Why do we remember Imam Hussain (as) through a ‘Procession’?

We remember Imam Hussain (as) through the often practiced medium of a procession because it is an effective means to spread awareness about Imam Hussain (as), his cause and his sacrifice for mankind. The movement of people in a coordinated and synchronised manner attracts the attention of any onlookers because it gives the impression that something is happening, something that cannot be achieved by simply standing in one spot. We want onlookers to question what that something is and in doing so whet their appetite for why we are holding the procession. The Ashura Procession comprising of thousands of people from various ethnic backgrounds all wearing black adds to the curiosity in people’s minds as to what is going on and why.

Holding a public assembly (as has been suggested by many) is definitely one way of remembering the tragedy of Karbala, but taking it a step further and holding a procession is a more effective way of spreading awareness to the community at large. In holding and participating in the procession attendees are mirroring an honoured tradition of walking from one’s home to Karbala on the day of Ashura. This is a way for people in the community to connect to Imam Hussain’s (as) sister, Sayedda Zainab (as), feel her pain and remember her long journey as a captive from Karbala to Damascus.

Finally, on this point it is worthwhile to consider that the notion of a procession is not exclusive to those who practice Ashura Processions, it has been utilised as a powerful tool by countless groups around the world – consider the various military, ethnic, social, political, special interest groups, minority groups, sporting and ceremonial events. In these instances we see people walking as a collective for a cause they believe in and celebrate/commemorate while promoting awareness and knowledge to the wider community – the Ashura Procession is no different.

Posted in: The Procession