Tag Archives: Hussein ibn Ali

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.

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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 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 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 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.