By Alisha Purakayastha and Iris Zhao
Upcoming Date of Ashura
What is Ashura?
There is a great history behind how and why this celebration began. On the 10th day of Muharram, an event took place in Karbala, Iraq. A large army lead by Hussain and mobilized by the Umayyad regime surrounded a group of less than 100 people and pressured them into paying loyalty and commitment to the “Caliph” (the chief Muslim civil or religious leader of the time), and submit to all of his authority. The small group resisted and in result, a severe battle occurred. All 100 men part of the small group were killed. Hussain was and still is known as the "leader of the martyrs." He is the son of Ali bin Abi Talib (his father) and Fatima (his mother). Yazid, whose father (Muawiya) and grandfather (Abu Sufyan--arch enemy of Prophet Muhammad) always tried to sabotage the Holy Prophet’s mission. Yazid was a drunkard, a killer of innocent people, and one who involves himself in iniquitous acts. The revolution of Hussain was an Islamic movement lead by one of Islam’s significant leaders. When leaving Medina, Hussain said, “I am not rising (against Yazid) as an insolent or an arrogant person, or a mischief-monger or tyrant. I have risen (against Yazid) as I seek to warn the Ummah of my grandfather. I wish the bid the good and forbid the evil.”He was killed on a battlefield as he did Sajdah (a part of daily Islamic prayers). His head was removed from his body on the plains of Karbala, mounted on a spear, and paraded through villages and towns as it was taken to Damascus and presented at the feet of Yazid.
Every year on Ashura, men reenact the battle of Karbala as shown in this photo.
Many rituals of Ashura include self-bashing with knives and chains, as Islamic men believe this is one way to mourn over Hussain's death.
DId You Know?
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"Ashura 2014: Shi'ite Muslims Flagellate Themselves With Swords, Chains and Knives [GRAPHIC PHOTOS]." International Business Times RSS. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ashura-2014-shiite-muslims-flagellate-themselves-swords-chains-knives-graphic-photos-1473098>.
"Ashura.com." Ashura.com. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.ashura.com/>.
Hafiz, Yasmine. "Ashura 2013: Dates, Rituals And History Explained (PHOTOS)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/ashura-2013-dates-rituals-history_n_4262451.html>.
"The Muslim Caliphates." The Sunni and Shia Split. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <http://ringmar.net/irhistory/index.php/sunni-and-shia>.
"Women Mourning - Muharram." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl6GuDVxwl0>.