SHAFAQNA – Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, also the month in which Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the Battle of Karbala in 680, begins on Wednesday.
Shias in the city of Mumbai gear up to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his 72 companions, including his six-month-old son Ali Asghar, at the Battle of Karbala (Iraq), which was imposed on Imam Hussain by Umayyad Caliph Yazid as Imam Hussain refused to accept Yazid as the leader of the faith his grandfather Prophet Muhammad had founded.
Shias, in commemoration of the butchery at the Battle of Karbala, will wear black, abstain from lavish food and new clothes and postpone celebrations like weddings and birthdays after Muharram, especially till Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram when Imam Hussain was martyred.
“Imam Hussain fought the battle not for power but to uphold truth, honesty, justice. Yazid defamed the faith and its principles and he needed to be opposed. Through his sacrifice, Imam Hussain saved the faith,” said senior Shia cleric Maulana Roohe Zafar, imam of Khoja Masjid in Dongri.
At Mughal Mosque or Masjid-e-Iranians at Dongri octogenarian Shia cleric from Lucknow Maulana Mohammed Mirza Athar will keep his date with the majlis again. “This is the 58th year of Athar sahib’s annual Muharram sermons at the Mughal Mosque. He didn’t take a break even when he was ill and has addressed the Muharram congregations here because he loves the city and the people who bestow so much respect on him,” said Urdu poet Kausar Zaidi. Mumbai Central resident Shahzade Abbas said mosques and imambadas will hold speeches and recitations of mournful poetry sessions.