Ashura refers to tenth in Arabic and it is the tenth day of Muharram under the Islamic Calendar. On the first day of Muharram, Shia Muslim begins mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed and his family members. It continues for ten nights ending in the 10th of Muharram also known as Youm-e-Ashura.
Date of Ashura 2019 in India
Muharram started from September 1 in India and Ashura or Youm-e-Ashura will be observed on September 10. During the first 10 day period of Muharram that leads to Ashura, commemoration meets are held post the night prayers (Namaz-e-Isha) to recall sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers.
It also marks the day that Moses and the Israelites were saved from Pharaoh by God creating a path in the sea.
Ashura significance and facts
Ashura is a solemn day of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain for the Shia Muslim. After Prophet Mohammed’s demise, Hazrat Ali did not succeed as leader of the Islam community and Hazrat Abu Bakar became the first caliph. Hazrat Ali who was son in law of Prophet Muhammed became the fourth caliph of the Islamic world.
In AD 661, Hazrat Ali was murdered and his chief Hazrat Muawiya became caliph.
Hazrat Muawiya was later succeeded by his son Yazid, but Ali’s son Imam Hussain refused to accept his legitimacy as Yazid and his followers had compromised on key Islamic principles. Yazid asked Imam Hussain to accept his leadership. However, the Prophet’s grandson fought an uphill battle rather than submitting to the tyrannical regime of Yazid. This resulted in the battle of Karbala.
Imam Hussain and his followers were massacred in the battle of Karbala. Shia Muslims, who believe Hazrat Ali should have become the first caliph, whip themselves to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. They cut themselves with swords, knives and sharp chains to emulate the suffering of Imam Hussain. Sunni Muslims also remember those who suffered during the battle of Karbala and lost their lives.