Muharram brings about many memories each year, and most of them have to do with two of the most influential women in my life; my Nani, Madam Noor Jehan, and my eldest Khala, Zile Huma. The moment, the memory, compel a conversation about devotion, about commitment, about humility and about heartfelt sorrow. I grew up around true devotees of Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). They were were so committed in their love for Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) that it translated into an unmatched commitment to his legacy. What I experienced growing up was not a debate about who has right or who was wrong. It was an expression of an unparalleled human connect to a belief which transcended the politics of it all. I try & relive that experience in my everyday life, for we have, as human beings, somewhere lost the will to commit without disclaimers, without provisos.
I remember Nano not wearing shoes, clad in a simple Black Shalwar Kameez, devoid of all that is worldly, whilst radiating spirituality. I remember my Huma Ji in tears, sitting on a Prayer Mat, praying for the fallen and being overwhelmed with emotions. I saw them divorce themselves from the glamour of their public personas and surrender to His Will. They were spiritual women who were always very connected to Allah. Above all, I felt them adorn humility as a crown because that is what Muharram and Karbala teach us; what it is to be human.
The tragedy of Karbala enables us to stand for what is right, to die with our heads held high for what we believe in, rather than live under oppression and surrender to what is not acceptable to us. It is a haunting tale of sacrifice and honour. The world that we live in today miserably lacks the spiritual elements required to maintain even a single moment of the valour demonstrated by Imam Hussain (AS) and his followers. Here is hoping that we can all gravitate back to the ideals of those who have dressed this world with true inspiration and congregate in the memory of their righteousness. Here is hoping that we make that journey sooner rather than later.
With these thoughts, I share with you a Marsia recorded by Nano, which I was recently introduced to by my Khala; Nazia. In her voice, you will hear honest emotions which will move you and awaken you to the deep connect she felt towards her beliefs. I recognise that the Marsia will soften even the most rigid of disbelievers. When appreciated for what it represents, it is that powerful!