Imam Mahdi (a) Saying that He Will Weep Blood
The following are the words of Imam al-Mahdi (a) in Ziarat Nahiyah with regards to Imam Hussain (a):
“I will, therefore, lament you morning and evening, and will weep blood in place of tears, out of my anguish for you and my sorrow for all that befell you ..”
These words cannot be taken as a justification for blood shedding rituals for the following reasons:
1, In the Arabic language the idiom ‘weep blood’ means to weep heavily. It is an exaggerated metaphor to denote extreme sorrow. It is similar to the English idiom “sweating blood” which means to sweat very much when working hard.
Some people object to this very obvious interpretation by claiming that such idiomatic and metaphorical language is below the status of an Imam (a). This claim has to be rejected because even Allah in the Qur’an has been known to use idiomatic and metaphorical language and so have the Imams (a) in other authentic narrations.
2, If the words were to be taken literally then they would have to describe a miracle since it is not ordinarily possible to cry blood. If we wanted to emulate this act then we would have to emulate a miracle. It is not possible for ordinary people to perform miracles and cutting ourselves is not analogous to performing miracles.
3, If the Imam (a) does indeed literally cry blood then he does not do it in public.