This year Yom e Ashura falls on Tuesday, 9th of August, 10 Muharram is observed and remembered as yom e Ashura by millions of people in the Muslim world. Furthermore, yome Ashura is a public holiday in all Muslim countries.
However, Muharram is the first month of the Islamic (lunar/Hijri) calendar and is considered a holy month in the Muslim world. On the tenth day of Muharram, Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) Ibn Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, was in the desert of Karbala, Iraq. Where he, his family, and 72 companions were martyred.
A war attack was imposed on them, and before that, they were being kept hungry and thirsty for over three days. Yom Ashura is the remembrance of Muharram, the annual tribute of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.), his family and supporters. In 61 A.H., on the 10th day of Muharram, the Battle of Karbala was fought. The word Ashura also does means “the 10th Day”.
History of Yom e Ashura:
In the Holy Quran, it is mentioned that Almighty ALLAH ordered Hazrat Musa (A.S.) to travel at night with his companions. The Pharaoh chased them with his army when he came to know that they have left during the night. Almighty ALLAH ordered Hazrat Musa (A.S.) to hit his stick in the water of the Red Sea.
Water split it into two parts, so Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and companions passed through the water. The Pharaoh and his army also tried to pass through, but the sea closed in on them. It was also the 10th day of Muharram when Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and his companions got deliverance from Pharaoh.
When divine torment of rain and flood surrounded all the earth, Prophet Noah (A.S.) and his companions get refuge on the Ark on the instruction of Almighty ALLAH. On this holy day, the Ark of Prophet Noah (A.S.) landed on Mount Judi by order of Almighty ALLAH.
Some narrate that on this day
- Prophet Hazrat Younas (A.S.) got out of Fish Belly
- It is also told that Prophet Adam’s (A.S.) repentance was accepted
- Holy Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) the fire of Nimrod
- Prophet Hazrat Yaqoob (A.S.) reunited with his son Prophet Hazrat Yousaf (A.S.)
- Holy Prophet Hazrat Ayub (A.S.) recovered from a long illness
- Prophet Hazrat Essa (A.S) was born
As Almighty ALLAH blessed many of the Prophets on this day, Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) used to fast on 9, 10 Muharram ul Haram.
History of Battle of Karbala and Martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.)
The succession of Yazid (and being a false caliphate) resulted in a crisis environment in the Muslim world. Immediately after taking over the government and being a false caliphate, Yazid instructed his officials to compel Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) and to pledge his allegiance in favour of Yazid. It was clear that Yazid was defaming Islam and all of his deeds were against the teaching of Islam. So Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) refused to pledge his allegiance in Yazid’s favour. To avoid any bloodshed in Madinah, Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) left Madinah with his family and companions and moved towards Mekkah.
In the meanwhile, the people of Kufa sent letters to Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) to join them against Yazid’s regime. Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) sent his cousin Hazrat Muslim Bin Aqeel for the assessment of the situation and reported back. Initially, reportedly, 18,000 people pledged their allegiance to the hand of Hazrat Muslim Bin Aqeel in the favour of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.). However, Yazid appointed Ibn e Zyad as the governor of Kufa and instructed him to deal with the situation in a strict way.
Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) was in Mekkah when he was told that Yazid has sent assassins for his martyrdom during Hajj. To avoid bloodshed in Mekkah, to preserve the sanctity of Holly City, he abandoned his Hajj and moved towards Kufa.
On his way, Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) was told that Muslim Bin Aqeel has been martyrdom. Ibn e Zyad not let him enter in Kufa. Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) reminded the people of Kufa that they had invited him to lead them, and he proceeded to Kufa on their promise. But now, if they are not in a position to accompany him, he will return back.
However, Ibn e Zyad did not let him go back but rather forced him to proceed by another route. As a result, Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) moved to another route and reached Karbala. Here, Yazid’s army force stopped him from moving further. Moreover, they were restricted to access the water.
In the Battle of Karbala, there were thousands of Yazid army on one side, while on the other, there were Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) and his 72 companions only. The battle was fought on 10 Muharram and lasted to sunset. Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.), many of his family members and companions were martyred.
The martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) is the revival of the true face of Islam. It is also a symbol of resistance against injustice and oppression.
Rituals and Customs of 9, 10 Muharram ul Haram
Rituals are started from the 1st day of Muharram ul Haram. However, the 9th and 10th Muharram are peak days. In Muslim countries, processions are held all over the world.
Because of Shia Muslims, Yome Ashura is not a festival but a sad event, while Sunni Muslims view it as a victory of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) and Islam. Religious scholars give sermons explaining the true spirit of resistance of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.). They pay tribute to his personality and describe his position in Islam.
There is a practice of putting up stalls of food and drinks for the participants of processions is a religious, historical, and geo-cultural norm. Water, other fluids, and foods are distributed among the general public as well. Water and fluid distribution are called “Sabeel” which means is “in the way”.
During the month of Muharram and especially on Ashura day(yome ashura), distribution of fluids, water and other eatables are considered a way to pay tribute to the thirst bore by the Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A.) his family and companions.
Yom e ashura in 2022 in Pakistan
The Government of Pakistan, like every year, has announced two days holidays to observe Ashura 2022 in Pakistan, falling on 8th & 9th of August, Monday & Tuesday respectively.
However, to maintain law and order, the government has issued instructions and orders, or precisely the SOPs for Ashura.
- Section 144 will be implemented in different areas and cities.
- Social distancing should be preferred given the presence of Covid (although minimal)
- Disposable packing should be preferred for food & other edibles.
- A temperature check at the entrance of religious gatherings should be preferred.
- Hand sanitizer should be provided in processions and gathering.
Moreover, The Pakistan military forces will accompany civil security forces to maintain law and order.