Tens of thousands of Muslims across the globe observed Ashura on Thursday, an annual commemoration mourning the seventh-century death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein.
Ashura is marked on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, by all Muslims.
It is a particularly important period of mourning for Shia Muslims, as it marks the anniversary of the seventh-century Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq, when Hussein was killed.
The death of Hussein is considered by the Shia community as a symbol of humanity’s struggle against injustice, tyranny and oppression.
The primary rituals and observances on Ashura consist of public expressions of mourning. Sunni Muslims commemorate the day through voluntary fasting.
Some in the Shia community mark the day by flagellating themselves with chains and the blunt ends of swords. This is intended to exemplify the suffering Hussein experienced shortly before his beheading.