In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
Millions of Muslims failed to rush to the aid of the Master of the Youth of Paradise (peace be upon him), and only a few thousand joined him at the beginning of his journey to Karbala. As the Imam (peace be upon him) continued on his path to Karbala, the trials and tribulation ahead became more apparent to those who joined him, so, one by one, they abandoned him. By the night of the tenth of Muharram, only seventy-three men remained by his side – all were martyred alongside the Imam (peace be upon him).
Those who failed to support Imam Hussain (Peace be upon him), by either fleeing or defecting, faced a stigma wherever they went and squandered an opportunity to attain a grand status both in this world and the next. On the other hand, those who opted to support the Master of Martyrs (Peace be upon him) were blessed with glory and immortality in this world, as well as a place unlike any other in Paradise.
The martyrs of Karbala’s glory is unrivaled; their names and sacrifices made immortal generation after generation by those whose memory they do not escape. They chose to walk the righteous path knowing the trials, misery, and misfortunes that it entails. They knew in advance that the battle with the sinister forces of the enemy would be disproportionate. They knew of what will afflict them and their families. They knew death was certain. However, they were sincere in their beliefs that their victory was a moral one and that their sacrifice will forever be remembered, providing the ideological grounds for revolution, renaissance and reformation for future generations. The souls of these brave knights reserved their abode in Paradise, and Allah awaits them. No one could ever wish for a greater award.
What did those treasonous people who abandoned their Imam (peace be upon him) were hoping to achieve? They deserted him to go on living, choosing to eat, drink, and sleep like any other animal when they could have gained incomprehensible reward had they stayed and died alongside Imam Hussain (peace be upon him). What value is there for a life without merit? What greater purpose than to die, defending the very symbol of our faith? It was inevitable that the world soon turned its back on them and viewed them as cowardly, dishonest, and deceitful. They are now suffering in their graves, awaiting their day of reckoning.
While it is the duty of all, Just a few of the courageous believers rose to meet the call of Allah. We find that people are generally deaf, covering their eyes and holding their tongues in the face of evil, injustice, and tyranny. The tragedy of Karbala is not a distant memory of a time that is no more; it is a reminder that we too must be willing to sacrifice all for the sake of Allah, lest we live with eternal regret. While Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) has been martyred, we have an Imam (peace be upon him) that is among us, concealed, awaiting his followers to make the necessary conditions available for his re-appearance. Imam al-Mahdi (peace be upon him) carries a message of reform to all humanity, just as his grandfather, Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), did. Reform does not come without difficulties and pitfalls – there are always those who wish the world remains in a state of decay, corruption, and ignorance to serve their ends or further their ideologies.
Some men and women dedicated themselves to serving the Imam (peace be upon him), to hasten his reappearance so that his light finally descends upon this world that suffers without him. The path of his servants is one of sacrifice, suffering; it is rife with trials and challenges, but it is a path of glory and blessing also. Being a servant of the Imam (peace be upon him) is a reward unlike any other, but those who wish to walk this path must be willing to put their life on the line and persevere against all odds, just as the martyrs of Karbala have. Otherwise, one cannot be a servant of the Imam (peace be upon him) and be undeserving of that grand title. The path of the servant is a rugged one, but it is a path that brings glory with tribulation and greatness with sacrifice.
As servants, we strive towards our goal until we achieve our aim or die as martyrs who provide the fuel for revolutions to come. People can remember these efforts and sacrifices, and perhaps we could serve as a model for them, Allah willing. As for this great title of Servants of al-Mahdi (peace be upon him), it is for our souls’ redemption. We will be servants of Imam Al-Mahdi (Peace be upon him) and accept the sacrifices to bear, and we thank Allah for this tribulation.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib