SHAFAQNA – Let us pretend for a few minutes that Islam’s many communities stand united in their faith and principles. Let us also pretend that we learnt from our long line of prophets and Imams that Compassion and Tolerance remain central to the expression of our piety … Let us pretend that we are in fact the Ummah of the last Prophet of God.
As the month of Muharram is upon us I will ask you to concentrate NOT on what divides us, to instead see what makes as a community. Regardless of our origins and station we are the Prophet Muhammad’s community … and If not out of love for your fellow man, then maybe you ought to recognise God in all His Creation.
Whether or not we care to admit it we are nothing before His Grace.
I realise that the month of Muharram will be used by many to incense sectarian sentiments and call for righteousness to be restored. I’m asking you: whose righteousness? Whose truth are you trying to defend and to whose benefits?
History should not be the subject of debates … History should serve as a cautionary tale.
Islamic History should be used as a tool of knowledge imbued by wisdom, not a mean for political advancement.
Regardless of your affiliations, regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your disdain for other faiths, will you deny this month the martyrdom of your Imam? Will you deny the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad? Will you deny the one whom the last prophet of God covered under his garment and whom God purified so that he would be risen a sign onto the people?
Will you remember those brave souls who fought so that you would learn of honour and courage? Will you deny after you testified Islam’s oath? Will you not see that in your refusal to remember it is betrayal you are calling upon yourself?
It is not a heresy but to say that Imam Hussain was his grandfather’s pride. It is not apostasy to say that Imam Hussain was AhlulBayt … it is not lunacy but to say his name and mourn his passing for we know his passing came by the hands of the despicable and the cowardly.
So this Muharram look not to find division but remember how the world shook when Unity met Evil. Remember how in the plain of Karbala 72 stood behind their Imam and never one relented.
Remember that real victory is attain in the service of God, and never ambition.
By Catherine Shakdam, Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies