Ashoura day: Why Muslims fast and mourn on Muharram

Ashoura is recognized by all Muslims on the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar, Moharram.

It refers to the day that Noah (Noah) left the ark and Moses (Moses) was saved by God from Pharaoh of Egypt.

Prophet Muhammad was fasting in the Ashoura of Mecca, where it became a common custom for early Muslims. This year Ashoura will mark most places on August 29th.

But for the Shias, it is a major religious event commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali al-Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who died in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

Every year since then, many Shiites mark Ashoura by making a pilgrimage to the tomb of Imam al-Husayn, which is traditionally held in Karbala.

Sunni Muslims commemorate the day by voluntary fasting.

Fear of the virus

This year, as the coronavirus epidemic worsens, governments and health officials are warning people to commemorate Asura with strict health guidelines.

In a letter to Iranian health minister Saeed Namaki earlier this month, the Iranian psychiatric association demanded that “any gatherings, especially communal mourning ceremonies, be held in Moharram and Asoura.”

Earlier this year, Iran’s senior vice president for contracting COVID-19, Ishak Jahangiri, tweeted that “mourning sites are dangerous”, referring to Coronavirus Asoura.

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hizbullah group, has urged followers to suspend public meetings.

“The situation is out of control, there are many cases, and hospitals are no longer able to cope,” Nasrallah said on August 17, urging worshipers to put black flags outside their homes and shops to mark a religious event.

Battle of Carbala
In early Islamic history, some Muslims supported Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, and the fourth caliph of the Muslim community (temporary and spiritual ruler).

His support was based on his desire to be within the family of the Caliphate Prophet Muhammad.

They were called Shia, which means “supporters” in Arabic.

Ali was killed in 661 AD and his main opponent, Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufian, became the Caliph.

READ MORE: Lebanon Shia in bloody celebration in Asoura
His son Yazid, after Muawia. Ali’s son Al-Hussein refused to accept Yazid’s legitimacy and quarreled between the two.

Al-Hussein, along with his family and some fighters, confronted Yazid’s army. The defiant al-Hussein refused to surrender even though he knew there were too many.

After a brief battle, he and his followers were killed.

Shia commemoration
The death of Imam al-Hussein is regarded by the Shia community as a symbol of humanity’s struggle against injustice, oppression and oppression.

The primary rituals and rituals in Asoura include public expressions of mourning.

Some of the Shia community resort to self-flagellation with blunt ends of chains and swords.

This is meant to exemplify the predicament experienced by Imam al-Husayn shortly before Shirazing.

However, in recent years, some Shia religious leaders have been discouraging bleeding, saying it creates a backward and negative image of their community. Such leaders encourage people to donate blood to needy patients.

Many Iraqis cook overnight and offer rice and meat to the pilgrims attending the ceremonies.