Muharram 2022: History and Significance

Festivals

Muharram 2022: History and Significance

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Last Updated on August 10, 2022

Muharram is quite significant in Islam and it is one of the holiest months for Muslims. It is also the beginning of a new Islamic year and this is a very sacred and important month as per the Quran. Muharram by meaning means forbidden and Muslims observe this month as a parade of prayer and introspection. They fast during this month and the 10th day of this month is a period of mourning. Below is information on Muharram 2022.

History of Muharram

muharram

The 10th day of Muharram is the most important day considered by Shia and Sunni Muslims. It is also the day of Ashura which means the 10th day. This day is observed as the day of mourning and is the same day when Muslims commemorate the death of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Hussain Ibn Ali.

Almost fourteen centuries ago, on the day of Ashura, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and his son were murdered by a ruler in the Battle of Karbala. After the death of Hussain, his family was imprisoned and treated very badly. As all this happened on the 10th day of Muharram, Muslims across the world mourn on this day to give respect to their revolutionary leader.

It was also during this time that Prophet Muhammad came from Mecca to Medina. There are several other legends associated with this: Sunni Muslims are of the opinion that Moses led Israel through the Red Sea and got victorious over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram. Another belief is that Adam and Eve were created on the 10th day of this pious month.

What is the story of this day?

muharram 2022

The month of Muharram is very sacred for the Muslim community as it marks the death of Imam Hussain. Shia Muslims pay respect for their sacrifice and abstain from all kinds of enjoyments. They put on black clothes, fast, abstain from physical pleasures, etc.

They break their fast on the day of Ashura which is the 10th day of Muharram. In many places, we can also see Muslims beating themselves in public and cutting themselves with knives and sharp objects. This signifies their respect and love for their leader, Hussain.

However, in many places, Sunni Muslims take out non-violent possessions to pay their respect to their leader. Sunni Muslims observe Muharram by fasting from the 1st to the 10th day of the month. The 10th day of Muharram also marks the day when Allah Save the children of Israel from the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Significance of Muharram

Muharram 2022

According to Prophet Muhammad, people who keep fast on this day of Ashura shall be saved from sins and have a better life. The cutting of the body by sharp objects is meant to pay respect to their leader. However, Sunni Muslims do not take part in such rituals. Muslims celebrate their New Year by visiting the mosques and praying to their God for well-being. They spend time with their family, cooking special dishes and sharing with each other.

Muharram 2022

The first day of Muharram started on 29 July 2022 but the dates vary according to the changes in the lunar movements. Presently, it has been decided that 9th August will be a gazetted holiday in India where banks, post offices, and government offices shall remain closed.

Various customs related to Muharram

Tazia celebration during Muharram

Tazia is an important part of the Muharram celebration where many kinds of replicas of Imam Hussain are made. Tazia is brought home by the Muslim community at any time of Muharram and it is buried on the 10th day i.e. the day of Ashura. Tazia is handled with great love and care and it is placed in a space that has been created especially for Muharram.

The place where Tazia is kept is very pious and sacred. It is decorated with flowers and it is also spread across the place. Tazia literally means paying respect and condolences to the dead. At the time of Muharram, women observe morning rituals at the place where Tazia is kept and men take out the Tazia procession outside.

Pilgrimage to the shrine of Husayn

This shrine is located at the mosque of Hussein Ibn Ali in the city of Karbala which is located in Iraq. Shia Muslims go on a pilgrimage to the city which is considered one of the holiest places after Mecca and Madina. It is a general belief amongst the Muslims that a visit to this shrine washes away the sins of pilgrims.

Matam

Matam means an act of mourning and this is done during the Muharram period by the Muslim community to commemorate the loss of their leader. The mourning includes chest-beating, hurting oneself physically, taking out sad processions, etc.

Tatbir

It is a form of bloodletting that is practiced by a few Shia Muslims. It is a debatable issue amongst Muslims as many believe that doing self-harm is a kind of haram and should be prohibited. Although, quite a small minority of Shia Muslims do this anyways.

Noha

This is a poem and a story that has been taken from Maqtal al-Husayn which is a kind of book that tells the story of the Battle of Karbala and the death of Hussein Ibn Ali. The poems in Noha are read by people and are available in various languages such as Arabic, Urdu, fuzzy, etc.

There are many other customs as well such as Weeping, Processions, Chest beating, Flagellation, Alam, Rawda, etc. related to Muharram.

Difference between the Gregorian Calendar and Islamic Calendar

Muharram is the first month as per the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar has 365 days in 12 months but the Islamic calendar has 354 days divided into 12 months. The new year of Islam which is also known as Al Hijri is celebrated on the first day of Muharram as it is believed that it was on this day that Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina.

Azadari in Lucknow

It is the name given to the practice of mourning to commemorate the death anniversary of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali who lost his life at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. This practice was banned in 1977 due to the violence involved. However, in 1998 due to protests and demonstrations by the Shia Muslims, the government permitted them to organize an Azadari procession under tight security.

Hindus observe Muharram in this Karnataka Village

In Harlapur village of Karnataka, there are no Muslims but Muharram is being observed here for the last 11 years. In this village, panch is prepared and established at a Dargah and then processions, prayers, and pooja are organized. There is also a neem tree inside the Dargah that is said to be a life-saving tree for those who suffer snakebite.

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Frequently asked questions about Muharram

What is the most important in Muharram?

The 10th day of Muharram that is also known as the day of Ashura is the most important day of Muharram. On this day, Hussain Ibn Ali was killed in the battle of Karbala.

Why Muharram is not a happy festival?

Muharram is observed to commemorate the death anniversary of Hussain Ibn Ali. Muslims pay their respect to their leader by hurting themselves, keeping fasts, praying, etc.

Who celebrates Muharram, Shia, or Sunni?

Muharram is celebrated by both Shia and Sunni Muslims. However, Muharram is not observed in the same manner by both of them.

How many days does one need to fast during Muharram?

It is believed that Prophet Muhammad observed a two-day fast, first on the day of Ashura and the other a day prior to that. However, most Muslims keep fast on the 10th day with respect to their leader.

How many months are there in the Islamic calendar?

Unlike the Gregorian calendar which has 365 days divided into 12 months, the Islamic calendar has 354 days that have been divided into 12 months.

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