PULWAMA — In Gangoo area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the Shia Muslim community observed the sacred occasion of Ashura on Saturday, July 29, 2023, with heartfelt mourning and solemn rituals.

This day holds immense significance for Muslims around the world, as it marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who sacrificed his life for social justice during the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

On Ashura, the Shia Muslims gathered in mosques to pray and express their grief, paying homage to Imam Hussein’s legacy. Many followers dressed in black as a symbol of mourning and took to the streets, participating in the poignant ritual of self-flagellation while chanting “Ya Ali” and “Ya Hussain” to signify their pain and loss.

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In Gangoo area, the commemoration of Ashura took on a compassionate and communal dimension. Government departments, volunteers, and self-help groups came together to extend their support and ensure the smooth observance of the day. They pitched tents along the path of the procession, providing drinking water and beverages to the mourners and taking care that roads remained unblocked.

Preparedness for any medical emergencies was also evident, with several ambulances stationed on standby. Free medical check-up camps were set up along the way, exemplifying the spirit of empathy and care within the community.

Muharram, the holy month of mourning, commenced on July 19th, 2023. As the first month of the Islamic or Hijri calendar, Muharram holds special religious significance and is considered the “sacred month of Allah.” During this period, prayers, storytelling, weeping, and chest-beating are carried out in remembrance of the sacrifices made during Ashura.

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It is worth noting that while Shia Muslims observe Ashura with self-flagellation, Sunni Muslims, on the other hand, participate in fasting. They mark Ashura as the victory of Moses over the Egyptian Pharaoh, thereby showing solidarity with the grief of Imam Hussein’s loss.

The observance of Ashura in Gangoo serves as a poignant reminder of the unity that transcends religious beliefs in times of grief and remembrance. The collective support provided by the community, government, and volunteers highlights the essence of compassion and understanding, fostering a sense of togetherness in the face of adversity.

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