Every year, Muslims in Europe and around the world commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) in the beginning of the Islamic month of Muharram, recalling with passion the brutal murder of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family).
In Geneva, the Islamic Association of Ahl El-Beit [the Islamic Association of the Household of the Prophet] opened its doors and spoke to us about the way in which they commemorate the occasion of Ashoura.
Chahzanan, Sarah and sheikh M. A. joined us to talk to us about the commemoration of Ashoura in the center of Ahl el-Beit.
Ashoura in Switzerland
We are now in the heart of the month Muharram and this occasion is very important. What are the motives that drive you to commemorate Ashoura in this foreign country? What do you gain from these social reunions in this center?
Sheikh M.A.: What Aba Abdillah Hussein has left us is an enormous message. The movement of Imam Hussein reveals to us the truth that was covered by the false. We can easily compare between the history and the world in which we live today and the story is only repeating itself. Besides, we need to spread the truth about these facts in order to stay on the right track. That is why people come and attend our reunions.
Sarah: …Being able to commemorate this period in a foreign country is an honor and mostly an act of courage. I attend the majlis [consolation session of Ashoura] every night and try to live and relive the agonies felt by Ahl El-Beit [the household of the Prophet].
Chahzanan: What caused me to commemorate Ashoura in this foreign country is the absence of the mourning ambiance. There is absolutely nothing about Ashoura here and we need a reunion like this one to purify our spirit. It helps me to have a social life, knowing that here in Switzerland, I don’t have one. Attending these commemorations allows me to be liberated, to reduce the stress and makes me very fulfilled. It is a pleasure to be here, surrounded by people who share more or less of the love that we have for Ahl el-Beit.
Do you bring up the subject of Karbala in front of your French and Swiss friends?
Sarah: I brought up the subject of Ashoura to some of my friends. They are neither French nor Swiss…
A man who regularly attends the center interrupted: I have talked about the subject many times. In general, it surprises them and they eventually criticize the fact that we commemorate an event that took place hundred years ago. That is when we explain to them that what Imam Hussein did was a sacrifice that can never be forgotten.
In the center, younger and older people are welcome to share and to learn the religion of the Prophet and his household. Why would you let your children attend this kind of an event? Aren’t you afraid that this tragedy would cause them some psychological complexes?
Sheikh M.A.: Because this is our culture, our roots, that is why. We want what they learn throughout the majlis to be repeated in their heads and recalled over and over. We want to show them that the tragedy of Karbala has a symbolic value.
Psychological complexes? On the contrary! We were taught to love the household of the Prophet since our early childhood and we wish to transfer this love to our children.
Let’s take the example of the crucifixion of Jesus. Christian people tell their children about it since their very early childhood and no one grew up with a complex. This is our culture and our roots and we love transferring them to our children.
Chahzanan: We are in a country where there is no Islamic ambiance whatsoever, so just the fact of being here is enriching. Children learn a lot of things. If I bring my children to the majlis, it is to teach them to love their imams- and particularly in this period, to love Imam Hussein. This shouldn’t happen only in Muharram but all year long. No one is psychologically traumatized. As a matter of fact, we…are honored to follow our imams- our guides, our references. We teach our children these values and we insist on the idea that our imams fought, suffered and died as martyrs and refused to be humiliated or to bow down to oppressors.
We hope more Islamic centers such as this one will be opened in the coming years, and the number of loyal people will be multiplied in order to spread the message of Imam Hussein all over the world. We count on our children who will become the adults of tomorrow to carry the message of their martyred Imam.
Source: Al-Ahed News