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IECRC Commemorates the Martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him)

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Issue 10

February 2006 / Muharram 1427

Wa qul jaa al Haqqu

wa zahaqal baatil

Inna baatila kaana zahooqa

And proclaim,

“The Truth has arrived

and falsehood has vanished; indeed falsehood had to vanish.”

[The Holy Quran 17:81]

The timeless struggle between truth and falsehood, good and evil, is epitomized in no other chronicle of Islamic history than on the banks of the river Euphrates in the plains of Karbala, Iraq. What the soil of Iraq witnessed in 61 Hijra / 680 CE was a testimony and lesson for all time to come that sacrifices are inevitable on the Path of Truth and that those who are closest to their Lord and therefore most committed to the Path are to endure the severest of hardships.

To further this salient message, the Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Center of Northern California observed the momentous day of Ashura at its weekly Dhikr location in Fremont, California on Sunday, February 12, 2006. Derived from the Arabic word for ten, Ashura is commemorated on the 10th day of the Sacred month of Muharram, the first in the Islamic lunar calendar. This historic day carries in it the heartrending reminder of the martyrdom in Karbala of Hazrat Imam Husayn ibn Ali (may  Allah be well pleased with them both), the most beloved grandson of the Beloved of Allah   Almighty, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Countless Peace & Prayers Of Allah Almighty Be Upon Him.)

The Crown of Saints, Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (1077/8-1166 CE, may Allah Almighty be well pleased with him) narrates authentic Prophetic traditions in his magnum opus, “Al-Ghunya li-Taalibi Tareeq al-Haqq “ rendered into English as “Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth”, that Ashura is the day in which Allah Almighty created the heavens and the earth, the Tablet and the Pen; it is also the day in which Hazrat Musa (peace be upon him) and his community were delivered from the unjust reins of the Pharaoh; it is also the day in which this world will come to an end; and above all it is the day that Allah Almighty chose to honor Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be well pleased with him) with his pre-ordained martyrdom to grant him the elevated rank of the martyrdom of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (may Allah be well pleased with them).  It is worth reflecting that despite the fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had been made aware of this fatal fate of Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be well pleased with him) by Angel Jibraeel (peace be upon him) as is taught to us through authentic Prophetic narrations; and despite the fact that any supplications by the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) to change this fate would have been accepted by Allah Almighty, no such prayer was made. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) chose and agreed to give up the life of His beloved grandson for the sake of His Ummah (community) so that we may learn the essential lessons of sacrifice.  Peace Be Upon Him and His Noble Family! [For the benefit of our readers it must be pointed out here that committing suicide or taking the lives of civilians is completely antithetical to Islamic teachings.]

The great 11th century CE Sufi scholar, Hazrat Abul Hasan Syed Ali bin Uthman Hujweri famous as Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh (may Allah be well pleased with him) writes in his encyclopedic treatise on Tasawwuf (Sufism), the “Kashf-ul-Mahjoob” rendered into English as “Unveiling the Veiled”:

“[Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be well pleased with him)] is one of the great Awliya Allah devoted exclusively to Allah and famous for renunciation, patience and forbearance in the hours of extreme affliction, such as that experienced in the massacre at Karbala.”

Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh (may Allah be well pleased with him) further quotes Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be well pleased with him) in the Kashf-ul-Mahjoob:

“We are the people called Ahl-e-bala (sufferers).

We love bala (calamities) and feel pleased with it.

We live for others and not for ourselves.”

This is the foundational spiritual teaching of Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah Almighty be well pleased with him) and the essential message of unconditional service to others that the Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Center (IECRC) attempts to convey and promote to the community through its various conferences, events and especially the Urs (memorial) days observed for the Awliya Kiram (Noble Friends of Allah Almighty or Sufi Saints, may Allah have mercy on them all).  This is the message of all the Sufi Saints of the Islamic tradition.  IECRC’s commemoration of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah Almighty be well pleased with him) in February 2006 in Fremont, California was no exception.  Poignant couplets were recited by various community members including young children, reminding the audience of the great sacrifice that this luminary of the Islamic tradition gave in order to uphold the principles of Islam.  He gave his head but did not pledge allegiance to the tyranny of the then ruler of the Muslims.

Seventy thousand angels alighted in the grave of Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allah Almighty be pleased with them both) on the day when he was mortally wounded, and they will continue to weep over him until the day of Resurrection.

[Al-Ghunya li-Talibi]

The highlight of IECRC’s commemorative evening was a most informative talk by Hafiz Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abdullah Qadri who delivered his important speech via telephone in which he emphasized the importance of remembering that those who are martyred in the Path of Allah Almighty are not to be considered dead as is taught by the Holy Quran. He also highlighted that Muslims should hold on tightly to the obligatory prayers and principles of Islam for the upholding of which Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah Almighty be well pleased with him) gave up his life.

Also quoted at this spiritual gathering were the profound words of Hazrat Allama Iqbal (may Allah have mercy on him), the great 19th century Urdu poet-philosopher of Pakistan:

Qatl-e-Husayn  asal mein
marg-e Yazid hai

Islam zinda hota hai har Karbala ke baad

The slaughter of Husayn  [Truth] is in reality the death of Yazid [Falsehood]

Islam is revived after every Karbala

The above couplet is an intense reminder of the ongoing struggle between good and evil, truth and falsehood that not just played itself out on the plains of Karbala, but is the constant activity of the human soul. Every moment we are faced with an inner battle between the lower (falsehood) and higher (truth) self and whenever the higher self wins it revives a state of peace, a state of Islam.

Written by iecrc

March 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

Social Responsibilities Carved Out for Muslims

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Volume 1, Issue 1 (Part 2)
May 31, 2003 / Rabi’ul Awwal 29, 1424

Today, when we consider social responsibilities, we naturally turn to western thought because many of the underdeveloped nations are so dependent on the generosity of the larger and richer nations. Gradually, and unconsciously, we instill in our youth that generosity and charity belong not to us, but to other people. As we grow older, the need to identify with our community becomes intense and we begin to bond with one another. Thus, often, we learn later in life that charity is one of the major tenets in Islam. The cycle begins and we perform acts of charity during the Holy months, but that is not the true meaning of charity, not at least the way our leader (peace be upon him) taught us. In fact, our Holy Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the epitome of charity because it was a continuous act carried out with a tender heart and good feeling toward the receiver, and not a consideration only at certain times of the year. Thus, he conducted himself in ways that demonstrates the importance and valuable lesson that we have ignored because charity is the most important aspect in Islamic social life. Without charity, there can be no egalitarian society; therefore, performing acts of kindness to our fellow human beings regardless of their faith is akin to the kind of charitable works that we have been taught as Muslims.

In fact, people from all cultures and religious backgrounds come to the center, receive help, and go off with a cheery smile only to visit again the following week. Today, financial gain in every possible discipline is sought and that is one of the reasons why so many people who are in dire need cannot receive the help. On the other hand, this center is not narrowed in its vision of the kind of help people can receive, but no problem is too small or too large to receive help. Yusuf Talal De Lorenzo in his translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s text entitled, Remembrance and Prayer “The Way of Prophet Muhammad” explains how the prophets and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived their lives on complete dependence on Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Furthermore, helping those in need (charity) creates a closer relationship to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala and that should always be our final aim. Lorenzo translates this idea as: “It is tempting to say that the heart of Muhammad, upon him be peace, and only his heart, was the one to listen to the crier’s warning to tear away the barriers of neglect and race to the Sacred, Supreme One” (25). What other lessons do we need other than the two words “neglect and race” to understand that it is our obligation as Muslims to nurture our fellow human beings? We should find comfort in learning that human nature itself makes that comparison, but not in such clear terms as has been passed down to us by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For example, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) the son of a damask weaver, physically hungered in the dreadful forties for sustenance. He struggled financially and his parents had no means other than to have him work in a cotton factory at the age of thirteen. Later, by his own energy and hard-work ethics, he became industrious and achieved great wealth. However, he did not keep his wealth, but gave back to his community (a lesson that was taught to us by our great leader, peace be upon him). In 1900, he published The Gospel of Wealth, where he states his famous axiom, “the man who dies rich dies disgraced.” Carnegie’s philosophy on philanthropy should not be confined to monetary gain. In fact, those who are rich in God-given qualities have just as much responsibility to their fellow human beings. Thus, we can go further and state that men and women who die rich spiritually and emotionally without sharing their God-given talents with others do a great injustice to their fellow human beings. That is the philosophy of our Muslim teachings and as such the IECRC commits to the most profound teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when it counsels people of all races. It is because we are not performing acts of noble deeds, but allowing an illuminated life to appear before us.

Furthermore, during the counseling sessions, women play a major role. Sisters Fahmiza Jasmine Ali, Rukshana Kahtoon, and Shagufta Chand express their hospitality and warmth as they take attendance and graciously seat the visitors. Simultaneously, two other great women provide snacks to those waiting for their turn for advice. Sister Shahida Abid serves tea and cookies to the people; while Sister Bushra Chaudhry brings her delicious gourmet lunch that she cooks with so much enthusiasm and delight. They make the waiting for all the needy a little easier and a little more cheerful.

Khalida Kareemi

Ms. Kareemi is a Bay Area resident and she enjoys writing.

Written by iecrc

March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm