Friday, October 14, 2016

Hussein, A Guide to Contemporary Salvation

We just left behind the days of Ashura, the tenth of Muharram, the annual ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in 61 AH. The event has now been commmemorated for about 14 centuries in many parts of the Islamic world. What makes Ashura eternal and universal is a discourse which is relevant and compelling for most human beings even today.
The Ommayid Dynasty ruled over most of the Islamic lands at that time. In practice they had departed disgracefully from the authentic teachings and ethics of Islam. Their tyranny and materialistic outlook was taking  Muslim societies backwards and they were propagating a very deviated and distorted image of the religion. Imam Hussein who followed the tradition and pure beliefs of the Prophet  was deeply critical and resentful of the ruling system , he had not pledged allegiance to Yazid the Khalifat.His life was thus threatened in Mecca while the people of Kufa had sent thousands of letters asking him to come to their rescue. He decided to leave taking his family along as a sign of peaceful migration. Hussein's rationale and charismatic behaviour had attracted many and this could not be tolerated by Yazid. Imam set out for Iraq  with family and companions but  Yazid decided to confront him and force him to pledge allegiance or face an unequal battle. Hussein asked them to let him return back .He  reminded them of his backgrounds, his father Ali and brother Hassan were of the most famous and revered personalities of their time, they too were also persecuted by the dreadful brutality but also worldly attractions of the rulers that made the people complacent in face of the truth. Imam knew that if he submitted he was in a sense validating their system in the name of Islam. So he decided to withstand, to resist and to fight in an eternal battle between falsehood and righteousness.

Historians have accounted many narratives known as maghatel some of them overstating and some closer to the reality. Many Muslim and non Muslim scholars have studied and written on this important subject. According to the original narratives, Hussein announced that he will stand up for enjoining what is the truth and forbiding what is wrong and to bring about a reform in the deviated ranks of the religion.  The legacy of Hussein was to support the oppressed and confront the oppressors, choosing life with dignity or martyrdom instead of siding with tyranny and hypocrisy. Imam and his companions fought valiantly and were martyred so that the truth would shine and the true path of righteousness would remain for all humanity. His compelling cause was that of all humanity of all times, not confined to one geography or on era but a universal message that many irrespective of religion or nationality respect and cherish.
This event becomes very relevent at a time when certain groups and states in the name of Islam are wrongly attempting to create discord and hatred , when they resort to violence and terror as a means to make their case. When DAESH is supported and funded by certain states to create war in Iraq and in Syria, to establish a rule of terror in the name of the  Religion of Compassion ,who is to be held accountable in the international scene? When double standards take an independent nation to years of sanctions for a probable threat, what has been done to condemn an illegitimate state which has nuclear arsenals with no international regulation and oversight. What has been done to condemn a state that has been bombing civilians in Yemen for so many years ? Why is there so very little coverage about the tragedies and civilian deaths in Yemen in mainstream media? When will governments that have had military adventures in the region be held accountable for the suffering of people in Afghanistan, in Iraq,in Yemen , in Gaza in the West Bank, in Syria, in Libya in Somalia?  Is it only now that the ughly offshoots of terror and the collateral damage of the homeless refugees has reached their shores and shaken their societies, the West is waking up to this tragedy. Now listen to the disgusting election debates that are exposing the dirty side of politics in a country that claims to lead the world. The United Nations has not lived up to its commitments to protect global peace and security, and Ban Ki Moon will leave the world more insecure than when he began, more in environmental distress than before he started. If they have assisted or tacitly approved these actions , global leaders are accomplices in these tragedies.
These are reasons why we need to mourn and pray for humanity today , this is why we need to mourn for the martyrdom of Hussein . These sad realities are why we need to uphold the sublime values that define human dignity .These are the shared values that we need to respect and protect in these turbulent times. This is why Hussein is and will always be the light of guidance and ship of salvation.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Peace & Environment Major Issues Iran Will Pursue in Post Sanctions Era

Iran will play a constuctive role in global and regional peacemaking after the nuclear deal and the full lifting of all sanctions and restrictions on Iran's dealings with the world. This process has advanced since the deal was struck and implementation day announced weeks ago. Private and corporate sector investors from around the globe are securing deals and investments in areas important for the sustainable development of Iran. In the DOE we are encouraging investment for the environment, green technologies, renewables, waste management,energy  and water efficiency fields. 
The visit of President Rouhani to Italy and France was an important step in securing stronger relations with European States that have been strong economic allies in the past.
President Rouhani and President Hollande spoke on the importance of building relationships that go beyond economic and trade issues and could enable peacemaking and resolution of conflicts that have left millions in despair in the region.
They vowed to address the root causes of extremism and terror in todays world.I think this was an important step forward. We signed several agreements including one on environmental cooperation.
What is important in the world is that leaders who control wealth and power need to understand that if they seek peace for their country they should seek peace for all humans. If they look for happiness for their people they must pursue happiness for all humanity. If they aspire a healthy environment for their people they should strive to save the planet for all. These are universal values that do not fit in with greed and selfishness.  What is important is that many conflicts can be resolved peacefully ;if there is a genuine resolve for peace, that is if the military machinery and industry of the big powers allow, if the cartels and oil trusts permit, if the corrupt politicians change course, if the people of the world awaken to these realities which are shaping our future and that of generations to come.