Muharram Calendar 2018: Ashura 2018 Date, Key Facts And Why do Shia Muslims Self-flagellate?
Shia Muslims flagellate themselves as they participate in a Muharram procession (Photo credit: IANS)

New Delhi, Sep 20: Ashura, also known as Yom Ashura, is the tenth day of Muharram which is the first month of Islamic lunar calendar. According to Muharram calendar, Ashura 2018 will be observed on September 21 in India as Muharram started from September 12. On the day of Ashura, Shia Muslims mourn death of Imam Hussein and his family members in the battle of Karbala. Imam Hussein was the grandson of prophet Mohammed.

Key Facts About Ashura: Yazid, who compromised on key Islamic principles, waged a war against Imam Hussein and left no stone unturned to force the grandson of prophet Mohammed to accept his leadership. Instead of bowing down to the tyrannical regime of Yazid, Imam Hussein chose to fight back and attained martyrdom. Why do Shia Muslims Self-flagellate on Ashura?

Shia Muslims flagellate themselves to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. The mourning gets momentum from the 7th Muharram onward as Imam Hussein and his family members were deprived of water. On the 10th of Muharram, Imam Hussain and 72 of his followers were killed by the army of Yazid at the battle of Karbala. Shia Muslims cut themselves with swords, knives and sharp chains to emulate the suffering of Imam Hussein. Muharram: Relevance, Importance and Key Facts About the 1st Month of Islamic New Year.

Muslims who follow Sunni school of thought observe Ashura in a different day. They don't mourn or self-flagellate, but offer special prayers and observe fast. They also commemorate Ashura as a victory God gave to prophet Musa (Moses) over Pharaoh. A section of Sunni Muslims make Tazieh that reenacts the death of Imam Hussein.