Ashura is an Arabic word which means tenth. Youm-e-Ashura or simply Ashura is the 10th of Muharram. It is the day of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). 10 Muharram 2019 is going to be celebrated on 9 or 10 of September 2019 according to the sighting of the moon of Muharram.
History of Ashura
Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar and it is celebrated every year to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain ( Peace be upon His soul). According to history Imam Hussain ( RA) refused to bow in allegiance to Yazid, the ruler of the time.
Yazid led an un-islamic and immoral life. Imam Hussain ( RA), the grandson of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) knew for certain that in his acceptance of the supremacy of Yazid lay the annihilation of Islam.
Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) chose to make a stand, and began a small but mighty uprising. He chose to leave the comfort of his own city and begin a journey eastwards towards modern day Iraq. Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). travelled with his family and 72 companions to make it clear that he did not want violence or war, but was prepared to defend himself and sacrifice all he had for the greater good of his people.
The people of Kufa, who first gave a promise of help, later on betrayed Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). In the battle that took place between the forces of Yazid and the supporters of Hazrat Imam Hussain ( RA), the people of Kufa treacherously sided with Yazid.
The result was that Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), some of his relatives and children were martyred in the field of Karbala on 10th of Muharram or the day of Ashura.The supporters of the Imam could not stand longer as their supplies of water were totally cut off by the orders of Yazid.
What happened in the battle of Karbala?
As Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his supporters had been stopped in the land Karbala, Iraq. where their supplies of water had been totally cut off by the orders of Yazid for 3 days.
In the morning on the Day of Ashura, Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his supporters offered their prayers, knowing that what was ahead of them was certain defeat yet they all remained steadfast and loyal to their principles.
The battle of Karbala started at noon, small bands of men dispatched Imam Hussain’s camp to go and fight valiantly against the army and supporters of Yazid, which were almost 30,000 men. One after the other Imam Hussain’s supporters fought and died until eventually Hazrat Imam Hussain had no one left to support his resistance.
Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) was tired, thirsty and heavily wounded having fought bravely against the enemy, until eventually he fell. The enemy forces attacked him from all sides with swords, spears and arrows Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) requested him that if you want to kill me let the wait for the prayer time. When I will offer my prayer and will bow before Allah Almighty, then you can kill me. Same had happened a man of Yazid’s army named Shimr ruthlessly beheaded Hussain on the burning plains of Karbala when he bowed before Allah during prayer.
Why Ashura is celebrated?
10 Muharram or Ashura is celebrated to revive the most important event in Islamic History that is the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his relatives in the uplifting of Islam.
The Shia community observes Muharram with sorrow and lamentation. The expression of their grief culminates in leading a procession on the 10th of Muharram. Ashura is not only observed by the shia community but also by the sunni community by observing fasting of 2 days and recalling the history of Imam Hissain.
Day and Date of starting and ending dates of Muharram
Muharram is observed according to the Islamic calendar after sighting moon every year. Following table is showing the starting and the ending date of Muharram over the years according to the English calendar.
|First day AD||Last day AD|
|14 October 2015||12 November 2015|
|2 October 2016||31 October 2016|
|21 September 2017||20 October 2017|
|11 September 2018||9 October 2018|
|31 August 2019||29 September 2019|
|20 August 2020||17 September 2020|
Rituals on the 10th of Muharram or Ashura
On the day of Ashura shia community all over the world perform different rituals, processions and Majalis (gathering in mosques or homes and tell the history of Imam Hussain to others) are held, moreover mourning in different ways are also performed in the grief of Imam Hussain (RA).
As Shia Muslims also engage in different types of mourning rituals. Some gather at mosques and cry over Imam Hussein’s (RA) death and to remember the importance of what the Prophet’s family did for justice, while others perform public rituals that include chest-beating, self-flagellation with chains and forehead-cutting.
Muslims celebrate the beginning of the Islamic New Year or lamenting the loss of life, Muharram is an important Holy month for everyone. Many Muslims fast, give extra prayers, and spend longer hours in the mosque in the form of Majalis.
Muharram, with all of its complexity, will always be a month of deep reflection for Muslims across the world.
The sacrifice, which Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) made for the cause of Islam, is really great. But for his undaunted bravery and spirit of sacrifice, it was probable that Islam might not have gained its life spirit.