How many people have I heard cry their souls out in the beginning of the Muharram. People crying hard and lamenting - yes, both MEN and WOMEN crying hard in a public setting. Crying hard for the genocide in the scorching deserts of Kerbala, Iraq 1400 years ago.
My Leader and Example, my role model and saint, Hussain (peace be upon him) - the grandson of the last messenger and prophet of God, stood his ground against a regiem and tyrant that still continues to kill today.
Most people don't appreciate the intensity of this tragedy, both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, most Muslims tell me "why are you crying over a death that occured 1400 years ago, get over with it and move on"
Non-Muslims, especially ones living in peaceful countries - never having to fear a dictator, or muderous opressor, don't see the point of commemorating, celebrating or mourning the death of someone who actually stood up and died on his feet, compared to most leaders who'd rather live on their knees.
I'm sure my readers still don't really grasp the necessity to remember the message of Imam Hussain(p.b.u.h), but when you see children dying in Ghaza and people burnt to death in a suicide bombing in Iraq, and Kenyan's running for their lives, and Congalese in threat of another civil war, than maybe you would appreciate the story of a man who stood up, when everyone else sat down.
Especially when that man was one of the most beloved of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), more than any other companion who some dance around for in circles for when they hear their name. More than any other scholar who spent their life trying to propogate their perspective on islamic law. His message was as potent as Muhammad's because it WAS Muhammad's message: Justice in the face of Tyranny, self sacrific, never remaining silent who injustice occurs, action, action, action.
Don't just shed tears, don't just sit and wallow, don't just watch the news and get angry. Get up. Struggle and sacrifice, spend money on the needy, teach people about the need to bark at their government's when they've stayed silent on genocides. Teach the young to be active in their communities and be just in the treatment of others. Teach people that humanitarianism is the greatest act of worship.
Maybe once in our lives, our tears and anger will actually turn into action, maybe once in our lives, our butts can get off their floor, and actually uphold the message of the most incredible leader- Hussain (a.s) whose spirit still lives on.
If I cry this year, it'll be because I'm witnessing my students cry. If I cry this year, it'll be because I'm angry, not sad or shocked at the opression of Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family - I will be angry and cry at the fact, that his message will go to waste without our change in direction and using this religion for the benifit of humanity.