In this question, I asked justification for tatbir (Striking oneself with sword) and Matam (Self-flagellation) in Shi'ite sect. The answer I received is that tatbir and any kind of harming to body is declared haram (prohibited) as it is harming oneself by Shi'ite scholars with some links to authentic Shi'ite resources. In one of those links, I found a fatwa which does not clearly call tatbir haram rather it says " must be avoided since enemies of Islam would not understand it ".

To quote the fatwa:

"Q1: I have a question about blood matam or what is known as Qama zani or Tatbir? What is your ruling about using blades, knives, swords and spilling blood during mourning rituals? Is it permissible?

A2: The philosophy of mourning during 'Ashura, is to respect the symbols of Religion and remember the suffering of Imam Hussain (a), his companions, and his uprising to defend Islam and prevent the destruction of the religion by Bani Umayyad dynasty. These rites must be done in such a way that in addition to serving that purpose, it draws the attention of others to these lofty goals. Obviously, Qama Zani does not have such a role and the enemies of Ahlalbayt misuse it. So those actions which are not understandable for the enemies of Islam and causes misunderstanding and contempt for the religion must be avoided. "

I do not see any mention of it being haram (prohibited) because it causes harm to oneself here.

and one more :

Q2: It so happens that people beat their chests and their backs with chains and their bodies turn red and even start bleeding. Is it permissible?

A2: It is permissible and even preferable provided that it does not cause significant harm to the body.

It says beating until bleeding starts is preferable.

and this fatwa by Shia scholar Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (It is offline now, so had to use Internet wayback machine) says:

§ Question : What is the ruling on beating our backs with chains only during Muharram rituals?

§ Answer : It is permissible.

Is tatbir or extreme mourning by beating the back using chains a issue of difference of opinion among the Shi'ite scholars or is it unanimously declared haram?

  • 2
    none of above fatwa allow hurting to body. " beating our backs with chains" has no hurt for body. also the second fatwa insits: " provided that it does not cause significant harm to the body". you simply ignore the parts of Fitwa insisting there should be no harm. if they say it is preferable they mean mourning for Hussain as without harm. they never mean harming or bleeding is preferable. I think you are trying to show what they does not say. they are talking about mourning for Hussain as. chain does not have bleeding. unless used extremely hard which is not usual. Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 6:37
  • @Ahmadi Beat the back with chain doesn't hurt? I am not sure who agrees with you on that. The second fatwa quite explicitly permits the beating until it starts bleeding. Please the read the question of the fatwa, there is no mention of mourning for Hussain. Also, why doesn't the first fatwa call it haraam outright? Because most fatwa either categorizes the act as "permissible" or "impermissible". Please help me understand the fatwa.
    – Abdullah
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 7:04
  • 2
    chain has no hurt unless one use it very hardly. I see it every year. I have not seen eve one case with hurt. although it is not impossible to one hurt himself with chain. chain with bleeding is very rare. I have never seen. second fitwa says: "provided that it does not cause significant harm to the body" please read this part carefully. yes there is no mention of mourning for Hussain because it is axiom by default i shia society. there is no other use of chain on back. Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:17
  • @Ahmadi If that is an answer, please mention it below. So, matam with chains are allowed. Because, last time you told me in your mourning, you just write and sing poems and not beat yourself. Furthermore, I need the clarification why tatbir is not categorized as haraam in the first fatwa. Put all this as an answer and not comments. My question is quite clear. Comments here are used for clarification of question.
    – Abdullah
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:20
  • first answer says "it is for Obviously, Qama Zani does not have such a role" i.e. role of remembering suffering of Imam Hussain (a). this is clearly rejecting tatbir. also look "must be avoided" at first answer. what it meas? it is same as Haram. what other your need? your own QA rejects Tatbir. also some sect of Christians use chain and Tatbir with bleeding for Jesus (a) that its pics are abused to defame shia. there are lots of propaganda agaist shia. one case is the fake site I showed at other tatbir question. Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


Yes. Here are a list of Fitwas about Tatbir:


This link is not official site of Shia Maraje but is an interesting collection and each case can be found in related official Marja website. If you need any let me know to find and add it here.

Please note as first Fitwa you mentioned says Mourning for Hussain (a.s.) itself is not Haram and is recommended by prophet and has great Sawab but hurting is Haram. And all Fitwa I have seen says mourning is recommended by harming to body is Haram. All above Fitwa say the same.

The second question is not clearly mentioned mourning but it is in the mourning category of website.

Also final fitwa is about using chain for mourning only and question assumes it is used without harm to body (that usually it is used with no harm) if Question added with bleeding Indeed Marja answered it is Haram or it is not permitted. It is like to ask is using pen allowed. Marja says yes. But if you ask is using pen to I make my own eye blind allowed? Then Marja says No it is not permissible.

The final Fitwa you mentioned is not related to bleeding or harm to body.

Using chain properly has no harm or bleeding. And it is a local culture for mourning and there is no evidence in Islam to ban mourning by local culture method while it has no harm to body or does not include any other Haram act.

  • Please clarify if beating the back using chain is haraam or permissible. Because I thought that is also haraam.
    – Abdullah
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:33
  • if it is "without harm to body" is permissible. if it is "with harm to body" it is Haram. the general law is: harming body is Haram. Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 13:39
  • So beating while bleeding is haram right?
    – Sami
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 5:02

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