The Dawoodi Bohras of Dallas – Ft. Worth are preparing to observe Ashara Mubaraka – one of the most significant events in the Bohra calendar – at home this year as all members of the faith continue to comply faithfully with local COVID-19 restrictions.
Every year, Dawoodi Bohras throughout the world – including those living in Dallas / Ft. Worth – place great importance on Ashara Mubaraka, a ten-day period of spiritual reflection and education at the beginning of the Islamic year that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Husain ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed SAW. This year, Ashara falls between August 19 to 28.
Murtaza Sardharwala, representative for the Dawoodi Bohra community of Dallas – Ft. Worth, said, “Normally, many Dawoodi Bohras from this area gather with thousands of others across the globe at a city chosen for the occasion by our leader, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, to listen to his sermons. It’s a most significant occasion. This year will be different, but no less important, as we instead observe Ashara Mubaraka at home with our families, following prayers and sermons online, just as we did during Ramadan in May.”
Delivered over nine days, sermons during Ashara Mubaraka explore themes of humanity, justice, sacrifice, forgiveness and kindness – all qualities that manifest themselves in the tragedy that befell Imam Husain and his companions in Karbala, Iraq, and that offer extremely important lessons for today.
During this period, Bohras would normally gather each day for shared meals after the sermons, and members would vie for the honour of hosting them. This year, due to current restrictions, cooked meals will be made in community kitchens and sent to all Bohra homes, a program commonly known as ‘Faiz al-Mawaid al-Burhaniyah.’
Murtaza continued, “While we cannot travel or gather at our masjid (or mosque) this year, we will be taking time off from work and students will take leave from classes in order to participate fully and observe the sanctity of the occasion. And we shall be decorating our homes with banners bearing verses from the Quran and the names of Prophet Mohammed SAW and his family in order to recreate the spiritual ambience of the masjid where we would normally congregate. We will certainly do our best to observe the occasion while keeping ourselves and those around us safe.”
While Dawoodi Bohras look forward to a time when they can congregate as a community at their local masjid in Irving, until that day comes they continue to pray and observe religious duties according to local regulations, keeping themselves and neighbors safe, and playing their part in the fight against COVID-19.