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Water on Ashura

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Water bottles distributed at the University of Arizona
"Every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala." So what exactly does it mean? Ashura every day? The day of Ashura was a day of abundant lessons for us to take and live upon until the Day of Judgment. Whether it be the story of a young child sacrificing his life for his religion, or the lesson of being patient in every calamity, or, one of the most important, sacrificing and devoting your life for Islam and in the way of Allah, Ashura hits a key in every person's heart.

As Muslims, especially living in non-Muslim countries, it is our duty to spread the teachings and the way of life of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). Just as Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) spread the teachings of his beloved grandfather Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) on the plains of Karbala, we too need to follow his lead. His example shows us that even when you are surrounded by those who may not care to follow the sincere and true teachings of Islam, you still live it and spread the truth by sending a message. It is always important to look at your audience when trying to convey something. As we all have learned, when Imam Hussain could not turn the hearts of evil people through his bold and honest words, he tried a different method – using his thirsty six-month-old baby to try and get water for his family and his camp: yet another beautiful lesson for us to learn and apply in our world. There are countless methods that we can use to spread the words of Islam, but how hard are we trying? Are we doing all we can to do our duty of spreading Truth to those thirsty for it?

In the month of Muharram, in 2006, the Shia Muslim Students Association at the University of Arizona began a heartwarming project to help do their duty of spreading the message of Ashura. "Water on Ashura" is a project consisting of water bottles being passed out to passersby. Sounds simple, right? The beauty lies in that. The labels on the water bottles were custom-printed with a small synopsis of the story of Ashura and the sacrifice of Imam Hussain. This project does not consist of a loud scene or a negative-attention drawing event, yet it is a random act of kindness with a message behind it. With hopes to gather interest in Islam, and to portray the true message and meaning of "sacrifice", the organizers hope to spark the light and beginning building block for the reader of the label.

Just as Imam Hussain and his family were left thirsty, these students have made the decision to pass out water bottles in his name and share the story. Water on Ashura is making an effort to make this a nationwide effort. Just as Ashura processions are held annually in cities around the world, hopefully this program will be held across universities in as many cities as possible.

Preparations for the upcoming Water on Ashura event are already in process. For more information, to help out, or to see if there is a committee member in your city to get in touch with, please visit their website.

Author of this article: Madiha Zaidi
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