Islam is not a religion just focused on rituals and practices, but its scope goes way beyond that as it guides its followers in every dimension of their lives. Though the recent onslaught of modernism and secularism wants to restrict and control the public facets of Islam, just like they did with Christianity, given the holistic nature of Islamic tradition, such efforts have been not that successful as all recent surveys suggest that the majority of Muslims residing in Muslim majority land strongly believe in the supremacy of Shariah and they look for guidance in the moral principles of Islam, as Dr. Shabbir Akhtar has written in his renowned book, Islam as Political Religion: The Future of an Imperial Faith, “Islam resists Secularization at a time when the gods of other faiths are competing to fall prostrate at the altar of secularism.”
But still, with the constant attacks from modernity that only recognize the material body and not the soul, one can observe a disconnect in the theory and practice of today’s Muslim population, Islam which looks to change the spirit of the man is just confined to rituals and practices without any real work implication and that disconnect becomes more apparent in the month of Muharram when Muslims across the globe commemorate the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet and as per the authentic narration of Trimdhi, he is the master of all the youth of the heaven. This hadith shows the significance of the personality of Hussian and how crucial is for Muslims, especially for youngsters to follow his teachings and philosophy.
Today, it seems like we Muslims have forgotten the legacy of Imam Hussain, though every year, we dedicate the first ten days of the first month of the Islamic Calendar to commemorate his life and ideology but these days are just like rituals without any having any practical implications and effect on our daily lives. The legacy of Imam Hussain as per Scholars like Maudodi and Ali Shariati, was to take a stand against oppression and injustice taking place in society, even if that means putting your own life at stake. In a booklet that was published in 1960, Maudodi delved into the depth of the tragedy of Karbala and tried to answer one key question, “what led Imam Hussain to sacrifice not only his life but also the life of his family?” The answer though is quite simple, but it is difficult to digest that the man, whom the Prophet himself honored had to make such a difficult decision just because the caliphate was being replaced by kinship (Malookiat). Though the society was still being ruled by the Shariah and it was not like the nominated caliph had all the powers to change the system but still, everybody could sense that this may be a stepping stone that will later open gates for all the ills to penetrate the Muslim society.
The Muslims of today, though claim to be the followers of the Prophet of Hussain, but when we analyzed the situation that our Ummah finds itself in and the challenges we are facing across the globe, from Political, and economic to social decline, it becomes apparent that these are just mere claims and we as community are just trying to follow the dominant western trend rather than following the teachings and footsteps of Hussain.
Having a cursory look at Islamic history, no one can deny that the legacy of Hussain was not as relevant as it is today considering our situation and the multi-faceted challenges that we are facing as a global community. Especially the youngsters, who are going to be the leaders of their respective communities, have a lot to learn from the legacy of Imam Hussain if they ought to fight the current onslaught of modernism that seeks to “reform” and “reshape” Islamic thought as per the western norms and standards.