The tragedy of Karbala is more than just an event to be mourned. Everything that happened during it has fundamental messages and lessons for not just Shias, not just Muslims but all of humanity.
Imam Hussain’s actions remind mankind of the need to remain steadfast and stalwart when faced with opposition. Imam Hussain was well aware of the dangers and risks he was facing – a force of over 4,000 men while he only had around 70 – and yet he chose to maintain his convictions and his commitment to justice against an unjust regime. Faced with these overwhelming odds, Imam Hussain could have chosen the coward’s way out, but instead he stood true to his beliefs. In doing so, he immortalized himself.
And therein lies another message some might call idealistic. Imam Hussain’s sacrifice teaches mankind that, in certain circumstances, commitment to justice and what’s right will lead to one’s doom. This, of course, is a message countless heroes and leaders can relate to. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X found themselves assassinated despite their contributions to the civil rights movement and even Gandhi was murdered by a member of his own religion even after his relentless effort against the British Empire.
But, Imam Hussain’s sacrifice is one of many proofs that one can murder an individual, but can never murder an idea. Imam Hussain may have been killed but he immortalized himself in the eyes of mankind and became a symbol against oppression and injustice. Thus, the tragedy of Karbala reminds us that, even if we find ourselves doomed and killed, as long as the commitment to justice doesn’t disappear, neither will our names nor our movement.
The tragedy of Karbala is something that goes beyond an injustice. It is an incident of such magnitude that even centuries after it happened, it continues to teach everyone, be they Muslims or Non-Muslims, of the strength of character needed to oppose injustice.
Generations may have passed, but in the 21st Century – a time of injustice and oppression against both Muslims and Non-Muslims – this message has never before been this relevant.