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Yom Ashura or Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراءʻĀshūrā’) is the tenth day of Muḥarram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. For the majority of Shia Muslims, as well as some Sunni Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: October 10, 680 CE). Sunni Muslims have the same accounts of these events, but ceremonial mourning did not become a custom - although poems, eulogizing and recounting the events were and continue to be common. Mourning for the incident began almost immediately after the Battle of Karbala. Popular elegies were written by poets to commemorate the Battle of Karbala during the Umayyad and Abbasid era, and the earliest public mourning rituals occurred in 963 CE during the Buyid dynasty. In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Ashura has become a national holiday, and many ethnic and religious communities participate in it.

In Sunni Islam, Ashura also marks the day that Moses and the Israelites were saved from Pharaoh by God creating a path in the Sea, and is the Islamic equivalent to Yom Kippur. Other commemorations include Noah leaving the Ark and Prophet Muhammad's arrival in Medina.

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Karbala at Ashura
Arbaeen Pilgrimage is the largest gatherings which is held every year at the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hossein ibn Ali's death in 680. Arba'een marks a "pivotal event in Islamic history" in which the pilgrims make their journey to Karbala on foot, where Husayn ibn Ali, the third Imam of Shia, some of his family members and his army were killed and beheaded by army of Yazid I. Over 19 million people from 40 countries of the word participate this pilgrimage. Some Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis and people of other faiths also participate the festival. The ritual is no longer considered a purely cultural ceremony while ISIL, the group who regards Shia as apostate, has launched a wide offensive in Iraq, and hence presence of such a huge population of Shia is of a political importance. Along the roads to Karbala, many pavilions are devised with the aim of providing "accommodation, food and beverage and medical services," and practically all what the pilgrims need for free. 7000 number of such mawakeb were set up in city of Karbala in 2014.

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Shrine of Zaynab bint Ali located in Damascus, Syria.
Zaynab bint Ali (Arabic: زينب بنت علي‎ Also: Zainab, Zeinab, or with the title Sayyeda/Sayyidah) was one of the daughters of the first Shia Imam, Ali and his first wife Fatimah. Muhammad the Islamic prophet was her maternal grandfather, and thus she is a member of ahl al-bayt (the household of Muhammad), and is therefore often revered not only for her admirable characteristics and actions but also for her membership in and continuation of the biological line of Muhammad. She became known as the "Hero of Karbala"because in many ways she functioned as a model of defiance against oppression and other forms of injustice. Zaynab and the other survivors of Husayn's army, most of them women and children, were marched to Damascus, Yazid's capital, where they were held captive.

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Battle of Karbala by Abbas Al-Musavi
Credit: Abbas Al-Musavi

A painting on the Battle of Karbala hold in Brooklyn Museum.

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Muharram procession in Bahrain

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