“Kalian Muslimin Sunni dan Syiah Tak Tahu Nilai Imam Husain (as), ” kata penulis Kristen Antoine Bara.
Apa kata Antoine Bara tentang Abu Abdillah a.s.? “You, Shi’a and Suni Muslims, do not know the value of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him ). You are supposed to be absolutely honest in conveying his words on the day of Ashura to the world. This mission requires not only narrating the surface meaning of the event but also to coming to grips with aspects and spirit of his revolution.”
Kalian, Muslimin Syiah dan Sunni, tidak tahu nilai Imam Husain (‘alaihis salaam). Kalian seharusnya benar-benar jujur menyebarkan pesan-pesan beliau pada hari Asyura kepada seluruh dunia. Tugas ini bukan hanya memerlukan pengungkapan dengan kata-kata (narasi) arti kejadian itu, tetapi masuk ke dalam pemahaman mengenai aspek-aspek dan semangat revolusinya.
Antoine Bara adalah seorang penulis beken asal Syria beragama Nasrani. Ia menulis sebuah buku best seller mengenai Imam Husain as, yang berjudul, “Imam Husain dalam Ideologi Kristen” (‘Imam Hussein in Christian Ideology’).
Di antara yang dikatakan Bara (yg dimuat dalam situs di bawah).
- Pada awalnya saya tidak tahu tentang insiden brutal Karbala itu, kecuali sedikit fakta umum seperti (bahwa) Imam Husain (‘alaihis salaam) memberontak melawan Yazid dan tentang kematian beliau di Karbala.
- Itu karena selama sekolah,kejadian itu hanya disinggung sedikit saja, tanpa ada detail-detail di dalamnya. Lalu, ketika berjumpa dengan Ayatullah Shirazi di Kuwait (lebih 40 tahun lalu), beliau memberi saya beberapa buku tentang Imam Husain as. Saya baca semuanya dan menemukan buku-buku itu mengandung kisah kepahlawanan yg sangat unik.
- Saya juga terkejut, ternyata kejadian itu tidak mendapat banyak perhatian dari para pemikir Muslim.
Berikut ini beberapa petikan yg dikatakan Bara dalam wawancara tersebut:
- Penulisan ini mengambil tempo lebih lama sampai lebih dari lima tahun, dua tahun di antaranya benar-benar dikhususkan untuk menulis (dan sisanya termasuk untuk riset mengenai Imam Husain as).
- Pada awalnya, menulis buku itu membawa tujuan2 ilmiah, tetapi makin dalam dan makin luas saya masuk ke dalam kaitan sejarahnya, perasaan keagungan Imam Husain (as) tumbuh dalam diri saya.
- Jelas bahwa prinsip-prinsip kemanusiaan mencuat dari revolusi Asyura. Inilah yang kemudian mendorong saya untuk melanjutkan penulisan buku ini. Itu sangat melelahkan dan tanpa mendapat sedikit pun keuntungan pribadi, kecuali keberkahan dari Imam Husain (‘alaihis salaam). Keberkahan yang saya maksud adalah fakta bahwa buku ini dicetak ulang lebih dari 20 kali. Banyak juga lembaga yang menerbitkannya tanpa ijin dari saya, tapi saya tidak keberatan karena saya tidak menganggap buku ini sebagai property (milik) pribadi saya; sebaliknya ia adalah milik semua kemanusiaan, sebagaimana Imam Husain ( as) juga kepunyaan semua bentuk kemanusiaan.
“You, Shi’a and Suni Muslims, do not know the value of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him ). You are supposed to be absolutely honest in conveying his words on the day of Ashura to the world. This mission requires not only narrating the surface meaning of the event but also to coming to grips with aspects and spirit of his revolution.” Bara maintains that: “Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) is not exclusive to Shi’a or Suni Muslims but belongs to the whole world because he is the “conscience of religions”.
Menurut Bara, “Imam Husain ( as ) tidak hanya milik Muslim Syiah atau Sunni, tetapi kepunyaan seluruh dunia karena beliau adalah sebuah “kesadaran beragama”.
Catatan: Dalam wwcara selama lebih tiga jam, Antoine Bara tidak pernah menyebut nama Imam Husain tanpa mengatakan ‘salam atasnya’ (‘alaihis salaam = as) setiap kali Bara menyebut namanya.
- Hadis Umat Terpecah 73 Golongan, Diragukan? — Tulisan lain di blog ini.
- Tentang Muharram dan Asyura.
- Gandhi juga Puji Imam Husain (as): klik di sini.
Interview of Antoine Bara on His Book, “Imam Hussein in Christian Ideology.”
[PS: This Interview was conducted and then compiled by Al-Minbar Media Establishment]
As we headed for the meeting, we did not expect it to be an appointment with someone who considers himself Shi’a even though he is Christian! What we know about him is that he is a thinker, scholar, Christian and Syrian who wrote a book titled ‘Imam Hussein in Christian Ideology’ which raised controversy because it confirms that the Christ (Peace be upon him) prophesied the appearance of Imam Hussein.
In a meeting which lasted more than three hours, Antoine Bara never mentioned Imam Hussein without saying peace be upon him after his name.
Bara maintains that: “Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) is not exclusive to Shi’a or Suni Muslims but belongs to the whole world because he is the “conscience of religions”.
It is interesting that Bara considers that being a Shi’a is “the highest degree of love for God”.
According to Bara, any one in the world, regardless of his religion, can be a Shi’a depending on his own personal interpretation “due to the greatness of following the pure family (Peace be upon them) in order to preserve the beauty of his religion.
Bara, however, chastises the Shi’a saying, “You, Shi’a and Suni Muslims, do not know the value of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him ). You are supposed to be absolutely honest in conveying his words on the day of Ashura to the world. This mission requires not only narrating the surface meaning of the event but also to coming to grips with aspects and spirit of his revolution.”
As Mr Bara uttered these words during the meeting, we remembered how we squandered the heritage of our great Imam and how negligent we are in furthering his cause. This can be revealed today through telling the truth, defending the oppressed and raising the banners of justice and freedom.
Mr Bara spoke of the circumstances which led him get to know the character of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him), starting with his meeting with the Grand religious leader Ayatullah Al-Shirazi in the early seventies who enthused him to write his valuable book, and ending with the troubles, difficulties and fights he faced from those who did not like the book.
However, he said, “Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) will show kindness towards me on the Day of Judgment”.
Here is the text of the interview.
Q1: What is the story behind your book “Hussein in Christian Ideology?”
A: In the beginning, I did not know about the brutal incident of Karbala except some general facts such as Imam Al- Hussein’s (Peace be upon him) revolt against Yazid and his murder in Karbala.
This is because during our education, this incident was referred to without any detail.
When I met with Ayatullah al-Shirazi in Kuwait, more than forty years ago, he gave me some books about Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him).
I read these books and discovered they contained a unique heroic event.
I was also surprised that such a event did not generate much interest from Muslim scholars. A non-Shi’a Muslim speaks about the event as if it were merely a historical one.
This is because of the prevalent view of the society in which he lives and in order not to go against his environment and culture. On the other hand, this event has emotional significance for a Shi’a Muslim. As for Orientalists, their writings only present a materialistic outlook which ignores the spiritual and social dimensions of the revolution. All of this motivated me to note down remarks about this revolution and the character of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him).
My point of view is perhaps the most neutral and objective despite all other religious and emotional considerations. I am a Christian writer and researcher who lives in a Muslim country and has been exposed to Muslim culture from the same sources, which has caused my cultural and social identity to be a Muslim one even though I am Christian.
This has made my awareness and understanding of the cause of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) complete. As a matter of fact, I did not have the intention to write about this topic. However, I used to visit Ayatullah Al-Shirazi in Kuwait with my friend Azhar Al Khafagi.
While talking one time, I said that due to the nature of my journalistic work I have written down notes on Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). Ayatullah Al-Shirazi said to me, “why don’t you collect these notes in a book?” “I will think about it”, I said. The idea fermented in my head, so I went to my office, collected the notes that I had written, which now seemed a lot, and started to do more research.
As you know once a researcher starts research, he never finishes. As I got deeper, the research became more difficult and I found myself caught in a minefield of sensitivities. You might adopt an opinion which pleases some but not others, let alone that as a Christian, I should keep away from research, like this, which belongs to Muslims.
However, I continued my research as I thought we, as Christians, should have a balanced view different to that of Muslims, with regard to the issue of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). I reveal no secret by saying that throughout the writing process, I felt a special moral inspiration pushing me to continue researching, editing and writing, however difficult this was due to different considerations. I have tried to cover all aspects through a lot of explanation and analysis of different sides and dimensions.
I have also attempted to answer a lot of questions which relate to the revolution and the character of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him): why did this battle take place and was it for a worldly purpose? Why did Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) seek martyrdom? What is the secret behind his words and his screams? Why did he take women and children with him?
*This has extended the period of writing the book to more than five years, two of which were fully devoted to writing.
Even though I was not married at the time, it took me that long to write the book. This seemed a long time for me since none of my other works had taken more than two years to complete.*
As soon as I finished the book, which I had changed and revised time and again, I sent it to I Ayatullah al-Shirazi. He read the book and liked it and said literally, “Print it immediately”. I told him that I will do so as long as he writes an introduction to the book and he agreed.
*I talked to Mr Baqir Khureibit, editor of ‘Sawt Al-Khaleej’ magazine which I worked for, who agreed to print the book; hence the book was published.
*It is noteworthy here that as soon as the book was published, asked me for 20 copies and wanted to pay for them. I said, “How can I accept your money when it is thanks to you that I have written this book?” He said: “I want to help you. And if you do not accept the money, I will not take the copies”. Infact I was very embarrassed and due to Ayatullah’ insistence, I had to agree.
Q2: Did your book not provoke counter reactions?
A: Of course it raised many reactions; more than you can imagine. It is true that the Shi’a in particular and Muslims in general accepted the book and I know many who consider it the best book written on Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him), but some Muslims and Christians objected to it.
For example, they said, “He is Christian, how can he be a supporter of the Prophet’s family? I recall that someone in Beirut published a book containing a response to my book. However, the book’s handling of the case was very poor and superficial. The writer endeavored to prove that the case of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) was only a historic incident related to the struggle for power. On the other hand, a doctorate thesis was written on the book and submitted to one of the Lebanese universities. Also someone from the University of Lahore in Pakistan, named Mushtaq Assad, asked for permission to translate the book into Urdu. I immediately agreed. He was surprised since I did not ask for a share of the profits. I said “I did not write this book for profit, but because of my belief in Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him).)”
Also an Iraqi doctor, called Ridha Rasheed, came from Austria, to ask to translate the book into Austrian and Russian. I also agreed. Thanks be to God, the book has been translated into seventeen languages. This is only thanks to the grace of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him).
Q3: Was the writing of the book an interpretation of a special feeling you had or pure scholarly research?
A: It was both. In the beginning, writing the book had a scholarly purpose but as I got deeper and expanded on the historicity of the topic, a feeling of the greatness of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) grew in me.
This character sacrificed himself for religion and principles and to preserve Muslims from deviating from the path of Islam to ensure the continuity of the message and passing it over from one generation to the other.
*Had he not sacrificed himself in this highly emotional way, this strong effect on people, which preserved the religion of Islam, could not have been felt. The proof is what happened when the prisoners of war were returned to Damascus; Sunnis, Shi’a and Christians threw stones at the soldiers because they were emotionally affected.
The same also happened in Homs where people beat up the soldiers and deprived them of water because they deprived the pure family of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) of water.
Indeed human principles were generated by the Ashura revolution.
This is what pushed me to continue writing the book which only gave me fatigue and troubles without any other personal benefits except for the blessing of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). By blessing I mean the fact that the book was printed more than twenty times, only three of them by me.
Many institutions have printed the book without my permission, but I do not mind because I do not consider the book to be my personal property, on the contrary it belongs to all humanity the same way that Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him) belongs to all humanity.*
- Interview of Antoine Bara on His Book “Imam Hussein in Christian Ideology” (kashifnotes.wordpress.com)
- IInfluence of Imam Hussain (a.s) & Karabala ideology on Nelson Mandela – by S H Bangas (worldshiaforum.wordpress.com)