Ashura, a day of remembrance for Muslims, has almost arrived.
The holy day is observed on the tenth of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Ashura marks the death of Hussain ibn Ali — the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson — as well as the day Noah left the ark and Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
For both Shia and Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a solemn day. It’s observed differently among the two sects, however.
The Shia mourn and focus on the messages that can be derived from the Martyrdom of Hussain. They wear black and parade through the streets chanting.
The Sunni observe Ashura with a fast.
For all Muslims, good deeds and visiting the shrine of Hussain in Karbala, Iraq are encouraged during Ashura.
Ashura marks the death of Hussain, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, for Shia Muslims. It’s a day of remembrance focused on Hussain’s death in the Battle of Karbala in Iraq.
For Sunni Muslims, it marks the day Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
It’s observed as a day of atonement for the Sunni, allowing those participating to be forgiven for the sins they committed in the previous year. For them, Ashura is observed as a fast day.
When is Ashura?
Ashura is celebrated on the 10th of Muharram — the first day in the Islamic lunar calendar. It begins in the evening of September 20 and ends the following evening.
Sunni Muslim’s mark Ashura with a fast. While abstaining from food and drink, they reflect and seek forgiveness. Shia do not fast, as for them Ashura is not a day in which God asks anything of his followers, but rather a day to commemorate a loss.
The Sunni fast typically falls around Yom Kippur, observed on the tenth of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar. For Jews, this is a similarly somber fast day.