Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shia Muslims perform Zanjeer Zani to commemorate Ashura in Athens


Approximately 650 Shia Muslims gather to commemorate Ashura in Athens. Some of them, perform the traditional flagellation ritual called 'Zanjeer Zani’ in solidarity to the martyrdom of Husayn, the grandson of Muhammad.




Shia Muslim man repents after performing the ritual of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which he flagellates himself with blades attached to chains.

Worshipers holding 'zanjeers' (a chain with blades) mourn on the day of Ashura.

Worshipers holding 'zanjeers' (a chain with blades) mourn on the day of Ashura.

Shia Muslims perform 'Zanjeer Zani’ by hitting themselves on the back with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim performs 'Zanjeer Zani’ by hitting himself on the back with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim men touch a decorated horse during the Ashura commemoration in Athens. The horse is symbolically representing in Ashura ceremonies as Imam Hussein's horse Zuljina.

Shia Muslim men perform 'Zanjeer Zani’ by flagellating themselves on the back with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim man flagellates himself with blades attached to chains. The decorated horse that is symbolically representing Imam Hussein's horse Zuljina can be seen.

Shia Muslim men beat themselves with their hands to mark Ashura. Some of them are covered with blood as a result of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which they flagellate themselves with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim men beat themselves with their hands to mark Ashura. Some of them are covered with blood as a result of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which they flagellate themselves with blades attached to chains.

A child seen while watching the ritual of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which Shia Muslim men flagellate themselves with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim men touch a decorated horse during the Ashura commemoration in Athens. The horse is symbolically representing in Ashura ceremonies as Imam Hussein's horse Zuljina.

Shia Muslim men beat themselves with their hands to mark Ashura. Some of them are covered with blood as a result of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which they flagellate themselves with blades attached to chains.

Shia Muslim men chanting hymns during the Ashura commemoration in Athens.

Shia Muslim men chanting hymns during the Ashura commemoration in Athens.

Shia Muslim men beat themselves with their hands to mark Ashura. Some of them are covered with blood as a result of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which they flagellate themselves with blades attached to chains.

Signs of blood can be seen on the hands of a Shia Muslim man, short after he has performed the ritual of 'Zanjeer Zani’ a practice, in which he flagellates himself with blades attached to chains.

Pilgrims who have gathered to watch the ritual and commemorate Ashura in Athens.

Approximately 650 Shia Muslims gather to commemorate Ashura in Athens, outside their society place. Some of them, perform the traditional flagellation ritual called 'Zanjeer Zani’ in solidarity to the martyrdom of Husayn, the grandson of Muhammad.
The practice of ' Zanjeer Zani’ (also known as Tatbir) includes hitting oneself on the back and/or chest with blades attached to chains, causing blood to flow in remembrance of the innocent blood of Imam al Husain ibn Ali which was shed by Yazid's forces in Battle of Karbala.
I talk with a flagellation performer named Sayed Ashir, who is 30 years old, and has migrated from Pakistan to study in Greece, many years ago, and now he has a good living and work. He has been taking part to the ritual of ‘Zanjeer Zani’ since he was teen and although he is covered in blood, he says that he feels no pain.
Shia commonly believe that taking part in Ashura is to be absolved of sins. A popular Shia saying has it that, 'a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins'.





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