The Month of Moharram is an important period of mourning in the Shia branch of Islam, Moharram which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is also called the Remembrance of Muharram. Many of the events associated with the remembrance take place in congregation halls known as Hussainiya.

The event marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussain ibn Ali, a grandson of Muhammad(S.A.W.) the founder of Islam, and a Shia Imam, was killed by the forces of the second Umayad caliph Yazid I. The event is marked by arranging 'majalis' (gatherings) to review Islamic teachings and to commemorate Hussain's(A.S.) sacrifice. The mourning reaches its climax on the tenth day, known as Ashura, on which the forces of Yazid killed the 72 individuals who fought, including Hussain(A.S.) and his family and supporters. The women and children left living were made prisoners and transported to Yazid's court in Damascus.

The words Azadari and Majalis-e Aza has been exclusively used in connection with the remembrance ceremonies for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain(A.S.). Majalis-e Aza, also known as Aza-e Hussain, includes mourning congregations, lamentations, matam and all such actions which express the emotions of grief and above all, repulsion against what Yazid stood for.

The term majalis has both a grammatical meaning and a meaning which relates to Aza-e-Hussain. In its technical sense, a majalis is a meeting, a session or a gathering.

Janab-e-Zainab(A.S.) proclaimed to the world the greatest sacrifices made by Imam Hussain(A.S.) and other members of the family of the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) for the cause of Islam, who were brutally martyred at Karbala in 61 A.H by the Yazidi forces. She exposed the evil deeds of Ibn-Ziyad and Yazid through her bold and fearless speeches she gave on her journey to Madinah after the tragedy of Karbala.

The words that spread as a result of her journey, people came to know of the events of Karbala and their hearts were stirred. Word came to Yazid that there was turmoil and unrest in the realm he decided to release the Ahl-ul-Bayt (A.S.) as it seemed to him that the Ahl-ul-Bayt had been adequately humiliated. He sent for Imam Zayn-ul-Abideen (A.S.). He informed Imam Zayn-ul-Abideen (A.S.) of his impending release and asked if he wished for anything. Imam Zayn-ul-Abideen (A.S.) said he would have to consult his aunt Janab-e-Zainab (A.S.).

Arrangements were made and Janab-e-Zainab (A.S.) arrived, properly veiled. She asked, "O Yazid, since the day our leader and our chief Imam Hussain (A.S.) was butchered in Karbala we have not had any opportunity to mourn for him." A house was therefore provided in Syria (Sham) and here Janab-e-Zainab (A.S.) held her first Majalis-e-Aza of Imam Hussain. The women of the Syria (Sham) arrived clad in black, with their heads uncovered, weeping wretchedly. Imam Zayn-ul-Abideen (A.S.) sat on the carpet of Imam Hussain (A.S.) and then Janab-e- Zainab (A.S.) told the women of Syria what had befallen for them in Karbala and Kufa. They shed tears and mourned. From then Azadari started. She vowed that Majalis-e-Aza and Azadari for Imam Hussain Will begin from the same house of Yazid who ordered the Imam to be butchered. After returning to Madina when the people wanted to invite Janab-e-Zainab (A.S.) on any occasion, the only way to invite her was organize Majalis-e-Aza of Imam Hussain (A.S).

As Shi’ahs we are indeed blessed to have the honor of remembering the tragedy of Karbala through the practice of Majalis-e-aza and Azadari. We should offer our condolences to Imam -e- Zamana (A.S) who will avenge the blood of Imam Hussain (A.S) and we should pray for his earliest reappearance. Grieving during Azadari, for the heartless way in which Imam Hussain (A.S) and his family were treated in Karbala, is not only a reverence and love for the holy family, but also serves to soften and purify our hearts.