A young Muslim kneels on embers to offer Muharram prayers

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Lucknow, Jan 17 : A young devout evokes the spirit of sacrifice during Muharram by offering prayers on embers in Lucknow.

Other devotees' watch in awe as Asif Ali kneels on a rug placed atop a pit of burning coal and offers namaz.

Sixteen-year-old Ali has been observing what he believes is a self-purifying act for three years.

"I have been offering this namaz for three years. Nobody has asked me to do this, but I myself decided to offer prayers on embers," he said.

Ali's parents said they were proud of his voluntary act.

"I feel good that he offers prayers for Imam Hussain," said Najaf Ali, Asif's father.

Muharram falls on January 19 this year. It is marked by prayers, processions and self-flagellation, which they believe negates their sin.

In the Islamic calendar, Muharram is the first month and its first day is the beginning of the Islamic year.

The Shia Muslims mourn during this month and commemorate the Battle of Karbala. The tenth day of Muharram is called Ashurah.

On this day, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali was martyred with his family and friends in the Battle of Karbala.


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