I agree with wikipedia's description of Matam which is "Many of the male participants congregate together in public for ceremonial chest beating (matam) as a display of their devotion to Imam Husayn and in remembrance of his suffering. In some Shi'a societies, such as those in Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq, some male participants incorprate knives or razors swung upon chains into their matam. This practice is permissible by major Usooli Ayatollah such as Muhammad Shirazi and Sistani, however some major scholars such as Khameini have banned it in Iran temporarily, while others such as Fadlallah deem it permanently impermissible. In general however, the act is controversial."
Monday, December 28, 2009
Today is the 9th of Muharram the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram is a very important month for Shia Muslims because on the 10 of Muharram Imam Hussain the grandson and family (consisting of 72 people) of the Prophet Muhammed were killed by an army of between 20,000-30,000 at the Battle of Karbala on the orders of Yazid because Hussain did not accept him as Caliph and was not willing to take the oath of allegiance. in Muharram the Shia mourn their Imam and his death, a celebration of justice over evil.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Taken during a muharram procession in Lahore, an Al'am is of spiritual significance for the Twelver Shia Muslims in India, Pakistan and other areas. An Alam with a "Panja" on top of it is considered to be a religious flag of Islam, and it is said to be carried by the Prophet Muhammed, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Abbas ibn Ali during battles or expeditions. The battle of Karbala further glorifies its importance. An Alam is usually seen during Muharram Processions and at designated sites in Shia Mosques.