The Moharrum is an important and interesting religious festival of the Muslims. It celebrates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S.), the grandson of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).
The story is that Yazid, the Caliph of Damascus, was an ambitious man, and he did not like to see the direct descendants of the Holy Prophet claiming any rival position to him. He troubled Imam Hussain in many ways, till a war broke out which lasted a long time. Eventually. Imam Hussain died in the field of Karbala He was kept without food and drink for several days, and this makes the tragedy more painful.
The festival lasts for ten days, in which the death of Imam, the hero, is mourned by pious Muslims. They sing funeral songs, elegies, lamenting the death of Hussain, and spend their time in weeping and wailing: Alms are distributed among the poor, and cold sweetened drinks are specially supplied to the thirsty.
On the tenth day, huge bamboo structures covered with colored papers of various designs are carried in solemn procession through the town, and buried outside, where a big meal is held. The structures called Taziahs are sometimes made of wood and ivory also and are very costly. They represent the tomb of Imam Hussain at Karbala. The procession is composed of mourners, who remembering the martyrdom of the holy hero, are filled with great spiritual anguish. They revere the Taziahs or Taboots. The worshippers follow or precede these Taziahs, repeating in a very excited manner the name of Hussain (A.S).
It is a great pity that on those occasions when there should bé peace and good-will among all, riots break out as a result of religious fanaticism. Though the mourning in honor of Imam Hussain is observed by all sections of Muslims. yet the Taziahs are the symbols of worship only among the Shias. Quarrels break out among Shias and Sunnis. and Ahl-i-Hadith, Shias riots, also, occur in some places on those occasions. People should learn religious toleration, and help one another in observing all religious ceremonies. Mutual concord and sympathy are very necessary for our national well-being.