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Matam, And How Muharram Has Been Institutionalized


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#1 muhammadaliabid

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 09:34 PM

Salam everyone,

My questions is based on the most common criticism of shias which is how we get super active and over emotional in muharram. The concept of matam i understand its a human experession but taking it to the extent that it has become a ritual and actually encouraged in forms of using swords or little "knives " to cut oneself...how does this image or action fit in with the entire picture of islam?

The current shia imams, none of them ever criticize it , nor tell the people to think twice about it. I understand the events that happened, are very serious and can entice serious emotiones and anger and sadness. But ritualizing this event in form of matam demonstration in the street is that the legacy of the prophethood!

Is that something muslims should be representated as on the world scale? would Imam ali or any of the imams, ever support such actions, in the light of their noble characters, knowledge and how they behaved.

Like dont get me wrong, i think the majalis are an integral part of reviving the spirit of muslims, and is needed but why dont shia scholars or imam ever raise an objection or talk about matam and stating that may be shia need to think twice about this practice.

I am not hear to offend anyone views , i belong to both shia and sunni parents, just trying to get perspectives..and to be very blunt i honestly do not beleive in this sectarian concepts. My thinking is you take the good from where ever you find it and drop the bad. Whatever happened in history is history...learn from it and dont do repeat..

Edited by muhammadaliabid, 24 July 2010 - 09:34 PM.


#2 Righteous

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 05:32 AM

matam is ok for an expression of grief and it is a matter of personal taste. However, I am seriously against the matam wiht blades or chains. I do remember reading injunctions against it.

#3 Haji 2003

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:29 AM

I am not hear to offend anyone views , i belong to both shia and sunni parents, just trying to get perspectives..and to be very blunt i honestly do not beleive in this sectarian concepts. My thinking is you take the good from where ever you find it and drop the bad. Whatever happened in history is history...learn from it and dont do repeat..


If the end of your post is read first it makes more sense. Because you don't understand the differences between the sects, you believe:

I understand the events that happened, are very serious and can entice serious emotiones and anger and sadness. But ritualizing this event in form of matam demonstration in the street is that the legacy of the prophethood!


The point is that the events underpin entire philosophical and jurisprudential differences in terms of what Islam is. But you only associate the actions with emotion. The activities in the street are important insofar as they demonstrate the presence of the faith in the public space. The mourning is not something to be hidden behind walls, it is not private, it is not embarrassing.

The mourning is a political and moral and ethical statement of intent.

It demonstrates who we are, where we are going and why.

#4 muhammadaliabid

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 03:03 PM

If the end of your post is read first it makes more sense. Because you don't understand the differences between the sects, you believe:



The point is that the events underpin entire philosophical and jurisprudential differences in terms of what Islam is. But you only associate the actions with emotion. The activities in the street are important insofar as they demonstrate the presence of the faith in the public space. The mourning is not something to be hidden behind walls, it is not private, it is not embarrassing.

The mourning is a political and moral and ethical statement of intent.

It demonstrates who we are, where we are going and why.



I understand the dramatic impact of the event, that happened. But what i am asking is that shia should review they way they take this event and with a critical eye and open mind try to dissect the rituals and practices that have infested or so called trickled down in muharram and have made shia focus more on the ritual and matam aspect while lesser on the entire message of the ahlul bayt through this sad event.

I beleive this is the job of the shia scholars to provoke the masses to reflect upon their actions during muharram, its not about wearing black and crying and beating the chest ..its about reviving the true spirit of islam, which is never to bow down before evil or any power that is against Islam or Allah's commandement.

To be very blunt certain shias because they are in minority have use muharram as a political stage to demonstrate their anger or emotion not for ahlul bayt, but because they are in minority and because they have been unfairly treated. I just ask all the shias...what would Imam Ali or Imam Husayn do in this situation, would they want the prophet ummah..to be doing such acts displaying their emotions in teh street as though it will bring about a revolution. Our deen is based on truth , intellect and self-discipline, where one controls his/her impulses and desires and reforms one thinking to become the best representative of islam. How does beating chest and or using the spears create that character?

Again i am all for the majalis and the good charitable activities and the amazing spirits shia show during muharram , but seriously we shia need to steer from certain innovations and mindless/emotional tantrums...

#5 Haji 2003

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 03:51 PM

To be very blunt certain shias because they are in minority have use muharram as a political stage to demonstrate their anger or emotion not for ahlul bayt, but because they are in minority and because they have been unfairly treated.


There's a small problem with this theory. In India the Shia are obviously a minority, but there's a long tradition of Hindus taking part in Muharram observances, to my personal knowledge in Lucknow and Hyderabad and perhaps elsewhere as well. They have no problems with the wailing, chest beating etc. In fact they take part in Jaloos as well.

Why can't Sunnis show the same veneration to Muslim tragedy that Hindus can?

#6 Panzerwaffe

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 05:40 PM

because twelver in northern india were the ruling class for a long time and that is when the hindus participated the most in twelver rituals.

I can say that from the experience of my family, my grandfather who belonged to a twelver family from lucknow india said that when hindus used to open their shops in the morning they had a picture of asif-ud-daula to which they used to pay homage and say "jis ko na dai moula, us ko day asifud-daula"

something like this if i remember corrrectly

Here is a great book that deals with shiaism in North India
http://publishing.cd...r9;brand=eschol

beleive this is the job of the shia scholars to provoke the masses to reflect upon their actions during muharram, its not about wearing black and crying and beating the chest ..its about reviving the true spirit of islam, which is never to bow down before evil or any power that is against Islam or Allah's commandement.


some twelver scholars have done this, if you look at the works of Baqir al Sadr and Murtaza Muthahari they both were reformist minded.



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