Muslim neighbourhoods in the city observed the 40th day (Al Arabaeen or Chehlum) of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. The juloos, in which mourners beat their chests, with sabils that offer water to people were seen in Muslim neighbourhoods, particularly those with Shia populations.
Dressed in black, mourners walked the stretch from Bhendi Bazaar to Byculla in south Mumbai, and in Govandi and Jogeshwari in the eastern and western suburbs, respectively.
The first month of the Islamic Calendar – Mohurrum – is not celebrated but is mourned. The month marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain – grandson of Prophet Mohammed.
Imam Hussain was martyred on Ashura – the tenth day of Muharram – by then Umayyad Caliph Yazid I during the Battle of Karbala in 622 AD. Sunday marked the 40th day after the day of Ashura.
“After Imam Hussain was martyred, his sister Zainab and other family members were captured and taken to Damascus by the army of Yazid. After keeping them there for some days, they were released. After being released they had two options. Of going to Karbala where the Imam was martyred or straight to Medina. Since the 40th day was arriving, his sister went to Karbala to mourn the martyrdom of Imam. She mourned there and then went to Medina,” said maulana Farman Ali, explaining the significance of the day.
Mourners make it a point to not celebrate any occasion for 40 days.
“The mourning actually goes on for two months and ten days but the days of Ashura and Chehlum are the most significant,” said Anwar Hussain, a mourner who participated in the juloos at Bhendi Bazaar.
The juloos started from MasjidE-Iranian, more commonly known as Mughal Masjid, and ended at Rehmatabad Qabristan.
Members of the community carried alams (flags) with a palm on top of it. “The fortieth day is like a marker and important date in the mourning period,” said Kausar Zaidi, another participant in a juloos. Mosques have special majlises during this period.
“In our mosque, there was majlis since last night. Even during the day, we had a maulana who spoke about the day, the instance of Karbala, why Imam Hussain was martyred, the teachings of Imam Hussain and the significance of this day,” said Ali Namazi, honorary secretary of Mughal Masjid.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)