HOLY KARBALA, Iraq: Declaring the start of month of grief
and sorrow – Moharram -, red standard on the holy golden dome of
Husseini shrine in the holy city of Karbala was replaced with a black
Soon after the office of Al-Marje Al-Aala Sayyed Ali Al-Husseini
As-Sistani announced that Friday November 16 is first Moharram, the
flag replacing ceremony was held on Thursday November 15 evening at
the Husseini shrine compound after Maghrebayn prayers as a sign that
Husseini season began.
In view of millions of believers and in presence of tens
of thousands including political, social and religious figures, the
ceremony was held.
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.
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.
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 with a
majlis al-aza at the shrine.