Muharram, Ashura and Tazia in Noida

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. ‘Muharram‘ means ‘Forbidden’ and is derived from the root word ‘Haraam‘ meaning ‘Sinful’. The tenth day of Muharram is the Day of Ashura or ‘Day of Mourning’. Muharram/Ashura is a gazetted holiday, therefore, government offices, stock markets, businesses and schools are closed in India. Muharram is ardently observed especially in parts of the country with predominantly Muslim population such as Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, therefore, Muharram date keeps changing every year with respect to the Gregorian calendar. This year it was observed on Friday, November 15, 2013.

Tazia Procession in Noida during Muharram
Tazia Procession in Noida on the Occasion of Day of Ashura in Moharram

Ashura, the Tenth Day of Muharram is the death anniversary of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, at the Battle of Karbala, which is in modern day Iraq, in 680AD. On the this day God had created Adam and Eve and Prophet Nuh (Noah) left the ark after the floods receded. It is also the day when Prophet Moses gained victory over the Pharoah of Egypt when the Red Sea parted to allow Moses and his followers to escape while the Pharoah and his army perished.
Tazia at the Shi'a Imambargah at Sector 50, Noida
Tazia at the Shi’a Imambargah at Sector 50, Noida
Muslims – Shiite and Sunni – observe fast on Muharram and gather in Imambargah, a congregation hall and mosques to listen to ‘Waaz’ and ‘Tafseer’ by Islamic scholars detailing the battle of Karbala. Community feasts are organized for poor in mosques and community buildings. Not all Muslims observe Muharram in the same manner. Shiites mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala by wearing black, fasting and self-flagellation.
Day of Mourning - Ashura/Muharram. Devotees at the Majlis.
Day of Mourning – Ashura/Muharram. Devotees at the Majlis.
Young Shi’a Muslims take part in ‘Tazia‘ (replica of Imam Hussain’s tomb) processions on the day of Ashura beating their chest calling out ‘Ya Hussain’. Some whip themselves, sometimes with steel-plated shackles and blades, inflicting wounds on their bodies till they bleed in a show of grief and a depiction of martyrdom of Imam Hussain who died holding his infant son.

Majlis attended by the Mourners on the Dsay of Ashura
Sermons Detailing and Recreating the Scene of Battle of Karbala is delivered by Scholars in the Majlis

In Noida, a Majlis (congregation) was organized in Shi’a Masjid at Sector 50 in the morning on Friday, November 15, 2013. Juloos-e-Ashura (Procession) commenced at quarter-to-ten from Sector 22 residence of a devout Muslim with Tazia and banners. The Juloos followed the set route from Chowda Mode near Sumitra Nursing Home, Adobe Chowraha, NTPC, Prakash Hospital, City Center Metro Station Sector 50 Market and finally ended at Imam Bargah at Sector 50.

Juloos-e-Ashura - Tazia Procession in Noida on Muharram
Juloos-e-Ashura - Tazia Procession in Noida on Muharram
Juloos-e-Ashura - Tazia Procession in Noida on Muharram
Juloos-e-Ashura - Tazia Procession in Noida on Muharram
Juloos-e-Ashura - Tazia Procession in Noida on Muharram

Late in the afternoon Alwidai-Majlis was organized post Jummah Namaaz (Friday Prayers) for Ziyarat-e-Ashura where everyone paid their last homage to the Tazias. This was followed by Majlis Sham-e-Ghariban observed right after Asr on the day of Ashura – The night of homeless! All the Majlis are marked by the sermons by Islamic scholars commemorating the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain in Karbala.

Majlis - Sham-e-Ghariban at Imambargah, Sector 50, Noida
Majlis – Sham-e-Ghariban at Imambargah, Sector 50, Noida

Even before Islam, this month was always known as the sacred month in which all unlawful acts were forbidden (Haraam), prominently the shedding of blood. It is believed that by fasting on Ashura – tenth day of Muharram – will get your sins of past year pardoned and will be bestowed with blessings of sustenance for the following year.

Muharram/Ashura will fall on Tuesday, 4th November in 2014.

Images: Voice of Shia FBPage

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