New Delhi: Muharram or Yaum-e-Ashura was observed with solemnity and sombreness in the country today. Muharram marks the holy day of Ashura. Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad was killed on this day. He was believed to be the third Imam of the Shia community. He was killed during the battle of Karbala, now Iraq, by the soldiers of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD. His death is seen as a symbol of the struggle against injustice and oppression.
Mourning processions, meetings, fasting and feeding the poor mark the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar.
The Shia community mourns Imam Hussain Ali's death by whipping themselves with sharp objects on the day of Muharram. The rituals are aimed at remembering the sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his followers who refused to bow to despotic and tyrannical authority.
Amid cries of "Ya Hussain" and recitation of marsiyas (elegies) and noha-khwani (poems expressing sorrow), mourners use knives, blade-encrusted chains and other sharp-edged weapons to flagellate themselves to show solidarity with the sufferings of the martyrs. Others were seen weeping and beating their chests in maatam (mourning).
As mourning processions pass through streets, people, irrespective of religion and caste, stand there to pay their respects.
The Sunni Muslims observe the day by fasting and holding gatherings to remember the sacrifices of Imam Hussain.
The fasting is observed on two days -- ninth and 10th or 10th and 11th Muharram.
(With inputs from agencies)