The begining of Muharram marks the new year for many Muslims, while for Iranian Shias this day marks the begining of mourning ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein the grandson of the Prophet of Islam, about 6 decades following the Hejira. According to Islamic and non Islamic historians , the Ommayid Dynasty that had risen to power after the fourth Caliph ( Imam Ali) was martyred , used their powerful status as the Leader of the Faithful, abusing the sincere devotion of Muslims, and taking the faith as a shield to protect their abject interests. Yazid the son of Muawieh, who was famous for his excesses in eating drinking, womanizing and brutally crushing his opponents payed no attention to the plight of the people who lived in poverty, and oppression. In outright opposition to the despotic rulers Imam Hussein, defying the ruling establishment sets out towards Kufa where we know as Iraq today, in response to their invitation for him. Yazid who feels threatened by the charisma and courage of Imam Hussein and his entourage decides to send an army to force him to sign a truce and submit to his rule of tyranny. Imam has come to Karbala with his companions and his family not for battle, but the army of Yazid arrives . " Death is more valuable than a life with humiliation." according to Imam Hussein . Submission to an oppressive ruler constitutes a form of humiliation that undermines human dignity. Then death becomes more valuable than life.
The message of Imam Hussein still echoes centuries later since it is a message for all humanity irregardless of race, creed, nationality or social status. It is an eternal and universal message for all times.