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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Salaam alaykum everyone! I went to a Shia mosque for the first time recently and I have some questions about something in it. I have no idea what to call it, but there was an area of the mosque with multiple structures. These things each had a green cloth draped over some kind of understructure, and on top was a metal sheet with writing. I can't read Arabic calligraphy well, but I think they may have each had one of the masumeen on them. One woman went by and made some reverential gestures. Another put food in the front of this area and after the service we ate it. So...what is the name of this area with the names of the masumeen? What are the customs in relation to it? During the service I moved to sit with my legs in front of me and I was scolded for it. I didn't want to talk over the service though so I didn't ask. I had been seated facing somewhat towards the area with the names of the masumeen. I heard once for a non-Muslim culture that it was considered rude to point your feet at anyone...is this true for Shia Muslims (i.e., is there a specific rule against it?)? Or is it something that comes from certain cultures? Also when I was there they did a "ziyarah." Now, I've heard of ziyarah before (from many many YouTube lectures....my only window into the Shia community before I was able to visit the mosque), but it was always in relation to physically visiting shrines/graves. And when I try to look it up now I still can't find anything except that ziyarah is physically visiting shrines. What kind of this was this in the mosque? Lastly I'd be happy with any links any of you might have to this kind of general information of customs/practices/culture. Almost all information I find about Shia Islam is either for born-Shias who want advanced information, or young Shias who may not have a strong knowledge basis, but who are expected to at least culturally have absorbed some things. For instance, I only learned after I went to a Shia mosque for the first time on Eid al Adha about Eid al Ghadir. This is apparently one of the most important holidays? But I never once heard mention of it after studying Shia Islam alone since last October, though I had heard huge volumes about the event of Ghadir. I can only assume this lack is because it was thought to be too obvious for mention...that everyone reading would have grown up in an environment where the fact of its existence is unavoidable. So if anyone has any good resources that tells you these kinds of things...culture, practices, etc, I'd be really grateful. The mosque is too far away for me to go regularly to ask these kinds of things. Jazakallah khair in advance.
(BISMILLAH) (Salam) I hope you are all in the best of health, both physically and spiritually. I created this topic so that we may share, and examine, each other's cultures and how Muharram is commemorated by people of different origins. For example, in my culture, it is seen as impolite for one to watch T.V. - as in, operas and serials, not 'serious' stuff like News - in the first 10 days of Muharram, though this often extends till Arbaeen and, for some people, till Eid az-Zahra (9 Rabi al-Awal). Does your culture have a similar custom? What other customs do you have?
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