The tenth day, this year celebrated on October 1, is important as a day of observance and is called the day of ‘Ashura’.(Shutterstock)
The tenth day, this year celebrated on October 1, is important as a day of observance and is called the day of ‘Ashura’.(Shutterstock)

Muharram 2018: Significance, and history of this day of mourning

Muharram marks the holy day of Ashura, and it is on this day that Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was martyred.
Hindustan Times, Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON SEP 21, 2018 09:05 AM IST

Muharram or Yaum-e-Ashura to mourn the death of Imam Hussein and his family, will be observed on September 21. Muharram marks the holy day of Ashura, and it is on this day that Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was martyred. It is believed that he was the third Imam of the Shia community. Imam Hussain Ali was killed during the battle of Karbala (in present day Iraq), by the soldiers of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD. His death is seen as a sign of the continuous struggle against oppression.

The Shia sect marks the day with meetings, mourning processions, fasting feeding the poor in remembrance of Hussain’s sacrifice and that of his followers who did not bow down to tyranny. It falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the first month of the Islamic calendar.

Shias men mourn the death of Imam Hussain Ali by working themselves into a frenzy and whipping themselves with sharp objects. There are cries of ‘Ya Hussain’ and recitation of marsiyas (elegies) and noha-khwani (poems which express sorrow).

Mourners use various objects such as knives, chains which have blades attached to them and other weapons in acts of self flagellation to show solidarity with the martyrs. Others cry and beat their chests in mourning.

Sunni Muslims observe the day in a much quieter way by fasting and holding gatherings to remember the sacrifices of Imam Hussain.

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