Muharram is a period of intense grief and mourning for the entire Muslims Ummah. The mourners congregate at a mosque for sorrowful poetic recitations. A sect called Shia Muslims observes the mourning with blood donation. Sunni Muslims commemorate the day through voluntary fasting. While fasting during the month of Ramadan became obligatory, the fast of Ashura was made non-compulsory. Many Islamic communities also wear black as a sign of mourning.
Ashura is referred to the 10th of Muharram and this year it falls on the of 9th August. Here are some facts to know about Ashura:
- On the tenth day of the month, Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third Imam of the Shia community, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. This day is marked as the ceremonial mourning day of Ashura.
- Muslims worldwide stages processions and hold rallies during Muharram to mark the anniversary of the death of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
- The Shia Muslim community mourns Imam Hussain Ali’s death on the day of Ashura by flagellating themselves with sharp objects on Muharram. This exemplifies the suffering Imam Hussain Ali experienced shortly before his beheading.
- ‘Ashura’ day, which is the emotional peak day of Muharram when Muslims typically intensify their expression of suffering.
- Ashura also marks the day Musa (Moses) was saved from the Pharaoh of Egypt by God. The Prophet Muhammad used to fast on Ashura in Mecca, where it became a common tradition for the early Muslims.
- ‘In a narration reported by Imam Ahmad (rh), it was on this day that the Ark of Nuh (as) came to rest on Mount Judiyy’. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
‘And it was said, “O earth, swallow your water, and O sky, withhold [your rain]”. And the water subsided, and the matter was accomplished, and the ship [the ark of Nuh (as)] came to rest on the [mountain of] Judiyy. And it was said, “Away with the wrongdoing people”’. [The Noble Qur’an, 11:44]