Thousands of Turkish Shia Muslims have commemorated the martyrdom anniversary of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein (PBUH), on the Day of Ashura. Turkish Shias mourned the martyrdom of Imam Hussein by holding ceremonies in Istanbul’s Halkali district and other parts of the country, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Wearing black clothes, young Turkish women carried the names of the Karbala martyrs on headbands and cups in their hands that symbolized the thirst suffered by the prophet's grandson and his companions. Men organized into regulated groups and flogged themselves in harmony, responding in grief to spiritual chants and poems describing the pain that Imam Hussein suffered. Many doves were released in memory of Ali Asghar (PBUH), the 6-month-old son of Imam Hussein, who was also killed in the Battle of Karbala. In the eastern province of Kars, the flag on the dome of the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) was brandished atop a tent set up in front of the governor’s office.
The ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam and his 72 companions reach their climax on the Day of Ashura -- the tenth day of the Islamic lunar month of Muharram.Ashura is the anniversary of the day in 680 CE, when thousands of forces loyal to the despotic Umayyad caliph Yazid ibn Muawiyah martyred Imam Hussein (PBUH) and his companions in Karbala, Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Karbala for the Ashura religious rituals every year. MP/SZH