We all have problems that keep us awake at night, tossing and turning, trying to figure out a way to solve them and move on with our lives. For most of us, this is hassle enough, and when we’re done sorting out our own lives, we just don’t have the time or effort to really worry about others. Sure, we may drop a couple of coins in a charity box or occasionally give up our seat on the train, but true compassion means a sacrifice that not many are willing to make.
Icons of our age like Gandhi and Martin Luther King broke the mould.
They could’ve sat back and enjoyed relatively comfortable lives but instead they chose to do more – to be more. That compassion deep within them, the empathy they had for those around them, meant they couldn’t – and didn’t – just ignore peoples’ heartbreak.
Hussain exemplified this compassion.
He was offered a life of luxury in exchange for signing a simple agreement with the tyrannical ruler of his time. But knowing what his allegiance would mean for thousands of others meant this was simply not an option for him. His compassion for his fellow man meant that he couldn’t sit back whilst others suffered. He rose up, left his home and stood firm in the face of opposition.
He was backed by a loyal band of companions and friends, but Hussain time and again urged them to leave him and return home. Imagine… a leader who cares so much for his supporters that he tells them to abandon him for their own safety!
Hussain’s compassion meant he could not bear to see others suffer for his decisions – despite the fact it would weaken his position.
In the scorching desert heat, his adversaries – the men who’d been sent to kill him – ran out of water. Hussain’s compassion meant that he could not let man or animal suffer in the desert heat. So he ordered his companions to provide their own water to the opposing army and their horses. Giving up the upper hand and giving water to men who’ve been sent to kill you, simply because they needed it…
The love and compassion shown by Hussain was and remains an inspiration for millions today.
But it’s all very well appreciating the magnitude of a man who lived 1400 years ago. After appreciation comes emulation, and the desire to show the same kind of compassion to others that we would want to see ourselves. We all have different ways in which we can help others and improve the world. The challenge for every person is to think about what they can do to truly show compassion, just as Hussain did.