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Value of Imam Hussein

Value of Imam Hussein

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Published by Muntazir Haider

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Published by: Muntazir Haider on Mar 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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From Al-Minbar MediaEstablishmentQ1: What is the story behind yourbook 
Hussein in ChristianIdeology
?Q2: Did your book not provokecounterreactions?Q3: Was the writing of the book aninterpretation of a special feelingyou had or pure scholarlyresearch?Q4: Afterthis in depth study ofthehistory of Imam Hussein (Peace beuponhim)youmusthavearrivedata definite description of hischaracter,whoisheinyourview?
As weheadedforthemeeting,wedidnot expect it to be an appointmentwith someone who considers himself Shi
a even though he is Christian!Whatweknowabouthimis that he isa thinker, scholar, Christian andSyrianwhowroteabooktitled
ImamHusseininChristian Ideology
whichraised controversy because itconfirms that the Christ (Peace beupon him) prophesised theappearanceofImamHussein.In a meeting which lasted morethan three hours, Antoine Bara never mentioned Imam Hussein withoutsaying peace be upon him after hisname. Bara maintains that ImamHussein is not exclusive to Shi
a or Muslims but belongs to the wholeworld because he is the
conscienceof religions
as Bara puts it. It isinteresting that Bara considers thatbeingaShi
thehighestdegreeof loveforGod
.AccordingtoBara,anyone in the world, regardless of hisreligion, canbe a Shi
a depending onhis own personal interpretation
dueto the greatness of following the purefamily(Peace beuponthem) in order to preserve the beauty of hisreligion
You, Shi
a and Muslims, donotknowthe valueofImam Hussein.You are supposed to be absolutelyhonest inconveying his words ontheday of Ashura to the world. Thismission requires not only narratingthe surface meaning of the event butalso to coming to grips with aspectsandspiritofhisrevolution
.As Mr Bara uttered these wordsduring the meeting, we rememberedhow we squandered the heritage of ourgreatImamandhownegligentweareinfurtheringhiscause.Thiscanberevealed today through telling thetruth, defending the oppressed andraising the banners of justice andfreedom.Mr Bar a s poke of thecircumstances which led him get toknow the character of Imam Hussein(Peacebeuponhim),startingwithhismeeting with the Grand religiousleader Imam Al-Shirazi in the earlyseventies who enthused him to writehis valuable book, and ending withthe troubles, difficulties andfights hefaced from thosewhodid not like thebook. However, he said,
ImamHussein (Peace be upon him) willshowkindnesstowardsmeonthedayof judgement
. Here is the text of theinterview.A: In the beginning, I did not knowabout the brutal incident of Karbalaexcept some general facts such asImam Al- Hussein
s (Peace be uponhim) revolt against Yazid and hismurder in Karbala. This is becauseduring our education, this incidentwas referred to without any detail.When I met with ImamAl-Shirazi inKuwait,morethanfortyyearsago,hegave me some books about ImamHussein (Peace be upon him). I readthese books and discovered theycontainedauniqueheroicstory.I wasalsosurprisedthatsuchastorydidnotgenerate much interest from Muslimscholars.Anon-Shi
a Muslim speaksabout the event as if it were merely ahistorical one. This is because of theprevalentviewofthesocietyinwhichhe lives andin order not to go againsthis environment and culture. On theother hand, this event has emotionalsignificance for a Shi
a Muslim. Asfor Orientalists, their writings onlypresent a materialistic outlook whichignores the spiritual and socialdimensionsoftherevolution.Allofthismotivatedmetonotedownremarks about this revolution andthecharacter of Imam Hussein (Peace beupon him). My point of view isperhaps the most neutral andobjective despite all other religiousand emotional considerations. I am aChristian writer and researcher wholivesinMuslim country andhas beenexposed to Muslim culture from thesame sources, which has caused mycultural and social identity to be aMuslim one even though I amChristian. This has made myawareness and understanding of thecause of Imam Hussein (Peace beupon him) complete. As a matter of fact, I did not have the intention towrite about this topic. However, Iused to visit Imam Al-Shirazi inKuwait with my friend Azhar Al-Khafagi. While talking one time, Isaid that due to the nature of myjournalisticworkIhavewrittendownnotes on Imam Hussein (Peace beupon him). Imam Al-Shirazi said tome,
why don
t you collect thesenotes in a book?
I will think aboutit
, I said. The idea fermented in myhead,soIwenttomyoffice,collectedthe notes that I had written, whichnow seemed a lot, and started to domore research. As you know once aresearcher starts research, he never finishes.As I got deeper, the researchbecame more difficult and I foundmyself caught in a minefield of sensitivities. You might adopt anopinion which pleases some but notothers, let alone the fact that as aChristian, I should keep away fromresearch, like this, which belongs toMuslims.However, I continued my research asI thought we, as Christians, shouldhavea balancedview different tothatof Muslims, with regard to the issueof Imam Hussein (Peace be uponhim). I revealnosecretbysayingthatthroughoutthewritingprocess,Ifeltaspecial moral inspiration pushing meto continue researching, editing andwriting, however difficult this wasduetodifferentconsiderations.I have tried to cover all aspectsthrough a lot of explanation andanalysis of different sides anddimensions. I have also attempted toanswer alotofquestionswhichrelateto the revolution and the character of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him):whydidthisbattletakeplaceandwasit for a worldly purpose? Why didImam Hussein (Peace be upon him)seek martyrdom? What is the secretbehind his words and his screams?Whydidhe take womenandchildrenwith him? This has extended theperiod of writing the book to morethan five years, two of which werefullydevotedtowriting.EventhoughI was not married at the time, it took me that long to write the book. Thisseemedalongtime for mesincenoneof my other works had taken morethantwoyearstocomplete.Assoonas I finishedthebook,whichI had changed and revised time andagain,IsentittoImamAl-Shirazi.Heread the book and liked it and saidliterally,
.I toldhim that I will do so as long as hewritesanintroductiontothebookandhe agreed. I talked to Mr BaqiKhureibit, editor of 
Sawt Al-Khaleej
magazine which I workedfor, who agreed to print the book;hencethebookwaspublished.It is noteworthy here that as soon asthe book was published, Imam Al-Shirazi asked me for 20 copies andwanted to pay for them. I said,
Howcan I accept your money when it isthanks to you that I have written thisbook?
He said:
I want to help you.Andifyoudonotacceptthe money, Iwillnottakethe copies
. InfactI wasvery embarrassed and due to Imam
sinsistence,Ihadtoagree.A:Ofcourseitraisedmanyreactions;more than you can imagine. It is truethat the Shi
a in particular andMuslimsingeneralacceptedthebook and I know many who consider it thebest book written on Imam Hussein(Peace be upon him), but someMuslimsandChristiansobjectedtoit.For example, they said,
he isChristian, how can he be a supporter oftheProphet
sfamily?I recall that someone in Beirutpublished a book containing aresponse to my book. However, thebook 
s handling of the case was verypoor and superficial. The writer endeavouredtoprove that the case of Imam Hussein was only a historicincident related to the struggle for power.Ontheother hand,adoctoratethesis was written on the book andsubmitted to one of the Lebaneseuniversities. Also someone from theUniversity of Lahore in Pakistan,named Mushtaq Assad, asked for permission to translate the book intoUrdu. I immediately agreed. He wassurprised since I did not ask for ashare of the profits. I said
I did notwritethis bookfor profit,butbecauseof my belief in Imam Hussein (Peacebeuponhim)
.Also an Iraqi doctor, called RidhaRasheed,camefromAustria,toasktotranslate the book into Austrian andRussian. I also agreed. Thanks be toGod,thebookhasbeentranslatedintoseventeen languages. This is onlythanks to the grace of Imam Hussein(Peacebeuponhim).Ten years after the publication of thebook, I was surprised to besummonedtoKuwait,whereIusedtowork, to be investigated. I wasaccusedofbeingagainsttheMuslims
Caliphs! On appearingat the court, Iknew that the case was filed by theKuwaiti government. They objectedto a sentence in the book describingOthman bin Afan
s governmentpolicyascorruptandthispolicybeingthe reason behind giving moreauthority to the Umayyads. Idefended the use of the statement incourtbyexplainingthatI tookitfromMuslim books. I also named some of these books which are widelycirculated and available in thecountry
s public central library.AddressingthejudgeI said:
Youleftmore than 499 pages which praisefigures of Islam starting with theProphet,andthenAli,Fatima,Hassanand Hussein (Peace be upon them)andholdontothisonepagewhichyouclaimis againstOthman! Inshort, thecourt judged that I pay a fine of fiftyKuwait Dinars and it confiscated andbanned the book, even though thebook has been approved more thanthree times for inclusion in theelectronic catalogue of the book fair and, as you know, the book gets readeverytimebeforeinclusion.A: It was both. In the beginning,writing the book had a scholarlypurpose but as I got deeper andexpanded on the historicity of thetopic, a feeling of the greatness of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him)grew in me. This character sacrificedhimself for religion and principlesand to preserve Muslims fromdeviating from the path of Islam toensure the continuity of the messageand passing it over from onegeneration to the other. Had he notsacrificed himself in this highlyemotional way, this strong effect onpeople, which preserved the religionofIslam,couldnothavebeenfelt.Theproof is what happened when theprisoners of war were returned toDamascus; Sunnis, Shi
a andChristiansthrewstonesatthesoldiersbecause they were emotionallyaffected. The same also happened inHoms where people beat up thesoldiers and deprived them of water becausetheydeprivedthepurefamilyof the Prophet (Peace be upon them)ofwater.Indeed human principles weregenerated by the Ashura revolution.This is what pushed me to continuewriting the book which onlygave mefatigueandtroubleswithoutanyother personal benefits except for theblessing of Imam Hussein (Peace beupon him). By blessing I mean thefact that the book was printed morethantwentytimes, only threeof themby me. Many bodies have printed thebook without my permission but I donotmindbecauseIdonotconsiderthebook to be my personal property, onthecontraryitbelongstoallhumanitythe same way that Imam Hussein(Peace be upon him) belongs to allhumanity.A: My own description of Imam
Antoine Bara: You Shi’a do notappreciate the value of Imam Hussein!
Antoine Bara
The writer caused a row by con
rmi ngt hatJ esusprophesisedt hea ppearanceofI ma mH u ssein. He a rguest hatI
am a Christian but call on humanity to follow the holiness of Imam Hussein as he is the conscience of all religions.”

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