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Monday, 1 April 2013

30th March - 2:33 (Najaf)

Just came back – to the air conditioned hotel room – at the Qaser al Dhiyafa – the hotel we are staying at. Sharing a room with Shamuna and Fawzia. Ah, the comfort of a warm bed in a cool room. It is amazing how one gets used to luxuries – and how intolerant, impatient and comfort-living we get as we grow older. All the promises we make our Imam – of how we want to be on his army – will we be able to keep them at all? After all the followers of the Imam have to be ready to battle their own Karbala if they want to mean: ajjilallah ho ta ‘ala faraja’.

Earlier on we were on the bus, journeying from Baghdad to Najaf: a 4 to 5 hour journey which was getting a bit tedious for some of the women; especially the older ones. They were tired, flustered and exhausted. Plenty of ruffled feathers, arguments and accusations. It was funny how all the good intention ‘ of self purification’ simply dissolved and disappeared.

Little mundane realities can cloud our mind to such an extent that we are distracted from the ‘purpose’ of the journey; and instead of elevating ourselves we end up getting caught in the mire we wanted to actually escape from!

All through the last few weeks I had been so emotionally charged – just the mention of the word Najaf or Karbala could unleash the floodgates of tears: so enamoured was I with the idea of my journey. I’d lived and re-lived a dozen times my forthcoming experiences: my very first thoughts & feelings; my first words to the imams on entering the raoza…. I thought this was going to be the experience that would change me. I would return cleansed. And yet the relatively simple hardships of the journey and just one sleepless night was enough to show me that to a great extent my devotion is simply lip service. Not good enough really. 

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