Arbaʿeen

Amid all the San Bernardino news, I almost forgot that today is (or really was, at this point) Arbaʿeen (there are some great photos at that link). This is a Shiʿa religious observance that occurs forty days (hence the name, arbaʿin, which is Arabic for “forty”) after Ashura, the commemoration of the day when Imam… Continue reading Arbaʿeen

Today is (the start of) Ashura, 1437 AH

Tomorrow (which starts at sundown tonight) is the tenth of the month of Muharram (the first month of the year) on the Islamic calendar, also known as Ashura (ashr = 10). This day is commemorated by some Sunnis and all Shiʿa with fasting and ritual. For Sunnis, Ashura is traditionally (going back to Muhammad) observed… Continue reading Today is (the start of) Ashura, 1437 AH

October 10 and the problem with “this day in history”

Today is the traditional anniversary of the Battle of Tours (732), which either saved the Christian world as we know it or interrupted a small Arab-Berber raiding party from getting deeper into France, depending on your point of view. I’d have written a big thing about it for today, but here’s the thing: I’m traveling,… Continue reading October 10 and the problem with “this day in history”