Ashara 1438H

Living the Battle of Karbala

October 6, 2016

Words and Photography Murtaza D. 


There was a time, some years ago, when I was addicted to war. I used to spend hours and hours watching documentaries on war. First hand experiences of soldiers and survivors from different races and regions of the world.

One thing I’ve found common amongst most soldiers is nostalgia! The thrill, the excitement, the enthusiasm, the anxiety, the emotions, the fieriness, the tension, the terror, the planning, the anticipation, the patriotism and the constant fright yet excitement of dying any moment has the biggest impact on a person who has witnessed a battle field.

When love is the driving force, one can do anything and everything. A human being can break all mental and physical barriers. He can sit on the branch of a tree for days without a flinch of an eye. He can survive on a few drops of water. He can take bullet, and still keep fighting for the love of his country.

After having survived such fierce yet exuberant circumstances, home is always anticipated. The sweet smell of your love-filled home. The tears of happiness streaming out of your proud-parents’ eyes. And if you’re a lucky one, the sight of your beloved wife holding back your overly joyed children.

Yes, it seems like you accomplished everything. Your purpose in life is complete. Your home-coming seems as exciting as it felt when you left home for the first expedition to save your love, your country.

What happens afterwards? What happens after all the celebrations are over? When all the glorified stardust has settled down?

Nostalgia kicks in! You start dreaming of the war. You start thinking of the war. You remember how you saved a partner’s life. You remember how you were part of something so big, you were willing to give your life for it. You miss how, in war, you could do anything because you loved the cause you were fighting for, so very much. You cannot sleep, you cannot eat, you cannot drink. Up to an extent that you start doubting your own existence. You start doubting who you really are. All you want now, is to go back. Go back to what you truly love.

The circle of life is such.

When a warrior leaves his home for a mission, he misses home. Nostalgia kicks in. He gets homesick. When he comes back, nostalgia kicks in again, this time even harder. He wants to go back to what he truly loves.

Such is my love for Ashara Mubaraka.

After having experienced my first Ashara Mubaraka with Moulana Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, I realised there was no going back.

At this point, I would like to mention an example from the Martyrs of Karbala. Zuhayr Bin Qain al-Bajali. Zuhayr was not originally a part of Imam Hussain’s AS regiment which was assembled in Madina. When Imam Hussain AS and his companions passed his tribal area, Zuhayr heard of Imam Hussain’s AS journey to Karbala for a Battle against Yazid. Upon hearing the news, Zuhayr spontaneously divorced his wife and volunteered to join Imam Hussain’s AS army. Such was the love of Zuhayr Bin Qain al-Bajali for Imam Hussain AS.

Witnessing a Dai al-Haq delivering 9-back-to-back sermons, remembering and mourning over the battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain AS and his companions, recollecting the sacrificial instances of the Ahle-Bait, hearing the heart wrenching tortures and torments the family of the Holiest of Prophets went through and knowing that these events took place, solely, for the sake of the very existence of Islam and Imaan today, is truly something “out of this world”. You elevate from this sinful world and enter a realm of love and sacrifice. You become part of the Battle of Karbala. You witness what the martyrs must have witnessed. So much so that you even witness something the Holy Martyrs of Karbala had only heard of – “The Sajdah”.

Yes, when you make up your mind and intend to depart for Ashara Mubaraka and leave the comforts of your home, when you may have to come “out of your comfort zone” with limited clothes and limited resources, nostalgia might kick in. You might start missing your the comforts of your home.

When you enter the masjid to attend the first waaz mubarak, and force yourself to shun away your sleep and tiredness and go for the matam ni majlis at night, and repeat that for 9 days, you have lived the Battle of Karbala. You have mourned the Martyrs of Karbala. You have sacrificed your loved ones, your food, your money, your ego, your life in the love of Imam Hussain. You have adhered the traits of Zuhayr Bin Qain al-Bajali. You have not only called out “Labbaik Ya Hussain” with your lips and lungs, in fact, every single part of your body has done so, and meant so.

Upon the eve of the 10th of Moharram al Haram, nostalgia kicks in again.

You do not want it to end.

You do not want to go back to your home.

You wish to sit at the feet of your Dai al-Mutlaq and sacrifice your mind, body and soul over him, just like the Holy Martyrs of Karbala.

Follow Murtaza D. on his Instagram to see more of his brilliant photography.

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  • Reply Mohammed October 8, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Excellent article, the photo truly speaks more than the 1000 words below.

  • Reply nooruddindaud October 10, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Elevating. Feel like u have read what is in my heart and mind
    The dua for your loved ones joined with dua of aqa hussain. Confirmed with kalimaat of maula huzur fulfill you.

  • Reply Hawra October 10, 2016 at 5:34 am

    So true, so from the heart and so well written. Thank you for a wonderful read.

  • Reply Your ami October 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I would use. The word haj instead of war

  • Reply Ruqaiyah October 11, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    “Upon the eve of the 10th of Moharram al Haram, nostalgia kicks in again. We do not want it to end.” says it all, a very well written article.

  • Reply Zainab Shakir October 12, 2016 at 6:22 am

    You have indeed expressed the feelings of every mumin muminaa present this ashara into heartbreakingly beautiful words! :’)

  • Reply Murtaza Faizi October 16, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Excellent angle. This comes with Taqwa. Learnt how to perceive Ashara Mubaraks, yes, you need lot’s of sacrifices to be up there.

  • Reply Aliasgar Chashmawala November 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Nostalgia at it’s best.

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