Each year the Ashura commemorates the ‘martyrdom’ of Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, popularly known as Imam Husayn, who was assassinated in the desert of Karbala by the agents of Yazid ibn Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan [645-683], commonly known as Yazid I, the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate. Muslims across the sects lament the ‘martyrdom’ of Imam Husayn during this day. His martyrdom is widely interpreted as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression.
Shia (one of the main two sects of the Muslims) Muslims perform more rituals than the others, during Ashura. Shia Muslims considers it was Imam Husayn who should have ruled the Muslim believers rather anyone else as the son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Mohammed (SM). He was assassinated on the 10th of Muharram, AH 61 (October 10, 680), in Karbala, Iraq.
Shia rituals and observances on Ashura consist primarily of public expressions of mourning and grief and the display of the Taziyah. Some flagellate themselves on the back with knife-chains, beating their head or ritually cutting themselves. This is intended to connect themselves with Imam Husayn’s sufferings and the death as an aid to salvation on the Day of Judgment.
Sunni Muslims express their mourning during the day rather differently and in the most cases it remains in solemn prayers and distributing sweetmeats.
Like many parts of the world, Ashura is one of the main festivals of Shia Muslims in Bangladesh. Though commonly seen in the capital city, the rituals are observed in the other parts of the country also.
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