Shia Muslims worldwide mark Ashoura with prayers


Ashoura is marked on the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, by all Muslims.

It is a particularly important period of mourning for Shia Muslims, as it marks the anniversary of the 7th century Battle of Karbala in present day Iraq, when Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed.

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The death of Imam al-Hussein is considered by the Shia community as a symbol of humanity's struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression.

The primary rituals and observances on Ashoura consist of public expressions of mourning. Sunni Muslims commemorate the day through voluntary fasting.

Some in the Shia community resort to flagellating themselves with chains and the blunt ends of swords. This is intended to exemplify the suffering Imam al-Hussein experienced shortly before his beheading.

Historical Importance Of Ashurah For Shia Muslims 

For Shia Muslims, the day of Ashura is very important as they consider Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, the rightful successor of Muhammad. They believe the battle of Karbala took place between the good and the evil, with Imam Husain representing good and Yazid representing evil. Shia Muslims do not take the day as a day of joy and festivity. Instead, they commemorate it as a day of mourning. They refrain from music and avoid planning out any weddings or parties on this date. By doing so, they try to commit one to mourning of Imam Husain completely. By crying and listening to poems and sermons about the tragedy on the assassination of Husain and his family, Shia Muslims try to connect themselves with Husain�s suffering and martyrdom. Many Shia Muslims make pilgrimages on the day of Ashura to the Mashhad al-Husayn, the shrine at Karbala in Iraq. This shrine is traditionally known to bear the tomb of Imam Husain. Different events associated with Ashura are held in special assemble halls that are known as Imambaragah or Hussainia. To experience the suffering of Husain and his family, people slash their bodies with knives and other sharp tools attached to chains, allowing blood to run freely. Some people also indulge in matam, i.e., beating of the chests to show solidarity with Imam Husain and his family. A popular Shia saying goes as this, 

�A single tear shed for Husain washes away a hundred sins.

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