My Ashura, My Karbala, My Hussain: A Sunni Perspective

Sadok BenAbdallah in Huffington Post:

Ashura, the tenth day of the month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. A time of rejoicing and deliverance, yet a time of grief and sorrow. From both the Sunni and Shi’a traditions, this day holds very significant to many.

In the Sunni tradition it is widely known that we fast on this day to show gratitude to God and champion the day Moses and the Children of Israel were saved from the tyrannical rule of Pharoah as was narrated from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). While in Shiite tradition it is known to be a day of mourning and sorrow in which they commemorate and lament over the tragedy and massacre of Karbala when Hussain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), was brutally killed along with members of his family and his companions. This was due to Hussain’s refusal to pledge allegiance to Yazid, the caliph of the time, as he was seen by many as an unjust ruler.

On the day of Ashura, as I participated in the annual fast, I also remembered the tragedy of Karbala and the killing of Hussain. Although seen as extremely significant, and almost even central in Shiite tradition, Hussain and the rest of the Ahlel Bayt (family of Prophet Muhammad) do in fact hold a very special place in my heart. As someone who ascribes himself to the Sunni tradition, loving Hussain and rest of the Ahlel Bayt is not contradictory, but rather an integral aspect of my faith. Due to the frequent affiliation of the Ahlel Bayt within Shiite tradition some, from both Sunnis and Shiites, perhaps might see this as an anomaly or an oxymoron, yet for me it is simply another manifestation of being a Sunni just as loving the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is. Being a Sunni and loving the Ahlel Bayt are not mutually exclusive. Just as many people may automatically attribute Jesus with Christianity, so too will many attribute Hussain and the Ahlel Bayt with Shiite tradition only, however, that should not be the case.

More here.