Shi'a religious parade standard

Standards such as this were carried in religious processions particularly at the Muharram ceremony which, for Shi’a Muslims, commemorates the martyrdom of the third Shi’i Imam, Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the battle of Karbala.

Standards such as this were carried in religious processions particularly at the Muharram ceremony which, for Shi’a Muslims, commemorates the martyrdom of the third Shi’i Imam, Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the battle of Karbala.

This battle took place in the month of Muharram, first month of the Muslim year, in Iraq in 680 (AH 61). It was fought between the forces of the Umayyad caliph Yazid (reigned 680-683) and the Shi’a who are the supporters of Ali, Companion of the Prophet, husband of his daughter Fatima and father of Husayn. Ali was the first Shi’a Imam. This tragic event deepened the schism between the two main branches of Islam the Sunni and the Shi’a. It features strongly in the religious life of Shi’a Muslims and is commemorated every year.

This standard, known as an alam, is in the shape of a sword representing the sword of Ali and is inscribed in open work with elegant inscriptions which include the names Allah (God) , Muhammad, Fatima, Aly, Hasan (the second Shi’i Imam) and Husayn and the invocation ‘O Ali!’.

The Prophet, Lady Fatima and the Imams Ali, Hasan and Husayn hold a special status in Islam and are referred to collectively as the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet Muhammad’s Household).

Under the Safavids, the dynasty founded by Shah Isma`il I, which ruled Iran from 1501 until 1722, Shi’i Islam became the official religion of Iran which it remains to this day. There are followers of Shi’a Islam across the Islamic world. They revere 12 imams whose burial places and those of their descendants are an important focus for worship and pilgrimage.


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Dimensions

Height: 127 cm
Width: 26.7 cm
Depth: 4.5 cm

 

Museum number

1888,0901.16-17

RRM10460

Location

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81.

Shi'a religious parade standard

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