Mohamed Khaku (Allentown, USA)

Of the nights in a year, there are six nights mark as a grandeur and majesty nights. These are Shab-e-Qadr (Night of power), Shab-e-Meraj (Night of Ascension), Shab-e-Barrat (Night of deliverance), The night of Arafat (Great gathering) and the nights of two Eid (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-Ul-Adha). However, the night of Arafat has great political as well as religious significant. But what is Arafat?

Arafat is a mountain or a granite hill, east of Mecca. It is also known as the Mount of Mercy (Jabal ar-Rahmah). The level area surrounding the hill is called the plains of Arafah. Arafat literally means Knowledge and Science. Arafat is the place where according to the Islamic narrations, the repentance of Adam was accepted by the God after his fall from heaven, Adam and Eve were united at the mount of Arafat, prayed together, asking for forgiveness and got married by archangel Gabriel. Arafat is a site for prayer, supplication and repentance but also acquiring proper recognition of God. Arafat which is marifat mean recognition This is a day for those present on the plains of Arafah, who stand/sit in two piece of clothes, in scorching heat and ponder over just two facts, to whom they belong and where they are going.

About two and half million Muslims will converge on the plains of Arafah for Waqafa (waiting) all afternoon for sunset. It is a vivid representation in all of humanity gathering at the end of Time. It is the day of reckoning where all pilgrims are repenting, supplicating, with hands high. Arafat is the place, where Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon 14 centuries ago by proclaiming the equality of mankind, justice and freedom for all in an eloquent Human Rights manifesto. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over non-Arab. A white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white person, except by piety”. He also emphasized the women’s rights and demanded that husband treat their wives with kindness, respect and gentleness and that abusing the wife is immoral. The pilgrims ought to remember and recite the famous sermon on the mount Arafat is where he explicitly gave instructions to the Ummah in the following words: “I am leaving behind you two weighty things (the Saqalayn) the book of God – the Quran and my progeny, the Ahlul Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray.”

The plain of Arafat is the high point of the Hajj and Prophet Muhammad has said Arafat is the Hajj. While Imam Hussein inscribe an excellent supplication of Arafah, which is one of the famous in the Shiite Annals, and Imam Khoimeini paid great important. 30 days separate Arafah and Ashura. There exist many similarities and strong bondage between these two days as regard to the message. One clear link is that both of these days have a direct association with Imam Hussein –Doyen of Martyrs. The day of Arafah is all about journey in to the ocean of Gnosticism, which presents in the supplication and recommended to be recited on the day of Arafah.

If one takes a journey through this supplication with understanding and pondering will realize what divine lord and his lordship is all about and how dare one commit any sins. The most trembling state of this dua comes, when he utters the statements, whereby he say “O’ Allah, if you do full fill this one desire of mine, then all other needs which have fulfilled is of no benefit to me, and whatever you have not given me will not do any damage to me. And that one desire is that you relieve my neck from the fire of Hell”. This verse of this Dua, tell us that whether my worldly desires are fulfilled or not, it won’t make any difference if at the end I cannot free myself from the fire of hell.

My question is how can this disciple of Dua-e-Arafah be relaxed and comfortable, when he can witness such an injustice around the world. How can he a follower of Imam Hussein, an inheritor of Dua-e-Arafah forget the saying “Every day is Ashura and Every Land is Karbala”? Dua-e-Arafah is the gateway to Karbala for the Greatest Sacrifice – Zibe-Azeem.

One only has to look at the power of this Dua-e-Arafah, which was a prestigious inheritance by Imam Khoemeini. When even the greatest of the Scholars of his time. Stopped him and gave him wise advice to not to confront a powerful tyrannical regime of Shah back by US, it was the power of this Dua and supplication of Amal-e-Ashura came to his rescue. Imam stood like a mountain, which had no military force, but a mountain in the heart that knew the recognition of his Lord. Imam taught us the principle, which is even if you are alone just like Imam Hussein, do not fear, Silent No More Speak Up!  Against oppression and injustice. Karbala signifies that human being should never submit to tyranny, oppression and falsehood. Silence in the face of transgression is the same as the acceptance of injustice. If someone joins you, it is for his or her benefit and not yours. If they do not join you, they do not realize their own benefits. And if this supplications and the blood of Imam Hussein cannot wake them up from their deep slumber then what will? My heart cry when the day of Arafah comes. It was Khoimeini, which really made Hajj as real Hajj.

Arafat is awe-inspiring great gathering you see millions shedding tears to gain salvation, seek Allah’s forgiveness (istighfar) and repentance (Tawbah) and making a firm resolution to avoid making the same mistakes. However, Hajj pilgrims ought to ponder on why the Prophet’s grandson Imam Hussein cut short the Hajj pilgrimage to leave the plains of Arafat for the plains of Karbala in Iraq. The pilgrims should contemplate this wise action that saved the sacred land of Mecca from being sullied with wanton bloodshed that assassin who had come in the garb of pilgrims intended, and how Abraham’s great descendant foiled their plot in order to preserve the sanctity of the Hajj and the Holy Ka’ba. This leads me to talk about Ashura, which fall exactly thirty days after the Great Sacrifice of Prophet Abraham of his son Ishmael. A month after the 10th of Zilhaj is the Day of Ashura and the name of Imam Hussein and Karbala are associated with the virtue of sacrifice. Also referred as the greatest sacrifice.

Ashura – Imam Hussein – The Great Sacrifice Everyday is Ashura and every Land is Karbala.

One of the Hajj rituals centers on the prophet Abraham test to sacrifice his son, which is known as the Greatest Sacrifice –Zibhe Azeem. However, Ishmael was saved twice, once when he was an infant when the spring of Zam Zam miraculously gushed out and second time when archangel Gabriel by God’s command replaced him with a ram. According to the Quran a verse was revealed immediately to console Abraham say “O, Abraham! Of course thou hast faithfully fulfilled the dream, thou art of the truthful ones, but verily it is an open test, we have substituted it with a Greater sacrifice. We have transferred it to later generation” {Quran 37:105-108}. Hence, the honor was destined for Ishmael’s descendants, Imam Hussein, Ali Asgher and other martyrs of Karbala who were martyred in the state of thirst on the banks of the river Euphrates.  It was on the 10th Muharum known as Ashura, 61 A.H (680 A.D) that Imam Hussein became a martyr under the most tragic and dreadful conditions ever chronicled in the annals of the civilized world. A nefarious ruler, Yazid, son of Muawiyah, carried the atrocious acts.

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