Guest Blog

Part IV – Ohbat Out of the Box

August 15, 2020
Words Murtaza D.
Header and Photo Credits Murtaza D. (@murtazadaud)


Photographs, whether still or in motion, have the ability to move a person. Emotionally and physically.

For the past 2 years, I have been consciously documenting my Ashara Mubaraka experiences. I shoot a few rolls of film and leave them undeveloped for 11 months and only develop them before the upcoming Ashara Mubaraka.

The process teaches me patience and brings me immense pleasure. It elevates me to a transcendental state. The feeling is testament to the statement made by al-Dai al-Ajal al-Fatimi Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA: “Beauty lies in expectation”.

When I finally look at the positive images, there’s an indescribable rush of excitement and surprise. The mind, body and soul transcends back to Ashara Mubaraka. All the senses come back to life. I am seeing what I saw, smelling what I smelt, feeling what I felt. At that moment, it is as if I am there, present amidst tens of thousands of people who have gathered for the love of Imam Hussain AS and His true Aashiq, al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS.

I am now ready for Ashara Mubaraka. In fact, I am already there.




Words Shireen K.

Over the years, I’ve seen how I’ve evolved. With each passing year, I alter and improve myself. 

I remember back when I was a child, packing my bag and getting ready for each new day of Ashara, my sister asked me if I was going for a picnic because she saw all the junk I packed in my tiny bag. Some things never change. Now I just pack in less snacks.

Before the big days approach us, I start off by praying the noha and aweel namaz. It helps me mentally prepare for the days that are coming. I also lay out the clothes that I will be wearing for each waaz and raat ni majlis because ridas in Ashara get dirty quickly – I am sure we all know that quite well. 

I absolutely love listening and practicing Arabic marasiyas that Zakereens pray during Ashara so I pray along too. I get my bag ready with my little notepad and a mechanical pencil to write as fast as I possibly can – without any sharpening interruptions.

These are just a few things I do to get myself ready for Ashara. It’s not a lot but I try to make a difference with how I prepare year after year.

Words Tasneem T. 

Every Ashara, I have prepared to be ‘outside-of-home’. For the years that I have gotten a chance to attend Ashara Mubaraka with Moula TUS, I prepared to ‘be-at-home’ in that town/city/country.

And for the many years that I have spent Ashara in my hometown, I have strived for opportunities to do Khidmat that keeps me involved from the start of the day till the end, just giving me enough time to return home at night for a rest.

And now with the grace of Allah, and the trust that Moula TUS places in us, we all are preparing for a unique Ashara experience – wherein I am placing focus on the markaz of my life, where I return to and belong – my home. 

I am doing Ohbat to transform my home into a place that invites barakat, that is worthy to host the pearls of wisdom that Moula TUS will give us and make the most of the unique Ashara that are upon us. 

It is also part of my Ohbat to make sure the right environment is created with tazyeen and that I manage the chores and buy sufficient milk and groceries beforehand. That would help me immensely in punching in attendance qablal waqt, attending tafheem sessions, indulge in doing tasbeeh and reciting marsiyah mubarakah – all in the sanctity of my home. That’s going to be my ‘out of the box ohbat’ to stay inside home.

Words Zaineb S. 

This year, my approach to ohbat has been simple but powerful. Every day, I write down 5 things I can remember about Imam Husain SA and what transgressed in Karbala. My niyat is to write a 100 different points before pehli waaz.

Shukran for the opportunity to share this with you. I am looking forward to hearing how other mumineen are preparing so I can incorporate them going forward.



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