Author Archives: Muharram In Manhattan

November 14

David Coolidge: 10 Tips to make MSAs more Shi’i-Friendly

For 7 years as a student (undergrad and grad), and 6 years as a chaplain, I was directly involved in campus Muslim life. In that time, I learned that one of the most important elements of community building is intra-Muslim inclusion and respect. We could talk about many different aspects of diversity, but in this short article I would like to highlight the need to make MSAs more welcoming of Shi’i Muslims.

November 07

Imam Hussain (as): Language, Perception and Reality

In other words, while we understand Imām al-Ḥussain (as) through words, slogans, and adjectives, they only serve as a medium through which to understand his essential character and mission. The words themselves are not the reality. As a result, we must understand each word that we use to describe him or Islam in general in context. Otherwise, if we continue to use words like justice, peace, and humanity, without questioning the mental concepts they produce and the current forces that are shaping their meanings and colloquial use, we may internalize our faith through false notions.

November 01

Justin Mashouf : Muharram in the age of ISIS

  Muharram commemoration rituals have been seen by many in the Muslim world to be a divisive performance of sectarian identity displayed by the Shia community. From the outside, these traditions of mourning, chest beating and in some cases self flagellation, tend to be viewed as a Shia declaration of separation from the larger Muslim […]

calligraphy by Irfan Haider Mirza October 31

Muslim Community In America?

Most young Shii have likely heard stories about how, decades prior, their immigrant parents or community members used to hold majalis in their homes. They would do this with the few other Shia families of which they were aware. People would drive long distances to sit in someone’s house gathered round a television set or radio to listen to a pre-recorded lecture. This, as they often will recall, was the beginning of the establishment of the Shii community in America. It was through this mutual love of the Ahlul Bayt , epitomized by the sacrifice of Imam al-Ḥussain (as) families were brought together yearly and the very first Shia communities were developed. And as immigrants gradually accepted the permanence of their migration, they began to organize and pool together resources in order to plan for what they envisioned as the next logical step: the creation of Islamic centers.

October 30

Bahrain Manufactured Sectarianism

Karbala, Bahrain And Manufactured Sectarianism When discussing Ashura and the events of Karbala, the story of Zuhayr ibn Qayn is one that is often glossed over. Zuhayr was an Uthmani and not a Shi’a of Ali (as), however he and Imam Hussain crossed paths as the Imam traveled to Kufa to answer the calls of […]

October 29

Zehra Naqvi : Why I am Shia

Those that think Shias worship these historical characters misunderstand us and misconstrue the truth: we are simply awed and humbled by the example the Prophet’s family provided of what true faith and honor mean. The lessons we inherited are not about martyrdom or death, but using our lives to serve as worthy representatives of a legacy of social justice, protection of minority rights, and community building. I reflect on these stories often, and I join millions of people around the world in mourning their loss and honoring their lives and legacies during Muharram. A shared sense of community, built around honoring the principles of the Quran and legacy of the Prophet’s family, is also why I’m Shia.

October 28

Poetry : After My First Ever Majlis About Karbala

  Listen to the author recite : After My First Ever Majlis About Karbala Yā Ḥusayn I am so ashamed tonight More ashamed than I have ever been since I became a Muslim because I don’t think I would have been strong enough to stand with you on the plain of Karbala I would have thought […]

October 27

Poetry : The War of Alphabets

Listen to the author recite The War of Alphabets The War of Alphabets I. Like any other war, this war began with an aliph, the first letter in Arabic, the beginning of a slash. It is 632. Islam splits into two denominations. Abu Bakr takes over, Ali is stalled. Rulers continue to battle over numbers, […]

October 26

Mirzya Syed: Karbala A Spirit of Transcendence

There is unkindness in this world, and ugliness in character, whether in politicians and lawmakers of governments, in the media and society at large, or even unfortunately amongst ourselves, and within our very beings. So Inshallah, in the spirit of the kindness of the Ahlul Bayt, may we all better ourselves and forgive each other, speak only highly of each other, and always be good to each other and all of the people we come across in life, regardless of who they are, Ameen.

October 25

Zainab In my eyes

Zainab sees the nuance, the ways in which we can all be more accountable for the suffering we inflict on others and on ourselves. Zainab sees truths that are inconvenient to narratives about geopolitical realities. She sees truths that are inconvenient to narratives about Imperialistic dichotomies that have overwhelmed our literature.