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THE ETERNAL WOUND
Name: Ali al-Akbar
Kunya: Abul Hasan
Date & Place of Birth: 11th Shaban 33 AH (42 AH?), Madina
Father: Hussain ibn Abi Talib
Mother: Laila bint Abi Marrah Al-Thaqafi
Date & Place of Martyrdom: 10th Muharram 61 AH, Karbala
Whenever a young person dies in the community, to encourage his or her mother to have patience, we often remind her of Ali al-Akbar (a). The reason for this is because the situation of Ali al-Akbar(a) is so heart-rending, it pierces the soul at the very thought of it and his grief overrides our own.
In the prime of his youth, this son of Imam Husayn (a) was so dear to him that when he sent him to battle, Imam (a) cried out, ""O Allah! Be a witness against these people, for now I send against them that son of mine who bears the most resemblance to your Messenger in features, character and speech. O Allah! He is the one at whom we look whenever we desire the sight of your Messenger." (Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram)
When Ali al-Akbar (a) fell to the ground and died, Imam (a) wept, "O son! The world has lost its appeal without you." Then the Imam (a) put his face against the blood covered face of Ali Akbar and cried aloud uncontrollably in a way he had not done before that day. (Nafs al-Mahmum)
When we mourn the tragedy of Karbala and weep for Ali al-Akbar (a) and for the pain of Imam Husayn (a) and Lady Zaynab (a), it is befitting to think about why they were willing to go through such terrible suffering. It is easy to parrot the words "in order to save Islam", however, the next question should be: save it for whom?
If we believe that Imam Husayn (a) embraced all the grief and pain of Ashura for us to have the true Islam, it is incumbent on us to analyse how well we are following this religion that has survived through the blood and tears of the Ahlul Bayt (a). How we treat Islam is a direct reflection of the sincerity of our mourning for Imam Husayn (a).
Read a short biography of Lady Fatima Masuma (sa)
The Saudi Ulema and the Shi‘a of Saudi Arabia
By RAIHAN ISMAIL
Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Australia