Holy Muharram: Month of peace, harmony in Pakistan
Islamabad, The mourning month of Muharram is observed with religious spirit across Pakistan not only by the Shias but also by the Sunnis. It provides an opportunity to promote sectarian harmony in the country.
Muharram is a sacred month in which Muslims commemorate the martyrs of the Battle of Karbala. Mourning congregations and processions are held to pay homage to the Imam Hussain (A.S)-led martyrs of Karbala.
Imam Hussain's (AS) uprising in Karbala is regarded as the symbol of resistance against oppressors by Muslims, as the grandson of Islam's Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) with a small troop and his relatives stood up against injustice.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in a message on the occasion, has said that the month symbolizes sacrifice and brotherhood.
We must work together for the prosperity of the nation, he said.
Shias account for 20 percent of the Muslim population in Pakistan and the country is home to the second largest Shia population after Iran. However the Sunni population in Pakistan also observes the month with religious spirit.
It is pertinent to mention that Suuni people in Pakistan facilitate Shias in holding religious gatherings while some of them also take part in majlis.
Shia people during the month don't forget their Sunni brothers in Pakistan and send Niaz (food prepared for free distribution) to their Sunni neighbors and friends regularly in the holy month.
People from different sects of Pakistani society try to avoid those things which could harm the sanctity of the month while they also promote harmony and unity through their behaviors in everyday lives.
Religious scholars say the month reminds us of the greatest Islamic and human values like sacrifice, loyalty, fortitude, patience, courage and determination, adding the sanctity of the month was a universal truth.
Imam Hussein (A.S) and his companions sacrificed their lives in Karbala to save the Muslims from divide and uniting them.
Pakistan has been the target of terrorism in the past thus the government has taken special measures during Muharram to ward off terrorist attacks on mourners and religious gatherings.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Pakistan also travel to the holy city of Karbala (in Iraq) and Iran, to observe the holy month.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also directed that a comprehensive action plan should be chalked out in consultation with all the stakeholders for the security of Zaireen (pilgrims) visiting Iran, Iraq and other holy places during the upcoming month of Muharram.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has asked the local broadcasters to broadcast special programs to persuade views about the teachings of Islam, to shun sectarian activism and discard animosity, hatred/differences by following the Islamic principles of tolerance courage, brotherhood and peace during Muharram.
Mu?arram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year. The tenth day of Muharram is known as the Day of Ashura, part of the Mourning of Muharram for Shia Muslims and a day of fasting for Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims mourn the death of Imam Hussein (A.S) and his family, respecting the sacrifice of the martyrs by praying in abundance and refraining from all joyous events.
Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH.
In Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Ashura has become a national holiday, and many ethnic and religious communities participate in it.
Ashura falls on September 20 in 2018.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA