(Persia Digest) – The religious ritual of washing carpets is practiced in the holy city of Mashhad Ardehal, in Kashan Province, southern Iran. This is the only Islamic ritual which takes place according to the Iranian solar calendar on the second Friday of the month of Mehr (October) to commemorate the martyrdom of Ali Ibn Mohammad-Bagher (AS) born to Imam Mohammad-Bagher.

Available documents show that the son of Imam Mohammad-Bagher (AS) was born on 27 Jumada al-Thani 116 AH (735 CE) on the Arabic lunar calendar, or Mehr on the Iranian solar calendar, 55 years after the Karbala incident and martyrdom of Imam Hossein (AS). So, the religious ritual of washing carpets in Fin, Kashan, takes place on the second Friday of Mehr (October) every year where the Imam’s son was martyred (Mashhad Ardehal).

Ali Ibn Mohammad-Bagher (AS), brother of Imam Sadegh (AS), was invited by the people of Fin and missioned by his father to go to Iran to teach Islam in 113 AH (732 CE). After three years of efforts, he was martyred in Kashan with a group of his companions in an asymmetric warfare.

This carpet washing ritual takes place in the same location every year. Thousands of mourners in Fin carrying sticks take up the holy carpet as a symbol of the mutilated body of the fifth Imam’s son (AS). They take delivery of the carpet from the attendants of the mausoleum and carry it on their shoulders to the river by chanting “Hossein, Hossein”.

By sprinkling water on the carpet as a sign of washing, it is carried back to the mausoleum, protected by the sticks with chants of “Hossein” and handed back to the attendants. This ritual has been registered by Unesco as Iran’s intangible heritage. It is the only religious ritual which is based on the Iranian calendar. Mashhad Ardehal is 45kms to the southwest of Kashan. Kashan has a population of more than 365 thousand people and is located 200kms north of Isfahan.

Photos: Mohsen Malek Hosseini/FARS

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