Imam Husayn, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, together with seventy-two of his companions, was brutally massacred on Ashura Day, 680 on the plain of Karbala in Iraq. This event acts as a clarion cry for Shi’a Muslims, that they too should stand for the cause of justice and right. It is marked by deepest mourning and a review of life. What happened? Why is it such a central element of Islam? How might it act as a role-model for all human beings? Husayn role model for humanity
The Church of Ireland held a national in-service training day in Dublin in 2006
at which Chris Hewer spoke and later contributed a paper (see Introduction to
Islam on this website). There were several “Hard Questions” left hanging on
this day, which were answered in collaboration with Dr Jabal M Buaben, the
Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in
Birmingham. They were published in the Church of Ireland Journal, June
Questions such as:
How can Muslims balance believing in God as “The Merciful, The
Compassionate” with assenting to the execution of a man or woman for
Can you explain the use of the fatwa: for instance in the case of Salman
Rushdie and The Satanic Verses or the man recently condemned to death
for converting to Christianity?
We hear of many conflicting reports about the treatment of Muslim
women in different countries; what is from Islam and what is cultural?
Are suicide bombers correct in their understanding that Paradise awaits
them as martyrs in the cause of Islam?
What really constitutes jihad in Islamic teaching? Is all the talk of “Holy
War” today justifiable according to the Qur’an and are there other ways
of reading the text?