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Muharram marks the first month of Islamic calendar and is popularly known as the month of Hijri or the month of Allah. The tenth day of Muharram is known as the day of Ashura. This is a moment for introspection and forgiveness. Muharram is the month when fighting is prohibited by Allah and is

regarded as the second holiest month after Ramadan. During the month of Muharram, Muslims also give to the needy and perform devotional songs called Noha.

Every single deed, whether it be good or bad, is weighed at a heavier weight on the scales during this month, so all Muslims should try to be better. Muharram is significant because Allah designated it as one of the four sacred months of the year; however, many Muslims observe it to commemorate the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandsons. Given this month is a sacred month, many Muslims fast during Muharram to increase their worship.

The tenth day of Muharram is known as the day of Ashura when Muslims show their gratitude towards Allah and observe fast on this sacred day. They spend longer hours in the mosque while praying, give each other a warm embrace on this holy day as they celebrate the beginning of the year and remember their Lord's death. 

Muharram’s history is a story of tragedy and loss of Islam which commemorates the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali who was murdered during the Battle of Karbala.

The Battle of Karbala occurred on 10 October 680 AD in the city of Karbala, Iraq. It was between the army of the second Umayyad dynasty, Caliph Yazid I, and the family and followers of Imam Husayn Ibn Ali, the beloved grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Upon reaching Karbala on the third day of Muharram, Imam Husayn established a camp. He was faced with a large army of around 4,000 men, commanded under Umar Ibn Saad, the son of the founder of Kufah. On the seventh day of Muharram, upon Yazid I’s orders, Imam Husayn, his family, and companions were banned from accessing water, causing them to become weak and leading to the death of many.

On the 10th day of Muharram, called Ashura, both parties assumed a position of battle and engaged in a brutal battle, during which Imam Husayn was ruthlessly martyred along with many of his family and followers.

Muharram is a sacred month in Islam no matter what sect you follow and what events you observe because, first and foremost, Allah declared it as one of the four sacred months, so all Muslims must observe it with respect and good practice.

It is a time to engage in devout worship and remembrance of Allah, glorifying him. Muslims should use this time to improve their spirituality and refrain from sinning with the aim of becoming a better Muslim and pleasing Allah.

The word muharram means “forbidden” in arabic. Muslims pay their respect and refrain themselves from engaging in any joyous event. Muslim’s mourning period starts from first day of muharram and lasts till tenth. They mourn by observing fast and wearing black clothes. Most people mourn in nonviolent ways by chanting “Ya- Hussein”. 

Author’s Bio:

Aritri Ghosh

Amity University Kolkata.



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