Muslims around world mark Ashura with self-flagellation

 

                    Muslims have begun celebrating the religious festival of Ashura, with some Shia men flagellating themselves to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

The day falls each year on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, it corresponds with Tuesday 11 October, though the festival begins for observant Muslims at sunset on Monday, and in some countries the day before is also a public holiday.

Ashura is marked by all Muslims, and commemorations can include a voluntary fast.

But the day is a major part of the religious calendar for Shia Muslims, for whom it is a solemn occasion to mourn the death of Hussein in 680 AD at Karbala in modern-day Iraq.

Though the self-flagellation aspect of events marking the day has become best-known, observing Muslims also conduct reenactments of the martyrdom of Hussein and take part in parades and displays of fire-spinning.

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Afghan Shiite Muslims use chains and blades during ritual self-flagellation as part of Ashura commemorations at a mosque in Kabul on October 9, 2016 (Getty Images)
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Afghan Shiite Muslims use chains and blades during ritual self-flagellation as part of Ashura commemorations at a mosque in Kabul on October 9, 2016 (Getty Images)
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Iraqi Shiites uses torches during a parade as part of Ashura commemorations on October 9, 2016 in the holy city of Najaf (Getty Images)
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Iraqi Shiite children and a man perform during the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala, as part of a parade in preparation for the peak of the mourning period of Ashura on October 7, 2016 in Baghdad’s northern district of Kadh
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