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Muslims walk on line of fire!

Thousands of Muslim devotees gathered in Lucknow for the "walk on fire" ritual, this Sunday ahead of the Muharram, which marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 17:55 IST

Thousands of Muslim devotees gathered in Lucknow for the "walk on fire" ritual, this Sunday ahead of the Muharram, which marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.

During this ritual, Muslims across the world mourn the tragedy of Karbala on the tenth day of the month of Muharram every year.

It is said on this day in the 13th century that Imam Hussein was killed by the Army of Yazid, who was said to be a usurper of the Caliphate or a self-imposed appointed successor to Prophet Mohammed.

People irrespective of any caste, creed or religion congregated at Bada Imambara (Mosque) in Lucknow to offer this sacrifice, which they say is their way of paying obeisance. Almost all emerge unscathed and ascribe the feat to the greatness of god.

"You can see that from young children to old men walk on fire without feeling any pain. So, we want to send a message that we are ready to make any kind of sacrifice for Imam Hussain," said Maulana Kalped Jawad, a Shia Leader.

Meanwhile, a large number of Hindus in a unique example of communal harmony joined their Muslim brothers to walk on the bed of fire.

Guddu, a Hindu devotee, said he has been taking part in this ritual for many years and he also took part in other Muslim festivals.

"I perform both the rituals that of Muslims and of Hindus. I neverforget to perform the ritual of walkingonfire irrespective of the fact wherever I am. Nor do I feel any pain," said Guddu, who walked over fire with his one-year-old child.

The "martyrdom" day of Imam Hussein is marked by prayers, processions led by Tazia or, replica of the Imam Hussein's tomb at Karbala in Iraq and self-flagellation by mourners.

Muharram means 'respected'. It is the first month of the Islamic calendar. The first ten days of this month are observed as a period of mourning by Muslims, particularly by those belonging to the Shiah sect, in memory of the tragedy of 680 AD.

Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of Muhammad the Prophet was killed in the battle of Karbala. This event, called Muharram, is named after the month in which it took place. The tenth day, called Ashura, is observed as the day for a public expression of their grief and is the most important day of the month.

Legend has it that Imam Hussain was killed in the battle of Karbala along with 72 of his relatives, friends and supporters. But his sister is reportedtohave escaped along with some children from settlements set on fire by the army of Caliph.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 17:55 IST