Delhi Muslims observe Muharram with mourning and fasting

January 8th, 2009 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Mourning and fasting, scores of Muslims Thursday took out many long processions in the capital to observe Yaum-e-Ashura, the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram. Considered a day of bereavement, many Muslims observe fasts, gave to charity and prayed in remembrance of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Mohammad, around 1,400 years ago at Karbala in Iraq.

Holding flags and dressed in black, men and women, mostly belonging to the Shia sect, took out processions, crying and beating their chests in the ceremonial ‘Matam’ or mourning.

The processions included the one taken out from Shia Jama Masjid in Kashmiri Gate to Punja Sharif Karbala in the same locality, which is the oldest in the city, and from Pahari Bhojla in Chittqualam near historic Jama Masjid to Karbala in Jorbagh near Lodhi Road.

It was during the month of Muharaam in 680 AD, soldiers of the ruling caliph Yazid surrounded Hussain, his family and some followers at Karbala. In the days that followed, they were denied food and water and many of them were systematically killed in the clash that lasted till tenth day of the month.

“To someone who is not aware of the ceremonies of Muharram, these may come as a surprise. However, every little thing that is being observed - Matam, Tazia - are symbolic of the events which happened over 1,000 years back,” Ashfaq Ali, a resident of east Delhi told IANS.

In many places, people also take out ‘tazias’ (a model of Hussain’s tomb at Karbala) in the processions.

Special prayers were offered at historic Shahi Masjid Fatehpuri and shrine of Khwaja Nizam-ud-din Auliya in South Delhi, where Muslims pay homage to Hussain.

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