Muharram is a month of remembrance, as it was on the tenth day of this month – known as Ashura – that Hazrat Imam Husayn, the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), was martyred at Karbala in 680 CE. The sad memory of this event is particularly poignant for Shia Muslims.
At Karbala, Imam Husayn was accompanied by many other members of Prophet Muhammad's family – including women and children – who together with his loyal followers were brutally killed. While the hereditary line of Imams continues through Hazrat Imam Husayn's son, Imam Zayn al-Abidin, the massacre of the Prophet's beloved grandson and family reverberated throughout the Muslim ummah.
The tragedy at Karbala has become a focal point of devotional tradition that upholds themes of justice, ethics and remembrance. For Shia Muslims, Muharram is a period during which celebratory events are avoided out of respect, particularly during the first ten days of the month.
However, the more enduring aspects of Imam Husayn's life continue to inspire Muslims in their daily lives – his example of commitment, selfless leadership, steadfastness in the face of oppression and, above all, his devotion to Allah and the cause of Islam.