I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. Yet, it’s hard to write about something so much greater than yourself. You fear that you may not do it justice. Why do I write this ? Because the man I will try and speak about is too great to keep to myself.
This year, I was lucky enough to go to Iraq in April. You may wonder, as many would, why I would want to go to Iraq at this point in time. Let me start with this: The largest peaceful gathering has been an estimated 21 million people in Iraq of January this year. It happened in the city of Karbala at the shrine of a man known as Hussein. The big question is who is Hussain and why would millions of people go and visit him ? A site has been created by a few youth in the UK to try and share this man and his message with the world http://www.whoishussain.org/.
Hussain was a man who lived 1400 years ago who stood for Justice, Truth and Valour. A man who believed in charity, love and standing against injustice. He is a man who shows us that there is hope in every situation and to stand by justice no matter what the cost. 1400 years ago seems like a long time ago yet to this day the love of this man is overwhelming for those who know his story. People like Mahatma Gandhi have said “I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” Dr. Radha Krishnan writes, “Though Imam Hussain (A) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.” This video is a powerful intro into this man who brings lovers from across the world.
The 21 million people was recorded in January of 2012 during a period called Arbaeen which means the 40th. Arbaeen notes the 40th day after the day of Ashura, which was the date of his martyrdom 1400 years ago. 40 days is the usual mourning period in Islamic culture. Arbaeen has been known to bring record-breaking masses yearly. 2011 Arbaeen brought 15 million. 2012- 21 million and I can’t imagine what this year will bring but I have no doubt that the record will be broken for this man is not simply a religious figurehead but a man who stands for universal principles that every person admires. He is a man for every religion, culture and color. He is a man that ordinary people look up to everyday and his troubles and tests make ours look small. He ignites a fire in the heart that is difficult to extinguish. A fire that longs for justice and is willing to take a firm stand against injustice.
Despite the grand numbers Iraq brings, it suffers from great poverty. It is sad that so many people go to see Hussain but forget that he was a man who always gave charity and loved the orphans and would hate to see this country in such dire poverty. However, people are now starting to wake up, syncing their feelings for Hussain with actions that replicate his and attempting to try and help out.
People from all over the world are leaving this weekend for Iraq to commemorate Arbaeen once again. Many are also doing a walk from the city of Najaf in Iraq to the city of Karbala. It is a 3 day walk where they will walk in the day and sleep in tents at night. I have been told that it is a sight to see. Walkers are looking for sponsors so as to raise money for electricity in Iraq.
“The money you sponsor will bring light into 4000 homes in villages around Karbala who currently have no access to electricity. The lighting of their homes will enable the family to be safer in the dark, avoid inhalation of diesel fumes indoors, burns due to naked flames and allow children to study after dark. Through Lady Fatemah Trust (a UK based charity who take 0% commission) all your donations will go directly to funding this project” – Taken from http://www.justgiving.com/teams/n2k.
I am unfortunately not walking this walk but I’d like to help any person who is in helping them alleviate the little bit of poverty they can and bring as much light as possible. Here is the site for anyone interested in doing so http://www.justgiving.com/teams/n2k. We are responsible for the change we want to see in the world and every dollar/pound makes a difference.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
– Nelson Mandela