Shias observe ‘Ashura’ - The New Indian Express

Shias observe ‘Ashura’

Published: 26th November 2012 09:07 AM

Last Updated: 26th November 2012 09:07 AM

As the ‘marsiye’ (elegies) blared in the background on the loud speakers, tears dripped from the eyes of Muthahar, a 22-year-old college student. A devout Muslim, he said this was the second year that he was participating in the procession marking the ‘Ashura’.

The 10th day of the holy month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, Ashura is the day when members of the Shia sect mourn the martyrdom of Hussein Ibn Ali. He was the  grandson of the holy prophet who died in the battle of Karbala. On Sunday, a large crowd of Shias gathered at the Ashurakha at Jani Jahan Khan road in Royapettah, raising chants and ‘nohay’, poems expressing sorrow and grief, as the men beat their chest replicating the ordeal that Imam Hussein  went through at the battle.  The crowd on Sunday consisted mainly of youngsters who said they considered the ritual a show of commitment to their faith. Some of them had fasted over the last 10 days leading to the Ashura.

Those who participated in the procession said clerics, called zakirs, recounted the battle that is so etched in the memory of the sect, with vivid details at gatherings during the Muharram month. These renditions, in fact, help the younger generation understand the “valiant” struggle of Hussein Ibn Ali, who, it is said, chose to embrace death instead of bowing to an allegedly despotic regime of Yazid I, the ruler of the Umayyad dynasty.

The procession, which started around 10am at Jani Jahan Khan Road, concluded with prayers at the Thousand Lights mosque in the afternoon.

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