Category Archives: Muharram In Manhattan

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 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 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.

October 24

Aun Hasan Ali : Some thoughts on the remembrance of Karbala

One of the tragedies of modern life is the monopoly of reason. Keats’ lament that Newton would unravel the rainbow and clip an angel’s wings was prescient indeed. I find it increasingly difficult to access those aspects of my self that are not meant to be governed by reason. I cannot appreciate Mir’s couplets without analyzing them, and the expression “subḥāna rabbī al-a‘lá wa-bi-ḥamdih” has become a philosophical project of tanzīh and ithbāt. The majlis of Husayn is one of the few places left where I can still access something visceral. It is one of the few times that I experience the tranquillity of a mode of knowledge that is not discursive. That is precious to me and I’m not willing to give it up for yet another rational act like political mobilization.

October 20

Iraq : A Portrait of War, Peace and Pilgrimage

The indescribable power of faith is visible everywhere in Iraq. It transcends rationality and eschews all modes of categorization. It is peculiar that it was in a country so plagued by religious tension and violence that I found some of the greatest harmony and peaceful tranquility of mind that I have ever experienced. We spent New Years Eve at the mosque during our last night in Karbala, ushering in a fresh start with the chants of the world and the humming of a universal law all around us.

January 04

Ruba Al-Hassani : Hussain A Universal Call for Justice

It was almost time; the moment of truth. He was uncertain about whether he was ready. It was not only his fate alone that was at stake, but that of many others who depended on him and believed in his cause. He had to be brave, and he surely wanted to be so. He has […]

Imam Sajjad December 21

When In Despair Remember Imam Sajjad

He walked in the unforgiving heat, toward the city of Kufa, with the sands of Karbala still latched on to his clothes – each particle of dust slowly withering away with the humid winds. His neck and hands were locked in chains – a captive of war. Hussain Ibn Ali his beloved father, had just […]