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  Updated: December 8, 2010

Husseini mourning begins with sighting of Moharram crescent

By: Mohamed Ali

ITALY, Rome: Moharram is that month which became the essence and fountainhead of defensive front for the protection of religion and Shariah because of incomparable and unparalleled sacrifice rendered by the grandson of holy Prophet Muhammad (S), Imam Al-Hussein (AS) along with his companions and lofty family.

With the appearance of crescent of Moharram – the first lunar month –, aza Al-Hussein and marasim-e-azadari (majalis, matam and mawakib al-aza) began, black mourning dresses were worn, mourning carpets in Imambargahs, Imambaras, Ashour-Khanas, Aza-Khanas, Hussainiyaat and Islamic centers were spread, and religious relics (tazia, standards etc) were decorated by the mourners of Al-Imam Al-Hussein bin Ali Ibn-e-Abi Talib (S), across the globe to pay rich homage to his supreme sacrifice presented in the burning desert of Karbala in 61 AH.

Touching voices of lamentations “Ya Hussain (S) and Wa Hussaina (S)” are being heard from every nook and corner and tears are being gushed out of every eye with intense grief over the martyrdom of chief of martyrs Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS).

In some countries, this year Moharram crescent was sighted on December 6 while in some others on December 7.

According to traditions the Chief of Martyrs Imam Hussein (AS) had sighted the crescent of Moharram 61 AH when he reached “Manzil-e-Ashraf” passing through different places after he departed on Dhul-hijjah 8 the holy city of Makkah for Iraq.

History tells that whenever the sixth infallible descendant of holy Prophet (s), Al-Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (AS) sighted the Moharram crescent, his grief increased. People used to come to him for condolence, consolation and matam.

Al-Imam Ar-Reza (AS) said: “In the month of Muharram nobody had ever seen my father (AS) happy and merry. During this month he remained in continuous grief and pain and on the 10th of this month he was used to say, ‘Today Imam Hussein (AS) was martyred brutally’.”

In previous times in Indian city of Lucknow, as the Muharram crescent was sighted, the brood and youth were prohibited from laughing; married women even newly married weds were asked to smash their bangles; wear out red outfits. Mouth-watering dishes were prevented till the 40th day of Imam (AS) martyrdom on Safar 20 rather for 2 months and 8 days; Desserts were not prepared; Sweet dishes were put on the table on Rabi-ul-Awwal 9; fish was also not allowed. Cold drink was considered the best tabarruk in majalis even in the winters and patients after drinking it became healthy. The word of drink (sharbat) is found in the original words of Imam Hussein (AS) “Shi’ati in sharibtum maa azbun...” (O friends! when you drink sweet water remind my thirst…). 


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