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  Updated: December 8, 2010

Imam Hussain, Abbas domesí red standard changed signifying mourning season start

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY KARBALA, Iraq: Red standard or alam (red colored-alam signifies revenge) on the holy golden domes of the holy shrines of Al-Imam Abi Abdellah Al-Hussein (AS) and his brother and chief of his army Al-Abbas bin Ali (AS) in the holy city of Karbala were replaced with black ones declaring the beginning of month of grief and sorrow - Moharram - in a special ceremony on Tuesday night, eve of Moharram 1, December 7.

Large gathering of people including religious, political and social figures from holy cities of Karbala, Najaf, Kadhimiyah and other cities attended the spiritual rituals of changing the Alam.

The ceremony, addressed by Ayatollah Ali Al-Husseini As-Sistaniís representative in the holy city Sheikh Abdel Mehdi Al-Karbalayi, started with recitation of Quranic verses and Aza Al-Husseini followed by beating of drums to greet Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS). During all this the standard was replaced with weeping hearts and eyes.

Afterward, the procession headed by a small vehicle holding a copy of holy Quran and a black alam marched to the holy shrine of Al-Abbas bin Ali (AS) where the same ceremony was held.

It is worth-noting that placing of red flag on a grave indicates that the man of grave was killed unjustly and his revenge has not been taken yet.

Replacing red flag on the holy dome with the black one is annual practice done by believers on the first night of Moharram.


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