Shia Muslims observe Ashura around the globe
As millions of Shia Muslims across the world mark the holy day of Ashura on Friday through mourning processions, hundreds of men and women gathered in Istanbul, wearing black outfits and with many men beating their chests in traditional rituals. A traditional sweet pudding named after the holy day was handed out in several mosques.
Ashura is a day of commemoration, occurring annually on the 10th day of the first month of Islamic calendar, which marks the death of prophet Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali, who was beheaded during the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.
Karbala is some 113 km from Iraq's capital of Baghdad.
The Karbala Battle was fought between the army of the second Umayyad Caliph Yazid I and a small army led by Husayn ibn Ali. Yazid was nominated as successor by his father, Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I, which was contested upon Muawiyah's death by the sons of a few prominent companions of Muhammad, including Husayn, son of the fourth caliph Ali.
The battle has a central place in Shi'a history, tradition, and theology. For the Shi'a, Husayn's suffering and death became a symbol of sacrifice in the struggle for right against wrong, and for justice and truth against injustice and falsehood.