Otowi: Karbala When Skies Wept Blood
This video will always stand out for me as it was the first vehicle through which I shed my first muherram tears, and drew myself yet closer to the tragedy of Karbala. Despite understanding the majority of the Urdu majliss, I still struggled with the language, and there were elements of the speeches I did not understand, co8upled with the fact that generally, if you have been raised and conditioned in a Western, non-Muslim environment, its pretty difficult to open your heart and shed tears when you have an audience. I remember that on the night in question, the martyrdom of Qasim (A.S), nephew of Hussain (A.S), was being commemorated, I remember how the pain of his tragic and violent death at such a tender age moved my heart, I remember how my body trembled when a coffin entered the masjid and how I shook when I placed my hands on the silken bundles placed upon it to represent the pieces of his broken body, and how when I lifted my hands from the cloth they were stained red as though with blood. I remember how I could not eat the dry fruits and other offerings of niyaz as they seemed to remind me of the pieces of his body (probably my lack of understanding). I felt sad, alone and frustrated, so many emotions pent up inside that I could not express and had no where to go with, I felt that I was not a good enough shia, and was doing something very wrong that I could not share the pain of every one else. With a heavy heart, I went home and turned on the TV (at that time, we had no shia channels, but DM digital used to show special broadcasts during muherram), and the below film was being aired: I tuned in at the exact point where Qasim’s martyrdom was being recounted. I fell down on the ground in shock and horror, weeping uncontrollably. The film terrified, shocked and saddened me, but it brought me much closer to the tragedy and deepened my personal attachment to karbala. In his lectures, Sayed Mahdarasi says that in order to draw non-Muslims or new reverts to karbala, we need to repackage the message and take it back out in to the world in a language, culture and packaging that is understood by the natives of that country/community. This film makes an excellent job of doing just that, and should have been promoted much more widely than it was. If you haven’t watched this, then please do, and encourage others to do the same.