IECRC Observes Ashura in Bay Area

The Islamic Educational & Cultural Research Center observed the momentous occasion of Ashura in three different locations in Northern California on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Muharram in the cities of San Jose, Hayward, and Fremont, respectively. The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the twelve-month Islamic lunar calendar.
In the Islamic tradition, the number of months is twelve, four of them being sacred [Al-Quran, 9:36]. Muharram is one of the four months, and Ashura being the 10th of Muharram holds tremendous significance. Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him), the 11th century CE scholar and Sufi saint of Iraq, and fountainhead of the Qadri Spiritual Order, relates a saying of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in his magnum opus “Al-Ghunya”, that this is the day on which Allah Almighty created the heavens and the earth; it is the day on which great prophets such as Adam, Abraham, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) were born, and it is also the day on which some of them were delivered from their enemies, such as Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) from the Pharaoh.
However, the most significant event that took place on the day of Ashura in the eyes of Muslims is the martyrdom of the very dear and beloved grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) at the hands of the tyrant Yazid, the then governor of Syria. The San Jose Ashura gathering featured Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Qadri, founder of IECRC, who delivered a very educative and moving speech via telephone recounting the reasons that led to this sad, and yet pre-destined occurrence that epitomizes sacrifice in the struggle for upholding the truth.
Dr. Qadri explained that the episode at Karbala (in Iraq) was that of love, betrayal, and steadfastness on the path of truth. Yazid, the son of Amir Mu’awiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) had taken up the leadership of Kufa (in Iraq) and was demanding allegiance from Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him), the blessed grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Yazid was a blatant and blasphemous transgressor of the Shari’ah (Islamic Law). He had tied horses to the blessed Mosque of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), and they had soiled its sanctified precincts. The people of Kufa were terribly dissatisfied with Yazid and begged and pleaded with Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him), who was resident in Mecca, to come and relieve them from Yazid’s tyranny and wrongdoings.
They sent bagful of letters making their case asking Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) to come to Kufa and take over from Yazid, promising their allegiance to the Imam. After assessing the situation and its direness, Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him)eventually decided to leave Mecca with his family to heed the desperate call of the people of Kufa. However, upon the Imam’s arrival, the Kufis turned back on their word falling prey to pressure from Yazid. Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) tried to reason with the Kufis, reminding them of their letters inviting him, asking of them what he had done to them that had made them thirsty of his blood, reminding them that he was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and son of Hazrat Ali (may Allah ennoble his countenance). However, all this fell on deaf ears and Yazid’s army of 22,000 began to lay siege to the 72 members of Hazrat Imam Husayn’s group (may Allah be pleased with all the martyrs).
They were cut off from the river Farat at the banks of which the battle took place in the city of Karbala. The 72 unarmed and unprepared men, women and children were made the target of barrage of arrows. However, they put up a brave fight in which hundreds of Yazidis were also killed. The massacre climaxed in the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) at the hands of the enemy.

IECRC’s observance of this sad and historic event also took place in Hayward where poignant couplets reminiscing and informing the young generation of this significant turning point in Islamic history were recited. They were reminded not o take Islam for granted as it has reached us through the sacrifices of our great ancestors such as Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) who gave up his life but did not give in to the hands of a wrongdoer.
The same spirit was echoed at IECRC’s Fremont gathering at the Munoz Hall, where Maulana Ramzan of the Bayview mosque of San Francisco eloquently expressed in the words of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (may Allah have mercy on him), the 12th century CE Sufi Saint of India who wrote the following Persian lines in praise of Hazrat Imam Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him):
Shah ast Husayn baad Shah ast Husayn
Deen ast Husayn Deen panaa ast Husayn
Sar daad na daad dast dar dast-e-Yazid
Haqqa ke bina-e laa ilahaa ast Husayn


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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