Reasons Behind Imam al-Husayn’s move to Makka

If one were to carefully analyze the reason why the Imam (‘a) left for Makka, he/she would be able to understand the sanctity of the move.

Following are reflections about the same:

1. The Importance of a Global Platform

In one of his historic statements Imam al-Husayn (‘a) clearly says that the main reason behind his uprising (in whatever stage it may be) is to seek reform in the Muslim nation. Then he describes the path he would undertake to meet this aspiration:

أُرِيْدُ أَنْ آمُرَ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَ أَنْهَى عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ

‘I would like to invite towards good and shun the evil.’1

In order for him to carry out this reform immediately, the best place to go to was Makka, where pilgrims from all over the Muslim world would come to perform 'Umra and Hajj. They would listen to his message, wake up, and relate the same to their people on their return.

Historical records tell us that while in Makka, Muslims from different countries would come to Imam al-Husayn ('a) day and night, and listen to what he had to say.

2. Opposition Against Falsehood

The flight of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) reveals the Imam's liberated spirit.

He never allowed himself to submit to any government that does not obey the laws of God. In fact it is a practical manifestation of ‘Islam’ (submission to the will of God). Submitting to every call of disbelief or polytheism is to alienate from the path of utter submission to Almighty Allah.

In Imam al-Husayn (‘a)’s not surrendering to falsehood and remaining very steadfast in his stance, he taught every future human being 'the lesson of steadfastness' by not submitting to falsehood and oppression. And this unwavering stance remained until the end of his ephemeral life.

3. Seeking Refuge in Allah

Imam al-Husayn ('a)'s move to Makka also alludes to something highly important. His flight to the Divine sanctity of safety, perhaps demonstrated that his only refuge is Allah in whose house there is always safety:

فِيهِ آيَات بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَهِيمَ وَ مَن دَخَلَهُ كانَ ءَامِناً

In it are clear signs and whosoever enters therein is safe (3:97)

Seeking refuge in the Divine sanctity, however, should transport us to a loftier meaning: one who really seeks refuge in Allah is safe from all kinds of polytheism and oppression. It is not necessary for us to limit our understanding to the physical and tangible import of the verse.

The 'amn' and safety referred to in the verse, however, is a legislative direction (tashri') which creates responsibilities on the Muslim nation.

In other words, Almighty Allah commands us to observe security in His house. No one is allowed to shed blood there; no animal is to be injured, etc. But if some like Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, out of their disbelief, were to transgress the limits, they can endanger the lives of the like of the selfishly motivated 'Abdullah bin Zubayr who despite having sought asylum in the holy precincts of the Ka'ba was killed therein.

However, 'amn' (safety) can also refer to seeking the shelter of 'one's spirit' in Almighty Allah. This meaning can also be understood by looking at some recommended supplications to be recited near the Ka'ba:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ قُلْتَ وَ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ كانَ آمِناً فَآمِنِّي مِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ

O Allah, surely You said: “ and whosoever enters therein he/she would be safe"; therefore, save me from the punishment of Hell Fire."2

Therefore, one who seeks the protection of his spirit from Almighty Allah would undoubtedly be safe from every calamity that would ruin his spiritual life. If his physical life were to be sold for an exalted aim, he would never lose. Instead he would attain a lofty station and eternal salvation.

If the leaders who govern Muslim nations of the world today were to understand and apply this lofty concept they would never assist terrorist regimes like Israel and the US, whose evil nature is more apparent than ever today.

Makka is a place where such thoughts must soak our hearts and minds, for indeed Muslims should undergo a new revolution. Every concerned Muslim should try to understand and heed to the call of Imam al-Husayn ('a) which still echoes in the hearts and minds of the truth-seeking human beings:

فقد علمتم أن رسول الله (صلَّى الله عليه و آله) قد قال في حياته من رأى سلطاناً جائراً مستحلاً لحرم الله ناكثاً لعهد الله مخالفاً لسنة رسول الله يعمل في عباد الله بالاثم و العدوان ثم لم يغير بقول ولا فعل كان حقيقاً على الله أن يدخله مدخله

Indeed you know that the Messenger of Allah (S) said during his lifetime:

"Whoever observes a sovereign legalizing what God has made unlawful, violating the covenant of God, opposing the Sunnah of the Messenger of God, and treating the creatures of God sinfully and oppressively, and does not oppose him with his speech and action, God has a right to bring him to the same fate as that of the tyrant…"3

ألا ترون أن الحق لا يعمل به و أن الباطل لا ينتهى عنه

"Don't you see that what is true and right is not acted upon and what is false and wrong is not forbidden?..." 4

هل من ذاب يذب عن حرم رسول الله

"Is there any protector do defend the sanctuary (haram) of the Messenger of Allah?5

  • 1. 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 44, p. 328
  • 2. Thiqatu'l Islam al-Kulayna, Al-Kafi, v.4, p. 528
  • 3. 'Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v. 44, p. 381
  • 4. Ibid, v.75, p. 116
  • 5. Ibid, v.45, p. 45