Circular No.: JMT/134/2021 Date: 7th August 2021
27th Zilhajj 1442
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful – Peace and Blessings be upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his pure progeny.
COMMEMORATION OF THE MUHARRAM AZADARI DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
The two months, Muharram and Safar have approached us with Allah’s (s.w.t.) grace and mercy. This is when we commemorate the great Martyrdom of Sayyid al-Shohada Aba Abdillah al-Hussain (‘a), his family members and his faithful companions in the desert plains of Karbala.
The uprising of Imam Hussain (‘a) the grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w.), against the unjust rule of the Ummayyads on 10th October 680 AD (10th Muharram 61 AH) was a stand of haqq (truth) against batil (falsehood). The exalted mission and sacrifice of Imam Hussain (‘a) was fundamentally to purify the society from any evil and wickedness and to promote goodness and righteousness in submission to Allah (SWT) which is only possible when people are free of tyrants and oppressors like Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufiyan.
The martyrdom of Imam Hussain (‘a) has transcended 1400 years and still profoundly moves Muslims and non-Muslims alike including all the oppressed people who fight against tyranny and oppression. The exalted example of the martyrs of Karbala epitomizes Islam itself and has become a symbol of hope, strength and encouragement for mankind to seek peace, justice and truth.
The Shia Muslim Community around the World mourn during these two months in commemoration of the supreme sacrifices in Karbala for the sake of Islam and Humanity. Many of the events held during this period take place in congregation halls known as Hussainiya/Imambargah.
This year again we continue to face the challenges of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic as the current Delta Variant is spreading all over the world, including Africa at a rapid speed. Alhamdulillah, a large number of our community members have been vaccinated; however, the risk of spreading the same remains high especially in enclosed places of large gatherings.
The Governments in several African countries including East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands of Madagascar have issued directives restricting large gathering and advising citizens to get the Covid-19 vaccination in their respective countries at stations within the cities they live. Africa Federation is strongly emphasizing to all members to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Member Jamaats under Africa Federation who are blessed to hold the Azadari Programs are advised to adhere to the guidelines and directives of the Government Health Authorities in their respective countries of domicile. The guidelines and directives are meant for the health and safety precautions for all the citizens of the country, and thus we must all be responsible, responsive and abide by them.
It will be upon Member Jamaats of Africa Federation to determine carefully and enforce the health and safety regulations for the Ashura Juloos, this is subject to obtaining permission from the relevant Government Authorities. Since the Juloos begins and ends with a large gathering of people – young and old, it is imperative for the Jamaats to first assess the local situation carefully giving appropriate health and safety consideration in their assessments.
The Office of our Majra-e-Taqleed Ayatullah al Uzma al Sayyid Ali al Hussaini al Sistani (May Allah [SWT] grant him good health, long life and protect him from all adversaries, Ameen) had issued the following Advice last year for the Commemoration of the Azadari during the current pandemic situation, which is still valid:
- Increase and promote live broadcasts of the beneficial lectures on the message of Imam Hussein (‘a).
- Hold commemoration gatherings for Imam Hussein (‘a) in private homes restricted to family members and those you are closely in contact with.
- Broadcast the symbols of Ashura by raising black flags and banners in the, streets, alleys, and other public places, without violating the laws of the country. Banners should include passages from the words of Imam Hussein (‘a) to remind others of his profound reformative movement and the great tragedy.
Following are some simple Health & Safety Precautionary Guidelines for Muharram 1443 A.H.
- Members should be encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible which will protect themselves, members of their families and the community at large.
- Members should clean their hands frequently with soap and running water, or use Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, before entering Hussainiyas and when exiting.
- Wearing of Face Masks covering the mouth and nose properly should be mandatory.
- Maintaining Social Distancing of at least one (1) metre away from each other.
- Those suffering from cold, headache or fever should stay at home and avoid attending ceremonies (It is obligatory to protect others from viruses).
- Elderly people must be extra vigilant in all precautionary measures and seek medical advice.
- As far as possible, Take-Away Nyaz should be served, and in places where Nyaz or Sabil is served in the Hussainiyas, disposable utensils should be used and safe distances should be maintained.
- Hussainiyas opening and closing timings should be strictly observed, and gatherings (groups) after majlises in the compound should be discouraged.
- Where possible, open air spaces should be utilized for Azadari, open air spaces are safer compared with closed spaces.
Member Jamaats should broadcast regular reminders through their Media channels to educate the community members on the need to exercise caution and taking necessary precautions consistently for their own health and safety and for others too.
Let us all become responsible Azadars and set examples to others, during this Pandemic situation.
Let us all pray for peace, tranquility and safety of all our Muslim brothers throughout the World and peaceful Muharram and Safar programs.
Zuhair H. Jaffer