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Written by Zainab Sadiq

Many Muslims make the pilgrimage to visit Karbala in Muharram as the Islamic New Year begins. The first 10 nights of this holy month are a time of collective mourning that lead to the commemoration of the death anniversary of the 3 rd Imam and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussayn. Those unable to make this pilgrimage mark the occasion at their
local Hussayniyahs and Masjids. Muharram 1442 AH/2020 however, is different. Not only are the millions of pilgrims that would ordinarily be making the journey to Iraq unable to go,
but we have shifted the ways we are all mourning within our own countries. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many religious centres are have remained closed moving the regular in-person programs to online ones or have shifted to only accept limited numbers of worshippers.

While this time of mourning is usually communal, with majalis happening in our centres of worship and in our homes, we have a unique ability to keep the message of Imam Husayn alive in 2020. The values of justice, truth, and compassion remain important in today’s social and political climate. By staying home and commemorating this Imam’s sacrifice within our social bubbles or via zoom, we are displaying care and compassion for one another. By
wearing a mask when you enter into a building, you are displaying that as a follower of Imam Husayn, you care about all of humanity and are willing to bear a mild discomfort for the good of your communities.

The stand that Imam Hussayn took against a tyrannical ruler like Yazid and the importance of standing up for truth and justice is also an important topic that has come up in 2020. It is important to participate in the political process and to lend your voice or your funds where
you can. While it is a difficult time for many to remain home, and it hurts to see the city of Karbala barred to all non-residents, it is important to remember why we mourn.

These 10 days mark a time of remembrance, reflection, and improvement. If we carry on as we normally do, ignoring guidelines to social distance or remain at home, we let down that message of Imam Hussayn. We have the ability to mourn with family from across the world, to uphold the same practices we would with an in-home majlis though the internet. We can
still follow along with the lectures from our masjids at home and we can still uphold the message of the Imam. The ability to care for your communities by donating blood, time and funds can all be done in the name of Imam Hussayn. While many of us miss our masjids and
majalis during this time we need to remember the values the Imam stood for and ask ourselves how we can best uphold them.

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