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Dates of Ashura
Who observes Ashura in 2017
The Day of Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. It marks the 'Remembrance of Muharram' but not the Islamic month.
A'ashura was an ancient Judaic feast day of celebration and atonement.
It is better known these days for mourning the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680).
Sunni Muslims believe that Moses fasted on this day to demonstrate his gratitude to God for the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. According to Sunni traditions, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) fasted on this day and encouraged others to fast.
While the word ashura means 'tenth' in Arabic and literally translated, means "the tenth day"; Islamic scholars differ on the reason for the naming.
Commemoration of Ashura is not a celebration but a respectful and mournful occasion for both Shi'a and Sunni Muslims - and for Shi'as, it is a particularly intense period of grief and mourning.
Mourners, of both sexes, traditionally congregate at a Mosque for sorrowful, poetic lamentations performed in memory of the martyrdom, grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of "Ya Hussain." Also scholars will give sermons on the themes of Hussein's personality and position in Islam, and the history of his uprising.
The Sheikh of the mosque will retell the story of the Battle of Karbala, so that the audience are reminded of the anguish and sorrow that was endured by Hussain and his family.
In Arab countries such as Lebanon and Iraq, they read from a book which tells the story of battle of Karbala and death of Hussain ibn Ali.
In regions, such as the Arab states, Iran and Iraq, passion plays may also be performed that reenact the Battle of Karbala.