The supreme sacrifice rendered by Imam Hussain (AS), his immediate family and the fondest followers consisting of 71 against the thousands in brutal army of Yazid continues to outshine any other example of matchless mettle, crowning character and a rare courage of conviction. This glorious legacy of an epical bravery and valor, manifested in utter defiance of an unjust rule by an oppressive regime, shall continue to guide humanity as the most illuminating beacon of light till eternity. The overarching message from Karbala is the steadfastness of character when it comes to upholding the principles and values you staunchly believe in. No price is ever too high to stand for right and safeguard the sanctity of righteousness and truth. The forces of evil challenge you every now and then by their power but surrender is not an option. Real men of rare character always choose to fight with their backs to the wall and, thus, get immortalized in history. That is, indeed, the true measure of character. Imam Hussain (AS) proved larger than life and won the final battle against Yazid. That’s why; his exemplary act of an unparalleled bravery has become the metaphor of courage, character and conviction, for all times to come. Every year, we certainly commemorate the tragedy of Karbala but, unfortunately, overlook the valued message of the matchless martyr, Imam Hussain (AS). The battle of Karbala signifies the collision of the good versus the evil, the vice versus the virtue. Imam Hussain (AS) taught us all as to how to stand up against oppression and resist tyranny. Yazid, immediately after taking over, legitimized many prohibited acts and the whole Islamic political institution was demolished. The democratic system of free voting & consultation was completely crippled; system based on rule of law was totally converted into the rule of discretion. The popularly elected democracy (Khilafat) was replaced by the family hereditary monarchy. Political freedom, individual liberty and human rights were suspended and people were subjugated to the dictatorial whims of the tyrant ruler. Imam Hussain (AS) sadly witnessed the rampant socio-political degeneration. He refused to accept the illegitimate regime of Yadiz. Prior to his departure from Medina, he wrote a Will that he left in the custody of his brother, Muhammad al-Hanaffiya. It contained a clear and concise statement of his mission as the Imam did not wish history to misunderstand or misinterpret the purpose of his principled stand against Yazid. “I’m not rising [against Yazid] as an insolent, or an arrogant or a mischief monger or as a tyrant. I have risen [against him] as I seek to reform the ummah [community] of my grandfather [Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]. I wish to bid the good [amr bil-ma’ruf] and forbid the evil [nahy’ ‘anil-munkar], and to follow the way of my grandfather and father [Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (AS)].” Imam Hussain (AS) had the responsibility to rescue the religion of Islam-the Deen of his beloved grandfather, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the last and the best of all prophets. He did accomplish his noble mission with rare grace and in unique style.“I’m not rising [against Yazid] as an insolent, or an arrogant or a mischief monger or as a tyrant. I have risen [against him] as I seek to reform the ummah [community] of my grandfather [Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]To the shocking surprise of many, he treaded the road, least travelled by, and that made all the difference. He chose a unique way of drinking the cup of martyrdom in order to achieve his lofty goals. He decided to confront Yazid and his forces, not with any trained army of skilled soldiers, but with a devout group of passionate martyrs. He strongly believed that it was only martyrdom that would effectively jolt the consciousness of Muslims. The late Iranian scholar, Ayatulla Murtaza Mutahhari rightly remarked that the best way to reform the ummah was to “inject blood into its veins.” Imam Hussain (AS) rose to the occasion to change the situation he was confronted with, not just by his words but also by his actions. Thus, Karbala proved to be a clash between truth versus falsehood, belief versus disbelief, the oppressed versus the oppressor, and faith against brute force. Even today, the fearless voice of Imam Hussain (AS) echoes in the valley of Karbala, ringing bells in the ears of time, “By God, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave.” The tragedy of Karbala has not only influenced Muslims but has inspired non-Muslims as well. It was not the battle for gaining power or to conquer a territory. It was a clash between monarchy and Khilafat, a confrontation between justice and oppression. It was the struggle where the noble family members of Prophet (PBUH) under the leadership of holy Prophet’s (PBUH) grandson Imam Hussein (AS) preferred to lay down their lives rather than compromise on their just stance. They,literally, watered and rejuvenated the field of Islam with their pious and pure blood to maintain its pristine liveliness. Khawaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti rightly remarked, ‘Haqa ke Binaye Lailla ast Hussein. Hussein is the foundation of ‘There is no God but Allah’- the fundamental of Islam. Allama Iqbal, while explaining the philosophy of this battle writes: Mudda’yash saltanat boody agar; Khud na harday ba chunin samaan e safar (Ramooz e Beykhoodi). Indeed, Imam Hussein’s (AS) only aim behind refusing to give allegiance to Yazid was to uphold truth and the glory of Islam.The unprecedented sacrifice offered by Imam Hussain (AS) and his kith and kin at Karbala is the shared heritage of entire humanity, of all times and climes. Mahatma Gandhi paid his rich tributes, “My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain, the great saint.”Similarly, Charles Dickens remarked, “If Hussain fought to quench his worldly desires, then I do not understand why his sisters, wives and children accompanied him. It stands to reason, therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.”Rabindranath Tagore didn’t leave behind either, as he said, “In order to keep alive justice and truth, instead of an army or weapons, success can be achieved by sacrificing lives, exactly what Imam Hussain did.”Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru also paid his sincere homage, “Imam Hussain’s (AS) sacrifice is for all groups and communities, an example of the path of righteousness.” Such is the universality of his message and the magnitude of its appeal. It is painful to witness that the horrendous crimes and atrocious acts of absolute injustice that took place in the times of Imam Hussein (AS) continue to haunt humanity even today. The evil forces have made the lives of innocent people, miserable. Karbala will keep resonating until the end of time. This analogy is best narrated in the famous lyrics of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (AS), “Every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala.” Thus, the message of Imam Hussain (AS)is relevant for all times and represents a constant clarion call for concrete action. In his rare feat of matchless martyrdom, he got immortalized till eternity. He has since become the trailblazer for the forces of truth and justice. Even today, at every other moment, we are in situations where we have the choice to join Hussain (AS) by standing up for the just and right, and side with the oppressed and helpless. But how many are able to do it? Very few, unfortunately, though! Majority succumbs to pressures and proves sheepish in actions though claiming to be the very torch-bearers of the glorious legacy left behind by Hussain Ibne Ali (AS). Time has already come to prove that we are from the proud progeny of Imam Hussain (AS). But as they say, actions speak louder than words!The writer is a civil servant by profession, a writer by choice and a motivational speaker by passion!