A Simple Thought: Sunday, 25th September ’16

A simple thought from The Community on Friday: The Holy month of Muharram is just round the corner and whereas most of us pay lip service to the chant of Muharram being a month of reform, we all know that reform is a hip word many use to present themselves as progressive Muslims who share core understanding about beliefs and practices.

Someone once asked that if indeed reform is the agenda, then how come after organising so many majaalis, lectures and commemorative sessions, change doesn’t seem to be showing – the vices that existed before Muharram – the envy, the jealousy, the hypocrisy, the disregard, the pompousness, the greed, the backbiting, the slander, the character assassination, the peeping nature and eavesdropping habits, the name calling – continue to permeate our society to levels that make management a herculean task. After all, if you ask any leader, they will tell you how tough and testing it is to lead the community, where honesty is fast disappearing from our list of traits. Why then do we still contend that like Ramadhan and Hajj, Mujarram too reforms us. Indeed, it would therefore just be another hymn we sing in our own praise of how devoted we are.

Many practices exist today, and are in fact upheld in the name of keeping Imam Husain’s name alive, are practices that do not rhyme with the challenges we face with the wider society today. They in fact project us as a backward and idolising sort of people, who ritually wail over their leader that lived centuries ago, but the reverence of whose tragedy is so mesmerising, that the reasons for which he did it, remain shrouded in mystery to the adherents and definitely disconnected from them.

In capturing such a moment in Jewish history, the Holy Qur’an records as follows: “When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah has sent down.” They say: “Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided.”. Surah Al-Baqarah (2:170)

We saw our fathers grieve, so we too are grieving. Did Imam Husain stage such a monumental sacrifice so we can turn him into a deity, like we did with his remarkable father? Is their place in our lives solely to fulfil our worldly wishes and to intercede on our behalf in the hereafter? This is 2016, we need to broaden out thought and apply our faculties about why the event took place and how we can carry the message forward. When Imam (AS) prophesised about a community that would remember him, we must not feel content that he was speaking of us, instead we must be anxious that we are yet to actualise his teachings in our own life to the full. Most people don’t like discussing this topic and usually silence is preferred, silence that will buy us a lot of discomfort in the days to come.


This initiative is made possible by the kind courtesy of Abu Baseer Eye Clinic, Bande Khuda Sponsors, G1 Security, Highways Car Hire Ltd, Max Fries, Meadows Academy, SD Dental Clinic & Ceramic Lab, SokoniAdvertiser and Xpress Rent a Car, and for the ISAALE THAWAAB of Marhumeen of Bhimji and Nayani Family and Marhuma Sarubai Abdullah

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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