Ashura, on the 10th of Muharram, marks the bloody end of Hussain’s life on the battlefield of Karbala. Since then we mourn him. All over the world today millions mourn for a figure that has come to embody resistance against oppression of all kinds.
Hussain fought against the caliph Yazid with an army comprising 72 people; mostly members of his own family. And then he watched them die one by one. For us Shia, without Hussain we would not have this path, such zeal, or meaning for the way we believe in Islam. He is our way home.
As for me, I am sitting in a hotel room tweeting this while tears run unstoppably down my face. I wish I were home among my people remembering my Imam. How I wish I were among my giant-hearted, crazy, chest-beating people who wail the name of Hussain with a fervour that might bring him back.
Yes, we Shia are mad. Year after year we take out our black clothes, hit ourselves and start crying for a man who’s been dead for centuries. Passion, love, and faith close companions with lunacy. I am certain we are in possession of all that to remember Hussain the way we do.
When you do not mourn Hussain, every day is Ashura. Every place is Karbala.
Do not think that grief takes something away from you. For us Shia it returns something essential to us: the will to be courageous.
The reverence for Hussain reaches far beyond Shias and Muslims. The world knows his name. The world over, his standard does not bow.
Ya Ali. Hussain. Hussain. Hussain.