Sunday, July 23, 2023

Ten lessons from the tragic story of Karbala: Imam Husain and his supreme sacrifice, significance of martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad's grandson

[By Shams Ur Rehman Alavi]

1. Imam Husain was one of the most powerful men in his era on the earth. Entire Islamic world was aware of Husain's status.

2. In his childhood, he played in the lap of Prophet (PBUH) who doted on his grandsons. Husain had no want for political power. His single gesture or call could bring revolution across Muslim lands but he didn't want bloodshed.

3. As Prophet's grandson, he had to keep highest moral and ethical standards and not succumb despite tricks, treachery and tyranny. He could never accept a cruel imposter or an unjust ruler's allegiance as it'd have been setting a precedent to have an unworthy or debauched man heading the ummat and this was impossible.

4. The 'bayt' or his allegiance was necessary as Yazid needed legitimacy from people in Islamic world that he had Hussain's [Family of Prophet PBUH] support. The events and the political power's cunning led to the unfortunate massacre at Karbala that is remembered till day and that inspires generations to stand for truth and justice.

5. The sacrifice proved to be the single biggest event that stunned Muslim world. Prophet's grandson and kin were slayed at Karbala. And, it was Prophet's household, granddaughter Zaynab and others who were mistreated and yet survived to tell the tale of the massacre.

6. The anger led to a massive revolution and almost everyone involved in the battle, had to pay the price. Karbala's message was for fight against tyranny and injustice, immense courage in the face of a huge force and yet not compromising when it comes to moral values, justice and ethics.

7. After Husain's martyrdom, his son Imam Zayn Ul Abideen, spent his entire life in prayers and solitude. The Prophet's lineage, their sons and descendants, who commanded moral authority, were seen as a 'threat' by rulers and hence constant attempts were made on their lives and to disconnect them and their teachings from public.

8. However, the fact that it was the House of Prophet that was targeted, makes every Muslim remember Karbala as a symbol of supreme sacrifice and it's legacy is for all Muslims and others, not just for any sect or group, alone. Unbiased and fair mind will take one close to truth.

9. The poetry and literature is full of Karbala's reference as an event that reminded people that how submission is not for a powerful ruler or monarch or worldly authority, but complete submission is for the Almighty. 

Iqbal sums it up: 

Gharib-o-sâda- o-rangi.n hay dâstân-e-Haram 

Nihâyat iski Husayn ibtida hay Ismâil

Allama Iqbal also wrote, 'Har zabaan pe qabza hai Husayn ka', and each couplet shows his depth of emotions for Imam Husain's sacrifice.

10. Last point. In entire Islamic history, either lives of Ahl e Bayt, the sacrifice of Imam Hasan, Imam Husain, Jafar, Abbas, infant Ali Akbar and Ali Asghar, or beyond this, the unfortunate events at Jamal or Siffin, the lives of individuals ranging from Mohammad bin Hanafia to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, the stand taken by people in the harsh circumstances, have lessons for us.

 It's an amazing legacy that offers so much and it must be seen as a responsibility to carry the message. There is no scope for sectarianism here. It can't be from the prism of sects. It is not Sunni or Shia history. 

It is Muslim history and world history. Karbala's message is for all. Those who feel emotionally inspired, must stand for truth and resist immoral authority, tyranny and injustice, lead their lives on principles and values.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

News to Noise: TV news era ending, viewers shun watching news on channels in India


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The era when people started their day, watching news on TV, has gone. 

No longer, the families sit for the prime time news in the evening. 

TV news is almost dead. The system of 'watching news on channels' by entire family or even individual, has disappeared. 

TRPs can be managed to some extent and money pumped but the truth is that media companies' heads had it coming. 

The extreme NOISE, the fake news, hatred, agenda based propaganda and communalism that was aired day in and day out, had frustrated the viewers. 

Large number of Muslims had long ago STOPPED watching the channels due to their clear agenda. But eventually, others too got fed up of the same style and focus on topics like alleged Love Jihad or Prayers in Public. 

Why would someone get his or her BP shot up, after watching the loud and uncouth anchors, the sickening language, the charges and counter charges, yelling and shouting participants in debates that appear to be staged.

1. A substantial number of people who earlier watched news and discussions, have turned away from watching news channels in India and stopped getting news from TV due to constant commotion on screen, anchors' antics, weird discussions on controversial issues, regularly. 

2. A large section of people got disgusted & habit of watching TV news suffered, as debates turned high pitched. People fight and shout, and audience have got alternatives, they are now getting news from Twitter, Inshorts etc. Cable TV has been disconnected in many homes.

3. News media was going through a long crisis even otherwise. TRPs had gone down. Still, there was no attempt to invest in new formats, documentaries, focus on lives of people, serious issues, real problems of citizens, special reports or global affairs' coverage. 

4. Fiction, exaggerations, superstitions were aired to get eyeballs and this brought down standards. Less serious work was undertaken in terms of journalism. Either its English or Hindi channels, the indifference is same.

Channels can't sustain for long as advertisements are going towards digital platforms. People have lost interest and obtaining news through TV that used to be an essential ritual and part of their daily life, is gone.

5. The creativity is limited to the fact that Headlines are based on 'tukbandi' and rousing emotions or by boisterous conversations. All these news 'tamasha' promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope has been left and news media will just drag somehow without any impact on society. 

6. The owners sold their souls and result is that overall journalism suffers today, jobs are dwindling and revenue is drying up. People were no longer interested in self obsessed anchors' monologues or watching a panel of selected people who argue, fight and make cheap comments. 

7. Either its English or Hindi and the regional news channels, the exasperation among viewers is clear. People have not just sort of 'boycotted' but consuming news through TV that used to be an essential part of one's life, is a thing of past now.

8. The hate peddlers and hate promoters have ensured that the field of journalism has changed for worse, little scope is left for the next generation of budding journalists, and news media will just drag without serious impact on society. 

9. Probably, this was bound to happen, as softness and sanity had totally disappeared. All the channels were doing exactly the same thing. Even moderate anchors were shunted out and journalists who focused on real issues, were sidelined. The result is that now there is struggle for survival.

10. People no longer feel dependent on TV and have no patience for watching news or debates that cause stress, anxiety and tension. After all, everyone wants a bit of relief and entertainment. Who can bear the ANGRY AND SHOUTING LOUTS anymore?