Cairo: The solemn day of Ashura, 10th Muharram-ul-Haram, has been of great importance in the Islamic history and all Muslims across the globe once again celebrated the day this year solemnly and with great affection as every year to show their respect and solidarity with the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him).
All sects of the Muslims believe in the greatness of 10th Muharram-ul-Haram (first month in Islamic calendar) and carry extreme respect for Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him) for his outstanding bravery to save the faith of his maternal uncle, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
However, Shiite Muslims represent themselves more attracted and respectable towards Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him) and mourn the month of Muharram-ul-Haram as Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him) sacrificed his life with his 72 devoted companions and family including women and infants in a historic battle between good and evil.
Day of Ashura marks the greatest martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him) in the history of mankind over 1,300 years ago at the historic battle of Kerbala in Iraq in 680 A.D.
There are some religious differences between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims that divide the two major sects of Islam for centuries and still shape the Middle East’s political map.
Shiites across the Muslim world consider Ashura a day of mourning.
The largest gatherings of mourning by Shiites were seen in the Middle East and especially in Iran and Iraq. There is a vast majority of Shiites in Iraq and thousands from different countries come to visit the shrines of holy personalities during the month of Muharram-ul-Haram. Iran happens to be the center of Shiite in the Islamic world.
In Lebanon, Shiite worshipers cut their heads and slap their wounds, a sign of solidarity with the sufferings of Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him).
The ritual Matam (self-flagellation), though, is considered controversial among Muslims and is the main source of debate between Sunnis and Shiites as Sunnis strictly prohibit Matam.
Shiites across Lebanon held rallies during Ashura days but Nabatiyeh is one of the few places where Shiites observed the tradition of drawing blood by self-flagellation.
In Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt, Ashura is a day of solemn celebration for the majority of Sunni Muslims – a celebration of a victory for Islam through the greatest sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him).
But Shiites celebrate it in a different manner where, like in Afghanistan, they whip themselves in mourning until their backs bleed.
In the Iraq capital too, these Shiites cut their heads with swords so they could relive the pain Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Pleased Him) experienced in the fateful Battle of Karbala.
Shiites make up only 15 percent of the world’s Muslims, and traditionally mourn for more than a month as part of the Ashura Day.
Ashura is also observed in many other countries with sizeable Shiite populations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.