Sunday, July 25, 2010
Mr. Masjed Jamei was the Minister of Guidance during the second term of Khatami's Presidency. He is now a member of the Tehran City Council. Along with Dr Najafi (also a long time Minister and now Councilor) we were on a visit to a mourning family in Tehran who had lost their son a year ago. The young man had loved Abulfazel Abbas as a role model, his mother sadly recalled.
In their home, Mr. Masjed Jamei spoke about the attractive personality of this loyal brother of Imam Hussein and how he is now revered by people of all walks of life even from different religions. He spoke about a religious group (Heyat) that Armenians in Tehran have to commemorate Abbas, their green flag has only his name on it. Jews residing in Tehran also have ceremonies, he noted, for Imam Hussein and Abbas.
I also remembered how in an international conference " Earth Dialogues", I was attending in Brisbane Australia, the Director had chosen an Islamic symbol for the conference. The hand of Abbas had been chosen from an artistic exhibition in Morocco.
More interesting was an international contemporary arts exhibition he had visited in Tehran, wherein an Indian artist had displayed a short skit comprising of a dialog with a pot of water. He was playing the role of Abbas, when he returned from the battle ground of Karbala ( a battle incited by Yazid the Ommayid Khalifa against the grandson of the Prophet ,Imam Hussein in 61 Hegira), to bring water for the thirsty women and children from the Euphrates . According to the narration, he filled a pot with water but inspite of his thirst , recalling the thirst of his brother and family, he could not drink from that water. Abbas returned, but was attacked midway and martyred ,while carrying the water back.
Now, 14 centuries later this inspirational event was brought to life by an Indian Hindu who had grasped the message of love and loyalty and resistance in face of oppression from Abbas.
The Arabic month that we are now in, Sha'ban is one of the most festive and joyous months for Muslims. In many narrations it is known as the month of the Final Prophet (Muhammad SA). The third of Sha'ban is known as the birthday of Imam Hussein and the following days are the birthdays of Abulfazel Abbas his legendary loyal brother and AliAkbar his valiant son. The 15th of Sha'ban is the birthday of the twelfth Imam who is in occultation according to Shia tradition. Sunnis also consider the 15th of Sha'ban as a night of Ghadr (value), a unique night when the holy Quran has descended and when a year's destiny takes shape.