My profession allows me to reflect frequently about the mysteries of space and time and its intermingling with human existence. As a satellite engineer, I am required to study elements of the space environment in which our satellites operate and employ this knowledge in our satellite operations procedures.

Sometimes, sitting at my desk, I think about the significance of a typical human lifespan of 70 odd years when in relation to the age of the universe, our lives are a mere speck of dust in a celestial sandbox. I ask myself what are we meant to achieve here on Earth? It cannot be just to swipe the time card day in and day out, can it? The questions are as endless as the expanse of space.

That is why I feel blessed to have a faith that compliments my intrinsic thirst for answers to these burning questions. I believe ʿAshara is a platform meant to enlighten the faithful as to the meaning of the journey we call life.

The ʿAshara sermons have imparted to us throughout the ages that indeed, more should be expected in life than a daily routine. By the generous willingness of the dāʿīs to share their wealth of knowledge, we are truly granted an opportunity to transcend our understanding of human existence and prepare for what lies beyond the terrestrial realm.

My heart feels truly uplifted by the teachings of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS who has instilled in me that above all else, love and devotion to an ideal is transformative to the human spirit. The ʿAshara sermons delve heavily into topics of love and devotion; that these are the placards of humanity and that we must all strive to be as humane as possible in our daily lives.

Consequently, the central theme of ʿAshara is the story of Imam Husain AS because his life and actions exemplified the essence of humanity. The immense sacrifice of Imam Husain AS preserved the values to which Dawoodi Bohras can aspire and prevailed against the forces that aimed to destroy humanity. With his devotion to Imam Husain AS, Syedna TUS instills in his followers that love and devotion to Imam Husain AS and his ideals are a formula for a productive life.

So, my journey to ʿAshara is always a transformative experience. Many questions are answered, from which many more arise. I am thankful that through the tutelage of Syedna TUS, slowly but surely, I have begun to feel truly alive.

Now, when I am sitting at my desk looking at satellite orbital mechanics, I know that with the right escape velocity, we can escape the Earth’s gravitational field; and with even greater planning, we can probably eclipse the Milky Way, but to escape the universe requires a transcendental preparation.

For these reasons, I will always keep coming back year after year.

Murtaza Manaqibwala
New Jersey