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spiritual

Titik Nol 191: Little India

Para pemuja dewa di Shiva Mandir (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Harum dupa semerbak mengisi ruangan. Mantra bermelodi terus mengalir dari mulut pandit, yang membawa nampan dan lilin. Tiga orang umat di belakangnya, ikut mengiringi mantra. Dentingan lonceng mungil bergemerincing, menambah daya magis lantunan mantra-mantra. Di hadapan mereka, sebuah patung biru berdiri gagah. Tangannya banyak, masing-masing memegang senjata dan menjambak kepala-kepala manusia. Di lehernya tergantung kalung dari untaian tengkorak. Lidahnya terjulur, merah membara. Tetapi di balik semua deskripsi seram itu, sepasang mata indah memancarkan kewelasasihan. Ini adalah patung Dewi Kali, pasangan Sang Dewa Syiwa. Mantra terus mengalir memanjatkan puja dan puji, ritual rutin setiap pagi di Shiv Mandir, Kuil Syiwa. Ini bukan India. Ini adalah Umerkot, kota terakhir Pakistan di tepian padang pasir Thar yang luas menghampar. Hiruk pikuknya Umerkot, dengan gang-gang sempit yang berkelok-kelok ruwet seperti benang kusut, diiringi dentuman lagu-lagu Bollywood yang menyalak tiada henti dari tape kuno, dihiasi warna-warni indah dari kuil-kuil Hindu yang bertebaran, dipenuhi percakapan yang tak lupa menyebut kebesaran Syiwa, Brahma, dan Wishnu, memang membuat saya sejenak merasa diterbangkan ke India. Umerkot adalah tempat yang unik di Pakistan. Mayoritas penduduknya Hindu, tersembunyi di pedalaman Republik Islam.. Kota ini didirikan oleh seorang Hindu, Amer Singh, yang menjadi ihwal [...]

May 18, 2015 // 1 Comment

My Healing with Vipassana (3): The Art of Simple Life

The Vipassana experience was magical for me as I could now sense the sensation of the surface of my whole body, from top of the head to toe. I could sense the interior of my body. My left brain, my right brain, my stomach and my intestines, my bones… all were producing never-ending subtle vibrations. I could even sense the parts of the body when I was sleeping. When I was dreaming, it was more like watching a movie rather than being involved in the actions of the fantasy. At this point, the meditation was not merely about sitting anymore. When we take breath, we meditate. When we walk, we meditate. When we eat and drink, we meditate. Even when we sleep, as long as the awareness is there, we also meditate. By Day 6, I started to notice small details I used to neglect. I started to see the movement of grass and leaves of the trees, appreciate the freshness of the air and the beauty of the occasional noise from the neighborhood, and be thankful to all my weaknesses and flaws, all achievements and failures, all happy and sad moments in my life. All the findings and the [...]

May 12, 2015 // 14 Comments

My Healing with Vipassana (2): Nothing is Permanent

Goenka the Teacher had reminded all the students that the Day 2 and Day 6 in our 10-day course of Vipassana would be the most difficult. At least, I can say, the Day 2 was really the biggest torture. I came to the Vipassana meditation course with an expectation of finding salvation from my depression. I thought I would see a magic aura of enlightenment, or beautiful visions, or a surreal experience of ecstasy. But what’s this? This was just a boring process of sitting in total silence, with nothing to do but to observe breath for ten hours per day. The more I craved for a divine vision, the more I got restless. While I closed my eyes and seemed calm, my mind was not unlike an untamed wild horse which brought me galloping over series of memories and fears. Once I saw blurred pictures of places I have visited, changing rapidly as flash: mountains of Himalaya, deserts of Pakistan, jungles of Papua. Suddenly after those happy moments of reiterating my traveling years on the road, my mind threw me to sorrow: hospitals, graveyard, funeral house, dead bodies of my parents, dead body of myself. This is the most [...]

May 10, 2015 // 2 Comments

My Healing with Vipassana (1): A Happiness Seeker and His Breath

Something was terribly wrong with me lately. I used to feel much “alive” when I travel on the road, but returning to days of monotony confined in Jakarta apartment always brought depression to me. It’s ironic to feel lonely amidst a busy and noisy apartment block inhabited by thousands of people. I was sure, my depression had something to do with my family problems. Since I lost my mother five years ago, sadness and fear slowly grew inside me. Three years after that, my father passed away. Year after year, I could not handle this loneliness anymore. I felt more and more insecure. Every quiet night I go to bed alone, I was bombarded by frustrating thoughts. Am I still needed in this world? For the sake of whom do I still need to continue my life? Even worse, I have depression and anxiety at the same time. As the negativity piled up, once in a while, I even contemplated of doing something very, very stupid to end my life. Until then, a friend suggested me to try Vipassana meditation. He himself had attended the course, and called the experience ‘life changing’. I have known earlier that much of our [...]

May 7, 2015 // 5 Comments

Titik Nol 174: Mehfil-E-Naat

Terhanyut dalam histeria spiritual (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) “Ya Rasulullah….. Ya Habibullah…” suara sendu melantun lambat, suara yang keluar dari hati yang paling dalam, bergetar dan bergema. Ribuan penonton duduk bersila, tenggelam dalam ketakziman, terhipnotis dalam histeria spiritual, terbasuh hatinya dalam puja dan puji bagi Sang Nabi. Naat adalah barisan lantunan memuja kebesaran Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. Di Pakistan, Naat sangat populer bukan hanya sebagai dakwah tetapi juga bagian ibadah. Saya sering mendengarkan alunan Naat diputar di radio lokal, tape recorder, dan pementasan di masjid-masjid. Walaupun punya segala macam unsur musik, mulai dari syair bersajak, irama, komposisi, iringan suara mulut berdentum-dentum layaknya akapela, panggung pementasan, penonton yang histeris, jangan sekali-sekali menyebut naat sebagai musik atau lagu di Pakistan. Barisan kata-kata dalam naat semuanya berisi tentang Nabi, suri tauladannya, puja-puji dan doa baginya. Bagi mereka yang sangat religius, kata ‘musik’ atau ‘lagu’ berkonotasi negatif dan tidak pantas untuk menyebut kesucian lantunan naat. Bahkan orang menyebutnya sebagai naat-e-sharif, naat yang suci. Kawan saya, keluarga Syed dari Islamabad, adalah salah satu keluarga terpandang di kota ini. Bukan hanya karena Syed adalah keturunan langsung Nabi Muhammad, atau karena mereka aktif dalam kegiatan kemanusiaan menolong korban gempa di Kashmir, keluarga Syed Gilani yang satu ini juga dihormati masyakarat [...]

April 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Titik Nol 146: Di Bawah Temaram Lampu Minyak

Gembira menerima sheet CGI (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Sekali perjalanan naik turun gunung, mengumpulkan data puluhan keluarga korban gempa dalam sehari, rasanya sudah membuat remuk tulang punggung. Tetapi saya tersentuh oleh keramahan setiap keluarga miskin yang selalu menawarkan secangkir teh panas. Dalam kesengsaraan, mereka masih ingat berbagi kebahagiaan. Hari ini kami mengunjungi lima desa. Tiga di atas, dua di bawah. Ijaz mengajari saya, kalau berpapasan dengan perempuan, kita tak boleh memandang wajah mereka atau berkontak mata, harus cepat-cepat menunduk dan mengalihkan pandangan. Umumnya penduduk desa menantikan kedatangan kami, menyampaikan keluh kesah jumlah CGI sheet yang tak cukup, atau menyampaikan keberhasilan rumah baru mereka yang mungil namun nyaman. Untuk setiap penerima bahan bantuan, kami mencatat nama kepala keluarga dan nama ayah. Hanya mereka yang sudah berkeluarga saja yang berhak menerima. Banyak orang yang punya nama sama di Pakistan. Hampir semua orang namanya berasal dari Al Qur’an. Karena itu pulalah, nama ayah juga perlu dicatat untuk menjadi pembeda. Tetapi ada pula kasus di mana dua orang bisa punya nama sendiri dan nama ayahnya yang sama persis. Untuk kasus begini, yang paling berfungsi adalah nomor KTP. Setiap korban gempa yang menerima bahan bangunan harus menunjukkan dokumen. Mengerjakan laporan di kemah menjelang tidur (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Senja [...]

March 16, 2015 // 4 Comments

Titik Nol 133: Ya Hussain

Menangisi penderitaan Hussain (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Bulan Muharram membawa kemuraman di seluruh penjuru Pakistan. Seketika, banyak orang berbaju hitam-hitam. Hingar bingar musik dan lagu India tak lagi terdengar. Para penabuh genderang jalanan, orang-orang bersurban dan bertrompet pemeriah pesta pernikahan, lenyap dari berbagai sudut kota. Tak ada orang yang menikah dalam bulan ini. Muharram adalah bulan perkabungan. Saya berada dalam bus antar kota yang menghubungkan Rawalpindi dengan Lahore. Kaset tua membunyikan lagu-lagu penuh kesedihan. Sebenarnya ini bukan lagu, tetapi alunan syair tentang perkabungan. Musiknya juga bukan dari alat musik, tetapi dari dada yang ditepuk secara serempak, berirama. Ada kekuatan magis di dalamnya, semua yang mendengarnya pasti larut dalam kesedihan. Di Indonesia, Muharram dirayakan sebagai Tahun Baru Islam. Di Pakistan, Muharram adalah waktu di mana orang meratapi kematian Imam Hussain, cucu Nabi Muhammad S.A.W yang gugur dalam perang Karbala. Perang ini adalah lambang keberanian untuk mengorbankan nyawa untuk membela kebenaran dan melawan kebatilan. Puncak perkabungan Muharram adalah hari Ashura, jatuh pada tanggal 10 Muharram. Kata Ashura berasal dari bahasa Arab, artinya ‘kesepuluh’. Pada hari inilah Hussain gugur dalam pertempuran melawan pasukan Yazid, tahun 61 Hijriyah. Ashura adalah hari teramat penting bagi umat Syiah, sekitar 20 persen jumlahnya di kalangan Muslim Pakistan. Tetapi Ashura [...]

February 25, 2015 // 4 Comments

Titik Nol 119: Pelabuhan Darat

Hunza bukan lagi Shangri-La yang tersembunyi, tak terjamah peradaban manusia. Sejak Karakoram Highway selesai dibangun, desa-desa di pegunungan tinggi ini semakin terbuka bersama kemajuan dunia. Pembangunan jalan raya menembus gunung-gunung pada ketinggian di atas 4000 meter bukanlah hal yang mudah. Pemerintah Pakistan dan China bersama-sama mengerjakan proyek ini, membutuhkan waktu 20 tahun, dan baru selesai pada tahun 1986. Panjangnya 1300 kilometer, menghubungkan Islamabad dengan kota Kashgar di propinsi Xinjiang milik Republik Rakyat China. Medannya sangat berat. Pakistan menyebut jalan raya ini sebagai Keajaiban Dunia Kedelapan. Saya berhasil mengalahkan rasa malas, memaksa diri beranjak meninggalkan Karimabad menuju kota Sost, kota terakhir Pakistan sebelum perbatasan China. Saya dengar karena banyaknya orang China, di kota Sost kita bisa membeli makanan China yang asli citarasanya. Dua tahun lalu, saya sudah pernah sampai di sini. Para pekerja China sedang sibuk membangun dry port – pelabuhan darat, yang akan membangkitkan denyut nadi perekonomian di barisan pegunungan Karakoram. Waktu itu mereka sangat gembira, karena kiriman daging babi dari China baru datang. Bagi para pekerja itu, makanan Pakistan terlalu hambar dan tak sesuai lidah mereka. Di seluruh negeri, daging babi tak tersedia sama sekali dan harus diimpor untuk konsumsi sendiri. Selain itu, para pekerja juga tidak bisa hidup [...]

February 5, 2015 // 15 Comments

Titik Nol 114: Malam Sufi

Berputar… berputar… berputar… (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Asap hashish mengepul, memenuhi ruangan yang penuh sesak oleh ratusan pria ini. Genderang bertambur bertalu-talu, menghipnotis semua yang ada. Dua orang pria berputar-putar di tengah lingkaran, bergedek bak pecandu ekstasi. Semua lebur dalam kecanduan spiritual. Sufisme, dikenal juga sebagai tasawuf, adalah aliran mistis dalam Islam yang percaya bahwa mendekatkan diri kepada Tuhan tidak hanya bisa melalui satu cara saja, termasuk musik dan tarian. Di Asia Tengah dan anak benua India, Sufisme adalah bagian dari budaya Islam itu sendiri. Kamis malam, bulan bersinar terang merambah kegelapan, susasana kuburan Baba Shah Zaman di daerah kota tua Ikhra di Lahore seakan melemparkan saya ke alam magis. Daerah ini seakan hidup dalam dunianya sendiri, dalam dunia yang berbeda dengan hiruk pikuk modernitas kota Lahore. Saya menyusuri anak tangga menuju ke makam suci ini. Semua orang harus melepas sandal di depan pintu. Di balik pintu gerbang, ada halaman berlantai pualam. Di sini hanya ada laki-laki. Perempuan dilarang masuk. Ratusan pria berjubah shalwar kamiz berusaha menerobos masuk ke halaman sempit yang terbatas ini. Saya mendapat tempat di antara kerumunan pria berjenggot. Semerbak baru harum bunga mawar bercampur dengan asap yang mengepul di mana-mana. Bau hashish, candu, menusuk dalam-dalam. “Ini adalah cara [...]

January 29, 2015 // 4 Comments

Titik Nol 113: Qawwali

Musik qawwali, mistis dan menghanyutkan (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Hanya beberapa jengkal dari perbatasan India, denyut jantung kehidupan Pakistan langsung bervibrasi kuat. Ada dunia lain di balik garis perbatasan itu. Dalam sekejap, India yang penuh warna, pertapa Hindu miskin yang berkeliaran, orang yang tidur di atas trotoar, serta peziarah Sikh dengan surbannya yang khas, tinggal kenangan. Kota Lahore yang terhampar di hadapan terasa gersang. Debu beterbangan. Para pria mengenakan pakaian yang sama semua – celana kombor shalwar dan jubah kamiz yang panjangnya sampai ke lutut dengan belahan di kedua tepinya. Warna shalwar dan kamiz biasanya sama, memberikan aksen monoton. Perempuan hampir tidak nampak sama sekali. Kalaupun terlihat di jalan, hanya satu atau dua, mengenakan cadar hitam pekat dan hanya menyisakan sepasang mata saja. Selamat datang di Republik Islam Pakistan. Tubuh saya lemah karena penyakit yang saya derita. Nafsu makan saya sudah mulai normal, tetapi sekarang saya harus berhati-hati memilih makanan. Kalau di Amritsar kemarin saya masih bisa menenggak sup China yang lezat dan bergizi, di Pakistan saya kesulitan kesulitan mencari makanan. Semuanya berminyak. Gara-gara penyakit kuning ini, saya selalu mual kalau melihat minyak. Akhirnya, saya terpaksa duduk di restoran mewah bernama Pizza Hut, di pinggir jalan utama Mall Road. Restoran ini terletak [...]

January 28, 2015 // 5 Comments

Titik Nol 109: Sikh

Mencelupkan diri dalam air danau suci (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO) Danau suci memantulkan bayangan kuil emas bersinar gemerlap. Mantra mengalun tanpa henti dengan iringan nada datar musik lembut. Saya terpekur di bawah keagungan tempat ini. Perjalanan panjang dari New Delhi ke Amritsar di negara bagian Punjab membuat tubuh saya semakin lemas. Mata saya kembali kuning karena kelelahan sepanjang malam. Tetapi entah mengapa, di hadapan kuil emas yang menjadi tempat paling suci bagi umat Sikh, saya merasa segala letih dan sakit lenyap seketika. Tempat ini adalah gurdwara paling terkenal, kebanggaan umat Sikh di seluruh dunia. Gurdwara adalah kuil peribadatan pemeluk Sikh. Gurdwara di Amritsar, nama resminya Harmandir Sahib, berwarna emas, bersinar gemilang diterpa sinar matahari pagi. Kuil ini terletak di tengah danau berbentuk persegi. Tanah di sekitarnya berupa lantai pualam. Amritsar semula adalah nama danau ini. Amrit Sarovar berarti danau air suci. Kemudian menjadi nama kompleks kuil ini. Sampai akhirnya, seluruh kota ini dinamai Amritsar. Danau ini begitu suci. Ratusan umat Sikh mencelupkan diri ke dalam airnya yang sejuk. Ritual mandi ini bukan sekadar membasuh diri secara badani, tetapi punya juga pembasuhan dan penyucian jiwa spiritual. Ada sedikitnya 15 juta penganut agama Sikh di India. Pria Sikh dikenali dengan mudah dari turban mereka [...]

January 22, 2015 // 6 Comments

A Junior Devotee

A kid shows his scars in his first-ever self-flagellation of Ashura. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom of Hussain to fight [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Stop Him

Crowds try to stop an over-enthusiastic devotee in doing self-flagellation. The bloody ritual can be dangerous as a devotee may run out of blood. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Permanent Scars

A man bears permanent scars on his back from self-flagellation in Ashura of previous years. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom of [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Always Remember

Mass gatherings is held in a Shiite mosque in Lahore to remember the martyrdom of Hussain, one night before the Ashura. The majlis or sermon recounts the suffering of Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. The story, despite of being repeated every year, still raises tides of emotions among the devotees. They listen, cry, shout, and beat their chests with hands as symbol of mourning. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Blades

A man is distributing blades for the mass during majlis (sermon) as they are going to start the self-flagellation ritual to remember the martyrdom of Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Women with Tears

Women in black veil are in high emotion during the majlis (sermon) session of Ashura remembrance in a mosque in Lahore, while the speaker recounts the suffering of Hussain in the battle of Karbala. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Shiite Kids

Some Shiite kids are preparing for the remembrance of Ashura in a mosque in Lahore. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 8 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mass Mourning

Muzaffarabad was hit by 7.6-magnitue of earthquake half a year before, but the mass mourning of self-beating (maatam) and self-flagellation (zanjirzani) parade along the main street is still huge and powerful. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Not Hindered by Disaster

Muzaffarabad was hit by 7.6-magnitue of earthquake half a year before, but the mass mourning of self-beating (maatam) and self-flagellation (zanjirzani) parade along the main street is still huge and powerful. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

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