Muharram as I have come to understand it.

Adnan Morbiwala
3 min readJul 28, 2023

More about Humanity and less about Islam.

Image Source : Google Images

I walk into the mosque on the 10th of Muharram, and I can only hear “Ya Hussain!” followed by 2000 hands beating their chests (Matam) in sync in remembrance of an incident that took place in the dessert plains of Karbala over 1400 years ago.

I find my place within the crowd, the collective energy entrances me and my hand comes down hard on my chest, followed closely by the other, and I scream “Ya Hussain!”.

It is like a dance that takes me on a journey, that makes me feel the pain that Imam Hussain (Peace be upon him) and his 72 companions along with his family went through in those days.

Metal buttons on our attire pierce through our flesh.

Blood Clots underneath.

Our Palms start hurting.

Not out of choice, just that we are entranced enough to not realize.

It is that energy that lifts us out from the confines of daily conformity and makes us realize that our belief system is built over the sacrifice our prophets grandson made (Peace be upon him) 1400 years ago.

I have relived this every year since I was born 37 years ago.

I used to not pay much attention to all this until I came of age. When I did, I started doing my own research.

Here is what the story of the battle of Karbala has taught me and how it has shaped my belief system.

Standing up for what you feel is right.

We live in an age where an Arab in a cave considers it Jihad to blow up innocent people. While for a commoner like me I might not be able to get my hands on the Arab, we can still stand up for what we feel is right if we can help it, however we can help it.

Faith

Faith and belief in what we think is right is irreplaceable. Imam Hussain (Peace be upon him) had that faith, he had faith that with his martyrdom, he would save humanity and he did. It was that incident that lead to the fitnas, it was that incident that led people to understand Yazid’s true colors.

Responsibility

As a human being, I have a responsibility to others, to never harm others, to respect other faiths, to help others and most importantly, to be a good person.

Being a good person is a responsibility that applies not only to me but to all human beings.

The Power Of Prayer

During the battle, Imam Hussain (Peace be upon him) and his followers did not miss Namaz even once. They always answered the call of Allah. This even after not having food or water for more than 3 days.

I realize how stupid I have been when I consider my busy schedule, work, Laziness, being out as excuses to get away with not praying.

You can say I am still stupid, but when I do pray, a sudden peace envelops me and I find myself in a state of gratitude. It is a little hard to explain, but prayer has a power that can make a bad day good and a good day better.

The power of collective prayer on the other hand is unexplainable. Imagine offering prayer along with 2000 people who have absolute faith in the fact that their prayers will be answered.

My realization is that Muharram was never about religion, Muharram is about how, the grandson of our prophet (peace be upon him) stood up against a tyrant who wanted to create a global caliphate without being fit to even understand what it meant. (Sound familiar with respect to today?)

I am hardly an ideal Muslim. One could say I have lived a very liberal life and have always considered my relationship with Allah as being a very individual concept, but, every year when the time comes I can’t help but say…

“Labbaik Ya Hussain”

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