Category Archives: America

October 16

Shereen Yousuf : Decolonial Practice of Majalis and its Potential for Communal Healing

What better way to defy systems that de-humanizes us, than through the human act of shedding of tears which allows us to move out of despair, and into the realm of hope? Furthermore, this healing serves a vital tool for resistance. Narrating these stories in a manner that induces grief additionally connects us with principles such as “death with dignity is better than a life of humiliation” as Imam Husayn (as) once said, — without divorcing them from Allah (swt). In fact, our form of memorializing tragedy elevates our tears to the realm of the divine by marking them as an act in devotion to Allah (swt).

October 14

Zahra Moeini : The Weight of Zaynab’s Gaze

“The Weight of Zaynab’s Gaze” by: Zahra Moeini The leaves of the oak trees have welcomed the hues of Fall’s procession. Zaynab treads the witness Of leaves that swell Bursting with each step The shades of a brother’s memory. Those who walk alongside Look at the weight of Zaynab’s gaze Flowing back and forth On […]

October 19

Zehra Naqvi : What Disunity Costs Our Ummah

We are all in it together. This Muharram, reflecting on our shared past has actually made me look to the future and reflect on the legacy our umaah will leave behind for future generations. History will tell whether our legacy will be one of unity or divisiveness. There are many good people committed to doing this work, and I pray that all of us commit to do right by all of our communities, very much in the spirit of the Quran, Prophet Muhammad, and his family.

November 21

Karbala: A Caravan of Mercy

One of the most beautiful and salient aspects of Muḥarram is that it serves each member of the Muslim community in its own way. By its enduring nature, the tragedy of Karbalā’ is the impetus for profound change for all who approach it with a humble heart. Paradoxically however, the sheer magnitude of what can be gained from these nights forces us to limit the articulation of what Muḥarram means within the framework of our own pedantic vision. In other words, Karbalā’ is for many people, many things. For some it serves as motivation for socio-political justice; for others it may be a template for noble character traits. And while the message of Karbalā’ is universal, our internalization of it is often colored by internal and external factors. The various circumstances of our lives cause us to engage with Karbalā’ and derive benefit from this ocean of beauty in our own unique way. Especially since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it has even become common place to attach temporal political movements and the oppression of various Shi’i groups with the likeness of the movement of Ashūra. However, as Imām al-Ḥussain (as) had sacrificed his life and the lives of those closest to him for Allah (swt), the Ultimate All-Encompassing Reality, the movement of Ashūra is no less than a reflection of that Universal Reality. To articulate the reasons for and the benefits of Muḥarram outside of the words of the Aḥl al-Bayt (as) would simply be attempts at grasping only the particulars.

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.

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.