New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Muharram is the first month in the Islamic calendar and it holds a special significance for Muslims, especially Shias, across the world. Although the whole month of Muharram is considered to be special and sacred, the tenth day of this month, know as Yaum-e-Ashura or Ashura, holds special importance among the Muslim community. Ashura is the day when, Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, was martyred by the army of Yazid during the Battle of Karbala -- modern day Iraq.  


Ashura 2020 Date:

Ashura falls on the tenth day of Muharram month and according to the Islamic Calendar -- which is based on the Moon sighting -- the month of Muharram started on August 21, 2020, hence the day of Ashura, this year will fall on August 30, Sunday.     


Ashura 2020 Significance:

The day of Ashura marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, who was the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. The army of Yazid beheaded Hussain during the Battle of Karbala, which took place on 10 October, 680 AD. Thus, the day is considered to be a mourning period for Muslims.

In another instance, it is also believed that on this day Prophet Musa (Moses) -- another messenger of Allah (God) -- was saved by Allah from the Egyptians, parting the sea to help his people escape. It is also thought by some to be the day that Prophet Nooh (Noah) left the Ark.  


Differently marked by Shia and Sunni Muslims:

The day of Ashura is marked differently by the two sects of Muslim community -- Shia and Sunni -- across the globe. While it holds a greater importance for Shia Muslims, the day does not have that much importance for Sunni Muslims, hence the day also highlight the divide between Shia and Sunni Muslims.  

Shia Muslims:

Shia Muslims consider Ashura as the day to commemorate the sacrifices of Imam Hussain and his companions, who were martyred by the army of Yazid during the Battle of Karbala. Shias take out large processions and a Tazia (replica of the sacred tomb) of Imam Hussain on this day chanting ‘Ya Hussain and Ya Ali’.

Shia Muslims recall the agony that the Imam went through. They narrate the incident that took place centuries ago to teach their young ones about their great leader who was martyred. They also beat themselves with sharp weapons, and this ritual is known as Tatbir or Qama Zani.

People of Shia community also fast from 1st to 9th of the month of Muharram, however, they refrain from fasting on the 10th day of Muharram or Ashura. In the Shia community, this cycle lasts for 2 months and 8 days.

Sunni Muslims:

While Shia Muslims holds processions and mark this day as sorrowful, Sunni Muslims marks this day for some different reasons, including the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Sunnis believed that on this day, Prophet Mohammad started his journey from Mecca to Medina.

Also, it is believed that Prophet Musa (Moses) and his Ummah (his followers) were saved by the Allah from the Pharaoh in Israel by creating a path in the sea. The day also marks the time when Prophet Nooh (Noah) left his Ark.

Sunni Muslims observe fast on the ninth and tenth day (Ashura) of Muharram as Prophet Mohammad used to observe fast on this day. However, it is not compulsory for Sunni or Shia Muslims to observe fast on this day as fasting is only compulsory in the month of Ramadan.  

Posted By: Talib Khan