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  • 3/1/2008

Antoine Bara: Interview on his book regarding The value of

Imam Hussein (P.B.U.H). Part 2

 

Antoine Bara

This is the continuation of interview with Antoine Bara on his book regarding "The value of Imam Hussein (P.B.U.H)", for part 1 please click here. Part 1.

 

“In the beginning, the purpose of writing the book was scholarly and

research related. As I got deeper and expanded on the historicity of the topic, a special feeling of the greatness of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon

him) grewin me”.

    
 
“I believe that all of the West will follow Imam Hussein, if they know enough about his revolution and its noble purposes”.
 


Q4: After this in depth study of the history of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) you must have arrived at a definite description of his character, who is he in your view?

A: My own description of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) is that he is “the conscience of religions”.

Had it not been for him, all divine religions would not have continued to exist. Islam started with Muhammad, and continued with Imam Hussein,

and Zaynab (Peace be upon them)being the scream which completed the march of Jihad and the preserving of Islam.

God wanted to preserve this new religion that is why He sent Imam Hussein to his grandfather as a martyr but not as a prophet. Karbala was a turning point. Had Imam Hussein not carried out his revolution, the concept of monotheism would not have continued to exist and the new

religion of Islam would have become tied to the practices of the rulers whose societies would have accepted and surrendered to their oppression

under any circumstances because they were the rulers. I believe that Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) was commanded by God to follow this path because he had a specific divine mission, the same way that prophets had a specific divine mission. Unfortunately, even though Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) is a holy character to you Muslims and Shi’a, you do not recognize his value and you have neglected his heritage and revolution. To day you must know how to support this great Imam by saying the truth, helping the oppressed, reforming society and achieving justice and freedom. You are supposed to be absolutely honest in delivering his scream on the day of Ashura to the world. This task requires you to get to study thoroughly the dimensions of his revolution. It is not enough to narrate and describe the outward aspect of the tragedy to the world.


Q5: The chapter in which you said that Christ (Peace be upon him) prophesized the appearance of Imam Hussein(Peace be upon him) was like a bomb! It was the most controversial chapter in the book…can you shed more light on this?

 

A: Of course this chapter looks widely into the meaning of the word ‘Comforter’ which appears in the Bible. Before I explain what it means I would like to confirm that the Bible mentions Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his pure family) as well as Imam Hussein(Peace be upon him). This prophesies come in the context of talking about the one true religion which, in my view, is Islam. Christ (Peace be upon him) spoke of the appearance of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) in the gospel of John by saying:

“But now I go My way to Him that sent Me, and none of you asked Me, `Whither goest Thou?' But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment” (John, 16:5-8).

Some Christians have explained the word ‘Comforter’ as the Holy Spirit. But having researched its meaning, I do not think this meaning applies to it at all. So, I looked at the other two explanations; that this is either referring to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his pure family) or referring to Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). After more research, I realized that Christ (Peace be upon him) could not have sent a prophet like himself but it was possible that he sent a martyr to humanity which means that it is definitely Imam Hussein who is being referred to in the above quote from the Bible. I have discussed this fact in detail in the book and I do not want to repeat myself here but in the third edition of the book, I added an introduction in which I included more proof of Jesus’ prophesy about Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). It is there in the third edition for those who want to refer to it.

I would like to point out here that at that time, and after publishing the book, I met with a Christian priest in Lebanon who said tome “I have heard For a longtime that Christ prophesized the appearance of a martyr, but I didn’t know who he was. When I read your book, I was convinced by its sound analysis. Imam Hussein is undoubtedly the martyr that Christ spoke of.” I believe we all have to get rid of Extremis man acknowledge the facts which include Christ’s (Peace be upon him) prophesy of Prophet Muhammad and his family (Peace be upon them). We also have to believe that the Islamic story about Christ’s ascent to heaven is more accurate than the Christian story of crucifixion and resurrection.

 Anyway, Christ and all other prophets including the seal of prophets, Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his pure family), and also Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussein (Peace be upon them) all follow the same path, calling for the same religion of monotheism, for worshipping only one God.


Q6: In this context, you said in your book that if Imam Hussein was one of us we would have put up a flag and a minaret for him in every part of the earth and we would have called the people to Christianity in the name of Imam Hussein. How is that possible?

A: These are not my own words.These are the  words of a priest who lived at the time of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom. These are natural words that reveal how you Shi’a and Muslims don't recognize the value of your Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him)! We had the hoof of Christ’s donkey and we used to make pilgrimage to it while you have the grave of Imam Hussein, his relics, blessings, heritage, but you have not made use of them in a way that frees the world from its tragedies by turning to Imam Hussein. If Imam Hussein was one of us, we would have built him a beacon on every part of the world for he is not a stage in life but the march of human freedom. He is a permanent principle. However, many Muslims have not yet discovered the secret of Imam Hussein’s (Peace be upon him) revolution and its effect on people’s souls.


Q7: This statement raises many questions. How come you are Christian and at the same time confirm that Islam is the true religion and that Christ prophesized the appearance of Prophet Muhammad and his grandson Imam Hussein (Peace be upon them). Explain to us how you understand the terms Christianity, Islam, Shi’ism?

 

A: Christianity is one of the stages of the one total religion which has come after Judaism and preceded Islam. Islam is the religion that complements all religions. Since Judaism was theoretical and Christianity was purely spiritual, Islam came to mend these shortcomings. In the end, we are all Muslims because we all believe in the one God, the Torah, who love the family of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his pure family), who are the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad and Ali (Peace be upon them). Shi’ism is the pride of humanity. Any one in the world can be a Shi’a by virtue of the greatness of following the pure family of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) in order to preserve the beauty of his faith.


Q8: What attracted you most in the character of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) and which of his words and sayings are closest to you ?

 

A: I was attracted to his extreme modesty even though he was a great holy figure. Among his words and screams on the day of Ashura which most moved me were “Is there any supporter to stand by us? Is there any ally to rescue us?” I always remembered these words because they describe how ungrateful people can be to those sent by God and how people get involved in pursuing their personal interests and ignore the principles and values advocated by religions. With pangs of conscience, revolutions, including Al-Tawabeen, started. Unfortunately this was after the death of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). How much loss has all humanity suffered because they betrayed him and did not stand by him (Peace be upon him)


Q9: What is your view of the ritual gatherings held by Shi’a every year to remember Imam Hussein?

A: I consider them a model for remembering the Al-Taf tragedy where pangs of conscience return and, in turn, faith is re-born in souls via supporting the continuity of the cause of Imam Hussein.


Q10: how do you honestly perceive the Shi’a rituals practised in these gatherings such as slapping, blood Shedding, mourning, and the like?

A: I think they contribute much in reactivating the memory and conscience since you enact the event without hurting the others. This leaves you with the holy relic of faith throughout your life. When you slap your body, you punish it morally for not being there at the time of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). It also means that you are ready to sacrifice yourself and everything you have to join the march of Imam Hussein. As for the blood-shedding rituals, I believe it is a symbolic message stating that you are prepared to sacrifice your blood for Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) which is truly a great and effective message.


Q11: What is the message that you want to convey to the followers of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him)?

A: As I have said earlier, you have to be absolutely honest in delivering the great message and story of Imam Hussein to the world. This task requires you to have a deep and realistic understanding of the spirit of his movement. This will make humanity adopt the message and employ it in rejecting oppression. The annual anniversary of Karbala should not pass just like that. It is true that your rituals in Imam Hussein centers have acquainted the world with Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) and his story. However, Muslim scholars are negligent because they have not understood and conveyed the message properly. They have to deliver the story of the revolution to all parts of the globe as there are people who cannot understand the revolution correctly with their limited mentality. I think the West would follow Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) if they knew about the noble purposes of his revolution.


Q12: Do you believe that Imam Hussein will be on your side in the Day of Judgment?

A: Yes, my master Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) will be kind to me on the Day when all cannot help because he knows how much I have suffered to bring this book out and all the difficulties and troubles I have been through, for his sake without seeking any benefit or personal interests. I hope my words will echo in the hearts of people. I call on humanity to be guided by the holiness of Imam Hussein and to take him as a

beacon to follow in one’s private and public life.


Other Useful Links:

Antoine Bara: Interview on his book about Imam Hossein(A.S)

What renowned persons have said about Imam Husain (P.B.U.H)

Martyrdom of Imam Husayn in the other Muslim and Jewish Calendars

The Excellences of the Imam Husayn in Sunni Hadith Tradition

Imam Hossein(A.S) In other Islamic Sectors

The Exalted Sacrifices Of Imam Hossein(A.S) And Hazart Abraham

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