Ashura in Azerbaijan during quarantine: 208 fined, 10 arrested
For the first time in the history of sovereign Azerbaijan, mourning prayers and ritual mourning on the day of Ashura were banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the ban, hundreds of believers staged massive rituals, for which they were fined, and some will face trial.
Shiite Muslims, on the tenth day of the Muslim month of Muharram – the day of Ashura – honor the memory of the grandson of Muhammad and his companions who died in the bottle of Kerbala in the seventh century.
But mosques in Azerbaijan are not working due to the spread of the coronavirus and the quarantine regime, and the authorities banned mass rituals on August 30.
What happened in the 7th century?
Ashura is the tenth day of the mourning month of Muharram, its “culmination” when Shiite Muslims mourn Hussein (the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad) and his companions who died in the battle with Yazid, the son of the Caliph Mu’awiyah. It happened in 680 near the city of Kerbala (located on the territory of modern Iraq).
After the death of Hussein in the Muslim world, there was a split into two branches – Shiites, supporters of Hussein, and Sunnis, supporters of Yazid. This split still exists, giving rise to many wars and conflicts. Accordingly, Ashura is considered a mourning day only among Shiites.
Although the Sunnis also celebrate it, but in a different way and for another reason.
According to the Qur’an, the creation of Heaven, Earth, angels and the first man falls on this day, and the apocalypse will also come on this day.
Arrests, fines and children with t-shirts
The Caucasian Muslims Office a few days before Ashura appealed to the believers to donate blood on a mourning day in specially designated places. According to a report from the department, on August 30, about 500 people became donors.
Despite all the warnings and the official ban, in several regions of Azerbaijan, believers tried to arrange mass rituals on Ashura’s day. In total, 208 people were fined for violating quarantine, another 10 people will be brought to trial and will receive several days of administrative arrest.
In one of the Baku parks, law enforcement officers detained and took vacationing parents with children to the police station.
A widespread video on social networks shows police reacting to religious inscriptions on vacationers’ T-shirts.