The Spirituality of Ashura

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SHAFAQNA – Every year, Ashura is commemorated by hundreds of millions of lovers of the Holy Progeny of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon them, for the tremendous struggle that Imam Husayn (as), went through to revive the religion of God and protect its light from being forever extinguished, as God Almighty states: “They want to put out the light of God with their mouths, but God will certainly make His light shine forever – even though the disbelievers may dislike this.” [The Holy Quran, 61:8] At the same time, with every year and every commemoration, there is an individual responsibility to learn from the lessons set forth by Imam Husayn (as) on that day that we must all consider. Perhaps the most important lesson is the development of our spirituality through the guidelines that Imam Husayn (as) set forth through his actions.

As the narrations describe, the eve of Ashura was one of worship, prayer, and remembrance of God Almighty. It was such devotion that helped fortify the spiritual resolve that Imam Husayn (as) and his companions demonstrated on the day of Ashura. To possess the level of spirituality enabling one to stand in the face of imminent death, while having the serenity of absolute and unwavering contentment, is a profound lesson for the followers of the Holy Progeny (as). Perhaps one may argue that Imam Husayn (as) was able to achieve this due to his divine infallibility. The question, however, then remains with regard to his companions; how did they reach that level of spiritual resolve? The worship and sincere remembrance of God that took place on the eve of Ashura was laid upon an existing foundation of worship and remembrance that was built over years of practice. As companions and lovers of the Holy Progeny (as), they took notice of the endless worship of God throughout the nights by the Holy Prophet (pbuh); they took notice the remembrance of God through the silently moving lips of Imam Ali (as); and they took notice of the constant praise and thanks to God by Imam Hassan and Imam Husayn (as). Nothing less than applying these lessons would prepare a soul to face down those who would seek to destroy it with such contentment.

So, as we gather to commemorate Ashura with solemnity, let each one of us use the occasion as a lesson to diligently apply the remembrance of God Almighty and to better connect with our Creator. In this manner, with every passing year we may build the spiritual foundation to emulate the resolve of the companions of Imam Husayn (as), so that perhaps one day we can achieve the level of devotion and spirituality needed to stand and truly, sincerely resonate the words, “We wish we were there (defending Imam Husayn (as)) with you, so that we would achieve a glorious victory.”

Source – I.M.A.M.

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