Muslims perform mourning rituals in the street to mark martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s son
The Day of Ashura is an important day for Muslims. This ancient holiday has been recognized in several different ways for a variety of reasons. This tradition started after Muslim leaders learned that Jewish individuals celebrated a day of fasting and decided the Muslim community should do the same. Muhammad, a famous Muslim Prophet, fasted for 48 hours and encouraged others in the community to do the same.
Upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad it needed to be determined who would take his place. This led to a split in the Muslim community between the Shi’a Muslims and the Sunnis. The year of 680 A.D. saw a turning point in the Muslim community. The Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein, was killed in battle with Caliph, who was ruling the land at the time. His death took place on the Muharram’s 10th day in what would become Iraq in modern times. At the time it was referred to as Karbala, and it is now a site that is very important to Shi’a Muslims.
This 10th day of Muharram is now known as The Day Of Ashura and is a day where Hussein is remembered and mourned. Plays and historical reenactments are performed on this day. They are performed in an attempt to both remember the lessons learned on that fateful day and to do what they can to relive the tragic events of the day. During the parade held on The Day Of Ashura many Shi’a Muslims both flog themselves and beat themselves. They do this to feel the pain that Hussein suffered and to express the sadness that they feel about the day.
The Day Of Ashura falls on November 14th. This Islamic holiday is a time for members of the community to gather and mourn together.