As we observe the month of Muharram, and commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as), the believers are to be reminded about the opinion of the Jurist (Marja) on the topic of Imam Hussain’s Mourning (Azadari).
What follows are the fatwas of the two Grand Shia Marja’ regarding Imam Hussain’s Mourning:
Question by Ahmed: My brother wants to do Qama on 20 Safar, he is following Ayatollah Sistani. Based on the misuse of Qama today, insincerity of many people, diseases spreading around, and political views can I stop him from doing Qama?
Answer by Board of Istifa, Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The main objective of mourning and lamentation during ‘Ashura’, is to respect the signs and symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (as), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. Also its ritual aspect should be preserved. So those actions which are not understandable for the enemies of Islam and non-Shia Muslims and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided.
Question by Zaeem Sherazi: I want to know the status of beating our backs with knives (ZANJEER) on the day of Ashura? What is it status in our Fiqh?
Answer by Board of Istifa, Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani: The philosophy of mourning during ‘Ashura’, is to respect the symbols of religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (as), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. So those actions which are not understandable and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided.
Ayatollah Khamenei: Practical Laws of Islam >> Religious Events
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 Husayn (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 Husayn (a.s.)?
A: These acts, which are, inevitably, bound to portray our school of thought in a negative shade, are impermissible.
Q1449: In commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on the tenth of Muharram, some people hit themselves with a machete, or walk bare-footed on fire. Such actions defame Shi’ism and put it in a bad light, if not undermine it. They cause bodily and spiritual harms on these doing it as well. What is your opinion in this matter?
A: Any practice that causes bodily harm, or leads to defaming the faith, is Haram. Accordingly, the believers have to steer clear of it. There is no doubt that many of these practices besmirch the image of Ahlul Bayt’s (a.s.) School of Thought which is the worst damage and loss.
Q1450: Is hitting oneself with swords Halal if it is done in secret? Or is your fatwa 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.