The Ashura Holiday


“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

— John 17:3

Many Muslims around the world, both Sunni and Shia, will celebrate Ashura on the tenth day of the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which starts at sunset on Monday, September 9. For Shias, Ashura is a major religious commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of Muhammad, and for Sunnis it is a day of fasting.

For Shia Muslims, who comprise about 15% of the total worldwide Muslim population, Ashura is a bloody, solemn day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussein in 680 AD in Karbala, which is in modern day Iraq. It is marked with displays of public mourning and chanting with men slapping their chests and bodies with sharp objects to imitate the suffering of their martyr. Many Shia also make pilgrimages to the Mashhad al-Husayn, the shrine in Karbala, Iraq, that is traditionally held to be Hussein’s tomb.

“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.”

— Mark 6:34

For most Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a day of fasting commemorating the day Noah left the Ark and the day that Moses and God’s people were saved from the Egyptians by God. It is also a day to reflect and give thanks to the prophets for their sacrifices. Some also gather with family and friends to share food and desserts and exchange gifts.

Let’s take time to pray for Muslims as they devote this day to mourning, fasting, and spending time in thanksgiving and reflection. May they draw closer to the true and living God who sees and loves them and wants to have relationship with them.


Father, we pray that as Muslims set their hearts to suffer like Hussein suffered, that they would instead encounter and know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. Help them see that Jesus has already suffered and paid the highest price for their souls, through whom they can have eternal life. Father, we pray that you would give Your church love for Muslims across the world. Make us like Jesus who “felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”