Ashura: Eternal Lessons for the Faithful
There is a famous poem by Sufi poet Bedil Dihlawi that says:
“Beware, the world starts with bloodshed,
They made Muharram the year’s head.”
This striking warning is in reference to the 10th of Muharram, or the day of Ashura, when there was a massacre at Karbala of Hazrati Hussein (RA) and many of his family members by the accursed tyrant Yazid. This horrendous crime against the grandchildren of the Holy Prophet AS was foretold by him AS in authentic Hadith.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi HZ brings this story into focus for us murids every year because of its relevance to the struggle against the evil inside of our ourselves: from our egos and nefs which are always trying to sabotage us and fulfill their desires for power, for dunya, which make us vulnerable to sheytan and the dajaalic system. We all want to identify with Hazrati Hussein and the other shahids in Karbala because we don’t want to admit that we too have Yazids, killers, lurking inside of ourselves. The essence of tarikat is exactly this: to find out and face the treacherous things about ourselves that keep us far from our true nature and submission to Allah SWT, Holy Prophet and our Sheykh. When we learn about the story of Karbala and the trials and tribulations that the family of Holy Prophet AS went through: starvation, thirst, violence, and murder, even of infants, our task is dwarfed in comparison. However, that does not diminish its importance in our lives as murids. When we stand up to the tyrants within ourselves and say no to their demands, we are at least on the side of haqq that Hazrati Hussein (RA) gave his life for. We can never compare ourselves to them but we can remember their courage and submission to Allah SWT and do our best with our comparatively tiny struggles. This year on Ashura let us really reflect on who we are and what are hiding from the light. May all of the stations of the shahids of Karbala be raised and may their support be with us, Amin!