The event of Muharram lasts for ten days. A place is selected where mourners of Shia muslims gather regardless of age. Some of them even hurt themselves while some simply mourn for martyrs of Karbala. Shia muslims give alms to the poor and weep for Karbala martyrs. They pray through the day. A procession is taken out through the streets in which devotees carry Tazias, replicas of the tomb of martyr. These are extremely decorated and are glittering and sparkling. Devotees beat themselves and impose wounds on their own bodies. Many tie sharp objects to chains to inflict the wounds. Some shia muslims gather and organise speeches and discussions on the happenings of Karbala and lives of sacrificial victims and martyrs. Many put on black clothes as black is considered as dress code for mourning. Some of the groups take beautifully decorated yet empty white horse along with the procession to show they miss the mount of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram and is a special holy day. This is a very important day for all muslims. Shia Muslims mourn and wear black on this day. They avoid any lively celebration this day and most of them fast during the day and they also organise drinking posts and offer water and juices to passersby. Sunni Muslims believe that it is very important to fast on Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram. They believe that prophet Mohammad (SAW) kept fast on this day and asked his followers to pursue the same. The only thing is that Sunni Muslims fast either a day before Ashura or on the day of Ashura itself. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has described the fasts of this month as the best fasts after the holy month of Ramadaan. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said: “The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadaan is the fasting of the sacred month of Muharram and the best of Salaats besides the Fardh (obligatory Salaat) is the Tahajjud Salaah (performed after midnight)”—–(Suhih Muslim, vol 1, pg 368).
With regards to the blessings of this fast, it is recorded in a narration of Sahih Muslim that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was asked regarding (the virtue of) the fast of Ashura and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) answered: “It is compensation for the sins of the past year, i.e. the sins of the year that has just gone by will be forgiven”—-(Suhih Muslim, vol 1, pg 368).The occasion of Muharram is observed by Sunni muslims to show their grief and sorrow and participate in the procession or mourning. They offer drinks and juices to the mourners. Some follow the Tazias and offer flowers and sweets to mourners during the Tazia. Learned people are of the opinion that the best homage that we can pay to this great event of tragedy is by doing some self interrogation or self searching activities. Only then one will understand the real message of Karbala martyes. The Day of Ashura is a great day. While observing it’s greatness, let us shun all innovations and unfounded customs which deprive us of blessings and reward. Let us firmly cling onto the Qur’aan and Sunnah and attain success of both the worlds.