In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
Victory or Defeat
Cry or laughter, happiness or sorrow, or even higher, life and death are incomprehensible unless their sources are interpreted. There is laughter which makes the spirit crush; there are cries, as well, which revive the soul. There is a life similar to death, and there are deaths which are identical with eternity and eternal life. Therefore for a more genuine understanding, we must look at these phenomena deeply.
Victory and defeat appear to be key concepts in the life of human beings. Defeat is not identical with passing away; when they say “defeat”, we must not think of the one who has migrated from this world as the defeated. On the other hand, if a natural existence lives on the earth for years or a century it would not necessarily count as a victory. There are serious misconceptions regarding these important concepts of our lives…
Moreover, if by victory we intend the absolute victory, who can be counted as the absolute victorious? For every predatory wolf is another wolf more predator than it; for every strong there is a stronger creature.
On the day of Ashura, Imam Hussain bin Ali (PBUH) cites this poem in a brilliant reasoning, saying:
If we overcome in this battle, we have been victorious from the beginning of time, and if we face defeat (that is what you label it, but) we have never faced defeat and we never will.
Our nature is not based on fear; at the same time we know that dying in blood will forecast our government after (the martyrdom of) us, (and our revenge will be taken).
If the arrow of death misses one, it will hit the chest of the person beside him. And that is the very messenger which informs of annihilation to the figures of every community; as it has so far, made many aware of their demise.
If the kings lasted eternally, and if the precious souls were immortal (in this temporal world) we would live immortal lives too.
Tell the denier to wake up and keep in mind that they will depart from this world too.”(1)
Imam (PBUH) says that they have never faced defeat and they never will. Where are you? If victory means continuation of life on this soil, so the destiny of all the kings and noble people is nothing other than defeat, for death finally will take over. So where is victory?
Victory commences at first when we get to know ourselves. First one’s continent of existence must be discovered, as well as the center of thoughts and moves that what is he? Even if little he succeeds in doing such, it is very crucial in this respect, because victory starts from knowing oneself. When the moves and gestures of one is settled on this principle, even if he is killed for five hundred thousand times, he would be victorious.
Does the one who has found his “self”, then has connected it with the divine greatness ever face defeat? Is defeat imaginable for the one whose word to his God is “my Lord, I am contended to your decisions, and I surrender to your orders; there is no God except you?” Truly the high divine love will transcend the human being from such conceptions of defeat or temporal victories, and such a human being is the one who not even death can diminish his lighting.
This is the meaning of victory; for this person has succeeded in making the main theme of his being ring; it is not as clear what is the theme of other human beings in comparison with such a human being.
Spengler, the author of “The Decline of the West” reflects on the fact that sometimes our articulation becomes faulty. Then he gives an example: “Victorious is the one whose shining will increase when he passes away; not that when he passes away there only remains a shadow which invites the sharpest swords.”
That is why we say that real victory belongs to the prophets (PBUT) – otherwise, not to repeat – for every wolf there is a wilder wolf. So victory must be connected to a cause which can be made eternal.
On the other hand, the cry of “O, Hussain, wish we could accompany you” shows that the apex of the human aspiration submits to the spirit of Imam Hussain (PBUH). If the swords control the bodies, he rules the free consciences, and governs souls. Who is the winner between the rulers of the free conscience of men versus their controlled bodies?
Therefore if we look more attentively we would realize that every small and great incident of Karbala are signs of the victory of Imam Hussain (PBUH). In spite of all the harshest troubles and hardships, did he ever make a small tremble? Never. Risking life, death, the young children and the infant… such topics could not add the smallest doubt in his decision. He was really beyond all these affairs.
Yes, the meaning of victory is other than leaving the soil. What has been started from the top will not end in the soil.
O, Hussain! Eternity belongs to you. You, the traveler to the eternity, victory is yours and will always belong to you. Because your aspiration is victorious; the aspiration which you depicted for the human beings is victorious and has no defeat. One’s life and death rely on the essence of his life. The essence of your being, is related to an eternal God; therefore you are eternal and victorious forever.
(The above is a selection taken from “Hossein (PBUH); Martyr of Mankind’s Most Advanced Culture”, by Allamah Mohammad Taghi Ja’fari)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims of world, especially you dear friend, upon the arrival of the Month of Muharram, the time of mourning and oppression upon the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT).
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1. Lohof, p. 98 & 99.