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My Disappointment With Some Muharram Lectures

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09-October-2017

We do not utilize the tragedy of Karbala to help us connect to its lessons and thereby improve our own social lives. The tragedy is increasingly made more irrelevant to the sufferings of the community today. I always look forward to Muharram. It is a time where I can reflect on the sorrows of the […]

We do not utilize the tragedy of Karbala to help us connect to its lessons and thereby improve our own social lives. The tragedy is increasingly made more irrelevant to the sufferings of the community today.

I always look forward to Muharram. It is a time where I can reflect on the sorrows of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and gain a better appreciation as to who they were. Despite the immense suffering they went through, they never gave up on the truth and never compromised on their morals. On the time building up to Muharram during this year, I had a lot of time to reflect on the state of our community and I have written quite extensively on the subject.

What I’ve observed is a community that is full of depressed men and women, community members who have addiction problems, crisis with their children, or breakdowns of their marriages. The story of Karbala is an embodiment of the highest human virtues. It was about meaning, purpose, family, morality and friendship. Every major human social issue could have its ideal standard found in this tragic event.

Yet what I see in the majālis are discussions and lectures that ignore the human tragedy of today. It does not take the effort to connect the story of Karbala to the breakdown of our society, the most important of which is the breakdown of our families and marriages. Instead, I see discussions of whether or not Muhammad ibn Hanafiya was a good person, or if Imam al-Husayn (as) really knew he was going to die or not. Although I am not discounting the importance of these topics, I feel that they are secondary in importance and in light of the social crisis we are facing in our community, they are irrelevant.

Our speakers need to dwelve deeper into our communal problems and re-learn about Karbala and attempt to connect that tragedy to the tragedies we are facing today. It is only by making Islam relevant to our community that it will survive, otherwise it will be relegated to insignificance within a generation or two.

Rayhan al-Safawi is a blogger at the World Shia Forum. He lives with his family in the West Coast, United States.

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