A Concert with Yuval Ron and the Guibord CenterSaturday, October 19th, 2013, 7pm
St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles, California
Dialogue, Reception & Book SigningMonday, October 21st, 2013, 7pm
USC, Los Angeles, California
From the Introduction to Saracen Chivalry: Creed matters, but deeds matter more. In the annals of valor, courtesy and courtly love, Christians and Moslems figure as friends as often as foes. Harun ar-Rashid and Charlemagne might have been pillars of competing faiths, but it pleased the Caliph to send the Emperor the gift of a white elephant.
Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of Islamic culture knows that it has produced extraordinary works of art and architecture—Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra. Few are aware, however, that this rich artistic heritage is firmly rooted in a worldview that highlights love and beauty.
Among the most extraordinary examples of heroic chivalry not only in Islamic history, but possibly any history, is the martyrdom of the third Shi'a Imam Husayn. On the day of 'Ashura, October 10, 680, on the plains of Karbala near the Euphrates river, Imam Husayn, the Prophet Muhammad's second grandson, was mercilessly slaughtered. As warriors on both sides closed in, Imam Husayn and his party found themselves grossly outnumbered. This gruesome, bloody and tragic event, along with its ceremonies of commemoration, is "the beating heart of Shi'a devotion." Shi'a Muslims regularly evoke the centrality of Imam Husayn's martyrdom in the proverb, "Every day is 'Ashura; every place is Karbala."