“Surely the friends of Allah are whom fear not, nor do they grieve” (Holy Qur’an 10:65)
“I want one thing from God, to take me to Him as soon as possible” – Hajj Qassem Soleimani
Today marks one year since the martyrdom of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Among the people of resistance globally, they are remembered for their bravery in the face of western imperialism and their regional allies. Among Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities in the region, they are remembered for their defeat of Western and Saudi backed takfiri terrorists including ISIS who ravaged the region and sought to wipe out Christian and Muslim minorities. Among the lovers of Ahlul Bayt, they are remembered for their sincere devotion to Ahlul Bayt and protection of the sacred institutions and lovers of Ahlul Bayt. Year after year, millions of pilgrims safely visited the shrines in Iraq and Syria in the height of the threat of terrorism while these heroes diligently ensured their safety and the safety of the sacred shrines.
These individuals are larger than life, and their influence will not fade with their earthly life. They revive and embody the ideals of Ahlul Bayt in spirit, words and action. They are pious in their devotion, gentle with the believers and the oppressed, and mighty and fearless against the oppressors and aggressors. Even their demise resembles that of the Ahlul bayt. They were martyred at the hands of the most evil and wretched of people of their times, in the most cowardly way possible. They were supported and mourned by the best of people and just as some in the Muslim community approved and were even joyful when the Ahlul Bayt were martyred, some foolish and ignorant Muslims behaved similarly at the martyrdom of these heroes.
Our stance regarding such issues and personalities is not inconsequential. The precedence of the Ahlul Bayt and the early history of Islam shows us that taking a neutral stance is not much of an option. Though we don’t have infallible leaders today, we are called to follow those who best embody the principles and teachings of the infallibles and embrace the path of martyrdom. As human beings we are called to follow and support those who give their lives to fight oppression and injustice. If we cannot recognize the soldiers of the 12th Imam, we will surely not recognize the 12th Imam.
Today we remember these heroes, along with millions of brothers and sisters around the world. Martyrs do not die, they only become more alive (inda rabbihim yurzaqun) and give life to the hearts. The martyrdom of these heroes has become a source of unity among all freedom and justice seeking people in the world and its impact will be felt for years to come.