Hussain the son of Ali and the grandson of Muhammad took a stand against Yazid’s evil rule. Whilst Yazid was feared and hated for his ruthlessness, Hussain was loved and respected by society. Yazid realised this, and understood that if he could convince Hussain to support him, the people would too.
Hussain had a choice. To support the tyrant and live a comfortable life full of luxury, or to refuse and likely be killed for his decision. What should he do? What would you or I do? For Hussain he could not live his life as a supporter of tyranny, and the choice for him was simple. Hussain refused. He said “I only desire to spread good values and prevent evil”
Having refused to support Yazid, Hussain knew his life was in danger. Yazid did not allow anyone to oppose him, and adopted a policy of killing those who disagreed with him. Cautious of this, Hussain decided to leave his hometown of Medina, and take his family Mecca.
Mecca, the capital city of Islam and home to the Ka’ba, Hussain hoped Yazid would respect the holy city and not follow Hussain and his family. However, Yazid did not. Forced to leave Mecca, Hussain set course for Kufa. A city in Iraq where he had received letters of support from. Yazid predicted this and sent a huge army to block Hussain from reaching Kufa, and force them to the desert town of Karbala.
Once they reached Karbala, Hussain with his family 72 companions were surrounded by Yazid’s forces of up to 30,000 men. Despite being hugely outnumbered and with limited access to water, Hussain refused to give up. Yazid gave Hussain a final choice. To either support the government or be killed.
After receiving the final ultimatum from Yazid, Hussain realised he would be killed in a matter of days.
Hussain gathered his companions and urged them to escape. He explained that it was him who Yazid wished to kill, and not them. Again, Hussain’s selflessness shone through. Having been deprived of water in the hot desert, he urged his supporters to save themselves.
Despite this, Hussain’s men stayed loyal to him and stayed true to their principles. Within a few days Yazid ordered his army to kill Hussain and his companions. When the dust settled, Hussain and his companions were killed. Throughout the forces of Yazid promised him he could leave freely if he chooses to support Yazid, but every time Hussain refused and was eventually killed, holding firmly to his principles.
After his death, Hussain’s family were taken captive. His sister, Zainab, took up the role of leadership and gave an inspiring speech in Yazid’s palace, condemning his actions and his style of leadership.
Zainab was one of the first to be inspired by Hussain’s stand and his principles. Despite the sexism that existed in society at the time, she refused to be silent and held Yazid and his ministers to account for their role in the moral decay of society.
Hussain’s example is that one man can stand against an army, and in giving his life inspire those after him to overthrow the abusive Umayyad dynasty. Just as those who lived in the 7th century were inspired by Hussain’s stand, so are the millions today who pay homage to Hussain for his stand and mourn his death. People from all around the world visit the grave of Hussain in Karbala to pay their respects