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What Have We Learned? The Journey of Sacrifice

As the fortieth approaches we begin to reflect,
the sacrifices made on the tenth,
and the sacrifice soon to begin.
Were they for naught or simply for our sorrow?

What have we learned from the thirst of the young and old,
from the night of remembrance & dhikr to the one to whom we return,
and from the last azan of the face of the prophet.
What have we learned?

What of that soldier that came to the side of justice,
and departed from this world with the cloth of the Queen of justice?

And of the nephew that claimed, “Death is sweeter than honey”?
Lets not forget the young sons at the cusp of greatness!
The nephews of Husayn, Aun & Muhammad,
the treasures of his beloved sister Zainab.

What of the one they call Babul Hawaij?
An uncle that couldn’t bear the cries of al atash,
and set off to the river to quench their thirst.
A brother denied his request to fight,
so that he may later be the one from whom our duas are fulfilled.
From the fallen grace of Abbas, what have we learned?

What of these sacred tears we shed in their sorrow,
the ones that cleanse our soul and give us the strength to change our tomorrow?

What of the last of the companions that stood on guard,
Their bodies taking in arrow after arrow protecting the one they call their Imam.
When their Husayn came up from his sajdah, they had fallen, and from this world they had gone.

What of Asghar, a child newly brought into this world,
his infant throat pierced by a three pronged bow.
Before the blood of this innocent splatters, a cry from the sky and ground is heard from all around:
“There will never be rain and forever more a drought”
With no other choice, he wipes the blood of his Asghar on himself.
A father pacing back and forth
How will he ever face the mother of his infant child slain in vain.
From his tiny grave and his empty cradle,
what have we learned?

From the seventy-two, now there is none,
our Imam stands on the battlefield all alone.

Zainab stands on the hill watching from merely a distance.
His holy neck, from the prophet to Zahra, had been a witness.
They knew what was to befall on this very day.
As the blade of the thalim gleams and glints in the sun.
As the blade of the thalim gleams and glints in the sun,
descending down on the very neck of our Hussain.
Our thirsty Husayn,
Our beloved Husayn,
Our shaheed Husayn.

Not a place on his body remains for his sister to kiss,
a bed of arrows, his body covered within every inch.

From his sacrifice and pain,
what have we learned?
His neck severed & body trampled into dust,
and so the real test is set in motion.

Upon the darkness, with torches they ride, tents all set aflame.
Women and children running,
and within his burning tent, our sickly imam stirs.
Taken as prisoners their journey now begins.

What have we learned from the chains encircling Imam Sajjad’s neck,
and of the ones encircling his bleeding wrists,
lets not forget the ones extending from his feet to his chest.

The stolen chadors of the women of noor,
their humiliation and degradation as they are paraded through the bazaar,
a sea of stones and hateful words.

From a family grief stricken,
enduring this test with patience and unwavering strength.
What have we learned?

The heads of the brothers, fathers and sons upon spears,
a torturous reminder to those innocents shaking with fear.

A journey dotted with unmarked graves,
of children fallen and lost in the forlorn desert.
These evil men with whips and chains,
laughing and goading, feeding their pain
“Where is your Husayn?” they ask with glee and joy,
fearless of the Lord of the ones whose heads they viciously tore.

Then from the head of Husayn atop the spear,
he recites the Qur’an, testifying even till his end, he is not gone.
From his infinite devotion to the one to whom he has returned, what have we learned?

Of the orphaned Sakina whose torn ears bleed?
What have we learned from this innocent child,
slapped and tortured without reprieve.

The one who was forever denied the chest of her father,
with his head she was later reunited.

Within the darkness of the prison,
her desperate cries became eerie silent.

From the anguish and sorrow of her mother and brother,
performing the ghusl of this delicate flower.

What have we learned from her bruised cheeks,
and the khutbas of Zainab and Abid in the court of Yazid.

The latom that Zainab established,
to testify till the end of time his stand for justice and humanity,
shall never be forgotten.
From his righteousness, what have we learned?

An army of 72 against a few thousand.
The start of the battle dragged on,
until there were more than ten thousand.
So that no one can claim “we do not know” of the injustice inflicted on the grandson of our Prophet.

As we stand here a thousand years later,
the Shia of Ali, Hassan and Husayn,
replying to his call.

Until our very last breath may we bear witness,
that your pain has not gone in vain,
oh my Husayn!

We are here for you our Imam,
Labbayk ya Husayn!

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