posted by Muharram In Manhattan
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.