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Tasu'a (Arabic: تاسوعاء‎, romanizedTāsū‘ā’) is the ninth day of Muharram and the day before Ashura.[4] Several events occurred on this day, including: Shemr's entrance to Karbala, the granting of safe conduct for the children of Umm ul-Banin,[5] preparation for war; and Husayn ibn Ali and his companions were besieged by the enemy (as part of the Battle of Karbala).[6] The day is attributed to Abbas ibn Ali because of his actions as commander in the army of Husayn ibn Ali.[7]

Tasu'a Mourning-Shia muslim in qom عزاداری روز تاسوعا در قم 17.jpg
Tasu'a mourning in Qom, Iran, 2009
Official nameتاسوعاء Tāsū‘ā’  (in Arabic)
Observed byShiite Muslims
Date9 Muharram
2018 date19 September[1] Date may vary according to the site of moon.
2019 date9 September[2]
2020 date27 August[1]
2021 date17 August[1]



Tasu'a literally means ninth and in the Islamic calendar refers to the ninth day of Muharram.[8][9]

Events of Tasu'aEdit

The following are the main events of Tasu'a:

Shemr's entrance to KarbalaEdit

In the forenoon of Tasu'a, Shemr, accompanied by a four thousand-man army, arrived at Karbala.[10][11][12] He brought a letter from Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad to Umar ibn Sa'ad, telling him to take Bay'ah from Husayn or fight.[13][14][15]

Safe conduct for the children of Umm ul-BaninEdit

Shemr was one of the tribesman of Umm ul-Banin. He was given a guarantee of safe conduct from Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad for children of Umm ul-Banin in Tasu'a. He asked Abbas ibn Ali and his brothers to abandon Husayn ibn Ali and obey Yazid. Abbas didn't accept his safe conduct and answered him: "God curse you and your safe conduct! You give us safe conduct and you do not give safe conduct to the grandson of the Prophet of God? And you are asking us to enter the obedience of the cursed people and those who are children of cursed people?"[13][15]

Preparing for warEdit

After rejection of the safe conduct by Abbas and his brothers, Umar ibn Sa'ad ordered his army to attack Husayn's camp.[16][17][18] When Husayn ibn Ali understood their intent, he asked his brother to go to them and ask about his plan. Abbas ibn Ali, Zuhayr ibn Qayn, Habib ibn Madhahir and a few others went and asked them. They answered that our governor ordered us to ask you to Bay'ah him and his rule or fight. Abbas returned to Husayn and said their message. "Go back to them and ask them to give us this evening as a respite till tomorrow so that we may pray to our Lord, supplicate to Him, and seek His forgiveness, for He knows how much I love prayers, the recitation of His Book, the abundance of invocations, and the seeking of His forgiveness", Husayn said to Abbas. Abbas went back to the army and said them the message. Umar Ibn Sa'ad agreed to delay the war until the next day.[13][15][19]

Siege of KarbalaEdit

In a Hadith by Ja'far al-Sadiq it is said: "Ninth of Muharram is the day, when Imam Husayn and his companions were besieged at Karbala by the army of Syria from all sides and offloaded their luggage. The son of Marjanah (Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) and Umar ibn Sa’ad were pleased at the large number of their army and they deemed Imam and his companions to be weak. They knew that Imam Husayn had no helpers or aides in Iraq. May my father be ransom upon the oppressed traveler."[14]


The day of Tasu'a, in Iran (Ardabil)

In the days of Ashura and Tasua, Muslims go to mosques and Takiehs or go to mourning ceremonies.[20] They recite Ahadith and poems in honor of Abbas ibn Ali.[21] In general, the mourning ceremonies consist of processions, chanting and self-flagellation.[22] One of the oldest and most common traditions among Muslims is to wish for something from Allah while also promising to feed people. In Iran this tradition is well-established and reaches its climax on Tasua and Ashura (the 9th and 10th of Muharram) when mourners are fed.[23]

Ta'zieh as a religious play is an old traditional practice for mourning in some cities and villages.[24] Participants see the Ta'zieh as a part of ritual mourning and not as a common play where actors have to memorize their scripts. In other words, the actors read from the script.[22]

Relation with Abbas ibn AliEdit

This day is devoted to Abbas ibn Ali in Shia communities, because of his bravery as the standard-bearer of Husayn's army in the Battle of Karbala.[25]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "When is Ashura Day Worldwide". (source shows dates for Ashura, which is the day after Tasu'a)
  2. ^ "the calendar of 1397 SH" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Holidays in Iran in 2017".
  4. ^ Explanation about the root of Tasu'a and Ashura Retrieved 19 Sep 2018
  5. ^ Tasu'a and Ashura
  6. ^ What happened on Tasu'a?
  7. ^ Why does Tasu'a is attributed to Abulfazl al-Abbas?
  8. ^ Mahmoud, Ahmad; Kherad, Nastaran. The Neighbors. University of Texas Press. p. 409.
  9. ^ "Translation and meaning of word Tasu'a". المعانی. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  10. ^ Ahmad ibn A'tham. Al-Fotooh. 5. p. 94.
  11. ^ Ibn Shar Ashoob. Manaqib Ali ibn Abi Talib. 4. p. 98.
  12. ^ "A Short Report on Imam's Movement from Medina until his Martyrdom". عاشورا. Retrieved 29 September 2015.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b c Ali Husayn Jalali. Karbala and Ashura. Ansariyan Publications.
  14. ^ a b Abbas Qumi. Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala'. Islamic Study Circle.
  15. ^ a b c Abu Mikhnaf. The Event of Taff, The Earliest Historical Account of the Tragedy of Karbala. ABWA Publishing and Printing Center.
  16. ^ Al-Baladhuri. Genealogies of the Nobles. p. 186.
  17. ^ Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid. Al-Irshad. 2. p. 89.
  18. ^ Al-Kharazmi, Al-Muvafaq ibn Ahmad. Maqtal al-Husayn. 1. p. 249.
  19. ^ Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram. Maqtal al-Husayn. Al-Kharsan Foundation for Publications.
  20. ^ Staff, Writer. "Fervent and Spiritual Mourning". old.ido.
  21. ^ staff, Writer. "Millions of Shia Muslims commemorate Tasu'a across world". presstv.
  22. ^ a b Banham, Martin (1995). The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge university. p. 737. ISBN 0521434378.
  23. ^ staff, Writer. "Millions of Shia Muslims commemorate Tasu'a across world". presstv.
  24. ^ E. Bonine, Michael; R. Keddie, Nikki (1981). Modern Iran: The Dialectics of Continuity and Change. State University of New York. p. 367. ISBN 978-0873954655.
  25. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Hamid Dabashi; Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr. Shi'ism: Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality. Sunni press. p. 319.