Speaking about the incident which took place in Karbala in 61 AH is as thought-provoking and saddening as it seems difficult and impossible. Many things have been said about it and more remained to be told. Without banking on ethnic and religious interests, history is enough to show that unrightful killing of Imam Hossein (AS) in that desert has turned into an epic through times and all the details of a full-blown epical narration have been applied to this bloody incident.
Mourning for the third Shiite Imam (AS) has rapidly evolved into a powerful popular institution in Iranian society since the rule of Safavid dynasty. As with every established institution, it has its own unique arrangements and forms.
The 60 AH uprising of Imam Hossein (AS) against the corrupt and tyrannical rule of Yazid bin Muaaviyeh and the martyrdom of the Imam and his disciples in Karbala have sparked a variety of debates in the course of history. Numerous books have been written on the uprising and its root causes. Over the centuries, the incident has affected people’s lives and become one of their fundamental beliefs and traditions, which adds to its sensitivity.
The historical uprising of Ashura was launched by the third Shia Imam, Imam Hossein (AS), but the person who provided the primary breeding grounds for that ongoing uprising was actually his sister, Zainab (SA), who shouldered great responsibility in nurturing the uprising.
Mourning rituals of Moharram stem from two origins. One of them is the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS) and his disciples in Karbala near the Euphrates, and the other includes rituals that have evolved in Iran as part of the country’s indigenous culture. The first aspect of Karbala rituals is characterized by the following:
In the year 50 AH, Imam Hassan (AS), the first son of Imam Ali (the first Shiite Imam) was martyred. At that time, Muaaviyeh ruled over Muslims forcefully and deceitfully. He knew well that he had gained power through oppression and so was not eligible to rule; therefore, he was constantly afraid of Ali’s (AS) children and followers. Muaaviyeh wanted his drunken son to ascend to the throne after his rule and considered Ali’s children, who were the most eligible to rule over Muslims, as obstacles. Finally, by masterminding a conspiracy, he martyred Imam Hassan (AS).
Each year in the lunar month of Moharram, people of the world witness the glorious mourning of the World Shiites for Imam Hossein (AS) and 72 of his companions, children, relatives and loyal and freedom-fighting disciples in the desert of Karbala, in southern Iraq.
The bodies of 135 holy defense martyrs from eight years of Iraq-Iran war have been returned to Iran after many long years. They have been put the rest in a funeral service attended by large crowds in Tehran.
The Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CAO.IRI) has responded to warnings by The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States about crossing Iranian airspace, announcing: “The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) magnified by Western media recently was issued for 2017.”
An Iranian expert of international affairs believes: “The main challenges of Iran’s foreign policy in the next Iranian calendar year has more domestic than international roots, particularly in economic issues and increasing poverty.”
Christie’s has been auctioning works for some Iranian artists for a number of years now. This year, on its 25th anniversary in Dubai, Christie’s will be holding an auction titled "Modern and Contemporary Art in the Middle East" on 23 March 2019 in which twelve Iranian artists will be participating with eighteen works.
The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman on Sunday which U.S. officials say will allow the U.S. military better access to the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran.
A sociologist in Iran believes: “State domination on the public sphere and preventing interactions between individuals has deprived Iranian society of public rejoicing. With emphasis by government on the sad side of religion, the opportunity to strengthen the collective spirit through religion has also been eliminated.”