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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How is this ok?

I actually took some time to study Ashura this year and came to appreciate the tradition of remembering the death of Hussein. Then I was reminded of these types of images...

Does anyone really know how widespread these types of self-mutilation ceremonies are?
There are tons of them online from Shia communities worldwide.

So my question is, how does someone justify forcing a child to participate in a bloodletting ceremony?
A baby?

Its just not ok.


Sarah Plain And Short said...

Well Stacy like you said this is done by the Shia. And they have many innovations that are not found in Islam. Ppl will do anything if they sincerly believe it has some kind of good outcome (although many of these 'good' acts are deceptions from the devil). Once at work, I explained Ramadan and fasting to a coworker. She asked in a horrified tone; "What about children? You cant make them fast!" I explained to her, no, ppl only fast once they reach puberty.

Umm Kadhim said...

Assalaam aleikoem wa rahmatoelah wa barakatoeh

I am a shia muslimah and these pictures are disgusting! Many shia muslims condemn these things. It's simply disgusting and not something every shia muslims does.
I believe it is good to remember the death of Imam Husayn but I think you can remember his death in many good ways...like giving money to the poor, feed orphans, talk about his death etc.

These pictures give shia muslims a bad name...I hate it. I have a 2 year old son and I would never ever hurt him like this. Its so sad people think this is a good deed. I belive it is a cultural thing and people do this out of ignorance.

wa aleikoem salaam

OumAmir said...

It's called sin.


Lev. 19:28.

The Splendid Sky said...

Salaamun alaikum sis!

The best thing would be to ask a knowledgeable Shia about these practices rather than anyone else... I don't know how knowledgeable I am, but I am Shia, alhamdolillah and I'll tell you about it. Any sensible Shia or person disapproves such acts as it is verily against the Islamic Shariah. These self mutilative behaviour does prevail within Shia communities but it is cultural. It's wrong! I'll say that out loud and will never agree with one who would call these practices as Islamic. You will find many Shia scholars disapproving and speaking against these practices and put their foot down and not call this a part of Shiaism...

Imam Hussain (as)'s remembrance keeps alive the Spirit of Haq and Baatil (Truth and Evil)His Revolution against the Tyrants of the time, is a lesson for all times! But these acts do not in any way speak of his Message.

Regarding the other "innovative" practices that Shias follow which are not "a part of Islam", again sis, you must only ask a knowledgeable Shia in order to arrive at a conclusion about it, because half knowledge about something is really a dangerous thing. You will find many non-shias out of their half knowledge or ignorance giving Shias many labels. But wouldn't asking a knowledgeable Shia or a Shia scholar be the best option in clearing out one's doubts rather than anyone else?

Wasalam wa rehmatullah :)
Rest in Best!
The Splendid Sky :)

ps- your blog is so cute!

Banana Anne said...

Astaghfirullah, It is absolutely NOT okay. This is self-mutilation, pure and simple, and doing it to an innocent child that cannot consent to it is even worse. I agree with Umm Kadhim; it's okay to recognize the life of Husayn (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and recognize his death, but some of the ways people observe this is out of control, violent, and bordering on shirk, not to mention ignoring the saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that said not to be excessive in mourning.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Thanks for the good feedback ladies! Its refreshing to know that at least my readers don't think this is ok. However, there are obviously some Shia who think that its ok to participate in this while also making their young children passive participants. I'm going to do some research and see if I can find a statement from reliable Shia source to see what their official stance is on this.

Does any one have suggestions of Shia sources of fiqh? I don't really know much about it.

The Splendid Sky said...

Salaam again sis :)

Ayatullah Khamenei from Iran is the Supreme Leader of almost half of the Shia community worldwide. He is a Mujtahid as well as a Marjah-e-Taqleed. That means like really really high position. He has written a huge amount of books on fiqh and other concepts of Islam and is highly revered worldwide. You must have heard of him definitely.

So he has issued a Fatwa which says that all of this blood letting practices in the name of Imam Hussain (as) is Prohibited, Forbidden!
Inshallah I'll get you the proper fatwa which says so.

So it's disapproved by our Leader... It ain't a part of Shiaism...Yes, you're right there are many stubborn Shia who still carry on with this thinking its okay...thats how it still remains a controversial topic amongst Shias itself... But perhaps you haven't met the thousands of Shias who oppose such things and never accept it...

Well, let me know if you need anything else :) It's 1am here in India so im gonna go sleep :) inshallah will be able to reply only tmrw.

Wasalam wa rehmatullah :)

The Splendid Sky said...

P.s- The said Fatwa of Ayatullah Khamenei is the latest one and no other Mujtahid has given a fatwa against this Fatwa...So, while ur researching you might come across some fatwas by some others who approve these practices, but as they are no more alive, their Fatwas are no more acceptable and only the Fatwa of the said Ayatullah Khamenei holds... Thats one of the rules of Taqleed (Followership)

so bottomline, his fatwa binds upon shias, which says it is Prohobited...

Wasalam :)

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Splendid sky, Thanks and sleep well!

It is amazing how pervasive those rituals are. The dad of the little boy in this pic probably had it done to him every year as a child.
Sadly, it continues for another generation.

The governments need to make it illegal to mutilate oneself like this and actually enforce it on Ashura.

We have seen some strides in eradicating FGM (female genital mutilation) in some countries like Djibouti. I think the same legal strategy is a good start, then showing the public that this practice serves no purpose and only causes harm.

Jaz said...

I like Umm Kadhim's answer. I don't know much about Shia's, and I actually did think most did the whole Ashoura violence thing. Now I know :)

ellen557 said...

Splended Sky - Jazak Allah Khair, I usually follow Ayatollah Khamanei so thanks for posting that.

Stacy - "Does anyone really know how widespread these types of self-mutilation ceremonies are?"
It's not widespread *at all*. E.G. in my husband's city, there are about 12 "suburbs", or villages. This is only practiced in *one* village and the whole town is considered to be very religious.
I don't believe in this at all... to me, it's giving everyone what they need to denounce Shia Muslims. Imam Hussain (a.s.) would never have wanted us to hurt our children, because he *fought* for the children. AstagfirAllah his six month old baby died on Ashura, so why would we cut young children? It's horrible.

The only time I've ever heard something related to it in a lecture was when the sheikh said "Mourn how you want. If that's how you feel you can express your sadness and grief, then do it." But I don't imagine that he was referring to cutting little children's heads with knives.

Here are some fatwas from Ayatollah Khamenei about hurting oneself:

Q: What is the ruling concerning walking on fire in the mourning ceremony of Imam Ḥusayn (a.)?
A: According to shar‘, such acts are not justified. There are variable ways for commemorating the martyrdom of the Master of Martyrs (a.) such as talking about the sufferings of Ahl al-Bayt (a.) and weeping at the unfairness they faced.

Q1430: What is the view on beating the drum and cymbal, blowing the trumpet, and lashing oneself with chains with blades during the processions of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.)?
A: If the use of such chains leads, in the eye of the public, to defaming our school of thought or inflicting a noticeable harmful effect on the body, it is not permissible. There is no harm in using the drum, cymbal, and trumpet in the traditional way.

Q1439: Is there any basis in religion for piercing one’s body with weights dangling therefrom, all in the name of commemorating the martyrdom of the Imam Ḥusayn (a.s.)?
A: These acts, which are, inevitably, bound to portray our school of thought in a negative shade, are impermissible.

Q1450: Is hitting oneself with swords ḥalāl if it is done in secret? Or is your fatwā in this regard universal?
A: In addition to the fact that it is not held in the common view as manifestations of mourning and grief and it has no precedent at the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.) and even after that and we have not received any tradition quoted from the Infallibles (a.s.) about any support for this act, be it privately or publicly, this practice would, at the present time, give others a bad image of our school of thought. Therefore, there is no way that it can be considered permissible.

*** I hope I haven't written to much lol, but the website for the Ayatollah is www.leader.ir so you can check out other rulings.

NeverEver said...

I'm confused... so these acts are prohibited, not because of following the Qur'an or Sunnah, but because they may make Shia look bad in the eyes of other Muslims?

That doesn't really make sense to me...

could someone explain?

The Splendid Sky said...

@ stacy
I agree we must have it banned. But again we need Education to spread amongst the communities that do these things. At the end of the day,it's Knowledge which can overcome Ignorance. Also we need the Educated Muslims to enter Politics so they can help frame laws which wld eradicate these. As i see these pics
more and more i get angryyy!! Poor baby :(
With knowledge,reason and logic atleast we can stop these practices to pass over to the next gen!
I still see a bright future!

@ Ellen557
JazakAllah for posting the Q&A. I couldn't agree more, Imam Hussain (as) would NEVER want us to do these things and nobody should hurt his spirit by doing this to themselves and their children.

Whats sad is that Shia muslims worldwide are wrongly defined by these practices...
Altho i still see a bright future Inshallah :)

The Splendid Sky said...

@ NeverEver
If you check again, Ayatullah Khamenei's very first sentence is--

*"According to shar‘, (Islamic Shariah) such acts are not justified."*

Manal said...

OMG!! That child's face tore my heart apart! How sad and how pathetic that such practices occur!

Thank you Stacy for shining light on this subject and thanks a bunch "Umm Kadhim" and "Splendid Sky" for taking the time to clarify for those out there who were not quite aware that this practice is condemned in the Shia sect of Islam. :)

I will admit, I am one of those who thought it was a part of the religion. I always said that "Culture" and "Religion" are completely two different aspects. People need to stop using the cultural mambo jumbo to justify religion.

Umm Ibrahim said...

No that sort of bloodletting is very much NOT the norm for Shia Muslims!! Ive heard about some who do such exaggerated things but they are def. in the minority! But as usual...the minority makes the most noise so gets the most attention!!!

In Iran for example, this sort of stuff is discouraged, yeah some grown men do self-flog themselves on Ashoorah but going "overboard" is generally discouraged and normally it's more symbolic. hurting a child is just plain evil and cruel! I don't know anyone who would do that! Imagine the emotional scars!

Safiyyah said...


I am glad to read that the Shia who commented here state that this practice is not from Shia Islam. Alhamdulillah.

Reminds me of genital cutting.

No self-mutilation is allowable in Islam.

M.J. said...

As a shia I don't approve of this. I don't know of any who do. It's not widespread. Even matam, or chest-beating is controversial among shias, so you can imagine how huge this is.
It's very sad and a total slap in the face if you think about what they're supposed to be commemorating.
BTW I follow Sistani (sistani.org) who does not allow this.

angie nader said...

on a religious level i cant answer because i'm not shia. but it is widespread. in Lebanon some of the Shia practice it to a extreem..but some dont..and just use light items as a symbolic meaning. my best friend is shia...but when it comes to these topics .....we have a rule not to discuss the differnces between us....however my husband and him would discuss these topics when i was not around.

..no matter what..i support a persons right of choice to practice their relgion....when it comes to children, i belive there should be a rite of age that a child should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to relgion....and a parent shouldnt put them in any physical situations until that time. for our family its 16 ....my son has 2 more years to be a catholic under my rules...and when he turns 16, he will decide what he wants.

i think this a great post! it really get people talking and opens the lines of communication to understand each other.

Anonymous said...

Hello Stacy,
I think, by the responses you have had thus far, the answer is that this type of cultural ritual is not common. In fact, most of the men that partake in this type of activity are not stand-up role model Muslims anyways... They tend to be "Ramadan Muslims" at best.

I also recommend Grand Ayatollah Al Sistani's website for insight into the teachings of Twelvers (the most dominant Shia sect).

I encourage you to gain your knowledge through self study, and then from actual Shia. Just like I would recommend you get knowledge about Sunni Islam from the Sunni Muslims. And just like one would not rule the entire Sunni sect according to the actions of the Taliban or Wahabi, I encourage everyone to consider the same when making judgments about other sects/religions.

BintSabirah said...

This is not Islam...bottom line!

Umm Ibrahim said...

So Umm Layla...what do you think now that so many Shia'a Muslimahs have responded with info about how un-normal this is.

Xena said...

This is so sad but I do believe its an extreme example. Ive studied Islamic sects at Uni last year and found that when in mourning for deaths of Imam Ali and his sons they are only meant to lightly tap themselves in remembrance not mutilate their bodies and their childrens. im just shocked at this photo and cant believe what kind of parent would do that to their child.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Umm Ibrahim, Alhamdulillah, I am so thankful that so many Muslims, especially the Shia, are condemning this practice. What I believe now is that this practice does occur, but it is really not that widespread. It just attracts media attention because it is shocking.
I am still saddened that people do something like this and think that it is a type of worship. I pray that the practice will not be continued by the next generation inshaAllah.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

Just about everything regarding Islam is bloody. I understand that Muslims will not fathom the fundamental flaws in their so-called "religion of peace" and will claim the usual "it's not the religion, it's the people" mantra but the prove is in the putting. One does not require further proof the Islam is an evil cult of death and destruction wherever is manifests.

Frankly, the aforementioned reasons are not what had led me to apostate from Islam. I have studied the Quran extensively, as I have been Muslim for most of my life, and more importantly, possess considerable Islamic knowledge. Accordingly, I simply could not be a Muslim any longer, knowing that it's based on lies and false miracles and conjured to suit Arabian way of living.

All religions are man made and Islam is no different. If a man throws rocks at a wall, he'd be considered mentally ill. If a thousand people throw rocks at a wall, it's called religion. "Myth is basically a religion with no followers."

Waad mahadsan tihiin dhammaan.