Everything you need to know about Ashura and why residents in Bahrain will benefit from a two day holiday this week
17 September 2018| Last updated on 17 September 2018
With the start of such a long work week, those who live in Bahrain will have a special practice to look forward to this week.
Announced on Sunday, Bahrain will receive a two-day holiday for Ashura on September 19 and 20 to begin a long and commemorative weekend in the country.
His Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, issued the news to mark the beginning of the Ashura ritual in Bahrain – all ministries and public institutions will be closed during the two day holiday.
Why is Ashura so important?
The day of Ashura is a day recognized by Shia Muslims around the world as a major religious commemorative ceremony of Hussein – the martyred grandson of Prophet Muhammad and the son of Ali.
Ashura falls on the 10th day of the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar – otherwise known as the Muharram.
Considered a day of mourning for the death of Hussein back in 680 AD, Ashura is typically practiced by fasting throughout the day.
Then Shia Muslims begin the practice’s rituals by re-enacting the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson. By doing so, Shia men and women dress in black and parade through the streets while slapping their chests and chanting specific phrases.
Why should you fast on Ashura?
As previously mentioned, Shia Muslims choose to participate in the act of fasting on the day of Ashura and fasting is done over the course of two to three days.
This is because when the Prophet Muhammad went to Madina, he found that people were fasting alongside Prophet Moses in gratitude to God for saving him and his followers from the Pharaoh Egyptians.
So collectively, the day of Ashura represents four things:
- The day that Noah left the Ark,
- The day that God saved Moses from the Egyptians,
- The commemoration of Hussien’s martyrdom,
- The Battle at Karbala.
How did Ashura come to be?
The killing of Hussein at the battle of Karbala began the split of Islam into two schism – Sunnis and Shias. Thus marking this day important to Shia Muslims around the world.
And today almost 15% of the world’s Muslim population is Shia and will be practicing Ashura this week.