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Moharrum and the genesis of the Tragedy of Karbala .... Part II
Imam Hasan Al-Mujtaba (as), the eldest son of Imam Ali (AS), was a duly elected and formal 5th Caliph of Muslims. His caliphate had all the legal and constitutional validity which was in accordance with the practice among the Muslims at the time.

However, Amir Muawiya, the governor of Syria, who had earlier also rebelled against the Caliphate of Imam Ali (AS) continued his hostilities against Imam Hasan Al-Mujtaba (as). Amir Muawiya used all the trick of trade and nefarious means to force Imam Hasan (as) to abdicate the leadership in his favour. Exhausted and wilted, Imam Hasan-e-Mujtaba (as) compromised with Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan and signed a Treaty in 41A.H. According to the treaty:

1. Hasan (as) would hand over the rule, or government, to Muawiya provided he acts according to the Holy Book of God, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws) and the character of pious and virtuous caliphs.

2. Muawiya does not have a right to nominate anyone after him. The rule would be handed back to Hasan (as) after him, or according to some narrations, it would be left to a consultative body ('shura') of Muslims.

A royal conspiracy was hatched and Imam Hasan (as) was poisoned. And later, Amir Muawiya flouted the treaty before his death. He managed to purchase the allegiance of several powerful courtiers to accomplish his plans. He ultimately appointed Yezid bin Muawiya as his successor.

Now Yezid was on the throne declaring his disbelief in the bona-fide of apostleship of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy Quran being revealed 'Word of God.' All those hopes and revelations of redemption of humanity from the abyss of material degradation were at stake. It was no longer the doctrines of Islam that Prophet of Islam (PBUH) had preached.

In a dark night of 60 AH, a letter informing about the death of Amir Muawiya was conveyed to Waleed ? the governor of Medina on behalf of Yezid, the new king. Beside the intimation of the death, the letter contained orders to Waleed to demand allegiance (Baith) from Imam Hussain (as). There was clear instruction if Imam Hussain (as) refuses then cut off his head and send it to Yezid.

Waleed immediately called his bailiff and sent word inviting Imam Hussain (as). In reply to the call Imam Hussain (as) sent word to governor that it was too late and he will visit him the next morning. Next day, as agreed last night, Imam Hussain (as) reached the palace and told the youths of Hashimite clan to stay at the door. He instructed them to be watchful and if hear him talking unusually aloud they may get in to him. Waleed offered him the seat beside him and read out the letter he had received. However, when he reached the matter asking him to send the severed head of Imam (as), if he refuses to pay allegiance, Waleed gave the letter to Imam Hussain (as) to himself read the passage. Imam Hussain (as) read those lines and smiled. He said, "O Waleed invite the Muslims of Medina tomorrow and ask them if they say that I should pay allegiance to Yezid, let them decide."

The governor of Yezid readily accepted the response of Imam (as) but Marwan, a leading authority of Bani Umayya advised Waleed: "Let not Hussain go out of your grip now, lest the fox is out of the four walls of thy court thou wilt not approach behind it. Cut of his head now and here let not the unique opportunity go for thou wilt never get it again."

When Marwan uttered the above insulting words Imam Hussain (as) stood up to depart from the governor's presence. Hearing the insulting words of Marwan Imam Hussain (as) put his hand on his sword and exclaimed aloud;

"O Enemy of God! Who amongst you would touch my head?'  

Marwan immediately got up and ran away and the Hashemite youths who stood restless and anxious, hearing the loud voice of Imam (as), rushed into the court with drawn swords. Imam Hussain (as) immediately commanded restraint and controlled the situation.

That was a turning point when Imam Hussain (as) decided to leave Medina....................continued

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