Muharram In Sanford

Muharram In Sanford

Muharram In Sanford 150 150 ComfortAid International

We conclude the azaa of Abaa
Abdi’Allah Hussein (A) recently, forty days of tribute to our heroes of
Kerbala, Koofa and Syria, saviors of Islam and our hope for intercession on a
day when no other intervention will be tolerated. An exceptional gift from
Sayyeda Zainab (A) to rejuvenate our faith and seek nearness to Allah (S). Why,
it seems only yesterday I help drape our Husseini Islamic Center here in
Sanford in shadows of darkness and grief as we prepare for these annual rites.
Like most progressive centers,
our HIC is top notch with choice of programs and lecturers, even though one
young Sheikh goes overboard with some pretty bizarre suggestions in the name of
‘women’s’ rights and ‘progressive Islam’, ruffling off our Mullah Mchungu’s
feathers and giving him incessant heartburn. Young Sheikh Hussein Al Nashed is
excellent but my pick, hands down, is Sheikh Ayoob Rashid from London. This is
not just because he is originally from my hometown of Arusha, Tanzania (wink,
wink). He is an ever-genial guy, incredibly humble but clever, knows his stuff
and articulates very well, Tanzania style. Who would have imagined a
disadvantaged Black man from small town Tanzania would one day give daars to brown
skin Khojas, many who still look down and discriminate on their darker skin
brethren to this very day? My, Allah (S) works in strange, wonderful ways, no?
HIC, like most Khoja run
centers, is clockwork in efficiency. When they say 7:30PM, it is not a time set
in some fluffy clouds. Lecturers are given a reasonable sixty minutes mike time,
alas ignored this year, several times, by an overenthusiastic Sheikh, strangely
with seeming impunity. Don’t know about you but my mind goes a-wondering after
this time and I can’t seem to stop yawning. Hardworking volunteers strive to
service many HIC activities so all events are one seamless blur. Ah, what
blessings, yaar.
We insha’Allah move to a
brand new center, the Al Hayy Mosque in the very near future. This is a massive
place, but a mile from my home. The mosque looks grand, no doubt, nestled smack
in the middle of a redneck neighborhood; may Allah (S) protect us insha’Allah.
But we here in Sanford are poised to grow with the new center opening. With a
massive beautiful mosque, a vibrant active community using it, host of varied
zaakirs, abundant warm sunshine, even now in January, when I go to Abdulhussein
Jaffers’s orange grove and pick juicy sweet oranges to my hearts content. With my
house close enough to HIC to be able to literally hear hearty salawaat, why, it
is definitely a spot-on decision making Sanford my home. Kareebu sana, if Allah
(S) makes it possible for you as well.
While I am eternally
grateful to Allah (S) for blessing me with such bounties, I can only cast very worried and wary eyes at my Shia brethren around the world. Ignorant
extremists butcher us in Pakistan and elsewhere but sprouting YouTube clips, TV
channels and ‘ulemas’ hell-bent on creating fitna and making this glorious
madhab a laughing stock are taking a bigger, long-term toll; aaiboo wa’Allahi.
Not too long ago, in towns
and cities of East Africa, we commemorated Muharram the old fashion way. May
not be ideal to some ‘progressive’ and ‘contemporary’ ulemas or thinkers, however, we
were surely spared the mayhem that whirls around now. We have self-styled
experts who call for women to lead prayers, one set of ‘ulemas’ pray for an
Ayatullah’s life be shortened, another set refutes the credentials of other
leaders. We have groups I have not ever heard of; Rafeedhi, Irfaani, Karbalayye, Najafee, Qumee, Mashadee, wilaayat
faqih, anti-wilaayat faqih…send laanat
on this religious leader, on the Prophet’s (S) wife, on his companions! No, do
this in private, not publicly!
Enough to stir up sleeping doodoos in my
mind! All this is baffling, maddening; if our Aimaas (A) did not publicly curse
anyone, who are we to do so? Who are better examples of exemplary humans then
every single one of them fourteen (A)? 
Why can’t we try and live in
harmony with other Muslims and humanity in general, minding our own business, becoming
better human beings, strive for better akhlaq, proper Muslims, like the Mtume
himself? Surely we have our own skid marked underwear to launder first; I have
a hard enough time focusing on educating my children on being good Muslims, to
love Ahlebeyt (A) in all that is good. Am I, as a parent, now supposed to guide
them hurling abuses and hatred towards others? Yes, we can certainly view those
that killed and oppressed the Aimaas (A) in repulsion and loathing, even hate
them. Now, leave them alone for Allah (S) to judge! We will change not a thing
by cursing other madhabs or their leaders, producing umpteen YouTubes or taking
to adverse TV airwaves. The opposite really, ridiculed and targets for revenge.
In Bangladesh, Indonesia,
Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, even Haiti, I have personally witnessed the Shia
community divided between two or more groups, pitted on theology and political
divide of Iraq and Iran. The biggest losers will be our children, who already grapple
with intricacies of Islam in general and in particular the West, even in what
is supposed to be all good. Imagine the opposite. Implosion? 

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