Sunday, November 27, 2011

Muharram and the Battle of Karbala

Muharram is the first month of Islamic Hijri Calendar. Today is 2nd of Muharram of Hijri year 1433.

Muharram is one of the most significant month for Shia Muslims because it marks the martyrdom of Husain Ibn Ali (A.S), grandson of Prophet Mohammed (SAW). During this month there are special congregations for the first 10 days where the life and time of Husain Ibn Ali (A.S.) and his family is narrated.

Let me limit this note to Muharram for Dawoodi Bohra community of which I am a member.

For Dawoodi Bohra community, who are followers of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS), month of Muharram is very significant. People of the community would travel long distances to listen to the sermons by Syedna (TUS). This year, Syedna(TUS) is presiding the congregation in the city of Mumbai (India) and people from all over the world are pouring in there. Resident Bohras of Mumbai would make comfortable arrangements for stay and food for people coming from outside of Mumbai.

Apart from Mumbai, in every city and town where there are community members, special congregations will be held between 10am to 1pm. People would keep their shops and offices closed to attend the Wa'az (sermons) where followers will be introduced to moral lessons by way of narrating life and time of Prophet Mohammed(SAW), his son-in-law Ali Ibn Abi Talib(AS) and his grandsons Hasan Ibn Ali and Husain Ibn Ali.

Most significantly, the Battle of Karbala, in which Husain (AS) along with his members of the family attained martyrdom is narrated in finer details. Each detail inspires us to live a life of simplicity, charity and unity. Narratives from life and time of Prophet and his family inspires its followers to tell the truth, earn rightfully, refrain from malice, respect everyone and many more such morals that help in peaceful coexistence.

The listners are addressed as "Mumenin ane Mukhleseen", people of faith and sincere people. They are addressed thus because they put aside their important activities and daily chores to come and listen to the sermons and apply these learning sincerely in their life.

Do share this note with your friends.

Here are some of the links to shed more light on Muharram and its importance for Shia Muslims.

About Muharram

Battle of Karbala

Family tree of Prophet Mohammed

Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS)

Dawoodi Bohras

Monday, November 07, 2011

Ritual that 'sacrificed' the spirit

Eid-ul-Adha is the festival in Islam that marks the end of annual Hajj pilgrimage. The ritual of sacrificing an animal is in fact an irony of this festival!

This ritual has its roots in an event that supposedly took place 4000 years ago. Prophet Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice something that is most dear to him. For Abraham, his son Ismael was most dearest since after several decades of yearning and prayers he was blessed with his son Ismael. So, he chose to sacrifice Ismael. Ismael, as an obedient son, consented to his father's wish and willingly chose to give up his life. God, supposedly pleased with this devotion, spared Ismael's life and happily accepted sacrifice of a lamb instead.

The spirit is that the believer must give up something that is dear to him/her for the needy (personifying God). The spirit also highlights the willingness and obedience of a son in fulfilling his father's wish. In today's material world it is very much applicable where a father may want to sacrifice something precious that his son may not want him to or vice-versa.

The ritual of sacrificing an animal has sadly 'sacrificed' the spirit itself. Today, one goes and buys an animal, kills it and distributes it amongst the needy, friends and family.

What would you really give up to uphold this spirit? In today's material world,  material possessions are most dearest. Instead of an animal, even if I give up fraction of my material possession for the needy, it would be upholding the spirit of this Eid ul Adha. 

Eid ul Adha Mubarak to you all.

Do share this with your friends to make this world a better place.

- Musten Jiruwala