The writer, Zishaan E Fatima Karim is a writer and a poet, passionate about making a difference and believes in beginning at the roots. She has a Montessori Diploma in Early Childhood Education and 4 decades’ experience in teaching as a Madrasah teacher. She also writes children’s stories and creates comic strips & video stories for little children. She facilitates Teaching Skills Practice programs under the MCE of WF and Leadership and Mentorship Development Programs under CBG of AFed. “Small changes by many people equals a Big Change,” is her motto. With that, she anticipates the reappearance of Al Hujjah (atfs) and wishes to be a part of his system of governance.
When the world celebrates the New year with laughter and play, we, the Twelver Shiites, don ourselves in black and welcome the New Year with voices of “Ya Husayn!” echoing in the air. Sorrow engulfs our hearts and is reflected in our dressing, our eating styles, our daily routine, and so forth. Husayn (as) is a unique individual and “Ya Husayn” is an ideology in itself.
Husayn (as) is a Divinely appointed Leader whose powerful movement continues to shake the world. Every step of Husayn (as) continues to teach us the best mode of behavior and reaction to oppressive and unjust rulers of every time, and Satanic forces that plan to eradicate Godly Values. Husayn (as) teaches us to stand against the oppressor, be it one’s own self, his surroundings, or the cultural chains that imprison him.
Who is Husayn (as)? ‘Surely Husayn is the lantern of guidance and the ark of salvation,’ says The Holy Prophet (saww). We have seen various types of lanterns over the years. There was that kerosene lamp my mum used to light when there was a power outage, and there is that lamp that works with electricity. The locals in villages have small kerosene lit fires through wicks, put in tins disposed of by city people, whereas the city people have flashlights on their mobile devices. All these have one purpose – to give light in the darkness to enable people to see. As I ponder over the various types of lanterns through human progress and technology. One thing has stayed common from day one to date. All lanterns, primitive or modern, need fuel (a source of energy) so as to give light. Lanterns possess the characteristic of producing light but for me to benefit from them, I need to keep the lantern charged or fueled. Al Husayn (as) is a lantern. Have I fueled the lantern to benefit from his light? As I gaze at a lantern lying on my living room shelf, I ask myself why is it lying on the shelf while it has the capacity to illuminate. My day is lit enough with natural sunshine, so I do not need the light from the lantern; hence it is lying in one corner of the room till the need arises. Likewise, Husayn (as) is a lantern of guidance but my surroundings are dazzling so much with material glamour that I have not felt the need for The Lantern to light up my path. This reality pierces my heart like an arrow! I console myself with the thought that after every congregation I raise my hand and say, “Labbayk ya Husayn!” What more do I need? Husayn (as) was asked to pledge allegiance to the ruler of his time, Yazid bin Muawiya. Instead of a flat no, Imam (as) made his stand crystal clear for times to come! In one phrase, he set a lofty standard for Husaynis for eternity, and made the path of a Husayni as distinguished as night is from the day!He said, “The likes of me shall not give his oath of allegiance to the likes of Yazid.” This makes the character of Husayn (as) a yardstick for every Shiite to measure against.“Surely for the killing of Al Husayn, there is a blazing fire in the hearts of believers, a fire that shall never get kindled off” The Holy Prophet (saww)What is fire and why does the Holy Prophet (saw) refer to fire? Fire is heat, and heat is energy… Energy makes a movement. That means the Killing of Al Husayn (as) is supposed to stir a believer and push him to move towards a particular goal.
Having the heat within the heart and being motionless and stagnant is as useless as would be a vehicle that has been refilled with fuel but has been parked in the garage. Celebrities can be admired but not necessarily emulated. Husayn sets a standard of etiquette to tread upon. A few questions for me to answer…Is Husayn a celebrity? Is he a SEASONAL celebrity? Who am I like? Who are my deeds in line with? One of the titles of Imam Husayn (as) is Abal Ahraar- Father of the free. ASSALAMU ALAYKA YA ABAL AHRAAR Peace be upon you, o Father of the FREE ones. I am entangled in several chains. Husayn (as) offers freedom. The question is, Do I want to free myself? Do I want to take a step further than mere admiration? Do I want to BE a Husayni? The aura of Husayn (as) can be sensed in the air that we breathe in. It is greatness is felt around the globe, where all sects, and all races commemorate his victory over Yazid, despite him having physically been killed on the battlefield! Indeed Husayn (as) is a CELEBRITY. Why then have I made him seasonal? Is the commemoration of al Husayn (as) time bound?
In his last will to his brother, Husayn (as) wrote: I have not come out to cause discord or corruption, or in self-conceit or oppression. Indeed, I have come out wishing for REFORM in the community of my grandfather. I wish to enjoin good and forbid evil, put into practice the morale of my grandfather and the morale of my father.
This New Year, I am making a New Resolution. With every call of “LABBAYK” I promise to REFORM, and that REFORM shall be a continuous process, not Seasonal. REFORM is not a SEASONAL process; Husayn is NOT seasonal. He belongs to all times, to all ages.