Shiites across Mideast Mark Ashoura, Mourning Saint's Death


Shiites across the Middle East on Thursday marked Ashoura, an annual commemoration mourning the 7th century death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most beloved saints.

For Shiites, who represent over 10 percent of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims, the remembrance of Hussein is an emotional event that sees many believers weep over his death at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq. Some beat their backs with chains, flagellating themselves in a symbolic expression of regret for not being able to help Hussein before his martyrdom.

But the commemorations can prove tempting targets for Sunni extremist groups, who view Shiites as heretics.

In Iran, the Mideast's Shiite power, groups of men beat their backs with chains in Tehran. Other mourners beat their chests while carrying black, green and red flags. State television showed similar mourning ceremonies across the country.

For Iranians, this Ashoura comes as the United States is re-imposing sanctions on Iran previously lifted by its nuclear deal with world powers, despite Tehran's compliance with the accord. While Iran's national currency, the rial, plummets, Ashoura provides a moment to fuel mourners' defiance with its message of sacrifice and dignity in the face of coercion.

Hussein "insisted on the truth until the end," said Milad Ghodrati, 36, of Tehran. "He lost everything to defend the truth."

In the Iraqi city of Karbala, hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered around Imam Hussein's shrine, chanting and striking themselves in rhythm to an imam calling out over loudspeakers. Many pressed up against the mausoleum holding his remains, reaching out to touch it.

Lebanese Shiites also went out on the streets. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave one of his traditional Ashoura speeches, saying on Thursday that the group now possesses "highly accurate" missiles despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons.

In neighboring Pakistan, paramilitary troops, police and intelligence agents fanned out to protect mourners' processions. Authorities cut mobile phone services in major cities holding commemorations for fear of militant bombings. Motorbikes were stopped from carrying multiple passengers to prevent drive-by shootings. Some mourners there sliced their backs with knives to express their grief.

Battered by brazen and deadly attacks by an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, minority Shiites stationed heavily armed guards at their mosques Thursday. Police also were on hand.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul's police chief, said large vehicles, including trucks and SUVs, were banned from streets where mosques are located to prevent car bombs.

Comments 12
Thumb s.o.s 20 September 2018, 16:48

In Islam we don’t have saints. Anyone claiming otherwise isn’t Muslim. We have prophets and a messenger.

Amen :)

Thumb s.o.s 20 September 2018, 17:12

Finally, hurting your body is haram because it’s God’s creation... ٤:١١٩ it’s done under the influence of Satan.

وَّلَاُضِلَّـنَّهُمۡ وَلَاُمَنِّيَنَّهُمۡ وَلَاٰمُرَنَّهُمۡ فَلَيُبَـتِّكُنَّ اٰذَانَ الۡاَنۡعَامِ وَلَاٰمُرَنَّهُمۡ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلۡقَ اللّٰهِ​ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّتَّخِذِ الشَّيۡطٰنَ وَلِيًّا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ فَقَدۡ خَسِرَ خُسۡرَانًا مُّبِيۡنًا ؕ‏

Thumb galaxy 20 September 2018, 17:21

Where are the atheists shia today?

Thumb warrior 20 September 2018, 17:48

A so-called 'religion' based on hate, revenge and violence.

Thumb s.o.s 20 September 2018, 18:33

It's not a religion, it's an offshoot of Islam, and subCULTure. That makes a huge difference.

Thumb justice 20 September 2018, 18:48

In Iran, the Mideast's Shiite power, groups of men beat their backs with chains in Tehran. Other mourners beat their chests while carrying black, green and red flags. State television showed similar mourning ceremonies across the country.

Satanic practices!

Thumb _citizen_ 20 September 2018, 18:52

Israel killed him in coordination with the Saudis.

Thumb ashtah 20 September 2018, 19:14


Missing phillipo 21 September 2018, 16:23

Interesting to learn that you admit that Israel was already in existance in the 7th Century. The Saudis only came into existance in the 1930's, so your history
is way out.
As the Battle of Karbala took place in what is now Iraq, it seems he was not from the area which borders the Mediterranean, so he, and the Shiites, have no legitimate claims to that area. The very fact that Shiism today is more prevelent in areas further east (nowadays Iran, Afghanisatan, Pakistan) shows that he as a grandson of The Prophet had no interest whatsoever in the Western Middle East (nowadays Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Syria)

Thumb s.o.s 21 September 2018, 18:46

Interestingly though, Shiism was founded by a Yemenite Jew by the name of Abdullah bin Saba.

Thumb s.o.s 21 September 2018, 18:43

Not really Philippo, the Sauds have been ruling the Arabian peninsula since 1744— they expanded their territory over the years.... they’re just a tribe like the many Israelites there once was. Where’s Israel’s King? Why isn’t the house of David ruling today?

Thumb eagledawn 21 September 2018, 21:33

Shiisim at its most Shameless!