Blog Post 43
September 28, 2021 - Arbaeen
At least be free.
(The following is the text of the speech Sister Laila Hasib was scheduled to give on the Arbaeen Walk in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 26, 2021. Due to circumstances beyond her control, the speech was forfeited. Allah knows best.)
In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful
As-Salaamu Alaikum Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The supreme sacrifice of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and the shohada (martyrs), peace and blessings be upon them all, on the plains of Karbala on the day of Ashura, provides us with the principles taught to us by Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala from the beginning of time through the Prophets and Messengers and Imams and Lovers of Allah - the principles of Tawheed (There is no god but Allah), Justice, Allah-Consciousness, Resistance, Faith, Morality, Knowledge, Peace, Love and Harmony. These are the principles all human beings have within our Allah-Given fitrah, our innate nature, which must be recognized, activated, used with responsibility and held onto.
My talk will briefly touch on five points, inshallah. First: Imam Husayn’s (a.s.) call on the Day of Ashura:
“Is there any helper to help us?”
Please do not suppose that our Imam was calling out for someone, for anyone, to rescue him, to save him from being killed. That is not what he said that for. The question he asked, “Is there any helper to help us?” is still being raised today, it is still being screamed out today, whenever you hear people are being oppressed, being killed, doing without, whenever you hear of any human being who is being treated unfairly or killed mercilessly or having a knee on their neck choking the very life from their body or buried in an unmarked grave.
This is the question being asked by Imam Husayn (a.s.), by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), by Almighty Allah today. It is a chance to reform, a chance to join the right side, an opportunity to submit to Allah, to practice the principles we know are the best. It is a dawah call, a call back to our Creator to Whom we will all return. “Ashura was not simply an historical event. It is a culture, a continuous flow, and an example for the Islamic nation that lasts forever,” Imam Ali Khamenei tells us. (Imam Khamenei, August 17, 2021; statement made January 25, 2006)
That call encapsulates the culture of Ashura,
the culture of giving one’s life for Allah,
the culture of Islam.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) advised the enemy on the plains of Karbala to “be free men even if you do not follow a religion.” It is said that “Freedom…is a value that does not require religion. It is a value which every human being and every society should be adorned with. Being a free… [person] requires compassion and respect for human values and dignity.” (Ashura and Iran’s foreign policy, 2020)
At least be free like Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala made you.
Make your own choices, choose your own destiny. (Imam Khamenei, June 4, 2021) Don’t be ignorant and humiliated. (Imam Khamenei, August 17, 2021; statement made April 14, 2000)
Second: We must be active participants in our lives, relationships, families, jobs, worship, learning, volunteering, leisure. Statements about some active Muslims who passed away recently describe them as people of devotion, faith, uprightness, consistency, revolutionary action, diligence, public-spirit-mindedness, friendliness, rationality, tranquility, presence, hope, sincerity, competence, wisdom, bravery, piety, energy, resistance and dignity.
We too must not be passive Muslims, dwelling in the surface of Islam, in the forms and rituals, in the rules. We must grab the power of Islam and go deeper and deeper into the light to understand what a true devotee of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala looks like, what a real follower of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and Lady Fatimah (a.s.) behaves like, how a genuine lover of Imam Ali (a.s.) and Imam Husayn (a.s.) leaves this world like.
An active Muslim is a resisting human being,
one who propagates the truth,
spreads the message of salvation,
works for Islamic governance on Earth
and has faith in the people.
Third: Islam is the culmination of the long line of Prophets, Messengers, Imams and lovers of Allah who were sent by The Almighty to teach us about our Creator and that there is Only One God. This principle of Tawheed is the crux of belief in the Divine, the first declaration of any true believer in the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Master of the Day of Judgement, the One to Whom we will all return. As a convert from Christianity, the progression was a natural one, a turning that many other people of the Book took, like converts who turned to the call of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in his lifetime, because it is written within our dna, in our blood, in our generational makeup, in our collective consciousness.
What else is there for Imam Husayn (a.s.) to sacrifice his life and the lives of his family and friends for besides the belief in and worship of One Allah, the praising of One Allah, the love of One Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful? The truth of Islam speaks today just as it did on Ashura when it was in danger of being wiped out.
If you haven’t made that change,
take that turn,
seize the opportunity today
to submit your soul, body and mind to Allah, inshallah.
Fourth: We are one humanity. Allah, Glory be to Him, has told us that people are separated into the mustakbereen and the mustazafeen. These two groups are formed by the mustakbereen’s arrogance, greed and shaitanic masquerade of unbridled lust, evil, cruelty and aggression. These oppressors, these enemies of Allah, suck the very life out of the world, out of the people, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the mustazafeen. They steal children, women, men, land, resources, homes. They maim and torture and kill. But they say they are “peacemakers.” They wish to live forever in the dunya (worldly life) that they love.
This is why Imam Husayn (a.s.) said at least be free.
Free to not join the oppressors, free to assist the oppressed.
Imam Khamenei said, “The logic of Hussain ibn Ali (peace be upon him) is the logic of defending the truth and resistance against oppression, transgression, deviation and arrogance…Today, the world is witness to the rule of unbelief, arrogance, corruption and oppression. Imam Hussain’s message is a message to save the world.” (Imam Khamenei, Sept. 18, 2019, October 6, 2020; statement made on September 18, 2019)
If you try to help the oppressed, especially overseas, you’ll find many roadblocks in your path. The mustakbereen will let you make money and spend it on yourself. But when you try to spend it on the oppressed, they’ll stop you. Arbabeen teaches us to keep truth and martyrdom alive as we face the propaganda of the enemies of Allah, Imam Khamenei reminds us. (Imam Khamenei, October 7, 2020; statement made on Sept. 20, 1989)
Fifth: Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala divided the believers into two groups in the last ayat of Surah al-Ankabut (29:69): the mujahideen, the strivers in Allah’s Path, and the muh’sineen, the doers of good, the virtuous. The explanation of the ayat says
the muh’sineen are more exceptional than the mujahideen
because those who strive in Allah’s Path often do so for themselves while those who are the doers of good do good for others, not just for themselves. (Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani)
This is significant because we usually think of the mujahideen as those who fight in the Way of Allah like Imam Husayn (a.s.). But a mujahid is not only a physical fighter. They are also a spiritual fighter, someone who strives against their own flaws and spiritual diseases. The mujahid who fights in the way of Allah with the intention of doing good for others as well, such as Imam Husayn (a.s.), earns many titles, including muh’sin and shaheed (martyr).
Allah, The Most Glorious, informs us in the Holy Qur’an
about the martyrs and their messages for us
and we must pay attention to these messages.
In Surah 3:169-171, the martyrs tell us they are present before Allah, receiving Divine sustenance continuously, receiving Allah’s generous blessings in abundance in addition to rewards. The martyrs tell us they are joyful about the good news they receive of the people who have not joined them yet, the people who are travelling along the same path as they did. They are happy because the same fate awaits those travellers, an everlasting life without fear and grief, a life of glory in Allah’s Favours and Bounties and Blessings where their actions in this world will not be wasted nor lost. The martyrs “are encouraging us so that we will continue our movement in a firmer, stronger, more persistent manner.” (Imam Khamenei, March 15, 2021)
Imam Khamenei makes it clear: “It is wrong to think that Imam Hussain (pbuh) was defeated…The one who does not achieve his goal has been defeated. The goal of Imam Hussain’s (pbuh) enemies was to eliminate Islam and all those who remained from the Prophet (his family) from the Earth. They (his enemies) were defeated because they did not achieve this.” Al-Hamdulillah. (Imam Khamenei, August 17, 2021; statement made on July 1, 1992)
When Imam Khomeini, may Allah be pleased with him, stated on Ashura on June 3, 1963, the 15th of Khordad, a statement that fired up the Islamic Revolution, that others (whom he named) want “there to be no Qur’an…no clerics…no Islam in Iran,” it was certainly to tell us through the ages that without the people of La ilaha illallah following Imam Husayn’s (a.s.) and Lady Zainab’s (a.s.) line of resistance, the world oppressors will try their level best to rid the whole world of the Qur’an, the ulama and Islam. (Imam Khamenei, June 4, 2020; statement made on June 4, 1982)
We must honour the blood of the martyrs.
We must study the martyrs’ family environment, those in the early days with Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and Imam Ali (a.s.), in Karbala, in the Islamic Republic, to understand how the parents, families and teachers brought up such outstanding individuals who attained the grand station of shahadah (martyrdom) so we too can emulate them and bring up Allah-Conscious Muslims who display all the qualities of not only a mujahid, but a muh’sin and a shaheed, inshallah. (Imam Khamenei, March 15, 2021)
Oh Allah! Make us mujahideen, those who strive in Your Ways, through all the difficulties. Make us muh’sineen, those who are kind and giving to other strivers, the downtrodden and the whole of humanity. Give us Your Help, Guidance and Victory through these Ways of Yours as You promised those who face these difficulties and strive along these Ways with the sincere intention to get closer to You. And O Allah, make us shohada on the line of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur’an, Vol. 14, compiled by a group of Muslim scholars, under the direction of Ayatullah Allamah Al-Hajj Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani. Al-Islam.org. Accessed from www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-14/section-7-sincere-seekers-shall-be-guided-aright#surah-al-ankabut-verse-69
Ashura and Iran’s foreign policy. (August 31, 2020). Op Ed. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/7891/Ashura-and-Iran-s-foreign-policy
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (August 17, 2021). 10 illuminating quotes by Ayatollah Khamenei on Imam Husayn’s (pbuh) rising. Statements made on January 25, 2006; April 14, 2000; July 1, 1992. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8652/10-illuminating-quotes-by-Ayatollah-Khamenei-on-Imam-Hussain-s
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (June 4, 2021). Imam Khomeini guided the Iranian nation to determine their own fate. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8524/Imam-Khomeini-guided-the-Iranian-nation-to-determine-their-own
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (March 15, 2021). The family environment where martyrs were raised should be recorded and recounted. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8440/The-family-environment-where-martyrs-were-raised-should-be-recorded
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (October 7, 2020). What does Arbaeen teach us? Statement made on September 20, 1989. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8012/What-does-Arbaeen-teach-us
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (October 6, 2020). A message to save the world. Statement made on September 18, 2019. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8007/A-message-to-save-the-world
Imam Khamenei, Sayyid Ali. (June 4, 2020). What did Imam Khomeini say in his speech about Israel which led to the 15th of Khordad uprising? Statement made on June 4, 1982. Khamenei.ir. https://english.khamenei.ir/news/7605/What-did-Imam-Khomeini-say-in-his-speech-about-Israel-which