“Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain,” Jami Tirmidhi reported Prophet Mohammed as saying in reference to the prominence which Imam Hussain will come to play in Islam as a leader and religious supreme authority over the Muslim Ummah [community/people]. For many it also meant that any offence made to Imam Hussain would equate to insulting the Prophet of God himself and thus by extension God’s message onto Men.
Those very words, and what they would come to represent for both the Sunni and the Shia is what has been driving a wedge in between the two houses of Islam. To briefly sum up an extremely layered and complicated situation, Shia Muslims, the followers of Imam Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed and fourth Caliph of Islam) have always perceived the early Caliphs of Islam as traitors to Ahl Al Bait (the holy house of the Prophet of Islam and last Prophet of God) for they by-passed Imam Ali as ruler of the Ummah to the benefit of Abu Bakr then Umar ibn Al Khattab, then Utman Abi Talib.
As far as Shia Muslims are concerned, Imam Ali was the only real and legitimate successor to Prophet Mohammed; by not only rights of blood and lineage but by purity of deeds and dedication to the holy.
What began as a disagreement, a spat between brothers of religion, turned into somewhat of a crusade, when Imam Hussain, the last surviving son of Imam Ali and Lady Fatima (Prophet Mohammed’s daughter) was betrayed and killed by those in league with Yazid, the man who claimed to have more rights over the Muslim Ummah than the direct descendent of the Prophet of God.
“Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain;” to this day those words represent and encompasses the wedge which exists in between Islam’s two houses, as they carry such emotional weight.
Imam Hussain died in Karbala! Karbala is where ISIS militants are marching toward. The message has been heard loud and clear, Islam could live yet another Karbala, another battle could soon wage in Iraq which will too echo throughout the ages and shape the region for centuries to come.
History is quite literally about to repeat itself.
“The Shia are a disgraced people. God forbid that they become victorious over you. How can they when they are polytheists? Don’t stop until you reach Baghdad and Karbala. Be prepared! Iraq will transform into a living hell for the Shia and other heretic,” said ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani on Thursday, purposely challenging the whole of Shia Islam to meet its iron and end a millennium old dispute over whose house can legitimately carry the flag of Islam and pretend to be of the true faithful.
While experts have talked and discussed at great length events on the ground, warning that Iraq’s crisis would carry severe repercussions for the greater region, they failed to take into account its religious dimension. We are not just witnessing sectarian strife, what we could witness, if nothing is done to diffuse Iraq’s terror powder keg, is the battle of the two Islam.
Brothers against brothers, faith against faith, Karbala’s blood will run anew and suffering will know no bound.
If the Wahhabis, (Sunni ultra-radicals) who were acted under Al Saud’ strict orders, failed in 1802 to level Karbala to the ground, despite killing a reported 4000 men, women and children; such were its people’s determination to withstand whatever horrors to protect the holy shrines of their Imams; they intend this time around to assert their religious hegemony by laying waste the epicentre of Shia Islam. While they will undoubtedly fail as Karbala is made of more than just stones, such declaration of war, such crusade, will explode the region’ socio-religious fabric and put millions of souls in harm’s way.
Iraq’s undoing, its unravelling, will trigger a domino effect in the region which magnitude seems to elude the international community.
The horrors of war
In a statement published on Thursday, Human Rights Watch has warned that ISIS militants could repeat the horrors it became infamous for in Syria, in Iraq. “The possibility that ISIS will repeat the atrocities it has committed in other parts of Iraq, and impose the same intolerant and abusive rule as it has in Syria, is deeply troubling,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. He added, “But the Iraqi government needs to deal with the situation without the brutal tactics for which civilians elsewhere in the country have long been paying a heavy price.”
But again, the atrocities HRW is talking about remain for many a somewhat foreign concept; few could ever begin to comprehend the evil which is ISIS. Veterans of terror, masters of tortures and all other ignominies, ISIS men have committed all; stoop so far beyond the acceptable, tolerable or even morally bearable that they have lost all trace of humanities.
How else justify the gang-raping of women and children, the slaughtering of a man’s wife, daughters, sisters, mother and father before his eyes, only to make him witness the disfigurement of their bodies?
Infants have been beaten to death, pregnant mothers have been lashed and stoned, men have been hanged, beheaded or shot in public displays of so-called justice. Mosques have been burned, shrines have been defiled, ISIS men have defecated and urinated over religious sites and religious literature. Men of religion have been asked to deny their faith or face the most abject of torture … the list is infinite, as Iraq’s pain has been … and will be, unless ISIS is stopped.
ISIS has committed and is committing such crimes against Shia Islam … How long will it take before those Takfiris turn their attention toward Iraq Christian community? How long can Iraq Church hope to survive under the burning Sun of ISIS?
Should those powers standing behind ISIS, those same powers, which have encouraged western powers to invest into Syria’s militias, claiming that such threat could be contained, be allowed to wage their crusade against Iraq and by extension Shia Islam, how long before the whole Levant goes up in flame?
How long will it take for Lebanon to collapse under the strain of sectarian tension? How long will it take before the entire Middle East becomes another Karbala?