On Tuesday night, the lights will be turned off at the Amlavi household in Dongri, as the family will huddle together to weep in memory of the carnage at Karbala (Iraq) that took place in the seventh century.
Known as the ‘shaam-e-gharibaan’ (the night of the homeless), the practice is a part of Ashura, which is the tenth and final day of Muharram.
“We do not indulge in any form of business or entertainment during the day. The day is spent in mourning the death of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Hussain, and his 72 companions in the war,” said Raza Haider Amlavi, 13, who shifted to Mumbai from Iran in March.
On Tuesday afternoon, lakhs of Muslims will take part in Muharram processions at Bandra, Mumbra and Dongri. Dressed in black, they will walk barefoot on the road without any food. “The devotees will carry the ‘Alam’ (sacred flag), which symbolises the martyrs, and will head to a water body, where sacred flowers will be immersed,” said Shezanali Hemani, 22, a resident of Mazgaon, who will participate in the procession in Dongri.
Hemani is part of the volunteer group, comprising more than thousand members, which will help control the crowd. “We will distribute pamphlets to all members participating in the procession, giving them details on the rituals to be followed later in the day,” he added.
For Hassan Naqvi, 46, a resident of Mumbra, Ashura also refers to the end of evil in the world. “During the entire day we will observe ‘faakah’, a partial fast, which will end after the procession. We relive the grief experienced by the family of Imam Hussain after he was martyred,” said Naqvi. “Unlike other communities, we bring in our New Year by observing ‘maatam’ (mourning),” he said.