by Ali Abbas Taj @aliabbastaj
Arbaeen at Karbala that concluded on 13th December is the largest human gathering in history to commemorate Imam Hussain’s universal stance for freedom, dignity and justice. Over 17 million people participated in this event to commemorate Imam Hussain.
Unfortunately, the global media provided both an insufficient and flawed picture of this mammoth event. BBC was a typical culprit with its typically biased and simplistic take on the event:
“He was killed in a 7th Century battle for the leadership of the Muslim world, a defining event that helped seal the schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims.”
The schism had started much earlier but the actual codification into different sects began much later when students of the Sixth Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq were attributed to be the founders of the various schools of Sunnism. At the time of the Karbala, muslims were divided into Shia (partisans) of Imam Ali and Muawiyah Ibne Abu Sufyan -the founder of the Umayyad dynasty of Caliphs. Shia and Sunni, followers of Shia or Sunni jurisprudence did not exist until time Abbasid times.
Several notable partisans of Muawiyah (or Uthmanis) fought alongside Hussain a.s. Similarly most of those who fought under the Rightly Guided Caliph Ali fought against Hussain, as they considered Yazid their Caliph.
Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet refused to submit allegiance to the tyrannical regime of Yazid Bin Muawiya – whose ascension to the Caliphate was against the very Treaty that was earlier agreed upon by his father and predecessor Muawiya. For defying tyranny, Imam Hussain and his close family and friends – which included Christians and even Hindus as per the narrative of the Hussaini Brahmins of South Asia – were martyred in the sands of Karbala. The surviving women and children from the family of the Holy Prophet were then chained and presented in the court of the despotic Ummayad caliph Yazid Bin Muawiya.
Like other media conglomerates, BBC also engages in the simplistic Sunni vs Shia binaries. The Arbaeen gathering at Karbala included not just Shias but Sunnis, Sufis and even Christians.
Arbaeen is a way to remember that one should always stand up to oppression and stand with the oppressed
Like Gandhi said:
“I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”
Arbaeen is a truly open, inclusive and global event and its coverage, woefully inadequate. Arbaeen stands in stark contrast to the activities of ISIS. In London, England, those who commemorated Arbaeen were clear in their opposition to ISIS
Readers are requested to Politely get in touch with the major media houses (BBC, CNN, CBS, NBC) and inquire as to why Arbaeen was not provided with adequate and informed coverage. Those who commemorate the freedom struggle of Imam Hussain are the largest victims of Salafi-Deobandi terrorist groups like ISIS. The muslim world is split between those who want freedom and Justice and who stand with Imam Hussain vs the modern day Kharjites like ISIS who want destruction and oppression.