#askMuharram2015 at Al-Mahdi Institute

Held on 26th October 2015, #askMuharram2015 was an interactive discusssion and Q&A session featuring talks by Shaykh Abu Jaffar, Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain and Dr Ali-reza Bhojani. The event received a turnout of over 80 people of different Muslim schools of thought, with the aim of clearing up any confusion or misconceptions regarding Azadari during Muharram. Topics covered included; the essence of Imam Hussain (as), the exaggeration on the narratives of Karbala, the development of customary rituals in Muharram, symbolism and popular practices in Muharram i.e. Matam, blood letting etc.

Being the month of Muharram, it is important to understand the purpose of Azadari when commemorating the tragic events of Karbala, whilst recognising which practices are cultural and which practices stem from Religion. With reference to the holy Qur’an, ahadith and historical events, the speakers highlighted that the practice of mourning can be seen in the lives of Prophet Yaqub, Prophet Muhammad and his impeccable progeny. They also explained where certain practices such as matam and blood letting have originated from and the differences in Azadari around the world.

A few important points from the talks include;

– Azadari in the public space should only be in a form that is conducive to the environment in which it is performed.

– Public spaces are not relative anymore, and have become global due to the advancement of technology. Therefore, azadari in the public space should not give the wrong impression of the sacrifice of Hussain ibn Ali.

– Symbolism is good so long as it leads to God-centricity, God focus and brings to mind the reason for which Hussain ibn Ali stood up for.

– The practice of the remembrance of Hussain ibn Ali can be a means of reaffirming one’s connection with the auliyaof God, of refocusing towards the qualities which they stood for and for seeking betterment of the self.

– Azadari has a societal objectives and purposes of expressing and portraying the message of Hussain ibn Ali.

– The practice of azadari should be judged against the criteria of whether these practices are moving us towards Allah (swt), whether it is making us better people and the societal and universal impact of these practices.

– Imam Hussain (as) himself said that his mission was to seek the reform and betterment of his Grandfather’s ummah and humanity at large.

Following the talks, there was an open-house discussion session which allowed both the floor audience and virtual audience to pose their questions to the panel of speakers.

To watch the full event, please click here

To view the images from the event, please click here.