As much great an event is, as much it is worthy of mention. A great proof of the importance of the tragedy of Karbala’ is also that not only the humans, jinns and angels have kept its remembrance alive, the Lord Creator of the Universe has continuously mentioned it in every time period.
And not only the remembrance remained established after the event, it existed even before the event actually occurred and even before the birth of the Chief of the Martyrs (a.s). And not only that, it was present even before the creation of Adam. The Almighty mentioned about it to His chosen servants and informed them of those terrible events. The result derived from it is that the martyrdom of Husayn (a.s) is so magnificent and significant in the view of the Lord that He likes to mention it time and again. Under such circumstances, those who keep this calamity fresh are actually acting in consonance with the desire and will of the Almighty and walking the straight path. And one who opposes its remembrance is acting against the divine practice.
In this article, I am going to quote in brief, prophecies present in the books of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians regarding the events of Karbala’. And since the future events have proved the veracity of those prophecies there is no scope of doubt in their authenticity. This is also an example of Divine Power that even though the people who came later have made as much distortion in these books as they could, such that their form has completely changed and at last originality remains only in name, therefore abrogating these books, it became necessary for God to send the last book whose protection He Himself guaranteed. In spite of all those distortions, the prophecies regarding the last Prophet and his progeny still survived in those books so that if anyone contemplates upon these books with an unbiased mind he could reach the Last Guide of Humanity.
Mention of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) in Hindu Scriptures
Bhaunik Puran is a very ancient book of the Hindu religion. Its translation was accomplished into Urdu by Maulavi Abdur Rahman Chishti under the title of Miratul Makhlooqaat. This scholar was a prominent Sunni intellectual, well versed with the Sanskrit language. He writes in the preface to this book:
“I have read many of the Hindu books containing future events that were written during the times of Jinns and terrestrial angels. I conducted deep research into those books and found a book containing things in the tongue of “Bashast.” In its “Uttarkhand” it clearly mentions about the greatness and birth of His Eminence, Adam (a.s), our Prophet (s.a.w) and his Purified Progeny. Mahadev had related those things to his wife Parbati on Mount Kailash. And the saint “Bashast” Muni was engrossed in prayers below that same mountain. Since he was greatly devoted to Mahadev, he used to write down some of the things he heard from him.
This book contains all the events from the creation of Adam and the incident of Cain and Abel upto the events surrounding the life of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). He has described the nobility of His Eminence, Abdullah and even presented a detailed physical description of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). After that Mahadevi says:
“After six thousand years, the Almighty (God) will create a wonderful person among the children of Adam in Mundarne, which is between the seas. …O Parbati, he will be from the loin of ‘Kant Bunjh’; and he (Abdullah) will have the piety and knowledge of God like a river; so (from that river) will emerge a pearl. And the name of his wife will be ‘Sank Rakhiya’ And he (i.e. Abdullah) will have read three books; and he will leave the fourth book after reading only: ‘Alif Lam Mim’…O Parbati, he (i.e. Abdullah) will be a chief in his tribe; people from all villages will come to his door and will follow him. (Abdullah’s son) will have no fear of the creatures; he will be very brave and having the knowledge of Allah, and his name will be ‘MAHAMAT’. People will be astonished to see his style…And he will not worship as the people of his tribe will be worshipping and he will tell the people that, “I have been told by that Almighty and Only One (God) not to indulge in such senseless worship; and I am not turning but to Allah; therefore, you should follow me.” O Parbati, Mahamat will teach his own Shariat to all the creatures, by abrogating all ways of worship and all previous Shariats; and he will try to make all people follow him. Gradually, countless people will come into his religion, and many of them will reach God. And as people use our Sakh era, likewise, upto the end of Kaljug (the last era) people will use the era of Mahamat. …O Parbati, after him (after the death of Muhammad’s son) the Almighty who has none like Him, will give a daughter to Mahamat who will be better than 1000 sons, and she will be very beautiful and matchless, and very perfect in the worship of God. Never shall she utter any wrong, and she will be protected from every sin—big or small; and through her father she will reach nearer to God. That Almighty (God) will give two sons to the daughter of Mahamat, both will be handsome and beloved of God, strong, having the knowledge of God, courageous, brave and matchless in the deeds of virtue. And the Almighty will not create, after them, any human being having such perfection in hidden and known virtues.
The same two sons of Mahamat will be his successors; and they will have numerous children; and they will bring people into the religion of Mahamat day by day by their true arguments; and they will illuminate the religion of Mahamat. And Mahamat will love them more than all his people, even more than his own daughter. And these two sons will be perfect in the religion of Mahamat; they will not do anything for their own pleasure, and all their utterances and deeds would be for the pleasure of the Almighty.
O Parbati, a few years after the death of Mahamat, some evil man will unjustly murder these grandsons of Mahamat without any cause; just for the sake of worldly greed; the whole world will become ‘headless’ by their death. Their killers will be ‘Maliksh’ atheists, cursed in both worlds; they will have no love for Mahamat and will never get deliverance from ‘Nark’ (i.e. Hell). But in appearance, they will remain in the religion of Mahamat, and gradually others also will follow them, and stubbornly will do many deeds against the way of Mahamat and his sons. Only a few people will remain on the path of Mahamat. Majority will follow the path of those who killed the sons of Mahamat; yet in appearance they will be called the followers of Mahamat; and in the last days of ‘kaljug’ (last era) there will be many of those hypocrites and they will create disturbance in the whole world.”
After that Mahadewji explains the appearance of Imam Mahdi; coming of Qiyamat and arrival into Paradise of Lady Fatima together with her followers.
The complete text of this portion is quoted by Maulana Rahat Husayn Gopalpuri in his Tafsir Anwarul Qur’an.
The Karbala’ Tragedy in Zoroastrian Books
Zoroaster or Zarathusht had been a Prophet of the Magians or Fire Worshippers. His successor was Hakim Jamasp. He was a contemporary of King Gustasp. This king had requested him to write in brief about the happenings of the future. Thus the book that he compiled is famous as Jamasp Nama. It was translated into Urdu by Mulla Wahidi, editor of Nizamul Mashayakh, Delhi. Jamasp says, “Then some stars would gather among whom from the children of Hashim, a young man shall be born. He shall be of medium stature. He shall neither be fair complexioned nor dark. He would be handsome, of pleasing speech and magical voice. He would claim prophethood, the proof shall be established with the sword’s edge. He shall put the chain of his religion around the necks of many people. His religion shall spread to all the seven continents. He shall be very fond of the fairer sex. None of his male children shall survive. However, his progeny shall continue through his daughter.”
After that he describes the dominance of the Islamic faith. Then he says:
“Some days after his demise, the Almighty God shall reach into the fifth constellation. Due to the effect of this, there shall be disturbance in his religion. His children shall be slain. His followers shall be made to suffer terrible losses.”
After the above discourse he goes on to describe the signs of the birth of the Last Prophet. The extinguishing of the fire in the fire temples, the drying up of the river, etc. Then he further says,
“After the passing away of this Prophet, the stars shall assemble in the terrestrial house of the constellation of Taurus. And the Lord shall arise in Venus and the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus and the man shall be in the eighth house. Venus along with the Sun shall be in the eleventh house. At that time there shall be discord in this community. Religion shall become a step-stone to rulership. People shall wage war against his son-in-law and there shall be great bloodshed. This son-in-law shall have two sons. One of whom shall be martyred by poison. The second one would be martyred along with his best companions in a desert. The opponent of the Prophet’s Progeny and the leader of those transgressors shall be a man of low morals, weak body and aged. This time is the period of the rule of the Saturn. Its effect is that whoever supports the truth or tries to restore the rights of the deprived people, would himself be destroyed and killed.”
Command of Old Testament to Commemorate Ashura Day
After the time of His Eminence, Musa (a.s) for many years the Jewish calendar began from the month of Rajab, and Moharram was their seventh month. Keeping in mind this point let us read the following verses of Leviticus 23:
“And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work; and you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.”
“And the Lord said to Moses, “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be for you a holy convocation and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whoever is not afflicted on this same day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
Now we should contemplate upon this and decide that when before the occurrence of the event the Almighty God had even commanded the Jews to observe mourning from the evening of 9th of Muharram to the evening of the 10th, and also warned them that one who did not follow this advice shall be as if he has left their religion. Now that the event has actually occurred is it not incumbent on the Muslim community more than the Jewish community to observe the mourning? And if one fails to act upon this, would he not be as if he has left this religion? Except for those who in the words of Mahadewji: “Even though they pretend to be friends of Mahamat.”
References in New Testament regarding the Martyrdom of Husayn (a.s)
In the parlance of Christians, “New Testament” means “Injeel.” However, it is not “Injeel” that was revealed to Prophet Jesus (a.s). It is a collection of books and letters compiled by Christian scholars and companions of Prophet Jesus. The last book of this collection is “The Revelation to John” which is attributed to John the companion of Jesus. It begins with the following words:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”
This book contains only allegories and similes. Christian scholars have tried to write commentaries on this and offered explanations but some points yet remain unexplained in their writings. Our scholars have also interpreted it and it shows that the twelfth and thirteenth chapter deals with the history of Islam from the birth of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) to the end of the reign of Bani Umayyads. Hujjatul Islam, Maulana Sayyid Rahat Husayn (t.s.) has explained it in the 15th preface of his prefaces in his Tafsir Anwarul Qur’an. He has mentioned the text of ‘revelations’ in the book and written its interpretation in the margins. I have depended upon the author’s writings a great deal but mentioned the interpretations of the revelations in brackets. Because it would have been very inconvenient for the readers to read the text and the interpretations separately. Thus, John says in the beginning of the twelfth chapter of Revelations:
“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman (prophethood) clothed with the sun (divine help was covering it), with the moon under her feet (Lady Fatima), and on her head a crown of twelve stars (meaning the twelve Imams would have authority in religion); she was with a child (waiting for advent) and she cried out in her pangs of birth (the time of advent was near), in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon (infidels of Quraish), with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death (they got martyred in the propagation of faith).”
After more prophecies, the twelfth chapter comes to an end and the thirteenth chapter begins with an account of Bani Umayyads. In this portion, Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan who consolidated the Umayyad rule for the second time is compared to a beast having ten horns and seven heads. Explaining this in the seventeenth chapter, it is said that the seven heads signify seven kings and the ten horns are also ten kings. Thus altogether it adds upto seventeen rulers. And that beast is the eighth ruler, who is born from the seventh one. Now please note that seven rulers passed before Abdul Malik and the kingdom of Abdul Malik was a result of their past kingdoms, otherwise he would not have been able to achieve anything. Apart from this, he was born from the seventh ruler, that is Marwan bin Hakam and thus he himself was the eighth ruler. And after Marwan there were ten kings including Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan as follows: (1) Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan (2) Walid bin Abdul Malik (3) Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik (4) Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (5) Yazid Ibn Abdul Malik (6) Hisham Ibn Abdul Malik (7) Walid Ibn Yazid Ibn Abdul Malik (8) Yazid Ibn Walid Ibn Abdul Malik (9) Ibrahim Ibn Walid Ibn Abdul Malik (10) Marwan al-Himar. Thus this allegory and comparison perfectly fits this clan. In addition to this at the end of this same thirteenth chapter is the following sentence, “This calls for wisdom: Let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six (666).”
The following would show that the number 666 stands for the name of Abdul Malik:
Abdul (76) Malik (121) Bin (52) Marwan (297) Bin (52) Hakam (68) = 666.
Anyway, I am quoting the relevant portions of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation to John 13:
“And I saw a beast (Abdul Malik) rising out of the sea (of disbelief), with ten horns (ten successors) and seven heads (predecessors), with ten diadems upon its horns (all were kings) and a blasphemous name upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon (Quraish) gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound (that is the third caliph was killed), but its mortal wound was healed (the kingdom again returned to them and Muawiyah became the king), and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshipped the dragon (they returned to the customs of the period of Ignorance), for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words (abusing ‘Ali was well known activity of the Umayyads), and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven (Ahl al-Bayt). Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life (faith) of the Lamb (Imam Husayn) that was slain. (All those who do not have faith in Imam Husayn would follow Abdul Malik) If any one has an ear, let him hear:
If any one is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
If any one slays with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
After this, there is detailed explanation of Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and his atrocities. But this much is sufficient for our purpose. In all these four books the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) is mentioned in a way that acknowledges its greatness and expresses love towards him while the enemies and killers of the Holy Imam (a.s) are mentioned with disdain and malice. A noteworthy point is that wherever there is mention of prophethood and advent of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) it is invariably accompanied by the mention of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s). And according to the statements of both Mahadewji and St. John, it was this martyrdom, which has secured and strengthened the religion of Muhammad. And this was not a poetic composition but the actual expression of the truth and facts that these great religious leaders have perfectly done in a way that was deserving for it. If only their followers had followed their teachings and adopted the Straight Path. And if only the Muslims had recognized the significance of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) in the true sense.
 Arab is surrounded on three sides by the sea.
 Kant Bunjh’ means ‘Servant of God’, which, in Arabic becomes “Abdullah” Abdullah was the name of the father of the Holy Prophet.
 ‘Sank Rakhiya’ means ‘Peaceful’ which in Arabic is ‘Amina.’ Name of the mother of the Holy Prophet was ‘Amina.’
 Compare it with the ayat of the Qur’an:
“Say: I am commanded to worship God, and not to join partners with Him. Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return.” (13:36)
 i.e. era of Hijra
 Fatima, the lady of Paradise, the Chief of all the women.
 Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s.)
 Leviticus 23:23-32
 The Revelation to John: 1
 Signifying the very first three enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and Muawiyah, Yazid, Abdullah bin Zubair and Marwan bin al-Hakam.
 Revelation 12:1-11
The selection taken from “Understanding Karbala” by Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi.