Sunday, 25 November 2012

Day Of Ashura

Yaum Al Ashura (Day of Ashura) marks many important events to Muslims, both Shia as well as Sunni. Many Sunni Muslims, for example, observe a voluntary day of fasting to observe the day that Prophet Moses (AS) freed the Israelites from the bondage of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Along with this Muslims also remember this day as one of the most tragic events in Islamic history. Yaum Al Ashura (Day of Ashura) commemorates the Battle of Karbala (in present day Iraq) on the 10th of Moharram (61 AH).

The battle marks the conflict between a small group of supporters and the family of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, son of Ali ibn Abu Talib and grandson of Mohammed (PBUH) and a much larger military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph, whom Hussein had refused to recognise.

Hussein and all his supporters were killed, including Hussein's six month old infant son, Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn, and the women and children of Hussein's house were taken as prisoners. The dead are regarded as martyrs by Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Islamic history and is frequently referenced in  Islamic literature.

The events leading up to the tragedy at Karbala are at the heart of the schism that followed between the early Muslims. Even today, we are not free from the divisions; so whilst they exist and sectarianism continues to hurt the Muslims; let us remind ourselves that Moharram is both the blessed first month of the Muslim calendar and an official month of peace. 

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