Words and Photography Asma T. G.
Ashara 1437H in Houston, Texas marked the tenth year of my pact to try, with all my might, to attend Ashara Mubaraka in Hazrat Imamiyah. These ten years have been abundant with barakat, immense naseeb, and priceless memories. However, they have also been filled with change. I graduated university, got married, and achieved a Masters’ degree. Amidst this change, one thing that has stayed constant is my overall feeling of pride in my faith and loyalty to my Maula (TUS). The immediate and wholehearted response to Maula (TUS)’s presence is precisely the battery recharge I need to continue the rest of the year in the hustle and bustle of New York City.
As a wife of a surgeon, and full-time healthcare consultant, my duniya is tasked with catching the train on time, setting the crock-pot before I leave the apartment, and meeting deadlines for Powerpoint reports and data analyses. Life is hectic between the professional, the personal, and the deeni. There are times when I feel my energy level diminishing; when balancing becomes not just a difficult task, but almost impossible.
But then, I remember my spiritual world, روحانيتي /roohaniyati.
I remember the magical world I stepped into in 1426H, walking down the streets of Devri Mubarak of Surat, hearing noha on the loudspeakers as I weaved through streets in the morning seeking the correct gate. And in the evening, the nida of maatam reverberating through the walls of Masjid al-Moazzam to beckon the gham of Imam Husain (AS) remains fresh in my mind. I clearly remember seeing my beloved and dearly missed Burhanuddin Maula (RA), albeit from a distance, among a crowd of mumineen, seeking “ek nazar” of Imam Husain (AS)’s dai.
This spiritual world, roohaniyah, settles my material world, jismaniyah. It reinvigorates me, eases my worries of my rotis not being round and clothes not being ironed. My spiritual world, my Ashara experience, is my sunshine; it provides me with all the energy I need to continue thriving in all aspects of duniya.
For me, Ashara Mubaraka is foremost a time to remember the sacrifices of Imam Husain (AS) and Bohater Shohada, and to feel an unnerving grief as our Maula (TUS) relays accounts from the Battle of Karbala. Ashara also is a time of reflection, simplicity, and patience. Standing in long lines in the scorching sun gives way to hours of self-reflection. Uniting as a group and inching forward for deedar reminds me of our simple yet powerful desire for ek nazar. Language barriers, lost luggage, and foreign countries compel me to exhibit patience.
Last year, when our beloved Mufaddal Maula (TUS) stepped foot on the soil of a city I shall soon call home, my battery recharged once again. Tears of joy flowed down my face as I witnessed my Maula (TUS) closer than I would have ever imagined ten years ago. After each waaz, and each shahadat, I felt Maula (TUS)’s energy coursing through the masjid as scores of mumineen’s matam filled my ears. For me, that energy coursed through my veins, and it continues to flow all year long.
As Ashara Mubaraka quickly approaches once again, my heart yearns for a glimpse of Maula (TUS), the sounds of nohas through the streets, the vibrating walls of matam, and the energy of Maula (TUS)’s aawaaz emitting huzn and gam recounting the ten days of Karbala.
I have boundless amounts of shukur for being fortunate enough to view Ashara Mubaraka in Hazrat Imamiyah as my constant in life. Through the last decade, Ashara Mubaraka continues to be a time for self-reflection, simplicity, and patience – attributes that help me in my roohaniyah, but also in my jismaniyah. Some people say jobs and work, those are the constants in life: those are what get you to the next day. But for me, Ashara Mubaraka is my constant – it is what fuels me for not just the next day, but until I have the naseeb of Insha Allah attending another Ashara Mubaraka.