Muslims Mark Ashura With Blood Ritual
Shi'a Muslims in Mumbai, India observe Ashura, the anniversary of the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson at the hands of Umayyad troops in 680AD.
The day falls on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.
Hussein is regarded as a martyr by Shiite Muslims, who commemorate his death with fasting and self-flagellation.
Certain rituals like the traditional flagellation ritual called Talwar zani (talwar ka matam or sometimes tatbir) using a sword or zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam, involving the use of a zanjeer (a chain with blades) are also performed.
These are religious customs that show solidarity with Hussein and his family. People mourn the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save Hussein and his family. In some western cities, Shi'a communities have organized blood donation drives with organizations like the Red Cross on Ashura as a positive replacement for self-flagellation rituals like "Tatbir" and "Qame Zani".
Shia commonly believe that taking part in Ashura is to be absolved of sin. A popular Shia saying has it that, `a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins.`