Today is Yom-e-Ashura, commemoration of Imam Hussain’s Martyrdom.

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Muharram is one of the most sacred months for Muslims. Indeed, it is one of the four sanctified months of the year where peace is mandated and conflicts are to be mitigated. The Shahadat (martyrdom) of Imam Hussein turned two critical chapters in Islam.

First part is the sad demise of Imam Hussain, where we lost the righteous guidance for centuries to come. The second part is a loss of the democratic process in Islam as Yazid, the villain usurped the leadership by killing the legitimate leader of Islam.

Yom-e-Ashura is a day of commemoration.

This event, the 10th Muharram is commemorated with two themes; commemorating Imam Hussain’s martyrdom and following the Jewish tradition.

It is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husain ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad (PBUH) at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH – October 10, 680 CE). In some Shi’a regions of Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Pakistan, the Commemoration of Husain ibn Ali has become a national holiday and most ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Even in the predominantly Hindu majority but a secular country like India, Ashura (10th day in the month of Muharram) is a public holiday” – Wiki.

It is also commemorated by Sunni Muslims (who also refer to it as The Day of Atonement) as the day on which the Israelites were freed from Pharoah of Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Ibn Abbas narrates that Muhammad (PBUH) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the tenth day of Muharram. He asked, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Yah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Musa (Moses) fasted on this day.” So he fasted on this day and told the people to fast. Many Sunnis also recognize the importance of the events at Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in regards to Ashura.

Will Shiite and Sunni Islam Ever Reconcile?

The Centrality of Imam Husain to Islam. dialogue

There is another brave frontier to be crossed – that is to get rid of our prejudices against fellow Muslims and let each one be who they want to be; Muslims as they believe. Thanks to Allah for blessing me to treat all Muslims equally with no prejudices – be it Ahmadiyya, Sunni, Shia, Ismaili, Bohra, WD Muhammad and other groups. Alhamdu Lillah we have conducted the first such conference at the Boniuk Center at Rice University.

Islam needs a home after 1400 years of stagnation and choking did by the monarchs, mullahs, kings, and dictators; finally, it is free and at home, here in America.

Intrafaith Relations

For the first time in the U.S. History, the Boniuk Center of Rice University in Houston organized an intra-faith dialogue between Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyya Muslims. I was a part of the organizing team and moderated the event. It was good to see that dialogue to understand each other. It fulfilled the value of the Quranic verse, which acknowledges the uniqueness of each human and urges to know each other for the sake of creating harmony. Houston Chronicle has delivered a full report, and you will find it at website as well.

Here is a video of the event, you can find on youtube “An Intrafaith Panel Dialogue on Islam 2013” by the Boniuk Institute.

The second time the Ahmadiyya, Sunni and Shia Muslims came together was when the Center for Pluralism held a peaceful interfaith event on the eve of Quran Burning incident in Melbourne, Florida. A part of the program was to pray 2 units of Muslim prayers, and typically they don’t pray together as they do not accept anyone to lead the prayer as an Imam.  Fortunately, I did not have any bias towards anyone, and they all agreed to pray in the prayers I led.

The third time around was in Dallas, Texas. We celebrated Prophet Muhammad’s birthday through poetry recitation, called “Mushaira.” Each denomination of Muslims including Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sufi, Sunni, WD Muhammad sang in praise of Prophet Muhammad along with Jain, Hindu and Sikh reciters.

Natiya Mushaira Video

Everyone will be a winner with God, no one will go to hell, if he or she is going it will be because he or she messed up the harmony of self and others. God offers a choice until one’s last breath to repent and regret and restore balance, God loves us all and wants us to live in peace. God repeats many times in the Quran, he says whether you are a Jew, Christian or other, and if you are kind to fellow beings, your reward is with me. I urge you to think about this seriously, you don’t have to be a Muslim to earn God’s grace, but you have to be kind towards fellow beings to receive his blessing.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker and the Executive Director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him at


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