Sunday, January 20, 2008

I have seen nothing other than beauty

I missed some important issues about Ashura in the last post. There is so much misunderstanding and stereotyping about this event. Although many books and articles have been devoted to this issue but there is still much to understand. I forgot to mention the concept of thirst; yearning for water, the element we need most to satiate but also to cleanse and uplift our potentials. The major yearning in Ashura was of thirst, and so it is today that we are still yearning for some substance of purity and sincerity , we look up to our mentors, our politicians , our leaders, but alas, where are we heading and who can quench our thirst?

Yesterday, was the climax of the mourning ceremonies and memories of an astute woman of high caliber who survived along with the children and other women, Zainab, the faithful sister of Hussein, who painfully suffered from the tragedy and persevered. She set an example for all of us since,we all suffer from losses in life, but we need support to withstand those losses psychologically and ideologically , otherwise we might face serious problems. She is a role model in that sense, but above all she has the mission to carry the message of Ashura. Who can convey the immense weight of the event, the philosophy behind Hussein's decision, the devotion and faithfulness of the companions, the purity and sanctity of those who fought? They gave their lives so that the Truth would remain and Islam could be understood centuries later in the form of its authentic teachings, unscathed and undistorted , unlike many other schools of thought and religion. Is conveying the message not more important than the event itself?
How is it that a woman is entrusted with the important role and the capacity to convey this message? Is it because women are strong mentors and educators and can influence their audiences by an intertwine of emotions,philosophy and reasoning altogether? The despotic ruler, Yazid, takes the women and children as prisoners to Damascus, in his glamorous palace and he asks Zainab, hoping to humiliate her , "did you see their death, defeat and destruction?". Zainab eloquently replies; I have seen nothing other than beauty.
She had the vision to see the philosophy and spirit behind those actions, and the foresight to look into the future and see how the message will stay alive and find new meaning, year after year, generation after generation, young people will find a meaning and direction for life, something beyond the dazzling attractions of popular culture, something beyond the double standards and fraud of these days, something long lasting , a genuine precious treasure of light within.
I also forgot to say that 14 centuries later, the message of Hussein is still vibrant, resonating with contemporary developments. Three decades ago, the Islamic Revolution was inspired by Ashura, the people then would liken the Shah to Yazid, as years later the people of Iraq likened Saddam to Yazid, after all a tyrant, is a tyrant whether in the pages of history or today in reality, the essence is the same, is it not so?

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