OBSERVANCE OF MUHARRAM
<<Also at the same time the Sunis used to have their Tabut. They were celebrating the victory over Imam Hussain. It is difficult for us non-Muslims to understand how one can weep and mourn so deeply for someone who had died 1400 yrs ago. Once in Dar I saw a model of Karbalah that the Ithnasharis had displayed in one of the streets. The Shias do not agree that Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet of Islam.>>
My post was in the context of certain traditions that we witnessed in Zanzibar. Imam Husein's sacrifice has deep meaning. It was Iqbal i suppose who had said 'Shah Hast Husain, badshah hast Husain, sar dad na dad dar daste yazid, hakkakebinae lailahaillalah Husain.' It implies that had there been no Husein, Islam would not have survived.
It's a wrong concept that Sunnis rejoice Yazid's victory over Imam Husein in the battle of Karbala. Allama Iqbal was a Sunni. They too revere the family of the Prophet and mourn the martyrdom of Imam Husain and his kiths and kins. Tabut was their way of expression of grief and annual commemoration. Drum beating is traditional for mourning too among Arabs.
Strangely I have not heard of this chameleon myth before! The Imam was with the members of his family including women and children and also a band of close companions. They were surrounded by the army of Yezid and then some 72 persons were massacred in Kerbala (Iraq).
The event in the Portuguese Fort used to be 'Husain Day' and attended by the Sultan and the princes, the British Resident and Zanzibar's cosmopolitan public. The speakers included Hindus also like V.S.Patel. There is a message in the martyrdom: To fight oppression to mankind, whoever may be the source, and the annual commemoration with grief and narration of the graphic massacre keeps the message alive. It was such an annual commemoration which served as a spring board for ousting the oppressive regime of Shah in Iran.
The Karbala model is actually intended for Non Muslims and the display continues every year because of the interest it evokes among the non Muslims. In Dsm some Hindu women have the tradition of making naman (bow of reverence) to the Juloos and breaking coconuts as it passes along Libya (formerly Sultan) Street near the Agip Petrol Station and terminates at Shia mosque on Indira Gandhi St.
The information that Prophet Mohamed is not the last prophet is not correct. Any sect that does not profess the belief that Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet is not an Islamic sect.
I will separately forward Brother Mohamed Khalfan's write up on the historic scenario of the oppression by the Omayya regime and how Imam Husain was looked upon by the oppressed masses to redress the suffering simply because he was the surviving grandson of the Prophet. The opportunity presented itself when Moawiyya died and his son, Yezid, began to force allegiance from the tribal chiefs to his succession or surrender their heads.
|Last updated November 2007
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