Maulana Yusuf Motala (rahimahullah) relates, I mentioned on the occasion of Ashura in Musjid-e-Noor, Manchester, that my master Shaykhul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Muhajir al-Madani (nawwarallahu marqadahu) once asked us attendants on the day of Ashura: “Today is the day of Ashura, how much of reward have you sent for the martyrs of Karbala?” We remained quiet as we never seemed to avail ourselves of this opportunity, nor do we free ourselves for such things. Indeed, our tongues make declarations, but we are very far from putting them into practice. We are distant from the exalted being of Allah Most High, just as we are from recognising the rights of the Master of both worlds (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Likewise we are not any closer to knowing and recognising the magnificence of the Holy Qur’an.
Seeing the silence of those in attendance, the Shaykh began to weep and said, “I have been completing a Qur’an a day for the martyrs of Karbala since 1st Muharram.”
Through speeches classifying a lot of practices as a religious innovation (bid’ah) and through promoting repugnance and despise for such practises, we have lost many things, and Ashura is one of them. Ashura, the day on which Sayyiduna Husayn (Radhiyallahu Anhu) was martyred, was in fact blessed even prior to his martyrdom. But we will probably deem remembering him, talking about him and sending him rewards as an act of religious innovation on this day.
Adapted from “The beauty of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)” by Maulana Yusuf Motala (rahimahullah).