Last remaining seats to the Jpost 2017 Annual Conference! Get your special offer now

Shi'ite Muslims mark holy day

November 25, 2012 18:31

Across the Muslim world, Shi'ites celebrate the holy day of Ashura.

Shi'ite Muslim people take part procession

Ashura 390. (photo credit:REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed)

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims stream through a mosque in the Iraqi city of Kerbala.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

They are celebrating one of the holiest days on the Islamic calendar - Ashura.

It marks the death over 1,300 years ago of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed at the battle of Kerbala in Iraq in 680, in the culmination of a power struggle that ushered in the Sunni-Shi'ite divide which still shapes the Middle East's political map.

That led to the division of Islam into two sects - Sunni and Shi'ite - a schism that continues to plague the Islamic world.

Shi'ites across the Middle East consider Ashura a day of mourning.

In Lebanon, worshipers cut their heads and slap their wounds, a sign of solidarity with Hussein's suffering.

The ritual self-flagellation, though, is considered controversial.

Shi'ites across the country hold rallies during Ashura but Nabatiyeh is one of the few places where Shi'ites observe the tradition of drawing blood by self-flagellation.

In Bangladesh it's a day of celebration for the majority Sunni Muslims - a celebration of a victory for Islam through Imam Hussein's sacrifice.

But for Shi'ites it is a sad affair where, like in Afghanistan, they whip themselves in mourning until their backs bleed.

In the Iraq capital too, these Shi'ites have cut their heads with swords so they can relive the pain Hussein experienced in the fateful Battle of Karbala.

Shi'ites make up only 15 percent of the world's Muslims, and traditionally mourn for one month as part of the Ashura festival.

Ashura is also observed in many other countries with sizeable Shi'ite populations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

  • Muslims
  • afghanistan
  • Share this article via
    from around the web
    Related Content
    Supreme Court President Asher Grunis
    August 28, 2014
    Grapevine: September significance


    Top Stories
    Israel Weather
    • 13 - 27
      Beer Sheva
      15 - 23
      Tel Aviv - Yafo
    • 15 - 23
      13 - 23
    • 19 - 29
      20 - 30