In the 7th century, the grandsons of the last prophet, his family and men were killed in the plain of Karbala, now a city in today Iraq. This tragic event has been etched on the minds of Shiah Muslims and every year they commemorate the martyrdom of their third Imam along with his family and men all over the world. This film is monologue of a modern Shiah Muslim who finds himself centuries away from his Imam and the event of Karbala and wishes he could accompany and defend him to his last against his sworn enemies. Inspired by the event of Karbala, this film tries to delve deep into some universal concepts such like love, loyalty and humanity through a poetic perspective.
TIME CODE: 00:00_02:00
Narration: What happened to you, people of the last Prophet? Can you still distinguish light from darkness? What can you see in the dark abyss of ignorance and lassitude?! In Medina and Mecca, only seventy two people kept him company. Kufa was the only city ready to pledge allegiance to him; O Kufa, you unfaithful city! Everyone swore to put Yazid, a byword for lechery and debauchery, to the sword and Hussein in his right full place, as the successor of the last Prophet of God. The letter of invitation was written. Moslem wrote to the Imam that Kufa was impatient to see him. Rumors of his arrival flew around, shocking Ibn Ziad to action. Haani was arrested. He knew Moslem’s hideout. Moslem could hear the drums of war against his tribe. The sun was sinking behind the red hills of Kufa, plunging the city into thick darkness. Moslem finished his evening prayers. A stony silence had descended on the mosque. A sidelong glance was enough. He had been deserted by his men. A frown on the face Ziad made a crowd of people scatter in all directions. Anew rumor: The army of the Levant was galloping toward the city. Moslem was captured and then beheaded. His headless body was hung in the sheep sellers’ bazaar.
TIME CODE: 02:00_04:00
Narration: Men! Hurry up since this revolving globe is not our eternal abode, but a place to pass away from. Have you ever heard a traveler reside in a caravanserai forever? No doubt death is as near to you as it was to the fallen in Karbala.
O Dear! You have come down to this planet in the age of man’s ignorance and repentance. Don’t get disappointed because there will be yet another Ashura for you and another thirsty Karbala that only your blood can quench its thirst. The land is waiting for you to throw off the shackles of worldly distractions and migrate from yourself and its attachments and transcend your time and place to catch up with the Imam’s caravan.
TIME CODE: 04:00_06:00
Narration: O Imam! I’d like to talk to you: “I was not with you in Karbala and now many years have passed since the event. But isn’t it true that no one will depart this life before passing through the harrowing desert of affliction? Before going through the terrifying ordeals of this life? I wish I was with you. So let me sit among your men and mourn your loss.” It is said that sinners are not allowed in. That’s true. Sinners are not allowed to travel with this holy caravan but the repentant are allowed. And in this caravan, Adam keeps Hussein Company. After all, he’s at the forefront of the repentant.
TIME CODE: 06:00_08:00
Narration: Sometimes, roads diverge as you travel and you have to decide which road to go ... And the road will diverge for Omar Sa’d on his journey of life. He will have to choose. It’s inevitable. Omar ibn Sa’d Abi Vaqqas didn’t like first to draw his sword at the Imam.Ibn Ziad sent Shemr to deliver him a message; “Go to war with Hussein and behead him if he defies and send me his head.” Imam couldn’t save Omar Sa’d, who was caught in a whirlpool of destruction. But you remember the first place Imam Hussein stopped the caravan to free his men from their allegiance. It was time to separate fair-weather friends from the caravan.
TIME CODE: 08:00_10:00
Narration: Kufa was now under the boots of Ibn Ziad’s soldiers. A wind of death was blowing from Kufa, a wind with the smell of blood. The disciples of love have to go through dreadful ordeals; to step in the slaughterhouse of love, to lose their heads, and to quench the thirsty heart of the desert … all on their own accord and all for their love! For those who are not in love with the Imam, this land is a desert with a blood curdling tomorrow. But for the Imam’s real men, in this land, they can smell the sweet fragrance of love. This is a place where man’s heart and mind diverge. The mind urges you to leave; to save your life, while the heart insists to stay; to accompany your love until you breathe your last. What are you doing?! Following your mind or heart?
TIME CODE: 10:00_12:00
Narration: The mind will certainly step on the road the heart chooses if its cord from the sun of truth is not severed. The caravan of love is approaching its eternal destination. So hurry up! We must go to Karbala. Each direction the Imam turned to was blocked. 61 years had passed since the immigration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. Karbala, the blazing land of plight, the Imam’s men were thirsty but nothing could quench their thirst. Dawn had broken and a heavenly call could be heard: “All praise is due to the Lord of the Angels and the Holy Spirit.” The Imam began his morn prayers. The disciples followed him; “He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent.”
After the prayers, the Imam turned to his men and said: “Today is the last day for you and I; this is divine providence. It behooves you to be patient while in the battlefield”
TIME CODE: 12:00_14:00
Narration: O, daughters of the Prophet! Maintain your composure when tears from the depth of some divine despair rise in the heart and gather to the eyes. Beware of the world and its allurements. This life is not for good. The sun was going down and the Imam was looking up towards the heavens. The Imam knew that Omar Sa’d was going to attack them. He sent his brother; Abbas to Omar Sa’d to convince him to hold off the war until the next day. As the sun was setting, the Imam gathered all his disciples around him and talked to them: “You wrote me fealty but now you owe me no allegiance. You are allowed to go after your own lives. The swords you see over there are just after me and no one else …”
TIME CODE: 14:00_18:00
Narration: The disciples interrupted the Imam: “Why shall we go? To live some more days after you?! No, it’s disgraceful.” The sun had come up and the war had begun. The angels were looking down at the battlefield and the loyalty of Adam’s children. Where can you learn loyalty but in the battlefield, where you have to through fire and water to prove your true love? The disciples were standing behind the Imam of Love to say their last prayers. The first prayers Adam said was when the sun was in the middle of the sky, as was the time Adam’s heir said his last prayers. And thousands of years had passed between these two prayers. And what had man gone through in-between?
TIME CODE: 18:00_20:00
Narration: The men lost their lives one by one and their souls flew towards the heavens. But their bodies, here and there, in the pool of blood ... The desert was aflame with crimson flowers. The sun had reached the climax of the heavens. The apocalypse was imminent. Hussein had nothing more to sacrifice except his own life. He was standing at the pinnacle of the world. No, no he had gone even beyond it when he left Mecca, the house of God for Karbala … And even the archangels cannot accompany man on his journey to perfection.
But how difficult this journey seems! Those arrived at their final destinations say that only blood can bridge between you and your destination. You have come here with your mind but from now on you have to follow your heart. The steed of reason can take you no further. You need heavenly wings, like those granted to Abbas who lost his arms for God’s sake. Now the last member of the Prophet’s household ... The sun is sinking and the night is falling. But this night has enfolded someone in its long arms; YOU, who have come down to this planet; the planet of suffering. You are on a long journey of night, longing for the day as you look toward the east. If there wasn’t night and if it was not so long, you would not be looking for light with such great enthusiasm.