The Memory Of Karbala And Today's Resistance Axis

Our world at the moment is filled with those two tendencies; one spreading injustice, tyranny, and oppression whereas the other one is standing firm in their way

The Memory Of Karbala And Today's Resistance Axis

The 10th of Muharram marked the martyrdom of one of the greatest revolutionary leaders, the son of Imam Ali (AS) and Fatima bint Muhammad (AS) –Imam Hussain (AS). Following the death of Imam Hussain, the army of Yazid took the remaining members of ahlulbyt including females, sick men, and children into custody and brought them to Syria. Among those captives, there was a fearless lady, the daughter of Ameer ul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib Janab Syeda Zainab (AS). She is believed to be the one who defeated Yazid ibn Muaviya with her words and conveyed the message of true Islam in front of the entire court of Yazid and thousands of his followers. Her stance was the practical implication of what Imam Hussain had said in response to Yazid’s message demanding that the Imam give him allegiance and accept his rule. Imam Hussain had said, "A man like me (Hussain ibn Ali) cannot give allegiance to a man like him (Yazid)."

The words of Imam Hussain were not just limited to an Imam refusing to pay his allegiance to Yazid. In fact, it was more of a universal statement discussing two different ideologies. The first one was that of Yazid and his followers who believed in worldly things and always subjected other people to oppression, confiscated their property, killed and rapped women, and allowed every single inhuman and evil act to be normal. Yazid was a symbol of injustice, oppression, and tyranny. The second ideology was that of Imam Hussain and his family starting from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to him and is still being continued under the leadership of the last Imam, Mehdi (ajtfs). The core principles of this ideology were to stand for justice and humanity, and against tyranny, no matter what. This very statement set the ethical battle lines for centuries to come. Those who claim to be holding the flags of humanity, justice and resisting oppression would never be in the camp of tyrants like Yazid and his forces no matter what. 

Today's Axis of Resistance is also following the same footsteps and saying ‘Labaik’ in response to Imam Hussain's call.

Our world at the moment is filled with those two tendencies; one spreading injustice, tyranny, and oppression whereas the other one is standing firm in their way and fighting them across the globe no matter what the cost is. The resemblance between Yazid and today's ‘free’ Western countries including the USA and Israel is quite remarkable. The USA, Europe and Israel are at the forefront and leading the camp of today's Yazid and are being confronted by the followers of the ideology of Imam Hussain and Bibi Zainab.

The West and their allies since the start have laid their states' foundations on the murders, looting and destruction of other people. The USA also has the blood of thousands of people of Native and African descent on its hands and the European countries colonised almost 80% of the world and looted their wealth and resources. Their footsteps led to the foundation of poverty, destruction, chaos and unending differences between societies after they gave priority to a few and oppressed others. The creation of Israel also was the continuation of their cruelties, injustices, and looting when the British Empire gave Palestinians' land to Jewish settlers and helped them kill, burn, displace and destroy native Palestinians' homes – creating the world's worst humanitarian crisis. However, the emergence and presence of this character also witnessed the rise of a Hussain-inspired spirit of confronting these cruelties, injustice and oppression. 

The modern-day Axis of Resistance emerged with the ideological roots of Karbala after the 1979 Iranian revolution. The following year of the revolution witnessed the rise of Hussaini forces across the region including Lebanon. The Lebanese population armed themselves and stood against the occupation of their country by Israel, eventually leading Israel's occupational forces to withdraw. Their resistance inspired millions of people across the region to see them as ideals against imperialists and colonialists who were looting, killing, destroying and extracting their resources. 

The Iranian Revolution itself was an immense revolution against a Western-sponsored regime that was looting and doing injustice to the people of Iran. Lebanon's revolution against occupation was the first expansion of the forces of Hussaini ideology, eventually paving the way for the rise of Hashd al-Shabi in Iraq against USA-sponsored and funded al-Qaeda, the Ansarullah in Yemen against unjust rule and supremacy and later on against the Saudi-led coalition which included the USA, UK and France. 

The Axis of Resistance at this moment has grown big and powerful enough to confront today’s imperialist forces, and in the case of Israel’s occupation, is led by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other resistance factions striving to stand firm. Israel’s history towards the Palestinians is filled with inexplicable injustices, cruelty, tyranny and oppression. However, just like Yazid, these forces are also being confronted and humiliated.

Despite the vast economic and military resources at their disposal, the empire which Yazid ruled in due time faced ruin – and history suggests that a similarly ignominious fate awaits the ideological and political empire responsible for death and destruction in occupied Palestine and elsewhere. Just as the military campaigns of the US, European colonial empires and Israel also faced defeats in many countries including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, they are likely to face the same consequences in the occupied territories of Palestine. 

The "Labbaik Ya Hussain" slogan is not only limited to Muslims in general or the Shia school of thought in particular. It is a universal sign of resisting the forces of occupation, tyranny, and injustice no matter what the cost. Palestinian resistance forces’ struggle against Israeli occupation, which received renewed vigour after the 7th of October 2023, has again shown that the tyrants will never be at ease – but will instead find themselves defied and confronted regardless of the cost.

The author studies International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. His focus is on proxy wars, conflicts and aspirations for hegemony by international and regional powers in the Middle East region. Contact: