The victory of Imam Hussain (as).
The month of Muharram is the start of the Islamic calendar. The first ten days of this month are affiliated with the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as), the grandson of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh&f), his family members and his close associates.
Imam Hussain (a.s) was an advocate of social reform, a honorable man, the religious expert, the Leader of Muslims. As the delegate of his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf), his primary concern was to defend and shield Islam from the Umayyad Rulers who had usurped control through deceit and compulsion and wanted to annihilate Islam. The Umayyads had gained support of thousands by utilising the state treasury to win people over to their side and in many cases intimidating others who did not support them.
Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, who became the ruler of Imam Hussain's time, demanded oath of allegiance from the latter. He desired total dominance so that he could easily avenge the deaths of his forefathers who were killed fighting the Messenger of Allah and Hussain's father Ali bin Abu Talib (a.s) before the Islamic state was created. The grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf) could not have surrendered to a person who openly committed sins and disregarded many Islamic rules and laws. Instead he expressed: "A person like me cannot pay the oath of allegiance to a person like him."
Thus, his announcement was not a personal issue, but rather a widespread lesson for all times and places.
However, the Imam was not left with much choice but to offer his head, the heads of family members and his friends. Even before being killed he tried guiding his opponents many times but his words only fell on deaf ears.
He may have left the world with a physical defeat, but surely not in his point and goal. Triumph does not suggest that one leaves the front line untouched or that one's foe is executed. Genuine triumph is picked up when one accomplishes his definitive objective.
The goal of Imam Hussain was to alter the course that Islam was taking and to start a revolution against the corrupt government. He had to ignite courage in the hearts of the people and awaken them from a deep slumber. Unfortunately that could only have been achieved with the sacrifice of his life.
In the wake of being murdered alongside many of his family members, the people started realising their mistake. They became convinced of Yazid's tyranny and wickedness. That was the beginning of an internal revolution which would soon uproot the Umayyad power. They eventually started the groundwork to destroy the government that that took pride in bringing back traditions of defilement, bigotry, and abuse. Numerous revolutions started thereafter, until Umayyad dynasty was completely uprooted.
Imam Hussain became victorious by achieving his aim and objective, whilst Yazid eventualky lost his power and his aim to destroy Islam.
It is unfortunate that the Imam had to sacrifice his life and lives of his close ones in order to awaken the members of grandfather's community who were silent against corruption and disorder that was on the rise. Whatever the case, he demonstrated to the people that victory is not always secured with force and power, but at times, through sacrifices which about a clear change.
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) said:
"In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader." [The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, volume 5, pp. 391-2]