The writer, Al-Hajj Khalil Champsi (Toronto, Canada) is a professional engineer, PMP certified, and a community volunteer
This article forms part of the series ‘ A Call to Return’ – an initiative to inform and define the message behind the events of Kerbala, its relevance, and connection to life today, for both Shi’a Muslims and the rest of the global population. It is an effort by the writers to cast an apt perspective to a very commonly misunderstood message
In Kerbala ,Imam Hussein (as) was denied water by the army of Yazid, son of Muawiyah which is contrary to Islamic teachings and Human values. This is the same method used by Muawiyah when he first denied water to the Army of Imam Ali (as) after arriving earlier and occupying Ghat. Eventually Imam Hussein (as) and his companions were made to suffer hunger and thirst and then brutality killed.
Water being the source of life became a central theme of the Children of the family of Imam Hussein (as) on the day of Ashura (10th) Day of Muharram )in Kerbala .The Children with leadership of Sakina ,daughter of Imam Hussein (as) all gathered to around Uncle Abbas with the empty water containers ( Mashk) looking at him as their last hope to get water. Abbas then went to his master to seek his permission to fetch water for the children.
After being granted permission from Imam Hussein (as), Abbas fought his way until he reached the river Furaat. He filled the mashk with water. He himself was very thirsty. He took the water in his palms, looked at it and threw it away saying, “O water of Furaat, my lips can welcome you only after Bibi Sakina has quenched her thirst!?” He placed the mashk on his ‘alam (flag) and started to ride back. He was martyred on his way back but could not deliver water to the thirsty children in the camp.
One can look at this tragedy and utilize water as source of life by learning, reflecting, applying and propagating the teachings of Imam Hussein (as) and his companions and universally serving his cause for the benefit of humanity:
- Help in delivering water to everyone in the planet Earth. This can be done by funding and organizing water wells and distribution systems for all who are less fortunate
- Highlighting the cause of oppressed people of the different areas especially on water distribution. An example of unequal water distribution between Israel and Palestinian is an example which need to be discussed. As per article by Israeli Information of Human Rights it says , ‘’In 1967, Israel seized control of all water resources in the newly occupied territories. To this day, it retains exclusive control over all the water resources that lie between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, with the exception of a short section of the coastal aquifer that runs under the Gaza Strip. Israel uses the water as it sees fit, ignoring the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip to such an extent that both areas suffer from a severe water shortage. In each of them, residents are not supplied enough water; in Gaza, even the water that is supplied is substandard and unfit for drinking’’.
- Looking at means of water conservation and reduce waste : efficient water delivery, sensor faucets to control flow, eco-toilet tanks, storm water retention tanks this way Rain water can be stored for better use for irrigation and Water management.
- Minimum use and avoidance waste of water in all type of applications including Wudhoo. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) says ,’The messenger of Allah (saw) would do Wudhu with ( the amount of single ) mudd’.In other words ,the Ahadith is saying ,The messenger of Allah (saw) would do Wudhu with 680ml of Water.
- Serving one’s family, friends, communities and even strangers with water and food in the name of Imam Hussein (as) carries perpetual blessings. During the period of Arbaeen ,one can witness selfless giving of water, food ,amenities by various people and organizations during the walk from Najaf to Kerbala.All this is done in the name of Imam Hussein (as) .
The natives Iraqis opening their homes to the strangers within their meagre living standards of what they have and saved over the year for this purpose only. This template can be an economic engine of change can thus be used to alleviate poverty around the world
Labbaik Ya Hussein