Shias (mostly in South-Asian countries) make replicas of taboot (biet), zari, zuljana and a'lam (Islamic flag) during Muharram processions.

From where has this practice started and is it allowed in the light of Quran and hadith?

Answers with reference from َQuran and Sunnah are required.

3 Answers 3


I am a Shiah. And was doing what all other Shiahs do. But after reading Quran my thought changed. The position of Ahle Bayt increased in my eyes. But I stopped praying in front of, or asking from Ghair Allah(anyone except Allah).

There is no point in making an Alam with our hands and then making dua or asking from it. If we have to mourn Imam Hussain, I dont think Alam is necessary. Unfortunately we do all that in front of Alam what Hindus do in a temple. Flowers, Agarbathies/incense, Thread (Nada), Walking on fire etc etc. The only thing missing is a bell. Imams are our guides. We should mould our life on the life of our Imams so that our Akhirat is good. Love doesn't mean we should celebrate their birthdays/death anniversaries , acts which have no precedence from any of our Imams.

As a School of Thought Shiaism is perfect. But some of the rituals and customs that have creeped in has virtually made it a cult.

  • 1
    "Love doesn't mean we should celebrate their birthdays/death anniversaries , acts which have no precedence from any of our Imams." I doubt that. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 4:59
  • 1
    askander Mirza writes sensible thing good to note some of us have at last learned to think that way, as he rightly points out such journeys can only be undertaken in the light of QURAN the most powerful light house for any muslim , unfortunately evil plan was hatched in a way that quran was knowingly or unknowingly bypassed therefore all the problem sand confusion
    – user8403
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 18:33

I am Shia. We have Alam in our mourning for Imam Hussein and our strong youths carry them. Wsing an Alam in the mourning ceremonies is come from old tradition in Iran, India, Indonesia, etc.

'Alam is also of spiritual significance for the Twelver Shia Muslims. Though all Shias including those of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Syria carry 'Alams in their processions in Ashura, the ones in India and Pakistan are specifically of a different kind and have more of a spiritual significance. An Alam with a "Panja" on top of it is considered to be a religious flag of Islam, and it is said to be carried by the Prophet Muhammed, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Abbas ibn Ali during battles or expeditions. The battle of Karbala further glorifies its importance. An Alam is usually seen during Muharram processions and at designated sites in Shia Mosques (1)

This kind of mourning is originated from those countries culture. Nowadays, Maraje do not confirm the symbols like pigeon, urceolate etc., these kind of symbols had been used in European countries (Christians) and in Safavieh and Ghajarieh period, came to Iran. I should say that Bidah is not acceptable in Shia religion but if Alam is a Symbol of Abbas ibn Abitaleb's Alam in Ashoora day and it does not have any fake symbol, it can remind Muslims the day of Ashoora.

Moreover there is no Hadith about this kind of mourning. "Prophet (pbuh) cried for his uncle and some women of Bani Abd Alashal mourned for his uncle too(2)". Our Imams always have mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussein too but they often cry with Noheh.


  1. Wikipedia: "Alam", 2014
  2. Abdul-Malik Ibn Hisham Hmyry, Sire Alnbvyh, translator of Sayyid Hashim Rasouli, Eslamiyya, vol 4, p 122.
  • and what about taboot,zari ,zuljana ?
    – Zia
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 6:33

The first answer is having a complete detail but what I like to add for every one's information is something a story from a history,(do not remember the reference).

It is about 200 years ago a king who think that not everyone can do Hajj or visit Muslims Hero's actual place so he start a trend and make same shabi (replica) and ask his men to move it is all over the state so that those person who cannot visit these place due to health or wealth they see them here and fulfil their eye hungers. After that this trend start and still it’s going on as there is no reference in Quran but I have asked many ALLAM's about it and did not find anything with prohibited.

  • 1
    can you research some more to provide exact history behind this.
    – Zia
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 11:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .