Muharram (Arabic: محرم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar. Muharram is so called because it is unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word haram, meaning "forbidden". 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 called Yaumu-l 'Ashurah, which is known by Shia Muslims as ‘the day of grief’. Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; mainstream 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 10 days of Muharram or on the tenth day or on both the 9th and 10th days, the choice is up to the individual. Shia Muslims do so to replicate the sufferings of Imam Hussain (A.S) on the day of Ashurah.
Muharram and Ashura
The word "Muharram" is often considered synonymous with the event of 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 Husayn ibn Ali ,
The shias start the mourning from the 1st night of Muharram which continues for 2 months and 8 days. However the first days are the most important since these were the days where Imam Hussain and his family/followers were put through to atrocities by Yazeed. Imam Hussain and his group of 72 people consisting of women, children and aged.
The day Ashura stands for the war between good and evil. Between right and wrong. Between the true Islam and the Islam which the perpetrators like Yazeed and Shimr wanted. Yazeed had become very powerful back in 60 Hijri and was spreading the Islam of atrocities, killings and other heinous acts. However, when he asked Imam Hussain son (A.S) of Imam Ali (A.S.) and grandson of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.S), the answer was a straight no. This is the reason why Yazeed sent a large of 1000s to wage a war against a mere 72.
From the 7th Muharram itelf Umar ibn Sa'ad (Commander of Yazeed's army) stopped all the supplies of water and by this time the food supplies had also finished. On the day of Ashura they waged a war against Imam Hussain and Imam Hussain's group fought a very brave battle with the Yazeeds army. Thus mourning is done in remembrance of Imam Hussain and his family, not because they lost their lives but they were put through torture and hell. Even Imam Hussains (A.S) 6 month son Ali Asghar was not spared and when was brought out in the daylight, was killed by Shimr Ibn Thil-Jawshan(Soldier in the Umayyad).
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 (all dates are estimates):
- 1431 AH – First day: December 18, 2009; last day January 16, 2010
Islamic Events Taking Place During Muharram
- 01 Muharram, the Islamic New Year is observed by Muslims.
- 01 Muharram, Martyrdom of Umar ibn al-Khattab, the 2nd Caliph of Islamic empire.
- 01 Muharram, Shī‘ah Muslims begin the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala.
- 02 Muharram, Husayn bin ‘Alī enters Karbala and establishes camp. Yazid's forces are present.
- 07 Muharram, access to water was banned to Husayn ibn ‘Alī by Yazid's orders.
- 10 Muharram, referred to as the Day of ‘Āshūrā' was the day on which Husayn ibn ‘Alī was killed in Karbalā'. Shia Muslims spend the day in mourning, whilst Sunni Muslims fast on this day commemorating the rescue of people of Israel by prophet Musa from Pharaoh. (See: Day of ‘Āshūrā)
- 25 Muharram, martyrdom of Shī‘ah Imām, ‘Alī ibn Husayn
- 27 Muharram, Mesum was killed.
- What is Muharram ?
- Ashura Awareness Handouts
- Virtues of the month of Muharram Al Harram
- Online Sunni book: The Tragedy of Karbala and the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (RA)
- http://www.al-islam.org/al-serat/fastofashura.htm Fast of Ashura
- Radio Muharram
- The four months named in Sahih Al-Bukhari
- Dates of Muharram until 2016
- Islamic-Western Calendar Converter (Based on the Arithmetical or Tabular Calendar)
- Recommended activities on Muharram
- Hindus observing Muharram in India
- -Live Muharram Events!
- Remembering Imam Hussain RA, Friday 9th Jan, Manchester, Program in English!
- Poem In respect of our Imam RA, Friday 9th Jan, Manchester, Program in English!
- English Speech In respect of our Imam RA, Friday 9th Jan, Manchester, Program in English!
- The 10th of Muharram - Ashura
- The first of Muharram - the Islamic New Year