10th Moharram is a day of mourning for all Muslims. The tragic incident at Kerbala where the righteous Hussain refused to submit to the autocracy of Yazid is an event laden with deep symbolism. Hazrat Imam Husain and his faithful companions preferred to die on the banks of river Euphrates and upheld the struggle of good against the evil.

Khawaja Muinuddin Chisty’s powerful verses epitomise the reverence and devotion of Muslims towards Imam Hussain:

Shah ast Hussain, Badshah ast Hussain

Deen ast Hussain, Deen Panah ast Hussain

Sardad na dad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed,

Haqaa key binaey La ila ast Hussain

Loosely translated

Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain,

Faith is Hussain , guardian of faith is Hussain .

Offered his head and not the hand to Yazid.

Truly, the mirror of faith is Hussain

As Adil Najam writes on All Things Pakistan:

Growing up in Pakistan, the night of Ashura was always defined for me by the Majlis i Shaam i Gharibaan (often by Allama Naseer ul Ijtihaadi) on PTV on the night of dasveen Muharram, which was followed immediately – and at right about midnight – by Syed Nasir Jahan’s soulful recitation of Salam-i-Akhir.

Bachay to aglay baras hum hain aur yeh gham phir hai

Jo chal basay tou yeh appna salam-i-akhir hai

His soulful voice, so pregnant with a deep and heartfelt pain, always echoes in my head when I read of continuing sectarian violence and the instigation of sectarian hatred.

However, the ugly face of sectarianism is now haunting the entire Islamic world. There have been deaths in Pakistan recently and I have forgotten the number of people dying each day in Iraq. Forgotten? Yes, it sadly increases by the day..

And the true spirit of this sacrifice by Prophet’s family gets clouded by politics and imperial projects.

And for the poor Iraqis, Kerbala is not an event from their distant past.