On the third day of the blessed month of Sha'ban, the fourth year after Hijrah and a year after the birth of Imam Hasan (A.S.), the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) was given the news of the birth of Imam Husain (A.S.). He hurried to the house of Imam Ali and Fatima al-Zahra '.
"O Asma '. " he ordered Asma ', the daughter of Umays , "bring me my son."
She took the newborn to him. The infant was wrapped in a piece of cloth. The face of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) lit up upon seeing his grandson. He took him in his arms. He recited the call to prayer (azan) into his right ear, and read the shorter version (iqama) in his left ear. He, then, placed the baby in his lap and wept.
" May my father and mother be your sacrifice, " Asma' asked him, " why are you crying?"
"Because of my son," he replied.
He is a newborn baby," she said.
"O Asma'," he said, " After me, the transgressing party will kill him. May Allah never grant them my intercession."
Then he said: "Asma', do not tell Fatima about this, for she has just given birth to him."
At that moment, the revelation descended on the beloved Messenger, Muhammad (S.A.W.), with the name of the infant. Having received the divine order, the Messenger (S.A.W.) looked at Imam Ali (A.S.) and said:
"Name him Husain."
The Status of Imam Husain (A.S.):
Imam Husain (Abu Abdulla) (A.S.) had a lofty position in the Qur'anic verses which mentioned his high position with the position of Ahlul-Bait (A.S.). next to the verses of the Glorious Qur'an like the verse of Purification, Malediction, Affection and others, we quote statements, from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) as additional evidence expressing the lofty position occupied by Imam Husain (A.S.) in the world of Islam and the Muslim Ummah. Some of them are:
1. In the Sahih of Tirmidi, The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
"Husain is from me and I am from Husain, Allah loves whoever loves Husain."
2. Salman Farsi is reported to have said: I heard the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) saying: "Hasan and Husain are my two sons. Whoever loves them, then he loves me and whoever loves them then Allah loves him. And whomsoever Allah loves, He will make him enter Paradise. And whoever dislikes them then dislikes me. And whoever Allah dislikes, He will throw him into hell face downward."
3. Ali bin Husain (A.S.) said, on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather (A.S.), "The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) took the arms of Hasan and Husain and said, 'Whoever loves me and loves these two and their father, he will certainly be with me on the Day of Judgement."
Aspects of His Character:
Under the supervision of his grandfather (S.A.W.), his father, and his mother, al-Zahra' ( peace be upon them all), the aspects of his characters fused together personifying the Message of Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, in thought, action and conduct. Here, we cite some examples regarding him:
Shu'aid bin Abdul-Rahman is reported to have said: "On the way to Taf (Battle of Karbala'), wherein he was martyred) a mark was seen on the back of Husain bin Ali (A.S.). Imam Zainul-Abideen (A.S.) (his eldest son, and the son who survived the battle) was asked about it. "It is the trace," he replied, "of the bag, which he puts on his back (carrying food) to the house of the widows, orphans and the poor."
Another example, reflecting his humble nature is that of his acceptance of an invitation to having food with the poor. He encountered a number of poor men. Having had their food they hastened to ask him to share with them. He dismounted from his horse saying: "Surely, Allah does not like the haughty." He partook of their food and said: "I have accepted your invitation won't you accept mine?"
"Certainly, we will," said they. He took them to his house and said to al-Rabab, his wife, "Bring us what you have been storing."
2. One day he was asked, "How great is your fear of your lord?"
"No one would be secure on the Day of Judgement except those who feared Allah" he replied."
The night before the tenth of the month of Muharram, Imam Husain (A.S.) asked the Ummayad army to delay the battle till the following morning. He said: "This night we want to offer our prayers to our Lord, and we want to ask His forgiveness. He knows that I love to offer my prayers to Him, recite His Book, and pray much asking for His forgiveness."
Imam Husain Revived Islam:
Whoever follows the life of Imam Husain bin Ali (A.S.) will deeply realize that his role in Islamic life started very early. While still a young man, he contributed, effectively, to the rising movement of Islam. Eminent was his role during the Imamat of father, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (A.S.) and side by side with his brother Imam Hasan (A.S.).
In the wake of Imam Husain's (A.S.) departure to his Exalted Lord, Imam Husain's (A.S.) role entered a new phase due to the complications which sprung up in the midst of the Ummah, since the role of any Imam from the house of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), is defined by the nature of the social, ideological and political developments of his time.
Indeed, Imam Husain (A.S.) faced the deviated Ummayad plot in the Islam and, also, the difficult conditions which the Ummah lived in. He (A.S.) also lived its danger proportions after the signing of the peace do*****ent between Mu'awiya and Imam Hasan (A.S.). The following goals figure in Mu'awiya's notorious plan:
1.Unleashing a wave of terror, and embarking on elimination of all opposition forces, particularly the followers of Imam Ali (A.S.). They were hunted down, and every means of oppression and terror was employed to silence every free voice.
Mu'awiya wrote to his governors:
"Whoever is accused of being loyal to these people severely punish him and tear down his house."
In short and expressive words Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.) depicts this bloody tragedy. He says:
"Our true followers were killed in every city. Hands and legs were cut off at the slightest suspicion. Whoever was reported to love us or had any contact with us would either be imprisoned or robbed of his property or his house destroyed. Oppression increased in volume and became unduly harsh, till the time of Ubaidulla bin Ziyad, the murderer of Husain (A.S.)."
Ibn Atheer, a historian, recorded the bloody account of events that took place during the time of Mu'awiya. He said:
"After Ziyad appointed Sumre, temporarily, as a governor of Basra, the latter killed great numbers of people. Ibn Sirin said: 'During the absence of Ziyad, Sumra put to the sword eight thousand men'. 'Don't you fear you have killed an innocent person?', Ziyad asked Sumra. 'Had I killed a double number I would never have feared',replied Sumra.
Sawari Adwi said: 'Sumra had killed, during a single day, forty-seven of my companions. All of them had memorized the Qur'an."
2. Dispersing money for the sake of buying-out men, and weakening their Islamic character, and helping the deviant policy of Mu'awiya to fulfill its devilish objectives. In reality, two kinds of men were exposed:
A. A number of preachers and traditionists whose role was outrageous in working in favor of Mu'awiya. They forged traditions and falsely attributed them to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) in order to deprecate Imam Ali (A.S.) and all members of his family.
B. Leading social men who might act against the Ummayad rule. It was a policy practiced by Mu'awiya and the other rulers of the Ummayad dynasty.
War of starvation. It was the most effective weapon used by the Ummayads. The Muslim Ummah felt humiliated and unable to change the rulers. His (Mu'awiya) recorded directive, which he sent to his governors in this respect said: "See to it that whoever is proven, by irrefutable evidence, to love Ali and his household, his name should be erased from the public register, and his pay and food allotment should be dropped."
The economic structure during that period was thoroughly recorded by the historians. They wrote about the disturbed scales of economic distribution. Individuals were the possessors of great wealth. Certain ones took advantage of the Ummayad influence from the outset, during the latter years of the rightly guided caliphs, at which time they literally piled up money. For example:
"Amru bin Aas the governor of Egypt under Mu'awiya, left a wealth amounting to 325,000 Dinars (gold), 1000 dirhams (silver), crops worth 200,000 dinar in Egypt and the well-known estate in Egypt, which was worth 10,000 (gold) Dinars."
4.Breaking the bonds holding the Muslim Ummah as one entity by stirring up the nationalist, tribal and regional spirit among the different groups and reviving the spirit of sectarianism of the Arabs against the non-Arab Muslims.
5. Assassination of Imam Hasan bin Ali (A.S.) as he was the legitimate symbol of original Islam.
6. Crowning Yazid, a corrupt wine-drinker and gambler, as the new ruler after Mu'awiya.
The mandate given to Yazid to lead the Muslim Ummah, plan its future, and define its course of action meant in reality, the liquidation of the Islamic existence. It was an actual regression from it shrouded in another attire.
Yazid, as history testifies, was overwhelmed by deviation in his thought, practices and feelings. It is on wonder that our history brims over with stories about Yazid's daily practices which were immersed in deviation, under the noses of the majority of the Muslims in Syria. He plunged himself into debauchery, vain entertainment, alcohol-drinking, womanizing and singing. He was so careless and morally corrupt that he used to put gold bangles on his dogs.
The historian, Baladuri said:
"Yazid had a monkey named Abi Qais... that he would bring along with him to where he and his associates would drink wine. He would place a pillow for his monkey which was very vile. He would carry it on a wild she-ass, which had been tamed, with a saddle and reign. Abi Qais would take part in competitions against horses on a fixed day."
Another historian, Ibn Atheer, said:
"It is narrated that Yazid was well-known for playing stringed instruments, drinking wine, singing, hunting, occupying himself with lads, female singers and dogs. He used to make rams, bears and monkeys to fight each other. No day passed unless he was drunkard. He also used to strap a monkey to a horse having a saddle and make it ride it and make the monkey wear caps of gold and, likewise, the lads he associated with. When a monkey died, he expressed his sorrow for it. It was said that the reason for his death was that once he carried a young monkey and made it dance and it bit him."
If the caliph behaves like this, what about the others. In this respect, an historian, Mas'oodi said:
"Yazid's governors and officials were influenced by his corruption. During his rule singing spread throughout Madinah. Musical instruments were used. People began to drink wine in public."
Since Mu'awiya decided to appoint his son, Yazid as the caliph of the Muslims after him and which is opposite to the principles of Islam and its regulations, this decision stimulated the Islamic public opinion, particularly the well-known Islamic personalities in the society. And, so, the Ummah stood at the threshold of a new stage in its history. Ahead of it there were two choices:
1. Either to develop a strong rejection of the type of life being imposed on it, whatever the price.
2 .Or to accept the de facto life, wherein it had to give up its message, the source of its greatness and symbol of its pride among other nations.
The Uprising: Why?
If we study the life of Imam Husain (A.S.), the events he witnessed, and the cir*****stances which beset him, we will easily detect the fact that he had no chance whatsoever of scoring, materialistically speaking, a victory over the oppressive authorities of the Ummayads.
Though he was quite sure that he would be killed, he was insisting on starting his uprising and standing his ground till the tragically inevitable end.
Why did he insist so? Rather, why was the uprising?
Without Imam Husain's revolution, the way represented by the Ummayad being in all its deviations, oppression and corruption, was the one which represented Islam in the minds of mankind till the present time