10 Moharram – Ashura

Posted on December 27, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Religion, Society
73 Comments
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Adil Najam

I write these lines as midnight strikes in Pakistan on the night between 9th and 10th Moharram. I write these lines as the news on television flashes news about blasts and bombs all around. How much more poignant could the message of Ashura be than it is today? Each year, it seems, the message of Ashura becomes more poignant and more important than the year before. But each year, it also seems, that the message becomes less understood. Each of us has to understand what that message means to us. All I can do today is to repeat my own understanding, in the very same words I had used the last two years.

To me, Ashura commemorates a struggle that is steeped in deep spiritual meaning, not only for Islamic history but for all humanity. It is a struggle between good and evil, between just and unjust, between weak and powerful, between immediate and the eternal, between principle and ambition. The power of Ashura is not only in the epic events that it commemorates, it is in the narrative of those events, in the symbolisms that we construct. Ultimately, it is in the meanings that we derive from those events.

Muharram is, of course, of special significance to Shias. But the events and meaning of Ashura is of significance and relevance to all Muslims, and I would suggest, to all humans everywhere.

Like so many others growing up in a Sunni household I grew up observing ehteram-i-Muharram and am always drawn in these days leading up to Ashura towards thinking about the meaning of religion and of faith. To me these have always been days of deep spiritual reflection; especially of intellectual enquiry into the meaning of justice (the concept of ‘adl’ holds a deep significance to me given the name I was given at birth and therefore I have always interpreted Ashura particularly as a time to reflect on what justice is).

Growing up, the night of Ashura was always defined for me by the Majlis i Shaam i Gharibaan (often by Allama Naseer ul Ijtihaadi) on PTV on the night of dasveen Muharram, which was followed immediately – and at right about midnight – by Syed Nasir Jahan’s soulful recitation of Salam-i-Akhir.

Bachay to aglay baras hum hain aur yeh gham phir hai

Today, as I listen to him again, so many more layers of meaning unfold. So many deep wounds open up. So many new thoughts come flooding in. And, yet, I have nothing new to say. Maybe you can share what the message of Ashura means to you in a world that continues to be unjust and unjustly violent?

73 responses to “10 Moharram – Ashura

  1. Adnan Siddiqi says:

    @S.A: The issue is that Pakistan’s left wing is not less fanatical then right wing. If right wing molvis and Talibans don’t hesitate every other person an Infidel just becuse the person does not believe in their lame point of view, similarly left wing pseudo enlightened and liberals does not hesitate to declare every other person a “Islamo Fascist” or “Talibans” because someone does not agree their shallow and extreme arguments. See how I was declared Kharjites ,non-Muslim or what not. A little guy even morphed himself into “Musalman” just to issue a fatwa against me that I am “Taliban”.

    AS I always say that the reasons Pakistani left wing never got any success against right wing in Pakistan because the left wing itself breed extremism. They do point out and cry over extremism by opponents but burry their heads in sands when someone points out extremism and fragility among their own people. Interesting thing that despite of being anti-Religion stance yet left wing tries to bring Quran here and there to prove their point of views. I don’t get what kind of hypocrisy it is. Unless and untill these “Taraqi Pasands” don’t state operation cleanup in their own communities, they can’t defeat elements like Talibans or Molvis whom they despise. The infamous interior Minister who openly wished to break up Pakistan is not a Mullah or Taliban. He is a member of secular Pakistani party. Here people don’t get tired of blaming molvis of partition time that they did not want Pakistan but see how leftist shy away to admit the fanatasm by their darling guy. Such hypocrisy will never help “Taraqi Pasand” to achieve anything. Yeah they can waste infinite bandwidth by making posts like these , not more thn that.

    @Sidhas: By the way Kharjis are not different than Rafidians. If Kharjis used to curse Ali(RA) and His family then on other hand Rafidians cursed Omar(RA),Ayesha(RA) and others. Both group re fanatic and both exist among us today one way or others. Islamic history talks and curse to both factions.

  2. mazbut says:

    Zahid-e-tang nazar ne mujhe kafir jana
    aur kafir ye samajhta he mussalman hoon mein!!

    Whither my comments??

  3. sidhas says:

    I agree with S.A.

    my apologies. please take off my comments.

  4. S.A. says:

    Dear ATP moderators, could I please request that you put an end to this discussion. Many comments here are crossing the line of trying to determine who is or is not a Muslim. That sort of thinking always gets us into trouble. Let God be the judge of that. This holier than thou attitude being shown by both sides is really quite disgusting and should be put an end to.

  5. sidhas says:

    Here is Hadees for all to take lesson and guidance from none other then Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra). Those pakistanis who have fallen into Najdi Islam. May allah bring you to right path (ameen).

    Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
    (The Prophet) said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen.” People said, “Our Najd as well.” The Prophet again said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.” They said again, “Our Najd as well.” On that the Prophet said, “There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan.”

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