16th mi Safar ul Muzaffar, 1439

Looking forward to the 16thmi raat documentary has become a ritual for us. We wait in anticipation for yet another chance to revel, relive and reminisce the ever green memories of Burhanuddin Maula RA.

Awe struck each time by the miracles of Al Anwar, the historical details and events, these documentaries have become a unique treasure for us, from which we keep choosing every month timeless pearls beading them carefulluly on our hearts and souls. 

Envious is the time on the clock, it doesn’t go beyond it’s two digit limits, yet its significance and importance doesn’t change. The timeless repetition doesn’t bore, doesn’t cause any depreciation in its value and existance, yet it’s worth with every circle it rotates keeps escalating for us.

Envious was the clock in the documentary today, 4:20 it read, it witnessed the presence of Maula RA, it hung on the wall singularly with pride, unmoved, uninterrupted by any other entity of it’s world. The fortune of the time, the fortune of each moment it lived to witness the presence of Burhanuddin Maula, the fortune of being present today as immortal as it has always remained and the fortune of ours to be living with the same entity of moments, minutes and hours which elapses into centuries and beyond, with every circle that repeats the same journey, every moment shall repeat the tale of His RA presence to us. The time, the clock, the moments, the days, the months, years, decades and centuries will keep telling and retelling the ever fresh, the ever green memories of Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin RA. This ceaseless khidmat of time is indeed timeless and incessant!

Amate Syedna TUS,

Xeynab

Advertisements

For you have bid us farewell

maula salami.jpg

“Tum he socho zara kiyu na rokein tumhein

Jaan jati hai jub uth kay jaatay ho tum”

Faiz

 

No longer are the streets outside Burhani Mahal crowded

The road is lonely, the birds wonder

Where the prized guest could be.

 

The sound of the sirens wailing

Which made the hearts race

Are silent now.

The places of prayer stand awaiting

For the crowds to throng once again.

 

Oh to recall that one historic month when

The days were spent in anticipation of where we could run to perform deedar

The nights were spent in gratitude for the blessings which we daily reaped

The conversation revolved around our Maula

The goal was one for all

How simple and focused life was

There was no time to waste at all

 

All that is left are memories

Of your glowing countenance on the exalted Takht

Of your tapering fingers raised in Salami from the Paalki

Of that love shining in your gaze through the tinted car window

Of the concern in your eyes as they singled us out in a crowd

They are glimpses which flash upon the inward eye

Making us sigh.

 

 

Now that you have bid us farewell

There is a void in our chests where our heart once beat

For we may be here, beloved Maula

But our hearts remain at your feet.

Amate Syedna TUS

Maryam

Someday…

The dry wilted leaves covered the expanse of the vehicle’s windshield, while the wheels crushed a few dry dead leaves on its way. All of a sudden the yellow brown leaves seemed just too many to ignore, all of a sudden the trees above and the fallen leaves all whispered a tale of sorrow, the same which rejoiced with the merry in Spring just a day before, were grief stricken today, there was gloom, there was dismay, yet there certainly was HOPE, a hope for the season to return soon SOME DAY…

Amate Syedna TUS,

Xeynab

The Boy in the Hovel

images (13).jpg

He waits with eyes peeled,
His stomach aching from hunger,
His eyes yearning for sleep.
Yet, the boy remains awake,
Waiting in his dilapidated doorway,
Looking out on the street of Madina.

He waits for the man in the shroud,
The man who arrives in the dark of the night,
With an animal skin filled with food.

Lo! The Mashkiwala is here! His heart soars in relief.

The boy takes the feast from the visitors hands,
Who looks at him with saddened eyes,
As if remembering a pain worse than hunger.

The boy worries not,
If he has no morsel to eat the entire day.
For he knows that come nightfall,
There will be respite.
He tells his growling stomach,
That the ‘Mashkiwala’ (skin bearer) will be here.
“Just a few hours more,” he coaxes his bony siblings.

If on some nights, the hour passes midnight,
Even if there is no sign of the skinbearer,
The boy is not distressed.
“He will come,” he reassures his starving mother.
“Never has a night passed that these hundred hovels of Madina have not been fed by the skinbearer.”

And sure enough,
The Mashkiwala appears,
Like a ray of light in the bleak darkness of the hour.

The boy takes the food reverently,
And wonders how the visitor carries such a heavy burden every night.

Once he summons up the courage to ask,
” My Lord! May I help thee to carry this skin? Does it not make you weary? Does it not bruise your skin?”

The Mashkiwala does not answer.

Then he whispers, ” Wounds do not hurt me. I have borne many. On my body, on my feet . Yet, it is the wounds on the heart which refuse to heal.”

With those words,
His saviour disappears into the dark,
To feed a hundred other houses.

As the boy’s famished family,
Partake eagerly of the food the visitor has left,
The boy is left wondering,
About the wounds of his Lord’s heart.
And suddenly he is not hungry anymore.

Amate Syedna TUS
Maryam

They say time heals

 

images (9)

The flesh is in place
The wound seems healed
The blood has clot
The pus recedes.

When suddenly a wave of pain
Crashes in from the distant past
Unbidden

The stitches come undone
The flesh throbs
The wound bursts open
The blood flows
The pus oozes
The pain reigns.

Yet, they say time heals.

Amate Syedna TUS

Maryam

 

The Ailing of Karbala

download

He wore a crown,

Yet, walked with shackles on his feet,

An iron ring biting his neck,

His bare feet throbbing with thorn pricks.

His weary and ailing body growing weaker with every step,

His distressed heart sinking lower with every furlong traveled.

His eyes constantly moist at the memories of Karbala,

For once he recalls the young brother who was slain with a spear,

And next he thinks of an infant sibling who drew his last breath as an arrow pierced his parched throat,

Again he remembers the stalwart uncle who died with slashed arms,

And always he reminisces his father who bore a thousand wounds and was beheaded like no other.
As he trudges from Karbala to Syria,

Through the searing sands of the desert,

His mind replays the happenings of that ill-fated afternoon of Ashura,

Where the unimaginable occurred.

When the unspeakable unfolded.

His sisters follow him atop camels bareheaded,

His aunts look down upon the shadows on the ground in remorse and shame,

He cannot bear to look behind at them,

Look at the line of camels and their wretched riders.

The pain of the children tied together with ropes,

Is much more than the bleeding wounds of his feet, wrists or neck.

Like so he walks ahead,

With faith as his only companion,

The crown of Imamat upon his head.
He is Ali
The King of Kings,
The Supreme of all worshippers,
The ailing of Karbala ,

Destined to weep for a lifetime

Destined to live even after the world has ended in Karbala.

Amate Syedna TUS

Maryam

A Big Thank You from Karachi!

ashara pic

Ashara Mubarak, Karachi, 1439 Hijri was a series of miracles.

The news of Fasal Mubarak by the Husaini Dai TUS spread like wildfire. Karachi was chosen as the city to erect Khaimat u Noor and the ecstasy of the momineen of Karachi knew no bounds.

“Was there a greater joy than this?” we wondered.

Little did we know that this was just the beginning.

ashara 3

When Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Maula TUS arrived in Karachi a week before Moharram, we were exhilarated. The Nadil Burhani welcome was something out of a dream. The series of namaz and qadambosi bethaks during those few days was an experience of divinity.

“Could it get better than this?” we mused.

Yet, this was just a teaser.

ashara pic 2

Come the second of Moharram and there began the showers from Paradise. The pearls of wisdom during Ashara Mawaiz; the opportunity to be Abnaul Jamea and study from the Teacher of all teachers, the curriculum of Al Jamea tus Saifiyah during the nine days left us spiritually rejuvenated. Every waaz left us breathless with wonder and teary with gratitude. Maula’s TUS salami vanquished all demons and eliminated every fear. Maula’s TUS Nazar Mubarak was a balm for our wounds. The thirst of the last 21 years seemed a remote memory as we drank deeply and eagerly from the cool waters of the well of Kausar at the hands of the Dai of Saaqi e Kausar.

Every step Aali Qadr Maula TUS took flooded each mind with the memories of Burhanuddin Maula RA.

Karachi was Karachi again! A city where Duaat Mutleqeen RA stayed with ease and pleasure.

Yet, what added to our joy was the opportunity to play host to the 30,000 momineen who came from far and wide. The Africans with their lilting accent, the Westerners with their poise and the Indians with their verve and energy. We were delighted to see their pleasure at our humble efforts at hospitality. We were overjoyed to see them relish the bounties Karachi has to offer—be it their excitement at the shopping options in high-end malls as well as roadside shopping centres as well as their enchantment at the delicacies of flavoursome and affordable Halal food.

Even after the nine days of Ashara, these guests were ambassadors of the community, interacting with the Karachi locals and playing their role in the economic boom the city was experiencing. From the rickshaw drivers to the Careem chauffeurs; from the road-side sharbat vendors to the Pathans in Rabi Shopping Centre; from the staff in three star hotels to the Northern area tour operators—everyone was glad ‘Syedna Sahib’ was in town.

“What incredible security measures; the metal detectors and the bag checks and the cordoned streets of Saddar! Hats off!” said a guest from Kuwait.

“Karachi is like Mumbai! I’m so glad I got to come here once!” says a young man from India.

“The welcome at the airport was like no other; I’m impressed!” appreciates a Khidmat guzaar from Singapore who has been attending Ashara with Maula TUS for years.

“I cannot believe the malls here! You get everything! What terrible misconceptions I had about Karachi,” says a female IT professional from Dallas.

“I have never tasted food this good, ” says a businessman from Colombo as he chomps on a succulent mutton chop at Do Darya.

Thank you all for your big hearts and your meethi nazar, dear guests! Thank you for your Husnuz Zun!

May Karachi get the opportunity to play host to many other Ashara Mubarakas.

May we get the opportunity to do all that we were unable to do and take our hospitality to the next
level.

May this just be a beginning to a series of miracles.

Amate Syedna TUS

Maryam

Our Heroes, Our Guards:

I have written numerous times about this particular group of khidmat guzars, but every time there is something momentous they take up and without fail everytime their challenges puts each one of us awestruck, which compels momineen like me to keep updating of them and boosting about them to the world.

What I had witnessed in the last 18 days is efforts untiring, withered, wilted, heat burnt skins, uniforms drenched with perspiration, dried throats and tongues parched with thirst yet I see humble expressions, caring, generous characters, smiling faces never declining a question nor leaving any querry unanswered. 

The above may seem a repetitive description of them but the fact is that every time they are worthy of the same and I know of no other khidmat guzars who could ever be awarded in the world and hereafter for a khidmat of such description, calibre and expectation.

To put words to their deeds will always be a compromise, yet I struggle and try to be as honest without exaggerating much. So to say I am repeating every time the same words in their honour is just me paying my respects again for what they do and have been doing throughout, which for many like me is something we wouldn’t opt for the second time…

But this group never surrenders, they never stop, they bear lashes of all kinds, physical and verbal however they never seem to lift their brow to remarks which are outright rude and yet with challenges like these they with every passing day are getting more and more patient and professional in their endeavours to serve Maula TUS, which is their lone vision and mission, both. 

After the fasal of Maula TUS in Karachi, the one group of khidmat guzars who were and had been on their foot, up and about, day and night, come hail come storm were the Burhani Guards. To prepare for Ashara Mubarak in any city is no simple task. To the making of the Tutak (adding another floor in masjid ) and decor of the Masjid to the management of roads and traffic our heroes were seen on their duties everywhere. They spent sleepless nights to guard all these preparations, the management of people, clearing the pathways and setting up ramps, the Burhani Guards facilitated and worked as the spine to a body in the successful completion of this historic event of Ashara Karachi, 1439.

One of the most controversial set of khidmat guzars, and understandably so because their duty deals a lot with the management of people, and any job that deals with human resource is bound to have some unpleasant tales attached to it. This is rather inevitable. But having said that the Burhani Guards are the ones who are the most yelled at, kicked, pinched and smacked!

We momineen understand the colossal responsibility they take up on their shoulders and take accountability for assisting us in achieving what we so dearly seek. Today I feel we must stop, think and thank these Khidmat Guzars who are spread out in the city, at the airport, railway station, at the border, at the traffic signals, at that dingy dark lane, in a shade less area standing for hours burning under the scorching heat of the sun, just to ensure that every event of Maula TUS is a success. While we are struggling for a glance of Maula TUS, for a space to spread out our prayer mats in an air conditioned masjid, they are the ones on guard ensuring we get all we want while they busy themselves in their duties, keeping themselves deprived of any such barakat or facility. But that is indeed just a limitation of our thought. It is only Maula TUS who truly awards and rewards them. No words or any material possession can put a value on the efforts they make, they sacrifices they give and of course the ultimate Dua of Maula TUS they receive. 

Thank you Burhani Guards! JazakAllah Khairun

Amate Syedna TUS,

Xeynab 

Ashara Mubaraka: A Global Homogeny

“It’s 6:42 am” sets off my alarm clock like an everyday ritual. I drag myself out of my bed, and just when I reach the door I realize, I’m still in my night suit which is not at all an appropriate attire to roam about the house these days…
I deftly clothe myself into a light pink traditional jori, laced around with a petite white netted lace. Wrapping myself around with a darker shade of orhani which actually is a match on some other suit, I move out of my room in a jiffy only to find out I’m not the first one to get up and again the series of events ranging from people moving in and out, some already dressed while some up for breakfast has already begun. 
I swiftly took my car keys and rushed to the famous “Ideal Snacks” to get the scrumptious Halwa Puri which our foreign guests thoroughly enjoy and as per my promise, at 7 30 am the famous Pakistani breakfast is served. It’s a sheer delight to have a full thaal of people representing the international community. Sri Lanka, Nairobi, Dallas and India, ambassadors to the east and west, we form a circle around which we sit to have our breakfast where the men wear their topis (traditonal white cap with slight golden and white embroidered edges) while the women wrap themselves in an orhni (head scarf or dupatta in Urdu). We begin our breakfast with tasting a pinch of salt which is usually offered by the youngest member of the thaal. There are no new rules, nothing odd and no distinction felt. All of us have been brought up with the same values and same ethics be it any part of the world. Each one of us not connected with any blood or any relation, feel like a long distance family and our discussions are very relatable however vast the cultural differences of our land be. 

It is no doubt that every ashara, each year is a multi dimension learning experience, ranging from understanding various social, traditional, linguistic, economical and other aspects of the lives of our beloved brethern of this global community. We the Dawoodi Bohras are the true ambassadors of the modern term coined in today’s world as ‘globalization’. We connect at the very beginning of each year, spending 10-12 days together, mourning together the grandson of RasulAllah SAW, learning the words of wisdom which pave and enlighten every walk of our life, taking the same blessings of Niyaz e Husain AS and receiving countless bounties showered on us incessantly by our Maula Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS.  
This is my very first ashara when I got to act as a hostess. Before that I had only visited other countries as a guest to that land during these 9 auspicious days. UAE, Sri Lanka and Tanzania are not only religiously enriching but in every human way, momentous learning experiences of my lifetime. This year being a host I learnt practically the lessons of loving and valuing the neighbour, we stood by each other for every domestic, commuting and social help. We realized how far we had distanced yet ironically how physically close we had been throughout these years. I learnt this year that there is no happiness compared to the happiness of sharing and giving and the desire for that ‘personal space’ that we crave for all the time is a hoax, analogous to that chilled can of coke which is absolutely tempting but not at all beneficial and rewarding to one’s physical or spiritual self. There is nothing so satisfying and rewarding than sharing, having great friends and companions who stand by you, with you and selflessly love you. We the Bohras take pride in this international integration and divine unity. 

Amate Syedna TUS,

Xeynab

Let us be grateful

 

For Maula is in Karachi for Ashara 1439 H,
And we are besides ourselves with joy.

Let us be grateful,
For every Karachiitee feels Maula is here for him.

That old man who cannot sojourn,
This young mother with a wailing infant,
That woman who cannot afford to travel,
This man who cannot leave his ailing parents,

They all feel Maula TUS is here for them.
And they are so right.
So let us all be grateful.

Everyone wants a pass in the masjid,
Everyone wishes to perform Deedar every single day,
Everyone wishes to pray behind the King of Kings,
Everyone of the 60, 000 who have gathered in the Hazrat of the Husaini Dai TUS.

Yet, we do live in a world, Bound by time and space.
Thus, the 17 relay centres.
Thus, the hundreds of screens and thousands of TVs,
So everyone can be seated before Maula TUS.

Let us first be grateful,
To have been selected as the epicenter of Ashara Mubaraka 1439 H,
There is no momin at the moment who doesn’t yearn to be in Karachi,
Who doesn’t envy the Karachiittee.

Let us be grateful,
To have among us Imam Husain AS Himself,
In the guise of Mufaddal Maula TUS.

To be able to see that destiny-altering countenance,
To be able to hear those pearls of wisdom for nine days ,
Which will seep into our souls and manifest its reward in our nine generations,
To be able to hear the call of Ya Husain from Husain’s beloved Dai.

Let us be grateful,
For having being hand picked to be a part of the angels who attend Ashara 1439 H.

And let us remember that the more we are grateful
The more we will get
And each of us will surely get,
What we deserve,
And what is destined.

So let us be grateful.

Amate Syedna TUS

Maryam