Millions of Shia Muslims are holding mourning ceremonies worldwide to venerate Tasu’a, the eve of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.
Black-clad mourners have taken to the streets across Iran to take part in the ceremonies of Tasu’a, the ninth day of the lunar month of Muharram.
During the ceremonies, eulogies are recited and sermons delivered in honor of one of the sacred figures of Shia Islam and his 72 companions.
Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and his companions were martyred in the Battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 AD after fighting courageously for justice against the much larger army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, which some historians estimate to have been some 100,000-strong.
Tasu’a, known as the Day of Loyalty and Resistance, is devoted to Abbas ibn Ali, the half-brother of Imam Hussein, because of his sacrifices in the Battle of Karbala.
Mourning processions are also underway in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kuwait as well as Lebanon. Similar ceremonies will be staged in Europe, America and Africa later in the day.
Traditionally in Iran, people distribute Nazri (food offerings) among their neighbors, family and the needy during Muharram. Free food is also offered to people who participate in mourning ceremonies.
Muharram ceremonies represent the never-ending and unswerving stance of truth against mendacity and the humanity’s struggle against tyranny, the cause for which Imam Hussein sacrificed his life.
Imam Hussein and his companions were martyred on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, which falls on October 12 this year.
Azeri Shias observe Tasu’a amid crackdown
Meanwhile, hundreds of people have staged a rally in Azerbaijan to commemorate Tasu’a despite the Baku government’s crackdown on Shia rituals during the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muharram.
On Tuesday, people marched along streets in the coastal city of Lankaran to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein.
The rally came as authorities have ordered Shia mourning processions to be solely held in mosques and mourning halls, banning congregations in open areas and threatening punitive measures against those defying the rules.
The officials have called upon members of the Shia community not to drape walls with black cloths. Shia Muslims have also been banned from installing banners and flags.
By Press TV