7 Lessons from the life of Imam Hussain A.S

by Abbas Adil

Aba Abdallah al-Hussain AS is the saviour of Islam as we know it. His stand on the Day of Ashura for the religion his Grandfather Prophet Muhammad (SAW) inspired generations upon generations across the world.

His timeless lessons are a constant guide for Muslims and non-Muslims almost 14 centuries later to be the ultimate servant for Allah and his messengers. Here are 7 lessons I’ve learnt from Imam Hussain AS.

1. Submission to Allah’s will
Imam Hussain knew about his fate from a young age when his Grandfather Prophet Muhammad SAW would mention how he will be left alone in a land called Karbala. Yet Imam Hussain AS always accepted his fate and even on the Day of Ashura when he was left all alone, he never doubted Allah’s plan.

Aba Abdallah’s submission to Allah SWT is most evident through the eloquence of Dua Arafat where, for the entirety, he was praising Allah and giving gratitude, and only at the end he asks for protection against the hellfire. This, therefore, teaches us a significant lesson in always submitting to Allah even in the most difficult times.

2. Never accept humiliation
Although it has been painted that it was Imam Hussain AS and his family who were the ones humiliated in the Battle of Karbala and its aftermath, the honour will always rest with the Imam AS and not Yazid.

Imam Hussain AS could have easily given allegiance to Yazid in Medina; but this would bring humiliation in that the essence of Islam would be destroyed in front of him by Yazid. Imam Hussain’s refusal to pledge allegiance to a tyrant is an important lesson for those who stay silent in front of the oppressors in that dying is more honourable than to live with humiliation; something Aba Abdallah AS himself mentioned in a speech.

3. Open to forgive
On the night before Ashura, Imam Hussain taught us an invaluable lesson on forgiveness. The commander of the opposition army, Hurr Ar-Riyahi, intercepted the caravan of Imam Hussain AS, forcing them to stop in the land of Karbala. When realising his mistakes, Hurr ran to the camp of Aba Abdallah, throwing himself at the Imam’s feet pleading for forgiveness.

Imam Hussain could easily not have forgiven Hurr, after all, it was his doing that left the Imam and his caravan in Karbala – however he forgave him straight away and assured that the Holy Prophet also has forgiven him. This serves as an important reminder that you should always forgive someone no matter what they have done for you if they are sincere in their apology.

4. Significance of Salah
In the midst of the battle of Karbala, Imam Hussain AS never forgot the importance of Salah. When it was time for Zuhr, Imam Hussain along with his companions stopped to pray even with Yazid’s army constantly shooting arrows towards them.

It is fitting, therefore, that we say in the Ziyarat of Imam Hussain that “I bear witness that you established salah”. The importance that Imam Hussain gave to Salah is a prompt for us to always prioritise Salah wherever we are and whatever we are doing.

5. Allegiance to Islam from a young age
Whilst Ashura is remembered the most, Imam Hussain had always given allegiance to the religion of Islam from a young age.

He supported the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW on the day of Mubahalah as well as being present in the incidence of Kisa; he and Imam Hasan AS at the ages of 7 and 8 were also called the masters of the youth of paradise by Rasulullah SAW. This shows us that there’s no age limit on servitude to Allah SWT and his messenger PBUH.

6. Enjoining good and forbidding evil
One of the main social messages of Imam Hussain AS was fighting against people’s ignorance. With the tyrants of the time blurring the lines between right and wrong, Imam Hussain vowed to sacrifice his life and the lives of his family and companions in order to enjoin good and forbid evil, which also shows his servitude to Islam.

Indeed he did; following his death there were uprisings of Ibn Al Zubayr and Mukhtar Al-Thaqafi which eventually led to the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate. This teaches us to always enjoin good and forbid evil even if it means sacrificing our own lives for the sake of Allah SWT.

7. Humility forms companionship
Imam Hussain AS was the grandson of the final messenger of Allah and was the son of Imam Ali AS, the most revered companion of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Yet Aba Abdillah was humbleness personified; he would never think of himself as superior to others.

It was his humility that drew many companions toward him including Hazrat Habib ibn Mazaheer who, even at his old age, came running to him when the Imam pleaded for help and it was his humility that had all of his companions itching to die for the Imam with Hazrat Qasim AS describing hid death “sweeter than honey”. Imam Hussain’s humility is something that we should aspire to replicate as it will allow us to form strong companionships.

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