IN THE house of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf), which presented the best image of both the worlds - the heaven and the earth - a child who benefited humanity as if he was Divine Impression reflecting the earth, was born on the 3rd night of the month of Shaban. His father was Imam Ali (a.s.), the best model of kindness towards his friends and the bravest against the enemies of Islam, and his mother was Hazrat Fatimah (s.a.), the only daughter of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf) who had as universally acknowledged, inherited the qualities of her father. Imam Hussain (a.s.), is the third Imam. When the good news of his birth reached the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf), he came to his daughter's house, took the newly-born child in his arms, recited adhan and iqamah in his right and left ears respectively, and on the 7th day of his birth, after performing the rites of aqiqah, named him al-Hussain, in compliance with Allah's (swt) command. Hassan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.), the two sons of the Holy Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and Hazrat Fatimah (s.a.),our Lady of Light, were respected and revered as the "Leaders of the Youths of Paradise" as stated by the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf) had openly prophesied that the faith of Islam would be rescued by his second grandson Hussain (a.s.), when Yazid, son of Muawiayh, would endeavour to destroy it. Yazid was known for his devilish character and brutish conduct. He was known as the most licentious of men. The people having known and understood the character of Yazid, formed a covenant by which Muawiyah could not appoint Yazid as his successor. This undertaking was given by Muawiyah to Imam Hassan (a.s.) from whom Muawiyah had snatched power. Muawiyah violated this undertaking and nominated Yazid who succeeded his father. Immediately as he came to power, Yazid began acting in full accordance with his known character. He started interfering in the fundamentals of the faith and practised every vice and wickedness freely with the highest degree of impunity and yet held himself out as the successor of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf), demanding allegiance to himself as the leading guide of the faith. Paying allegiance to Yazid was nothing short of acknowledging the devil as God. If a divine personality like the Holy Imam Hussain (a.s.) had agreed to his authority, it would be actually recommending the devil to humanity in place of God. Yazid demanded allegiance from the Holy Imam Hussain (a.s.), who could have never agreed to it at any cost. The people fearing death and destruction at the hands of the tyrant had yielded to him out of fear. Imam Hussain (a.s.) said that come whatever may, he would never yield to the devil in place of God and undo what his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf) had established. The refusal of the Holy Imam (a.s.) to pay allegiance to this fiend, marked the start of the persecution of the Holy Imam (a.s.). As a result he had retired to Medina where he led a secluded life. Even here he was not allowed to live in peace, and was forced to seek refuge in Mecca where also he was badly harassed, and Yazid plotted to murder him in the very precincts of the great sanctuary of Kaabah. The people of Kufa getting tired of the tyrannical and satanic rule of Yazid, had written innumerable letters and sent emissaries to Imam Hussain (a.s.) to come over and give them guidance in faith. Although Imam Hussain (a.s.) knew the ultimate end of the invitations, he as the divinely chosen Imam could not refuse to give the guidance sought for. When the Holy Imam (a.s.) with his entourage had reached Karbala, his horse mysteriously stopped and would not move any further. Upon this the Holy Imam (a.s.) declared: "This is the land , the land of sufferings and tortures." He alighted from his horse, and ordered his followers to encamp there saying: "Here shall we be martyred and our children be killed. Here shall our tents be burned and our family arrested. This is the land about which my grandfather the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf) had foretold, and his prophecy will certainly be fulfilled." On the 7th Muharram water supply to the Imam's camp was cut and the torture of thirst and hunger started. The Holy Imam's (a.s.) camp consisted of ladies, innocent children including babies and some male members of the Holy Prophet's (pbuh&hf) family; along with a small band of some faithful friends of Imam Hussain (a.s.) who had chosen to die with the Holy Imam, fighting against the devil for the cause of Allah (swt).
The Day of Ashura ( 10th of Muharram )
At dawn the Imam (a.s.) glanced over the army of Yazid and saw Umar ibn-e-Sa'ad ordering his forces to march towards him. He gathered his followers and addressed them thus:" Allah has, this day, permitted us for our martyrdom. So prepare yourselves to fight against the enemies of Islam with patience and resistance. O sons of the noble and self - respecting persons, be patient! Death is nothing but a bridge which you must cross after facing trials and tribulations so as to reach Heaven and its joys. Which of you do not like to go from this prison (world) to the lofty palaces (Paradise)?" Having heard the Imam's (a.s.) address, all his companions were overwhelmed and cried out ," O our Master! We are all ready to defend you and your Ahlul-bayt, and to sacrifice our lives for the cause of Islam."
Imam Hussain (a.s.) sent out his companions from his camp one after another to fight and sacrifice their lives in the way of the Lord. Lastly, when all his men and children had laid down their lives, Imam Hussain (a.s.) brought his six- month old baby son Ali Asghar (a.s.), and offering him on his own hands, demanded some water for the baby, dying of thirst. The thirst of the baby was quenched by a deadly poisoned arrow from the brute's forces, which pinned the baby's neck to the arm of the helpless father. At last when the six-month old baby also was killed, Imam Hussain (a.s.) addressed Allah (swt): "O Lord! Your Hussain has offered in your way whatever your had blessed him with. Bless Your Hussain, O Lord! with the acceptance of this sacrifice. Every thing Hussain could do till now was through Your help and by Your Grace." Lastly Imam Hussain (a.s.) came into the field and was martyred, the details of which merciless slaughter are heart rending. The forces of Yazid having killed Imam Hussain (a.s.), cut and severed his head from his body and raised it on a lance. The severed head of the Holy Imam (a.s.) began glorifying Allah (swt) from the point of the lance saying,` Allahu Akbar'. "All glory be to Allah Who is the Greatest!" After the wholesale, merciless and most brutal slaughter of the Holy Imam (a.s.) with his faithful band, the helpless ladies and children along with the ailing son of Imam Hussain (a.s.), Imam Ali Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.), were taken captives.
Some Sayings of the Holy Prophet (sawa) During his Lifetime with Reference to Imam Husayn (as)
1. Hassan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) are the leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
2. Hussain (a.s.) is from me and I am from Hussain (a.s.) , Allah befriends those who befriend Hussain (a.s.) and He is the enemy of those who bear enmity to him.
3. Whoever wishes to see such a person who lives on earth but whose dignity is honoured by the Heaven dwellers, should see my grandson Hussain (a.s.).
4. O my son! your flesh is my flesh and your blood is my blood, your are a leader, the son of a leader and the brother of a leader; your are a spiritual guide, the son of a spiritual guide and the brother of a spiritual guide; you are an Apostolic Imam , the son of an Apostolic Imam and the brother of an Apostolic Imam; you are the father of nine Imams, the ninth of whom would be the Oaim (the last infallible spiritual guide).
5. The punishment inflicted on the murderer of Hussain (a.s.) in Hell would be equal to half of the total punishment to be imposed on the entire sinners of the world.
6. When the Holy Prophet (phuh&hf) informed Hazrat Fatimah (s.a.) of the Martyrdom in store for his grandson, she burst into tears and asked, "O my father! when would my son be martyred?" "In such a critical moment," he replied," When neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive. " This accentuated her grief and she inquired again," Who then, O my father, would commemorate Hussain's martyrdom?". The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf) said, "The men and the women of a particular sect of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlul-Bayt, will mourn for Hussain and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century."