Who Was Actually IMAM HUSSEIN (PBUH) ?

Who Was Actually IMAM HUSSEIN (PBUH) ?

In the Glorious Quran:

"Should anyone argue with you concerning him, after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly, and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars"(3:61).

The above verse refers to 5 personalities, which were regarded by the Almighty Allah, who were trusted by His lordship as his representatives, unanimously agreed by all sects of Muslims, capable of cursing the liars. History tells the fact that no other individual or group has ever been so explicitly mentioned in the Holy Quran. Who were the sons mentioned above, Imam Al-Hasan (PBUH), Imam Al-Hussein (PBUH), referred above as our sons, Imam Ali Ibn-Abi Talib (PBUH), and Holy Fatima Zahra, (PBUH), referred as our women, Ali Ibn-Abi Talib (PBUH), referred above as ourselves, and the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) himself.

Who was actually Imam Hussein? It is the Quran which speaks about him. What was the background of this exceptionally unique and great personality. This prominent man of history, the legend of epics, the word of pride and honor was the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP), the son of his daughter Fatima al-Zahra and her husband the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali Ibn-Abi Talib (PBUH).


The Martyr Imam Hussein (PBUH) was born in Medina on the fifth of Shaaban according to some sources and 3rd Shaban according to other sources, the year 4 A.H. (626 A.D). The prophetic family applauded his birth. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) himself named him Hussein. He sacrificed a ram on his grandson’s birth. On the testament of the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HP), he and his brother are the two lords of youth of Heaven and by unanimous agreement; they were the grandsons of the Prophet of Mercy.

Both Imam Al-Hasan and al-Hussein (PBUTH) were like the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and the two dear ones of the Apostle of God among all family and children.

Zadhan reported on the authority of Salman:

"I heard the Prophet (PBUH&HP), said concerning of Imams al-Hasan and al-Hussein, "O God, I love both of them. Therefore love them and love whoever loves them", Then he said: “Whoever loves al-Hasan and al-Hussein, is one whom I love and whomever I love, God loves, and whomever God loves, He will cause to enter Heaven. Whoever hates them, I hate, God hates, and whomever God hates, He will cause to enter the Fire”. Then he added: “These two sons of mine are my two plants of sweet basil (to sweeten) the world”. Kitab-ul-Irshad; P.296.

Imam al-Hussein (PBUH) was raised under the care of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP), his daughter Holy Fatima (PBUH) and the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (PBUH). Imam Hussein (PBUH) imbibed prophetic morals and drank deeply of the Islamic principles of justice and righteousness, who used to carry him and his elder brother Imam Hasan (PBUH) in his arms and declare expansively in front of companions. "O Allah, love them and love those who love them".

He expressed his deeply felt love for Imam Hasan and Imam Hussein (PBUTH) in these words "These two sons of mine are my two plants of sweet basil in this world".(IBID).

Imam Hussein (PBUH) was introduced to Ummah (Islamic nation), while still in the bloom of his childhood as a martyr. His status was identified by the Prophet of Allah lest the Ummah do him harm.

Thus, Imam Hussein was in the heart of the Prophet of Allah and described in his divine message. He was brought up in the noblest and most dignified house in Islam. Namely the house of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP). Imam Hussein (PBUH) partook of his virtues and principles. Hence, he was the symbol of piety and the example of faithfulness, asceticism and worship. He was unflinching and brave in defending the Ummah of magnificently outstanding personality against cruelty and oppression. He firmly adhered to right and was strong willed and never feared the censure of any censurer in defending the divine laws.

It is because of these majestic attributes, his ingenious personality, and his lofty social rank that Imam HUSSEIN (PBUH) was destined to become dynamic, active force in the Islamic History and his life a brilliant testament leaving an indelible mark on all generations. Honor enshrined and visage of Imam Hussein in the heart of every freedom-loving individual who knows humanity's real worth and the merit of principle and values. The Muslims loved the household of Prophet (PBUH&HP) and revered Imam Hussein (PBUH) as one of the Imams from his household. (Imam Hussein (PBUH) and the Day of Ashura, P.13).

He is the example for self-conscious, uncompromising revolutionary. The one who advocated the rights of the oppressed. He is one of the nearest relatives of the Prophet whom Allah orders us to love: "…Say,‘I do not ask you any reward for it except the love of [my] relatives”(42-23).

Decades passed by. The disobedient forgot the words of the Prophet of Allah regarding the high rank of Imam Hussein (PBUH). They caused grief to the Apostle of Allah by brutally killing his grandson. "Ibne Umar reminded Muslims of this as it was reported that "once Ibne Umar was asked about the hajj (pilgrimage) and whether it was permissible to kill flies. He retorted, "The people of Iraq ask me about the killing of flies during hajj, whereas they had killed the son of the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP). The Prophet of Allah referred to them as 'My two plants of sweet basil of this world'. (Imam Hussein (PBUH) and the Day of Ashura, P.11-12).

History provides another insight, taken from Anas bin Malik, in which he compared two scenes; the first of which was that of the Prophet of Allah kissing Imam Hussein (PBUH) on his mouth and hugging him. The second one showed Ibn. Ziyad the Ummayed Governor of Kufa, following the martyrdom of Hussein (PBUH) poking the head of Hussein (PBUH) which had been placed in a basin. (The Day of Ashura, p.12)


"After the murder of Hussein bin Ali (PBUH), his head was carried to Ibn-Ziyad who started to poke at the teeth with his cane and said. "He was good looking', 'let me disturb you', I said, "I saw the Prophet of Allah kiss the place you poke at on his mouth". This account was reported by al-Dhah'hak.

Abu-Bakr said: "I heard the Prophet of Allah saying : Hassan and Hussein are the two lords of the youth of paradise" (Day of Aushura, p.12).

The Other sayings of the Prophet regarding Imam Hussein (PBUH) during his life time are:

1. "Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein, Allah be friend of those who be friend of Hussein and he is the enemy of those who bear enmity to him.

2. Whoever wishes to be such a person who lives on earth but whose dignity is honored by the heaven-dwellers, should see my grandson Hussein.

3. The punishment inflicted on the murderer of Hussein in Hell be equal to half of the total punishment to be imposed on the entire sinners of the world.

4. O my son! thy flesh is my flesh and thy blood is my blood; thou art a leader, the son of a leader and the brother of a leader; thou art a spiritual guide, the son of a spiritual guide and the brother of a spiritual guide; thou art an Apolistical Imam, the son of an Apolistical Imam and the brother of an Appolistical Imam; thou art the father of nine Imams, the ninth of whom would be the Imam Mahdi Qaim(PBUH).(the last infallible spiritual guide).

5. When the Holy Prophet informed Holy Fatima 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," replied the Holy Prophet, "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 Hussein's martyrdom?". The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: "The men and women of a particular sect of my followers, who will be friend of my Ahlu-l-bayt, will mourn for Hussein and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century. (A brief History of Fourteen Infallibles. P.100-101).

Honor enshrined the visage of Hussein (PBUH) in the heart of every freedom-loving individual who knows humanity's real worth and the merit of principle and values. The Muslims loved the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and revered Hussein (PBUH) as one of the Imams from this household the magnetic power of Hussein (PBUH) made emotions overflow and the hearts cling passionately to him, Poets, generations after generations, during these fourteen centuries created inspired verse concerning him." (The Day of Ashura, pp.12-13)


Hussein (PBUH) made no secret of the true motives behind his leaving Medina and why he was declaring war against Yazid. He gave unambiguously clear answers to those who wanted to know. He outlined the identity of his movement, and the principles according to which he would challenge the new Ummayad regime. All the above points were listed in a letter he sent to his brother Mohammad bin-al-Hanafiyyah.

He underlined, further, that the deterioration of the political, social and ideological situation and his onerous responsibility for reforming the ummah, impelled him to move and leave Medina, to lead the opposition against the new Ummayad rule. His letter read:

"I am not taking up arms in order to make merry, or be ecstatic over what I possess, I am not making mischief, nor exercising oppression. But, I am ready to fight for the sole goal of seeking reform of the Ummah of my grandfather the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP). I want to enjoin good and forbid evil and guide the affairs of the people as my grandfather were doing."

He thus summed up the cause behind his refusal in giving pledge of allegiance to Yazid:

"Yazid is a corrupt man, who imbibes wine, puts to death the soul which Allah forbids to be harmed and declares his debauchery in public. A man like me would never give pledge of allegiance to him."

As well known by both Imam Hussein (PBUH) and the generality of the ummah. Yazid was obviously unfit to lead. He was a libertine, whose key focus was on making mischief. Yazid was totally engrossed in womanising, drinking wine, playing with monkeys, reciting poetry, horse-racing and hunting.

"The entire ummah agrees upon the fact that leadership ought not to be granted to anyone who lacks the ability of being exemplary leader in his deeds, morals and understanding the import of the divine laws. He must also be politically efficient. Thus, how could Imam Hussein (PBUH) the son of the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and the sole leader of the ummah, the center of the hopes of the people-yield to Yazid"?

"It was for those reasons that Imam Hussein (PBUH) declined to give an oath of allegiance to Yazid and set his heart on taking up arms against him. He made his case public in his correspondence with his followers in different cities of the Islamic state, making it clear why he chose to rise. In the meantime, he explained the deviations being instituted by the oppressive and deviant regime".

"He also wrote to the key leaders of Basrah, who were Malik bin Masma, al- Ahnaf bin Qays, al-Munthir bin al-Jarood, Mas'ud bin Amru, Qays bin al-Haytham and Amru bin Obayed bin Mu'ammir. One of his retainers, Sulayman (Aba-Razin) delivered the letter to them. It reads:

". . . I call you to abide by the Book Of Allah and the practice of His Apostle (PBUH&HP). The Prophet's practice is put aside, and heterodoxy revived. Should you grasp my words and obey me, then, I will most certainly lead you along the path of righteousness. And may Allah bestow peace and mercy on you".(Imam Hussein and the Day of Aushura, P.35)

"Hussein (PBUH) viewed questions of state, politics, the ummah, leadership and Imamate from the perspective of Qur'an. As opposed to that, Yazid viewed these questions from his castle of oppression. Leadership, in the eyes of Imam Hussein (PBUH), was a vehicle to place the Islamic nation on the road of guidance and reform, a means to nourish people with divine laws and build their characters and a tool to organize life and develop it towards good and perfection" (Ibid. p.35).

Reviewing the Imam's letters, arguments, sermons and correspondence, along with political, economic  and social circumstances of the time, we can deduce the following realities:

1. Oppression and monopoly of power on the part of the Ummayads was a fact. A distinct political class had taken shape. A tribal base party came into being which was the Ummayd group.

2. Murder, terror and shedding of blood prevailed.

3. The ummah's wealth was wastefully spent. A capitalist class came to light besides poverty and destitution. The majority of the government officials were lacking the qualifications to discharge their duties.

4. Behavioral deviation became a social phenomenon. Corruption crept steadily into public life and its symptoms appeared in both individual and group behavior.

5. Law took a leave. The whims and private interests of the rulers and governors substituted for the Sharia at critical points of the life of the ummah.

6. A group of people assigned with distorting the traditions of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and forging new, false traditions appeared. Dialectic groups such as the fatalists were formed to find suitable pretexts for the deviant political behavior of the rulers." (The Day of Aushura, P. 33-36).

Mua'via bin Abi-Sufyan decided to annihilate the opposition leaders of the followers and supporters of the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). He put to sword such a large number of them that history cannot state exactly their number.

It is here deemed necessary to list a few of them:

One was Hijr bin Uday, who was a revered companion of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), Whom al-Hakim in his book “Al-Mustadrak alas-Sahihain, P.38” described as the monk of companions of Muhammad (PBUH&HP).

"Imam Hussein (PBUH) protested the slaying of this deeply respected friend of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), along with his companions. The protest was recorded in a letter he sent to Muavia bin Abi-Sufyan. Imam Hussayn (PBUH) praised therein this righteous political personage in these words:

"Are not you the muderer of Hijr from the tribe of Kendi, along with his fellow worshippers, who were condemning injustice, those who deemed the present heterodoxies a transgression of the faith and who would not fear the retribution of any one? You have aggressively and unjustly slain them after giving them strongly sworn oaths and testaments:,(referring to the fifth item of the peace treaty) that you would never punish them something that transpired between you and them, nor because of a grudge you held for them" (The Day of Aushura, p.38).

Owing to their firm opposition to Muawia and the announcement of their loyalty to Imam Ali (PBUH) and his offspring, a number of Hijr's companions were also slain, namely:
1. Sharik bin Shaddah al-Hadhrani.
2. Sayfi bin Shaddad al-Shybani.
3. Abdur Rehman bin Hassan al-Inzi.
4. Qabish bin Rabi'ah al-Ibsi.
5. Kidam bin Hayyan al-Inzi.
6. Mihriz bin Shihab bin Bujayr bin Sufyan bin Khalid bin Munquir al-Tamimi.

The following political figures were also killed who were supporters of Imam Ali (PBUH).

1. Amru bi al-Humq al-Khuza'i, a venerated companion of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), was beheaded in Mosul and head was transferred to Damascus. That was the first head in the history to be taken from one place to another.

2. Abdullah bin Yahya al-Hadhrani and his companions.

3. Rashid al-Hujari, whose legs and arms were cut off before he was killed.

4. Juwairiyah bin Musahhir al-abdi.

5. Awfar bin Hossyn.