Observance of Muharram

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“Every Mu’min, whose eyes shed tears upon the killing of Husayn ibn’ Ali and his companions, such that the tears roll down his cheeks, God shall accommodate him in the elevated rooms of paradise”.

(Ali ibn Hussein – Yanaabe’al Mawaddah, p. 419)

I took this picture last afternoon while Shia devotees were carrying several tazia (coffin) in the narrow streets of Varanasi (Benaras).
No country other than India has the versatile and varied nature of making Tazia.
Its making involves workers from almost all communities and religions and gives employment to the whole household of an artist during Muharram.

Muharram is the first month of Hijri era however the month is better known for the tragedy of Karbala, where Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, and his 72 companions were martyred during the battle against evil forces of Yazid, then ruler of Syria who had claimed to be the successor of Islamic spiritual seat.
On the ninth day of Muharram the Tazias, the replicas of Mazar of Imam Husain in Karbala, made of paper and bamboo sticks are kept at Imam Chauks and also on Chabutaras (platforms) of Hindu devotees.
The Muslims as well Hindus keep night vigil.

Varanasi (Benaras) is known as the ancient city for devout Hindus and also as the city of Lord Shiva, it is also known for its unique cultural harmony and coexistence which is often referred to as the “Ganga Jamuni tehzib” (Ganges-Yamuna Culture, गंगा जमुनी तहज़ीब, گنگا جمنی تهزیب).
Joint observance of Muharram is the most conspicuous example of this cultural and religious harmony which is reflected in Hindus participating in Tazia processions and paying homage to Imam Husain, the martyr of Karbala tragedy.

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