TEHRAN (FNA) – Millions of people in Iran on Tuesday mourned on Ashoura, the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein (PBUH).
Tens of millions took part in massive processions across Iran, marking the anniversary of the martyrdom of one of Shiite Islam’s most beloved leaders.
Mourners dressed in black took to the streets or gathered in mosques to grieve the slaying of Imam Hossein (PBUH).
Dressed in mourning black, they beat their chests with bare hands-rituals meant to show their grief over the death of Imam Hossein (PBUH).
Scores of men – moved by their grief – wept as they marched in Tehran, capital of Iran and Shiite Islam. Women watched from sidewalks and balconies, as the marchers filled the streets, led by young men carrying black, green and red banners.
Similar processions were staged in other cities across this nation of 80 million people.
Ashoura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, marking the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’s grandson, the revered Imam Hossein (PBUH) in the Battle of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq 1,300 years ago.
Imam Hossein (PBUH) was martyred in the 680 A.D. battle fought on the plains outside Karbala, a city in modern Iraq that’s home to the Imam’s holy shrine.
In the battle, Imam Hossein (PBUH) was decapitated and his body mutilated by Yazid’s armies. All of Imam Hossein’s male family members, relatives, friends, soldiers who all together formed a 72-member army were beheaded in an unequal war with a 30,000-strong army of the enemy in the desert of Karbala.
The occasion is the source of an enduring moral lesson for the Shiites.
Some bystanders in Tehran offered sweetened water to mourners. Songs eulogizing Imam Hossein (PBUH) played over loudspeakers. Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his companions were denied water by their enemies who controlled the nearby Euphrates.
Some Tehran streets were partially covered with blood from the slaughter of hundreds of cows and sheep. Volunteers cooked the meat and fed it to the poor.
Imam Hossein’s martyrdom – recounted through a rich body of prose, poetry and song – remains an inspirational example of sacrifice to Shiites, who make up a majority of the Muslim population in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain.