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ASHURA: Muslims hold mourning ceremonies to mark Ashura worldwide

Millions of Muslims across the world observe Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Imam and the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him).

Ashura is the culmination of a 10-day annual mourning period in the lunar calendar month of Muharram for Imam Hussein (AS), who was martyred along with his 72 companions 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.

Mourners attend a procession in Karachi, Pakistan to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain on August 19, 2021. (Photo by DawnNewsTV)

The Muharram ceremonies symbolize the eternal and unwavering stance of truth against falsehood and humanity’s struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression.

Each year on Ashura, the mourners, dressed in black, march in mass processions, listen to elegies and hold noon prayers, with benefactors distributing votive foods.

Muslim worshippers gather during the month of Muharram leading up to the day of Ashura at the Imam Hussein shrine in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala, on August 18, 2021, with the Imam Abbas shrine appearing in the background. (Photo by AFP)

In Iran, however, ceremonies are different this year as gatherings in closed areas and street marches are banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iranians were also advised not to go on pilgrimage to neighboring Iraq amid a closure of borders over the coronavirus outbreak.

Iranians take part in a mourning ceremony in Tehran, on the eve of Ashura on August 18, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei attended a mourning ceremony on the eve of Ashura.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei attends a mourning ceremony on the eve of Ashura on August 18, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

On the same night, Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi addressed a mourning ceremony in Tehran.

Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi speaks at a mourning ceremony in Tehran on the eve of Ashura on August 18, 2021. (Photo by president.ir)

Speaking on Wednesday night, Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, thanked the participants in the Muharram rituals who honored coronavirus safety protocols.

He also noted that Hezbollah and Amal movement had agreed not to hold an Ashura march this year because of the virus outbreak.

“The lesson from the Karbala tragedy is that we should not be indifferent when it comes to helping the right and fighting the wrong, something that the Islamic resistance has learnt,” Nasrallah said.

In Afghanistan, Shia mourners marched peacefully in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif days after the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Mourners march in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, on August 19, 2021.
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