For those that call Muhar’ram “superficial” and equate the Shi’a ritual and rites of Muhar’ram–practiced en masse–to something threatening, fearful or vile, let’s not sit and judge Shi’a before professing our love for Ah l’ Bayt (Pbut).
Photo: Calligraphic designs decorate shrines, streets and buildings in Iran during Muhar’ram
To those that have stood outside the matrix, in fear of getting their feet wet—hoping to discover opportunity to insult a Muslim community via bias dissection of the profound rites of Shi’a during Muhar’ram—I feel genuinely sorry for you. I cannot say, I completely relate; although, I have viewed certain practices as extreme–which is understandably and universally so. But for some who are encased in a bubble of superficial, western cultural practices, turning their noses up at a vision perceived to be “taboo” or not “Americanized” enough for their taste, they’ve simply never felt Muhar’ram in the way an unconditional lover of Ah l’ Bayt has; they have allowed their partiality to put a cap on their hearts and minds, coating the rules and rites of Islam by their own standards.
They have left their wounded hearts for Ah l’ Bayt (as) upon a shelf and stumbled into a mystifying world as strangers, spiritually oblivious and bias, lacking what their own western books call a ‘comprehensive world view’; in other words, they are just your typical “homo sapiens sapiens” plagued by ignorance and ethnocentrism. This attitude is only counterproductive towards the many virtues, such as love, tolerance, peace and unity that a majority of Shi’a Muslims uphold. For at least, despite all they argue the Qur’an reads true when it states: “And do not be like she who untwisted her spun thread after it was strong [by] taking your oaths as [means of] deceit between you” [Quran 16:92]
A lost soul once came into the Shi’a Islamic world and labeled all their fellow Muslims among a concession of mourners practicing zanjeer–a mourning gesture with hand raised to sky, then to chest for Hossein(as)—as “non-Islamic”, on top of others words and labels she knew little about; however, slight did she know or understand the Quran enough to realize that nothing in Islam gives into such arrogance or slander towards other religious communities. Nothing in Islam accepts deceit. Opinions remain opinions, but fact remains fact.
“Allah only tries you thereby. And He will surely make clear to you on the Day of Resurrection that over which you used to differ.” [Quran 16:92] And if Allah had willed, He could have made you [of] one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.” [Quran 16:92]
“And do not take your oaths as [means of] deceit between you, lest a foot slip after it was [once] firm, and you would taste evil [in this world] for what [people] you diverted from the way of Allah , and you would have [in the Hereafter] a great punishment.” [Quran 16:92]
When a narcissist has made up his/her mind before seeking tangible experience and knowledge on the religious rites of Muhar’ram and he has kindly been invited into the Shi’a world while conflicted with predisposition, misconceptions and stereotypes towards his hosts–If he, as an “intellect”, cannot come to grips with his nafs–he cheats only himself. If one cannot understand the mourners connection with spiritual greatness–unattainable by the one who lacks intelligence on the matter—do not blame all Shi’a of Islam. Blame the ego, for this predisposition is due to the superficial world and lifestyle that has been implanted, fed, and manifesting within his or her psyche, like a beautiful garden taken over by weeds; and these weeds become very hard to control; this is what western and Zionist exposure does to Shi’a Muslims and certain reverts over time. It prevents some, not all of them, from attaining any emotion for the Shi’a rites of Muharram. Thus, is the conceit of one who selfishly condemns the mass rituals of mournful cries, the emotions within that keep us going, and the beating of chests like drums through zanjeer, all heard by one magnificent Ummah–from one stretch of the earth to the next. One phenomenal grieving soul encompassing the millions of mournful songs for Hussein (as) is an annoyance only to his enemies—never is this the case for those who love Ah l’ Bayt.
If you were to open your heart, and know Muhar’ram well–despite the enemy’s opinionated and unfounded judgements of the empirical Muhar’ram rituals–you may wonder, if at all, how millions could love so much, yet grieve so much simultaneously?
Do all your shi’a family a favor welcome this Muhar’ram with an open mind and heart, embrace each shi’a with warmth kindness and love. Send a message that Hossein (as) would this year. – Antonia Mosqueda
If you are truly interesting in understanding Muhar’ram, Below I have added a link to help others understand the question, “why Shi’a Muslims mourn?”–as explained by Ayatollah Khamenei. along with another.