Muharram (Arabic: المحرّم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year. 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.
Some Muslims fast during this day, because it is recorded in the hadith that Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; accordingly 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.
In addition there is a very important Ziyarat book which is called "Ziyarat Ashura" about Hussein ibn Ali. In Shia religion it's very popular to read this ziyarat in the "Day of Ashura". Although most of the Shias try to read Ziyarat Ashura every day and they send salutations to Husayn ibn Ali.
Muharram and 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.
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.
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:)
|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|
Incidents occurred during this month
- 01 Muharram: anniversary of the death of Hazrat Ammasaheb Bibi Habiba Qadri in India; Birth of the Báb in 1235 AH.
- 02 Muharram: Hussein ibn Ali enters Karbala and establishes camp. Yazid's forces are present. Birth of Bahá'u'lláh in 1233 AH.
- 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
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.
- 15 Muharram: Birth of Muhammad Sirajuddin Naqshbandi in 1297 AH (1879-1880 AD)
- 25 Muharram: Martyrdom of Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, fourth Shia Imam, day of Shahid (martyrdom: lit. "witness", as "martyr" is Greek for "witness") in 95 AH (714 AD).
- 27 Muharram, Maytham al-Tammar was killed.
- 28 Muharram: Death anniversary Urs of Ashraf Jahangir Semnani in 808 AH (1405 AD) a great Sufi saint in India.
- Death anniversary Urs of Baba Farid, a great Sufi saint in Pakistan for six days in Muharram.
- The others are Dhu al-Qi'dah, Dhu al-Hijjah and Rajab, The Islamic Calendar
- Volume 3, Book 31, Number 223: Narrated Abu Musa: 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." 
- Ziyarat Ashoora - Importance, Rewards and Effects
- "Muharram". 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia
- Sahih Bukhari 003.031.222-225
- Commemoration of Muharram is permissible
- Optional prayers for Muharram, especially Qalbi Zikr
- Muharram Quotes and Wishes
- Matam (beating the chest) in Muharram
- "Muharram". New International Encyclopedia. 1997.
-  Allahabad Azadari.Com
- A day of mourning for Shiites
- Muharram in West Sumatra