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Medina: the Roots of Karbala

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The likes of Umar ibn Sa'ad and Shimr were reported beating the women and children with whips. They tied defenseless women and children and dragged them from city to city. One wonders how such injustice can happen. But how can we be surprised when the daughter of the Prophet, shortly after her father's death, was beaten with the whip on her arms until they blackened. Her eye became red, and the earrings from her ears shattered at the force of the hands that struck her. This was the Prophet's daughter, and this is how she was treated while still in Medina. And it happened right before the very eyes of her young children. The attackers also burned the door of Lady Fatima's house, the very same door that the Prophet stood and knocked to get permission to enter.

Lady Zainab: the Daughter of Her Mother

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Both Lady Fatima and Lady Zainab lost their mothers at a very young age. Lady Fatima is the Kawthar to her father, and Lady Zainab is the Zain (adornment) of her father. Just like Lady Fatima was the 'mother of her father', Lady Zainab grew up playing a similar role with the responsibility of looking after her brothers and tending to her father. Both Lady Fatima and Lady Zainab had the same dowries. Imam Ali testified that Fatima was "a good helper and wife in the way of Allah". And Abdullah ibn Jafar testified that his wife Zainab was "the best housewife". Both inherited the eloquence from their fathers, delivered keynote speeches, and resembled their fathers in their demeanor.

Babies Who Spoke

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God demonstrates His Strength in different ways.The hairdresser was patient as she saw her kids martyred before her very eyes. But her last child was a newborn, a baby! She was devastated. It was at the point that Allah gave the hairdresser that last surge of patience and hope through her baby son.

Occultations Before Imam Mahdi

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He is like the sun behind the clouds.

Given both definitions, some people cannot seem to accept the idea of God's representative being 'in occultation', and others seem to believe that this phenomenon is restricted to Imam Mahdi. While it is true that the Imam's occultation stands out, history has reported many other cases in which God's representatives went into occultation. What follows is a brief look into some of the historical reports.

Status of the Killers of Imam Hussain

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Condemned in this world and the next

There is absolutely nothing in history which indicates that any of the killers of Imam Hussain or those who participated in his massacre were remotely forgiven by Allah. On the contrary, we find multiple narrations where the Holy Prophet was envisioned in dreams, where he was observed to be in a disheveled state filled with grief over the killing of his son Hussain and disappointed over His nation who dared to commit that evil act of transgression. We do not hear any indication that any of the Imams (peace be upon them) conveyed any glad tidings of forgiveness or an opportunity for atonement to any of the perpetrators of the Karbala tragedy.

The Oppressed Grandson of the Prophet

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The Imam suffered mostly from the false media that was under the control the Umayyads. At the time, rumors were spread about how the Imam forfeited the leadership to Muawiya and how after deciding to fight the Umayyads, he then retreated and tried to find a way out through an agreement with Muawiya. This media control practiced by Muawiya led to even more serious accusations attacking the personality of the Imam. Books of history, influenced by the Umayyad's media, portray Imam Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet and the Leader of the Youth of Heaven, as a man who used to marry and divorce excessively. They portrayed the Imam as the person who preferred a luxurious and extravagant life, and some historians even accused the Imam of selling his Imamah and leadership to Muawiya for this reason!

Lessons from the Story of Abel and Cain

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Artist's impression of the sacrifice

In the story of Abel and Cain, we see that Cain learned the act of burial from a crow. This shows that learning is never restricted to certain figures, but even an animal can become a teacher at any moment. The story of Abel and Cain teaches us many things. It shows us where the position of Taqwa lies in the heart of a true believer. It shows that envy will lead to heinous acts. And importantly, it shows the importance of acquiring correct knowledge from any source. So let us engage in self-reflection, and if we find that we are falling behind in any of these three areas, we should start fixing ourselves immediately. Knowing where we stand is the first step, and only then we can proceed in the path towards God.

A Probe into Imam Ali's Government

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Justice was the cornerstone of his reign.The Imam did not segregate between the social classes. The Imam was often seen roaming the streets of Kufa like everyone else. He did not need the army to protect him. He did not require a showy parade to inform people that he was passing by. In fact, many times, the people who interacted with him did not even recognize him. The Imam used to help them. The Imam used to protect them. One recalls the time where he brought food for a widow and her children and how he played with orphans. The Imam was part of his people.

The End of the Oppressors

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We will this day deliver you with your body, so that you may be a sign to those after you.These tyrants are only examples of many that came. After close inspection of the others, one will immediately realize that they all share similar ends. Some may argue that they have gone against Allah and/or His representatives and hence deserved punishment. However oppression is a general term and not restricted to a specific religion or party. In fact, the Islamic community suffered from rulers who were even worse than those who came before the era of Islam. Such rulers cannot be any further from Islam and the way of Allah, but have ruled nonetheless.

The Tragedy of Uncovered Heads

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Let us not do injustice to their memoriesAfter all, these were the granddaughters of Allah's chosen beloved – so how is it possible that they be without proper Hijab in front of non-Mahrams? Perhaps their Abaya (robe) or Niqab (face-covering) were taken away, but surely no one had the audacity to snatch away their Maqna (head-covering), revealing their hair to one and all... right?

Lessons from the Battle of Siffin

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An artist's impression of the Battle of SiffinPerhaps the biggest reason why the believers lost at Siffin was ignorance. When Malik al-Ashtar was barely 10 yards away from attacking the tent of Mu'awiya itself, Ibn al-Aas ordered the Syrians to lift manuscripts of the Qur'an on spears. The ignorant men in the Imam's army immediately said that they did not want to fight the Word of God. Not only did they withdraw from the battlefield, but they even forced the Imam to recall Malik and his few loyal followers from the battlefield as well. Then when they agreed on arbitration later on, the Imam's followers forced him to appoint Abu Musa al-Ash'ari as his representative instead of the respected companion and scholar Abdullah ibn Abbas, whom the Imam originally wanted. Out of ignorance, al-Ash'ari ended up effectively concluding the arbitration in favor of Mu'awiya.