Commemorating Moharram 1442 amid Covid-19
By: JAVAID JAFRI
“Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain.” Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
More than 1400 years have gone by, the supreme sacrifice offered for the sake of humanity at the plains of Karbala by Imam Hussain (as), the grandson of our prophet Muhammad (saw) still seems to have taken place recently. His martyrdom anniversary along with the other accounts of agony and miseries that befell on him are remembered and commemorated throughout the year especially in Mohhram-ul-harram. Surely this will continue till the day of resurrection with God’s grace.
Amidst ongoing pandemic, the lover’s of Imam (as) have got the best chance to spread the message of Karbala through social media, print media and television while avoiding huge gatherings and large processions at a particular place like it used to be earlier on.
Keeping in view the present circumstances, it would not be possible to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) and his progeny as we used to commemorate in past all around globe due to outbreak of deadly disease Covid-19 will be avoided. This doesn’t mean that we should forget the spirit of Karbala. If we can’t hold a majlis or processions at Hussainiyah, let our homes be Hussainiyah. It will be a good reason to change the ambience of our homes.
Given the pandemic, gatherings at Shrine of Imam Hussain (as), which hosts largest gathering of Mourners on Arabeen walk in Karbala (Iraq) every year, too have been restricted. Normally people come across the globe to participate in the 90 kms walk from Najaf city to Karbala every year as Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) said: When Allah intends good for a person, he places the love of Hussian (as) and the love of his Ziyarat in his heart. And when Allah intends evil for a person he places hatred of Hussian (as) and the hatred of his Ziyarat in his heart.
Unfortunately Moharram 1442 would not be same as it were used to be because of worst conditions around the globe due to coronovirus as it has already left the people jobless, and economy has got badly affected and obviously people are suffering very much by different means. One of the best ways to spread the message of Imam (as) is by helping poor and destitute around as this year 2020 has been very cruel, particularly, to the marginalized people. The amount we used to spend on heavy feasts for mourners can be used to help poor and needy people.
“If anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity.” (Quran 5:32)
Many of the great revered Islamic scholars of present era have put their opinion and presented roadmap to hold the mourning ceremonies during coming Moharram. The supreme religious leader Hazrat Allamah grand Ayatullah Imam Syed Ali Khamenei says, “The standard is what health experts say and my advice for everyone is to follow the rules set by them for mourning ceremonies, because the issue is very important.”
This year Hajj also was not the same obviously Moharram will not be same at all. At local level even in small gatherings people should strictly follow the advisory of experts. There should be proper arrangements like sanitizers, sprays, face masks and more importantly physical distancing. Children, old aged citizens and pregnant women should be more cautious when in gatherings. We can also minimise the chances of contraction by distributing packed water and use disposable as much as we can.
No doubt as we have a deep affection with Azadari so we can’t stay indoors once we hear the voice of processions or see any gathering commemorating Karbala, we must be very strict in following all advisories and masks must be made mandatory for all mourners. Our single mistake can be a disaster, so it would be better to avoid large gatherings and processions.
As we know that Moharram is the first month of Islamic calendar. It is second holiest month after Ramadhan. The tenth day of Moharram is known as Ashoora as it marks the martydom day of Imam Hussain (a.s).
After the death of Muaviyah, his son Yazid declared himself khalifa. He was a corrupt dictator and fearing dissent he asked allegiance of Imam Hussain (as) to which Imam (as) replied in an unforgettable statement which became a part of Muslim faith “A Person like me (Imam) can never pay allegiance to a person like you (Yazeed) “. Imam Hussain (a.s) didn’t accept him at all and neither did surrender but stood like a fort to protect Islam.Yazid’s army martyred them along with other companions in which 06 months Ali Asgar the son of Hussian was brutally martyred but that too didn’t made Imam (as) to bow down before the corrupt and cruel Yazid. It was a battle between justice and injustice, wise and fool, knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood.
As I conclude, Karbala is to be remembered by the whole humanity and will be commemorated all around the world till resurrection. Dr Allama Iqbal has said so eloquently that once humanity awakens, every tribe will claim Hussain is mine.(Insaan ko bedaar hone to do; har qoam pukare gi hamarey hain Hussain).
Karbala is of symbol humanity, patience and success for helpless and oppressed people all around the world.
Karbala has taught us some important lessons:
- A respectful death is better than a disgraceful life.
- Your wisdom is not complete until you advocate for someone’s right.
- Always follow the path of righteous no matter how difficult it is.
- The best ruler is one who eliminates cruelty and stands for justice.
- How to answer every tyranny and atrocity of world.
May Allah save us from this deadly virus and give us the ability to understand the essence of supreme sacrifice and Ashora (Aameen).