Muharram: Remembering the martyrs of Karbala

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The commemoration of Muharram, during where many people gathered at the Minhaj ul Quran centre in Rutherglen to remember the tragedy of Karbala—providing a means of inspiration whose influence spans fourteen centuries and resonates to this day.

Dr Habib (Holding book on left) Speaking on Muharram

The commemoration reached its zenith on Friday after maghrib prayer on the 10th of Muharram, known as the day of Ashura. Muharram is now mainly synonymous with the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), who was slain with the rest of his family and companions in the plains of Karbala in present day Iraq.

Each year, the event in Rutherglen is one of the largest peaceful gatherings, where it unites people from every corner of the city and around it to learn from the humble school of Hussain and recall the tragedy of Karbala. Hussain’s school is not a structure with doors and windows, it is an open-air institution where wisdom is measured in tears, and lessons take the form of heart-wrenching Quran recitation, nasheeds towards holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and lectures from various scholars of Islam.

As you enter the Rutherglen mosque, you would have seen that the event started with recitation from the Holy Quran by Mr Muhammad Ilyas Riaz (Quran Reciter) from Glasgow, followed by nasheeds from his son, Mr Tahir Ilyas. Meanwhile, remembrance of Imam Hussein throughout the evening reached its peak when Dr Muhammad Rafiq Habib (Islamic Scholar) delivered the main English speech, whilst Sheikh Shahid Babar (Islamic Scholar) discussed the significance of Muharram in Urdu.

Dr Habib in honour of Imam Hussein said that: “Imam Hussain is seen as the embodiment of courage, patience and determination in the face of overwhelming odds in the shape of an evil and corrupt ruler, even though the Imam's whole family was put to the sword before his own eyes.”

Sheikh Baber then emphasised that the grief of Imam Hussein is so vivid across the world; it renders bystanders speechless, and signifies an outpouring of love and pain ungraspable through human language. They grieve today because Hussain’s own family was denied the ability to mourn his loss, and were instead treated with unthinkable cruelty and marched in chains from the streets of Karbala to Damascus.

In completing the journey to Hussain’s school, the audience of the Rutherglen mosque received a magical mixture of spiritual fulfilment through the example of Imam Hussein. There were also some tears, and the understanding that in order to make a treasure of one’s inner self, one must understand what it is to love the ones whom God loves. To be so firmly devoted to the principles for which Imam Hussain gave his life that one will spend each moment of his or her own life championing those most cherished ideals: justice, truth, humility, integrity, righteousness, and freedom.

By Shahid Khan (Media Secretary, Glasgow)