SARAJEVO – Bosnian Muslims have served three thousands Ashura meals in front of a Sarajevo Cathedral in Bosnia-Herzegovina, sending a message of peace and tolerance in a once bitterly divided nation.
“In Islam we say this is a day of the prophets, not only one prophet, in Islam we believe in all prophets of God,” Muris Hadzibascausevic, representative of Islamic society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told Analdolu Agency on Tuesday, November 13.
“In a way, Sarajevo succeeded to gather all of us.
“Sarajevo is world's Jerusalem.”
The event, held on Tuesday, marked the occasion of Ashura day, or Noah's meal day in Bosnian traditions.
It was organized by the Inter-religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hikmet Publishing in Sarajevo.
Under the slogan "We are all on the same boat", members of these two associations shared this traditional meal to passers in front of the Cathedral in Sarajevo.
Offering 3000 meals, 6000 other meals were planned in other cities in the country.
According to the council, the event wanted to send a message of peace, humanity, dialogue, tolerance, understanding, solidarity, love and brotherhood between members of different religions and multicultural society in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"This is what brings together four traditional churches and religions in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said a priest of the Old Orthodox Church in Sarajevo Vanja Jovanovic.
There is a great reward in fasting the day of `Ashura'. There are many hadiths that mention its blessings and virtues. It is good to fast on this day, although it is not obligatory.Fasting the Day of `Ashura' is not to mourn the martyrdom of imam Husain (may Allah be pleased with him).
After the hijrah when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah also used to observe this day with fasting.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them the reason of their fasting on this day. They said, “This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “We have more claim to Musa than you.” He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day.
Traditionally, Ashura meal is related to the story of prophet Noah. It is believed that it was prepared and served when his ark sailed to the land after the great flood.
Food supplies were depleted and passengers prepared the meal using the remaining food and shared it.
In Islam, though some people relate Ashura to Noah's Ark, scholars believe that these narrations are weak or fabricated.
In Bosnia, Ashura can be prepared out of 77 ingredients and it is shared with neighbors and relatives.
The practice is also celebrated in different Muslim countries, including Turkey and Egypt.
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