Thursday, March 13, 2003

The evening of Ashoora
The evening of Ashoora a masterpiece by Mahmoud Farshchian

Ashoora teragedy (the tenth day)
In the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the tenth day of Muharram, Iranians are mourning the death of Master Hussain the third imam of Shiah (1). People congregate in particular places (like mosques) to mourn. Also group of male amateurs (who are veiled into the drama to cover for the fact that only men and children took part in the representation of the Karbala tragedy) perform a religious musical drama!! Ta'ziyeh (or "mourning") dramas had been popularized in Qajar Iran. This traditional performing is the only form of indigenous music drama in the Islamic world. Ta’ziyeh is rarely performed outside of Iran. Interestingly, it is said that these customs are similar to the pre-Islamic customs in Iran.
Iranian girl has written an interesting report about her observations in this day.

(1) Shiah in Islam and Iran
Islam has 2 major sects. One of the most significant of these is the Shiah sect, which believes that it was Muhammad's intention that his descendants inherit the spiritual and temporal leadership of the faithful. These chosen ones, called Imams, or "leaders”. However, the great majority of Muslims i.e. Sunnis rejected such claims believing that the sunna--the "way" or mode of conduct attributed by tradition to the Prophet Muhammad--was a sufficient guide. Sunni Muslims vastly outnumber the Shiah today, and are usually referred to by Western scholars as "orthodox" as opposed to the "heterodoxy" of the Shiah!!!.
Shiahs have been a minority in Islamic world. Although Shiah originated in Arabs, it had evolved into its current situation in Iran and majority of Shiahs live in there. They also are scattered in the south of Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
Shiah has been more than a religion for Iranian and somehow it has been a political tool to make a distinction between themselves and Arabs regarding their nationality. In fact, during the Othman Empire era, Iranian defended their nationality and border by means of religion!!!. I will write about Islam in Iran later.
(posted by Iman)

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