Photos have been circulating on Twitter of Hollywood giant Morgan Freeman attending a commemoration ceremony for Muslims in London. Freeman was pictured sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by worshipers marking Ashura. Ashura (Day of Remembrance) is the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.
For Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husain ibn Ali (Peace Be Upon Him), the grandson of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: October 10, 680 CE).
The martyrdom of Husain (Peace Be Upon Him) with a small group of his companions and family members had a great impact on the religious conscience of Muslims, particularly Shia Muslims, who commemorate Husain's martyrdom with sorrow and passion.
Mourning for Husain (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions began almost immediately after the Battle of Karbala by his surviving relatives and supporters.
Popular elegies were made by poets to commemorate the Battle of Karbala during the Umayyad and Abbasid era, and the earliest public mourning rituals occurred in 963 CE during the Buyid dynasty.
In Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain the Commemoration of Husain ibn Ali (Peace Be Upon Him) has become a national holiday and religious communities participate in it.