On the eve of June 13, the Shia community of Long Island, New York, was given word that they were being given the opportunity of seeing the flag that waves high above the shrine of Hadrat Abbas in Kerbala.
There is something strange about the personality of Hadrat Abbas. There were 72 martyrs in the battle of Kerbala, one of them being Imam Hussain (peace be upon him). But there is something strange about the personality of Hadrat Abbas. When people hear his story, they feel a sudden attachment like no other.
On the eve of June 13, the Shia community of Long Island, New York, was given word that they were being given the opportunity of seeing the flag that waves high above the shrine of Hadrat Abbas in Kerbala. With only a few hours to promote the event, community members sent out the word as quickly as possible. Let it be known that we Shia in Long Island owe this great opportunity to one person, Danial Iqbal, who drove five hours each way to retrieve the flag and then the very next day, did it again to return the flag. Once the flag had arrived to the Masjid, volunteers began to set it up to raise on a wooden pole decorated with flowers, and a Panja. The flag was red, and with big white letters, it read "Ya Qamar Bani Hashim" (O the Moon of Bani Hashim).
At the start of the event, approximately 25 people had arrived, and as soon as each person went to pay respects to Hadrat Abbas through this flag, he began to weep. It was like it was the 8th of Muharram. The event opened with the recitation of Hadith al-Kisa (Event of the Cloak), followed by some elegies. Then a speech on the greatness of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) was delivered by the resident scholar of Shah-e-Najaf, Maulana Rehan Naqvi. After his speech, the crowd, which reached close to 100, began to beat its chests and recite elegies. The ceremony was capped off with Ziyarat Ashura.
This was an opportunity of a life time for some, especially those who have grown old and have not been able to visit Kerbala. For others, this was just the beginning as Insha'Allah traveling to Kerbala will become easy in the future.