The beliefs of tradition are commemorated by Ashura through common rituals and ceremonies
Mourning Ceremony (Majlis / مجلس)

" Hussain will be killed by the worst people (ummah), and those who distance themselves from his children (Hussain) will distance themselves from me. Yazid! May God not be pleased with Yazid." and his shed tears.

"Hussain was mourned over to my acquaintance and I got spent his land (Karbala land) and I was informed of his killer ".

- Prophet Muhammad, Majma´ al-Zawa´id 9, 304

Across the globe, mourning ceremonies are being held in several continents and larger and smaller congregations are being formed in several countries to commemorate the Karbala tragedy. This is done according to different local traditions and languages, however, one or more of the following activities are typically part of the programs:

- Quran recitation.

Recitation of Ziyara (greeting of peace).

- Majlis (presentation) by a theologian, scholar or speaker.

- Latmiya (recitation) of rhythmic mourning poetry.

- Tashabih (visualization / theater) with role play.

- Sufra (food invitation) for the distribution of traditional Ashura meals and communal dining.

- Blood donation and voluntary donation.


In several European cities where the Shia Muslim assembly is multiethnic, the programs can be divided into several languages. The Imam Ali Mosque and the Imam Sadiq Center are some of the examples of mosques and places of worship that, among other things, plan the mourning ceremony according to language and ethnicity for the members, and thus meet the need.

Quran recitation

"I have left you two precious things; the holy scripture of God [the Qur'an] and my household [Ahlul Bait] ....
for they will not separate until they meet me at the well (paradise) "

- Prophet Muhammad, Fadail al-Sahaba 15 .

Imam Hussain's position was based on the maintenance and implementation of the word of God (the Holy Quran) and the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (sunnah). 

The Qur'an is the revelation of Allah and the silent word of God to mankind. This revelation was completed with the Prophet's interpretation of these silent words into living and telling acts, and was continued and maintained by the Prophet's descendants; The Imams.

The recitation of the Koran is part of the joyous events of the Muslims as well as their mourning ceremonies. Here Ashura is one of these ceremonies where the Holy Qur'an is recited to follow in the footsteps of Imam Hussain and his best father (peace be upon them both), and not least to remind Muslims of the role of the Imams, cf. to hold fast to the Holy Quran and the household of the Prophet.

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Greetings of peace (Ziyara / زيارة)

"He who visits Al-Hussain bin Ali (peace be upon them) on Ashura's day from Muharram so that he stays with him weeps, meets God (the Almighty and Majestic) the day he meets him with the reward of two thousand Hajjs, two thousand umrahs and two thousand battles, the reward for every battle,​​reward and Hajj as a pilgrimage. God, may God's prayers and peace be with him and his family and with the fairly guided imams".

- Imam al-Baqir, Misbah al-Mutahajid 772 .

A peace greeting to the Imam Hussain and Karbala martyrs is a short-lived recitation handed down to the Ashura mourners by Imam Mohammad al-Baqir fvmh, where he emphasized through the accounts of mixed Alqama ibn Muhammad al-Hadrami how rewarding the Ashura peace greeting is.  

During each Ashura night during the 10 nights in Muharram, this greeting of peace is recited, which, among other things, renews the mourners' oath and loyalty to the Imam's values and principles in this struggle, as well as distancing themselves from the enemies of God and the Prophet.


On the practical side, the rapprochement of the Muharram nights is marked by covering premises in, among other places, mosques and religious hangouts with black covering in order to highlight the arrival of the time of mourning, and as part of all Imams' activities during the same period of the year.

Talerstolen (Minbar / منبر)

" O Ibn Shabib, if you weep for anything, let this be over Hussain son of Ali, for he was murdered like a ram being slaughtered, along with eighteen of his household members who had no imitators on that land. For his murder wept the seven heavens and the earth, and four thousand angels were sent down to support him waiting at his tomb until the resurrection of Qaim (Imam Mahdi), where their slogan is: Justice for Hussain! "

- Imam al-Ridha, Jawahir al-Bihar 98 (Mazar)

All subsequent Imams after Imam al-Sajjad, including the latter, maintained the memory of the Karbala tragedy on a regular basis. They did this for various events and on several occasions, just to remind the people of the tragedy, but most of all so that they can learn from the past and avoid similar circumstances in the future.

The rostrum was used by Mrs Zainab and Imam al-Sajjad, and remains the mouthpiece for the masses of caring loving loyalists, Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

A Quranic verse is typically laid out by the speaker with interpretation, and then sub-topics that are relevant to the participants' everyday lives are derived. It includes everything from historical facts, to religious info as well as knowledge about science and existence in context.

These speeches are generally held in a traditional form called Majlis in Arabic ("sit-in" or "sit-down" if you will), and the speech ends with a short rendition of a sad descriptive scene from the Karbala tragedy, where tears culminate in mourn, resulting in a bliss of the heart. This tradition particularly aids in treading souls with deep sorrow over lost offspring, in seeking comfort in the greater tragedy of Hussain and Zainab´, through the connection to Ashura and an attachment to the wounds of the individual.

Mourning Poetry (Latmiya / لطمية)

Imam al-Ridha: "Revive our cause. May God, with His blessing, embrace those who revive and remember our cause."  

Following the burials of Imam Hussain and his companions, historical sources report that the nearby clans and inhabitants, as well as those who had received the news of the Karbala tragedy, condoled Mrs. Zainab and Imam Hussain's son; Imam al-Sajjad.

This condolence (also called Nadb / ندب) brought with it poetry readings about Imam Hussain and the martyrs who recounted their qualities and commemorated their bravery in the Karbala plain.

The mourning poetry created an audience and a community as well as an identity that was to show a public and overt protest seeking the Imam's revenge and the search for justice. This was another form of condolence, in addition to the mourners verbally remembering the tragedy by repeating renditions along with physical mourning movements, which were a common part of showing compassion for or mourning the lost or deceased.

The mourning poetry gathering developed into an artistic use of rhythm and perfection in the description of the sad event in Karbala.

From country to country and nation to another, culture is shifting in involving local elements in expressing grief over Imam Hussain.

This culmination of rhythmic mourning poetry and movement (s) is called "latmiya" in Arabic (لطمية).

Examples of Danish mourning poetry can be seen her .

Visualizations (Tashabih / تشابيه)

Visualizations and theater play an important role for wise cultures and assemblies in the respective countries, as people are different and some in society live better into the Karbala tragedy and its surroundings when there are visualizations associated with Ashura.  

The art behind the numerous plays is displayed, among other things, via the decoration of horses and camels, which were to display Imam Hussain and Abbas´ horses on the day, and Mrs. Zainab's and the caravan's camels, with symbolic dome decorations.

The connection between the visualizations and the Karbala heroes is linked to the characters' characteristics and stories:

- Qasim (Zafat al-Qasim)

-Ali (al-) asghar (spædbørn's white and green dress). 

- Mrs. Zainab and Karbala´'s women (Ashura´'s tents).

- Imam Hussain (Ashura today's great visualization).

- Shimr ibn Thil-Jawshan (Imam's killer and beheader).

- The enemy's army and companions (the Ashura visualization).

On Ashura Day, the mourners gather at one of the great gathering points and watch the Karbala tragedyrehearsed again with hundreds of actors, where they live in the given roles to provoke the Ashura surroundings, while the viewers burst into tears and tears over the Imam and the caravan's condition.

The children's reaction, depending on age, varies between crying and compassion to, in some cases, some taking water bottles and wanting to go to the Imam's camp to provide water for the actors.


The emotional connection of the play with wise spectators and the reactions in that connection, emphasizes the role of art and the theater's important message when it comes to human emotions. The promotion of Imam Hussain´'s message takes several forms, and art is one of them.

Food invitation

For communal meals and food distributions, you will be able to experience a special insistence on the part of the distributors that you must accept the shared food.

The wording "Zad aba-Abdillah / زاد ابا عبد الله" is often repeated and used, denoting a certain specialty of this food, which was prepared with the love of sacrifice and of Imam Hussain.

This social joy and gathering around food, right after the mourners have mourned together and shed tears in assembly, is topped off with the finishing touch. Large wide surfaces are rolled up in all the haunts to hand out Ashura meals and dishes. Therefore, every now and then one will hear the volunteers in the respective haunts (also called Hussayniya / حسينية), mention the word "Sufra". These gathering points help to promote attendance and reunion for many, as well as help to welcome guests of those who want to learn about Ashura and Imam Hussain.

The reward of eating and distributing food, with the satisfaction of God as the intention, is emphasized by many prophets and imams. Thus, many, both poor and rich, are seen donating what they hold dearest in order to obtain God's blessing and the prayer and comfort of the bereaved.

The social aspect of invitations has resulted in many non-Muslims being able to learn more about Hussain´'s universal message and struggle for justice. Even these important debates could have started during an Ashura meal and gathering in the local mosque or haunt. 

Blood donation

Grief is a general human phenomenon and the types of expression of grief differ from person to person.

One cannot help but find images of blood and shedding of the latter among a very small minority among the mourners under Ashura. This act of beating oneself on the head with sharp objects is called "tatbir / تطبير". The majority of scholars forbid harm to their own bodies, although the intention of some is to show compassion and mourn the terrible tragedy of Imam Hussain and Karbala´.

This kind of compassion and self-harm has in recent decades changed its character to more concrete and constructive alternatives. Blood donation to blood banks, hospitals and relevant clinics, among others, is growing like never before, and is helping to save human lives for the benefit of millions of souls worldwide.

The mourners of the young generation are constantly trying to come up with new initiatives for a practically indefinite, and not geographically or culturally conditioned, interpretation of Ashura from tragedy and provide for projects that focus on making our world better with the help and support of others. .

This understanding has resulted inseveral humanitarian and non-profit projects that promote Hussain's message without national barriers and across international borders.