Shi'ite Muslims mark Ashura with self flagellation ritual in Leh

Updated:2 months, 4 weeks ago IST

Leh (J&K), Sep 21 (ANI): Shi'ite Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh marked the festival of Ashura by taking part in a self-flagellation ritual. Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali, one of the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad, near Karbala, in what is now Iraq. Scores of people marched along the streets chanting, beating their heads and chests while some flagellate themselves trying to feel Hussain’s pain. Self-flagellating is a popular ritual in Ashura and men and children use sharp objects to draw blood in an act of symbolic mourning. Shi'ites mark the festival with public rituals, which sometimes involve self-flagellation or cutting to signify a link with the sufferings of Hussain, whose death symbolises a wider struggle against oppression and tyranny and was a key factor in the schism between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. Ashura also involves reenactments of the battle of Karbala, with participants taking to the streets wearing battle costumes and holding swords.

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