Questionable Motives

January 4, 2010

What is the religious and political significance of Ashura?

Filed under: Islam,Politics — tildeb @ 3:14 pm

Ashura falls on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram. It is the culmination of the mourning period commemorating the death of Hussein, who Shiites revere as the third Imam. The story of Hussein relates back to the struggle for supremacy within the Muslim community following the death of the Prophet Mohammed, a major event marking the split between the Sunni and Shiite sects. Imam Hussein was the grandson of Mohammed and the son of Ali, a caliph following Mohammed’s death.  After Ali’s death in 661 C.E., his sons, including Hussein, struggled with the first caliph of the Ummayad Empire, Muawiyah, and his son Yazid I, for control of the caliphate. The day of Ashura marks the final battle between Hussein and Yazid, outside the city of Karbala in 680 C.E.

Follow an interesting twelve slide show presentation called There Will Be Blood about Ashura here. And as the title suggests, some of the pictures are quite bloody.

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