Ottawa: An event of great value in the history of Islam has been displayed by an Islamic organization in Canada to honor the Martyrs of historic Karbala War and most amazingly the display was performed inside of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Hall which transformed this weekend into a life-size Islamic history lesson.
An Ottawa-based Islamic youth group, Mahdy Generation, organized the event and worked for three months to create the display to honor Hazrat Imam Hussain who laid down his life with 72 companions in order to rescue the religion of his Maternal Grandfather Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) against evil forces in Karbala War around 1400 hundred years ago.
Muslims remember Hazrat Imam Hussain as a brave leader who remained steadfast in the face of oppression and did not hesitate to fight with an army of thousands to rescue Islam with his only 72 soldiers and sacrificed his life in the way of Allah. His family including women and children were also with him in the historic war.
The purpose of the weekend’s exhibition about the noble life and martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain was to teach Canadians of other faiths a little more about Islam and to explain what the true Islam is which is quite different from what is portrayed in media about the Muslims.
“We’re trying to bring awareness to who Imam Hussain was and trying to take away from the way the media portrays Muslims,” said Rukiah Jheran, 24, one of the coordinators of the event.
In order to illustrate Imam Hussain’s martyrdom, members of the youth group, ranging in age from 10 to 22, each memorized a part of the story and presented it to people walking through the dimly lit room.
Jheran, who also teaches young children at the Ajyal Al Mahdy Islamic School every Sunday, said that the students are getting as much from the exercise as the visitors.
“One of our main things is to teach the children what it means to be a Muslim so they don’t grow up believing what they see on TV,” she added.
She said that she teaches the children to incorporate what they learn at Islamic school about respect, the importance of family and kindness with what they learn at public school, “in order to live a good life in Canada.”
Teibah, a 16-year-old student, standing next to the display illustrating the importance of prayer, said that even though she knows she should pray five times daily, sometimes it’s hard to find the time.
She said, “If my friend is over or I’m watching a show, sometimes I forget ... but, I’m learning and if Imam Hussain could pray during battle, then I can pray.”
Jheran said that along with respect for others and daily prayers, the importance of learning and educating is an integral part of her religion.
She said, “One of Imam Hussain’s sons was a scholar and he said we should take all of the knowledge that we can in this world and we will never be done learning.”
When asked if she considers herself a “moderate Muslim” in contrast with the “extremists” who carry out suicide attacks in crowded squares.
She answered, “I wouldn’t say that we’re moderate Muslims. I would say that we are just Muslims.”
“That man on TV — the one blowing himself up — he is not an extremist Muslim. He is not a Muslim at all,” she added.
The exhibit attracted about 150 people on Friday and about the same number on Saturday.