The iftetah of three masjids in Boston, New Jersey, and Washington DC this summer is a reflection of an energized mumin America. The consensus is that the wave of masjid construction is evidence of the barakat of Ashara Mubaraka in Houston. The perception could not be closer to the truth; perhaps no other event has impacted American mumineen than Ashara Mubaraka in Houston, a milestone that has fundamentally changed the face of mumin communities in the United States.
In the days preceding Moharram 1422, mumineen reacted with incredulity upon mention of Houston as a venue for the upcoming Ashara Mubaraka. The colossal cost, the lack of infrastructure, and the American government’s infamous aversion to issuing visas all pointed to a fantastical American Ashara dream.
As always, Moula pleasantly surprised everybody. The new year’s dawn found the Dai of Imam Husain in Houston where Masjide Mohammedi and the surrounding areas resounded with the matam and buka of Ya Husain. Thousands of mumineen from all over North America and Europe said labbaik to their Moula and flocked toward Houston. Thousands more in South Asia, the Middle-East, East Africa, and other parts of the world were able to secure American visas and flew to Houston to get the barakat of Ashara Mubaraka and to glimpse history in the making.
Ashara in Houston proved to be unforgettable. Testimony to this was the subsequent construction of masjids in America. Previously, four masjids had been constructed in fifteen years (Detroit, Houston, Dallas, and Chicago from 1986–2001), whereas in the three years following Houston Ashara three masjids were constructed and two (in San Francisco and Bakersfield in California) are currently under construction. Thus, the impact of the majalis of Ashara Mubaraka in America was, microcosmically, like the effect of restoration of Jame Al-Anwar in Misr which kindled a wave of masjid construction the world over.
In other ways too the barakat of Houston Ashara was here to stay. For many American mumineen it became a cornerstone of their eman and ikhlas. Those who had dreamt of such a day for years were bestowed with the reward of prayers answered. Those who may have meandered along the way were once again securely seated in the safina of najat. In the rather short time since Ashara, American mumineen’s adherence to Moula’s farman and the ehkam of deen improved visibly. The sporting of darhis and ridas became more common, as did attendance in jamat events. Today, more American mumineen than ever commemorate Ashara Mubaraka with Moula, and there is an added momentum to the movement toward taharat from riba.
The timing of Houston Ashara was also proof of Moula’s incredible foresight and Imami faiz. Later in the same year, devastating terrorist attacks on September 11 found many muslims in America being pursued by government agencies. Hundreds of innocent muslims were secretly detained and hundreds were deported to their countries of origin. Several were also victimized on a day-to-day basis (by way of property vandalism, race-based abuse, etc.) because of their faith and appearance. Fortunately, because of the miracle of Houston Ashara and the barakat of Moula’s dua, the vast majority of mumineen lived through these troubled times without any morale or physical damage. If anything, their eman strengthened upon witnessing how Moula kept them protected, unscathed, and steady in such tumultuous waters.
Ashara Mubaraka in Houston has, for all these reasons and more, secured its place in history. American mumineen will remain eternally grateful and indebted to Moula for this azeem nemat and for countless others, and for the seeds of barakat that Moula planted on American soil in Moharram 1422. The trees that grew stand heavier with fruit with every passing moment.