Ashura 2019 is the tenth day of Muharram and Muharram is the first month in the Islamic calendar. On the day of Ashura, in more than 14 centuries ago and in a place called Karbala which is now in Iraq, Imam Hussain (PBUH) who was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) along with all 72 of his men including his family members gave everything they had in order to save the teachings of Islam from utter distortion and destruction.
What is Ashura?
The Remembrance of Muharram is an opportunity for Muslims to pay respect and mourn the sacrifices made in the Battle of Karbala. The commemoration of this event is yearly mourning, with the Day of Ashura as the focal date.
The remembrance commemorated the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, one of the most vital figures in Islam, and known as the founder of the ancient religion.
Husayn ibn Ali is said to have died at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH.
Ashura 2019 Date:
This year it begins on September 9, 10 or 11, depending on the location. The story of Muharram dates back 1,300 years to events that followed the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
Those that supported Ali’s claim went on to become Shiite Muslims. Shiite Muslims considered Ali their first imam, a leader divinely appointed by God and therefore, the title of imam would be passed on to his sons and his descendants.
How is Ashura celebrated?
In Sunni Islam, Ashura follows the traditions of Judaism as Jewish people followed a day of fasting around this time of year – commemorating the parting of the Red Sea for Moses and his followers to escape Pharaoh.
The Prophet Muhammad thought that this tradition was worth following so he fasted and encouraged his followers to do the same.
On this day, Sunni Muslims fast and celebrate by reflecting, showing respect and thanks.
For Shia Muslims, Ashura is sacred as a day of remembrance of the death of the grandson of Muhammad, Husayn ibn Ali.
During Ashura, some Shia Muslims flog themselves in parades to express their grief for Husayn’s suffering.
Muslims commemorate the Day of Ashura by carrying out brutal acts of self-flagellation, others slap their chests and chant, and some take part in ‘street plays’. Many people also choose to make a pilgrimage to the Mashhad al-Husyn in Iraq, which is thought to be the resting place of Imam Husayn.
Where Ashura is commemorated around the world?
Political leadership largely remained out of the hands of Shiite Imams, ensuring they would not be caliphs, but Shiites came to believe that their imam was the true leader to be followed.
By the time Ali’s youngest son, Husayn, came to be the third imam, divisions between the caliph and the imam had further deepened.
In AD 680, during the holy month of Muharram, a caliph of the Umayyad dynasty, Yazīd, ordered Hussain to pledge allegiance to him and his caliphate, a dynasty which ruled the Islamic world from AD 661 to 750.
Husayn refused as he believed Yazīd’s rule to be unjust and illegitimate.
His rejection resulted in a massive 10-day standoff at Karbala, in modern-day Iraq, between Umayyad’s large army and Husayn’s small band, which included his half-brother, wives, children, sisters and closest followers.
About Sunnis and Shia Muslims
Shia Muslims constitute about 10 percent of all Muslims, and globally their population is estimated at between 154 and 200 million.
Shia Muslims are in the majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and, according to some estimates, Yemen.
There are also large Shia communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Meanwhile, the great majority of the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims are Sunnis, with estimates indicating the figure is somewhere from 85 to 90 percent.
In the Middle East, Sunnis make up 90 percent or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.