@Mary - the 12'ver shia: (this is for you - so plz, read with me)
The Shia will oftentimes use Taqiyyah (lying to save one’s religion) when asked about Matam.
We often hear Shia, particularly in the West, saying that beating oneself during Matam is actually forbidden in the Shia religion, and that it is only ignorant and “extremist” Shia who do that. This is a bold-faced lie, and we shall prove it here. In fact, the opposite is true: any Shia who claims that self-flagellation is notMustahabb (highly recommended) is either lying or ignorant of his religion. All of the Shia Maraje’ (high scholars) are agreed that beating oneself is not only allowed in Shi’ism, but rather it is encouraged.
On Ayatollah Sistani’s official website, www.sistani.org, we find:
>>Question: What is the ruling on beating our backs with chains only during Muharram rituals?
Answer: “It is permissible.”
(Source: Ayatollah Sistani’s official website, http://www.sistani.org/html/eng/menu/4/?lang=eng&view=d&code=77&page=1 )
We find the following responses by Ayatollah Lankarani on his official website:
>>Q2: It so happens that people beat their chests and their backs with chains and their bodies turn red and even start bleeding. Is it permissible?
>>A2: It is permissible and even preferable provided that it does not cause significant harm to the body.
(Source: Ayatollah Lankarani’s official website, http://www.lankarani.org/eng/adv/06.html )
Thus, there can be no question about the practise of self-flagellation in the Shia faith: it is Mustahabb (highly recommended), and this is the opinion of all of the ranking Shia Maraje’.
Do read MORE such fatawas! in case you STILL find urself "confused'' about this 'issue. ^_^
Ayatollah al-Kho’i, the former leader of the Hawzah of the holy city of Najaf, was asked the following question.
>>Question: Is there any problem with causing the bleeding of the head – TATBIR – as it is practiced, to express one’s grief about the martyrdom of our Imam Hussain peace be upon him, assuming there is going to be no permanent harm?
*Answer by Ayatollah al-Kho’i: “There is no problem with that, given the assumption made in the question, and Allah knows best.”
>>Question: You stated that there is no problem in causing the bleeding of the head – known as TATBIR – if it does not lead to harm. It is said that it is not more than a permissible act, then can TATBIR be MUSTAHAB (highly recommended) – desirable – if the intention was the upholding and honouring the Sha’a’er – signs of Allah – and sympathy with the Ahl-ul-Bayt, peace be upon them?
*Answer by Ayatollah al-Kho’i: “Most probably Allah Almighty would give thawab – reward (the individual) – for sympathising with the Ahl-ul-Bayt if the intention is sincere.”
Ayatollah al-Sistani, the current leader of the Hawzah of the holy city of Najaf, was asked the following question.
>>Question: What is the ruling regarding the lashing with chains, chest beating, and walking on fire on the occasion of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him?
*Answer by Ayatollah al-Sistani: “If (these are) not associated with extreme harm or loss of limb, there is no objection.”
>>Question: What is the ruling regarding wearing black, and chest beating when commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain peace be upon him, as well as other infallible Imams peace be upon them?
*Answer by Ayatollah al-Sistani: “This is permissible, and in fact this is regarded as one of the best means of seeking nearness to Allah, since it is upholding and honouring the Sha’a’er of Allah Almighty.” [This is a reference to the Qur’anic Ayah 22:32]
· 8 years ago