KARACHI: A group of around 40 Sadaat-i-Amroha members from the city along with their community members from India, Canada and the United States will carry out a mourning procession in their traditional style for the first time in Karbala, it emerged on Friday.

The centuries-old distinct procession, which has its own marsiya (eulogy), maatam and a pair of alam, originally commenced in the small city of Amroha in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, known for Sufi saint Hazrat Sharfuddin Shahwilayat.

Associated with flag-bearer Hazrat Abbas, the annual Muharram 8 procession got the status of a major procession in Karachi soon after it was taken out religiously by Amroha community members who had migrated to the city following Independence. The Muharram 8 procession is taken out each year from Numaish to Kharadar in Karachi.

However, for the first time in history, the community will take out their traditional procession on Muharram 25, known for the martyrdom of Imam Zainul Abideen, to be concluded in Karbala at the shrine of Imam Hussain.

Led by Zil-i-Sibtain who looks after the Zuljanah committee in the yearly procession, the 40-member group will be joined by the other community members in Najaf.

“Our group comprising men, women and children has flown to Najaf where about 70 Amrohvis from India and 20 from the US and Canada combined will arrive to carry on the journey towards Karbala. The procession will be carried out in our traditional fashion, as we are taking one pair of alam (flags) along with the required ornaments for Zuljanah, which will be provided there,” said Sibtain while speaking to Dawn.

He added that he along with three other members of the community had successfully managed to get hold of the permit after going through the required process that took around two months. “This is the first time that we have tried to gain access to Karbala and thankfully our efforts were fruitful. Whenever we visited the city, we came across devotees from across the world as they mourned in their own cultural and traditional way. Hence, we thought that we should also take out our distinct mourning procession which has its own marsiya, maatam and the pair of alam,” he explained.

Also, he added, notable orators from Amroha would address majalis there. Sharfuddin Raza, one of the participants from Karachi, said it was a great honour to represent the community in Karbala and it was indeed a momentous occasion for the entire group to witness it. He said the group would be back by the mid of November.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2015

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