SUPREME SACRIFICE

The supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain needs to be remembered as a continuous struggle for the freedom of humankind from the clutches of oppression and not an event that builds walls between Shias and Sunnis.

The Ummayads had usurped political power through force by playing Machiavellian politics. They had the resources to enlist the support of hundreds of people claiming to be scholars supporting their claim to power in the name of God and his messenger. They had turned the sayings of the Prophet into a political tool to justify their political actions. They had used the state treasury to win people over to their side by offering them money and in many cases intimidating others who did not fall in line with them.

It was this tyrannical rule that Imam Hussain challenged. The message of Karbala was to change the status quo, to challenge despotism and dictatorship and all those deviations that diminished the dignity of human beings. It was not to inspire people to mourn and walk on burning fire in his memory.

It was to stand for the neglected and the poor and politically marginalized. It was not to curse but to win over the people to the cause of justice and dignity.

His sacrifice was not to glorify Shias or Sunnis. It was to glorify the eternal divine emphasis on justice and freedom.

If Muslims really want to pay tribute to Imam Hussain, they should stand for the values he stood for. Let Aashoora be a day known as an International Day of Justice where Muslims, Shias and Sunnis together, take a stand against all forms of injustices known to the world, not a day of mourning. Because it is a day when Imam Hussein walked into the killing fields of Karbala bravely, knowing full well what would be his end with the determination to prove that there come moments when the goals of life become more important than life itself.