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['Aalim Network QR] Commemorations of Muharram and Other Special Days


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salamun Alaykum,

The following questions were kindly answered by Shaykh Mustafa Jaffer.

Regards

Abbas Jaffer
Moderator - 'Aalim Network

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Question 1

I am a convert to Islam and do not live near an active Shia community so I
have never attended Muharram activities.

I would like to learn more about what happens during Muharram, why it
happens, 
and what are the historical and religious origins of the practices. 

Answer 1

MUHARRAM IS THE FIRST MONTH OF THE ISLAMIC LUNAR CALENDAR. 
CONTRARY TO POPULAR PRACTICE OF REJOICING, THE SHIITES ARE 
IN MOURNING. THIS WAS THE TIME IN 61AH WHEN THE GRANDSON OF 
THE HOLY PROPHET (saw) WHO WAS THE THIRD IMAM, IMAM HUSSEIN (as)
WAS MERCILESSLY MARTYRED IN THE PLAINS OF KERBALA. 
IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ON THE TRAGEDY OF KERBALA, 
PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH  ME AND I WILL SUGGEST APPROPRIATE 
BOOKS

Question 2

What should someone do when they do not have a community to 
commemorate Muharram and other religious events? 

Answer 2

COMMEMORATION IS SYMBOLIC AND IS ACTUALLY JUST REMEMBRANCE 
OF THE EVENT THAT TOOK PLACE IN HISTORY. IF THERE IS NO CENTRE 
AROUND YOU, YOU COULD REMEMBER THE EVENT PRIVATELY. 
SOME PEOPLE TEND TO USE VIDEO CASSETTES OF LECTURES 
DELIVERED IN OTHER CENTRES IN THE PAST.

Question 3

In general, how should a religious "holiday" be commemorated in
private and as a community?

Answer 3

COMMEMORATING HOLIDAYS IN ISLAM ARE ACTUALLY CONSIDERED 
AS MEANS TO A MORE NOBLE END - PROXIMITY TO ALLAH. 
THE HOLY INFALLIBLES (as) HAVE SAID, ' MAY ALLAH HAVE MERCY ON 
THOSE WHO REMEMBER US.' 
IT IS BASED ON THIS COMMAND FROM THEM THAT WE 
COMMEMORATE THESE DAYS.

Question 4

Further, if you could also comment on the historical and religious origins
of celebrating birthday and death days of important religious figures, Eid
e Ghadeer and Eid e Mubahila this would also be appreciated.

Is there any  difference between commemorating birth/death days for one 
of the fourteen infallibles (as) and one who was not infallible? Or what 
about prophets that came before Muhammad (saw)?  

How is it determined whose birth/death days are commemorated 
and whose are not?

Answer 4

THE PRACTICE, AS EXPLAINED ABOVE, EMANATES FROM THEIR 
OWN INSTRUCTIONS. COMMEMORATION OF INFALLIBLES IS DIFFERENT 
FROM THAT OF ORDINARY PEOPLE - THE DIFFERENCE IS IN STATUS 
BEFORE GOD. THESE DATES ARE DETERMINED BASED ON OUR FAITH. 
FOR EXAMPLE WE TRY AND REMEMBER THE DEATH DATES OF H. ABU TALIB, 
FATHER OF ALI (as) WHO IS NOT AN INFALLIBLE. BUT HIS STATUS IS SO REVERED, 
WE FEEL A CLOSENESS TO HIM IN OUR BELIEF.


Mustafa Jaffer

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