The day of Ashura is a day which highlights one of the greatest contentions between the Sunni and the Shi’a schools of Islam.
It also serves as an event in which many view the Shia as a rebellious group who seek to contradict the established practices of Islam. It is with great difficulty that many have attempted to clarify just how drastically different the Shi’a view the day of Ashura from their Sunni counterparts.
Whilst some Sunnis have traditionally viewed the day as a day of fasting and celebration, associating it with a miraculous day in history through which God had saved numerous Prophets and nations from disaster, the Shi’a view the day as perhaps the saddest day of mourning throughout the entire Islamic year.
Shi’a have traditionally rejected the accounts in Sunni narrations regarding the day of Ashura as a day of celebration by focusing on internal and external contradictions in the Hadith themselves, whilst citing other narrations which show that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) prophesied what would happen to Imam al-Husayn (a.s) at Karbala.
For Shi’as, the day serves as a day which the believers reflect over the massacre that befell Imam al-Husayn (a.s) and his companions at Karbala, and which the believer can attempt to awaken the spirit of justice and dedication to the path of Allah (s.w.t) by remembering what happened to Imam al-Husayn (a.s) through re-enactments and oral eulogies.