From Kaaba to Karbala: Lessons Of Devotion And Justice In A Time Of Genocide

The most revolutionary act one can undertake is not one of silence, but of proclamation

From Kaaba to Karbala: Lessons Of Devotion And Justice In A Time Of Genocide

Eid, Hajj and Sacrifice Mubarak! They are not just words, they represent faith, obedience and when time comes stand firm in one’s beliefs. The past nine months have witnessed the unfolding tragedy of the Israeli war in Gaza, leaving thousands dead, including innocent children and women. The world watches in horror, yet the genocide persists. As emotions run high for the helpless Palestinians, the name “Israel” has become synonymous with brutality. Despite UN alarms and boycott pledges, peace remains elusive. Amidst this crisis, another significant event unfolds—the Hajj, where millions gather in Saudi Arabia to perform sacred rituals. But this year, the plight of Palestine casts a shadow over the festivities.

Approximately 2 million faithful, men and women alike, converge on Saudi Arabia for the Hajj—an annual pilgrimage marking the end of the Islamic lunar year. The logistics and hospitality required for this massive gathering are immense. Here, at the Kaaba, believers from diverse corners of the world unite to perform ancient rites, echoing the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim.

While elsewhere, people mark the Hajj by sacrificing animals—a ritual linked to Prophet Ibrahim (AS)—this year is different. The ongoing Palestinian crisis cannot be overshadowed by any religious observance. Families like mine—my wife, our 8-year-old son Yousha, 5-year-old daughter Eden, and their 6-year-old cousin Abad—watch the brutalities unfold. They pray for Gaza, paint Palestine flags, and question why the world remains helpless against oppression. The haunting question persists: Why are the oppressed left alone?

As the month of Zilhajj concludes, ushering in the new Islamic year, we remember Imam Hussain’s (AS) stand against tyranny. Some 1344 years ago, in the month of Muharram, Imam Hussain faced Yazid’s cruelties. He chose not to perform the Hajj, rejecting submission to the tyrant. His sacrifice in Karbala epitomises unwavering commitment to justice and truth. Sadly, sectarian divides have obscured this powerful legacy, but it’s crucial to enlighten our generation about Imam Hussain’s courage.

While during the month of Zilhajj, I cannot resist but to reflect upon the devotion of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), an iconoclast, who for the love of his Creator destroyed idols and faced the wrath of the tyrant Nimrod who put him in the fire. Ibrahim, who obeyed Allah without hesitation, leaving his wife and infant son Ismail (AS) in the barren desert to fulfil Allah’s command with nothing but some food and water, with a prayer for their prosperity and security.

Years passed and when Isma’il was still a young boy, Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice him as a test of devotion. This time it was a test for both the father and son. Ismail proved he was none other than the son of Ibrahim who willingly complied to help his father fulfil Allah’s command. The act became so dear to the Almighty it became part of Islamic rituals and Muslims worldwide commemorate Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, to pay tribute to the two prophets.

Prophet Ibrahim’s legacy extends across three major monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. His unwavering faith and submission serve as a model for believers. Imam Husain’s legacy is similarly profound. His martyrdom inspired countless generations, not only Muslims but non-Muslims alike, to uphold justice, resist tyranny, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity.

An icon of nonviolent resistance against the British rule, Mahatma Gandhi once said “I learned from Hussain how to be wronged and be a winner, I learnt from Hussain how to attain victory while being oppressed. One of the greatest Indian literary figures, Rabindranath Tagore also pays tribute to martyrs of Karbala “In order to keep alive justice and truth, instead of an army or weapons, success can be achieved by sacrificing lives, exactly what Imam Hussain (AS) did” Who cannot acknowledge the immortal verses of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz

Shah ast Hussain, Badshah ast Hussain

Deen ast Hussain, Deen Panah ast Hussain

Sardad na dad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed,

Haqaa key binaey La ila ast Hussain

(Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain,

Faith is Hussain , guardian of faith is Hussain .

Offered his head and not the hand to Yazid.

Indeed, Hussain is the foundation of La-ilah (the declaration that none but God is Absolute and Almighty))

While Prophet Ibrahim (AS) laid the foundation for Islam, Imam Hussain (A.S) is rightfully regarded as the saviour who made an unparalleled sacrifice to preserve the religion of both his grandfather and great-grandfather.

In the midst of the ongoing genocide perpetrated by Israeli forces, irrespective of faith, sect, or ethnicity, it becomes crucial to impart the lessons of resilience to our children. Even when faced with insurmountable odds and adversity, we must encourage them to speak out against injustice and intolerance, to stand firm for truth. Let us support the oppressed by raising our voices, using our pens, or employing any means available to us. Because sometimes, even the smallest acts of resistance can ignite a beacon of hope in the darkest of times.

In closing, it is essential to recognise that the act of voicing the truth, of declaring the realities of our times, holds immense power. The most revolutionary act one can undertake is not one of silence, but of proclamation. As we reflect on the discussions presented in this article, I would quote Rosa Luxemburg when she said, “The most revolutionary thing one can do always is to proclaim loudly what is happening.” This statement serves as a call to action, urging us to raise our voices and be the heralds of change in a world that often favours the status quo. By doing so, we become catalysts for progress and torchbearers for the truth.

Ibrahim Nisar, a Peshawar-born IT professional now based in Islamabad, wears many hats. He actively participates in tech events, including Code for Pakistan and TEDxPeshawar. Beyond the digital realm, he engages in thought-provoking discussions about architecture, design, and literature. His critical writing sheds light on pressing social issues, making him a multifaceted conversationalist.