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Imam Husain, the Defender of Truth

A Hero revered by millions


by Syed H. Akhtar

Austin, Texas



The story of Imam Husain is that of victory of good over evil. It is the victory of David over Goliath par excellence. Imam Husain was the grandson of  the last prophet of God, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He was the spiritual leader of the Islamic nation of his time (1400 years ago).  Yezid Bin Mu’awiya declared himself the ruler of the Islamic nation.  He gained power and support with a combination of ruthlessness, bribery and trickery. He demanded Imam Husain to submit to him or be killed. Yezid falsely claimed to be the true successor of Prophet Muhammad. Imam Husain’s reply was that Yezid was an imposter and that Good can not submit to evil. Imam Husain and his family members and supporters were surrounded by Yezid’s army and they were denied food and water for 3 days. They were attacked by an army of 70,000 soldiers. Imam Husain’s supporters included infirm, elderly, teens, children and an infant 6 month old totaling less than 100.  They defended themselves and fought bravely till their last breath. Their camps were looted and women and children were taken as prisoners.  Of  the survivors, were his ailing son Ali and sister Zainab. They were taken to Yazid’s court in shackles and humiliated and faced execution. However, undaunted they bravely challenged Yezid to public debate and exposed his falsehood. This was a moral defeat of Yezid and his philosophy. The blood sacrifice of Husain and the bravado of his sister sparked a revolution which in a short period of time brought the downfall of Yazid’s evil rule. Truth prevailed and the religion of Islam was saved from eternal defacement.


Thus Imam Husain established the principle that truth must be safeguarded even if requires sacrificing everything including ones life. He showed us that truth will eventually prevail over falsehood even in the face of apparent helplessness and despair.


Imam Husain’s sacrifice is commemorated every year by Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world. It gives people courage to stand up for the truth. His sacrifice changed the destiny of nations. It touched the lives of millions of people, and continues to do so more than a thousand years later.  Below are some statements of historians and philosophers


Thomas Carlyle:

“The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Cerebella (Kerbala) is that Husain and his companions were rigid believers in God.  They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood.  The victory of Husain, despite his minority, marvels me!”  -


Edward Gibbons:

“In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Husain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”   

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