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Ashura About This?

Seeing the images of blood-soaked Shia Muslims beating and flagellating themselves, I cannot help but ask “Why?”

 

I mean, I am used to them beating and flagellating other people, but this is self-mutilation.

 

So I did some research on the Ashura festival, and discovered some very interesting things.

 

1. Ashura is an ancient observance recognized for different reasons, and observed in different ways, by Sunni and Shia Mulims.

 

2. The Sunnis have it relatively easy – they fast, but even then, the fast is optional. And why do they fast? It is because of the Joooooooos!

When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah in 622 CE, he found that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them the reason for their fasting on this day. They said, “This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa [Moses] fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “We are closer to Musa than you are.” He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari)

The interesting thing – besides the fact that the Muslims wanted to copy us- is that Muharram 10 corresponds to Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. That is the reason for the Jews fasting on this day, and has nothing to do with the Jewish people being saved from Egypt. In fact, the Israelites were saved in the Jewish month of Nissan, which is 6 months after the month in which Yom Kippur falls!

 

Someone’s telling porky pies..

 

3. The Shia Muslims mourn the death of Hussein, the grandson of their prophet Muhammad, who was killed on this day, along with 72 companions. Come to think of it, I wonder if these companions were virgins.

 

In any event, this is the reason why many Shia Muslims beat, flagellate, and mutilate themselves to bloody pulps.

 

There are also some unsubstantiated rumours, including the following:

 

  • The reason why the Shia Muslims are called Shiites is because they are known to yell out “Shiiiite!” as they mutilate themselves.

  • In the center of Karbala, the city in which the Shia Muslims perform the Ashura ceremonies, one can buy red strings, holy water, and other bogus things for really inflated prices.
  •  

    Update: AFP reports:

    Iraq’s security forces imposed a massive clampdown on Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Karbala to prevent insurgent attacks on tens of thousands of pilgrims gathering for a major religious ceremony.

    Which leads me to the following thoughts:

  • What incentive is there to attack people who are, in essence, attacking themselves? The dirty work is already being taken care of.

  • Speaking of massive clampdowns, I wonder if clamps are used, in addition to the knifes, chains, spears, and other implements of mutilation.
  • About the author

    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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