Why did so many people abandon Imam Husayn (A)? 

So many people abandon Imam Husayn (a)?

What led the majority of the Islamic community during Imam Husayn’s (a) time to abandon him? And what drove such a large group to take up arms against him, fighting the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (s)?

A story found in biographies sheds light on the depth of this tragedy. After Imam Husayn (a) was martyred, a man was seen looting an anklet from a young girl in Imam Husayn’s (a) tent, while tears streamed down his face.

The girl asked him, “Why are you crying?”

He replied, “How can I not cry when I am taking the anklet from the daughter of the Prophet’s (s) grandson?”

When she said, “Then leave it,” he answered, “If I don’t take it, someone else will.”

Destructive power of worldly desires

When we witness one sibling arguing with another over minor material gains in this worldly existence…

We observe that in some cases, a son may start a conflict with his father over things like a piece of land.

Family ties often break down and are disregarded due to disputes over property inheritance and private issues.

For them to come and say, “We are all siblings, and whoever takes that is okay; it is from one pocket to the other.”

No, they will tell you this is my rights, My rights. Are you really that righteous?

If you are righteous, you will not commit backbiting. If you are righteous, you will not lie. If you are righteous, you will not be arrogant. Be sensible and calm! 

What is this “my rights” thing?

When the father is dead and in his grave, and a dispute occurs in his family, indeed, he is harmed! 

The late Sheikh Ahmad Qasir once told me a story: May God have mercy on His soul. He is the father of the late Sheikh Mustafa Qasir and the brothers Sheikh Abdallah Qasir and Sheikh Hujeji Qasir. 

He was in Najaf and had a dream. He interpreted it to mean there is a particular family with a problem between them over the inheritance, and he saw their father in his grave as if he were naked. 

So, he came from Najaf here to solve this problem between this family. What is the cause?

The cause is the love of this worldly life (Dunya).

Similarly, when we see the people who went out to fight Imam Husayn (a), they were thinking of money; they were the worshippers of money.

Beware of worldly temptations: Lessons from Kufa

While leaving Kufa, one of them says, “I left the city after staying 27 days and returned as one of the wealthiest people.

What was His Job? A blacksmith. He fixed the spear of so-and-so from the crowd of Yazid, and he fixed the tent’s pole. He is working; he is a blacksmith. 

So, imagine this phrase is between two brackets, and as people say, “Right at God’s door,” meaning it’s very important or severe. He really wants to work. He really wants to live.

So, from this aspect, to be pulled towards this worldly life (dunya), we have to see if this is present within us or not! We need to check if we are being drawn to material things in life.

We have to be wary about the things that were present in those people, the tenets, their way of thinking that led them there, and (we must) guard against it. Only then will we be determined to reach Imam Husayn (a) seriously. 

The reason they were so pulled to money is that they could not think beyond the things that were in front of them. Meaning, “and for you is the hour that you are in (i.e., seize the moment)

  • Surah Al-Asr (Chapter 103): “By the passage of time! Surely humanity is in grave loss, except those who have faith, do good, and urge each other to the truth, and urge each other to perseverance.”

وَٱلْعَصْرِ (١) إِنَّ ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسْرٍ (٢) إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ (٣)

Wa Al-ʿaṣri (1) Innal-insāna lafī khusrin (2) Illa alladhīna āmanū wa ʿamilū ṣ-ṣāliḥāti wa tawāṣaw bil-ḥaqqi wa tawāṣaw bis-ṣabri (3)

  1. By the time!
  2. Surely man is in loss,
  3. Except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience.

Superficiality vs depth: Contrasting outlooks on Life

A child, for example, sees an ant that he has never seen before. An ant walking is something strange! He fills the room with screaming. What is this? It is an ant! And who knows what will happen now? As if a disaster will happen.

He sees something in front of him. He doesn’t know anything about it. He doesn’t know the circumstances of the story. For example, he sees some toy, like bubbles or that toy you blow into. So he is delighted within it, and he laughs and all. 

The child deals with the outward reality (thahir) of things because he does not have the experience or the intellectual development to think about the dimensions of things.

What if one becomes a man, an elder, and his thinking is still childish? 

What is childish thinking? 

He doesn’t think of anything except for the things in front of him.

What is he? He is superficial. Skin-deep, he is not able to understand at all the meaning of “tribulation is the quickest thing for a believer.” 

And like Allah said in the previous hadith, God shields the believer from the worldly life (dunya) because He does not want him to become embroiled in sin, just like a mother protects her child.

Those who are from the path of superficiality say like us, like us (except those whom Allah (satisfied), pulled towards money, outward appearances, prestige, and “I said” and “they said about me” -those things have no weight. They remain pulled towards showing off (riya). 

It is not possible anymore to be monotheistic. Monotheism (Tawhid) is linked to contemplating the inner reality (Batin) of things and thinking of consequences. This is intellect (Aql). 

A wise person always thinks and plans for the future. When a young person decides to go on a trip, they often don’t consider the details. They might not think about the need for gas, the condition of the car’s tires, the overall cost of the trip, or even if they don’t own a car. They don’t ponder over these aspects; they simply feel the urge to travel.

An older, wiser person might think, “How much gas do we have?” and “What if we break down?” This means they are considering what might happen in the future.

The outward-focused, superficial, son of the worldly life (dunya), how does he think? Now I’m hungry. I want to eat. Now we need a house, now we need money. Then later what will happen? He is not thinking. This is ignorance. The direct opposite is knowledge (ilm).

This is the fundamental distinction between the son of the worldly life (dunya) and the son of the hereafter (akhira), between the wise one and others, between the Karbala’i and the Yazidi, between a faithful person and a polytheist or infidel or hypocrite. 

Imam Hassan’s (a) advice to the youth

Imam Hassan (a) once in a family gathering got together his children and his brother’s children and gave a short lecture to them. He said, “Indeed you are but young individuals of this society but in the future, managing the community will be your responsibility.”

You should make effort at this young age at least to take advantage. So, learn and seek knowledge. Do not be idle; study and acquire knowledge. If someone’s memory is weak then whatever he hears in a lecture he should write in a book and keep it in his house so that it can be referred to when required.

A call to stay true: Upholding the path of faith

All our wishes are that we meet the twelfth Imam (a). There is no other wish that we have. Is there a greater wish than that? The more significant wish than that is that He sees us. We must know that we have two wishes for the Twelfth Imam (a). One is that we are at His service, and that is a wish for all of us. However, the more significant wish than that should be that He sees us. 

The Ahlul Bayt (a), the fourteen infallible’s are from the same light. If there is a saying of Imam Ali (a), then Imam Mahdi (a) would have the same words. What is the logic of the Twelfth Imam (a)? 

If we have a narration of Imam Ali (a), then that will be the same logic as that of Imam Mahdi (a). Imam Ali (a) has said, “People will be nurtured – They are our Shias, they are our lovers, and they are from Us, they are with us.

Ahh! I wish! I could meet them.” This is Imam Ali (a). He says my heart longs to see our Shia. These are also the worlds of Imam Mahdi (a). Imam is sighing, saying I wish I could see my Shia, my friends. Do not go astray. Do not block anyone else’s path. This road’s open.

Conclusion: People abandon Imam husayn

Hence the reason those in the time of Imam Husayn (a) abandoned him is because they were superficial, surface-level people. They were from the people of this verse in Surah al-Rum 30:7.

يَعۡلَمُونَ ظَٰهِرٗا مِّنَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ هُمۡ غَٰفِلُونَ

Ya’lamoona zaahiram minal hayaatid dunya wa hum ‘anil Aakhirati hum ghaafiloon

They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world (i.e. the matters of their livelihood, like irrigating or sowing or reaping, etc.), and they are heedless of the Hereafter.

They have forgotten the hereafter (life in barzakh). This heedlessness means that they have heard of it they know about it. For example, some of them at some stage believed in the hereafter; however, they became heedless of it.


  • Arish Husain

    Assalam Alaikum beautiful people! someone who loves Prophet Muhammad and his family a lot. I like finding new ways to teach important stuff, so everyone can understand what Allah wants from us and His plans. We learn to listen for whispers from Allah, understand big plans, get ready for whatever Allah has for us, and try our best. I hope Allah's blessings guide us on this special journey.Allah hu Akbar!

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