Human beings go through a plethora of difficulties in their life, which break them and in the process, displaces and shatters their meaning of life. During these intermittent losses in life, we tend to feel crippled and devoid of any solutions that could help us rise back up and push through. Our lives hang in the balance, as we find ourselves stuck in a “dark forest” phase, fighting our surroundings and inducing feelings of unrestrained, selfish competition as we try to overcome these losses. During these situations, we have the possibility to expand the scope of our concern to go beyond thinking only about our present circumstances but to think on a much global and grander scale that encompasses our position in the universe. This possibility denounces the need for escapism as we come to grips with our reality, face it and bounce back up. One of the most ideal ways of doing so is to “love our fate” by means of acceptance that everything good, bad, and the ugly in life all contribute to producing who we are and what we do at this very moment in life. By necessitating the embracement of these trials in life, sparks a love of life whereby we are able to create ourselves through acceptance and self-realization. At this point, we are able to push away the caricature of a utilitarian ideal that romanticizes a dull life of maximum pleasure and minimum pain, and take up the route of finding solace in life which produces pure and uncovered emotions of acceptance in order to seek comfort, consolation, and relief. The year 680 saw one of the most catastrophic tragedies experienced in the history of humankind, whereby a man called Husayn bin Ali witnessed the gruesome death of his 6-month-old baby and 18-year-old son while fighting against the forces of oppression. During these moments of distress, he had to bury the bodies of these two brave soldiers on the blazing plains of the dry desert of Karbala. His mental strength and ability to collect his emotions together, while dealing with the tragic loss of his children did not stop him from continuing to fight against humankind’s ignorance, abasement, deviation and humiliation since he believed in the higher purpose of “dying with honor is better than living with dishonor”.
A fundamental universal truth that governs the opportunities surrounding our social systems is that: every human being intuitively faces “positive moral emotions” that stem from sympathy, altruism, and benevolence. Having said so, it is second nature for human beings to react with dissonance when faced with instances where other human beings are being imposed with gratuitous pain and suffering. We feel conditioned with a desire to help and react with sympathy in order to remove the suffering. But why is it so that some people have stronger moral emotions when it comes to the perception of fighting injustice? This is where a clear delineation necessitates between injustice and simple cruelty and suffering. Injustice stems from impersonal social forces and people’s responses to it vary based on their sensitivity to it based on personal experiences. This brings rise to an even bigger question: For people that are sensitized by the recurring injustices around the world, what produces their cognitive and judgment-laden responses? And how do we inculcate it more vastly within society? The answer to this is: a successful society that fights injustice does it by cultivating the practice of magnanimity amongst themselves which breaks the idol of ego within ourselves, empowers generosity, humility, and practices forgiveness. This trait doesn’t simply “cure” the existing injustices in society, however, it “prevents” the possibility of it entirely. This is the noble and most prevalent characteristic of those individuals who fight social injustices as they go out of their way to empathize with the oppression and stand up for fairness and integrity. Husayn bin Ali’s greater mission on the plains of Karbala was a resistance against unjust authority, whereby the inversion of social justice was glorified by the ruler: Yazin Ibn Muawiyah. The carnage of Karbala saw the undermining of the true and transparent political system which was replaced with infidelity, and anarchy. Despite that, Husayn bin Ali became the archetype of social justice as he opposed these vices. Even after his death, his story echoes heroism, resistance, and a fight for fundamental human rights.
Throughout the ages, human beings have tended to overlook and failed to hear the significance of the human voice beyond its more obvious function that it acts as a vehicle for language. This blatant truth is often hidden under the overlapping layers of acoustics that bellow: power, classism, materialism, and standardization of human intellect. When a dissenting voice of reason is able to seep through and oscillate this faulty system, important truths are exposed that reflect light, banishes fear and makes room for strength and courage. The tonality of these dissenting voices reflects a meaningful sound that can be distinguished and even perhaps perceived to be creating a radical yet necessary change that ripples positively throughout society. This diminishes room for logical fallacies and dogmatic views that one day may end up killing the credibility and authenticity of the existence of future generations. However, as everything comes with a price, so does this. A powerful dissenting voice expresses the truth yet at the expense of expecting nothing because the unshakeable faith in the ideologies expressed is what will produce this ripple of change within society. Eventually, the dissenting voice that was once perceived as being eccentric and troublesome is embraced by society and their words echo with reason and confidence in order to shape a better society. When this is done as per the demands of time, nothing stops in the way of absolute truth and the dissenting conscious should be bold enough to judge what words to dissent at what cost. A famous allegory that demonstrates dissenting voices is the tragedy of Karbala whereby Husayn bin Ali paid the price of a lack of allegiance to the tyrannical ruler: Yazid Ibn Muawiyah, through the brutal death of all of his companions and most of his family members. His sister: Zaynab bint Ali carried on the dissenting of the truth even after the death of Husayn, by standing in the court of the tyrant and delivering a defiant sermon in which she humiliated Yazid ibn Muawiyah and exposed his army’s atrocities. All this while honoring the those killed in Karbala and expounding upon the eternal consequences of the battle. She paid a heavy price for challenging the logical fallacies present since she was imprisoned and mistreated by the oppressors.
Drawing together the themes of finding solace, fighting injustice and dissenting voices; inspiring leaders are able to illustrate these instances throughout their life, as they have built strong intuitions about justice and clear judgments involving relationships and systems. More so, they empower a performance culture within society whereby these virtues are acted upon with integrity. Once a clarity and focus in character are achieved, a need for consistency in behavior and actions is sought after by society within the inspiring leader, and this is the turning point that begins to build a core foundation for a strong value system within society. At the heart of an inspiring leader lies the ability to reflect, and account for one’s own actions. This goes hand in hand with social interaction in order to bounce back ideas with other people in order to produce an invaluable angle to one’s thinking. For inspiring leaders, success is not their highest purpose, rather making other people successful is their greatest motivation in life. Husayn bin Ali’s role in the tragedy of Karbala emulates all the qualities of an inspiring leader because, despite the fact that he lost the battle, he won the war. He has become a consistent universal symbol for people around the world on how to value life, integrity, and freedom.