Township Mosque Commemorates One Of Shia Islam’s Most Sacred Days


Syed Ali Hur Kamoonpuri speaks to attendees at the Shab-e-Ashura event held Oct. 11 at the Masjid-e-Ali Mosque.

One of Shia Islam’s most sacred days was commemorated Oct. 11 at the Masjid-e-Ali Mosque on Cedar Grove Lane.

Shab-e-Ashura – literally, “The Night Before the 10th – is the day before the day that the grandson of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and 71 of his followers were killed in Karbala, Iraq, by the army of Yazid I, head of the caliphate at that time. Husain Ibn Ai and his family and followers refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid and believed that Yazid had perpetrated injustices against the people and was corrupt.

Known as Imam Husain, he is considered by Shia Muslims to be the fourth of 12 Imams, or leaders.

The first 10 days of the Arabic new year are devoted to Husain, with the 10th day – also known as Ashura – recognized as they date of his killing. This year, that day falls on Oct. 12.

The killing of Husain is seen as the defining event which led to the split of Islam into two sects, Shia and Sunni.

As it has in the past, the Oct. 11 commemoration featured lectures in English and Urdu.

In the English lecture, Syed Ali Hur Kamoonpuri, a doctoral candidate in Arabic Language and Literature at Aligarh Muslim University in India, told congregants that “objections and misperceptions” of Islam from what he called Islamic and anti-Islamic extremists are best dealt with by “going back to the source.”

Most objections and misconceptions of Islam, Kamoonpuri said, are “based on the fallacy of half of the picture. When only part of the picture is presented, the other part is concealed” and the result is a “gross picture of Islam.”

“The only way you can complete the picture is by going back to the source,” he said.

As an example, Kamoonpuri cited a verse from the Quran that he said is often used by people opposed to Islam, Section 2, Verse 191: “And kill them wherever you find them …”

Kamoonpuri said the partial reading of this verse is often used to indict Islam as a religion of violence. But he said, when taken in full context, the meaning is the complete opposite.

Verses 190 through 195, he said, simply give Muslims permission to defend themselves if they are attacked, but restricts them to fighting only combatants, It does not, he said, give permission to kill civilians.

“There is no concept of collateral damage in Islam,” he said.

The verses also restrict fighting to “proportional retaliation,” he said.

“This is the Quran’s contribution to world peace,” he said.

Alex Kharazi, vice president of the mosque and president of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council, said the Oct. 11 commemoration would last well into the morning of Oct. 12.

“The mosque will be open until the morning, for people to pray and reflect back on the event and what kind of lesson you can learn from (Imam Husain’s) sacrifices and how they can apply that in their lives,” he said.


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