Blood donations instead of flagellation – more than 1,500 liters of blood gathered on Ashura in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijanis marking the holiday Ashura donated more than 1,500 liters of blood today.
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Ashura is the day of commemoration of the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, Hussein, who was martyred in 680 CE at the battle of Karbala, present-day Iraq. In most mosques of the country, mourning prayers and ritual mourning took place in the morning.
Earlier, many believers marked the day with a public display of grief and self-flagellation, often using chains and cutting one’s head.
But in recent years, the custom has been replaced with blood donation. Symbolic self-flagellation in mosques is still carried out, but real heavy chains have been replaced with thinner ones that do not cause injuries.
The police are particularly active today to prevent such rituals from taking place outside mosques.
The martyrdom of Hussein
Ashura is the tenth day of the month of mourning, Muharram.
On the day, Shiite Muslims mourn the death of Hussein – the grandson of Muhammad – and his companions who died in battle with Yazid, the son of the Caliph Muawiya.
This happened in 680 near the city of Karbala (a holy city for Muslims, located on the territory of modern Iraq).
After the death of Hussein in the Muslim world, there was a split in Islam into two branches: Shiites – supporters of Hussein – and Sunnis – supporters of Yazid.
This schism still exists, giving rise to many wars and conflicts. Accordingly, Ashura is considered a mourning day only among Shiites.
Although the Sunnis also celebrate the day, they do so differently. 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 Ashura.
Twice as less as last year
The date of Ashura varies from year to year – in 2019, it fell on September 10.
In hospitals and mosques throughout the country, blood donation centers have been set up by the Ministry of Health and the Caucasus Muslims Office.
3,510 people donated almost 1,580 liters of blood, Report.az writes. This is almost half as much as last year, when 5,340 donors gave 2,403 liters of blood.
At the same time, 288 donors were found to have hepatitis or syphilis, and one was found with HIV. The results of the analyses of this year are still unknown.
The funeral month will end on September 29th. During this month, it is not customary in Azerbaijan to have weddings or organise large festivities.