Ark of Salvation
This hadith from the Prophet remains as one of the most iconic descriptions of Imam Hussain. The symbolism of the words “light” and “ship” would go on to become inspirational for centuries as Muslims around the world each made their attempts to best represent the status of Hussain and his legacy in art, literature and poetry.
At its very core, this hadith contains two distinctive analogies – words, carefully chosen, that were powerful in their imagery: the light of guidance and the ship of salvation – two concepts already very familiar to Muslims – not least due to their references by Allah Himself in the Holy Qur’an. There are numerous mentions of both light and guidance in the Qur’an. The Prophet’s description of Hussain as the ship of salvation is a clear reference to the story of Prophet Nuh in the Qur’an. Prophet Muhammad’s message is clear: Imam Hussain offers both protection and direction.