Words and Header Credits Amatullah Y. (@aayusufali)
In the Abbasid Era, many people came from all over the world to Karbala for the ziarat of Imam HusainAS. The governor of Karbala did not like the pilgrimage of the shia who came and decreed that of every ten people that came for ziarat, one would be killed. “Martyrdom?” The shia thought, “In that case, let me be the one to die!” And the governor saw people fighting over who of them should die for the sake of HusainAS. Baffled, he changed the decree to state that none would be allowed ziarat unless they brought 500 uqiyat of gold.
One day, he was looking from his tower to see an old woman walking towards the gates. Her clothes were old, she was the image of despair and poverty. The governor went to meet the woman, who believed him to be a guard, and asked her “Who are you? Do you know that you will need 500 uqiyat to gain entry?”
The woman replied, “Indeed, the governor will take them from me the moment I enter.”
Surprised, he asked “How do you have them? Why not wait a few years, get a carriage and then come to Karbala?”
“Oh guard,” she replied, “I have spent all my life gathering this money to come to Karbala. How am I to know if I shall be alive or not had I waited? It pained me more to think that I would die without the ziarat of Imam HusainAS.”
The governor was moved by the woman’s proclamation and immediately changed the decree to requiring 5 uqiyat to do ziarat instead.
This past year has been filled with trials and troubles, yet with innumerous barakat as well. I have had the azeem nemat of going for ashara ohbat to homes every year since it began, and it felt so empty without it. I had the sudden thought to replicate @mrymmakes and her Ashara ohbat series of two years past using watercolours; however, I have very little background in art and this was a definite step out of my comfort zone. I tried to take different zikrs, the most prominent ones that immediately popped out for me, and then try to both create an art piece to go with a simple and short caption.
The zikr of the 500 uqiyat led me to question, for the first time ever, what an uqiyat really is. 1 uqiyat translates to roughly an ounce. 500oz of gold is almost 15kgs worth of gold, something I couldn’t even wrap my head around. Seeing the current selling rate of it, it would have taken 57 years of daily average wage to get 15kgs of gold, and that’s not counting general expenditure at all. I was struck with awe, reeling at the thought of how many dreams the old woman would have had to kill, how much she would have had to strive and work for, how many luxuries she would have had to deny herself and mainly, what sort of strong will she must have had to make sure that she saved it all for Imam HusainAS. I then realized, this was no ordinary feat, it was Imam HusainAS’s miracle to have given the old woman the will and courage, and it is only he who would have given the woman everything she needed to reach Karbala.
We are beyond lucky, to have been given so many blessings that going to Karbala has become so much easier. Many of us are even luckier, that Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS aqa gives us the means to not only go to Karbala, but to live right next door to haram throughout our visits. This year, one of the most amazing bounties and blessings we have is that every year ashara is held in a city where Maula brings Karbala to them, and this year, we had Karbala before our eyes in our very homes, in every home.
May AllahTA give our Maula, who gives us the will and the strength to cry on Imam HusainAS such that a single utterance of Husain leads to a river of tears, a life as long as rivers flow. Ameen.