Friday, December 25, 2009
The birth of Christ and Yaum-e-Ashura
Today is Christmas throughout the world. People know 25th Dec as the day Jesus (Isaa Alaihissalaam) was born. But how many of us know that according to the Islamic calender, Prophet Isaa was born on the 10th day of Muharram ? That's on Ashura day. Ashura is not only the day Isaa A S was born but also the same day when he was taken up to the heavens.
Many of us just associate Ashura (the 10th of Muharram) with only the martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain (grandson of Prophet Muhammad S A S). But what many Muslims also do not know is that the importance of Ashura extends even beyond that. This day has always been an important day in the history of the world and religion.
On this day Prophet Hazrat Adam A S was created. And also Prophet Ibrahim A S (Abraham) born on this day. The ark of Prophet Nooh A S (Noah) halted at mountain Judi on the 10th day of Muharram. The heavens, earth, sun, moon, stars and paradise were also created on Ashura. Apart from this, many more religious events have taken place on this day.
Muharram is the 1st month of the Islamic calender. From the 1st to 10th day the most important battle of 'Karbala' was fought against 'Yazeed', a cruel king who believed himself to be God. This battle ended with Ashura, where Hazrat Hussain was martyred. Soonafter, Yazeed was also defeated and people were saved from the clutches of a cruel and evil king. From 1st to 10th, many muslims remember the martydom of Hazrat Hussain and the troubles the family of our beloved prophet went through in the battle of Karbala when they were denied food and water. That is why in many places you will find the 'Sabeel' installed to serve water to travellers so that no one goes thirsty. Sabeel comes from the arabic word meaning 'spring'. The sherbet many make on the last day is also symbolic of water. Over the period of time, the plain sweet sherbet has been modified to milk sherbet with crushed dry fruits thrown it for flavour. Some kids in Muslim mohallahs collect money to make huge tanks of sweet sherbet, mixing the sugar n water concoction for hours through the previous night (till wee hours of morning) before the colour, flavours and garnishings are thrown in. It is then distributed to all. Though there are certain sections of Muslims who raise eyebrows over the practice. But here I'd like to say that though Hazrat Hussain A S was martyred, it showed many Muslims the right path and they chose not to follow Yazeed. So in a way it was also a kind of victory too.
Also, we see many Muslim households make 'kichda' during Muharram and many (including some Muslims) wonder why! What is 'kichda'? Kichda is a mixture of wheat, rice, dals/ pulses, meat thrown together and cooked for hours till it is soft. It is made in various ways. This is also symbolic practice because it is believed that during the battle of Karbala, when they was nothing much left to eat, the leftovers of all grains and food available with the people were mixed and cooked. All these are ways of rememberance. Of course, no way of remembrance can be better than prayer and fasting (which is advised for two days on 9th and 10th day or on 10th and 11th day). Though Sunnis end their sad remembrance of the battle with Ashura (10th day of Muharram), the Shias continue to mourn throughout the entire month of Muharram. And some extend it for another additional ten days.
Ashura is on Monday (28th Dec). It is a day of great significance. My Dad used to always say - 'One should not work on the day of Muharram'. Thankfully, Govt has declared the holiday at the last moment, else I would have taken a day off, anyways!
Also refer to my earlier article dated 20th Jan 2008 : http://myjourney-shagufta.blogspot.com/2008/01/ashura-10th-day-of-muharram.html
2nd pic courtesy : my.opera.com