Monday, December 5, 2011

Day Of Ashura - The 10th Day Of Muharram

Ashura, meaning tenth in Arabic. Ashura is a religious observance marked every year by Muslims, on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year. Ashura is an ancient observance that is now recognized for different reasons and in different ways among Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims. Below is a little explanation on Sunni and Shi'a.

Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة‎, "people of the tradition [of Muhammad] and the community") or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah (Arabic: أهل السنة‎) for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites. 
Shia Islam (Arabic: شيعة‎, Shīʿah) is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي), meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".

Ashura Day Celebration For Sunni Islam

During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, local Jews observed a day of fasting at this time, their Day of Atonement. The Prophet Muhammad learned of this tradition, and stated that the Muslims should also fast. He himself fasted for 2 days, and recommended that others do so as well. This fast is not required, simply recommended.

Ashura Day Celebration For Shi'a Islam

In the year 680 A.D., an event happened that was a turning point for what was to become the Shi'a Muslim 
community. Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was brutally murdered during a battle against the ruling Caliph, on the 10th day of Muharram (Ashura). This took place in Karbala (modern-day Iraq), which is now an important pilgrimage site for Shi'a Muslims.

Shi'a Muslims observe the day in mourning for Hussein and in remembrance of his martyrdom. Reenactments and plays are performed, attempting to relive the tragedy and keep the lessons of this event alive. Some Shi'a Muslims beat and flog themselves in parades on this day, to express their grief and to reenact the pain that Hussein suffered.

Collection of images of very devout Shi'a cut and whip themselves into a bloody froth in observance. Here are photos of Ashura from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

I might not really understand the important of why these people self cutting and whipping their body into bloody bath but, I really cannot find any different with Thaipusam where people also piecing themself in the sense of devotion. I'll do more research...


(Reuters / Babu)

(AP / K.M. Chaudary)

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