Commemoration of the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali
History of the commemoration by Shi'a This day is well-known because of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad and the third Shia Imam, along with members of his family and close friends at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 AD). Yazid I was in power then and wanted the Bay'ah (allegiance) of Husayn ibn Ali. Muslims[neutrality is disputed] believe Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public and changing the sunnah of Muhammad. Husayn in his path toward Kufa encountered the army of Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. On October 10, 680 (Muharram 10, 61 AH), he and his small group of companions and family members (in total who were around 72 men and few ladies and children) fought with a large army of perhaps more than 100,000 men under the command of Umar ibn Sa'ad, son of the founder of Kufa. Husayn and all of his men were killed while being thirsty. The nearby river (Euphrates) was also blocked by Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad men and Husayn and his companions were not allowed to get any water from it. Before being killed, Husayn said "if the religion of Mohammad was not going to live on except with me dead, let the swords tear me to pieces."[unreliable source?]. Some of the bodies of the dead, including that of Husayn, were then mutilated. Commemoration for Husayn ibn Ali began after the Battle of Karbala. After the massacre, the Umayyad army looted Husayn's camp and set off with his women and children for the court of Ibn Ziyad. A moving oration delivered by Zaynab in Kufa is recorded in some sources. The prisoners were next sent to the court of Yazid, Umayyad caliph, in Damascus, where one of his Syrian followers asked for Husayn's daughter, Sukayna, and once again it was Zaynab[disambiguation needed] who came to the rescue and protected her honour. The family remained in Yazid's prison for a time. The first assembly (majlis) of Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali is said to have been held by Zaynab in prison. In Damascus, too, she is reported to have delivered a poignant oration. The prison sentence ended when Husayn's 3 year old daughter, Janabe Rukaiyya, died in captivity. She often cried in prison to be allowed to see her father. She is believed to have died when she saw her fathers mutilated head. Her death caused an uproar in the city, and Yazid, fearful of a potential resulting revolution, freed the captives. "Zaynab bint Ali quoted as she passed the prostrate body of her brother, Husayn. " O Muhammad! O Muhammad! May the angels of heaven bless you. Here is Husayn in the open, stained with blood and with limbs torn off. O Muhammad! Your daughters are prisoners, your progeny are killed, and the east wind blows dust over them." By God! She made every enemy and friend weep." Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, Volume XIX The Caliphate of Yazid. Husayn's grave became a pilgrimage site among Shi'a only a few years after his death. A tradition of pilgrimage to the Imam Husayn Shrine and the other Karbala martyrs quickly developed, which is known as Ziarat Ashura. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs tried to prevent construction of the shrines and discouraged pilgrimage to the sites. The tomb and its annexes were destroyed by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 850–851 and Shi'a pilgrimage was prohibited, but shrines in Karbala and Najaf were built by the Buwayhid emir 'Adud al-Daula in 979-80. Public rites of remembrance for Husayn's martyrdom developed from the early pilgrimages. Under the Buyid dynasty, Mu'izz ad-Dawla officiated at public commemoration of Ashura in Baghdad. These commemorations were also encouraged in Egypt by the Fatimid caliph al-'Aziz. From Seljuq times, Ashura rituals began to attract participants from a variety of backgrounds, including Sunnis. With the recognition of Twelvers as the official religion by the Safavids, Mourning of Muharram extended throughout the first ten days of Muharram. Significance of Ashura for Shi'a MuslimsThis day is of particular significance to Twelver Shi'a Muslims and Alawites, who consider Husayn (the grandson of Muhamad) Ahl al-Bayt the third Imam to be the rightful successor of Muhammad. Shi'a devotees congregate outside the Sydney Opera House, Australia to commemorate Husayn.Shi'as make pilgrimages on Ashura, as they do forty days later on Arba'een, to the Mashhad al-Husayn, the shrine in Karbala, Iraq that is traditionally held to be Husayn's tomb. On this day Shi'a are in remembrance, and mourning attire is worn. They refrain from music, since Arabic culture generally considers music impolite during death rituals. It is a time for sorrow and respect of the person's passing, and it is also a time for self-reflection, wh en one commits oneself to the mourning of the Husayn completely. Weddings and parties are also never planned on this date by Shi'as. Shi'as also express mourning by crying and listening to recollections about the tragedy and sermons on how Husayn and his family were martyred. This is intended to connect them with Husayn's suffering and martyrdom, and the sacrifices he made to keep Islam alive. Husayn's martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi'a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression. Shi'as believe the Battle of Karbala was between the forces of good and evil with Husayn representing good while Yazid represented evil. Shi'as also believe the Battle of Karbala was fought to keep the Muslim religion untainted of any corruptions and they believed the path that Yazid was directing Islam was definitely for his own personal greed. Shia Imams strongly insist that the day of Ashura should not be taken as a day of joy and festivity. According to a hadith which is reported from Ali claiming it was on that day the God forgave Adam, Noah's Ark rested on dry land, The Israelites were saved from Pharaoh's army, etc.[clarification needed] The day of Ashura, according to Eighth Shia Imam, Ali al-Rida, must be observed as a day of inactivity, sorrow and total disregard of worldly cares. Some of the events associated with Ashura are held in special congregation halls known as "Imambargah" and Hussainia.