Ashura: When Millions Pour into the Streets Every Year
Ashura is an occasion on the Islamic Hijri calendar that is observed across the world by Muslims. It is the culmination of a 10-day annual mourning period for the third Imam of Shia Muslims, who was a grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
People across Iran with their different ethnic groups and dialects were present at the gatherings across the country to commemorate the event. The rituals differed from one place to another, but all attendees shed tears and sounded their voices on the never-ending objection to tyranny.
Streets were packed with people since the early morning hours. You could literally see events in every street even if on a small scale.
Elaheh, who was taking part in the ceremonies told al-ahed news "people come every year to cry for Hussein and that is not a sign of weakness but rather deep love than makes people stronger and more attached to Ashura and the lessons it teaches them".
Ali Akbar for his part told al-ahed news "Maybe some of us or many are not completely practicing Islam like we should, but when it comes to commemorating Imam Hussein's martyrdom we cannot but attend the ceremonies. He is an example of what humanity should be like."
The streets were literally blocked; there was no room for cars to pass. People in black sat on the pavements of both streets wherever a ceremony was held.
Leyla was with her friends at one of the local ceremonies on Patrice street North West of Tehran.
She, like many others, assured that Imam Hussein's story is not only a tragedy but a school of love and high values.
"Imam Hussein and his sister Zainab show you the real meaning of love, true brotherhood and sacrifice. I think that even people who are non-Muslims will respect his story if they know of it."
At the side street of Amir Abad street Sara Sadat stood with her family to participate in the event. Sara told al-ahed news that "The enemies of Islam fear these tears. I know that Daesh and their likes are terrified because of these tears. They know these are tears of a just cause."
Her father went on to say that the violence carried out by terrorist groups against Muslims, Christians, and minorities and the violence they have seen at the hands of the takfiri groups in Syria is a concrete example to what have might happened in Karbala.
"Still it is incomparable I believe! But it is an example before our eyes to what things might have been like!"
Mariam, who attends the ceremonies with her husband and children every year, also sounded similar ideas.
"Ashura in Iran and across the world, also the Arbaeen days when we all go on pilgrimage to Karbala is something the enemies fear. The fire of love for Imam Hussein will forever remain ignited in our hearts young and old."
Across Iran, millions of mourners started the processions shortly after the sunrise on Sunday, taking part in plays and recitations of elegies. The gatherings will take place again tonight, when these millions light candles and pray for the souls of the Karbala martyrs and pray for a better world.
Sunnis and Armenians joined Shia mourners as well. For instance, Armenians held their gatherings at the famous martyrs square, where some of them distributed free food in a show of solidarity.
The battle of Karbala, during which Imam Hussein and some members of his family and his companions were brutally massacred is a vivid lesson to how spirituality can be a strong drive for people to stand in face of injustice and tyranny.Source: Al-Ahed, Tehran