“Over 1,400 years later, Hussain’s extraordinary message still lives on. Just imagine if there were more individuals – more heroes – with Hussain’s morality and strength of character in Paris, Copenhagen, Iraq, Syria, and a thousand other places this last year. Wouldn’t the world be so much better for it? “
Who is Hussain? was initiated in 2012 by a small group of young people from London. A number of friends came together and realised that it was a crying shame that an individual who should be celebrated in the same way other timeless heroes are, and whose story even surpasses theirs, isn’t recognised by the public at large. We also noticed the daily erosion of values and morality in today’s society and it was our belief that the pristine vehicle of Hussainibn Ali could provide some remedy for this. One day, we hope that Hussain will become a moral compass for all types of people in their daily lives.
Whilst the core team mainly consists of young people, the individuals behind Who is Hussain are actually people of all ages, colours, creeds, and backgrounds. And they are numerous. The man in London last month who clothed and cut the hair of homeless in Charing Cross, the woman who contributed out of her salary to the Who is Hussain Michigan appeal for the needy, the elderly couple who handed out leaflets to their neighbours about Hussainibn Ali are all part of the lifeblood of the campaign.
He understood that sometimes to achieve a truly fair and equal world, sacrifice is necessary. He gave us the best example of true loyalty to principles. He portrayed what it means to have courage of conviction.
I believe Hussain was a great leader and a tremendous visionary. Whilst he, his family members, and his companions were threatened and later slain, Hussain always had the end goal in mind: a more equitable society, one without an immoral and oppressive tyrant at the helm.
I want to point out that our organisation is called “Who is Hussain?” not “Who was Hussain?” Over 1,400 years later, his extraordinary message still lives on. Just imagine if there were more individuals – more heroes – with Hussain’s morality and strength of character in Paris, Copenhagen, Iraq, Syria, and a thousand other places this last year. Wouldn’t the world be so much better for it? That’s why hundreds of volunteers around the world offer their time and energy to help spread and emulate his legacy.
Hussain was a leader of a religious community, yes, but his struggle against evil is one which everyone can benefit from. Firstly, He did not give allegiance to a tyrant (embodying freedom), he did not surrender despite being hugely outnumbered on the battlefield (demonstrating immense courage), and he even treated his soon-to-be killers with kindness and good manners, offering them water and so forth (unimaginable compassion).
You are correct to mention that Shi’ites are known to remember Hussain, which they do on an annual basis, more than anyone, but that’s because they know and feel his story. I guarantee that should others learn of the events of Karbala they, too, will find it difficult not to be incredibly moved and saddened.
Lastly, by way of example, the great civil rights leaders must never be pigeon-holed into the 1950s or 1960s. Malala’s fight for education isn’t only relevant to Pakistan, nor was Mandela’s fight for equality only pertinent to South Africa. I would even argue that Hussain’s outstanding tale has even more layers of brilliance, encompassing each of these and other great struggles against oppression. To confine Hussain to 7th century Arabia would be a real injustice.
Supporters of Who is Hussain? can do numerous things.
Find out who your local Who is Hussain representative is via the website and join in some of their charitable activities.
The organisation is non-profit and runs entirely on donations. Please do consider making a donation to spread the message of Hussainibn Ali.
3: Spread the word
Speak to colleagues and friends about Who is Hussain? and why he is your role model.
4: Better yourself
Change begins with oneself, so start by improving yourself before attempting to improve society. Please don’t wait around for other people fix things when you have the ability to make a difference, however small.