The Day of Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء ʻĀshūrā’ , colloquially: /ʕa(ː)ˈʃuːra/; Urdu: عاشورا; Persian: عاشورا; Turkish: Aşure Günü) is on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. This day is commemorated by Sunni Muslims (who refer to it as The Day of Atonement) as the day on which the Israelites were freed from the Pharaoh (called ‘Firaun’ in Arabic) of Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Ibn Abbas narrates that Muhammad came to Madina and saw the Jews fasting on the tenth day of Muharram. He asked, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Musa (Moses) fasted on this day.” He said, “We are closer to Musa than you.” So he fasted on the day and told the people to fast.
However, the school of Ahlul Bayt, i.e. the school of the houshold of Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allah Alayh wa Aleh wa Sallam), refuses these stories and hadiths and considers The Day of Ashura as a day of great sorrow for this horrible crime. They also cite many stories and hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allah Alayh wa Aleh wa Sallam) that he cried many times at many occasions when he talked about how muslims will kill his grandson Hussein, with his family, relatives, friends and supporters.
It is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH ( in AHt: October 10, 680 CE). However, there is a common error in converting Tabular-Islamic-calendar|AHt] dates into Gregorian-calendar |CE| dates. The difference is 59 days for the time period 680-2013 CE. Explanation: if we take into account the difference between the currently used Gregorian calendar and the old Julian calendar which is totally about 59 days for the time period between years 680 and 2013, then the date according to the currently used Gregorian calendar will be August 11, 680 CE, not October 10, 680 CE. The massacre of Husayn with small group of his companions and family members had great impact on the religious conscience of Muslims. Especially Shia Muslims have ever remembered it with sorrow and passion. Mourning for Husayn and his companions began almost immediately after the Battle of Karbala, by his survivor relatives and supporters. Popular elegies were made by poets to commemorate Battle of Karbala during Umayyads and Abbasids era. The earliest public mourning rituals happened in 963 CE during Buyid dynasty. Nowadays, in some countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Turkey and Pakistan, the Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a national holiday and most ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Even in a predominantly Hindu majority but secular country like India, Ashura (10th day in the month of Muharram) is a public holiday due to the presence of a significant Indian Shia Muslim population (2-3% of total population, 20-25% of Indian Muslim population).
Wikipedia contributors, “Day of Ashura,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 2, 2014).
“10 Muharram” by Fausto Zonaro – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here. Original uploader was Barfly at en.wikipedia. 2 August 2005 (original upload date). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.