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[And And united their hearts; had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them, surely He is Mighty, Wise] (8:63)

How ironic that the greatest tale of justice conquering injustice, should itself be dealt with by such great injustice. Is it not a great injustice to convey a story, without expressing its moral and acting upon its message? Yet the message of the day of Ashura lives in peoples’ hearts merely as a fantastic myth. We often fail to realise that the events of Ashura have a powerful significance behind them that go far beyond the lamentations in the mosques and Husseiniyyas. More often than not, the story of Ashura is presented to us as a sorrowf ul tale of injustice, perpetrated on innocence – it has become nothing more than a mournful legend, told year after year. What we fail to realise is that the episode of Kerbala was a peak in the consistent characteristic of our existence. Our lives are nothing but a constant battle of right against wrong, justice against injustice, good against evil, truth against falsehood and liberty against oppression. This

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Volume 8 8,, Issue 4 Muharram/Saffar 1424 March/April 2003 2003

battle between right and wrong, on this Earth, began with the murder of Habil by his brother, Qabil, and will end only when our 12th Holy Imam, Imam Mahdi (ATF) establishes total justice upon this Earth. This is why our 6th Imam, Imam Sadiq (AS), so eloquently said, “Everyday is Ashura and every land is Kerbala”. However, until falsehood is completely eradicated by Imam Mahdi (ATF), the unceasing revolt against evil continues on a variety of levels; be it the struggle within the individual, against the evil of the self, or conflicts and battles against oppression on a global scale. The message of Ashura has acted as a source of hope, dignity and courage for those at war with injustice and oppression. Ashura has served as a symbol of self-sacrifice in the way of Allah (SWT), so much so, that Shaheed Mutahhari (Continued on page 8)

Patience of Imam Sajjad (AS)

AZADARI Conveying the Message

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Editorial Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Assalaamu alaikum. Inshallah this Issue of Voice of Unity has reached you all in the best of health and imaan. Allah (SWT) has narrated in the Holy Quran, the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS)’s great sacrifice and perpetuated praise to him among all generations to follow. This act showed ultimate submission to the will of Allah (SWT), such that the Almighty has embedded it into the rituals of the hajj, ensuring that it is repeated and remembered by Muslims of all walks of life, year after year. By the same example, the shia (followers) of Imam Hussein (AS) recall the events of Kerbala – a great sacrifice made solely in obedience to the will of the

Almighty. Just as the rituals of hajj do not benefit the emulated, but increase the piety, strengthen the faith and preserve the morality and justice in the pilgrim, recounting and weeping over the events of Kerbala serve only to benefit the devotee. As Imam Khomeini (RA) said, “…lamentation gatherings and meetings unite the people and give them direction”. Therefore, the overriding principle in the existence of a Muslim, is obedience to the will of Allah (SWT) and such was exemplified throughout the lives of all of our A’imma (AS) as a beacon for those who wish to see the truth. Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “Whoever sheds a tear over our

spilled blood, or over our usurped rights, or over the dishonour we have suffered, or any of our followers has suffered, such a person shall be blessed by Allah (SWT), Most High, in Paradise for a long period of time”. Therefore, let us pray to Allah (SWT) to grace us with the opportunity and blessing to co mme morate the events befalling Aba Abdillah alHussein (AS), this year and for years to follow; and may He hasten the reappearance of His Hujjah, Imam Mahdi (ATF), Ameen. Sr Tahera Tajri

Unanswered Supplications Prophet Muhammad [SAW] has said: “If a servant who is favoured by Allah [SWT] supplicates, Allah [SWT] says to Jibrael, ‘Grant his request but delay it, for I like to hear his voice more and more’, but if someone in disfavour with Allah [SWT] supplicates, Allah [SWT] says to Jibrael: ‘O Jibrael! Grant the request of my servant with haste, for I don’t like to hear his voice’”. Imam Ali [AS] has said: “Never have the impression that Allah Almighty has opened the door of Dua but has closed the door of answering Dua”. Imam Ali [AS]has said: “Sometimes Allah Almighty delays answering the Dua so as to give both a greater reward and a further blessing (to the supplicant)”. Imam Sadiq [AS] has said: “The Muslim believer whose calls were not answered by Allah [SWT] in this world will wish that none of them would have been accepted when, in the hereafter, he sees the abundance of rewards (given to him for his Dua not being answered and suffering the troubles in this world)”. Imam Sadiq [AS] has said: “I am surprised by the state of a Muslim man, for any of Allah [SWT]’s decrees about him is a blessing. Whether he is torn into pieces with scissors or he is the master of the east and west, it would be a blessing for him”.

Holy Prophet (SAW): “Strive always to excel in truth and virtue.”


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Sr Bushra Jafri “It is someone whose footsteps are known by every place; and it is he who is known to the ‘Bayt’ in Mecca, the most frequented sanctuary. It is he who is the son of the best of all men of Allah (SWT), and it is he who is the most pious and devout, the purest and most sustained, the chastely and most righteous, a symbol (for Islam). This is Ali (ibn al-Hussein) (AS) whose parent is the Prophet (SAW). This is the son of Fatima (AS), if you do not know who he is. Whosoever recognises his Lord, knows also the primacy and superiority of this man because the religion has reached the nations through his house.” This is perhaps the most eloquent testimony composed by Farazdaq, an eminent poet of the Imam (AS)’s time. Farazdaq is referring to the occasion when the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd Al-Malik was overshadowed by the respect that the people showed towards the great-grandson of the Holy Prophet (SAW). It was during the time of Hajj when they were both trying to reach the hajr al-aswad (black stone) that the people gave way to Imam Sajjad (AS) while the Caliph struggled desperately to move through the crowd. This offended the Caliph and in a sarcastic tone, he enquired who the person had been to whom the people had shown such respect. Farazdaq was present at the scene; thereupon he composed this poem and recited it addressing Hisham. There is no need here to recount the tragedy of Kerbala, when Imam Hussein (AS) and many of the male members of his family were martyred by the tyrannical forces of the Umayyad Caliph, Yazid; an event which shook the Islamic world and propelled the Shi’ite movement. Imam Sajjad (AS) had accompanied his father on the march towards Kufa, but had fallen ill. He was ill in Kerbala, to where the caravan was diverted. When Imam Hussein (AS) came to bid farewell to Imam Sajjad (AS), he approached Imam Sajjad (AS)’s bedside and handed over the charge of Imamah to him. Imam Hussein (AS) informed of the difficulties and tortures that would befall him immediately following his martyrdom and advised him to observe the highest degree of patience and fortitude against every aggression and oppression that would be inflicted on

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him and his dear ones, and never to get angry or curse people. Once, a person came to Imam Sajjad (AS) and started addressing him with filthy and abusive language. The Imam (AS) remained silent and recited to himself, ‘and those who restrain (their) anger and forgive the people; and Allah (SWT) loves those who do good’ (3:134). “Brother”, said the Imam (AS), “you were standing so proudly over me and you said all that to me; if you have said what is in my character, then I seek forgiveness for it. If you have said what is not in my character, may Allah (SWT) forgive you”. The man kissed the Imam (AS) and said, “Yes, I have said what is not in your character. May I be worthy of your forgiveness”. It is narrated that once Imam Sajjad (AS) was travelling to Mecca to perform Umrah. He was travelling on a camel that was walking very slowly as it was tired, so the Imam (AS) pointed his stick towards the camel and then paused for a moment and said “O woe if there was no retaliation (in the next world)”. This narration illustrates that the Imam (AS) knew that if he hit his camel, he would be answerable for it in the hereafter; so he refrained from hitting the camel and chose to walk instead. It took him 20 days to walk to Mecca in comparison to the 3 days it would have taken by camel. This story portrays the patience that Imam Sajjad (AS) showed towards animals as well as humans. Being the followers of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS), we should learn from our great leaders to practise patience in our daily lives and build on this precious quality. References 1

Kitab Al-Irshad, The book of guidance – Shaykh AlMufid 2

Hussain, The Saviour of Islam – S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali

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The Psalms of Islam – Imam Zayn Al-Abidin & Ali ibn Al-Husayn

Imam Ali (AS): “Put aside your pride, set down your arrogance and remember your grave.”


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THE ROLE OF ULEMA During Ghaibat al-Kubra Part 1 A series of talks delivered by Sheikh Muhammad Ali Shomali. The text of the passage has been amended where considered necessary for clarity of expression. The Shia stand during the occultation of Imam Mahdi (ATF), in which they have no direct access to the Imam (ATF), involves both theological and jurisprudential discussions. In this article, we will be discussing the concept of ijtihad because in order to understand the role of the Shia fuqaha (jurists) during the occultation, we must have some understanding of the concept of ijtihad and its sources. We shall see that there are two types of occultation and discuss the order among ulema (scholars). When we refer to faqih we should have a clear idea of what faqih means, what ayatollah means and what hujjatul Islam means, so that there is no confusion. We will then discuss the institution of marjaiyya, which is a very important institution in the Ja’fari madhhab (school of thought). The Concept of Ijtihad The term ijtihad in Arabic literally means ‘to do one’s best’, and a person is called a mujtahid literally when he tries hard and does his best for a certain cause. Technically, when we say ijtihad, we mean ‘the process of deriving religious rulings from their religious sources’. For example, it is the role of such a person to determine the Islamic view on banking, hijab, politics, etc. The procedure is very sophisticated and it is not an easy task. Sometimes for a single fatwa (edict) to be issued, ijtihad might involve weeks of enquiry and investigation of religious sources. Ijtihad must be based on valid sources, it cannot be based on personal opinion nor on the preferences of the international public. To determine the Islamic view on an issue, we must refer to Islamic sources and be qualified in understanding these sources. There are four sources from which religious rulings are derived: 1. the Holy Quran, 2. traditions including the sayings, the practices and the tacit approval of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the Imams (AS), 3. consensus (derived through consistencies in the rulings of past scholars under certain conditions),

4. aql (reason). The methodology of understanding religious rulings from the above sources is studied in the science of usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence). Naturally, the Holy Quran is the most important source for all Muslims, which is exemplified in the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAW) and his noble AhlulBayt (AS). The consensus of the laypeople or even Ulema, according to the Shi’ite view is not in itself a valid proof. It can only be considered a proof when it unveils or uncovers the view of the Holy Prophet (SAW) or the Imams (AS). In other words, consensus is only supporting evidence and not primary evidence. The Shi’a believe that if one scholar can make a mistake then thousands of scholars can make a mistake too, i.e. as long as they are fallible they can make mistakes. The consensus becomes a proof when at least one of the participants in this consensus is known to be infallible, i.e. the Holy Prophet (SAW) or one of the Imams (AS). According to Islam, the aql is a hujjah (divine proof) and acts as an ‘internal prophet’, and the Holy Prophets (AS) sent by Allah (SWT) are the external reason. There is complete harmony between reason and religion; there is no contradiction at all. Islam is a rational and reasonable religion. If there were no reason then we would not be able to verify the religion or the claim of a true prophet. According to the well-known rule of mulazimah (correlation between religious ruling and intellectual ruling), whatever judgement is made by the intellect, the same is made by religion and vice versa. For example, the intellect says that justice is good and honesty is good, so we do not need a reference from the Holy Quran or ahaadith to ensure that Islam approves of them. As long as we understand that a judgement is genuinely rational, we realise that Islam is in agreement with it. Similarly, when Islam disapproves of something, whether we have a specific rational argument for it or not, we know that the intellect will also disapprove. For example, Islam says that we must not drink wine, so even though we may not know the specific reasoning behind it, our intellect would say that as it is something that has been prohibited by Allah (SWT), Who knows everything

Hadhrat Fatima (AS): “Allah (SWT) made justice a harmony of the hearts.”


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and is the Most Benevolent, we must refrain from it. There is nothing to cause us to think that there may be good in disobeying this command. So, from both sides, it is very interesting to see how reason and religion support each other in Islam. Who is a mujtahid? Now we come to the question, who is a mujtahid or faqih? To attain such a position one must be well-qualified in understanding the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and the rational rulings. To understand the Holy Quran is not just to be able to read it or to translate it. Similarly to understand the Sunnah is not just to read or even memorise some ahaadith or to know Arabic. Likewise, to derive clear and certain rational rulings does not just involve studying a few books on logic or philosophy. Ijtihad is a very demanding qualification and involves deep knowledge of several disciplines and mastering several skills. Nowadays it usually takes about twenty years or more of study to become a wellestablished mujtahid. However, the time taken is somewhat dependant upon one’s talents. The role of mujtahideen during the time of ghaibat al-sughra (minor occultation) The time of the presence of the Imams (AS), that is, the period up until the year 260AH, in which Imam Askari (AS) was martyred, is called ’asr al-dhuhur (the age of the presence), in contrast to ’asr al-ghaibah (the age of the occultation). During the time of the presence of the Imams (AS), which lasted through 250 years, the role of Shia scholars was not very complex since most of the time there was the possibility of referring to the Imams (AS) directly and asking them for guidance. (We say ‘most of the time’ because during this period it was not always possible to refer to the Imams (AS), especially whilst they were under house arrest, e.g. the 10th and 11th Imams (AS), and the Shia had no easy access to them; or if the Shia lived in cities far away from the Imam (AS) of their time.) So, there was the possibility of enquiring directly from the Imams (AS), but not always and not with the same ease and convenience. Therefore,

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during the time of the Imams (AS), they trained a group of the companions to start ijtihad and derive specific rules from general rules. In a clear and very well known hadith, Imam Sadiq (AS) is reported to have said to some of his companions: “Our task is to give you the principles and your task is to derive the implications”. There are also cases in which the Imams (AS) have asked some of their companions, e.g. Aban ibn Taghlib to issue fatawa (edicts) for the Muslims. When Imam Askari (AS) was martyred and Imam Mahdi (ATF) was just five years old, the Shia experienced a new age in which they could not visit the Imam (ATF) – the period of ghaibat al-sughra (the minor occultation). Therefore, the Imam (ATF) personally appointed four individuals (one after the other) to act as his representatives to the Shia community. These deputies of the Imam (ATF) were called the nuwwab al-arbi’ah (the Four Deputies) and included Uthman ibn Sa‘id, (his son) Mohammad ibn Uthman, Husayn ibn Ruh and Ali ibn Muhammad alSaymuri respectively. The reason for this was to prepare the Shia for the next age, which is known as ghaibat alkubra (the major occultation). When the Shia had questions for the Imam (ATF), they referred to these deputies who then acted as a means of communication between the Shia and Imam Mahdi (ATF). Before Ali ibn Mohammad died, Imam Mahdi (ATF) gave him a message. This message was of condolence to the Shia for losing him (in advance) as he was the last means of communication to the Imam (ATF). So the Imam (ATF) asked Allah (SWT) to make the Shia patient and reward them for their patience. He then asked Ali ibn Muhammad not to introduce anyone as the deputy after himself. So with the passing away of Ali ibn Muhammad, the ghaibat al-kubra began. During this period no particular person was appointed as a deputy and we will discuss in the next part, the period of alna’ib al-‘amm (the generally appointed deputy). 1

Thus, it becomes clear that in the Shi’ite school of thought, respect for and obedience to the mujtahid or faqih is respect for and obedience to knowledge and piety that qualify someone to have such a position, and not to the person themselves as such. The Shi’a follow the most knowledgeable and the most pious jurist, since he is the person who would be most likely to represent the views of the Ma’soomeen (AS).

Imam Hasan (AS): “The height of intelligence is associating with people amicably.”


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Sr Hala Abbas

Hijab can be defined as a covering or a barrier. From the Islamic point of view, clothing has two purposes: to cover the body and to beautify the appearance: ‘O children of Adam! Verily, we have bestowed upon you clothing to cover your shame as well as to be an adornment to you’ (7:26). Allah (SWT) warns people concerning nakedness, as it is from Satan. He says in the Holy Quran: ‘O children of Adam! Do not let Shaitan seduce you in the same manner as he expelled your parents (Adam and Eve) from the garden, stripping them of their raiment in order to expose their shame’ (7:27). Islam has therefore made it obligatory on Muslims to cover their private parts in order that they may be distinguished from the naked animals. In terms of dress, hijab is different for men and women. This is because Islam makes it haram (prohibited) for women to wear clothes that fail to cover the body or which are transparent. It is likewise haram to wear tightly fitted clothes, which reveal the shape of the female’s body. Hijab, in terms of dress for men is the covering of the awrah (private parts), which is from the navel to the knees. This is unlike the hijab of a woman, for whom are prescribed the covering of all the body except the face and hands. The purpose of hijab is to serve as a barrier between men and women in order for them to refrain from evil desires and temptations. It thus serves as a shield from people who have evil intentions. Although hijab is thought of as an obligatory dress code for Muslim men and women, it is also an attitude expressed in one’s character and behaviour. Thus, hijab should be incorporated into one’s personality, e.g. by the

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lowering of the gaze. Hijab is therefore not only a form of dress code, but it is also a code of practice in order for believing men and women to be chaste and modest. Thus, if we are careful of the ‘small’ things like eye contact and touch, then we will most surely refrain from bigger sins that ‘vandalize’ the concept of hijab. Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran: ‘And Allah desires that He should turn to you (mercifully), and those who follow (their) lust desires that you should deviate (with) a great deviation’ (4:27). Role models of character should be sought by believing men and women, so as to look upon their behaviour and attitudes as points of guidance. One very important role model for Muslim men is the Prophet Yusuf (AS), who’s belief and fear of Allah (SWT) protected his dignity and chastity before the Almighty’s sight. The Muslim woman walks and talks in a dignified manner, careful of the impact of her speech. As Allah (SWT) says to the wives of the Holy Prophet (SAW) in the Holy Quran: ‘Then do not be too pleasant of speech, lest one in whose heart there is a disease should feel desire (for you)’ (33:32). It can therefore be concluded that hijab is not only the covering of the body, but it also encompasses behaviour and character. Surely Allah (SWT) is a witness over all that we do, so we should be careful of how we conduct ourselves before our Creator and act in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Reference Yusuf al Qaradawi, The lawful and the prohibited in Islam, 2nd edition, al Faisal Press.

Imam Hussein (AS): “Oh Allah! It is You in Whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence.”


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Br Abbas Al-Mamouri “Whoever wakes up in the morning and does not care about the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim, and whoever hears a Muslim calling ‘O Muslims!’ and does not heed to his cries is also not a Muslim.” Holy Prophet (SAW) The above hadith summarises not only our duties and concerns towards our fellow Muslims, but it also explains that there are many hardships faced by us and other Muslims globally. Whether these are physical, mental, or spiritual; whether it is a struggle faced with the sword or with our minds, it need not be faced alone. Often our minds may not be able to solve some questions or our hearts may not be able to bear the pain, so we talk to someone who we feel we can trust, or someone who can understand or relate to the situation. Allah (SWT) never tests a person beyond their capabilities for He is The Merciful, and He understands what we go through in life, for He is The Wise. It is a common belief that the misfortunes and hardships that fall upon us are a means of testing us, to allow us to see for ourselves our own strengths and weaknesses. One of the reasons of suffering in this world is for Allah (SWT) to test our faith and belief in Him, as well as to strengthen us spiritually. Some of our misfortunes and hardships may sadly lead us to depression. Depression is a mood in which a sustained emotional state alters a person’s perception, thoughts and behaviour. It was famously said by a well-known psychologist that depression is “the common cold of psychological problems”. This quotation perhaps also explains that depression is a common form of suffering. It may lead sufferers to commit acts against their nature, which harm themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, such as selfabuse and drug-taking. The depressed person who does either or both of these feels that these actions ease the suffering. Self-harm is usually carried out when one feels extremely unhappy with him/herself. One loses self-esteem and self-belief and therefore feels useless

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and harms him/herself physically. The taking of drugs in an attempt to ease the pain can lead to multiple consequences, such as addiction, health hazards, as well as severe debts. One who is facing an extremely hard time in his/her life can be lead to these situations, simply because he/she feels that they have nowhere else to go. However, when one does fall into a state of depression, it does not mean that his/her life is over; there is always a light for everybody. Depression only tries to prevent us from seeing the light, just as Shaitan tries to prevent us from seeing the light of Allah (SWT). One must remember when they feel pain in their heart, that somebody, whether Muslim or nonMuslim, is in more pain, and is facing more hardship than themselves. Somebody will always be facing greater calamities than ourselves. We should also remember the suffering inflicted upon our Prophets (AS) and Imams (AS), from the execution of Prophet Yahya (AS) to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS). When remembering tragedies such as Kerbala, we find strength within ourselves. When we remember the grievances of Lady Fatima (AS), we find strength within ourselves; and when we remember the rewards of paradise and the Noble Infallibles who await us there, we find strength within ourselves. Allah (SWT) is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth who can lead us to happiness. He is everywhere and sees over all, and He is the One to whom we cry about our calamities, He is the One whom we ask for mercy, and He is the One who can ease our suffering, for He is The Compassionate, The Merciful. I wish to end this article with the following verse: ‘Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability…’Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us. Our Lord! Do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people’ (2:286).

Imam Sajjad (AS): “There is no strength save in Allah (SWT).”


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Another such example was of the victory (RA) writes in his book, The Martyr, that similar of the Islamic Resistance in South Lebanon over to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there also the occupying Zionist forces on the 25th of May exists a ‘Martyr’s day’; a day on which all those 2000. The liberation was also owing to the who have sacrificed their lives for this struggle, fighters who used Imam Hussein (AS) as their of justice against oppression, are duly icon, to the extent that they went to the front remembered and glorified. “This day”, says lines wearing headbands bearing the name of the Shaheed Mutahhari, “is none other than the 10th Imam (AS). Again, to quote Imam Khomeini 1 of Muharram, the day of Ashura” . (RA), “You can witness the loving devotion to It is surely by implementing the message Imam Hussein (AS) at the war fronts today”.3 of Ashura that truth will prevail over falsehood. However, not everyone may find Imam Hussein (AS) stood alone on the plains of themselves in such a situation, whereby they are Kerbala, knowing full well that there was no one able to act on such a scale. Not every person left, at the time, who would come to his aid. Yet finds his or herself on plains similar to those in he cried out, “Is there any helper to help us? Is Kerbala. But Imam Hussein (AS)’s message was there any rescuer to rescue us?”. As Imam that of revolting against tyranny, oppression and Hussein (AS) was a universal example for man, wrong doing – if this can only be done by the so his words are also a universal call, not bound sword, then so be it. In spite of this, every by any barriers of time. This refers back to the person has their duty and all are obliged to take hadith of Imam Sadiq (AS), mentioned above. action within their capabilities; this has been Imam Hussein (AS)’s call stated quite clearly by the Holy was a call to us, as well as to those Is it not a great injustice Prophet (SAW), “The one who sees who have gone before us and those to convey a story, with- a wrong action being done should who are yet to come. Is there any out expressing its moral prohibit it by his action if he is helper to help the struggle of truth and acting upon its mes- capable, and if he cannot do that, against falsehood? Is there any sage? Yet the message of he should prohibit it by his tongue, rescuer to rescue the oppressed the day of Ashura lives but if he is not able to do even that, from the tyranny of oppression? in peoples’ hearts merely he may forbid it in his heart, But Those who are willing to answer this is the weakest type of faith!”4 as a fantastic myth! this call, have used Ashura as a Thus we see that we can only symbol towards which they should strive. If the be successful in rescuing the message of truth message of Ashura is a source, then certainly the from the jaws of its enemies in one way - by fruits of this source have been borne and made implementing Ashura. After all, we have a duty apparent in modern World history. to do justice to the message of justice. The Islamic Revolution in Iran was a classic example of these fruits. This is a typical illustration of truth and justice triumphing over References the oppression of a tyrannical despot. The founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam 1 Mutahhari, Shaheed Murtaza. The Martyr, Pg 76 2 Khomeini (RA), himself has said in this regard: Khomeini, Ayatullah Al-Udhama Sayyid Ruhullah. The Ashura Uprising, Pg 49 “The Imam (AS) of the Muslims taught us to 3 Khomeini, Ayatullah Al-Udhama Sayyid Ruhullah. The Ashura stand up and decry whenever a despot rules Uprising, Pg 54 4 over Muslims with cruelty, even if our power or Wasa’il-ush-Shi’a, Vol 16, Pg 135 force be inadequate. And if the standard of Islam is in danger, we should give our lives in Br Muhammed Reza Tajri its defence”2. (Continued from pg 1)

Imam Baqir (AS): “By Allah! A Shia is one who is perfectly pious and obedient to Allah (SWT)’s commands.”


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Foods of our Holy Prophet (SAW) The Holy Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said: Milk: Wipes away heat from the heart just as the finger wipes away sweat from the brow. It strengthens the back, fortifies the brain, augments intelligence, renews vision and drives away forgetfulness. Honey: Considered to be the best remedy for diarrhoea when mixed in hot water. It is the food of foods, drink of drinks and drug of drugs. It is used for creating appetite, strengthening the stomach, eliminating phlegm, as a meat preservative, hair conditioner, eye salve and mouthwash. It is extremely beneficial in the morning in warm water. Olive oil: Excellent treatment for skin and hair, delays aging, treats inflammation of the stomach. Mushrooms: A good cure for the eyes, they also serve as a form of birth control and arrest paralysis. Grapes: The Holy Prophet (SAW) was very fond of grapes. They purify the blood, provide vigour and health, strengthen the kidneys and clear the bowels. Dates: ‘A house without dates has no food’. Also to be eaten at the time of childbirth. Figs: They are a fruit from paradise and a cure for piles. Barley: Good for fever as barley soup. Melons: Contain 1000 blessings and 1000 mercies. The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said "None of your women who are pregnant and eat of water melon will fail to produce offspring who are good in countenance and good in character”. Pomegranates: Cleanse the consumer of Shaitan and evil aspirations for 40 days. Water: The best drink in this world and the next is water; when you are thirsty drink it by sips and not gulps, gulping produces sickness of the liver.

Imam Sadiq (AS): “Islam is a definite rank. Faith is one rank higher than Islam. Conviction is one rank higher than faith.”


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Madina - The First Islamic City An Archeological Perspective!

Dr Farhat A Hussain Part 1 Introduction The phenomenon of the growth and development of the ‘Islamic city’ is not one without contention, particularly as regards the definition of the Islamic city. Muslim cities are to be found across the Middle East, East and West Africa, South, Central and South East Asia and it may be argued that the diversity of location and the influence of local cultures of such a large number of cities prevents any possibility of there being a singular mode of city which we might term as the ‘Islamic city’. In order to shed light upon the subject of the Islamic city, we will consider some of the ways by which Madina became an Islamic city, following the arrival of Muhammad (SAW) in 622 CE. Madina was acknowledged as a centre, well beyond Arabia, many centuries before the advent of Islam. The city appears in Ptolemy’s Almagest as Lathrippa as well as Lathrippe, whilst Madina was mentioned (as Lathrippa Polis (city)) by the Byzantine Istaphinos in the fourth century CE. Poignantly, the Aramaic speaking people referred to Madina as Madinata, even before the advent of Islam, speaking of the term Madina in reference to ‘city’. The Arabs (pre-Islam) had referred to Madina as Yathrib, on account of the tribe that resided there. Prior to Islam, Yathrib had a nominal population of some several thousand people and comprised a fairly packed arrangement of streets. Focal points of the town comprised the Christian and Jewish places of worship as well as the markets. Following the arrival of Muhammad (SAW) in September 622 CE, as a result of the hijra, or migration from Makkah (to Madina), Yathrib was immediately renamed by Muhammad (SAW) himself, who was much displeased by its present name, as the term denotes a form of reprimand or blame (tathrib). The city became known as Madinat Rasul Allah (the city of Allah (SWT)’s Messenger). The hijra itself took place as a result of the persecution of the Muslims by the pagan Makkans on the one hand, and the invitation offered by the people of Madina to Muhammad (SAW), on the other. The arrival of Muhammad (SAW) resulted in a

tumultuous development in the history of Madina as well as marking the essential milestone in the evolution of the development of the city itself and indeed for Islamic history. As the centre of the Islamic state of Muhammad (SAW), Madina acquired (an immediate) great importance and developed rapidly in size and function. The streets became more densely packed with people whilst trade and commerce soared to a new level of activity as the now much larger Madina occupied an essential location (and very much ousted Makkah) on the important trade route from Yemen to Damascus. Yet Madina also represented the fulcrum and hub of an altogether new system of trade which saw the Muslims of the Arabian peninsula (and beyond) turn towards the Islamic capital of Madina for so much (economy, trade, agriculture as well as matters pertaining to worship), whilst Makkah remained an important city (and to this day is the direction of prayer for Muslims as well as site for the Hajj (pilgrimage)). Whilst the Muslims liberated Makkah in 630 CE, Madina remained the capital city of the Islamic state during the period 632-661 CE, (though Kufa was made capital in 657 by Imam Ali (AS), due to civil disturbances and the wishes of Imam Ali (AS) to prevent war close to Madina). It was during this period, as capital city to the evergrowing Islamic state that Madina came to grow at a robust rate. A number of developments to the city took place during this period. The essential characteristics of such developments may be summed up along the following lines: The construction of the Prophet (SAW)’s Mosque provided the city with an important nucleus. The houses, streets and various public and private quarters of the city were now built around this new nucleus of the city whilst the important presence of Muhammad (SAW) at Madina translated into the arrival of vast numbers of Muhajirun or migrants, which itself resulted in the very obvious expansion of the city and the building of new areas and quarters, particularly in the area between Quba and al’Uyun. With such increases in population came too, the erection of larger numbers of markets as well as greater areas of land given over to agriculture (particularly at al’Aqiq). The area to the west of Madina, known today as Manakhah, became a suq or market. Such market places (of which there were numerous) often took up a rectan-

Imam Kadhim (AS): “The highest degree of wisdom is self-cognition.”


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gular form and were erected fairly ad hoc, having been built in line with the organic pattern of the town plan of the city. The cemetery of Baqi al-Gharqad, site of the tombs of the family of the Prophet (SAW) as well as of many companions of the Prophet (SAW), and the most well known of Muslim cemeteries in the world, is located to the south east of the Prophet (SAW)’s Mosque. Due to the security environment areas were also made available as military camps and served as models for the later jund, military camps of a more permanent nature in Iraq, Iran, Egypt and across North Africa. As an integral part of the security of the city, a wall was constructed (a city wall did not exist prior to the Muslim arrival in Madina) around Madina. Whilst we are well aware of the creation of a ditch khandaq at the advice of Salman Farsi (based upon his observations at his native Persia), at the time of Muhammad (SAW), prior to the battle of Khandaq (627), the dating for the wall around the city is not as clear (built after the digging of the ditch). We do know that the wall was built upon successively yet do not know when the first wall appeared. Certainly, once Arabia embraced Islam en masse and Islam spread to the borders of China in the east and the Atlantic in the west, it would appear prima facie, that no wall would have been required around Madina on account of the military threats posed by the pagans of Arabia or the Romans having been removed (following the decisive battle of Yarmuk in 636 the Roman threat had diminished though not eradicated altogether). However, several attempts to take the city by disenchanted Muslims who were opposed to the ruler of the day – such as the uprising of ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Zubeir against the rule of ‘Abdel-Malik (680’s, which saw the city and much of Arabia taken out of Umayyad rule, following the murder of Imam Hussein (AS), grandson of Muhammad (SAW) by the Umayyad state in 680), had been made and accordingly, the wall of the city was continuously built upon by a number of rulers over successive years and indeed over a period of centuries. Such building must also be placed within the wider context of the wishes of some rulers to have contributed to the extension work and building of Madina (and Makkah) on the whole and did not take place directly due to the security environment. In regard to habitat, we are not entirely aware of the precise planning of the houses that ran both horizontally and vertically in early Islamic Madina. AH: After Hijra (migration of Muhammad (SAW) in 622) CE: Common Era, also known as Anno Domini

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The Master of Martyrs Islam has been maintained by the grace of the Master of Martyrs (AS). The Master of Martyrs (AS) gave his all for Islam in the path of Allah (SWT). He had no worldly things to give but he offered himself, his young ones and his disciples. He rose in support of Islam to oppose tyranny. He opposed the empire of those days which were more vehement than modern political regimes. He rose up against the tyrant of his day, with very few fellowwarriors and, though he and his men were all martyred, he was victorious in overthrowing that machinery of cruelty and oppression.

We, who are his followers and, by order of Hadhrat Sadiq (AS) and recommendation of other infallible Imams (AS) arrange these sustained mourning sessions, have the same problem. We face tyranny, we face the cruelty of oppressors. But we maintained the event of Kerbala; our preachers kept the event of Kerbala alive, they kept alive the issue of the resistance of a small group but with immense faith vis-à-vis the powerful but arrogant regime. Shedding tears for martyrs is tantamount to keeping the movement alive. It has been narrated that he who sheds tears, or makes others weep, or even pretence lamentation and grief, will be rewarded by admission into Paradise. This is because even he who simulates mourning and lamentation for the event of Kerbala, is helping to preserve the movement and uprising that was initiated by Imam Hussein (AS) via his martyrdom at

Kerbala.

Imam Khomeini (RA), The Ashura Uprising

© Farhat A. Hussain 2002

Imam Redha (AS): “He who compares and likens Allah (SWT) to His creations is a polytheist.”


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Azadari - Conveying the Message Sr Sakina Ahmed

‘And do not reckon those who are slain in the way of Allah as dead. Nay! They are living with their Lord, receiving their sustenance.’ (3:169) The month of Muharram is a time to commemorate the great sacrifice of Imam Hussein (AS) and his followers. The reality of this sacrifice lives fresh in the minds of the believers through the medium of majaalis (gatherings), where the Shia actively partake in azadari (mourning or remembrance). Each year the tragedy of Kerbala has a renewed meaning for listeners; not only is it a time to weep and lament at the treatment of Imam Hussein (AS), his family and friends, by the oppressors, but also to realise and reflect on the greatness of the Imam (AS) and the message behind his martyrdom.

them. This devotion is not voluntary, but has been made obligatory upon all practising Muslims. Imam Sadiq (AS) has said, “Verily, there are various degrees of serving Allah (SWT), but affection (and cordial inclination) for us, the Ahlul-Bayt, is the highest”. Imam Baqir (AS) has said, “The love of Ahlul-Bayt is faith, and hatred towards us is infidelity”. Azadari is a form of demonstrating love and affection for the Ahlul-Bayt. One would only weep for those they hold affection for.

The Arabic word for mourning is aziyya and the word azadari is the name given collectively to the observance of mourning. Dari is derived from the Farsi verb of dashtan which means ‘to keep’. Azadari is therefore the word for keeping the mourning. The Shia gather in homes, mosques and halls to mourn and listen to the tragedy of Kerbala, retold by sermons, poetry, plays and eulogies.

Imam Baqir (AS) used a directive which gave a definite form to keeping the memory of Imam Hussein (AS) alive at an appointed time each year. There were two practices at the time, one was the ziyarah (pilgrimage) to Imam Hussein (AS)’s shrine, or to complete such rites at home if it was not possible to make such a journey; and the second was that people should gather to weep. Imam Baqir (AS) said that if a person lives too far away to do the pilgrimage, “then let him weep and mourn for Al-Hussein (AS). Let him order those in his house to weep for him. Let him commemorate the tragedy in his house by showing anguish for him. Let people meet together to weep in their homes for Al-Hussein (AS). Let them console each other for what befell Al-Hussein ibn Ali (AS).”

The gatherings have incomparable influence over those who attend, they are an Islamic Institution with custom and traditional practice. It was the Imams (AS) and their holy family who themselves directed the gatherings to the form they take today. A fundamental characteristic of any remembrance of the AhlulBayt (AS) is the devotion of the Shia towards

It has been narrated that Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) asked Abu Umara al-Munshib to recite verses about Imam Hussein (AS). He recited and he wept. Then he recited to him again and he wept again. By Allah (SWT), he continued reciting to him with weeping until he heard weeping from the house. He said, “Abu Umara, whoever recites poetry about al-Hussein (AS)

Imam Jawad (AS): “The one who trusts upon Allah (SWT), He shows him pleasure and felicity.”


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and makes fifty others weep, will have Heaven as a reward”. Further, it has been narrated from Imam Zayn al-Abidin (AS), “Whichever believer’s eyes shed tears for the death of AlHussein (AS) until they flow over his cheeks, will be provided by Allah (SWT), as a consequence, with rooms in Paradise which he will inhabit for a long time”. Historically it was difficult for the Shia to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions. They were often subject to persecution and restrictions in nearly every part of the Islamic world. During the Umayyad period and the Abbasid period, the rulers realised the incentive behind poetry - it enflamed religious zeal and strengthened emotions. Many poets were persecuted, but even then the poetry of lamentation used to circulate secretly. Alhamdulillah, today we can see azadari in the form of processions out o n t he st r ee t s of Lo n d on , commemorating the struggle of Imam Hussein (AS). Westerners are intrigued by the mourners and are handed leaflets educating them and inviting them to Islam. Azadari is a means of remembering the great characteristics of Imam Hussein (AS), which we as Muslims should strive to attain. Imam Hussein (AS) faced death fi sabilillah (in the way of Allah (SWT)). There are many lessons to be learnt from his struggle. His life was sacrificed for a sacred cause - to save Islam, a sacrifice that was made consciously and willingly. In this instance his death was holier than life itself. His actions were taken in defence of truth and righteousness; a demonstration of absolute sincerity towards Allah (SWT), total absorption in Him and shunning everything except Him.

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focus on the moral consequences of Kerbala the consequences which have brought about change in people, just as Hadhrat Hur changed. These changes include the demonstration of religion and spiritualism, liberty, steadfastness, self respect, patience, bravery, self-denial, tolerance and sacrifice. These are the messages that are spread during Muharram by retelling Imam Hussein (AS)’s sacrifice; these are the positive slogans to live by. Azadari is used as a tool to convey this message. It has been so successful because the power of invoking sadness is far stronger than merry-making. Tears are a result of deep emotions, never forgotten. Lamentation of the martyrs means preservation and perpetuation of the movement. The thoughts and slogans provided by Kerbala are many and act as a constant source of inspiration in the month of Muharram and indeed throughout the year. One of these is kullu yawmin ashura, wa kullu ardhin Kerbala (Every day is Ashura and every land is Kerbala). As the shia of Imam Hussein (AS), we should be mindful not to forget the slogans of Kerbala and to put every effort into taking part in the azadari of Imam Hussein (AS). References 1

The Tragedy of Karbala, Syed Mohsin Naquvi Bundle of Flowers from the Garden of traditions of the Prophet & Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) compiled by Sayyid Kamil Faghih Imani 3 The Rising Of Al Husayn: Its impact on the Conciousness of Muslim Society, Sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shams Al-Din 4 p81 Ibid. 5 p150 Ibid. 6 The Martyr for Mankind, Shahid –e-Insaniyyat, Allamah Ali Naqi Naqvi 7 The Martyr, Murtaza Mutahhery Muhammedi Rayshahri 2

An important aspect of azadari is the

Imam Hadi (AS): “More beautiful than the beauty of speech is the speaker of it (decent words).”


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Make a Stand! A single soul rises to make a stand, Against oppression in a distant land. He looks around him, only to find, A sluggish nation, its people blind. A nation in which nobody strives, All caught-up in their robotic lives. He calls out to them desperately, “Palestine suffers, can’t you see?!” But there’s no reply, not a word, As if the call had gone unheard. The people lie asleep, asleep, In worldly dreams they lie so deep. “O People rise! Awake! Awake! The Heartland of Islam’s at stake!” “O People don’t you hear their cry?” The people turn and give reply: “O Caller sit down and do not cry, Their suffering, to us, does not apply” “O Caller do not cause affray, They are not OUR people anyway” “We are not of them, and they are not of us, There’s no need for such childish fuss” O People, your bodies move but your souls are dead, The life of this World takes you instead. How do you manage to sleep at night, Not responding to their severe plight? O People have fear of that terrible day, When angels will be free to ask away: “You people were Allah’s deputies, How did you act when you heard their pleas?” "Did you raise your voices for their cause Or did u kneel, afraid of 'breaking laws'?" “Come on O souls, now testify; What did you when you heard their cry?” "While children took bullets in the chest, Did u merely look on as they were laid to rest?" The people are now taken aback, They know not what to answer back. "O People, bow your heads in shame! You must now partly take the blame" “O People welcome to that day, When ransom or apology will not repay” “It is time to pay the penalty, The punishment for your apathy” “On Earth you failed to make a stand, For Muslims oppressed in a foreign land” O Muslims learn from this awful fate, Do not end up in this frightful state We do not know when our time will end, But during our lives, we can still amend If we remember nothing else; we should remember this: As we live our lives of worriless bliss If we sit back and watch and have nothing to say, On that horrific day, there’s a price to pay!

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WHISPERS

Do you hear ? the whispers...the beating...the cry...the breaths taken...heavier and heavier...a last one… and then it slowly dies... Do you see ? the pure blood spilled...drop after drop… the lamenting...the slaughter committed...continuing...not stopping... Do you feel ? the sorrow within...the depression above… the love piercing. .the hearts pounding… beat after beat...blood flowing through veins... Do you listen ? to the cry from above...the angels drowned in an ocean of mourning...the roses withering of grief… the birds falling for the misery... Do you witness ? the oppression performed...the rainbow loosing it's colours...the sun turning dark...the horizon breaking down...the moon splitting...the stars without any light, without any spark… Do you sense ? the great pain...hearts cannot bear...the tears within...turning into oceans...the massive power inside… wanting to explode... Don't you know ? the scream...the call made...the help needed. "Is there anybody left to help me?" the fields of karbala purified...with the love of Allah... the continuous whispers flowing through times, places, hearts, souls...moving mountains and seas… nights and days...in it's endless search for eternity.. they whisper.." Ya hussein, Ya hussein..."

Br Ehsan

Imam Askari (AS): “And know ye that certainly the hearts of the obedient and sincere will be attracted to you like the birds are attracted to their nests.”


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Jami Al Al--Sa’adat 24. The vice of Ghaflah (neglect)

25 The vice of Sakhat (grief)

Ghaflah means indifference and lack of attention; its opposite is attention and resoluteness. If what is neglected is our ultimate felicity and well-being, then ghaflah is a vice. However neglect and indifference to baseness and wickedness is a virtue. That is, care and attention given to evil and base things is a vice, while care and attention given to things having to do with our well-being and felicity is a virtue. Both negligence and resoluteness, or care, are derived either from the power of passion or the power of anger. For example, if one is intent on getting married, the motivation for such a resolution is rooted in the power of passion, and is a virtue. If one resolves of defending oneself against some enemy, that resolution is rooted in the power of anger.

Sakhat is being grieved at adversaries and misfortunes which may befall one to the extent of complaining about them. The opposite of the vice of sakhat is the virtue of ridha (satisfaction) - being content with whatever Allah (SWT) wills. Sakhat is a kind of aversion and ridha is a kind of inclination.

This was a general description of negligence and care or resoluteness. However, as a term used in Quranic verses and traditions, negligence usually refers to indifference to the real aims of human existence and the agents of man’s well-being and happiness in this world and the next; and its opposite, resoluteness, is always good. The Quran makes the following remark about the neglectful: ‘We have prepared for hell many jinn and men; they have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, they have ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle; nay, rather they are further astray. Those - they are neglectful’ (7:179).

There are many traditions condemning sakhat and exhorting man to be patient in the face of adversities and misfortunes; since they are for trials Divinely ordained. We must realise that life in this world is made up if suffering, difficulty and sickness and death, and without exception all men must undergo these things. So we must teach ourselves to deal with these hardships. Such a state of preparation is called ridha and its highest stage is complete contentment with Divine will. This is how the Holy Quran describes such people: ‘Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. That is the great triumph’ (5:119). It describes those who lack this quality as, ‘and they desire the life of the world and feel secure therein…’ (10:7). It should be noted that in books of ethics, resignation and satisfaction are used synonymously. This is because of their close meaning as one who is content with whatever Allah (SWT) wills for him, is also completely resigned to Allah (SWT)’s will in all aspects of his life.

IUS EC Positions 2002/2003 Chairman Vicechair Secretary Publicity Director Treasurer Camps and Trips Director Seminars and conferences Director Editor Membership Sisters’ Representative IUS-Birmingham

Br Mohammed Al-Hilli Sr Zeinab Twaij Sr Sakina Ahmed Sr Fatema Dossa Sr Zeynab Ahmadi Br Hasan Ukra Br Haider Al-Mosawi Sr Tahera Tajri Sr Shireen Naqui Sr Zahra Balkat Br Ali Al-Mawlawi

Imam Mahdi (AS): “And He sealed through him (Prophet Muhammed (SAW)) His prophets and sent him to the whole of mankind.”


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IUS News •

Alhamdulillah, the IUS Srs’ Events for this year got off to a great start with the Annual Sisters’ Eid Dinner on Sunday 16th February 2003. The event, attended by over 40 sisters, included moving talks by Sr Fatima Rizvi on ‘Inspirational Role Models are Key to Successful Female Identities’ and Sr Huda Jawad on ‘The Ultimate Jihad: You Make the Change’. The talks were followed by a quiz, prize-giving ceremony and dinner. The attendees left feeling refreshed and united.

The IUS hosted a seminar on ‘Common Grounds Between the Abrahamic Faiths’ on Thursday 20th February at UCL. Professor Ali Hayder, the speaker, brought to the forefront in an enlightening talk, the common grounds of the faiths and the importance of focussing on the similarities in order to lay a foundation for dialogue and understanding.

The IUS Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday 21st December 2002 in Birmingham, UK. After the presentation of Chairman’s, Secretary’s and Treasurer's reports, members of the IUS Executive Committee for 2002/2003 were voted in by IUS members. Please refer to pg 15 for positions.

The IUS Study Circles commenced on 23rd February 2003 Alhamdulillah, covering a wide range of essential topics by prominent ulema and speakers. Places are still available, so if you don’t want to miss out, please contact any member of the IUS EC as soon as possible!

The IUS are looking for enthusiastic and committed volunteers to help promote its activities in Islamic centres and universities. If you are interested, please contact Sr Fatema Dossa at publicity@ius.org.uk and/or 0870 9220647.

The IUS is a registered charity which relies on membership subscriptions and donations to fund its activities. Therefore, if you would like to make a (one-off or monthly) donation, please contact the treasurer at treasurer@ius.org.uk.

Dates to remember Shahadat Shahadat Shahadat

Imam Hussein (AS) Imam Sajjad (AS) Imam Hasan (AS)

10th Muharram 25th Muharram 7th Saffar

Fri 14th March Sat 29th March Thurs 9th April

The Voice of Unity Islamic Unity Society Registered Charity No. 1066910 Mail Address: Box 145 37 Store Street London WC1E 7QF E-mail: info@ius.org.uk Telephone: 08709 220647

Fax: 020 7640 2372

Internet:www.ius.org.uk

Mar - Apr 2003  

Mar - Apr 2003

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