An entire course could be created on Shi’a Islam. There is such a depth and complexity to their devotional practice and many rich images of such. The topic is a favorite of mine and my in-laws in Kuwait are Shi’a.
What I was searching the Internet for are photos of the rear of cars with muddy hand prints on them. This is because in Kuwait during Ashura all the Shi’a would take leave or be excused from their jobs and schools and go to Hasanias to participate in the taziah events. I have not witnessed participants covering themselves in mud as they do in Iran but youths would make muddy handprints on the back windshields of cars. I could not find any pictures of that so substituted a photo of a t-shirt with a muddy hand print.
In Kuwait, taziah is not performed with mud as shown in the images above. The whole event is so charged – I do know the kids wear t-shirts with Hussain’s image on it that they don’t wear at any other time, but the whole mud thing as in the pictures is – visceral – so involving, getting mud on your clothes, having to wash them, getting mud in your car when you drive home, mud in the house….I can imagine having to clean it up afterward. Just very visceral – involving – powerfully involving.
Now one thing I learned about the hand print – why the hand print on the car – is that it is called the Hand print of Fatima with the five fingers standing for Mohammad, Fatima, Ali, Hasan, and Hussain. I didn’t know. 5 fingers for the 5 people. A muddy five fingered hand – how fascinating. It all makes sense.