This is the Land

This is a guest post submitted by Fatima Mazhar. One is a prologue written from the point of view of Imam Husain (as) and a second is from the point of view from the old man who said the name of the land was Karbala when the Imam asked for the name.

Imam Husain’s (as) Point-of-View

‘This is the land’

I felt the world freeze around me. The villagers looked at me in confusion, the caravan, in shock. I knew the day would come, but its reality had never hit me as hard as it had that moment.

This was the land where I save the religion of the one true God. The land where I saved my faith. This was the land from where I would take my final journey. From where I would meet my father, my grandfather, and his father before him.

This was the land where I shall bury my infant child. Where I shall pull the pear from my teenage son’s chest. The land where I shall pick up my brother’s severed arms. The land where we shall be thirsty by a river. The land where my women will be taken prisoner.

This is the land that shall be remembered until the end of time. This is that land. This is Karbala.

The story of Karbala has been told since the beginning of time. Gabriel told this story to Adam when he was first created. Moses was told this story from the burning bush. Mahadev told Parvati about us when they were on this mountain. Jesus first heard of it from the lap of Mary. This is the story that shall be preserved until Judgement Day. The story of my life. The story of my death. The story of Karbala.

Old Man’s Point of View

When I uttered the name Karbala, I felt the winds change, the sky turned darker, the horses flare their nostrils. I looked at the strange caravan, sensing they were the reason for the disturbance of nature. They certainly were a strange bunch; beautiful, from the little children to the old men, walked like royalty, but looked humble at the same time.

Distinction was written upon their brow, as well as magnificence, but it was with kindness, not arrogance that they looked at the world. They showed great power, even the children looked as if they could take grown men in battle, but they were all wise beyond their years. What enthralled me the most though was their piety, had it been night, the light from their faces would have sparkled like a thousand candles and lit the plains.

Suddenly, the leader opened his mouth. I leaned in, knowing that any word spoken by so great a man would be marked in history forever, but he simply said,

“This is the land.”

It was only four words, one sentence, but it carried the weight of the worlds in it. I stood in awe of it. In those words, I heard sorrow, pain, resignation, hope, but most of all–determination.

For a moment, the his caravan froze, then it burst to life. Men began helping children off horses, teens began putting up tents, only the covered camels, where I assumed the women were, stayed still. The curtain fluttered for a minute on one of the camels, then froze. Immediately, the handsome young man who had stood beside the leader, left his side for the first time and ran over to the covered camel. He began murmuring to the curtain and someone inside must have replied, for he stood listening like a slave to a master.

The leader of the caravan must have noticed the interest of the villagers towards the young man’s one-sided conversation, for he immediately distracted the crowd.

“To whom does this land belong?”

Again, his words shocked me. The wisdom and experience behind them left me feeling like even my many years were but a week to this man.

The two orphan boys who had inherited the land from their parents ran forward with the man that was in charge of their affairs. Gold changed hands and the strange leader bought the land. Then, he turned to everyone and declared,

“Oh people of Nainawa, of Karbala, listen closely to my words. My people and I have come here as it is our last destination before heaven. In a few days, a battle will rage the land and we shall all die. There will be no one to bury our bodies at that time. I beseech you, men of Nainawa, bury us as a favour to your Prophet. To the women of this land, if your men fear burying us, dig up a big hole and throw all our bodies into it. I plead to you as a favour to the Great Lady of the World, Fatima Zahra.” Then he looked to the children who were watching him with wide eyes, “Oh children of Nainawa, if your parents are too afraid to bury us, simply come out and take tiny handfuls of dirt and throw it over our bodies. I promise you, all the angels upon the heavens and the earth will pray for you.”

I had tears glistening in my eyes and saw the same state upon many of the faces around me. One man boldly stepped up and addressed the leader directly,

“Oh man from a distant land, you speak great names and make big promises. Who are you?”

The man suddenly looked tired beyond his years, but suddenly, he straightened his back, raised his voice, and making sure he was heard by all and declared,

“I am the son of Ali and Fatima. I am the grandson of the Last Prophet, Mohamed-e-Mustafa. I am the servant of the Lord of the Worlds. I am Hussain-master of the martyrs.”