24 March 2019 / 16. Rajab 1440

Posted by webmaster on January 06, 2014

It is a word that is familiar to our ears – its importance, its place in the hadith, the Qur’an and in the actions of the Aimmah (as) is well-known to us – and we often bemoan the fact that the Shia community lacks it. But how do you go about instigating unity?

Perhaps one way is for different community organisations to show that they can work together in harmony and build bridges between our networks.

On 14 December 2013 a host of Shia organisations came together once again to put on a unity event in the name of Sayyeda Zainab entitled Triumph Through Tragedy (link to promo here). This was a follow-up to the last such event, held in the name of Imam Mahdi (ajfs) at the Islamic Centre of England.

The event comes at a critical juncture for the Muslim community, which is being pulled apart by sectarian rife. Indeed, President of Hujjat KSIMC Mustafa Jaffer highlighted the importance of harmony and union in his welcome address, which set the scene for the rest of the event.

Perhaps the feature of this conference was the excellent selection of speakers on offer, each of whom spoke to different aspects of Sayyeda Zainab’s life.

Sheikh Mohammed Hilli spoke with authority on the holy lady as a visionary.He fleshed out how the daughter of Bibi Fatema had the clarity of thought to have a vision – and the determination to realise it. His speech and Bibi Zainab’s achievements remind us of this quote:  “No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities – always see them, for they're always there.” How dark things must have been for Bibi Zainab and Imam Zainul Abideen in the immediate aftermath of Karbala – yet how they rose to the occasion.

Sheikh Salim Yusufali’s talk centred on Sayyeda Zainab (sa)’s perspective on beauty. He explained with passion how Bibi Zainab is a personality from whom contemporary lessons can be drawn; how she is not a figure for the history books but for our hearts and minds.

It was a pleasure, too, to hear from Father Nadim Nassar. Christianity and Islam can celebrate inspiring figures as Lady Maryam and Lady Zainab. As mothers they offered unparalleled sacrifices for the sake of religion, and the struggles they faced in their lives still offer us examples hundreds of years on.

When presented with a personality like Bibi Zainab, sometimes we are sometimes content to just listen to her unique story. But in claiming to adopt her as a role model, Dr Rebecca Masterton said we must be activists. We must actively cultivate a society of economic, social and political justice, utilising the tools that Bibi Zainab displayed at Karbala, Kufa and Sham. Dr Masterton’s speech urged each of to not rest on our laurels. It was a very good and inspiring way to cap the event.

Between these five talks, the audience were treated to performances from the ever-impressive reciters Ibrahim Sincere and Mulla Ali Fadhil, whose poetry tugged on the heart strings and brought tears to the eyes of all.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the Conference was seeing the different backgrounds of the attendees. Some hailed from the Pakistani community, others Iranian, Iraqi and Khoja. To see this is far too uncommon. Hopefully these opportunities to meet and share perspectives are invaluable and bear fruit in the not-too-distant future.

Our thanks to all who attended the Conference, the host centre, the volunteers, the collaborating organisations and the speakers/reciters, without each of whom the event would not have been a success.

We pray for the unity of the Shia community in testing times and for the continued success of such initiatives. 


Collaborating organisations

AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM), Al-Zahra Youth, Banihashem Foundation, Innovative Muslim Minds, Islamic Centre of England, Islamic Student Association (Kanoon Tawhid), Islamic Unity Society, Mahdiwiyun 360 (Luton), Noor Youth Unity, Shabab Al-Sibtayn, Shia Professionals of London, SICM (Mahfil Ali), Stanmore Jaffery’s.