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Muslims commemorate Ashura

Shiite (Shia) Muslims from Mombasa yesterday took part in a procession to mark the 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura.

Muharram holds immense importance among Muslims because the day is a commemoration of the death of Prophet Muhammed’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali.

Muharram is also a time of remembrance for the Muslim Ummah.

The Shiite (Shia) Muslim Community in Mombasa marks the 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura, to commemorate the death of the prophet Muhammed’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali.

Dressed in customary black, men, women, and children made processions in the streets commemorating the Martyrdom of Hussein.

Chanting elegies, the faithful walked through Mombasa’s Central Business District (CBD) in the morning, from Masjid Ali-Jaffery Islamic Centre to Khoja Shia Ithnaasheri graveyard, amid a heavy security arrangement.

Over the years, the day has also symbolised unity among Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To Shiite Muslims, Ashura Day is a major occasion, commemorating the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein ibn Ali, and all his companions in Karbala, located in modern-day Iraq.

The Battle of Karbala occurred in A.D. 680 and is regarded as a major strife among the Muslim faithful.

Hussein Ibn Ali and his companions were slaughtered in the battle after they refused to pay allegiance to Yazid, the Umayyad caliph of the time, after negotiations between the two sides failed.

It was a seminal incident that is viewed as paving the way for the separation of the Muslim faith between Shiites and Sunnis.

Sheikh Mohamed Dumila, a Muslim Scholar and preacher, says for many Muslims, the day symbolises non-violence and reflection and it’s common for Muslims to try to avoid negativity during this time in order to promote peace.

He says it’s also a period of mourning to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the son of Hazart Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

“Mourning of a tragic episode in Islamic history was marked in the whole world where there is a Shia Muslim community in remembrance of the Battle of Karbala, where the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, was martyred,” Dumila said.

The cleric also called on Kenyans to promote peace, avoid violence and remember the importance of dialogue and understanding between different schools of thought while standing united to uphold their values.

By Fatma Said

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