Hijrah is the exemplary and difficult narrative of forsaking ones mother, father, child, love, land, possessions, property and even one’s life for the sake of Allah. Da’wah engendered hijrah, while the hijrah moulded da’wah. In short, the hijrah is a milestone for Muslims.
“We have entered the month of Muharram in which our Prophet realised the hijrah from Makkah to Medina and which the Prophet of mercy described as “Allah’s month.” During Omar b. Khattab’s caliphate the hijrah was acknowledged as the beginning of the calendar and so the first day of the month of Muharram was designated as the beginning of the calendar in the Islamic world from that date forward.
Hijrah: An expression of a connection with Allah and His blessed messenger, the prophet of mercy; the narrative of a journey towards friendship, brotherhood, civilisation, knowledge, culture and wisdom.
Hijrah is the path which opens to love and mercy in civilisations heart towards the city filled with divine light, Medina. It is to find a place in one’s life to reflect the wisdom-filled messages of our religion which recommends virtues and goodness by sharing at every opportunity and supporting one another. Hijrah is the peak of sacrifice, cooperation and brotherhood for the sake of Allah.
All believers respect the honourable struggle and noble stance of Husayn and his friends who were mercilessly martyred at Karbala exemplified against the injustice they experienced. Those who deemed Husayn and his friends worthy of such injustice have been condemned to humanity’s collective conscience.
OUR SHARED SOURCE OF PAIN: KARBALA
The month of Muharram is also the date of great pain in the shared memory of Muslims in which the Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) grandson Husayn and more than 70 companions, most of whom were from the ahl-i bayt, were martyred at Karbala for the sake of political aspirations. This heartbreaking event has been the shared undying pain of all Muslims, including our people, regardless of what sect or group they belong to. All believers respect the honourable struggle and noble stance of Husayn and his friends who were mercilessly martyred at Karbala exemplified against the injustice they experienced. Those who deemed Husayn and his friends worthy of such injustice have been condemned to humanity’s collective conscience.
The events which transpired at Karbala are attributed importance to by almost all Islamic communities regardless of what part of the world they reside or which religious/cultural identity they uphold. Due to this importance of Karbala, Muharram and Ashura, there have been some reverberations in the religious/cultural lives of Islamic communities. These primarily occur in the Muslim geography, and consist of fasting that occurs in this month, making and handing out Ashura pudding and commemorating the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and his family surrounding him who were martyred. As a matter of fact the sadness felt at the martyring of Husayn is reflected in elegies and poetry and there are many pieces of work in this area. In one of these, Turkish Poet, Yunus Emre words his feelings:
The spring of martyrs, the chest and head of prophets, The tears of saints are Hasan and Husayn
Their writings are karbala, their martyred veterans; Mother Fatima’s sheep are Hasan and Husayn.
Dervish Yunus’s world is fleeting, where are those who came before us, the sultan of the world and afterlife are Hasan and Husayn.
Today one of the most important responsibilities that fall upon a Muslim is to find the wisdom in these sorts of upsetting events; take lessons out of them and stay clear of any behaviours and attitudes that damage our unity and togetherness.
Connected to the month of Muharram is the practice of the tradition of ashura. Twice a year our people deliver gifts to their neighbours, friends and family; one is qurban during eid al-adha and the other is ashura.
Sharing ashura is an expression of cooperation, togetherness and love, and is a symbol of abundance and blessings. This metaphorical meaning carries meaning for our people today more than ever. Our people who have maintained this tradition for centuries, with the consciousness of preserving the good things which have always been at the core of our culture, today continue the culture of “differences harmoniously adding to the shared taste” and unity, while boiling various tastes in the one pot, making their share of Ashura and tasting the symbol of living together in harmony and continuing to share love.
With these sentiments, I commemorate all our martyrs with the master of martyrs, Imam Husayn and the martyrs of Karbala at the forefront, I call to mind the great memory of what took place with Imam Zaynalabidin, send my respectful greetings upon the ahl-i bayt of the Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (saw), and wish for our people, who have been joined with the love of the Prophet and his family for centuries, to continue to live in peace, tranquillity, trust and mutual love and respect.
(This has been cited from Prof. Dr. Mehmet Gormez’s piece on Muharram and the Hijri New Year.)