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In the Name of God بسم الله

The Medical Risks Of Performing Tatbir

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Peace be with you,


As you know, a very small minority of shia muslims perform a 19th century act known as 'tatbir'. I wish to present to you the medical harms and side effects of performing this act. As moderators will probably not allow images of tatbir (which itself signifies how repulsive, callous, and horrific it appears and is), you are free to google image 'ashura' as tatbir has now become the face of Imam Hussain a.s. 


Upon googling, you should see people giving themselves quite large cut wounds. If you watch the videos, you will see people cutting, then washing their blades in buckets - the same bucket- and then proceeding to cut. Additionally, you will see people renting halls and cutting. You will see children doing it, babies being cut, it's total madness.


I am only going to cover just some, of the many, many potential negative health effects of cutting. I won't include acute (immediate) harms such as blood loss (has happened) and hospitalization (many cases).


People often assume, just because someone does not directly die, that there are no health risks. This is far from the truth. People can die a year later, or carry and spread potentially life threatening diseases.


Here are potentially life threatening infections, which blood carries. Hepatitis B can survive as dried blood for up to a week, and on surfaces for days. Even if you say you will perform these rituals in them most sanitary conditions, there is always a risk, and the majority of people doing it, especially in the Indo-park, african iraqi areas aren't doing it with any hygiene.


  • Hepatitis B (HBV)  HEP C, (HCV).Syphilis. Malaria. Brucellosis. Babeosis. Leptospirosis. Arborviral Infections. Relapsing Fever. Creutzfeld-Jacobs Disease (Mad Cow disease). Viral Hemorrahgic Fever (Ebola virus).   HIV

Having a blade cut - even if it is one- carries with it a risk of a possible external infection. People who often cut with blades have these cuts in several places, for example Tetanus : "But you are more likely to get tetanus through deep punctures from wounds created by nails or knives. The bacteria travel via blood or nerves to the central nervous system.http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/tetanus-vaccine



When people are performing these acts, they often cut-cut-cut for a while before even tending to their wounds. That itself poses a health risk:



Source for below article: http://www.healthcommunities.com/common-injuries/types-of-injury.shtml

"Help the bleeding. A puncture wound often doesn’t bleed freely, so bacteria, instead of washing away, may be sealed in. If such a wound is not bleeding enough, press gently around the wound to encourage bleeding.

Reduce the risk of infection. A deep puncture wound on the hand may lead to an infection that is hard to combat; preventive antibiotic treatment may be advisable for such a wound. If the wound is deep or was made with a dirty object and you haven’t had a tetanus shot within 10 years, contact your doctor about tetanus immunization."



"If a wound becomes infected, it must be treated in order to avoid serious damage. A severely infected wound may require amputation. In rare cases, an infected wound can be fatal."




Additionally, there can also be nerve damage due to cutting too deep.




A lot of money goes into counselling those who self harm - it's prevalent among some teenagers, and even adults, and children. This behavior  - when you are in grief you cut yourself- is such a terrible way to teach humanity as to how to handle grief. You mutilate yourself instead of using more positive healthier ways to channel that grief.


The mental effects of self mutilation: http://www.deltamedcenter.com/psychiatric/self-harm/effects-symptoms-signs



Let us not forget, permanent disfigurement. 




If you are self harming, please see a doctor , and they may offer you counselling to channel that grief you have.


self harm support: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-injury/Pages/Introduction.aspx









Grand Ayatullah Muhsin Al-Amin Al-Amuli


Ayatullah Muhsin Al-Amin (~1868-1952), was one of the greatest scholars of his time. He is known for his biographical encyclopaedia, Ayan Al-Shi’ah (62 volumes) and for his very strong opposition to blood shedding rituals. He is known to have boycotted meetings where they were performed.

He wrote the book “Al-Majalis Al-Saniya” (1928) in which he said: And what some people do injuring themselves with swords and hitting themselves in a way that harms them is from the encouragement of Shaytan”.






Ayatullah Mutahhari


“Blood matam in its present form does not have a rational or religious basis. It is a clear instance of deviation. At least, in the present day it causes Shi’ism to be questioned. Activities that do not have any relation to the goals of Imam Husayn Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã are razors, blades and locks. Striking the head with a blade is the same. This is a mistake. Some people take blades and strike their heads making blood flow – for what? This action is not mourning.”

Howzah va Ruhaniyat, v.3

Edited by Tawheed313
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