Muslim Link would like to thank Umm Zaynab for her anonymous contribution which sheds light on a serious gap in Muslim community services in Canada.
The loss of a loved one is something that most of us will inevitably experience in the course of our lives. It is surprising then that there are very few resources available in our communities and in our institutions to help and support those experiencing such a loss. Our mosques and institutions often seem to think that in the event of a death, their role ends with settling matters of the funeral - bathing, offering funeral prayers for and burying the deceased.
As the online hub for Muslims in Canada, we strive to be inclusive of the diversity of Muslim experience and practice in this country. But as our team currently all identifies as Sunni Muslim, there are certain traditions we do not partake in, and therefore do not know much about.
This year, we did our best to make sure we posted the Muharram and Ashura events organized by the Twelver Shia community in the ten cities Muslim Link currently has event listings for. This was definitely a learning curve for us, but as these events got many hits, we assume our readers appreciated it.
To better understand what Muharram means for our Twelver Shia readers, we decided to publish a personal reflection by a young Ottawa-based university student about what the experience of attending her mosque for Muharram and Ashura is like.
When I was diagnosed with my mental illness, it almost felt like a death sentence. Like the real me was dying. I kept thinking, ‘does this mean I’m crazy?’ In my community - the Muslim community - depression was an ill that -- well, it was not an illness. The myth is that such deep sadness can be a result of past wrongdoing, or maybe the patient of depression had not been praying enough, contributing to the community enough, not working hard enough, always never good enough - adding to the anxiety of a person with such a disorder. We are told that we were lazy, somehow less and ungrateful for the blessings we had.