Stories about Muharram

Why are C-sections becoming more common than natural birth?

Upon a recent visit to a private hospital, I was perplexed by the quirky change in nature’s playground; almost every second birth happened to be a caesarean. Were indulgent mothers insisting on it, or were they being brainwashed into it by unscrupulous doctors? Apparently, neither. These cases indicated a very genuine need for a caesarean. Regardless of how hard the medical staff tried, the stubborn baby simply refused to come out. Cocktails of hormones and solutions were provided to induce the contractions; however, it was all in vain. In such defeat, one had to resort to the machine and deeper, more invasive measures ...

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Kashmir Day holiday is fine but you have an issue with Holi?

Nothing brings out excessive patriotism in Pakistanis like blatant jingoism and bigotry. The Pakistani government recently agreed to allow the Hindu festival of Holi and the Christian observance of Easter as public holidays. This, however, did not sit well with our patriotic, bleed-green Pakistanis who took to social media to portray their “rage”. In short, all hell broke loose. Photo: AFP I, for one, do not understand the reason behind this uproar. The decision seems absolutely justified as people belonging to minority groups should be able to observe and celebrate their religious events, just like Muslims do. Why is it ...

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Show some respect – Muharram ‘holidays’ are not an opportunity to have fun

It was yet another mid-term exam for the management course and I was filling in my answer sheet at a rapid speed while trying to put forward my best handwriting. Although I was still tired from my hectic schedule in the last couple of days and was feeling a bit tired and drowsy. However, due to the fact that I have been good at rote learning due to my medical school days, the exam proved to be a piece of cake. Frankly, I had it all covered well before the schedule for the exams was announced. As I was handing ...

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Will Gilgit-Baltistan witness a peaceful Muharram this year?

As the Himalayan peaks witnessed their first snowfall, I was automatically reminded of my days in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I turned towards the window overlooking the silhouette of mountains, and I wondered whether Gilgit will witness a peaceful Muharram this year. Gilgit, being the capital of the province, is home to a fair representation of all sects; Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis and Noor Bakhsis. During Muharram, streets are thronged with men, women and children making their way to various majalis and processions.  “We climb the mountains around Gilgit valley to illuminate the name of Imam Hussain (RA), drawn out with candles,” says a young ...

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Karbala is a call for empathy, a call to stand up against injustice

Today, conversations on religion, religious beliefs and notions even peripheral to religion are quickly associated with extremism, conservatism and terrorism. Therefore, I would like to begin with a definition of the word ‘religion’. Religion means ‘to bind’, to connect an individual to God – it is an institution with a purpose to transcend human beings and connect them to their creator, be it Allah (SWT), Ram, Jesus, Buddha or just Nature. However, religion remains incomplete without a line of tradition and rituals, which is an attempt to humanise the process of connecting with God. Muharram is the first month of ...

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The sentiments of Karbala do not only belong to Shias

I would firstly like to inform my readers that I am a Muslim, a Hussaini at heart. I believe that Imam Hussain (RA) was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He was the one who had gifted us our religion back. I would like to shed light upon the Battle of Karbala. This tragic event was not just an attack on Imam Husaain (RA) but also his family and followers. It was an attack on the family of our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) – the same Prophet (PBUH) who was extremely concerned for the good of his Ummah, and spent his nights ...

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The importance of the Battle of Karbala and our ignorance towards it

With the Islamic month of Muharram upon us, I wanted to take the opportunity to implore Muslims (and whomever might be interested) to check out some of the events happening in their municipalities on the remembrance of the battle of Karbala. I will not talk about the battle itself, rather I would like to provide a few reasons as to why learning about this battle is vital for all Muslims. Though I cannot speak to the accuracy of the content of the lectures that are happening in your area, I still implore you all to attend these events in order to gain knowledge of ...

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I felt safer in Iraq than I do in Pakistan

When I told my friends and colleagues about my plans to visit Iraq, I received much criticism and concerns. Understanding that Iraq, like Pakistan, is under a constant threat of terrorism, the response was much anticipated. But unlike Pakistan, Iraq has a history of hosting pilgrims and tourists – even in the face of adversity. And that was what made my resolve to visit this historically rich country even stronger. Pilgrims usually visit the shrines of Imam Ali (RA), Imam Hussain (RA), Imam Musa Kazim (RA), Imam Taqi–e–Jawad (RA), Imam Ali Naqi (RA) and the martyrs of Karbala, especially of Hazrat Abbas (RA). ...

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Four ways to condemn violence against minorities in Pakistan that are all wrong!

Minority communities in Pakistan are thankful for their moderate friends from mainstream Sunni school of thought, for supporting them in these harrowing times. Countless have condemned the attacks against minorities, and many have risked their own lives to stand up for others. However, in a few circles, some arguments in opposition to violence against minorities, while appearing to be a condemnation of violence, often end up being detrimental to these side-lined communities. Here are a few of those arguments, often heard from mainstream moderates (and if you hear yourself making one of these – please stop): 1) “We shouldn’t kill Shias because Shias and ...

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I’m Sunni and I went to the 10th Muharram procession in Melbourne!

Pakistan, home to 180 million people, saw another deadly Muharram this year when 57 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Lahore. Each time, short term administrative solutions are followed to bandage the plague of ideological intolerance that has infected us for years. Cities are put under curfew, statements of condemnation floated, promises of fool-proof security made and cellular services blocked for as long the government deems fit. Nothing much has changed since last year, when Raja Bazar in Rawalpindi was gripped by sectarian violence. This religious intolerance and administrative failure is in stark contrast to what I recently experienced in a foreign land. I come from a ...

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