What is Muharram?
Muharram offers an opportunity to remember the life of Husayn Ibn Ali (as), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and reminds us of his profound legacy. At Karbala, in modern day Iraq, on the 10th of Muharram 61 (A.H), Husayn, his family members and his companions made their courageous stand against the tyrannical ruler of the time. The tragic events that followed are acknowledged by all Muslims, as well as major historians, and are commemorated in poetry and prose by millions across the world every year, most notably in the first 10 days of Muharram, evoking overwhelming emotions in crowds of thousands. This practice in the Shia tradition is known as Azadari, or Aza. Established by Husayn’s own sister, Zaynab, in her dramatic orations on the road to Damascus as a prisoner, Azadari is a tradition that spans over 14 centuries. We invite you to join us for these IC-NYU for our Muharram Majlises this year .
Who is Hussain?
“Imam Husayn uprooted despotism forever till the Day of Resurrection. He watered the dry garden of freedom with the surging wave of his blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation. If Imam Husayn had aimed at acquiring a worldly empire, he would not have traveled the way he did (from Medina to Karbala). Husayn weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily he, therefore, became the bed-rock (foundation) of the Muslim creed; la ilaha illa Allah (There is no god but Allah).”
— Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistani Poet & Philosopher
“The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Cerebella is that Husain and his companions were rigid believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain, despite his minority, marvels me!”
— Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian and essayist
“I learnt from Husayn how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”
— Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader
“In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”
— Edward Gibbon, English historian and member of parliament (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, volume 5, p. 391-392)
“If Husain had fought to quench his worldly desires… then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.”
— Charles Dickens, English novelist