Anniversary of Imam Ali's Martyrdom

Imam Ali's Martyrdom, Anniversary of

21st day of the Islamic month of Ramadan
Shi'ite Muslims show great reverence toward Ali ibn Abu Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. As Muhammad's direct descendant, they have conferred distinction on Ali as the first imam. Ali's reign lasted from 656 to 661, the year in which members of a sect known as the Kharijites carried out his assassination, which according to Shi'ite accounts occurred on Ramadan 19. Ali suffered from the stabbing for two days before he died.
Most Shi'ites believe that Ali's tomb lies in Najaf, a present-day city in Iraq. During the year, the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf attracts pilgrims from throughout Iraq, Iran, and other countries. On his death anniversary, the city's population swells to as many as two million people as pilgrims gather around the imam's holy shrine to pray and mourn.
In addition to observing the death anniversary, some followers observe the date on which Ali was stabbed. It is customary for followers to maintain a round-the-clock vigil to observe the interval between the imam's stabbing and his death.
Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Imam Khomeini Sq.
Tehran, Iran
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.