Karbala will never lose its relevance till the end of the time when the world will be filled with justice. It will continue to watershed good from evil, injustice from justice and truth from the mendacities.
Compassion has two phases that are Karbala and Damascus
One that scripted by Hussain and the other by Zainab
Karbala will never lose its relevance till the end of the time when the world will be filled with justice. It will continue to watershed good from evil, injustice from justice and truth from the mendacities. Karbala indicates a critical message that amplifies compassion and the virtue of truth and rightfulness and discourages trading it for power, prestige and materials. The Islamic calendar starts with the sighting of the crescent, and a big group of Muslims start mourning and rising black flags to show their loyalty towards Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), the grandson of the prophet of Islam(peace be upon him), who was massacred on the 10th day of Muharram in the Seventh century in the deserts of Karbala.
The heart of Karbala is a fountainhead of messages for humanity, and generations after generations discover these messages and build philosophies and ideologies. Many scholars have termed the ideas that generate from the episode of Karbala as ‘Karbala Paradigm’. The paradigm consists of the value system that comes to mind after just recalling the name Karbala’; amongst is the most important that is victory in being oppressed, viability and being in death, thrust but the ability to saturate, self-realisation, acknowledgement of truth and the beauty. Karbala Paradigm is evidently translated into welfare and emancipation of people. It has commenced reformations, resistance and sprang revolutions in various societies and influenced resilient people abundantly.
The close analysis of the nuances of the Karbala paradigm indicates that it works at various levels. On the one hand, it is impregnated with political messages, but on the other, it emphasises human interactions and social responsibilities. It is a thoroughfare to the peak of spiritual gains. Various shreds of evidence substantiate the validity of the diversity of the paradigm. Not going too far away into history, the end of the atrocious rule of the Pahlavis in Iran was primarily influenced by the values and idea of the paradigm. The Lebanese Shias and other marginals rose only by holding up the Karbala paradigm, breaking the shackles of structural marginality and emerging as a vocal voice in the region.
However, this article focuses on the compassionate character building of an individual that is an utmost harvest of the paradigm. The fundamental association of an individual with the Karbala paradigm starts not through dogmatism but with compassion and empathy that is imitated in tears, heartaches that take an individual to Karbala, and it is called Azadari. This linkage is not even in a religious form but has a universal human incline. The anecdote that is narrated through poetry or sermons (sometimes passion plays) establishes the connection, and every marginal, heartbroken, hopeless, oppressed, abandoned, pained, disenchanted and distressed identify with the Imam and his companions. In return, the Imam gives a ray of hope, beauty, strength, faith, disillusionment, resilience, and it reveals the truth of life.
The first trait that I want to intellectualise here is the predominance of the compassion reflected in the father-daughter relation of Imam Hussain and Little Sakina and lessons concealed in it. This relation is absolutely contrary to how modern societies perceive a father-daughter interaction. The association is based on love and loyalty.
The first trait that I want to intellectualise here is the predominance of the compassion reflected in the father-daughter relation of Imam Hussain and Little Sakina and lessons concealed in it. This relation is absolutely contrary to how modern societies perceive a father-daughter interaction. The association is based on love and loyalty. Sacrifice for each other and togetherness on the path of emancipation is the core of the relation. Here, Imam Hussain calls Little Sakina as a source of his contentment. This relation lays a foundation of compassion and fills hearts with a unique kind of love for our little daughters.
Secondly, the ultimate truth that is revealed by the Karbala Paradigm, and is still relevant, is the agential character of Lady Zainab. Studying the chain of events that resulted in the Karbala massacre, the essence of Lady Zainab is predominant. Compassion for the principles and strength of belief made Lady Zainab a staunch supporter of the movement of Imam Hussain. The determination and resolve that the lady revealed is still a bacon-light for the resilient women. It was not easy to confront a vast and ruthless army of Yazid and stand outright with the truth and legitimacy. Nonetheless, the lady, driven by the peculiarity of compassion, confronted the tyrants at their highest seats of power and spoke the truth at their faces.
Finally, speaking about compassion and not mentioning Abbas ibn Ali will not allow the argument to authenticate. It is the compassionate appeal of Hazrat Abbas that hooks the hearts of the believers. The poets, Sufis and believers have romanticised Abbas throughout the centuries, and it became the nucleus of compassion that strengthened various movements. Amongst countless contributions on the day of Ashura, Abbas will be remembered for fetching water for the children but being massacred before reaching them. On this falling on the battlefield, Abbas declines to be returned to the children as a corpse. The words that are associated with Abbas are powerful tools of compassion that were employed at the battlefield. In a similar fashion, Abbas’s loyalty towards Imam Hussain is also a great classic model of compassion, faith, and loyalty.
The inculcation of compassion in character building is the utmost outcome of the paradigm. Many psychologists have agreed that constant reiteration of a lesson increases the efficacy of the lesson. The annual reappearance of Muharram proceedings also reinforces the lessons. The proceedings bring the Karbala to life and take mourners back to the Seventh century and catechise the participants to choose between Imam Hussain and Yazid; upright and evil, oppressed and oppressor, resilience and despotism, and in this open training, participants are expected to choose Hussain and continue choosing Hussain in their lives.
To conclude, the messages of the Karbala Paradigm is multiply layered and cannot be fixed to one matter. The need is to explore and experience these messages and employ them in the current situation. It is not only sufficient to build one’s character but shape a society that is deprived and distressed. Maintaining compassion under the hurricane of greed, lies, pretences, betrayal, oppression is a significant achievement of Karbala, and it makes it relevant for every moment of human life.
Author hails from Budgam Kashmir is a Research Scholar and lecturer of Political Science, Columnist and author, having PhD in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. (Email:firstname.lastname@example.org)