Ashura Day (Tuesday 4th November 2014, 10 Muharram 1436), is a very significant day in the Islamic calendar. It was on this day that Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussain (A.S.), together with his family and friends were brutally and barbarically martyred on the plains of Karbala in Iraq.
In addition to giving special prayers, Ashura is a day for us to reflect on the sacrifices made by the family of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (A.S.). To commemorate Imam Hussain (A.S.) on the anniversary of his death, the Baab ul Ilm Muslim community distributed free water in Leeds City Centre. In a gesture of cross community and religious solidarity, the event was supported by the Sinai Synagogue and St John's Church, who also had representatives attending on the day.
The day was a resounding success with over 1000 bottles of water and leaflets being gratefully received by shoppers and workers alike. There was a lot of curiosity over what this campaign was about and the motives behind it. Simply put, it was an effort to raise awareness of Hussain’s message and to build positive relations with the wider community.
Rabbi Ian Morris of Sinai Synagogue commented "We have, for over a decade now, had a wonderful working relationship with Baab Ul Ilm Centre. It’s a pleasure to be able to join another faith community in its outreach to general society, because this is what we have been working for so long; to be able to work together, lessen misunderstanding and increase co-operation. That’s what makes a functioning society and a better world. This is, I would like to think, a little taste of what the world could be like in the future; pleasant and co-operative rather than unpleasant and warlike”
One of the passers-by commented “It’s very symbolic that water is one of the most precious things on earth and corresponds with what you are trying to achieve here today; giving information and knowledge to people, I think, is very important."
Keith Ackerman, Sinai Synagogue said:
“What feels most important to me is that different religions can work together to make the world a better place. To do that, you have to understand the difference between different religions and for me that is absolutely fundamental”
On the day, this young Muslim girl 11-year-old Amena Khawaja, the youngest in the group, giving water to a thirsty dog, epitomises and symbolises the giving nature of Hussain and the Islam he stood for; it provides a small illustration of his message of goodness to all living things.