Muharram

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For use as a given name, see Muharrem.

Islamic Calendar

  1. Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabi' al-awwal
  4. Rabi' al-thani
  5. Jumada al-awwal
  6. Jumada al-thani
  7. Rajab
  8. Sha'aban
  9. Ramadan
  10. Shawwal
  11. Dhu al-Qi'dah
  12. Dhu al-Hijjah
Muharram in Ardabil.
A procession of Shia Muslims in Bhopal.

Muharram (Arabic: المحرّم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year.[1] Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.

The word "Muharram" means "Forbidden" and is derived from the word harām, meaning "sinful". It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days. The tenth day of Muharram is the Day of Ashura, which to Shia Muslims is part of the Mourning of Muharram.

Azadari procession carried out by Shia Muslims in Indian city of Hardoi on the Day of Ashura.

Some Muslims fast during this day, because it is recorded in the hadith[2] that Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; accordingly Prophet Muhammad asked Muslims to pray on this day that is Ashura and on a day before that is 9th (called Tasu`a).

Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; many Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours and do not eat until late afternoon. Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram for the first ten days of Muharram, or just the tenth day, or on both the ninth and tenth days; the exact term depends on the individual. Shia Muslims do so to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura.

Muharram and Ashura[edit]

Main article: Mourning of Muharram
Shia Muslims in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in a Hussainia as part of the commemoration of Muharram
Shia Muslim children in Amroha, India on camels in front of Azakhana as part of the procession commemorating events on & after Day of Ashura

Muharram is a month of remembrance and modern Shia meditation that is often considered synonymous with Ashura. Ashura, which literally means the "Tenth" in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram. It is well-known because of historical significance and mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad.[3]

Shias begin mourning from the first night of Muharram and continue for ten nights, climaxing on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura. The last few days up until and including the Day of Ashura are the most important because these were the days in which Imam Hussein and his family and followers (including women, children and elderly people) were deprived of water from the 7th onward and on the 10th, Imam Hussain and 72 of his followers were killed by the army of Yazid I at the Battle of Karbala on Yazid's orders. The surviving members of Imam Hussein's family and those of his followers were taken captive, marched to Damascus, and imprisoned there.

Muharram is also observed by Dawoodi Bohras as well as it is not a good festival for muslims in the same way as Shias. They practice prayers on the sayings of the present Dai of Bohras, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. On the tenth day of Muharrum, they pray for Hussein till the magrib , when the pray ends. Hussein is considered martyr by Yazid.

With the sighting of the new moon the Islamic New Year is ushered in. The first month, Muharram is one of the four sacred months that [Allah] has mentioned in the Quran.

Timing[edit]

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Muharram migrates throughout the solar years. The estimated start and end dates for Muharram are as follows (based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia:[4])

AH First day (CE / AD) Last day (CE / AD)
1431 18 December 2009 15 January 2010
1432   7 December 2010   4 January 2011
1433 26 November 2011 25 December 2011
1434 15 November 2012 13 December 2012
1435   4 November 2013   3 December 2013
1436 25 October 2014 22 November 2014
1437 14 October 2015 12 November 2015
Muharram dates between 2010 and 2015
Scenes in the procession at the Mohurrum festival

Incidents occurred during this month[edit]

  • 01 Muharram: anniversary of the death of Hazrat Ammasaheb Bibi Habiba Qadri in India
  • 02 Muharram: Hussein ibn Ali enters Karbala and establishes camp. Yazid's forces are present.
  • 07 Muharram: Access to water was banned to Husayn ibn Ali by Yazid's orders.
  • 10 Muharram: Referred to as the Day of Ashurah (lit. "the tenth") was the day on which Hussein ibn Ali was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. Shia Muslims spend the day in mourning, whilst the Sunni Muslims fast on this day commemorating the rescue of the people of Israel by Musa (Moses) from Pharaoh[5]

Many Sufi Muslims fast for the same reason as the sunnis mentioned above, but also for the martyrs, they pray for them and send upon them peace and blessings.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The others are Dhu al-Qi'dah, Dhu al-Hijjah and Rajab, The Islamic Calendar
  2. ^ Volume 3, Book 31, Number 223: Narrated Abu Musa: uiui8iu8678t68yiy The day of 'Ashura' was considered as 'Id day by the Jews. So the Prophet ordered, "I recommend you (Muslims) to fast on this day." [1]
  3. ^ "Muharram". 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  4. ^ Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia
  5. ^ Sahih Bukhari 003.031.222-225

External links[edit]