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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Message of Imam Husain

Proclaim Good and Forbid Evil, always and at all cost! 

By Shakeel Syed

The Milli Gazette Online

"If you do not march forth, Allah will chastise you grievously and will replace you by another people, while you will in no way be able to harm Him. Allah has power over everything" (9:39).

No people can live successfully, fruitfully and triumphantly without strong memory of their past. The 10th of Moharram is one such occasion. Muslims attempt to recall the tragic event around the 60th year after Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated from Makkah to Madinah. This time it was his family led by his noble grandson Imam Hussain (bpuh).

Reciting Divine words, reflecting over the prophetic advises and studying history enables us crystallizing our insights. However, when we attempt to draw the imagery of Karbala, no heart could be so hard as not to be pierced with piteous feeling while replaying the Day of Ashura. Mere words can simply not do justice to the sacrifices made on that day. They kept their heads high, faces bathed in blood and tears, looking one upon another. Others stood in dolorous, looking up to the highest heavens, fixing their eyes upon it, crying out, asking help from the Only Helper; while others made lamentations in the manner of dirge. Today we try to recall their pain, sufferings and sacrifices, as they happened, to inspire ourselves and to understand the concept of sacrifice for a noble cause.

Regrettably, as sacrifice is generally understood today, is to give up something that should not have been touched in the first place. Selfless and unasked giving is a rarity and unheard of. Giving one's entire self and offsprings for His pleasure is unimaginable. Muslims must spiritually survive from the unparallel yesterdays of Prophet's progeny.

We have been largely overwhelmed by a culture that has emptied our memories, made us apologetic for who we are, and stripped us along the way of the sheerest hope of self-definition. We alone are presumed past less and are left to repair our self-esteem. The imperative for us today is to define ourselves by our ongoing tribulations and those who mete them out to us. Otherwise, we cannot be collectively successful if we have no idea or, worse, have the wrong idea of who we were and who we are. 

The intent of this writing is to stimulate, not to sate to pose the question and to invite reflection to cause ourselves to act for an almost forgotten legacy of the sacrifices made by our beloved Prophet (pbuh) and his progeny.

O Allah! Bestow upon us the courage to enjoin, proclaim and enforce good and patience and perseverance to forbid and stop evil for and by all.

Shakeel Syed lives in Los Angeles and is a freelance writer. 

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