World's Biggest Pilgrimage Now Underway, And Why You've Never Heard of it
It's not the Muslim Hajj, or the Hindu Kumbh Mela.. Known as Arbaeen, it is the world's most populous gathering and you've probably never heard of it! Not only does the congregation exceed the number of visitors to Mecca (by a factor of five, in fact), it is more significant than Kumbh Mela, since the latter is only held every third year. In short, Arbaeen dwarfs every other rally on the planet, reaching twenty million last year. That is a staggering %60 of Iraq's entire population, and it is growing year after year.
Above all, Arbaeen is unique because it takes place against the backdrop of chaotic and dangerous geopolitical scenes. Daesh (aka 'Islamic State') sees the Shia as their mortal enemy, so nothing infuriates the terror group more than the sight of Shia pilgrims gathering for their greatest show of faith.
There's another peculiar feature of Arbaeen. While it is a distinctively Shia spiritual exercise, Sunnis, even Christians, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, and Sabians partake in
both the pilgrimage as well as serving of devotees. This is remarkable given the exclusive nature of religious rituals, and it could only mean one thing: people regardless of color or creed see Hussein as a universal, borderless, and meta-religious symbol of freedom and compassion.
Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam. If a few hundred anti-immigration protestors take to the streets in London and they will make headlines.. The same level of airtime is awarded to a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong or an anti-Putin rally in Russia.. But a gathering of twenty million in obstreperous defiance of terror and injustice somehow fails even to make it into the TV news ticker! An unofficial media embargo is imposed on the gargantuan event despite the story having all the critical elements of an eye-catching feature; the staggering numbers, the political significance, the revolutionary message, the tense backdrop, as well as originality.. But when such a story does make it through the editorial axe of major news outlets, it creates shockwaves and touches the most random people.
Among the countless individuals inspired by it, is a young Australian man I met several years ago who had converted to Islam. Evidently, no one takes such a life-altering decision lightly, so upon inquiry he told me it all started in 2003. One evening, as he was watching the news only to be drawn by scenes of millions streaming towards a holy city known as Karbala, chanting the name of a man he had never heard of: "Hussein". For the first time in decades, in a globally televised event, the world had caught an glimpse into previously suppressed religious fervor in Iraq.
With the Sunni Ba'athist regime toppled, Western viewers were eager to see how Iraqis would respond to a new era free from dictatorship persecution. The 'Republic of Fear' had crumbled and the genie had irreversibly escaped from the bottle. "Where is Karbala, and why is everyone heading in its direction?" he recalls asking himself. "Who is this Hussein who motivates people to defy all the odds and come out to mourn his death fourteen centuries after the fact?"
What he witnessed in that 60-second report was especially moving because the imagery was unlike any he had ever seen. A fervent sense of connection turned human pilgrims into iron filings, swarming together other as they drew closer to what could only be described as Hussein's irresistible magnetic field. "If you want to see a living, breathing, lively religion, come to Karbala" he said.
How could a man who was killed 1396 years ago be so alive and have such a palpable presence today that he makes millions take up his cause, and view his plight as their own? People are unlikely to be drawn into a dispute (much less one that transpired in ancient times) unless they have a personal interest in the matter. On the other hand, if you felt someone was engaged in a fight over your right to freedom, your prerogative to be treated justly, and your entitlement to a life of dignity, you would feel you had a vested interest and would empathize with him to the point where conversion to his beliefs is not a far-fetched possibility.
The Ultimate Tragedy
Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, is revered by Muslims as the "Prince of Martyrs". He was killed in Karbala on a day which became known as Ashura, the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, having refused to pledge allegiance to the corrupt and tyrannical caliph, Yazid.
Shia Muslims have since mourned the death of Hussein, in particular on the days of Ashura, then, forty days later, on Arbaeen. Forty days is the usual length of mourning in many Muslim traditions. This year, Arba'een falls on Friday 12 December.
I travelled to Karbala, my own ancestral home, to find out for myself why the city is so intoxicating. What I witnessed proved to me that even the widest-angle camera lens is too narrow to capture the spirit of this tumultuous, yet peaceful gathering.
An avalanche of men, women and children, but most visibly black-veiled women, fill the eye from one end of the horizon to the other.The crowds were so huge that they caused a blockade for hundreds of miles.
The 425 mile distance between the southern port city of Basra and Karbala is a long journey by car, but it's unimaginably arduous on foot. It takes pilgrims a full two weeks to complete the walk. People of all age groups trudge in the scorching sun during the day and in bone-chilling cold at night. They travel across rough terrain, down uneven roads, through terrorist strongholds, and dangerous marshlands. Without even the most basic amenities or travel gear, the pilgrims carry little besides their burning love for "The Master" Hussein. Flags and banners remind them, and the world, of the purpose of their journey:
O self, you are worthless after Hussein. My life and death are one and the same, So be it if they call me insane!
The message recalls an epic recited by Abbas, Hussein's half-brother and trusted lieutenant, who was also killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680AD while trying to fetch water for his parched nieces and nephews. With security being in the detrimental state that makes Iraq the number one headline in the world, no one doubts that this statement is genuine in every sense.
Free lunch.. And dinner, and breakfast!
One part of the pilgrimage which will leave every visitor perplexed is the sight of thousands of tents with makeshift kitchens set up by local villagers who live around the pilgrims' path. The tents (called 'mawkeb') are places where pilgrims get practically everything they need. From fresh meals to eat and a space to rest, to free international phone calls to assure concerned relatives, to baby diapers, to practically every other amenity, free of charge. In fact, pilgrims do not need to carry anything on the 400 mile journey except the clothes they wear.
More intriguing is how pilgrims are invited for food and drink. Mawkeb organizers intercept the pilgrims' path to plead with them to accept their offerings, which often includes a full suite of services fit for kings: first you can a foot massage, then you are offered a delicious hot meal, then you are invited to rest while your clothes are washed, ironed, then returned to you after a nap. All complimentary, of course.
For some perspective, consider this: In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, and with worldwide sympathy and support, the UN World Food Programme announced delivery of half a million meals at the height of its relief efforts.. The United States military, launched Operation Unified Response, bringing together the massive resources of various federal agencies and announced that within five months of the humanitarian catastrophe, 4.9 million meals had been delivered to Haitians. Now compare that with over 50 million meals per day during Arbaeen, equating to about 700 million meals for the duration of the pilgrimage, all financed not by the United Nations or international charities, but by poor laborers and farmers who starve to feed the pilgrims and save up all year round so that visitors are satisfied. Everything, including security is provided mostly by volunteer fighters who have one eye on Daesh, and another on protecting the pilgrim's path. "To know what Islam teaches," says one Mawkeb organizer, "don't look at the actions of a few hundred barbaric terrorists, but the selfless sacrifices exhibited by millions of Arbaeen pilgrims."
In fact, Arbaeen should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in several categories: biggest annual gathering, longest continuous dining table, largest number of people fed for free, largest group of volunteers serving a single event, all under the imminent threat of suicide bombings.
Just looking at the multitudes leaves you breathless. What adds to the spectacle is that, as the security conditions worsen, even more people are motivated to challenge the terrorist threats and march in defiance. Thus, the pilgrimage isn't a mere religious exercise, but a bold statement of resistance. Videos have been posted online showing how a suicide bomber blows himself up in the midst of the pilgrims, only to have the crowds turn out in even greater numbers, chanting in unison:
If they sever our legs and hands, We shall crawl to the Holy Lands!
The horrific bomb blasts which occur year-round, mostly targeting Shia pilgrims and taking countless lives, illustrate the dangers facing Shias living in Iraq, and the insecurity that continues to plague the country. Yet the imminent threat of death doesn't seem to deter people - young and old, Iraqis and foreigners - from making the dangerous journey to the holy city.
It isn't easy for an outsider to understand what inspires the pilgrims. You see women carrying children in their arms, old men in wheelchairs, people on crutches, and blind seniors holding walking sticks. I met a father who had travelled all the way from Basra with his disabled boy. The 12-year-old had cerebral palsy and could not walk unassisted. So for a part of the trek the father put the boy's feet on top of his and held him by the armpits as they walked. It is the kind of story out of which Oscar-winning films are made, but it seems Hollywood is more concerned with comic heroes and with real life heroes whose superpower is their courage and commitment.
Golden Dome of Hussein
Visitors to the shrine of Hussein and his brother Abbas are not driven by emotion alone. They cry be reminded of the atrocious nature of his death, in doing so, they reaffirm their pledge to his ideals.
The first thing that pilgrims do upon reaching his shrine is recite the Ziyara, a sacred text which summarizes the status of Hussein. In it, they begin the address by calling Hussein the "inheritor" of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. There is something profound in making this proclamation. It shows that Hussein's message of truth, justice, and love for the oppressed is viewed as an inseparable extension of all divinely-appointed prophets.
People go to Karbala not to marvel at the city's landscape - lush with date palms, or to admire the mausoleum's physical beauty, or to shop, be entertained, or to visit ancient historical sites. They go to cry. To mourn and experience the angelic aura
of Hussein. They enter the sacred shrine weeping and lamenting the greatest act of sacrifice ever seen.
It is as though every person has established a personal relationship with the man they have never seen. They talk to him and call out his name; they grip the housing of his tomb; they kiss the floor leading into the shrine; they touch its walls and doors in the same manner one touches the face of a long-lost friend. It is a picturesque vista of epic proportions. What motivates these people is something that requires an understanding of the character and status of Imam Hussein and the spiritual relationship that those who have come to know him have developed with his living legend.
If the world understood Hussein, his message, and his sacrifice, they would begin to understand the ancient roots of Daesh and its credo of death and destruction. It was centuries ago in Karbala that humanity witnessed the genesis of senseless monstrosities, epitomized in the murderers of Hussein. It was pitch black darkness v. Absolute shining light, an exhibition of vice v. a festival of virtue, hence the potent specter of Hussein today. His presence is primordially woven into every facet of their lives. His legend encourages, inspires, and champions change for the better, and no amount of media blackout can extinguish its light.
"Who is this Hussein"? For hundreds of millions of his followers, a question this profound, which can cause people to relinquish their religion for another, can be answered only when you have marched to the shrine of Hussein on foot
These largest gatherings of people in the history of the earth were
all held to commemorate the fortieth day after the martyrdom of Hussain
(a.s.) and his (a.s.) family including his six month old son Ali Asghar
(a.s.) at the hands of the blood thirsty army of Yazeed ibn Muawiyah
Imam Hussain’s (a.s.) message is indeed universal. It is a message of
emancipation from material slavery. It is a message of intellectual
freedom. The struggle of the people of the world against the excesses of
capitalism and the global hegemony of an elite that wants people to
become nothing more than markets that consume their goods is a
universal struggle. It can draw inspiration from Imam Hussain (a.s.),
who stood for justice, truth and egalitarianism
of Shia Muslims are flocking to Iraq to hold mourning rituals on Arba’een
event, which falls on December 13 this year, marks 40 days after the martyrdom
anniversary of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), the third Shia Imam, who is
the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Hussein and 72 of his loyal companions, including family members, were martyred
on Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram, in the battle of
Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein
was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.
number of Arba’een pilgrims reportedly hit 20 million in 2013. Iraqi officials
expect the turnout for this year’s Arba’een procession to be higher than last
Iranian Embassy in Iraq has announced that until December 7 some 1.1 million
Iranians entered Iraq to attend the annual mourning services.
“We want to show Imam Hussein that we love him… He had given whatever he
had because of us and because of Islam,” said a pilgrim on his way to Iraq’s
holy city of Karbala.
pilgrim, who introduced herself as Soheila from Tanzania, said that she is a
member of a group of 350 from different countries on a spiritual journey to
Arba'een (Arabic "the fortieth [day]"),, "forty") or Chehelom in Persian is a Shia Muslim religious observance that occurs 40 days after the Day of Ashura. It commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad which falls on the 20th day of the month of Safar. Imam Husayn and 72 companions were martyred in the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 CE), killed by Yazid I's army. Arba'een
is also observed 40 days after the death of a family member or loved
one. Forty days is the usual length of the time of mourning in many
Islamic cultures. Arba'een, or Chehlom, is one of the largest pilgrimage
gatherings on Earth, in which over 15 million people go to the city of Karbala in Iraq
The occasion reminds the faithful of the core message behind Husayn's
martyrdom: establishing justice and fighting injustice, no matter what
its incarnation—a message that strongly influenced subsequent Shi'a
uprisings against the Umayyad and Abbasid rule.
In the first Arba'een gathering in the year 62 AH, Jabir ibn Abd-Allah, a companion of Muhammad,
was one of the people who performed a pilgrimage to the burial site of
Husayn. Due to his infirmity and probable blindness, he was accompanied
by Atiyya bin Saad. His visit coincided with that of the surviving female members of Muhammad's family and Husayn's son and heir Imam Zain-ul-Abideen, who had all been held captive in Damascus by Yazid I, the Umayyad Caliph. Imam Zain-ul-Abideen had been too ill to participate in the Battle of Karbala. He later devoted his life to Azadari and spreading the message of Imam Hussain's supreme sacrifice.
The city of Karbala in Iraq,
the third holy place of Shia Islam, is the center of the proceedings
where, in a show of humility, many crawl through the streets of the city
while others fall on their hands and knees as they approach the Shrines
of Husayn and his brother Abbas ibn Ali. Many pilgrims travel miles on foot to reach Karbala.
Observance of Arba'een in Karbala was banned for many years when Saddam Hussein, was president of Iraq. For nearly 30 years under Saddam's regime it was forbidden to mark Arbaeen publicly in Iraq. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the observance in April 2003 was broadcast worldwide
Arba'een is consistently among the largest peaceful gatherings in history. In 2013, approximately more than 18 million religious observers converged on Karbala to commemorate Arba’een.
However, in2014, the number of people visiting Karbala on Arba'een
significantly is increasing. According to the official website of BBC News
and Press TV (Iran), over20 million people had reached the city of
Karbala one or two days before Arba'een. The number of pilgrims was
expected to rise to 21 million during the next two days, Arbaeen reached
over 18 million in 2013
Islam: The second largest
world religion...and growing
"The messenger of Allah said: "Islam is to testify that there is no
god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, to perform the
prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage
to the House if you are able to do so." He said: " You have spoken
rightly", Jebreel (Gabriel) from Number 2 of "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."
"If anyone harms (others), God will harm him, and if anyone shows
hostility to others, God will show hostility to him." Sunan of Abu-Dawood,
"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow
the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians...and (all) who believe in God
and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their
Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." The Qur'an, 2:62
slam means to submit freely to The Commandments and Will of The One and Only God (Allah).
This submission should come from within, from sound belief in and
conviction to Allah, with no doubt. It should also come from love,
trust, and affection.
Allah is not a special god for Muslims, but Allah is The Creator of all creatures, including mankind.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace
on him) is the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace on him)
received The Word of Allah (revelation), through the archangel Gabriel
(The Holy Spirit). This revelation comprises the Religion of Islam.
The Qur'an is the authentic collection of this revelation recorded in book form. It is the exact, unchanged Word of Allah to all mankind.
A Muslim is
any male or female person who believes in Allah and the Prophet
Muhammad (Peace on him) as His Messenger who then testifies to that
belief to witnesses announcing his/her acceptance of Islam as his/her
religion. "Muslim' should not be confused with "Arab"; A Muslim is a
person who follows the religion of Islam and s/he can be of any race
while Arab refers to a race of people. An Arab can choose to be of any
religion or belief system be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism,
atheism, or any faith. Arabs make up less than 18% of the Muslim
population of the world today, which is estimated to be over one-fifth
of the world's population, or more than a billion people.
is a simple and practical religion. It has established, clear, and
easily understandable beliefs and laws that any follower or student of
the religion can easily understand. Islam affirms belief in a decent,
civilized society. Islam also does not demand impossible goodness of its
followers, but it recognizes that all human beings make mistakes and
sin. No one is exempt. Islampreaches
peace, mercy, justice, tolerance, equality, love, truth, forgiveness,
patience, morality, sincerity and righteousness. Islam is the religion
that preaches the Oneness of God, the Oneness of mankind and the Oneness
of the Message.
Islam is the religion that preaches the Oneness of God, the Oneness of mankind and the Oneness of the Message.
Im Going to put an article here, as im constantly asked.....
WHY ARE YOU SHIA ?....and ARE YOU REALLY SHIA..and DO YOU KNOW SHIA
ARE NOT MUSLIMS OR TRUE MUSLIMS
Really..sometimes and im sorry to say that..are these qustiens so stupid
And then when its asked from even Muslims
Some Misconceptions about Shia Muslims
By: Dr Shahid Athar, MD (USA)
centuries-old Shia-Sunni differences are the major obstacle to Muslim
unity. These differences have always been fanned by the enemies of Islam
to their benefit. Unfortunately, some so-called Muslim scholars on
their payroll have also played a key role in keeping these differences
I was born into a Sayyid Sunni family, I did not know of many
differences while growing up as a child. Our families always respected
Imam Hussayn (peace be upon him) and his parents and participated in
ceremonies marking the anniversary of his martyrdom (the 10th day of the
month of Muharram which is called Ashura) by reciting the first chapter
of the Quran (al-Fatihah) and other chapters and verses of the Quran
and fasted on the ninth and tenth days of that month.
Now when I give lectures on Islam to non-Muslims, one of the questions
they always ask me is if I am Shia or Sunni. I ask them if they know the
difference. They have no knowledge, other than what has been given to
them by the media. So they say Shias are the ones who are the bad guys,
the militant version of Islam, and cause all the trouble in the Middle
East these days.
non-Muslim American audiences of mine are surprised to
for continue click on black bold Persian words in the right
Form the main branch of Shiite Islam, itself the second-largest
sect within Islam after the Sunni variety. Twelver Shiites trace their
lineage to their 12 founding
, or religious leaders, in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries, when
Shiites' subversive character was defining itself against Sunni
As in all religions' early histories, the difference between
myth and fact is often difficult to detect. But what may be a problem
for the fact-based historian is not a problem, and may well be an
advantage, to the believer, whose tenets rest on a rigidly convincing
narrative--in Twelvers' case, of supreme martyrdom and victimology,
usually at the hands of Sunnis, as reflected by the bloody fate of
virtually every one of the Twelvers' founding imams.
Question: What's the Difference Between Shia and Sunni Muslims
Answer: Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith.
The differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam
initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones.
Over the centuries, however, these political differences have spawned a
number of varying practices and positions which have come to carry a
Origins - A Question of Leadership
The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of the
Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take over the
leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position
taken by many of the Prophet's companions, that the new leader should be
elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and
the Prophet Muhammad's close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, became the
first Caliph of the Islamic nation. The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes
from a word meaning "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet."
On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership
should have stayed within the Prophet's own family, among those
specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.
The Shia Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad's
death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Ali bin Abu Talib.
Throughout history, Shia Muslims have not recognized the authority of
elected Muslim leaders, choosing instead to follow a line of Imams which
they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God
Himself. The word "Shia" in Arabic means a group or supportive party of
people. The commonly-known term is shortened from the historical
"Shia-t-Ali," or "the Party of Ali." They are also known as followers of
"Ahl-al-Bayt" or "People of the Household" (of the Prophet).
Sunni Muslims make up the majority (85%) of Muslims all over the
world. Significant populations of Shia Muslims can be found in Iran and
Iraq, and large minority communities in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and
Differences in Religious Practice
From this initial question of political leadership, some aspects of
spiritual life have been affected and now differ between the two groups
It is important to remember that despite these differences in
opinion and practice, Shia and Sunni Muslims share the main articles of
Islamic belief and are considered by most to be brethren in faith. In
fact, most Muslims do not distinguish themselves by claiming membership
in any particular group, but prefer to call themselves simply,
Shia Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature, and that
his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God. Therefore,
Shia Muslims often venerate the Imams as saints and perform pilgrimages
to their tombs and shrines in the hopes of divine intercession.
Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a
hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders, and certainly no basis
for the veneration or intercession of saints. Sunni Muslims contend
that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that
is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.
Religious Texts and Practices
Shia Muslims also feel animosity towards some of the companions of
the Prophet Muhammad, based on their positions and actions during the
early years of discord about leadership in the community. Many of these
Umar ibn Al Khattab
, Aisha, etc.) have narrated traditions about the Prophet's life and
spiritual practice. Shia Muslims reject these traditions (
) and do not base any of their religious practices on the testimony
of these individuals. This naturally gives rise to some differences in
religious practice between the two groups. These differences touch all
detailed aspects of religious life: prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, etc.
For more detailed information about the historical context of the
Shia/Sunni split, and modern-day interpretations and repercussions,
please visit the links below.
Many Muslims in countries such as Iran observe the start of
the Islamic New Year on the first day of Muharram, which is the first
month in the Islamic calendar.
Muharram is the first month of the
Islamic calendar. On the first day of Muharram, the Islamic New Year is
observed by Muslims. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and is 11
to 12 days shorter than the solar year. Hence it is a little different
from the Gregorian calender that is used in the western nations. When
compared with the Gregorian calendar, which is a solar calendar, the
lunar month of Muharram shifts from year to year.
The month of Muharram is of great religious
significance to Islamic people the world over. It is held to be the most
sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. The word "Muharram" is
often considered synonymous with "Ashura", the tenth day of the Muharram
The Battle of Karbala (currently in Iraq) in the year 680 CE, which
enabled Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, and his army
to enter the city on the first day of the month.
The restriction of Husayn ibn Ali's access to water on the seventh day.
The death of Husayn ibn Ali and his clan (Ahl al-Bayt) on the 10th day of the month.
"Ashura" is a highly important day for both sects of Islam - the Shias and the Sunnis. The Shia muslims
believe that Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the
Islamic prophet Muhammad, became a martyr at the Battle of Karbala on
the tenth day of Muharram in 61 AH(680 AD).
The pre-Islamic period in the Arabian peninsula
was the era of warring tribes. In the absence of a strong leadership,
there were conflicts and battles on minor issues. But fighting was
prohibited in four months of the year. These months, of which Muharram
was one, were considered sacred. Muharram is so called because it was
unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word
‘haram’ meaning forbidden. This period of inactivity was a necessity in
heavily decorated replicas of the tomb of the Imam and his family are
made for Muharram the era of warring tribes. The tradition was
maintained even after the advent of Islam, though provisions to
accommodate and accept war in special situations, like a threat to the
sovereignty of an empire, were introduced. The gory battle of Karbala
was fought against this law and tradition of Islam. The inhabitants on
the banks of rivers Euphrates and Tigris were traditional rivals. Their
animosity was contained to some extent by Muhammad. But when his
son-in-law Hazrat Ali was the Caliph(Muslim civil and religious leader
considered to be Allah's representative on earth), the old enmity
re-surfaced. Hazrat Ali had two descendants, Hazrat Imam Hussain and
Hazrat Imam Hassan. Hussain was the ruler of the part of the empire
known today as Iran. The other part in modern Iraq was ruled by the
Umayyads. Hussain was called upon by the Shiahs of Kufa, a small town in
the Umayyad kingdom, to accept their allegiance and claim his place as
the leader of the Islamic community. This was against the wishes of the
ruler of Kufa, Yazid, who instructed his governor, Ibn-e-Ziad to take
appropriate action. Meanwhile, in response to the call of the Shiahs,
Hussain accompanied by his family members, headed for Kufa. When they
reached Karbala, en route to Kufa, the forces of the governor surrounded
them and their 70 men. Hussain, his family and his troops were tortured
and killed, and Hussain's head was severed and presented to the king.
They received no help from the Shiahs of Kufa
As this tragic incident happened on the tenth day
of Muharram, Shia Muslims consider this a day of sorrow. They
commemorate the martyrdom of Hussain as a religious occassion called
"Muharram" (named after the month of its observance). The occassion
starts on the 1st day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until 10th of
Muharram. As Muharram approaches, they put on black clothes, as black is
regarded as a color of mourning. During the entire 10 day period, they
keep themselves away from music and all joyous events (e.g. weddings)
that can distract them in anyway from the sorrowful remembrance of that
day. During each of the first nine days of Muharram, "Majalis"
(assemblies) are held where Shia orators vividly depict the incident of
the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his party. Mainstream Shia
Muslims fast until the evening. On "Ashura", devoted Muslims assemble
and go out in large processions. They parade the streets holding banners
and carrying models of the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his
people, who fell at Karbala. Some Shia sects observe "Ashura" by beating
themselves with chains in public, cutting themselves with knives and
sharp objects and holding mournful public processions. This is an
expression of their grief on the death of their favourite leader
Hussain, considered to be the representative of Allah. (But no Shiite
scholar affirms any extreme behavior that harms the body and Shia
leaders consider such acts as "Haram", or forbidden.) It is a sad
occasion and everyone in the procession chants "Ya Hussain", wailing
loudly. Generally a white horse is beautifully decorated and included in
the procession. It serves to bring back the memory of the empty mount
of Hazrat Imam Husain after his martyrdom. Drinking posts are also set
up temporarily by the Shia community where water and juices are served
to all, free of charge.
While Shia Muslims consider "Muharram" to be a
sorrowful occassion, Sunni Muslims observe it as a festival and look at
"Ashura" as a happy day though the religious aspect remain intact. Pious
Sunnis keep a fast("roja") on "Ashura" as per the "Hadith"(a tradition
based on reports of the sayings and activities of Muhammad and his
companions) of Prophet Muhammad. According to the "Hadith", the Prophet
saw the Jews fasting on the 10th of Muharram to commemorate their
liberation from Egyptian slavery and the extermination of the army of
the Pharoah in the waters of the Red Sea. Prophet Mohammed liked the
custom for he believed that it was Allah who saved the Israelites from
their enemy in Egypt. He started to fast on the same day as the Jews but
he planned to fast on the 9th and 10th from the following year. But
death came in between him and his pious wish. Usually, Sunni Muslims are
recommended to fast either on the 9th and 10th of Muharram or on the
10th and 11th of Muharram.
Imam Hussain(ra) was the blessed grandson of the Holy Prophet(saw). On
4th Hijri (four years after the Prophet(saw)’s migration from Makkah to
Madinah) he was born to the daughter of the Holy Prophet(saw), Hadhrat
Fatimah(ra), and her husband Hadhrat Ali(ra). The child was named
Hussain(ra). ‘Hassan’ means beauty in Arabic, hence ‘Hussain’ means one
part of beauty. The Prophet(saw) himself recited the Adhan (call to
prayer) in his ear, as is the custom for newly born Muslim children, and
also performed the Aqeeqah ritual (when the baby’s hair is shaved off).
Amongst the male progeny of the Holy Prophet(saw)
none lived to adulthood, hence he naturally loved his young
grandchildren, Hussain(ra) and his brother Hassan(ra)1.
of the Holy Prophet(saw) Hadhrat Anas(ra), said that out of everyone in
his household, Hassan(ra) and Hussain(ra) were most loved by the Holy
Prophet(saw). The Holy Prophet(saw) would often go to their house to
meet them. He would enjoy watching them play and would lift them and
hold them against his chest with affection. Sometimes, when the Holy
Prophet(saw) was in prostration during prayers, his grandchildren would
climb on his back and the Prophet(saw) would remain in prostration for
some time. After completing the prayers, the Holy Prophet(saw) would
lift them onto his lap.
Once, the Holy Prophet(saw) was
delivering the Friday Sermon in the Mosque. When Hussain(ra) entered,
the Holy Prophet(saw)’s eyes turned to him. He stood down from the
Minbar from where he was delivering the sermon, lifted Hussain(ra) and f
placed him against his chest. The Holy Prophet(saw) would especially
pray for his grandchildren: “O Allah, I love both of them, Thou, too,
love them similarly.” (Bukhari, Kitabul Fadha’il)
Prophet(saw) would say: “Whoever loves them loves me (and whoever bears a
grudge against them bears a grudge against me. Hussain is mine and I am
Hussain’s. Whoever loves Hussain will be loved by Allah)”. (Musnad
Ahmad bin Hanbal).
For seven years Hadhrat Hussain(ra) was
blessed with the good fortune of being educated by the Holy
Prophet(saw). Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hadhrat Umar(ra) the First and
Second Khalifas after the Holy Prophet(saw) respectively, also looked
upon Hadhrat Hussain(ra) with respect and reverence because of their
nearness to the Holy Prophet(saw). In the era of Hadhrat Uthman(ra) the
Third Khalifa, Hadhrat Hussain(ra) had the honour of waging Jihad in
Tabiristaan (or Tapuria). (Ibn Kathir, vol.3, p.45).
besiegement of Hadhrat Uthman(ra), Hadhrat Hussain(ra) and Hadhrat
Hassan(ra) were ordered by Hadhrat Ali(ra) to guard Hadhrat Uthman(ra),
and hence they kept the rebellious people at bay. (Tarikh Al-Khulafa,
After Hadhrat Ali(ra)’s martyrdom, Hussain(ra)
took the pledge of allegiance with his brother, Hadhrat Hassan(ra), and
was involved in the reconciliation with Amir Muawiyah. His knowledge
was exemplary and his oratory outstanding. His nights would be spent in
worship, and he would give alms abundantly. The Holy Prophet(saw) once
stated that “To me, Hassan and Hussain are both the best fragrance of
the world”. (Bukhari Fadha’il Sahaba)
According to Hadhrat
Anas(ra), Hassan(ra) and Hussain(ra) bore the greatest resemblance to
the Holy Prophet(saw). (Bukhari Kitabul Fadha’il).
Prophet(saw) stated that Hassan(ra) and Hussain(ra) “are the leaders of
youth in paradise”. He said “whoever wages war against them wages war
against me, and whoever reconciles with them reconciles with me.”
martyrdom of Hadhrat Hussain(ra) was one of the most tragic incidents
in Islamic history. No Muslim can read the accounts of the events that
unfolded, without being extremely hurt and aggrieved.
main people, Yazid and Hadhrat Hussain(ra), both claimed to be Muslims,
and both professed the Muslim creed. Yet one of them – Yazid, did not
truly understand the meaning of Islam. He disregarded the Islamic faith
and injunctions regarding honesty and justice, and hence became the
oppressor. Hadhrat Hussain(ra), on the other hand, immersed himself in
the true Islamic spirit, displaying bravery, tolerance and
steadfastness, and was the oppressed. (Friday Sermon, Hadhrat Mirza
Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, 10 Dec 2010).
The Incident of Karbala
56 Hijri Amir Muawiyah (who claimed he was the Khalifa after Hadhrat
Ali(ra)), appointed his son Yazid heir-apparent. A large section of the
Muslims took the pledge of allegiance at the hand of Yazid to prevent
divisions. However Hussain(ra), Abdullah bin Umr(ra), Abdullah bin
Zubair(ra) and some others, felt that due to Yazid’s impiety, he was not
worthy, nor possessed the right to the Khalifat. Amir Muawiyah retorted
that after his appointment of Yazid as heir-apparent, it was not
appropriate for anyone to reject or oppose this decision.
Shrine of Hussain, holy site of Shia Islam in the city of Karbala, Iraq
the demise of Amir Muawiyah in 60 Hijri, Yazid ordered the Amir of
Madinah to immediately take the oath of allegiance from these three i.e.
Hussain(ra), Abdullah bin Umr(ra), Abdullah bin Zubair(ra), upon which,
Hussain(ra) and Abdullah bin Zubair(ra) went to Makkah. Numerous
letters were sent from Iraq stating a desire to take the pledge of
allegiance at the hands of Hussain(ra). He sent Muslim bin Aqeel(ra) to
Kufa to find out about the 18,000 apparently ready to take the pledge of
allegiance. He intended to go to Kufa, but Abdullah bin Abaas(ra) and
other elders opposed this decision. Hussain(ra) told them to perform
Istikhara prayers and said: “Make your mind up according to the Divine
Will”. Thus finally, they decided to go to Kufa.
found out that the people of Kufa had taken the pledge of allegiance of
Imam Hussain, through Muslim bin Aqeel(ra). Yazid sent the Amir of
Basra, Ibn Ziyaad, to Kufa and the situation reached a stage where
Muslim bin Aqeel was martyred.
Hussain(ra) had taken stock of the
precarious situation in Kufa, and decided that everything was in the
hands of God. He thought that whatever He Wills would occur. Indeed,
every day He manifests Himself in a new splendour. “If the Divine Will
is with our objective,” he thought, “then we will be grateful to God for
this. But if the Divine will prevents our objective from being
accomplished then that is not something erroneous, for a person who
fears God and whose intention is pious.”
Hussain(ra) found out
about Muslim bin Aqeel(ra)’s murder. Aqeel(ra)’s brother went to Kufa to
exact revenge. During this time Hussain(ra) saw the Holy Prophet(saw)
in a vision, who provided him with some instructions. He interpreted
this dream to mean that whatever may happen to him now, there was no
He gave everyone in his group the choice to return.
The general public dispersed and only the Ahle Ba’ait (family of the
Holy Prophet(saw)) and a few Companions remained – there were in total
approximately 72 people in Hussain(ra)’s camp. In the meantime, Yazid
brought an army of 1000, and wanted to detain Hussain(ra)’s group and
take them to Kufa.
Hussain(ra) stated plainly, “I was going to
Kufa on the beckoning of the people of Kufa; if they have changed their
minds then I shall return”.
He showed Hurban Qais the letter from
Kufa. Hurbain replied; “We have not written this letter, and we have
instructions from the Amir to send you to Kufa”.
Hussain(ra) responded, “Death would be better than this”.
option of returning was no longer possible. The Divine Will had
determined. Imam Hussain(ra) suddenly woke from his sleep. He said
“InnaLillah” (surely to Allah we belong, and to Him we shall return) and
then “Alhumdulillah” (all praise belongs to Allah), and said “in my
dream a traveller stated that the nation is moving towards its death”.
His son Zain ul Abideen(ra) said, “what does it matter if death comes on the path to the truth?”.
the 3rd day of the month of Muharram, Ibn Sa’ad arrived with an army of
4000. He read out the directive of Ibn Ziyaad, “Hussain should come to
Kufa and pledge allegiance to Yazid”. (Ibn Kathir)
On the 7th of
Muharram they turned off the water source to Hussain(ra) and his family.
His family started becoming extremely distressed due to this. In fact,
one person from Yazid’s camp could not tolerate this act of cruelty and
defected to Imam Hussain(ra)’s group.
The 10th of Muharram was
the last night of the esteemed delegation of Imam Hussain(ra).
Hussain(ra) and his people prepared for death. They sharpened their
weapons and spent the night in deep worship. Upon seeing this his
sister, Zainab, said to Hussain(ra):
“If only death would cause
my end today! After my mother Fatima, father Ali and brother Hassan
(passed away), you alone were our support”.
Hussain replied “Zainab do not hand over your honour to Satan”.
She said, “Brother, for you I can sacrifice my life”.
started flowing from Hussain(ra)’s eyes. Zainab(ra) also started
crying. Hussain(ra) told her to be patient and said, “One day we all
have to return to our Lord. Promise by God that after my death you will
not act contrary to the example of the Holy Prophet(saw). Do not defame
anyone, saying anything untowardly” (Tarikh Ibn Kathir, p.514).
on the morning of Ashura (the 10th of Muharram), judgment day arrived.
There were only 72 people with Hussain against 4000 soldiers. The flag
of the Hussain(ra) camp was in the hands of Abbas(ra).
entering the field of battle Hussain(ra) placed the Qur’an in front of
himself, raised his hands and prayed: “Lord, You are the One I rely on
in every affliction, and You are the reliever of every difficulty; You
have always been my protector and I have always submitted before You
alone. You alone are the Master of all goodness.”
Once again he
demanded safe passage to a peaceful place from the enemy, however they
insisted he pledge allegiance to Yazid first.
performed the Zuhr (noon) prayers in this atmosphere of danger. Heavy
fighting then ensued. The famous warrior Hanafi(ra) stood in front of
Hussain(ra) and gave his life protecting him. After this Zahir bin
Qais(ra) was martyred. One by one the others came forward until finally
all of Hussain’s companions were killed fighting, desperately trying to
They exclaimed, “We were unable to help you!”.
“May Allah grant you the reward due for the righteous”, was Imam Hussain(ra)’s reply.
the martyrdom of all these loyal people it was now the turn of the Ahle
Ba’ait (family of the Holy Prophet(saw)). The young Ali Akbar(ra)
stepped onto the field of battle and said; “I am the son of Hussain, son
of Ali. I swear by God, I am the Companion of the Holy Prophet”. He
sacrificed his life fighting with great bravery, in battle. His paternal
Aunt, Zainab(ra), was unable to hold herself back. Thus, Hussain(ra)
sent her back to the camp. Ali(ra)’s body was placed near one of the
Subsequently Abdullah(ra) son of Muslim bin Aqeel(ra) and
grandson of Jaafar Tayyar(ra), Addi(ra), rushed into battle and were
killed. Abdul Rahman(ra) son of Aqeel(ra), and Qasim(ra) son of
Hassan(ra), next attained martyrdom.
Witnessing this on the
beckoning of Abbas(ra), Abdullah(ra), Jaafar(ra) and Uthman(ra) – three
brothers, formed a wall-like barrier in front of Imam Hussain(ra). They
too were murdered. Abbas(ra) was the last remaining person with Imam
Hussain(ra). He also was killed and thus attained martyrdom.
20 members of the family of the Holy Prophet(saw) had been killed in the field of Karbala.
Hussain(ra) was now left alone. He went towards the river to quench his
thirst, when an arrow fired at him hit him on his face, causing blood
to spurt out like a fountain. Yet, he fought valiantly until his last
breath. He said to the enemy:
“I swear by God, anyone you kill after today will not incur God’s fury to a greater extent than (anyone you kill) today”
After this the people of Kufa started looting the Muslim camp. They even began taking off the headscarves from the women.
Horse riders instructed by Umar bin Sa’ad, rode forth and trampled upon the dead body of Imam Hussain(ra).
bin Sa’ad then exclaimed; “Who amongst the horse riders will trample
over Hussain(ra)?” 10 horse riders answered this call and trampled over
Hadhrat Imam Hussain’s body, to the extent that his chest and back were
Imam Hussain(ra) had been hit 45 times by
arrows, 33 times by spears and over 40 times by sword blows. In an act
of excessive cruelty, Hadhrat Hussain’s head was severed and sent to
Kufa, where the governor had it displayed for public view.
short this was a tragic day in Islamic history, when the blood of the
noble people of God was shed in this merciless slaughter. However, Imam
Hussain(ra) had given his life to uphold the truth, of this there can be
Many a people wrote eulogies after the barbaric murder of Imam Hussain(ra), such as Sakeena his daughter, who wrote:
O eye, thou shall not shed lifelong tears on thy children, mother, father and friends,
But on the bloodshed of the grandchild of the Messenger
Imam Hussain(ra)’s stand against Yazid
a minority of Muslims consider Hadhrat Hussain(ra)’s rejection of Yazid
as rebellion, whereas this is contrary to the reality. Hadhrat Imam
Hussain(ra)’s stand against Yazid was not for the reason that Yazid had
claimed he was a rightly guided Khalifa. The Khilafat Rashida (rightly
guided succession of Khilafat after the Holy Prophet(saw)), had come to
an end thirty years after the demise of the Holy Prophet(saw), as the
Prophet had prophesied himself. Imam Hussain(ra)’s resistance was in
order to remove a tyrannical despot, a self-appointed Khalifa, and thus
safeguard and help the oppressed.
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as),
the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, has stated in his writings that
Yazid was an impure worm of the earth, blinded by the love of the world.
Whilst Hussain(ra) was truthful and provided a pure model for future
Muslims to follow. He writes that it is extremely wrong to discredit
Hadhrat Hussain(ra), and one who does so wastes his faith.
in the house of the Promised Messiah(as), the incident of Hadhrat
Hussain(ra)’s martyrdom was being related. Upon hearing this the
Promised Messiah(as) started crying profusely, and stated with immense
pain: “Yazid performed this cruel act against the grandson of the Holy
Prophet(saw), but God also rapidly brought His wrath down upon the
oppressors.” (Seerat Tayyiba, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra), p.36)
martyrdom ultimately led to the Shia-Sunni split, with the Shites
holding that Imanat (leadership) of the Muslim followers belonged to
Hadhrat Ali(ra), whereas the Sunnis adhere to the Traditions of the Holy
Prophet(saw). Many other differences later emerged in each group.
year in the first ten days of Muharram, some Muslims around the world
commemorate the martyrdoms of Hadhrat Imam Hussain(ra), his family and
companions, and mourn that dreadful event that took place in the fields
of Karbala over 1000 years ago. Some take to the streets and wail
excessively, beating their chests with their hands and other weapons.
Others take part in processions, specially organised functions and other
events and gatherings in mosques and halls.
The best way of
remembering Karbala as expounded by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim
community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, in his
Friday Sermon of 10th December 2010, is to send Darud, invoking
salutations and blessings upon the Holy Prophet(saw) and his family, and
to bring about pure reformation within ourselves. He said that all
Muslims feel sorrow and grief regarding the incident of Karbala. Whilst
certain Muslim groups adopt customs which appear quite extreme in our
view, that is their own way of recalling the incidents of Muharram.
Darud, however, has been expounded by the Holy Qur’an, the Traditions of
the Holy Prophet(saw) have drawn attention to it, as has the Promised
Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim
community. It is a most excellent way of professing love for the Holy
Prophet(saw) and his family. Just as Hadhrat Hussain(ra) and those with
him, stood firmly in the face of certain d eath, Muslims should
similarly display this forbearance and steadfastness in front of people
with Yazid-like natures and be resolute. Hussain(ra) expressed the truth
despite facing a huge army; hence Muslims should present the truth
without regard for the consequences for their own persons.
Hadhrat Imam Hassan(ra) was the elder brother of Hadhrat Imam
Hussain(ra). The Holy Prophet(saw) held them in equally high regard and
in the Traditions the Prophet(saw) normally referred to them together
(Ed). - See more at: http://www.reviewofreligions.org/2765/imam-hussainra-and-the-tragedy-of-karbala/#sthash.pmEt3KOq.dpu
If mytare Hussain was one of us, we would have put
up a flag and a minaret for him in every part of the earth and called
the people to Christianity
It isn’t uncommon to hear people say “How
fast Muharram has come and gone!” after the day of Ashura. For many of
us, the climax of this period of mourning is the recitation of the
Maqtal (martyrdom epic) of Imam Husayn (a) on the day of Ashura. While
there is a quieter, deeper atmosphere of grief on Shaame Gharibaa, sadly
by the following day the majority of us have ‘slept it off’ and we’re
back to our normal daily lives.
We won’t have weddings and birthdays for
the next couple of months and we might attend majalis at regular
intervals but other than that, what really changes in our lives? With
the advent of social networking, it’s common to see people wishing
others ‘Happy Birthday!’ or even accepting congratulatory messages the
day after Ashura! By the time the month of Safar comes around, our grief
for Imam Husayn (a) has already faded to a faint memory, waiting to be
evoked the next year around…
We need to ask ourselves two pertinent questions in this regard:
a) Is our emotion limited to the first 10
days of Muharram and
the masa’ib we hear in the majalis? If that is so,
then can we really call lecturers or eulogists ‘entertainers’ as some of
us are eager to? Are we not saying to them: ‘Make us cry so we don’t
have to feel guilty when we walk out of the mosque and go back to Yazidi
b) What happened to the energy and spirit
with which we claim ‘never to let the message of Husayn (a) die’ during
the first ten nights of Muharram? We recite eulogies and lamentations
proclaiming that the alam (standard) of Hadhrat Abbas (a) shall always
be held up high and that we are willing to give up our lives…and even
Jannah…for this grief. I have no doubt that in that moment of emotion,
every one of us means and believes these words – indeed it is the
miracle of Imam Husayn (a) that his love awakens even the hearts of the
unconscious. But why do we forget all this so easily after Ashura?
One explanation for this situation of
affairs might be that when it comes to Islam and Husayn ibn Ali (a), we
are still emotional teenagers. Perhaps what we have is a romantic crush
on azadari (mourning). Perhaps, we are in love with the idea of loving
Husayn (a) because the ideals he stood and died for are so noble, so
high that who can help but want to be associated with them?
In our minds, we are hopeful (and sometimes
foolishly confident) that had we been in Karbala on the day of Ashura,
we would have joined the camp of Imam (a) without hesitation. And it’s
nice to believe this, but we need to sit back and consider that we are
also waiting for an Imam – the Husayn of the End of Times. Those who
wish to be with him will have to live through a Karbala that will end in
an obvious victory for the Right, but the struggle will also require
sacrifice, pain and blood….
Are we truly prepared for this? Can we be
like the companions of Imam Husayn (a) who were willing to die a
thousand horrific deaths for him if only they were given a chance to?
Are we willing to walk the talk?
We only need to look around us to realize
that we are far from ready for any of this. In so many communities, the
nights of Muharram instead of kindling inspiration and revival bring out
the worst in us instead! We have arguments over what should be done,
how and when. There is a struggle for power over almost everything: who
should recite, when to do matam, what food to serve and so on. We get so
carried away with these questions that we forget to ask “why” we are
doing all these actions.
The one thing that stands out in Karbala is
that no one asked ‘what?’ or ‘how?’ or ‘when?’ but everyone knew “Why?”
This is why we have an excellent example in 72 different people – from
different tribes, different ages, different walks of life – all
presenting their sacrifice in their own unique ways, but not one of them
conflicting with the other in purpose. If we can only step back for a
moment and ask that same question, we might find the answers to both the
issues mentioned above.
We need to ask: ‘why are we mourning Imam
Husayn (a)?’ To answer this, we will need to understand the magnitude of
his message and that will force us to go back to history and read about
what happened and the consequences of Ashura. A quick glance into
history is sufficient to make us realize that the sorrows of the
AhlulBayt (a) did not stop after the day of Ashura.
Rather, Ashura was a catalyst with which
the history of tragedies began. There is after all a good reason why one
of the most famous titles of Bibi Zaynab (a) is Ummul Masaa’ib – The
Mother of Afflictions. In these months of Muharram and Safar, every day
brought fresh pain, fresh suffering and demanded new heights of patience
from Imam al-Sajjad (a) and the women and children of Imam Husayn (a).
Can we truly rest in ease in these days, let alone go back to our
The hadith of the Prophet (s) says:
“Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu’mineen, with respect to
the martyrdom of Husayn (a), a heat that never subsides.” If we are true
Lovers of the AhlulBayt (a), we need to ask ourselves “Has this heat
already subsided barely 48 hours after Ashura?” If it has then…”Why?”;
and if this heat has not subsided – insha’Allah – then what are we doing
Did the AhlulBayt (a) go through so much
simply to gain sympathy and pity for Eternity? Was this the Purpose of
Karbala? Karbala evokes the strongest emotions within us, because we’re
then supposed to use this emotional high as a springboard to create a
revolution within ourselves. Yet, if we find that we cannot do something
as simple as change a single habit in these months for the better then
it only indicates that our emotions are superficial like those of the
We are writing our own sacks full of
‘letters’ to our Present Imam (atfs) calling him to come. But when he
does, will we stand firm on our claims or will we – God Forbid! – turn
on him? Are we mourning Imam Husayn (a) so deeply, but then mocking his
message and sacrifice by not upholding the principles for which he gave
up his children and his own life?
The quote at the start of this article is
by a Christian and had Husayn ibn Ali (a) been their saviour, there is
no doubt that they would indeed have achieved this aim. What are we
doing instead however? We write poetry saying that ‘some day’ the
Standard of Abal Fadhl (a) will be on top of every house. Do we realize
that we’re also in some ways passing on the buck? We seem to be waiting
for someone else to do this hard work for us instead of understanding
that the responsibility of maintaining the Message of Husayn ibn Ali (a)
belongs to no one else except the Husaynis.
Let us never think that we are doing the
AhlulBayt (a) a favour through anything we do in their name. The Prophet
(s) promised his beloved daughter that the mourning for Husayn (a)
would be preserved to the end of Time; this was a Divine Promise to
Fatimah al-Zahra (a). Whether we decide to be part of it or not, it will
continue. Thefavour is on us that we have been blessed with the
knowledge and awareness of their Status and Honour. This is a Mercy to
us from Allah (SWT) and as such it is up to us to decide whether we show
appreciation for His Love and Attention or not.
During these days of mourning, we distance
ourselves from celebration because happiness is a good thing, but it is
also very distracting. It’s hard to think about Life, Sacrifice and
Purpose while you’re enjoying yourself. That is why these are the best
days to focus on what needs to be changed in our lives in order to
support our claims incase our Imam (atfs) appears before next Muharram
These are the days to begin first by
establishing the standard of Hadhrat Abbas (a) within our hearts, then
to make a resolution to set ourselves on the path of Right with his
inspiration and finally with his help, to ask for the strength, love and
loyalty to stand firm on it. Ameen.
Let us, this year, conquer ourselves first – each and every one of us – before we begin to dream of conquering the world