A Fragrance of Paradise - The Grandchildren of the Messenger (peace be upon him)

It was the third year after the hijrah, during the middle of the blessed month of Ramadan. God had blessed Fatima, daughter of the Messenger of Allah, with her first son. Ali, the boy’s father, recounts the story himself :
“ When Hasan was born, I originally named him Harb [War], so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came and said ‘Show me my son, What have you named him?’ We said: ‘Harb’. He said: ‘Oh no, he is Hasan! [Beautiful]’. Then when Husain was born, I named him Harb [war], so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came and said ‘Show me my son, What have you named him?’ We said: ‘Harb’. He said: ‘Oh no, he is Husain! [Small Beautiful One]’. Then when my third son was born I named him Harb, so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came and said ‘ Show me my son, What have you named him?’ We said ‘Harb’. He said ‘ Oh no, he is Muhsin!’ He then mentioned “I have named them after the Sons of [Prophet] Aaron: Shibr, Shabr, Mishbar” [Ahmed]

The Prophet of Allah dearly loved Hasan and Husain as his sons and would say, “Oh Allah, I love them and I love anyone who loves them, so love them and love anyone who loves them” [Tirmidhi]. He would also equate loving him (peace be upon him) to loving them when he said “ If anyone loves me, he must love these two (Hasan and Husain)”. [Nisai]

They possessed both physical and spiritual qualities of perfection, and the Messenger himself would often remind his companions of these qualities. For Hasan, he said, “This son of mine is a Chieftain”. As for Husain he said, “If it delights someone to look at a man among the people of the Garden of Paradise, let him look at al-Husain ibn Ali” [Bukhari]. When speaking of them both, he said “ Al-Hasan and al-Husain are the Chieftains of the youths of Paradise, except the maternal cousins Isa and Yayha ibn Zakariya”. [Ibn Hibban]

Their physical appearance was akin to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and their father Ali said Al-Hasan resembled the Messenger of Allah from head to chest, and Al-Husain resembled the Messenger of Allah from below the chest. Fatima once brought her children to the Messenger (peace be upon him) and asked him: “ Oh Messenger of Allah, these are your sons, so bequeath something to them.” He replied: “ As for Hasan, to him belongs my appearance and power, as for Husain, to him belong my courage and generosity.” [Tabarani]

They grew under the nourishment of their grandfather (peace be upon him). He instilled in their hearts and minds a love for Allah that was unrivaled, and a quest for truth and justice that would ultimately cost them their lives. When Ali was murdered, over forty thousand men pledged allegiance to Hasan. For a period of seven months he was the fifth righteous caliph. He abdicated his caliphate to Muawiyah, the son of Abu Sufyan, hoping to spare bloodshed among the Muslims, proving true the statement of the Messenger of Allah when he said of al-Hasan, "Perhaps Allah will reconcile two parties among the Muslims by means of him". [Bukhari]. Under circumstances deemed mysterious to some, he was poisoned and killed.

The destiny of Al-Husain would soon match that of his brother. Husain’s refusal to give allegiance to Yazid, the degenerate son of Muawiyah, caused a stir amongst the Yazidi followers. Husain was a great scholar of the Muslim nation, the spiritual master of his time, beloved to the people of the heavens and earth. He was the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and every fiber in him testifed to that. In the end, he was willing to pay for that with his life. In the year 681, on the 10th of the holy month of Muharram, Al-Husain and his family were massacred by the brutal forces of Yazid. This historic battle of truth and falsehood took place during the same month that Allah saved his prophet Musa and the children of Israil from the tyranny of Pharoah. In both cases, Musa and Husain stood for truth and justice while Pharaoh and Yazid stood for falsehood and injustice. Though the outcomes may seem vastly different, in reality they are one and the same. Standing for truth against falsehood is the ultimate expression of sacrifice, regardless if you walk away with your life, as in the case of Musa, or if you die in the process, as in the case of Husain.

In the tumultuous times we are living in, many Muslims across the world have clothed themselves with the garments of Husain to stand up against the tyranny of the Yazidi system. Whether it is Ghaddafi of Libya, Bin Saleh of Yemen, Mubarak of Egypt, Bin Ali of Tunisia, or Assad of Syria, their outcome will all be one and the same. I pray that, in this month of Muharram, Allah blesses all who have risen by the call of Husain with the victory of Musa.

Moutasem Atiya


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