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In the Name of God بسم الله

Muharram Rituals and Superstitions

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Do the ulema do enough to clean up the baseless rituals and superstitions that come with Muharram? I feel they are very staunch when it comes to certain fiqhi matters but then very lenient and enabling when it comes to Muharram practices and superstitions. Everyone’s thoughts welcomed. If you feel defensive or think this is some Wahhabi post, please do not participate.

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If you insist. My criteria is pretty simple. Whatever that was conducted by the 4th Imam should be done. That would omit fire walking, mud bathing, dog imitations, lion plays, zuljinah dua, alam sajda

We have had differences and disrespect for Azadari rituals like Tatbir but now criticism has come to normal chest beating. Tomorrow you will hear why cry for Hussain or recite poetry or hold Majalis.

No. In some cultures people wear white to funerals and in others they wear black. In some cultures people sit on the floor in a place of mourning, in other cultures you can sit on chairs and sofas. 

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11 minutes ago, starlight said:

Because mourning isn't covered by fiqhi laws, strictly speaking.

That is innacurate. Basically what you are saying is one can start any tradition as long as it is done under the premise of azadari? This very notion is how the superstitions and practices have became impossible to control.

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Posted (edited)

It will be interesting to see if they manage to invent anything even more dumb in Iraq this year, we've had the crawling on the floor, we've had the acting like a dog, we've had the bathing in mud, what next?

I say this because as there is a restriction on foreigners being allowed to go we can see to what extent the Iraqis are responsible for making us the laughing stock of the world. If nothing new emerges it might point to foreigners being the ones to blame.

Edited by Ali_Hussain
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It depends who you are referring to as 'the ulema' 

If you mean the fuqaha, typically they handle matters of fiqh. That's their role. 

If you mean orators, not all of them are scholars. 

Unfortunately the mindset of people has become so divisive that it isn't feasible to have a commonly accepted and recognized representative body of scholars per region. This would have been the right platform for addressing such issues.

 

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The Muqallad of those crawling in the mud and striking blades on their back don't have any issue but these 2 online marjas are mocking and issuing verdict. None of your business. 

22 minutes ago, Ali_Hussain said:

Did you make that up or do you have a basis for believing that?

Azadari for Imam Hussain (عليه السلام) is dear to his mother (sa). If she can intercede for the Azadars then she will not be happy if you disrespect Azadari.

1 hour ago, 786:) said:

I think walking on fire and rolling in mud is a bigger mockery but that’s not the topic.

I think issuing verdict without authority is more ridiculous. It makes you look stupid. 

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This paper examines Muharram rituals in present-day Indian Islam in South Africa. Historically, pressure from the authorities and "community leaders", and the impact of urbanisation, education, economic mobility, and new ideas has resulted in changes in the meanings, symbolism, and authenticity of Muharram.

Some aspects of Muharram have been toned down, others eliminated, and yet new features added. Participants are constantly re-negotiating the meanings of Muharram rituals and symbolism, and re-creating authenticity as their notion of what constitutes correct belief, rituals and practice transforms.

The festival provides a lens through which to view the contestation of Muslim identity, performance, and notions of piety and purity. Muharram's "truths" reflect the deep social, historical, and cultural differences among Muslims. There is tension between a reformist tradition that proscribes public expression of Muharram, but also differences among those who continue to engage in Muharram festivities.

Such conflict centres on what Muharram means, how it should be observed, which practices with cognates in South Asia are acceptable and which are not, and what is authentic about Muharram ritual and what is invented. All groups consider their perspective hegemonic. Rather than one Muharram, this paper argues, multiple muharrams exist simultaneously, thus reflecting the reality that "Muslim" is an umbrella category that masks diversity.

There is never one hegemonic Islamic tradition. In the post-apartheid period, this contestation must be seen in the context of the increasing fragmentation of the "Indian community", marked by the (re)-invention and (re)-creation of identities like North Indian, South Indian, Hindustani, Tamil, Gujarati, and so on.

Vahed, G. (2005) ‘CONTESTING MEANINGS AND AUTHENTICITY: INDIAN ISLAM AND MUHARRAM "PERFORMANCES" IN DURBAN, 2002’, Journal of ritual studies. Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 19(2), pp. 129–145.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 786:) said:

ulema when they see people walking on fire or rolling in mud to get the pleasure of Imam Hussain.

I don't think this is a stand alone thing done for sawab. It's part of the whole azadari culture followed by some. I am not in favour of such rituals but I don't see anything particularly problematic either. 

Ever since I have been on SC I have been hearing people objecting to Zuljenah and Taziah etc but a couple of years back there was this VR Karbala which is essentially the same thing but with technology and no one seemed to have any problems with that! 

Take it easy, this isn't an issue unless one makes it. When I was younger the whole month of Muharram until Arbaeen people used to sit on bare floors, not just for majalis but sit, eat, work ,and sleep on floors. Slowly this custom has died. Some might say there is no fiqhi rulings behind this but if people felt by giving up everyday comforts they were sharing the pain that Ahlulbayt (عليه السلام) went through then what's wrong with it?

Edited by starlight
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The procession was quite a spectacle. Along its course, the participants conducted mock battles among themselves, freely battering each other with the swords and bludgeons they carried in a reconstruction of the trials and sufferings of Hussain and his followers during the battle at Karbala. Arriving at Back Row East, they lit sandalwood, made a fire in front of the shed that housed Hussain’s tomb and gathered around it. Howe recounted the scene that followed with some awe: two men began ‘to pierce their cheeks, tongues and thighs’ with sharp instruments, all the while ‘mechanically bellowing with pain’ to the rhythm of three tambourines ‘and the vocal accompaniment of the whole group’ was carried out with apparent indifference towards the spectators who had understandably gathered. When several colonists attempted to interfere with the proceedings, they were confronted by others and directed away from the performance. 

Ian Simpson (2012) Cultural Encounters in a Colonial Port: The 1806 Sydney Muharram, Australian Historical Studies, 43:3, 381-395,

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5 hours ago, starlight said:

No,for that we have people like you :D

 

3 hours ago, Sirius_Bright said:

I think issuing verdict without authority is more ridiculous. It makes you look stupid. 

Take it easy guys

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Such an ignorant post.

Fiqh matters are highly prescriptive. Azadari is not.

Since you are such an expert, why don't you list all the things that we should do under the guise or banner of azadari?

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5 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

Such an ignorant post.

Fiqh matters are highly prescriptive. Azadari is not.

Since you are such an expert, why don't you list all the things that we should do under the guise or banner of azadari?

Why is there no fiqh around azadari? I’m not understanding how we have fiqh around the most trivial of things but azadari is just free for all. Please enlighten me.

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7 minutes ago, 786:) said:

Why is there no fiqh around azadari? I’m not understanding how we have fiqh around the most trivial of things but azadari is just free for all. Please enlighten me.

That's why I asked you to prescribe the exact way to do azadari.

As soon as I get your prescription, I will tell you why there is no fiqh around azadari.

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5 hours ago, guest 2025 said:

 

Take it easy guys

Lolz. This is a SC muhrram ritual. Every Muharram, without fail, we have new threads criticising azadari. 

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What do you think of this commandment in the Torah:

Do not cut your bodies for the dead (Leviticus 19:28)

Apparently this was a pagan mourning custom, which is why the Mosaic Law forbids it (and also our Sunni version of the Shari'ah, but let's stick to a discussion on the Mosaic Law for now).

Today, there is pretty much only one religious tradition that practice self-mortification with blades as a form of mourning, even though the old pagan religions have more or less vanished into the dustbin of history

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53 minutes ago, 786:) said:

I’ll be frank. I find some things outside the boundaries of Shariah such as asking horses for dua, asking alams for dua. I can go on but I’m sure I’ll strike a nerve if yours.

I am not asking what you don't like.

Its a simple request that you seem unable to answer - list of rituals that should be included in "azadari" (3rd request)

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, 786:) said:

If you insist. My criteria is pretty simple. Whatever that was conducted by the 4th Imam should be done. That would omit fire walking, mud bathing, dog imitations, lion plays, zuljinah dua, alam sajda, tatbir and zanjeer. I guess it would only leave majlis and some sort of poetry if we followed the Sunnah of the son who witnessed his father being murdered. Yet fast forward 1400 years and we know how to do it better than him I suppose. Anyways, I understand the public sentiments that would be destroyed if all of this was condemned by the scholars but there are some point blank things like the zuljinah dua they can speak out against. Not only is it a point of mockery, but it is also idoltry which is shirk.

Good we are making progress.

Now let's expand on "Whatever that was conducted by the 4th Imam". Is there a list? Again, I am not interested what you want removed. I want a finite list as you see fit.

While you are creating that list, can you also include what or how the 4th Imam prescribed we do azadari?

It happens every year that people want things removed that they consider extra or useless or sinful. I am trying to keep all of us positive by asking for a "halal" azadari list.

Edited by ShiaMan14
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10 minutes ago, 786:) said:

Whatever that was conducted by the 4th Imam should be done.

Imam Sajjad (عليه السلام) and the rest of the family couldn't even freely mourn their martyrs because they were in captivity.

Sayeda Zainab(عليه السلام) was in mourning for the rest of her days but then people tell us why the need of even extending it for forty days. 

I doubt anyone prays to Alam or Zuljenah, most of them are asking Imam(عليه السلام) or Hazrat Abbas to help them get fulfilled their hajjats. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Cherub786 said:

What do you think of this commandment in the Torah:

Do not cut your bodies for the dead (Leviticus 19:28)

Apparently this was a pagan mourning custom, which is why the Mosaic Law forbids it (and also our Sunni version of the Shari'ah, but let's stick to a discussion on the Mosaic Law for now).

Today, there is pretty much only one religious tradition that practice self-mortification with blades as a form of mourning, even though the old pagan religions have more or less vanished into the dustbin of history

Some Catholics still practice self flagellation, seeing as Shias have only been doing this for a hundred years or so, it is more likely that those who do it are imitating them rather than some pagans. But I agree that its foundations are not in any divinely revealed religion.

Edited by Ali_Hussain
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2 minutes ago, Ali_Hussain said:

But I agree that its foundations are not in any divinely revealed religion.

I was hoping you would go a step further and acknowledge that its foundations are explicitly condemned in divinely revealed religion

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Just now, Cherub786 said:

I was hoping you would go a step further and acknowledge that its foundations are explicitly condemned in divinely revealed religion

I think there is an even more explicit verse in the Bible about pagans cutting their heads, I can't seem to find it. I saw a rabbi talking about it in a video, I'll look it up.

For this discussion though, there is no point going down the Biblical root because there is no chance that the proponents of this would accept that argument.

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Just now, Ali_Hussain said:

I think there is an even more explicit verse in the Bible about pagans cutting their heads, I can't seem to find it. I saw a rabbi talking about it in a video, I'll look it up.

For this discussion though, there is no point going down the Biblical root because there is no chance that the proponents of this would accept that argument.

Indeed. But I assume you have read the Bible, specifically Leviticus and Deuteronomy where most of the divine laws are mentioned. If you gave it to one of these "proponents" he will definitely say "this is a Wahhabi book", don't you think?

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2 hours ago, 786:) said:

Why is there no fiqh around azadari? I’m not understanding how we have fiqh around the most trivial of things but azadari is just free for all. Please enlighten me.

Fiqh covers everything, so I wouldn't say that there is no fiqh around it. Like everything else, it is bound by the Shariah. 

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14 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Indeed. But I assume you have read the Bible, specifically Leviticus and Deuteronomy where most of the divine laws are mentioned. If you gave it to one of these "proponents" he will definitely say "this is a Wahhabi book", don't you think?

I think they'd say that it has been tampered with regarding this issue. With regards to the general punishments I don't think there would be too many issues with it as they are pretty much the same as ours. I haven't read it but I've watched presentations by Jews explaining it

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1 hour ago, Cherub786 said:

Indeed. But I assume you have read the Bible, specifically Leviticus and Deuteronomy where most of the divine laws are mentioned

Not all them are divine laws and they are obvious which ones. The beauty of the original message of Isa ((عليه السلام)) it distinguishes the fake from the truth and it confirms and explains the truth.

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