The Shiites pp 109-114 | Cite as

Lamentation Rituals: Liturgical Forms of Matam

  • David Pinault


As noted earlier, two basic forms of matam may be differentiated: matam using one’s hands only, that is, sineh-zani or breast-beating; and matam “with implements” (to use the phrase commonly employed in English by Hyderabadi Shiites), that is, cutting oneself through the use of zanjir, chaq chaqi, and so on (to be discussed in more detail below). Both types of matam have two characteristics in common: they are generally performed in a group liturgical setting rather than in private by a single individual, and they are performed in time to a rhythm determined by the chanting of a nauha or lamentation poem.


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  1. 2.
    Ja’far Sharif, Islam in India or the Qanun-i-Islam, G. A. Herklots, trans. (London: Curzon Press reprint, 1972), 181.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Seyyed Mohammed al-Moosavi, “Your Questions… Our Answers,” in Ja’fari Times 2, no. 1 (Muharram 1409/Aug.-Sept. 1988), 8.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Thomas Lyell, The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia (London: A. M. Philpot Ltd., 1923), 65.Google Scholar

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© David Pinault 1992

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  • David Pinault

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