The consistent commemoration of the tragedy of Karbala in every age and generation, past and present rekindles the teachings of Imam Hussain (`a) invigorates and strengthens the connection the believers have with the Ahlulbayt (`a). It is the proclamation of the tragedy’s philosophy and goals that revives the message of Imam Hussain (`a) and his companions and brings it to life year after year so that people may relate to it and apply its principles in their daily lives.
Imam Khomeini has said, “Muharram and Safar are the two months that have preserved Islam.” The mourning ceremonies of Imam Hussain (`a) should be such that they make us remember the cause of the uprising to which the Imam stood firmly for – to save Islam. By remembering him, we will remember his cause and will aid in the protection of the religion of Islam in the same way as the Imam protected it.
As the legacy of Imam Hussain (`a) continues and Karbala lives on – we delve into the History of Azadari in Burundi.
Elders of Burundi recall that in earlier days, they had two small rooms within the same premises where the ladies and gents would gather and commemorate the azadari of Aba Abdillahil Hussain (`a). Then Marhum Haider Mawji helped the community to expand and build a bigger Imambargah.
During those days azadaari in Bujumbura Jamaat would be a busy day for the Ladies as they would come early for morning majlis then stay on at the Imambargah and cook lunch together, after prayers then nyaz would be served. Sometimes some ladies would not go back home but stay at a neighbor’s house to connect for the afternoon majlis that would be held at about 4 p.m. Thereafter the norm was that a ladies majlis would be held at any community member’s house after Maghribayn before the night majlis. 3 days before the Day of Ashura, some ladies would stay at the Imambargah at night as the Alam of Hz. Abbas (`a) would be put up. The night of Ashura would be spent by both gents and ladies in Azadaari at the Imambargah. Such was the dedication of the community members that one of the elderly Ladies of the Jamaat Marhuma Kulsumbai Alibhai Jiwan cooked nyaz for the jamaat for 40 years – free of charge, and at the same time the Marhuma (May Allah grant her place in Jannat) would also prepare and recite the majalis everyday.
One of the main events that brought the Burundi community to the limelight took place in the year 2004 – with the encouragement and support of the then Resident Aalim Syed Abu Iftikhar Zaidi who sought for and was granted permission from the local authorities, the Jamaat could have their first ever Ashura Juloos (procession).
Having speeches in Swahili/Kirundi allowed them to reach the local community; majority of whom had not heard or known much about Imam Hussain (`a) and his message. The event made positive impact to the local population and also received media coverage.
Another key event was the first Blood Drive that took place in Muharram during the mid-90s. It was the first time that such an event took place at a community level. The enthusiasm with which people gathered to donate blood in the name of Imam Hussain (‘a) was indeed heartwarming.
Since then, almost every year a blood drive has been organized. Initially the blood drive used to be held in the Imambargha premises. From 2013 to 2019 “Who is Hussain” organization took over the blood drive from the jamaat and shifted it to the center of town (also known as Centre ville) with a related theme. In 2021 the Jamaat retook the organizing of the event and once more it takes place in the mosque premises like before.
The Burundi Jamaat has accomplished a milestone in media. For years the Ladies were accustomed to just hearing the Majalis without being able to see the speaker and following Duas using books that did not necessarily have translations.
Then a few youth of the community took the initiative to raise funds to buy projectors in order to display the Duas with their meaning. However, relaying a video stream of the majalis in the Ladies section was still not possible.
Gradually more people started getting involved; the necessary equipments to relay and stream the programs were purchased and finally in May 2019 the media team was formed.
The timing worked out in favor of the Jamaat as the following year the COVID pandemic hit the world and all the programs shifted online.
Dr. Radhakrishnan (2nd President of India) quotes: “Though Imam Hussain (`a) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.” The remembrance of the Tragedy of Karbala every year invokes mankind from slumber and drives attention towards emancipation. The message is universal and eternal. Imam Hussain (`a) transcends national and linguistic boundaries, and this is why his sacrifice is mourned and praised century after century.
Let us remember the Marhumeen of Bujumbura Jamaat and all the other Marhumeen who have passed away with a Sura-e-Fateha.
Source: Bujumbura KSI Jamaat
We request all AFED member Jamaats to send us articles and news on the Muharram events in their respective Jamaats and photographs for publication.
ARCHIVES SECTION OF THE AFRICA FEDERATION
19th August 2022 / 20th Muharram 1444 A.H