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What does Ashura mean and what tragedy happened on the day?
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Omking year 680 AD Imam Hussain, a revolutionary leader of the 7th century, along with his children and family members were brutally killed on the day of Ashura. The 10th. day of the first month of the Islamic calendar Muharram. (Ashura means the tenth in Arabic). As the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, he met his death in the battle of the desert of Karbala in Iraq. Yazid an Ummayad caliph who was behind the brutal execution of Imam Hussain, his brothers, sons and other family members. Imam Hussain's sacrifice and courage have made him an icon for posterity.

Ashura Day marks the death anniversary of Hussain where millions of people around the world remember Hussain's dignified steadfastness for justice and his resistance to tyranny. The day of Ashura symbolizes the mourning of his death and serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the principles of justice and courage in the face of oppression.



Imam Hussain's followers and admirers mark Ashura mourning with ten days of mourning ceremonies, commemorating the tragedy while celebrating victory over bloodshed, oppression and the fight against injustice.

During these ceremonies, verses from the Holy Qur'an are recited, followed by speeches that highlight the significance of Ashura for our own lives. Mourning poetry is performed with rhythmic movement and conveys a deep sense of grief and reflection. These events bring mourners together for traditional Ashura meals, typically donated by the congregation or outside benefactors. It is a time when fellowship, spiritual immersion and solidarity flourish while commemorating Imam Hussain's sacrifice and his courageous fight against injustice.

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Kort after Muhammad's death, the Islamic empire reverted to old Arab norms and habits. Imam Hussain witnessed how his grandfather's teachings on ethics and morality were ignored by the tyrannical Caliph Yazid and his father, Muawiya.

In Muslim society, the ruling caliph was no longer elected by consensus (shura) or appointed directly by the Prophet. This lack of legitimacy led the young caliph, Yazid, son of Muawiya, to seek legitimacy from, among others, the Prophet's grandson, Hussain, son of Ali.

Imam Hussain was highly respected in the community because of his sincerity, piety and not least for being the grandson of the Prophet and the son of Imam Ali.

However, Hussain rejected Yazid's desire for support for his illegitimate rule and corrupt government. Hussain was a moral man who strove to uphold social justice, like his father, Imam Ali, and his grandfather, the Prophet Mohammad, who laid the foundation for people to receive the revelation and embrace Islam.




The Muslim community's yearning for justice and direction from Muhammad and Ali led to rebellion against power. Imam Hussain's support for the revolt against the injustice of the caliphate gave great legitimacy to the people of Kufa, who sent countless letters to him.

Hussain chose to take an ultimate stand for social justice and the well-being of society. He left Medina with his family and a group of companions. The people of Kufa had invited him to lead their revolt against the regime.

When news reached Yazid of the Imam's support for the revolution against the power, the caliph sent an army of thirty thousand soldiers. Their aim was to force Hussain to obey Yazid's orders and surrender his loyalty and allegiance to the Caliphate. Yazid knew that Imam Hussain had great influence, and this minor rebellion with Hussain's family and companions could spread and gain thousands of justice-seeking followers across the empire, threatening Yazid's power and caliphate.

Yazid therefore presented Hussain with an ultimatum of submission or death. However, Hussain did not want a violent confrontation and instead hoped to restore justice in the Islamic nation. Imam Hussain knew that his views would not please Yazid.

Caliph Yazid therefore ordered the killing of Hussain on the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram. This was the consequence of Hussain's refusal to submit to the tyrant.




Hussain, his companions and family were forced by Yazid's soldiers to halt in the desert of Karbala. At dawn on the day of Ashura, it was clear to Hussain and his men what awaited them, and they offered their last prayers. Despite knowing that they would die that day, Hussain's companions remained by his side. Although they were aware that they could not prevail against the thousand-strong army, they reaffirmed their loyalty to the Prophet's grandson and were willing to sacrifice their lives for this cause. They prioritized their principles over living under a corrupt ruler and refused to witness oppression. Imam Hussain stood against an overwhelming enemy army to defend truth and justice. Despite being surrounded by enemies and facing inhuman suffering, he refused to bow down to oppression and gave his life fighting for the principles of Islam.

The Battle of Karbala began at noon. Although Hussain and his companions were few in number, they were terrifying to Yazid's army. Fearing internal unrest, Yazid's general, Omar ibn Saad, decided to start the war. After a few hours, Hussain was the only one left on the battlefield. Exhausted, thirsty and badly wounded, he did not give up or give up his principles. Without support, Hussain was attacked from all sides by Yazid's soldiers until he was finally killed. Hussain's struggle remains vivid in the memory of those who strive for justice, even after 1400 years since his martyrdom.

The water withheld: During the siege of Karbala, the water was withheld from Imam Hussain's camp by the enemy forces. Imam Hussain's children and family members were murdered one by one and Imam Hussain's son, Ali al-Asghar, an infant, suffered from thirst. Imam Hussain asked for water for his son, but his request was rejected by the enemy. Ali al-Asghar was tragically killed when he was shot with an arrow and died of thirst.

The Imam and His Faithfulness: Despite the inevitable fate that awaited him, Imam Hussain's loyalty and faithfulness to his mission became evident. He urged his companions to leave him for their lives, but they chose to stay with him and give their lives in support of his cause.

Mrs. Zainab's speech: After the battle, Imam Hussain's sister, Mrs. Zainab, was captured and taken to Yazid's palace in Damascus. In the palace, she gave a powerful speech in which she condemned Yazid's actions and revealed the truth about the Karbala massacre. Her speech touched the hearts of the people and strengthened the fight for justice.

These tales of Imam Hussain show his dedication, resilience and devotion to the principles of truth and justice, and they continue to inspire and touch people today.


Hussain's camp and the families' tents in Karbala were set on fire as part of the humiliation of Hussain's progeny and his companions. But this was not enough for Yazid as he ordered Hussain's head and the heads of some of his companions to be carried to Damascus where the Caliphate's palace was to celebrate the victory. This camp, consisting primarily of family members of the Prophet of the Muslims, opened many eyes to the misdeeds Yazid had committed in the name of the Caliphate.

What satisfied Yazid was seeing Hussain's families, female companions and children in chains. He enjoyed the destruction, which surprised even the largest and most brutal clans and tribes of the Arabian Peninsula.

The brutality faced by Hussain and his companions started with being cut off from drinking water and their families. The manner in which their corpses were decapitated and the way the horses trampled over the corpses was an incident which even the most brutal Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula had not experienced or witnessed.

Not to forget Hussain's position as the Prophet's grandson and descendant as well as the appointed Imam of the Muslims.



  • What does Ashura mean?
    Ashura means "tenth" in Arabic and refers to the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram. It is a significant day for Muslims, when especially Shia Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain at the Battle of Karbala. Ashura is associated with mourning, self-reflection and devotion to uphold justice and fight injustice. Read more here
  • Who is Hussain?
    Hussain was a central figure in Islam and was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He was born in 626 AD. and played a vital role in upholding Islamic teachings and principles. His most famous act was his opposition to tyranny and injustice at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD, where he and his family were brutally murdered. Imam Hussain symbolizes courage, justice and sacrifice for the cause of faith. His sacrifice is a source of inspiration and a reminder of the importance of standing up against oppression and defending the truth. Hussain also called Imam Hussain was a revolutionary leader. In everyday speech, "imam" is used as a designation for a religious leader, while Imam (including Imam Hussain) designates the divinely appointed successors of the Prophet Muhammad. Imam Hussain was the youngest grandson of Prophet Muhammad and son of Lady Fatima. Hussain was the younger brother of Imam Hassan and elder brother of Mrs. Zainab. There are hundreds of accounts in which the Prophet publicly expresses his love for Hassan and Hussain.
  • Why is Hussain remembered and why is it relevant in the 21st century?
    Shia Muslims in Denmark send a universal message of peace, love and justice. We encourage active participation in creating a better world for everyone and for Muslims and non-Muslims to stand together in a solution-oriented society and create harmony. It is through unity that we can defeat injustice and spread goodness and compassion in our common journey towards a better society for all people, regardless of faith or background. this year we have ta
  • What are the Ashura rituals?
    The rituals of Muharram, the 10 days and nights marking the martyrdom of Hussain, include various practices. Mourning ceremonies are attended, where the tragedy of Karbala is remembered through the recitation of elegies and mourning poetry, speeches and weeping. In addition, there are also charitable acts such as sharing food and drink with others and giving alms to the poor, symbolizing solidarity and compassion for those in need. However, these rituals vary in practice and intensity among different Muslim communities. In the haunts in Denmark, the deceased are remembered through lectures, stories, plays and mourning poetry, and the programs end with the distribution of food. In parts of Nørrebro and Copenhagen, free food and drink are also distributed. There are also traditions that many Shia Muslims go on pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq. (Karbala is the city where the massacre took place) Followers of several religions and sects see in Imam Hussain's rise and stand a theological and humanitarian connection between calling and action. Therefore, the visit of well-known Christian leaders in particular is not unknown in the Iraqi cityscape during the Ashura mourning ceremonies. Read more about the 10 nights here Read more about the various rituals and traditions here
  • Who started the story of Hussain?
    The story of Imam Hussain begins with his grandfather, the Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad prophesied about the role of his family and said that Imam Hussain would be martyred to uphold justice and fight injustice. After the death of the Prophet, Imam Hussain spread the message of truth and justice in an age characterized by corruption and tyranny. His martyrdom at Karbala was passed down by his sons and successors, (among others Imam Hussain's sister Mrs. Zainab and Imam Hussain's son Al-Sajjad, who relayed the story of Imam Hussain's heroic struggle. Over the years, the story of Imam Hussain has been preserved and shared among Muslims , and it continues to inspire and touch the hearts of people around the world. The stories were also told through generations with mourning gatherings, poetry readings, speeches and processions as well as humanitarian and charity projects.
  • What was the reason for Hussain's rebellion?
    Barely 50 years after the death of Muhammad (the last prophet of Islam), the Muslim empire suffered from corruption under the tyrant and monarchical caliph Yazid of the Ummayad family. The change and distortion of Islam under the then caliph Yazid reached a terrible peak where historical accounts suggest that the caliph openly displayed and exposed oppression and injustice. Hussain had a choice between either supporting the tyrant and living a comfortable and luxurious life, or refusing loyalty and most likely being killed for his decision and stand. Hussain could not live his life as a follower and supporter of tyranny and the choice for him was simple. Hussain refused, saying, "I only want to spread good values and prevent evil". This election Hussain is remembered for by millions of followers worldwide across countries and continents, among both religious, ideological and ethnic groups and individuals. We must learn from this experience and support the community in making a positive difference and change. It involves fighting oppression, promoting justice and creating an inclusive and harmonious society where all citizens can thrive and live in peace and equality.
  • What significance does Hussain have for Muslims?
    Imam Hussain has a deeply significant role for Muslims. He symbolizes courage, justice and sacrifice. His tragic martyrdom at the Battle of Karbala is a source of inspiration and strength for Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide. Imam Hussain represents the struggle against oppression and injustice, and his resistance to tyranny stands as a timeless example of upholding principles and faith, even in difficult situations. Muslims remind each other of his legacy and values as a reminder to stand up against injustice and defend the truth, regardless of the consequences. He is a source of inspiration and a guiding star for the Muslims in their search for justice and peace.
  • Why is there a peace march?
    Peace Procession: Since 1996, a group of less than 50 people have held the annual Ashura procession marking the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. The day Imam Hussain and his followers were murdered in cold blood. It was not just their bodies that were under attack but their stand for righteousness that must not be allowed to exist. Millions of people today remember Imam Hussain's fight against tyranny and injustice. We are gathered here today, on an equal footing with other mourners around the world, dressed in the colors of mourning. Millions across the globe commemorate the loss of Imam Hussain as Shia Muslims, as Muslims and as non-Muslims. Imam Hussain whom millions of people remember, even after 1300 years and still remember, is the revolutionary justice fighter Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Imam Hussein fought, among other things, for social justice and for the responsibility of an authority towards its people. Imam Hussein stood against the abuse of power and promoted objective and constructive criticism. In all continents around the world, Hussein's message is remembered annually, where it is relevant to religious as well as non-religious, and without limitation to gender, ethnicity or belief. Imam Hussein's human and humanitarian struggle reminds us to awaken the call to the good in ourselves and our fellow human beings. Hussein reminds us that evil must not be allowed to rule, and that we all have a responsibility to speak out against injustice, regardless of the outcome and regardless of who is in authority. Imam Hussein taught us that we must protect being able to live and think freely, and yet have respect for factual disagreements with our fellow human beings. The Koran: This year we bring our holy book the Koran, to demonstrate our devotion and love for our holy scripture, in a peaceful and positive way. We want to confirm our faith and identity, without resorting to confrontation or provocation. We do not want our social coexistence and unity to be exposed to destruction and unhappiness here in Denmark, simply to make room for the individual unreasonable individuals who are obsessed with scorn, hatred and unreasonable criticism. We want to emphasize Imam Hussain's message that with freedom comes responsibility, and that every prosperity and welfare in a society is maintained by respecting the religious identity of the citizens in a multicultural society, which we in Denmark have become. Each year Imam Hussein's universal message reminds Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, to distance themselves from oppression, tyranny and mockery at all times and in all places. We, as Muslims, also want to pass on this side of Islam by telling about Imam Hussein's beautiful message.
  • What is Arbaeen Peace March - (Hundige -Nørrebro)?
    "Arbaeen fredsmarch" is the name of the annual march which started here in Denmark in 2005 by individual mourners. The wish was to walk a symbolic distance, like the million march that takes place annually in Iraq, in memory of Imam Hussein's family, who were taken hostage after the Karbala tragedy in 680. "Arbaeen Fredsmarch" is on Wednesday 6 September in Zealand. The march stretches approximately 20 kilometers from Hundige to Nørrebro and takes place from 06:30 to approximately 14:00. The course of the route and rest stops are as follows: - 06:30: Hundige st. (start) - 07:00: Ishøj st. - 07:30: Vejlegårdsparken. - 08:30: Strandesplanaden, Brøndby beach. (rest break, Arbaeen peace greeting and food and drink distribution). - 10:30 a.m.: Friheden st. (rest break and food and drink distribution). - 11:30 a.m.: Valby st. - 12:30 / 14:00: Nørrebro st. (final destination). Arbaeen / 40th Day: Around the world, several million Shia Muslims and freedom lovers mark the Arbaeen event year after year by walking a symbolic distance to commemorate this tragedy. On par with the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Arbaeen peace march has become one of the biggest Muslim holidays ever. Where both Shia, Sunni, Christians and non-Muslims visit Imam Hussain in Karbala in Iraq. A crowd of growing 20 million visitors at this international event cannot be overlooked or underestimated, especially in times when the SoMe movement and the media in general make it easier for followers to explore all the world's geographies, cultures and nations. The visitors gather in these huge numbers to empathize with and recall the horrors and horrors the captives among the Prophet's family and children have been through. This remembrance of humiliation and inhumane treatment reminds all societies of their role in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil which can also be manifested in a symbolic footing.
  • What does Arbaeen mean?
    Arbaeen is an important religious event within the Muslim world, marking the 40-day mourning period following the martyrdom of Imam Hussain at the Battle of Karbala. It is a time when millions of Muslims, regardless of nationality or background, gather in Iraq to take part in a pilgrimage to Hussainiyah, the tomb of Imam Hussain. Arbaeen is the world's largest annual human gathering that symbolizes unity, solidarity and tribute to Imam Hussain and his sacrifices. During this event, important values such as mercy, compassion and love are practiced in an impressive display of devotion and faith. The collection point is Iraq's various cities; primarily Najaf or Baghdad and the destination is the city of Karbala where the Ashura incident took place. The grave site of Imam Hussain and Abbas can be found in the center of Karbala. Up to 20 million people gather for Arbaeen (the 40th day) after the Ashura tragedy to mark the mourning ceremony. The visitors from all corners of the world show their compassion and support for the Prophet's family by walking long distances of up to 90 kilometers spread over a few days with Karbala in sight. On par with the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Arbaeen peace march has become one of the biggest Muslim holidays ever. The visitors proudly raise their country's flag and flaunt their national identity in order to illuminate the obvious love for the Prophet's family. They show their loyalty to the Prophet by mourning and remembering the prisoners of Karbala, their journey and sufferings from the then destination from Kufa to Damascus. Read more about Arbaeen here
  • Where can I read more about Hussain?
    1. Read more about Hussain here
  • Quotes by Hussain
    Here are some quotes from Imam Hussain: ​ 1. "Death with dignity is better than life in humiliation."2. "I prefer to die with honor than to live under oppression."3. "If you don't believe in anything, you will fall for everything."4. "No one fights for God without experiencing victory."5. "The goal is not to live long, but to live meaningfully."6. "True heroes don't die, they always live on in the hearts of those they touched."7. "Stick to the truth is not always easy, but it is always the right thing."8. "Do good deeds even if you are surrounded by evil.
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