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1 year ago
From Daily Star

Worshippers use knives to pop their own eyes out in Indian religious festival



Worshippers use knives and swords to pop their eyes out of their sockets and pull metal wires through their tongues and cheeks at a festival in India. It's during the Urs festival in Rajasthan that devotees can be seen carrying out the acts. Thousands of Muslims travelled across India for the six-day historic festival on Monday. The eye-popping is one of the stunts part of a religious procession at the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. The festival marks the death anniversary of the Sufi saint.

The preacher and philosopher died in the 13th century and this year was the 808th festival. The festival is also celebrated with singing and dancing and is always in the seventh month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It's believed they are acts of devotion to the saint. But it's not all grisly, devotees can also offer up food, flowers and prayers where Chishti's tomb lies.

As well as prayers Sufi poetry known as "qawalli" is recited while those around them carry out the acts of self-torture. Sufis devote themselves to particular saints, which is a concept other strands of Islam do not recognise. Also in India, thousands of Shia worshippers take part in ceremonies across the Muslim world to mourn the death of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. Gruesome images show Muslim worshippers cutting their heads open with knives in a show of faith. The commemorations take place on Ashura, the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar.

 
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