First month of the Islamic calendar is designated by the Muharram holiday. The Islamic New Year, which is observed on the first day of Muharram, is regarded as a particularly holy day. The Shia Muslim community mourns the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, on the tenth day of Muharram, which also happens to be the first Islamic month.
The Gregorian calendar, used in most western nations, is solar, but the Islamic calendar is lunar and is 11–12 days shorter. Here are some of the significant facts, significance, history, and story that you need to know about Muharram.
History of Muharram
During the Battle of Karbala, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussain, and his young son were ruthlessly murdered by an oppressive and cruel tyrant. Imam Hussain lost his life in the conflict, but his followers continue to uphold his teachings of justice, equality, and kindness, which counts as his true victory.
The origin of Muharram
The actual reason for Muharram’s sadness is a harrowing one. The bloody Battle of Karbala occurred on the tenth day of Muharram, also known as Ashura, into the 61st year of the Islamic calendar. Hussein Ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was remembered throughout Muharram. Hussein was brutally killed at the Battle of Karbala, which took place on Ashura Day in 680 AD after he questioned the authority of the caliph Yazid.
A small group of Imam Hussain, his associates, and family members fought with Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph, and his noticeably bigger army. Imam Hussain’s little army consisted of his friends and family, including women and young children. But a ton of thousands of hostile solid armies had encircled them. Hussain and his friends were abducted, and for three days straight, they were denied food and drink in the scorching desert. Hussain and his kid, who was six years old, were mercilessly murdered by the ruthless troops, who also abducted the ladies as hostages. Muslims observe a period of sorrow throughout the month of Muharram to honor the sacrificed innocent lives. Many Shias grieve and commemorate the bravery of the Prophet’s family because of the severity of the war and the murder of the Prophet’s grandson during a month when combat is prohibited.
Significance of Muharram
Shia Muslims mourn Imam Hussein and his family’s passing on this day of sadness during the incredibly holy month of Muharram. They revere their sacrifice, offer numerous prayers, and abstain from all festive occasions.
The first day of Muharram belongs to the beginning of the mourning period, which lasts for 10 days until Imam Hussein’s passing. They express their sorrow by donning black clothing, abstaining from food and drink, and fasting until the ‘Day of Ashura,’ the tenth day. Some even wait until zawal (afternoon) to break their fasts to honor Imam Hussein. This agonizing ritual represents their sorrow over the passing of their leader Hussain, who was also seen as Allah’s representative. However, the majority of mourners conduct processions and lament loudly while chanting “Ya Hussain.”
How is Muharram celebrated?
Muslims from the Shia and Sunni faiths participate in the festival of Muharram. On the other hand, Shia Muslims observe the Day of Ashura differently. Shia Muslims mark these 10 days as a time of sadness because it is Husayn ibn Ali’s Memorial Day. They attend special prayer gatherings in mosques and other public locations while dressed in all black.
They avoid weddings and other festivities in favor of participating in street processions. They whip their chests and participate in chants to honor Husayn ibn Ali’s sacrifice. Sunni Muslims usually fast for ten days during this time frame to commemorate Moses’ victory over Egypt’s pharaoh. It is thought that anyone who fasts at this time would receive rewards from Allah.
Muharram is celebrated across the nation, although it is prevalent in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka. Processions are held in honor of Husayn ibn Ali during Muharram by the Muslim community in Kerala, known as Mappilas. Shia Muslims organize processions and parades in Hyderabad, during which the book of Ziarat Ashura is recited. Salutations to the Karbala Battle martyrs are known to be found in this book.
Muharram And Ashura
Muharram implies forbidding or banning. It is stated that this month was known as Safer ul Awwal before the advent of Islam. The Islamic New Year starts with the sighting of the new moon. One of the four sacred months mentioned in the Quran is the first month, Muharram. The other three are Rajab, the seventh month, and the eleventh and twelfth months, Dhu al-Qidah and Dhu al-Hijjah, which come before Muharram. Warfare is prohibited throughout these holy months. The Quraish and Arabs who lived before the arrival of Islam also prohibited battle during certain months. The tenth day of Muharram was a day of fasting for the Arabs before Islam.
Christianity and Judaism, two Semitic religions, each regarded this day as significant. Muhammad fasted numerous times on this day, both before and after moving to Medina, and he also commanded the Muslims to do the same on the ninth and eleventh days. But after Ramadan, when fasting became obligatory, it was voluntary.
The Day of Ashura directly refers to “the Tenth” in Arabic. Because of its historical significance and the sadness surrounding the martyrdom of Ibn Ali, it is well recognized. Muslims begin their period of mourning on the first night of Muharram and continue it for ten nights, reaching its peak on Ashura Day, which falls on the tenth of Muharram.
The days leading up to and including the Day of Ashura are the most crucial because it was during these days that Hussain and his family, as well as his followers (including women, children, and older adults), were denied access to water beginning on the 7th, and on the 10th that Yazid I’s army, acting on Yazid’s orders, killed Hussain and 72 of his followers at the Battle of Karbala. Husayn’s family and followers who were still alive were abducted, led to Damascus, and imprisoned there.
Muharram is marked as the beginning of the Islamic New Year. The locals view it as a revered and significant festival. For Muslims, it is one of the four holy months of the year.