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  Updated: November 27, 2011

All shrines flags changed as Husseini dome’s red standard replaced to signify grief

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY KARBALA, Iraq: Assalamo Alayka Ya Aba Abdellah …. In a special spiritual environment on Saturday, November 26, Dhol-Hajjah 29, red standard, which signifies revenge, on the holy golden dome of Husseini shrine in the holy city of Karbala was replaced with a black one declaring the start of month of grief and sorrow Moharram.

In view of millions of believers and in presence of tens of thousands including political, social and religious figures, the flag replacing ceremony was held at the Husseini shrine compound after Maghrebayn prayers as a sign that Husseini season began.

The color of the standard means much. Red color is a symbol that the personality lying under this tomb was killed unjustly and his revenge has not been taken yet, and that Al-Imam Saheb Al-Asr (A) will take revenge from the killers.

It has been a practice that during the mourning months of Moharram and Safar, red standard is replaced with a black one to signify sufferings of Al-Imam Al-Hussein (A), his Ahl-i-Bayt (A) and companions.

As soon as sighting of moon is declared from the office of Al-Marje Al-Aala Sayyed Ali Al-Husseini As-Sistani either it is on Dhol-Qaadah 29 or 30, the ceremony is held after Maghreb and Isha prayers at the Husseini shrine and after it at the Abol Fadhl Al-Abbas (AS) shrine.

It is worth noting that at the same time, standards at holy shrines throughout Iraq i.e. Imamayn Al-Jawwadain (AS), Al-Imam Ali (AS), Al-Imamayn Al-Askariyain (AS), Muslim bin Aqeel (AS) and also in Iran at the holy shrine of Sayyedah Fatimah Al-Masumah bint Al-Imam Moussa Al-Kadhim (AS) are replaced with the black ones.

The ceremony started with recitation of Quran verses by Abdel Hamzah Al-Karbalayi followed by speeches by Shiite Waf Board Sayyed Salih Al-Haydari, secretary general for Husseini shrine Sheikh Abdel Mehdi Al-Karbalayi and others.

In his address, Karbalayi said: Husseini Sha’a’ir (practices of Husseini grief i.e. majalis, matam, latam, qama, processions) are not bid’ah rather our heritage which we have inherited from our Prophet Muhammad (S).

Then at the mourning beat of drums to salute Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS), while the mourners were chanting and crying: “Ya Hussein … Ya Shaheed (O martyr) … Ya Habib Rasul Allah (O the favorite of Allah’s Prophet)”, the standard was replaced with weeping hearts and eyes.

Later, the mourners marched to the holy shrine of Al-Abbas bin Ali (AS) where the same ceremony was held. The ceremony culminated at a majlis al-aza at the shrine.

Here is the video of Flag changing ceremony in Karbala:



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