Part 7 – The Best of Seats

I begin in the Name of God

This is the night I was most looking forward to. I didn’t make full use of this eve last year but I fully intended to take advantage of this night in the Harraam of Imam Hussain.

I couldn’t remember what time it shut last year for Ladies, I was sure it was Maghrib time, but many said it shuts later. I didn’t want to take that risk so we left at around 4.

We thought we would try and go to the Zarih and it would be a bonus if we could touch it. I had no expectations, because it was the night of Ashura, so all the people would be here and also last I didn’t get to touch it.

Turns out the Imam wanted us to come straight away towards him and be as close as possible to him. We were only propelled forward and didn’t go backwards once. Naturally you still get pushed even when you are in the queue lanes, and so I was being pushed and then was squeezed in between two people, too much for too long. But Alhamdullah the moment passed.

It took some time to reach the Zarih, but I got to look at Imam’s Shrine for that long. That imagine is embedded into my heart. Just seeing all those people talking to Imam, you say Yazid killed him 1400 years ago, come to Karbala, and I will show you Hussain is still living the hearts and minds of people.

Hussain is immortal. His message and what he stood for has been passed from generation to generation from country to country and the love of Hussain. Because of him Islam is preserved. Because he gave everything for God, including his 6 month old child, Allah blessed him so that people love to go to him and we will remember who he was and what he did for us until the Day of Judgement.

As I got to the front the Khadima there pushes you so that you can touch the shrine and you move on. I was ready for that, but as I was ready to leave, I was pushed from behind and got to spend extra time touching the Zarih. Touching the Zarih on the night of Ashura is so sweet, and however long it is for, time is different here, and so it can feel like eternity.

On the way out, this woman was balling her eyes out, and saw the Khadima hug her. Where will you find such raw love and tears?

As is a common theme, we found an alcove – l love a good alcove especially when it is facing Qibla and dome.

Eariler at dinner ZS gave us some profound words. She was explain what ‘Aroza’ meant, she said that it means Garden and where you are in the Haraam is the Garden and that is Jannah. I really connected with that statement because in Jannah you are supposed to feel content in the presence of the Lord, isn’t that the highest level – contentment in yourself?

We headed into the basement because a Khadim said there was Jamaat there, but then the Khadimas said there was no Jamaat in the basement. We took the chance, because at least this way would get ample space to pray regardless of Jamaat.

RS had the smart idea to move to the front so that we wouldn’t get trampled upon every 2 minutes as people would pass over us. Because of this smart idea we needed up in the first line of Jamaat – they rolled the green mat out. I still wasn’t convinced there was Jamaat and asked the Khadima where the Imam was (ayna Imam). She literally took my hand and walked me across the room and showed me the Imam’s musalah.

5 minutes later, the Imam turned up with the Pesh Imam. He was a child literally, he must of looked around 8 (the Pesh imam). It was a really cool experience, although we had to pray Qasr because we were in the basement and not in the actual Sahan.

We are sitting here in the Sahan of the Imam and I am tired. But I know this chance comes around very rarely and so I am sticking it out and trying to appreciate where I am and why I have been called.

There is only so much you can sit, so we took a wander and tried to find an alcove. Obviously they are premium places, and you need to be really lucky to find a spot in them. We went back round into the basement, but it was a little stuffy and hot and came back out again. We stood for a procession that was going round just by our usual entrance and there wasn’t many people sitting on the side so we took a pew.

While we looking around, I praying we would find somewhere to sit and God provided with the best of seats. We see the dome full on, we can see the processions as they go round and the entire length of the Sahan. God is Great.

I just enjoy being in the presence of the Imam. I should be doing more supplications, prayers etc but I love just sitting here and feeling content and when I look around I see where I am – in the presence of Aba Abdallah.

The Khadims have a certain style of interaction with women especially when they go where they are not supposed to. They get quite close and another Khadim comes to join the conversation too. It can get quite intimidating and so the women leaves. Also, I have noticed that they are subtly kicking the women out. My removing some carpets, and making the male sahan bigger by moving the gates, the women have to move. But then the women have to find a space to sit, there isn’t that much space, and you get tired of waiting to find somewhere to sit, and so they leave.

Alhamdullilah Alhamdullilah Alhamdullilah we have such good spots and the women behind us got up and left so we got a wall. We got the best of seats – I’m so grateful I can sit here in comfort and be content.

I didn’t even know it was a dream of mine to see Bassim Karbalaei live , but that dream has come true. He has such a powerful voice mashallah, and you can hear the passion and sincerity in his voice. Words cannot describe what it felt like to hear him. And it’s a different sort of feeling that I cannot quite put into words – especially when it was in the presence of Imam Hussain.

At first, I wasn’t even sure it was him, his voice sounded like him, but I couldn’t see, and didn’t want to move because I had a really good spot. I confirmed with the individual next to me that it was Bassim. Normally during Nohas I get distracted, but this I was just transfixed by his voice. I understood next to nothing of his recitation, but that voice was just spectacular. And it’s more than the voice, it’s that understand what that voice is reciting and who it is for.

Thank you Allah.

‘Hayaati, Mamati, Ya Hussain

Safeeri, Najati, Ya Hussain’

I missed the Labbaik Ya Hussain post Ayatollah Qazwini lecture, we were in the other Sahan. I would’ve gone straight away to join them, but I didn’t want to leave my companion. God rewarded me by witnessing the Sahan come once again chanting Ya Hussain.

You see the videos online, but it is nothing compared to witness it on person, and it is even more special on the Night of Ashura. Everything just stops to turn to Imam Hussain and say ‘Labbaik Ya Hussain.’

I get it now, why Servants of Hussain are so content in life. They give their time, money and life for Hussain and they are rewarded with so much that is personal to them.

I feel so grateful, I was really tired coming to the Haraam and didn’t know if would be able to stay for as long as I did. I would’ve liked to go into the Zarih, but it is shut apparently and I don’t know if there is a path to get there. But I see the dome and that is enough for me.

I feel very honoured to be here on this night with the Lovers of Hussain. The Night of Ashura, and I am here in Karbala, in the presence of Imam Hussain. Who am I to be given this honour?

I missed out on fully appreciating what this night was last year and Allah gave me the chance again. I am so thankful for the opportunity and for everything that has happened since I entered the Harraam. I have touched the Zarih, been part of Salaatul Jamaat, and witnessed Bassim live. The first two are quite normal occurrences on normal day, but on the Night of Ashura, they are the stuff dreams are made of.

I am still hoping for spiritual enlightenment, is being thankful part of it, I do not know, but I am thankful God, I really am.

Thank you.


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