Guest Blog

Part VII – Ohbat Out of the Box

August 17, 2020
Words Nafeesa M.   
Header Credits Zainab K.


Love, passion, is a concept that can seldom be defined. It begins where the reach of words ends. Love can be perceived as always wanting to be united, becoming one with the beloved through every means; as not letting any thought pass by other than the desire for this bond; as being oblivious to all limits in the quest of this unity; as doing all that it takes for the cause of this union. Love, being indefinable, can yet be understood through the tales of Karbala!

Breaking through the chains of norms, going beyond human capabilities, doing the unimaginable, Karbala personifies love. That which is required from a lover, Karbala is a testimony to. Our saviour, whose love for us goes beyond measures, wanted to unite every Mumin with himself, not let a single soul go astray. And so he sacrificed all that he had for the cause of this love, all He aimed was serving this cause.

Today, we who are privileged to love Imam HussainAS – HIS love etched in our beings – are obligated to prove our love in the same fashion. A love that was beyond measure demands its remembering to be of a similar nature. It requires us to do things at our maximum capacities, and yet move a step forward, because such is the cause. Doing more than what we can, whilst always knowing we will never be able to do enough.

For the love of Imam HussainAS, in remembrance of his love for us, we need to keep trying to think of ways to meet what this love requires. To constantly think of another way to be more prepared, to repay what was done in Karbala for us. The 10 days of Asharah Mubarakah are an opportunity to express that love. When such an occasions arrival is expected, it should be met with maximum Ohbat. For a lover, such an event should be an obsession. A lover should unite with the anticipation of such an occasion.

Spiritually, one of my customary practices that I tend to do every year for Asharah Ohbat is start apologizing to people I know I’ve turned down this year, or might have hurt in any manner. A very strong belief is that I feel an obvious barrier, a constant nagging thought that limits the amount of tears I am able to shed upon Imam HussainAS during Asharah Mubarakah when I know I have mistreated someone and still have that weight upon me. Also, I can feel the pureness, lightheartedness after setting things straight that helps me weep much more. When sins can hinder in attaining barakaat, and a single tear encompasses unfathomable blessings, I believe that relieving ourselves from the burden of these misdoings aid in weeping immensely. Experience strengthened this belief of mine when I was able to cry noticeably less after I argued with a friend a night before waaz, and cried evidently more after apologizing. So this has been on the Ohbat list before Asharah Mubarakah ever since.

Amongst the physical preparations for Asharah Mubarakah, the very least that I aim to do from a lot that I ought to, is a workout that equips me for the long walks in miles of lines entering masjid, and makes it easier to sit in one position for hours of waaz, all through those ten most auspicious days; in order to avoid any hurdles in attaining barakaat to its fullest. I have an unbroken record of falling sick on the 7th because of the unfamiliar physical excursions. Knowing that, I aimed to make a habit to start physical activities prior to Asharah that would help me in gaining the utmost. It helps build my stamina for matam, especially doing it tirelessly on your knees.

The last thing I would mention of my Asharah preparations is collecting and noting down, and eventually memorizing, those captions from Imam Hussain’sAS zikar that always break the ice, and never fail to make me cry. Memorizing it helps me transport easily to Karbala through the aching feeling of those heartbreaking lines. Throughout the year, a few points, a few captions, also some of Maula’s (TUS) agonizing actions during shahadat, I collect them all and revise it prior to Asharah which will benefit me during shahadat. These are those lines that have affected me upon first hearing them with such severity, and have an unfading touch that amplifies my grief whenever recalled. It also helps me in building a deeper attachment to and broader understanding of those narrated incidents, similar to any educational practice, by recollecting past concepts before moving towards the new ones to grasp more and better. 

Asharah Mubarakah in the present context requires multiple preparations compared to the years before, locked down in our houses; without the habitual atmosphere of majalis in masajid, we need to be more prepared to not allow hindrances to Asharah practices. Hence, the apologizing ritual is even more vital today. 6 months of extreme comfort requires even more physical warm up. And, to be able to entirely be in that grief and affliction, resembling the environment that of the masjid, recalling the ice-breaking zikr is twice as crucial.

These are just a few of my trivial endeavours to be geared up for an event that is a chance to do the least a Mumin can, in the remembrance of a martyr who went beyond the possible, in love for his Mumineen. In return, what is asked of us is to recall Karbala with an Ohbat of similar altitude, elevating each year, to a degree where we attain the unattainable name of true lovers. 

Words Anonymous.   


For as far back as I can remember, I have been taken to masjid for bayaans.  Although at a young age I never understood much, I remember the words ‘’deen’’ and ‘’dunya’’ constantly come up. Time and time again, Moula TUS would do dua for hifazat of our deen, but also, always for our comforts within this dunya. For kamyabi in our businesses, for our homes, for our health, for our education. This always confused me – the naïve me never understood the significance. Why was Moula TUS, taking the time in masjid, to discuss the Dunya? Outside of those four walls, the rest of our days were spent worrying about the dunya; wasn’t the purpose of attending masjid, to discuss solely our deen? More so, I had the misconception, that an “ideal’’ mumin was one that gave up all worldly desires, and focused solely on all things spiritual. 

As I got older, my understanding of our Shariat deepened. I learnt firstly that our ‘’deen’’ and our “dunya” were not mutually exclusive. My faith wasn’t something that I just spent X hours a day on, it needed to be integrated in every aspect of my life. The importance of discussing this dunya; this temporary home through which us spiritual beings had to pass through, before reaching our forever home InshaAllah, became more and more prevalent. I learnt that the ‘’ideal’’ mumin found the right balance; a way in which to seamlessly let the two co-exist. 

Moreover, I learnt, this dunya was not meant to be easy. And if the year 2020 does not attest to that, I don’t know what does. In my 25 years of existence, not once did I imagine I’d live through a pandemic, and yet, here I am, my 26th year here, and having the most unique experiences of my life. And as the year 1442H approaches us, I’m preparing for yet another.

Having spent the past 6 years, spending these ten days with Moula TUS, in a masjid packed with thousands of mumineen, gham was hardly a question. There I was, surrounded by women, men, children, and an undeniable force. So when I had to come to terms with the fact that, this year, I will be just me and two others, in a hall – panic set in. Will I be able to do noha properly? There’ll no longer be this force? Will I manage?

One Friday night, whilst seated on my bed wondering what I could possibly do to prepare for this unique experience, I was taken back to a time in 2013. I was in London at the time, attending university, living by myself. I had spontaneously agreed to go on holiday to Manchester for a reunion with some friends. You know how it goes, university – young and care-free right?

One evening, facetiming my mother, once she’s done doing her routine food, weather and health checks – she mentions to me “Dikra, Ashara is approaching, please sort out transport to masjid and leave from university etc.”. Mindlessly I agree, “Yes ma, will do” and hang up. Shortly after, I check the calendar, and realised – I had messed up. I was getting back from holiday on the tiji raat of Moharram – I would miss one waaz.

Somehow, in the days leading up to the holiday, I had justified it to myself that it was too late to change plans, everyone had been informed, it’s fine, it’s just the 2nd waaz, I’ll come back and attend the other 8, it’ll be okay. Keeping my plans unchanged, and not having informed anyone, I took off on holiday.

It was the morning of biji taarikh, it was my friend’s birthday and everyone was ready to go out. I woke up, and as I tried to get ready to leave, a wave of guilt washed over me – What have I done? This is Imam Hussain, who sacrificed His life for me, spent His last breath doing dua for us, who is the reason for my existence, and I’m here attempting to go celebrate a friend’s birthday?!

With just a couple of hours left for the start of waaz, I was determined to fix this. How though? I did not know a single mumin in Manchester, had no idea where the marqaz was. I spent plenty of time frantically googling, to no avail. What now? I was beyond frustrated. There was no way I could make it back to London in time.

And then, a thought – “I know, I’ll do it, in this room”. I told my friends to go ahead without me. Highly confused, everyone left, and I had the room to myself. I took out my Moula’s photo from my wallet, sat down by myself, and did matam. I closed my eyes and pictured Moula on the thakkat, and envisioned each gesture, as Moula TUS relayed the maktal, the story of the Ahle Bayt, and all their sacrifice. And there, in that random room in Manchester, to the best of my abilities, with only my memories of previous occasions to draw from, I did my own version of noha. 

I went to sleep that Friday night feeling slightly less panicked. Little did I know that, that moment in 2013, would play a role in my ohbat for the year 1442H; my ‘Ohbat out of the box’ has been thinking about that time where I made a severe lapse in my judgement, but eventually received the tawfiq to make things right in whatever small way I could.

And it is this very experience, that will forever act as a reminder, that this dunya will always throw stuff at us. In 2013, it was the temptation of a holiday with friends, and today it is a pandemic that’s spread across the world; but eventually with perseverance and Moula’s TUS guidance and dua, we always will find a way for the hifazat of our deen. 


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