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Why Some Muslims Self-Flagellate On This Religious Holiday

Ashura, an optional fast day for Muslims that commemorates different things for Sunnis and Shiites, falls on Oct. 11, 2016. The word itself, ashura, means 10, and the holiday is the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram. The Islamic calendar is lunar, so the date of Ashura can vary depending on sighting of the moon. Ashura marks many things: the creation of the world, Noah’s departure from the ark, Moses’ flight from Egypt and the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein ibn Ali, in 680 A.
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