Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar. It is also the second holiest month of the year after Ramadan. Muharram is sacred. It is among the four sacred months of the Muslims.
Muharram is an important occasion which marks the holy day of Ashura. The word ‘Muharram’ means sinful and forbidden. The holy day usually falls on the tenth day in the month of Muharram. In 2016, it falls on October 12. It is a day of mourning by Shia Muslims.
Muslims celebrate it differently with different intents. They observe and respect Muharram as the month that saw the martyrdom of Hussein Ali in the Battle of Karbala. This month of Muharram says many different things.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance since the day when he created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them.” One of these four is Muharram.
Here is everything you need to know about Muharram.
1. Fasting on the 10th Muharram i.e. Ashura was obligatory for the Muslims. This was before the fast of Ramadan were made obligatory.
2. The tenth day is the most sacred day in the month. On this day Husain was killed.
3. Musa (AS) and Bani Israel were saved from the Pharaoh after the parting of the sea. This happened on tenth Muharram.
4. Umar Farooq (R.A) Martyred after getting numerous injuries. It happened on the first day of Muharram.
5. Muharram commemorates the killing of Imam Hussain Ali during the battle of Karbala. He was the grandson of prophet Muhammad.
6. After the above incident, Muslims were divided in 2 groups. They were called Shias and Sunnis.
7. Muharram is majorly observed by the Shia community. They portray their grief and suffering of Imam Husayn in an age old ritual called tatbir.
8. Shia men and women wear black dress and walk down the road. This is to show their Pain and grief.
9. Men hit their chests with knives and chains. They reenact the entire Battle of Karbala and chant ‘Ya Husayn’.
10. It is also known as Hijri New Year. It marks the start of lunar new year of the Muslims.
11. Muslims have 4 holy months. They are Muharram, Zul-Hijjah, Safar, & Rabi
12. The celebration allows Muslims to think about what they want from their own lives.
13. It commemorates the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. This journey is known as Hijri.
14. Muslims fast on 10th day of Muharram. They combine it with 9th to distinguish it from jews.
15. Imam Hussain fought a large army during battle of Karbala. They fought hard with large effort.
16. This whole incident was foretold.
17. Some people of Shia community don’t follow it. This is because self flagellation is negative, dangerous and scary.
18. Muharram changes every year as it is based on the lunar year. Next year it will start from September 22.
19. There are many stories behind it. One of them is said to be in commemoration that Noah left the ark and that God saved Moses from the Egyptians.
20. Sunni Muslims look at Ashura as a day of “respect and gratitude”. Shia Muslims believe that day to be a day of mourning and sorrow.
21. In the Indo-Persian tradition, the history of Muharram has inspired the advent of Ta’ziehtheatre. This is a condolence for Imam Hussain.