What was the objective of Martyrdoms in Karbala?

Did the Imam (s) affirm his claim to authority and rule by virtue of personal right, for which he staked his life to vindicate his claim? Anyone who knows the high moral standard of Imam Hussain’s household cannot harbor the vile notion that they would cause bloodshed among the Muslims to gain political power.

Even for a moment if we consider this viewpoint acceptable – the opinion that this family held a personal right to rule- a glance at the fifty year history from Abu Bakr to Muawiyah bears evidence that waging war and causing bloodshed merely to seize power had never been their motive. As a logical corollary, one has to admit that the Imam’s keen eye discerned symptoms of decay and corruption in the system of Muslim society and the Islamic state, and thus he felt impelled to resist these forces –even if it required treading a path of war which he not only considered to be legitimate but an obligation as well.

These were the changes that appeared in the wake of converting the Islamic Caliphate into a monarchy. No one can deny that Yazid’s nomination as successor to his father was the starting point of all the bad transformations. It cannot be gainsaid that after a short span of time from the point of origin, all the corrupt practices mentioned above came into existence.

At the time when this revolutionary step was taken, even though these evils had not yet surfaced, a man of vision could have predicted these inevitable consequences of such a beginning. And predicted that the reforms introduced by Islam in the administrative and political phases of the state would be rendered null and void by these changes.

This is the reason why Imam Hussain (s) could not remain indifferent, and he decided to stem the tide of the evil forces by taking the risk of confronting the worst consequences by rising in revolt against an established government. The consequences of this bold stand are known to every one.

The fact which the Imam wanted to emphasize, by plunging himself into grave danger and enduring its consequences heroically, was that the fundamental features of an Islamic State are valuable assets. It would not be a bad bargain if a believer sacrificed his life and had his family members slain in return for this valuable objective. A believer should not hesitate to sacrifice all that he possesses for preventing the changes which constitutes a danger to the religion of Islam and the Muslim community which is a custodian of the principles mentioned above.

One is at liberty to contemptuously disregard it as merely a maneuver for securing political power, but in the eyes of Hussain Ibn Ali, it was primarily a religious obligation. He therefore laid down his life in this cause gaining the crown of martyrdom.