a minister than commander for you". In this speech, perhaps, he (p.b.u.h.) wanted to gauge people's interests and determination. Moreover, he showed his disinterest for power and ruling if that means an aim by itself. But the vast majority of Muslims were determined to see the Prophet's words and will implemented. They left no choice to Imam Ali but to accept his rightful role of being the ideological leader to the Muslim community.

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