The Shia Muslim Council of Southern California announces that Friday, September 22, 2017 will be the first day of Muharram 1439 A.H.
Karbala has the potential of inspiring mourners to towards goodness and ethical conduct – to lead a peaceful and a harmonious life. In his own words, Imam Husein (AS) declared his mission of reformation:
“Wa innama kharajtu li talabi-l islahi fi ummaati jaddi”.
“Indeed I am leaving Madinah to reform the ummah of my grandfather.”
The above words eloquently capture the mission of Imam Hussain (A.S. ) – The reform of the ummah through amr bil ma’ruf and nahyi anil munkar.
Reform in Islam has been regarded as a social responsibility, which includes all affairs. In other words, reform in Islam is an effort to remove deficiencies, weaknesses and corruption from within individuals and hence from society.
The modern world primarily regards reform in economic, cultural, social and political spheres. Such compartmentalized concept of reform cannot truly resolve the real problems of mankind – all they really do is secure the interests of specialty groups. Reform in the Islamic context means attention to the promotion of social justice for all. The domain of reform in Islam is much wider than other schools of thought, to the extent that it begins from an individual and ends in the society.
Imam Hussein’s uprising was aimed at campaign against the corruption of the Umayyad government and the social injustices of that time when moral principles which were set up by the holy Prophet of Islam were on the verge of destruction, the human values were forgotten and treachery and injustice became common.
Today there are many parallels and as we commemorate yet another Muharram. We must not shirk our responsibilities to campaign against injustice, oppression, poverty, corruption and social disorders. The most current one is the display cruelties of the extremist groups in Myanmar against powerless Rohingya Muslims. This is yet another crime against humanity of our turbulent and tyrannical era. The UN Refugee Agency’s reports over 120,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee their homes with their villages devastated and pillaged. To date, hundreds of thousands of thousands of men, women and even children have been executed and their women raped and children maimed. Humanitarian aid has been made almost impossible because of blockade of essentials such as food and water and even medical supplies. These citizens of Myanmar, who have lived in Southern part of Myanmar for centuries, have been stripped of their citizenship by the military junta. They have been racially profiled and persecuted by their compatriots, who supposedly follow the Buddhist religion. IT is believing that such violence can ever be acceptable to Buddhism or any other faith
As they rise for their rights we must not side with tyrants and despots. The constant lesson we draw from the events of Karbala is to refuse to tolerate the despots of this world and never reconciling with an unjust authority, whether a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
This is why today, Karbala Commemorations must send a loud message to the world at large – in the name of Imam Hussein (as) and seventy two of his dear ones who sacrificed their lives under the scorching sun of that parched land of Karbala – that those who mourn Husein stand for the truth and social justice for all of humanity.
The need of the time is that we seize that opportunity to deliver the message of the teachings of Ahlul bait (A.S). Once again, the Month of Muharram has blessed us with the structure of a Husseini Open University, – to equip one with learning to live with and practice social justice for the benefit of humanity.
Through amr bil maaruf and nahi anil munkar, we can raise the human conscience and its quest to social justice. Every one of our actions action during these two months should be towards a rededication to the message of Imam Husein’s (AS) message of reformation. We cannot remain indifferent towards personal and social disorders and injustices around us if we are to pay real homage to Imam Husein.
Mere indulgence in ritualistic practices, however fervently executed, during the Muharram commemorative assemblies is to shortchange ourselves, if we lock them away for another year and continue during the interim ignoring the call of our conscience to heed to the message of Karbala
Karbala remembrances must propagate Islam by extolling it proudly and as a direct antithesis to the extremist ideology of the likes of ISIS amongst others, and show what a truly civilizing force Islam has been for the history of the world. Only Then we will have truly answered his call of Hal Min Nasirin Yansurna.
For info on local Muharram Programs for this year please visit:
Jazakum Allahu Khayran,
Shia Muslim Council of Southern California