Archive for December, 2011

What the World can Learn from the Grandson of the Prophet

by Salma Hooshmand

Millions of Muslims around the world gather annually to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.  Hussain and his family were massacred on the plains of Karbala, modern-day Iraq, in the year 680 AD.  Mourning ceremonies vary from culture to culture.  They often include reenactments of the events leading to and including the final battle on the day of Ashura, recitations of song and poetry, and episodes of self-flagellation.  This last ritual ranges from a light, rhythmic beating of chests in unison, to, in extreme cases, the practice of incurring self-inflicted wounds.  The personality of Hussain is often obscured by these loud and highly ritualized ceremonies; actually, his story is a simple one with a universal message.

The tragedy of Hussain’s martyrdom is magnified by the sheer inequality of numbers.  In the manner of David and Goliath, Hussain was grossly outnumbered.  The aggressor, Yazid, had recently inherited the caliphate from his father.  He felt threatened by Hussain’s popularity and blood ties to the origins of Islam, and vowed to acquire either Hussain’s allegiance or his life.  In simple terms, Yazid was a bully, and Hussain stood up to him.  In the days leading up to the final battle, Yazid sent a force of 4000 troops to corner and surround Hussain’s caravan of 72 in the middle of the desert.  There, Yazid’s representatives attempted to extract Hussain’s endorsement with false promises, bribes, and threats; but Hussain stood his ground.  Soon, threats became acts of aggression and violence.  Access to the river was blocked on the day of Ashura, and Hussain and his family were left thirsty under the scorching desert sun.  Still Hussain did not give in; Yazid’s policies were oppressive and unjust, and Hussain would not join him.  A famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi states, “I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”  Indeed, the millions who continue to honor Hussain across centuries consider his quiet dignity and his refusal to capitulate to corruption a noble triumph, not a defeat.

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12 2011

‘Don’t worry, third time around you’ll have a boy’

To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth.
He creates what He wills.
He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills,
and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills.

The Holy Qur’an, Surah Ash Shura, ayat 49

 

Man is surely a selfish creature. Never satisfied with what he has, he is always on the search for more and more.

We are told to always think of those who have less than us. Thinking of this will teach us to be thankful.

I recently had my second daughter a few months ago and while I am blessed to have given birth to a healthy and happy child, there was a time when she was still in utero that I had a desire for a boy. I tried to push this thought aside because all every parent wants is a healthy and sound baby. But we are human, after all. And the human part of me wanted a little boy because I already had a girl.

When I had my ultrasound and found out it was a girl, I had to ask, “Are you sure?” The technician said, “Yes, pretty much.” A part of me was a bit disappointed but that feeling quickly subsided as I began thinking of names and started getting giddy at the thought of buying dresses and cute accessories again. Girls always are more fun to dress up.

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12 2011