The month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, brings alive the sacrifice of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson (daughter Fatema’s son) Imam Husain, his family and followers at Karbala. The dead included less than 100 men, women and children including his sister Zainab, his little daughter Sakina and wife Shahr-i-Banu. His own body had 45 wounds due to enemy’s swords and javelins. His left arm was cut off. A javelin had gone through his breast and some 35 arrows were struck in his body.
“The teachings of Imam Husain are still relevant today…. Imam Husain always stood against injustice and attained martyrdom for the sake of peace and justice,” Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said while addressing a gathering of Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community in Indore.
Every year lakhs of devout Muslims take part in Ashara Mubaraka (lit. the ten blessed) a 10-day long period of mourning over the demise of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson (daughter Maulatona Fatema’s son) Imam Husain and his followers at Karbala. This also marks the first ten days of Moharram.
Imam Husain attained martyrdom on the 10th of Moharram in the year 61 AH after a 9-day ordeal in Karbala. On 7th Moharram, the armies of the incumbent caliph Yazid – who was in Damascus – cut off access to the river leaving Imam Husain AS and the men, women and children without food or water for the next 3 days.
On the 10th of Moharram, known as ‘Ashura’, the opposing army commenced battle slaying 72 of Imam Husain’s followers and Imam Husain himself in the late afternoon. The tragic events that unfolded that day defined Islam and its history ever since. The supreme sacrifice by Imam Husain and his followers was a rare unifying event in the history of Islam. It shook the Muslim world out of the apathy that engulfed it following the Prophet’s death and rekindled the dormant spirit of Islam in their hearts and minds.
The 10-day-long Ashara Mubaraka is observed in remembrance of Prophet Mohammed and his grandson Imam Husain, who along with his family and followers was martyred in Karbala and thus became a symbol of truth, loyalty and unwavering fortitude in the face of oppression.
The Ashara Mubarakah grieving period is an annual ritual for the Dawoodi Bohra community who consider it as a must-attend event and prepare to attend it throughout the year. Asharah Mubarakah sermons and gatherings are also conducted in all the towns and cities in which members of the community reside.
Every year, Dawoodi Bohras jamaats in different parts of the world request their spiritual leader Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin to allow them to host the event in their city. This year too, members of the Dawoodi Bohras community from Marol, Pune, Godhra, Chennai and Mombasa tried to pressurize the spiritual leader to allow them to host the event in their city but after much contemplation, Indore was chosen as the venue. Significantly the event is being held in India after a gap of three-years — the last one was held in Surat three-years ago.
“We are proud of our past, we believe in our present and are confident of our bright future”, PM Modi said.
Remembering the sacrifices of Imam Husain and appreciating the work done by Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the PM said that one thing common in their teachings is love and dedication towards the nation.
Highlighting the contributions of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Modi said that the community has always played a key role in India’s growth and progress. He expressed hope that the community will continue to spread the strength of India’s culture all over the world. Praising the Bohra community, PM Modi said that it was his good fortune to receive the affection of Bohra community even when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
It is this love and affection that has brought him to Indore. It is a part of Indian culture to take everyone along. This is what makes India different from all other countries, he said.
Modi mentioned the efforts taken by his government to improve the living standards of all citizens, especially the poor and needy through initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Awaaz Yojana—aimed at changing the lives of ordinary people.
Congratulating the people of Indore for taking the mission of Swacchh Bharat, PM Modi said that ‘Swachhata Hi Sewa’ scheme will be launched soon and urged the citizens to participate in the grand Swacchhta mission.
Complementing the members of the Bohra Community for their honest business practices, Prime Minister said that GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code are some of the new initiatives of his government to encourage honest businessmen.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the Religious Head of the Dawoodi Bohra Community
The India economy is growing and a New India is on the horizon, he said.
Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin – the spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan also addressed the gathering. Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin praised the PM for his outstanding work and wished him success.
The ‘Syedna’ or ‘Da`i al-Mutlaq’ is the highest religious and temporal leader as well as father and mother for the Dawoodi Bohras community members. The Bohras all over the world look for his guidance in all spiritual and worldly matters.
Significantly, this is the first time that Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin will be giving his sermons in Indore. His late father, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had given sermons here in 1986 and 2002 respectively.
The Bohra Community, though small, has certain special features, which have enabled it to carve a name for itself and develop a powerful code of conduct in social, religious and business affairs.
Prime Minister Modi also joined in the recitation of the Marsiya recreating the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain and his followers.
Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin –the spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community honoured the Prime Minister and presented him a shawl and prayer beads (Tasbih) in front of a huge gathering at the Saifee Mosque in Indore.
The world’s highest rail bridge is being constructed over river Chenab, in J&K at a cost of $92 million. When completed in 2016 the bridge will be 35 metres taller than Eiffel Tower and five times as high as Qutub Minar. The bridge is expected to be 359 metres (1,177 feet) high, taller than the world’s current tallest railway bridge over the Beipanjiang River in China’s Guizhou province (275 metres). It will be made of 25,000 tonnes of steel transported by helicopters over difficult terrain.