Idea No 10: Reconnect with and share the message of Hussain (as) with the neighbours of our Islamic Centres!
One of the ideazz during the ten days of Muharram was to share the message of Hussain (as) with our neighbours. In line with the ideazz during these ten days of ‘group’ activities, this is a phenomenal initiative to now reach out to our local centre’s neighbours.
Just before the commencement of Ashra-e-Zainabiyya, the Hyderi Centre in South London, UK and Stanmore Centre in North West London, UK did exactly that!
In Stanmore, a group of 11 people (including two children) got together and knocked on 200 doors to give them a gift bag including:
1. A Who is Hussain Card (www.whoishussain.org)
2. A Buzz Christmas Card
3. A special message inserted inside the card to apologise for any inconvenience we may cause them throughout the year
4. A small box of chocolates
Although mixed feedback was received, overall the neighbours deeply deeply appreciated the gesture and even gave a gift back in some instances 🙂
Some of the mixed feedback included:
1. You have been great neighbours.
2. The foot flow makes us feel safe.
3. Haven’t really noticed any inconvenience.
4. Please be more considerate when parking and don’t damage the grass area.
5. Next morning, there is a lot of litter of Styrofoam cups left lying around 🙁
Overall – it was a very positive fulfilling experience for those involved.
If any other centres have done something similar, please do share!
For those centres that want to reach out, this can still be done by replacing the Interfaith Christmas card with a New Year’s card and putting an additional insert that was used for Stanmore (this can be emailed to you – please feel free to get in touch).
Idea No 9: Take part with your family in an Arba’een Procession (Sent in by Nishaat Bhimani)
The arbaeen procession is on the 6th of january. I have attended and volunteered at this event (the photo is of the procession last year). It give me a sense of victory when I see Shias in such great numbers in the heart of london praying in congregation and lamenting for our Imam AS and his family AS.
Remember to wear warm clothes if attending for the whole day and wear comfortable shoes. For families with little ones, carry a stroller. More info available at www.arbaeenuk.com
Idea No 8: Re-create the Caravan of Pride through a collective project. (Sent in by Sameera Yusufali)
This year in the month of Safar, a childrens workshop was held at Hussieni Islamic Center of Orlando. In order for the children to really understand the aftermath of Karbala and how the Ahlulbayt suffered, the workshop decided to engage the children in making a project which allowed each child to participate.
The project shows how the caravan of pride was taken to the palace of Yazid, and how they were made to wait outside Yazids courtyard for three days while the onlookers mocked them. It also shows the palace of Yazid and the dungeon where the Ahlulbayt were kept as prisoners.
The children were divided into groups according to their ages and were assigned to make different parts of the projects, such as flags, the marketplace, Yazid’s mimbar, the dungeon, the onlookers, and the family of the ahlulbayt on camels tied to each other with ropes.
As the children were busy making the project the teachers explained the different aspects to them as they went along; this gave them an insight and a true feeling about the tragedy of Karbala. When each of the groups had finished their assigned task, they came and placed what they made and thus working together, completed the the project. One of the teachers then took each group and explained to them in detail about what happened when the Caravan of Pride reached the courtyard of Yazid.
Creating a project where the kids are able to visualize helps the children better understand the sacrifice of Imam Hussien and his family.
Idea No 7: Re-enact the Story of Karbala through a Play – and make it come alive for both those participating, and those watching. (Sent in by Jawad Yusufali, 13 years old)
The play I acted in was based on the events when Imam Hussain (as) along with family and companions left Medina and started their journey towards Kerbala. Some of the highlights were when Imam Hussain was in the court of Waleed (la), and when Imam gave his last farewells to the graves of his grandfather, mother and brother. The play ended with Imam Hussain (as) asking the tribe of Bani Asad to bury their bodies after the day of Ashura and to treat the Zawaars of Karbala with respect and honour.
In this play I acted as Imam Hussain (as) and being the main character was a big responsibility, but also a blessing, because out of the whole crowd of spectators and other actors behind stage, I was the one who was able to understand the situation Imam Hussain was in the most. Because I had to show different emotions in different parts such as courage and grief, I in turn felt the hardship and burden that Sayyed Shuhada felt when he had to stand up for Islam.
To conclude, the play I acted in was a very unique experience, one that I learned from, and Inshallah, one I hope that many other people will learn from in the future.
Idea No 6: Encourage links between generations as well as learning, through a Mentor Mentee program (Sent in by Swaleha Karim)
An ongoing part of the Karbala Projct was a Mentor Mentee program whereby younger participants were able to learn from older youths regarding topics they chose and then present the information at the mosque before the the majalis, Alhamdulillah we had 16 participants and this program is still ongoing.
(NB. I personally think this is a superb and unique initiative which has so many far-reaching benefits! Would love for my children to be part of something similar here in the U.K. – Buzz 🙂 )
To see an overview of all the collective things the youth were involved in, please see the video linked!
Idea No 5: Hold an Essay Writing Competition (Sent in by Swaleha Karim)
The Karbala Project in Minnesota also held an ongoing essay writing competition where participants could write on the following topics:
Ages 14-18: If you were to meet the 12th Imam, what would you speak to him about?
All Ages: Is it a birth right to call the 12th Imam or is it something that is earned? How is this earned?
P.S. The questions could be adjusted for younger children age groups too…!
Idea No 4: Hold a Poetry Slam (Sent in by Swaleha Karim)
In Minnesota, this year the Karbala Project’s mission was reflect on our faith from Karbala to Imam Mahdi. This mission was carried out by a combination of events that enabled participants to reflect and serve Allah (s.w.t) through the teachings of the Imams.
Ome of these events was a poetry slam where participants expressed their views on Karbala in the form of Spoken Word Poetry. This event gathered a lot of viewers and many were moved by the words of the speakers; the speakers varied widely in age, as you can see from the pictures!
Idea No 3: Encourage the expression of grief, love and understanding of Karbala through different forms of Art – then hold an exhibition! (Sent in by Sumayya Pirbhai)
The impact of pictures and images on any child is usually greater than any form of words will be. Having noted this in our workshop sessions, we presented the idea of an art exhibition to the community to submit works that related to our theme: “Revolution of Kerbala through Art”.
A mass invite was sent to the community and many members were contacted directly to encourage maximum participation. Participants were given guidelines and were required to submit an artist statement which explained their art and answered the question “How does this relate today?” After all the submissions were received, each work and statement was on display for a few days leading up to Ashura.
Many children invited their friends to “come and see this one” whilst adults were overheard drawing their own conclusions from the works on display.
Dreams we have of becoming one with al Mahdi (atfs) must be put into action and the art exhibition on the Revolution of Kerbala drew on these dreams to be put into visual presentations to aide our thoughts…
Idea No 2: Children’s majlis (OLDER AGE GROUP – sent in by a mum)
From the age of about 3 my son really enjoyed listening to matams, going for family majlis’ and having a little azadari area at home where he would put all the Islamic decors and alams we had.
When he was about 5 we decided to have a boys majlis and invited a few friends and also a couple of people from Voices of Passion to recite Marthia and Matam for them, then ended the majlis by serving their favourite finger food and giving them an Islamic souvenir to take home.
It was amazing to see how the young kids participated in the azadari imam Hussein (a.s), specially at the time of doing Marthias and Matam.
Since then we have been having boys majlis at home every year and alhamdulillah invite more and more kids.
Subhanallah, during the last month and a bit, we have had so many wonderful opportunities to commemorate the event of Kerbala. During the first ten nights, we shared ideazz on how to do this in our homes and with our families. We will now focus on how we can do this as a group, while still involving the children also.
Idea No 1: Hold a children’s majlis (YOUNGER CHILDREN – Idea sent in by Faiza Mawji)
Being a mum of three young children (aged 2, 3 and 4) I have always felt that their age group is missed out on in terms of Muharram education. Although the two youngest attend our community nursery, they are exposed to Muharram based activities and education but only whilst at nursery. Once we take them to mosque then they just follow us like sheep and are kept occupied during majlis. Although I actively explain each nights significance etc, I feel they have never experienced a majlis for their age group and decided to hold one.
We had about 20 children with ages ranging from 2 to 5 years. We tried to stick to the conventional majlis schedule by having Marthiya, Hadith-e-Kisaa, Majlis, Matam and finally Ziyareh. However, with a twist! The majlis needed to be based on the typical majlis but in a way that the children would benefit from.
We had a marthiya recited by a friends young son, Zahid Alidina. He was superb and has recently been reciting in the main program at our mosque.
We had Hadith-e-Kisaa as a story version. So our ‘Mulyani’, a dear friend Shellina Walji who is amazing at getting children’s attention put together a story book with pictures. Her 3 year old son can be seen in the photo’s helping to turn the pages. The story was excellent as it showed the Holy personalities depicted by a ‘shining moon’ under the blanket (as the verse goes “I then witnessed his face glowing like a full moon”). As each member of the Holy Family entered and went under the blanket another moon appeared on the next page. The story had many beneficial educational elements in addition to the story of Hadith-e-Kisaa. It encouraged counting (the children counted as each person entered the blanket), it showed nature scenes (the verses “I created..this Earth…moon..sun…planets..oceans…”) and of course children are very used to the story book format.
We then held a show and tell majlis. We had put up posters of common Muharram themes. An alam, a zarih, a mashk and also some of the art work the children had created at nursery. The ‘Mulyani’ then proceeded to ask and explain to the children what each element meant.
We had borrowed some alams and two zarih’s to keep at the majlis, another friend Ishrat Pirmohammed and the children then recited “Oh my Asger” and did matam. We then did Ziyareh.
The children were given Niyaz in takeout boxes of chips and chicken nuggets, a box of juice and also bags of fruit, dry fruits and a wafer bar. Mums had their own Fatiha bags.
After the whole thing was over I was left with a feeling of immense satisfaction. Our house was blessed with our dear friends and family’s presence, we mourned and remembered Imam Hussein (as) and his family, and best of all; all the children regardless of age did benefit in some way or another.
Obviously being our first childrens’ majlis, there were challenges, but none of them affected the children’s gain from it, but it did give me ideas on what I would change if I were to do it again Insha’Allah.
+ the timing, we had to keep it at 1215, so mothers could pray and come, and also that the mothers could attend ladies majlis at mosque in the morning. I would keep it earlier so that the very small children would not have been close to their nap times or snack/lunch times.
+ perhaps more items in the show and tell majlis.
Overall, I think it was a success, I felt the confidence to do it again and cannot thank our friends and family for all their help and especially to all those who took part so wonderfully and genuinely.