An Everlasting Instruction, Imam al-Husayn’s Journey to Makka


Author(s): Abu Muhammad Zaynul Abidin

Category: Imam al-Husayn and Karbala


بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلی مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All- Merciful.

O Allah bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad (S)

I humbly present this short treatise to the Leader of Martyrs- Imam al-Husayn ('a), who sacrificed his noble life, family, and possessions entirely to save the 'truth', and thereby practically demonstrated a timeless model for emulation.

Abu Muhammad Zaynu’l 'Abidin

Introduction: Events of Truth are Everlasting

The Holy Qur’an illustrates 'the example of truth' in the following way:

مَا عِنْدَکُمْ یَنفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ

What is with you vanishes and what is with Allah will endure. (Holy Qur'an, 16:96)

 وَأَمَّا مَا یَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ فَیَمْکُثُ فِی الْأَرْضِ ۚ کَذَٰلِکَ یَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ 

…As for the scum, it disappears like froth cast out; and as for that which benefits mankind, it remains on the earth. This is how Allah sets forth parables. (13:17)

Every phenomenon of truth(1) is everlasting. The verse above likens clean water with truth and the scum over it with falsehood. Some phenomena resemble the scum on the water which finally evaporates and vanishes, while others resemble water which remains on earth and is beneficial to mankind.

Phenomena of truth resemble springs of pure water that quench every generation to come. They also benefit those who lived prior to their existence. Therefore their effect transcends time. Narratives indicate that the past Prophets of God after having been informed about what will befall the grandson of the last

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1- 'haqq' (lit. truth) is known to be so because it 'endures'. The verb 'haqqa' means 'thabata' (to endure).

Prophet of God (S) cursed his killers(1).

Hence the matter is beyond the confines of time or place. Such is the nature of an event of truth.

Those events which have Divine color always remain, but those phenomena which concern other than Allah never subsist. The Holy Qur’an says in this connection:

مَا عِنْدَکُمْ یَنفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ

What is with you vanishes and what is with Allah will endure...(16:96)

The Holy Prophet and his infallible progeny, upon whom be peace, were models of emulation for all times. This is because every act of theirs was in complete obedience to Almighty Allah and the truth. In the radiant Ziyara of Jami'a al-Kabira we address them as follows:

وَ الْحَقُّ مَعَکُمْ وَ فِیْکُمْ وَ مِنْکُمْ وَ…

And truth is with you, in you, from you and...

Therefore every move they made was 'the truth' and everlasting and for all places and ages to come. The nature of truth is such that it can never perish. Therefore every move, action, and thought of truth will never perish.

Imam al-Husayn’s Flight to Makka

The Holy Qur’an says:

إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْقَصَصُ الْحَقُّ

Surely this is an account of Truth. (3:62)

Historical records tell us that after Mu'awiya’s death, Yazid, his invalid issue, occupied the station of caliphate and wrote to his governor in Madina to force Imam al-Husayn (‘a) among others to pay the oath of allegiance to him, or else execute him.

When the Imam (‘a) is asked to pay his oath of allegiance to Yazid, he presents a rational exposition, worthy of consideration. He first introduces

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1- 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 44, pp. 243-244. Readers must also understand that 'cursing' the killers of the Imam ('a) and his loyal companions cannot be merely reduced to personal enmity with the perpetrators of the heinous crime. If one looks at the 'reality of the matter' he/she would come to realize that the sum total of one's personality is one's deeds. Small wonder it is that Almighty Allah describes the son of Nuh as "innahu 'amalun ghayru salihin" (Surely he is a bad deed, Holy Qur'an, 11:46). Therefore, our curse reflects (1) our hatred towards the deeds of the perpetrators of evil, and (2) our stance of being against them - Author

himself and then Yazid, and thereafter says:

مِثْلِی لاَ یُبَایعُ مِثْلَه

'My example [who it utterly submissive to Allah] cannot give his hand to the like of Yazid [who is an open sinner]"

In short, he ('a) says:

Premiss 1: I am a manifestation of truth.

Premiss 2: Yazid is a manifestation of falsehood.

Premiss 3: A manifestation of truth cannot unite with a manifestation of falsehood.

Conclusion: Hence I cannot agree to pay the oath of allegiance to him.

The interesting point here is that the Imam ('a) does not merely say "I will not pay the oath of allegiance to Yazid". Rather he says 'anyone like me (mithli) does not/cannot pay(1) the oath of allegiance to anyone like Yazid (mithlahu)".

Therefore, this statement is not a personal issue, but a universal lesson for all times and all places. It is a direction for every truth-seeker and informs the wrongdoers that a truth-seeker will never yield to falsehood.

Thereafter Imam al-Husayn ('a) resolves to leave Madina for Makka with his noble family members. This forms the basic anecdote of this short treatise. It is a move of truth towards Truth from the champion of truth (haqq) itself.

It is narrated in al-Irshad(2) that:

فسار الحسین (علیه السلام) إلی مکه و هو یقر أ " فَخَرَجَ مِنْها خائِفاً یَتَرَقَّبُ قالَ رَبِّ نَجِّنِی مِنَ الْقَوم الظَّالِمِین) و لزم الطریق الأعظم

Then al-Husayn ('a) journeyed to Makka while he recited the following verse [of the Qur'an]: 'And he left the place in the state of fear and apprehension; he said: 'O Lord, save me from

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1- Here la yubayi'u can be both narrative of the reality and informative as well. Thus by this statement one can inform his addressee the reality that (1) truth never unites with falsehood, and (2) truth will not unite with falsehood.
2- Shaykh Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, v. 2, p.33

the oppressors' (28:21) and he [the Imam] adhered to the main highway.

The above verse speaks of Prophet Musa (‘a)’s escape from Egypt when fleeing from Fir'awn, but is also applicable for Imam al-Husayn (‘a) too. Just as Musa (‘a) flees from Fir’awn and his comrades, al-Husayn (‘a) flees from the Fir’awn of his time.

The 'state of fear' in the verse however should not be mistaken for 'fear of death' for infallible leaders are far from such states. The fear in this verse perhaps was from any event that would hamper his path from fulfilling his mission of awakening the slumbering folk and reviving Islam in their hearts and minds of the Muslims. Thus he did not want to be martyred before he fulfills his mission.

Then when Imam al-Husayn ('a) reaches the outskirts and sees its mountains, he recites(1) the following verse of Qur'an:

وَ لَمَّا تَوَجَّهَ تِلْقاءَ مَدْیَنَ قالَ عَسی رَبِّی أَنْ یَهْدِیَنِی سَواءَ السَّبِیلِ

And when he turned his face towards Midian he said: 'maybe my Lord will show me the right way.' (28:22)

This verse also pertains to Prophet Musa ('a) when he enters the city of Midian. Imam al-Husayn ('a) by reciting the verse perhaps sought Divine help to carry out his mission of conveying his message and stance to all the Muslims of the world in the proper way. He seeks guidance so that he may fulfill his mission in the best possible manner.

The decision taken by Imam (‘a) to come to Makka reveals his timely move and

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1- Ibid.

extreme astuteness. He would have gone to other places suggested by his companions, as a result of which he would be safe from the calamities and able to adopt a life of repose.

However, he had a loftier mission, and the only way to carry out the same was to go to a place where he would get a global audience who would be able to communicate to their people the pathetic state of the government, so that every committed Muslim rises for the truth.

Reasons Behind Imam al-Husayn’s move to Makka


If one were to carefully analyze the reason why the Imam (‘a) left for Makka, he/she would be able to understand the sanctity of the move.

Following are reflections about the same:

1. The Importance of a Global Platform

In one of his historic statements Imam al-Husayn (‘a) clearly says that the main reason behind his uprising (in whatever stage it may be) is to seek reform in the Muslim nation. Then he describes the path he would undertake to meet this aspiration:

أُرِیْدُ أَنْ آمُرَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَ أَنْهَی عَنِ الْمُنْکَرِ

‘I would like to invite towards good and shun the evil.’(1)

In order for him to carry out this reform immediately, the best place to go to was Makka, where pilgrims from all over the Muslim world would come to perform 'Umra and Hajj. They would listen to his message, wake up, and relate the same to their people on their return.

Historical records tell us that while in Makka, Muslims from different countries would come to Imam al-Husayn ('a) day and night, and listen to

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1- 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 44, p. 328

what he had to say.

2. Opposition Against Falsehood

The flight of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) reveals the Imam's liberated spirit.

He never allowed himself to submit to any government that does not obey the laws of God. In fact it is a practical manifestation of ‘Islam’ (submission to the will of God). Submitting to every call of disbelief or polytheism is to alienate from the path of utter submission to Almighty Allah.

In Imam al-Husayn (‘a)’s not surrendering to falsehood and remaining very steadfast in his stance, he taught every future human being 'the lesson of steadfastness' by not submitting to falsehood and oppression. And this unwavering stance remained until the end of his ephemeral life.

3. Seeking Refuge in Allah

Imam al-Husayn ('a)'s move to Makka also alludes to something highly important. His flight to the Divine sanctity of safety, perhaps demonstrated that his only refuge is Allah in whose house there is always safety:

فِیهِ آیَات بَیِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَهِیمَ وَ مَن دَخَلَهُ کانَ ءَامِناً

In it are clear signs and whosoever enters therein is safe (3:97)

Seeking refuge in the Divine sanctity, however, should transport us to a loftier meaning: one who really seeks refuge in Allah is safe from all kinds of polytheism and oppression. It is not necessary for us to limit our understanding to the physical and tangible import of the verse.

The 'amn' and safety referred to in the verse, however, is a legislative direction (tashri') which creates responsibilities on the Muslim nation.

In other words, Almighty Allah commands us to observe security in His house. No one is allowed to

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shed blood there; no animal is to be injured, etc. But if some like Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, out of their disbelief, were to transgress the limits, they can endanger the lives of the like of the selfishly motivated 'Abdullah bin Zubayr who despite having sought asylum in the holy precincts of the Ka'ba was killed therein.

However, 'amn' (safety) can also refer to seeking the shelter of 'one's spirit' in Almighty Allah. This meaning can also be understood by looking at some recommended supplications to be recited near the Ka'ba:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّکَ قُلْتَ وَ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ کانَ آمِناً فَآمِنِّی مِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ

O Allah, surely You said: “ and whosoever enters therein he/she would be safe"; therefore, save me from the punishment of Hell Fire."(1)

Therefore, one who seeks the protection of his spirit from Almighty Allah would undoubtedly be safe from every calamity that would ruin his spiritual life. If his physical life were to be sold for an exalted aim, he would never lose. Instead he would attain a lofty station and eternal salvation.

If the leaders who govern Muslim nations of the world today were to understand and apply this lofty concept they would never assist terrorist regimes like Israel and the US, whose evil nature is more apparent than ever today.

Makka is a place where such thoughts must soak our hearts and minds, for indeed Muslims should undergo a new revolution. Every concerned Muslim should try to understand and heed to the call of Imam al-Husayn ('a) which still

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1- Thiqatu'l Islam al-Kulayna, Al-Kafi, v.4, p. 528

echoes in the hearts and minds of the truth-seeking human beings:

فقد علمتم أن رسول الله (صلَّی الله علیه و آله) قد قال فی حیاته من رأی سلطاناً جائراً مستحلاً لحرم الله ناکثاً لعهد الله مخالفاً لسنه رسول الله یعمل فی عباد الله بالاثم و العدوان ثم لم یغیر بقول ولا فعل کان حقیقاً علی الله أن یدخله مدخله

Indeed you know that the Messenger of Allah (S) said during his lifetime:

"Whoever observes a sovereign legalizing what God has made unlawful, violating the covenant of God, opposing the Sunnah of the Messenger of God, and treating the creatures of God sinfully and oppressively, and does not oppose him with his speech and action, God has a right to bring him to the same fate as that of the tyrant…"(1)

ألا ترون أن الحق لا یعمل به و أن الباطل لا ینتهی عنه

"Don't you see that what is true and right is not acted upon and what is false and wrong is not forbidden?..." (2)

هل من ذاب یذب عن حرم رسول الله

"Is there any protector do defend the sanctuary (haram) of the Messenger of Allah?(3)

An Everlasting Instruction

In coming to Makka for Hajj we should not think that after performing the overt rites of Hajj we are absolved from our duties. Hajj is more than merely an individual worship. It is an act of devotion, whose multidimensional nature increases the responsibilities of the human being.

If Muslims were to realize this and practically respond to the problems that they encounter today, they would surely rule

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1- 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 44, p. 381
2- Ibid, v.75, p. 116
3- Ibid, v.45, p. 45

the world and create an environment that would cater for eternal human felicity.

Hajj is beyond doubt an opportunity which can solve so many problems of the contemporary Muslims. To be oblivious of this opportunity would indeed be questionable on the Judgment day.

In the manner that Imam al-Husayn ('a) came to Makka to guide the people of the world, we too have a similar responsibility, even though it may be limited. Muslims of the world need to be awakened from their deep slumber and realize the great danger that they presently confront.

Living in places where there is freedom of worship and safety and being oblivious of what is happening to other Muslim brethren throughout the world, expels one from the Muslim nation. The Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said:

مَنْ أَصْبَحَ لاَ یَهْتَمُّ بِأُمُورِ الْمُسْلِمِینَ فَلَیْسَ بِمُسْلِمٍ

Whosoever wakes up in the morning and is indifferent of the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.(1)

مَنْ أَصْبَحَ لاَ یَهْتَمُّ بِأُمُورِ الْمُسْلِمِینَ فَلَیْسَ منهم و من سمع رجلا ینادی یا للمسلمین فلم یجبه فلیس بمسلم

Whosoever wakes up in the morning and is indifferent of the affairs of Muslims is not among them, and whosoever hears a man call, 'O Muslims [come to my rescue!], but does not respond to him is not a Muslim.'(2)

As Imam al-Husayn ('a) sought refuge in the Haram, we likewise should do the same. But seeking refuge for us in the beginning would be to cleanse our tarnished soul with the water of repentance and seeking forgiveness from God,

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1- Thiqatu'l Islam al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, v.2, p. 163
2- Ibid.,, v.2, p. 164

and resolve not to engage in any sin, so that we can practically say that we have sought refuge in Allah (swt).

Refuge in our case takes a different form. It depends on our circumstance.

And in the same way that Imam Husayn ('a) never submitted to the forces of kufr, we likewise should inculcate this spirit in ourselves and others, and firmly resolve that till the last moments of our lives we would totally surrender to Almighty Allah.

The emphasis of bara'a (expression of hatred against the polytheists and oppressors) which is so explicit in the Qur'an is very essential today and must never be underestimated. Pathetically, however, it seems that polytheists still dominate the hearts of so-called Muslim leaders.

The entire Masjid al- Haram should be filled with the cries of protest of the lovers of God, and overhaul them to resolve to vanquish the advocates of oppression and falsehood in the manner that Islam dictates. So long as the concept of severing relationships with the oppressors is not practically realized, the chaos in the Muslim world will always increase.

The solution of hampering the forces of kufr from harassing the Muslims directly or indirectly worldwide is to take major steps like depriving the oppressor regimes from black gold which is so vital to keep their technology and perpetual oppression alive. It would literally cripple them, and it should not be a wonder if Israel [which never was] is effaced from the map.

If Hajj does not contain the Husayni spirit,

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but is limited to its physical and overt acts of devotion, Muslims would never prosper.

The presence of Imam al-Husayn ('a), as has been the case, will always be felt. But so long as we do not make his foundational move, we would never prosper. The Holy Qur'an says:

یَاأَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِیبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاکمْ لِمَا یُحْیِیکُمْ

O believers, respond to Allah and His Apostle, when He calls you to that which will enliven you. (8:24)

Isn't it time to respond to Allah (swt)'s call?

Peace be upon you- O utterly obedient servant of Allah, O Doyen of Martyrs, O Husayn, and on those who sacrificed their lives for your sake. I humbly pray to Allah to enable us to be with you both in this world and the Hereafter.

May He unite us with your spirit in this world so that we are blessed and honored to continue your mission, and may He resurrect us in the Hereafter in your noble company..

All praises belong to Allah, the Lord of the Universe


1. The Holy Qur'an

2. Shekufa'iye 'Aql dar partuwe Nehzate Husayni, by Ayatullah al-'Użma al-

'Allama Jawadi Amuli

3. Bihar al-Anwar, by 'Allama Majlisi

4. Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh Mufid

5. Al-Kafi by Thiqatu'l Islam al-Kulayni

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