Press Release

Safe Ashura practices in the context of COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: would like to send a message of peace, justice, and solidarity to the entire Muslim community on the occasion of the commemoration of Imam Hussain’s (as) martyrdom.  Imam Hussain (as) will forever be remembered and honored as one who sacrificed everything that he possessed for righteousness. Accordingly, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated, “Surely there exists in the hearts of the believers, concerning the martyrdom of Hussain (as), a heat that never subsides.” (Mustadrak al-Wasail, v.10)

Accordingly, the love of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (as) was so great that Anas ibn Malik narrated, ‘When Allah’s Messenger (S) was asked which member of his family was dearest to him, he replied, “Al-Hasan and al-Hussain.” He used to say to Fatima, “Call my two sons to me,” and he then would kiss and cuddle them.” (Sahih Tirmidhi, Mishkat al-Masabih tradition #6158)

In another incident, al-Bukhari Narrated from Ibn Abi Na’m: ‘I have heard the Prophet saying, “They (Hasan and Husayn) are my two sweet-smelling flowers in this world.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, v8, Tradition #2)

The connection of the Prophet (pbuh) with his grandsons was such that he called them his sons. Their sacrifices were eternal and the messages of Karbala are endless. Lessons of generosity, courage, loyalty, integrity, and love can be found and applied to our daily lives regarding our interactions with our families and communities. Values of social justice and honor lie heavily in the cause of Imam Hussain (ss). He stated on the day of Ashura, “If you do not have any religion, then at least be free (open-minded) in your present life.” He further affirmed, “By Allah, I shall not give my oath to you like a humiliated one, and nor shall I flee like the captive.”

While there is inherent value in these tears, we must remember that these emotions must lead to action. These tears represent a promise which we make to ourselves in that, we will endeavor to create positive changes in our lives and those around us. Hence, it is vital that as an Ummah we stand together in solidarity, working together to achieve peace and righteousness. Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, it is even more crucial for us to exert ourselves to assist others, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, in whatever capacity we can to overcome this trial.

As we mourn in Muharram during a pandemic while under lockdown, we are reminded of how tenuous life can be. Subsequently, organizations like The National Muslim COVID Task Force seeks to continue the message of Imam Hussain (as) by providing well-being to the public. For this reason, the organization encourages everyone to support the Health Policy and Advocacy Program by following the CDC guidelines as follows:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face cover when around others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

What is more, our grand scholars of the highest order have also given clear guidance on the safety precautions that must be taken while commemorating the tragedy of Karbala. They have emphasized the necessity of following the advice of health authorities because, in Islam, it is crucial to preserve human existence. The mission of Imam Hussain (as) is to honor life and everything righteous. Therefore, under the circumstances the scholars have implemented the following safeguards to continue the commemoration ceremonies:

  • Increasing live broadcasts for lectures, poetry, etc. via television channels, internet, etc. Islamic centers and religious and educational organizations should coordinate [such activities] with orators/speakers and lamentation reciters, and encourage the believers to listen and engage with them [in the Hussaini rituals] from their places of residence.
  • Holding Hussaini commemoration gatherings in private homes restricted to family members and those who are usually in close contact with them. For public commemorations, believers must adhere to the guidelines by observing social distancing, wearing masks, and the number of attendees must be limited to what is permitted by authorities.
  • Broadly spreading the symbols of Ashura by raising black flags and banners in the streets, and other public places provided this does not infringe on private property rights or violation of state laws.

Therefore, on the eve of Ashura, which is the day before the ultimate sacrifice, we pray that our hearts and minds remain prepared to serve humanity each day towards the common good. Furthermore, we pray that we are prepared for the present Imam (atfs), the coming Messiah, when he will make a call similar to the one made by Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala: Is there anyone able to help us?  Is there anyone who will answer our call for aid?

For more inquiries please contact:
Saba Abbas

Jerrmein Abu Shahba

Current signatories are:
Naseeha USA
American Muslim Community Foundation
UMAA America
The Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC)
Islamic Relief USA &
Islamic Society of North America